Letter from Udell Cunningham, November 2005 Part 6

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I was on Attu for 26 months. For the first 18 months we dug the ditches for pipes by hand — shovels. Later they “found” a backhoe to dig the lines. They had heavy equipment all along but never let us use them. They were new and had W.P.A. markings on them. If you don’t know, W.P.A. was an organization that Roosevelt organized to provide work during the Depression. I believe this equipment was amassed to use in the coming wars. I know that they didn’t use construction equipment during the W.P.A. years. Other activities of the W.P.A. [were] sewing-rooms and canneries for employing women.

My dad worked on the W.P.A. He rode a truck to Lubbock where they were making what turned out to be Lubbock Air Field. It is now the municipal airport. Reese Air Base was 10-12 miles west of Lubbock. One day while going to Lubbock, they encountered a rainstorm. Lightning struck the truck and injured several men. Dad was O.K.

Many crude jokes circulated about how lazy W.P.A. workers were and how you could tell if the worker leaning on a shovel was alive. They later hired Dad and his ’28 Chev. truck to haul dirt there in Lockney [Texas].

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