Monday, September 7, 2015

What we are Celebrating this Labor Day...

Breaker Boys
Cranberry Pickers
Beet Harvesters
Cotton Picker
Factory Workers
Shoe Shiner in the Bowery

These images represent what we should be celebrating this Labor Day. The Laws that guarantee everyone in this wonderful country that when you are at work you have rules and regulations that make sure you are safe. 
That our children are in schools not factories or some other dangerous place. 
That they are getting an education. 

I look at these pictures by Lewis Hines and others and wonder if I could ever have let my boys leave the house to work in such conditions. Hard to believe that just a few decades ago I would have thought this was normal.

Today would have been my father's 95th birthday. Happy Birthday Daddy! I miss him everyday, several times a day. I woke up thinking how ironic it was that today was his birthday. As I watched the sun rise over the mountains I remembered some of his stories. 

You see my father was greatly affected by the Depression. His mother died. He and his brothers were sent to live with his grandmother. They had to earn their keep. My dad started out the morning at the local dairy. He and his brothers delivered the milk. My father ran the milk bottles to the different houses. Picked up the used bottles and left the full bottles. He had trouble with one of his thumbs where one of the bottles broke and he was cut. Another time, he was running across the street to get back to the milk truck and was hit by a car. Thank goodness the cars were light weight then.

All of this was done before school. After school he delivered papers. It was a big deal when he finally was able to get a used bicycle. Living in Central Florida where there are lots of Orange Groves. He worked afternoons and weekends picking oranges and sometimes Pecans. There was very little time to do anything but work, study and church. He was kept very busy.

My Father had such a way of telling us stories. They were not just about the hardships but about how their hard work paid off. He told me once he was such a good football player in high school and college because he had dodged so many things delivering milk. I would give anything to hear another story. To ask another question.

I wondered today if I had taught my boys enough. If they had heard enough stories. Would they continue to grow into such great hard working men. As I looked across the valley and the sun shone on me, I realized I have to have faith. Just like all those mother's who sent their boys into the mines, or to the factories and fields. They will be safe, they will work hard, they know the stories.


Immi said...

Great photos and a good reminder of what the day means.

peggy gatto said...

Lovely words and love the photos, happy birthday to your dad!

Janet Ghio said...

I recently purchased a book full of Lewis Hines photos of working children. Heartbreaking photos--very interesting to read about Lewis Hines-and his contribution to changing things for those children.

CreativSpirit said...

Thanks for sharing these poignant photos. My how things have changed.