Remembering May 20th, 5 years later
Temperatures to climb back up over the next few days

Think it’s getting hot now? You should have seen the Summer of ’36

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ALTUS, OKLAHOMA -- It may have been the worst time for a hot spell.

Farmers around Altus were already in trouble when the temperatures started to climb in the summer of 1936.

Wayne Winsett graduated high school in Elmer in 1935.

He worked on a ranch near Amarillo that summer, but saw enough at home in Altus to last a lifetime.

"Working in the fields, we'd come in when we were through and mother always had the doors open," he recalls. "We would lie down in the door, our clothes saturated with perspiration. We'd get that hot and the wind would blow and we'd stay cool."

Jessie Reynolds was still on her parents farm.

"I was a Junior in high school," she recalled.

She was busy trying to save her parents place from the fate of so many others around them.

"The animals you know. The ponds went dry. A lot of people really suffered."

There were people who didn't survive that summer.

Many others left for greener pastures.

But for those who did stay, the rain and the music did return.

Wayne Winsett went off to fight a war and came back to farm cotton.

Jessie Reynlolds taught school at took to the piano.

In Altus the heat is never too far away, but there are some people who learned to play on no matter how hot it gets.

"I guess it taught us a lesson," said Reynolds. "That we need to be appreciative of the better things in life."

In Altus Galen Culver Newschannel 4. Is This a Great State or What!