Look if you dare

LIFE AMONG WAGE-EARNERS 1880

To the men who work the docks, coal shovelers, hucksters, women who work for a day, sell newspapers at the ferries, or work in the factories, every child in the alley who does what one can for a penny from the time one could walk.

To the men at their clubs, to the women who shop, to those that dine without a thought of the cost.

Look if you dare
Look at the life of a wage-earner
Where life is lived
Simply
The needs so evident, the value of words not at all
Where
Action expresses the heart perfectly
The baby with brother or sister
Each dependent on the other
The child finds that in a morsel of bread weariness
A father or mother in words unspoken
Knows the sadness
And still make
Sacrifices
Their ease and their comfort and even their sleep
To provide a home
And what is more important
Love
To nourish the soul

Inspired by author Lillian William Betts, who wrote books and articles about life in the tenements at the turn of the 20th century. The Leaven in a Great City is one such book.

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In someone else’s shoes

In case you wish to complain about your work, listen to Mary Paul, and how she patiently took to her job and 12 hour days.

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For some the summer days were golden,  others had to work.

 

Mary Paul grew up in tiny Woodstock and smaller still Barnard, Vermont. Mary described her father as “a man of great natural abilities,” who earned his living as a cobbler and farmer, but later on suffered from debilitating rheumatism.

One imagines that Mary’s early life was full of golden summer days.

In 1841, at the age of 11, her mother died and she and her brother were “put out” to earn their board, which was room and board and nothing else. In 1845, she left home for Lowell, Massachusetts and immediately found work in the textile mills, working alongside hundreds of other girls for two years.

Mary wrote home to her father describing work for the Lawrence Corporation, Mill No. 2 spinning room, and a day in the life of girl in the textile mills.

Dec. 21, 1845; Lowell, MA

Perhaps you would like something about our regulations, about going in and coming out of the mill. At 5 o’clock in the morning, the bell rings for folks to get up and get breakfast. At half past six it rings for the girls to get up and at seven they are called into the mill. At half past 12 we have dinner are called back again at one and stay till half past seven .

I get along very well with my work. I can doff (strip carded fiber from a carding machine) as fast as any girl in our room. I think I shall have frames (tending the warp as the fiber is woven) before long. The usual time allowed for learning is six months but I think I shall have frames before I have been in three as long as I get along so fast.

I think that the factory is the best place for me and if any girl wants employment I advise them to come to Lowell.

Later, after Lowell, Mary would partner with another seamstress in Brattleboro, Vermont to make coats. In 1857, she married Isaac Guild, and, after living in an utopian community in New Jersey and working as a housekeeper in New Hampshire, the newlyweds moved to Lynn, Massachusetts, where Isaac worked in the marble industry and Mary raised two daughters.

Read more Vermont History

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Success

[In case you wondered, from time to time, I sell Stressless recliners and home furnishings on homefurnishers.com. It is a living, but not a life.]

It is said that to succeed one has to get up before the others, before the birds, before the sun, drink a cup of coffee, eat a piece of toast and an egg, put on your shoes and run, run just to keep in the same place, and run faster if you want to succeed.

Oh, but the trees, the mountains, and the lakes know better. They are always there  wordlessly, watching me, knowing there is a joy in the silence. Lessons are learned by listening, not just with the ears, but the eyes.

Life is meant to be enjoyed, Stresslessly.

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What a beautiful place to be, I thought, gazing around Kintla Lake. Calm, peaceful, serene, about as far north in Montana one could go without going over the border into Canada.

“Be mindful of the bears,” the park ranger said.

“Oh, I know,” I replied, “life is full of them.”

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Slumber wrapt

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To me in slumber wrapt, a dream divine, ambrosial night Morpheus conveyed to my lips by golden cup, more beautiful than Aurora’s light at dawn when the darkest night turns to the softest blue before the sky glows bright like a summer peach, I slumber still, in peace, with dreams more real than reality.

All fall down

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Do you miss those golden days of summer yet?
How we danced around the tree,
Thinking then,
It would never end,
Holding hands
Singing merrily,
Faster and faster
And as we did
The dog ran about,
Prancing to and fro,
Then I,
As leader of the group said,
All fall down!

Ah, but children grow older.

Then, a few years later,
You looked into my eyes and said
“I love you, do you love me,
And will you love me forever?”
I, recalling those foolish days,
And golden days of summer, I

Laughed and said,
“Nothing lasts forever.”

Words

Words without meaning mean nothing.

The monkey typewriter theorem says that if a certain number (infinite is the one that comes to mind) of monkeys were each given a typewriter (nowadays, a keyboard) and a really long time (forever) they could write the works of all the famous writers (e.g. Shakespeare, Dickens, Browning, Voltaire, Diderot, Tolstoy, etc.) and then some…

Of course, this would require teaching the monkeys to type.

