I Remember The Rucker, Texas Of The 1930s

The memories that Patty Hirst shares with us today are not hers but rather those of her mother who remembered the Great Depression years in Rucker, Texas.


A number of years ago when we were experiencing yet another dry summer and were lamenting the failure of our garden, my mother, Lavoyce Wallace Hirst, reminisced about the summers when she was a youngster growing up near Rucker during the Great Depression.

Even though rain was sparse, she exclaimed, “They were the depression years, EVERYTHING was sparse!”   It seemed that the family was blessed with an abundant garden year after year despite little rainfall.

There were peas, beans, corn, tomatoes, onions, and one particular year, a bumper crop of potatoes.  Her family lived back off the road on the north side of the railroad track; however they had a garden spot on the south side of the railroad and the bounty of the vegetables had to be hauled or usually carried in bushel baskets back to the house.

She remembered especially the bountiful potato crop and remembered how heavy those tubers were.  She wished she could have remembered how many bushel baskets of potatoes they carried and stored in their cellar for winter use.  Things that could be canned, preserved, dried or in any way saved to eat during the winter were “put by.”

My mother and grandparents didn’t have close neighbors, but they were never at a loss for company.  As the nearest house to the railroad tracks in that area they had a steady stream of hobos at their back door asking for something to eat, and my mom said that her mother never sent a man away without giving something.

It might have been a piece of cold cornbread or a biscuit, but she always came up with some morsel to ease the hunger just a bit, offered water from the well, and a place to take a moment’s rest.

One day while a man was sitting out back eating, my grandmother told him that she knew that other people in the community didn’t have the volume of men who came to her family’s farm.  She said, “Why do so many people come here?”

The hobo smiled and said, “Lady, we hobos have our own system of markings and symbols; your house is marked.  There is a ‘sign’ in the fence row in front of your house that you’ll give food.”

He continued, “We know which houses to stop at and which ones will run us off.”

With this knowledge, my grandmother continued to share with whoever came to the door and as my mother remembered those lean years, they were never hungry themselves and continued to share with the folks that came to their door asking for food.

Such was life in Rucker,Texas in the 1930’s…Patty Hirst

About Patty Hirst

It doesn’t take long to discover that Patty Hirst loves Dublin, Texas, and the people who live in Dublin. She is also one of the reasons that Texansunited.com has been able to show the world just how special this Irish Texas town actually is. Quite often here on Texans United, you will find Patty in our News section, weighing in on what is happening in Dublin. But Patty Hirst is also a thinker, maybe even a dreamer,if you will. She sees the beauty in things that others never see...whether it be a rock, a single rose, or the stranger sitting on the park bench. Yes, Patty thinks good thoughts, and we've asked her to share thosse thoughts with all of us.
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2 Responses to I Remember The Rucker, Texas Of The 1930s

  1. Patty Hirst Patty says:

    I always loved hearing these stories and now so wish I had listened better and retained more!

  2. missy jones says:

    Patty talking about the hobos coming to her house made me remember when I was probably 5 or 6 years old, we lived on “the Fowler place”, south of highway 36 going to Gustine and just before you turn off south on CR 222. We always ate well, because we worked hard to have a garden and plenty of fruits and vegetables. One day, I remember about 10:00 am a hobo came and knocked on our back door. Mama had left over sausage patties from breakfast, leftover biscuits and some wonderful pear preserves. She sent him off with about 6 sausage and pear preserve sandwiches. This is the only time I can remember this. Highway 36 had recently been the railroad tracks, so it was nothing to see people hitching a ride down the highway.

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