I experienced the harshness of the elements when my sister Sadie's son, Virgil, was born. Her family had to vacate the house they had rented, so another family shared one large room of their house with them until the baby came as it was so near time.
I went to help her out after the baby was there. It was very cold and the snow was about two feet deep. I cooked on a wood-burning heating stove for the five of us, took care of Sadie in bed and the baby. Then mothers stayed in bed ten days after childbirth. I did the wash, helped carry water, hung clothes outside where they were frozen as fast as they were hung on the line, and emptied and cleaned pots as there was no bathroom.
All of this living was done in one room. It was not a very warm room, but we were just thankful to have that and enough food to eat. At that time her husband was not working, so they got what they called "commodities," state aide, I suppose. I remember the canned beef was so good.
When Sadie was strong enough, they moved to another house closer to us. They had one room on one side of a breezeway. Way across the hall and through one side of another person's kitchen was her kitchen. The only heat there was an old open fireplace.
The floor had so many cracks we put quilts on the floor to keep out the wind. They would raise off the floor when the wind was strong. This was the house she died in later.
Times were hard.