Helen Toothaker & Ruth Piper

Recently, we interviewed author Joe de Kehoe about life in the desert communities along Route 66 in the Mojave Desert. In his book, “The Silence And The Sun” he makes clear that it took a hardy resilient personality to survive! The summer temperatures were often over 120 degrees and in the winter the temperatures were as cold as they had once been hot. Many Hispanic families, enduring an increase in anti-immigrant policies and the higher risk of deportation even of U.S. Citizens, came to the desert communities along Route 66 for refuge and attracted by mining and railroad jobs. While men worked long shifts in mines, women stayed at home and took care of the home and their children. Homes were far from luxurious. In the late 1920s and 1930s, the desert communities were without electricity and indoor plumbing was unheard of. Houses were frequently built from railroad ties and often had hard packed dirt floors. Cement was a luxury. Rooms were made by partitioning off sections with curtains.

 

 

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