How Aunt Fern's Dust Bowl Migration Lifted up My Family and California

'They had qualities of humor and courage and inventiveness and energy that appealed to me. I thought that if we had a national character and a nati...

November 24, 2022
11:24 PM

'They had qualities of humor and courage and inventiveness and energy that appealed to me. I thought that if we had a national character and a national genius, these people, who were beginning to be called Okies, were it.' – John Steinbeck, 'America and Americans' We ain't Okies anymore. Joe Mathews Opinion My Great-Aunt Fern was the last member of our big California family to be born in Oklahoma. But she never much cared for author John Steinbeck's portrayals of her fellow Okies, in The Grapes of Wrath and other books, as the noble epitome of American working-class struggle.

Joe Mathews