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The speaker is a 54-year-old White woman with a grade school education from Guymon, Oklahoma; she was recorded in 1966.



County: Texas
State: OK

Commentary:
With its flat plain landscape, Guymon was an ideal place for agriculture, which attracted settlers to the area in the early twentieth century. The town grew and served as a trading hub, linked by rail to Texas and Kansas. The impact of soil erosion from farming practices was seen in the severe dust storms of the1930s. The most severe occurred in April 1935 on what is referred to as ???Black Sunday.??? An Associated Press writer stationed in Guymon witnessed the event and coined the term Dust Bowl in describing the black blizzard. In this segment the speaker talks about excitement caused by a carnival escapee.
Inf: A carnival here in town and their elephant got loose and he came up to see us one night. Uh, well, it was one morning, ???stead of one night. And he kept a-fooling around and coming clear up to the house and rubbed right up against our neighbor???s door. B-, she happened to get inside just as he got there, and, but when he came on over here, then she stood out in the yard and I kept trying to call her to come over to get-, to help me out. But my kids were little of course, and they were asleep.

But I was standing out on the back porch and I wouldn???t get out close to him ???cause I was afraid that, ???fraid of him, ???fraid he might not like my, way I acted or way I was gonna talk or something. And, he kept fooling around and getting in our garden and finally my husband, he got up and got in the car and went down and, eh town, woke up the, some of the carnival people and they come up here and got it. And the elephant???s name was Queenie. But this guy, he put the, he had his uh, well his little cane thing that he controlled the elephant with, and just put it on the elephant???s trunk and he just, eh, doubled up his trunk and then this guy stepped up on it and then he just raised him up and set him up on his head and they just took off across the wide open spaces. But it didn???t do too much harm. He did step on our uh water faucet an??? broke it off.

And then uh, _____ and _____, they t- went down and got to ride, free rides on the elephant. That???s what they had the elephant for was ri-, for the people to ride, but they got free rides on the elephant. But my daughter was too little and so we didn???t go down. So we didn???t get a chance to ride on it.

FW: Hmm. What was the damage that the elephant caused?

Inf: He stepped on the water faucet and broke it off.

FW: Uh-huh. Well, that was us???

Inf: Well, I mean uh, uh, stepped on the water hydrant, and broke it off. Water was running everywhere. But uh, ???course the water was so low that he couldn???t get it drank, but that???s what he was trying to do. He???s trying to stick his snout down there to get a drink of water. But he couldn???t, he couldn???t drink because it was too low.

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