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peopletalk's Podcast

Oct 23, 2006

Katherine Schellenberg was born in 1932, to second generation emigrant farmers in Aberdeen, Saskatchewan, Canada.

To Katherine the iconic images of the great depression are more than just old black and white photographs of men waiting in bread lines, working in relief camps and protesting against their dreadful destitution.

She remembers the poverty and great dust storms sweeping across the Western prairies, making it impossible for her family to feed themselves, these are real memories for her not just something you read about in history books.

Extracts from e-mail's from Kathy, talking about living in Saskatchewan Canada, as a young girl.

"I also realize people do not understand how new this area was to the pioneers. There had just been Indian wars with Louis Reil a few years before and there was nothing but open prairies. You cannot imagine standing in the middle of a field and looking from horizon to horizon and not seeing a tree or hill for a hundred miles.

Having been brought up in country that has been civilized for hundreds of years as you have, it is hard to understand that people my age and just a few years older, were the first people in these parts of the country; and the only people there were, were people from all the European countries.

I grew up with people from Germany, Russia, Holland, France and the Slavic countries. You see when I talk about the old days to my kids they laugh and say, "Yes mother we know the sun never shone and the snow drifts were six feet high."  When we lived in the house by the river and when the real cold weather came we had to go to my older sisters house and sleep in their attic as we could not afford fuel. Her husband had a steady job in the flourmill so they had a fairly good income. Their house though was very small. And in the summer time people used to hang their milk and meat etc., in the well to keep it cool."