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I can't remember not knowing about "the company store" in coal country, so I must've learned early. It may have been in my high school history books, I may have read it in newspapers, magazines, books that my parents brought into the house, or maybe saw it in movies or tv shows. Or maybe someone explained 16 Tons to me!

ASIDE
I heard of the Dust Bowl from school, and knew about Okies and others heading to California to survive, but it only became viscerally known to me ("woke") via The Grapes of Wrath.
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