When Depression struck the nation in the 1930s, few states were hit harder than Oklahoma. This was the dust bowl, a time of ruinous levels of unemployment when farm income alone dropped 64 percent. Great, all-consuming dust storms seemed to swallow the horizon as whole populations, were driven from the land. Fifteen percent of all Oklahoma packed up and moved west, in hopes of a better life.
This was the world of Loyce Edward Deen’s childhood, the seventh of eight children born to Grace and Allen Deen in the tiny south-central Oklahoma town of Sulphur.
The family moved west in pursuit of work, to Altus Oklahoma, nearly 200 miles by car. There, Allen took work as a schoolteacher. Loyce would care for his younger brother Lewis, a child afflicted with Down’s syndrome. The boys were extremely close. It must have broken Loyce’s heart when his little brother fell and ill and…
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