LIKE MOST WHO CAME WEST IN THE 1930s, ERNEST ATCHLEY HAD NOT BEEN PREpared for the hostility he encountered. He had assumed that as a white, Anglo-Saxon American he would be welcome in California. Now the "old Texican" was writing a goodbye letter to his friends at the Yuba City FSA camp:
This is a great day, although it is raining, because what we have been waiting for patiently here three months for, has come to pass. We're leaving today for home, sweet home, and if we ever come back, we'll have a round trip ticket tucked securely away.
California is all right for Californians, but we're going back to "Big D" where the long-horn cattle roam, where the "gen'ral sto'keeper treats yo'all lak humans", and where hospitality reigns. A fellow don't appreciate home until he comes to California. 1
Atchley's was one of several responses that suggest the pain and alienation that many migrants experienced. Confusion was often the first reaction; few had ever before felt the sting of prejudice. Several newcomers registered their bewilderment in letters to the editor of the valley's major newspapers. "The Californians rave, they slur, criticize, gossip, swear and demean the Eastern people. What kind of world is this?" an angry Althes Robbins demanded. 2 "Why is California so bitter toward migrants?" an-