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Where do they go?

I got to thinking the other day, Where do old artists go?

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Christopher Cross tells you on his website that he was one of the biggest breakout artists of the 80’s. True and a little self-aggrandizing. But, as I have always said, Toot your own horn when no one else does.

Well, surprise, Christopher Cross is still performing, singing the oldies, and coming up with a few new ones.

Maybe, it is not them. They do not go away. It is us. We move on to other things.

And forget…

Until the wind kicks up, and the smell of salt is in the air, and a dream carries us away to a place where I always heard it could be.

P.S.

Top Chrisopher Cross song of all time, Sailing, with its thrilling chimes and steady beat of the drumsticks.

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In memoriam

 

 

In memoriam: Las Vegas

Mother, mother, sister, brother,
Father to us all,
Children one and all
Tell me why
They’re gone
Mother, sister, father, brother
Tell me why
It’s not the time
To stop this madness
Tell me, if you can,
Tell me why you’re gone

Charlie, Brennan, Erick, Quint, Neysa, Dorene,
Pati, Nicky, Chris, Andrea, Adrian, Brian, Brett and Bo
Denise, Chrissy, Candy, Lisa, Rocky, Jordy
Austin, Laura, Dana, Carrie, Tom and Jenny

Is that not enough?
To me its more than plenty
I like a poem that’s short

Kurt, Jack, Sandy, Angie, Jenny, say it twice,
Bailey, Susy, Rachel, John

I am not too fond of saying this
Guns are killing us

Tara, Calla, Jessie, Jordan,
Haven’t I heard this one before,
Chris and Carrie and Carly,
Can’t you see the insanity
Of doing nothing, nothing at all
And saying let us have our fun
Rhoda, Lisa, Bill and Sonny, Denise, Steve and Cameron,
And finally Heather,
Oh, but it is not final
Because you’d rather keep your guns

And when you
You know who
Lay down your head upon your pillow
Say your prayers,
And bless those fellows who died for us, for you
Think of this
Let’s lay down those guns
That keep killing
Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers
And the children who are our future

From Nevada:
Charleston Hartfield, Brennan Stewart, Erick Silva, Quintin Robbins, Austin Meyer, Neysa Tonks

From Alaska:
Dorene Anderson, Adrian Murfitt

From Arizona:
Brett Schwanbeck

From California:

Pati Mestas, Nicol Kimura, Christopher Hazencomb, Andrea Castilla, Brian Fraser, Derrick “Bo” Taylor, Denise Cohen, Christiana Duarte, Candice Bowers, Lisa Patterson, Rocio Guillen Rocha, Jordyn Rivera, Austin Davis, Laura Shipp, Keri Galvan, Hannah Ahlers, Stacee Etcheber, Michelle Vo, Victor Link, Melissa Ramirez, Kelsey Meadows, Dana Gardner, Carrie Barnette, Thomas Day Jr., Jennifer Parks, Kurt Von Tillow, Jack Beaton, Sandy Casey, Angie Gomez, Jennifer Irvine, Bailey Schweitzer, Susan Smith, Rachel Parker, John Phippen

These lovely souls,
So young, so fair
Called off by earthly doom,
Just came to show how sweet a flower
In paradise could bloom

From Canada:
Tara Roe Smith, Calla Medig, Jessica Klymchuk, Jordan McIldoon

From Colorado:
Christopher Roybal

From Iowa:
Carly Kreibaum

From Massachusetts:
Rhonda LeRocque

From New Mexico:
Lisa Romero-Muniz

From Pennsylvania:
Bill Wolfe

From Tennessee:
Sonny Melton

From Washington:
Carrie Parsons

From West Virginia:
Denise Burditus

From Wisconsin:
Steve Berger

From Utah:
Cameron Robinson, Heather Alvarado

 

Ephesus

Heraclitus of Ephesus

Ephesus is where Oz wants to go. It is on the Ionian coast in modern day Turkey. St. John was there in the first century. So too was St. Paul, but Oz would go back another 500 years.

He wants to stand before the Temple of Artemus, to gaze at the Library of Celsus. He wants to meander along the banks of the Kaystros River and put his foot in the ever-flowing water, as did Heraclitus of Ephesus in the 5th century before the Christian era.

Knowing there is no answer, he wants to ask:

To Heraclitus who knows,
Everything flows
To Heraclitus who says,
All things pass and nothing stays.
Could I not run ahead?
And stepping in the river,
Find the shoe I lost.

Heraclitus of Ephesus was really not so old, 60 years old to be precise when he died. Unless, one considers the average life expectancy in ancient Greece was 25, and that Heraclitus was wise beyond his years, having written on topics diverse as nature, logic, learning, and human affairs.

Then we may conclude that he lived to a ripe old age, having learned that all things pass and nothing stays.

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