c. 1930: United States
it takes a village
The cars of the migrant people crawled out
of the side roads onto the great cross-country
highway, and then took the migrant way to
the West. in the daylight they scuttled like
bugs to the westward, and as the dark caught
them, they clustered like bugs near to shelter
and to water. and because they were lonely
and perplexed, because they had all come from
a place of sadness and worry and defeat, and
because they were all going to a new mysterious place, they huddled together; they talked
together; they shared their lives, their food, and
the things they hoped for in the new country.
Thus it might be that one family camped near a
spring, and another camped for the spring and
for company, and a third because two families
had pioneered the place and found it good.
and when the sun went down, perhaps twenty
families and twenty cars were there.
in the evening a strange thing happened:
the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home
became one loss, and the golden time in the
West was one dream. and it might be that a
sick child threw despair into the hearts of twenty families, of a hundred people; that a birth
there in a tent kept a hundred people quiet and
awestruck through the night and filled a hundred people with the birth joy in the morning.
a family which the night before had been lost
and fearful might search its goods to find a present for a new baby. in the evening, sitting about
the fires, the twenty were one. They grew to be
units of the camps, units of the evenings and
the nights. a guitar unwrapped from a blanket
and tuned—and the songs, which were all of the
people, were sung in the nights. men sang the
words, and women hummed the tunes.
Every night a world created, complete
with furniture—friends made and enemies established; a world complete with braggarts and
with cowards, with quiet men, with humble