Sandra Dodd

I've lately been getting a daily e-mail from Shorpy's "hundred-year old photos." Sometimes they're older, or only fifty or sixty years old, but today there's one from 1911, of the night shift at a glass bottle factory in Virginia.

One of the comments says they should have been in school, or playing.
Maybe some of them were in school too. Probably some of them played before work.

What it reminds me of is that there are still people alive who knew of or were involved in child labor situations like this, and many more people whose parents were. Unschoolers (any homeschoolers) seem too often dismissive of people's horror that we would not send our kids to school, and I know some of them are thinking of boys like these.

I just turned 58 and my grandparents only went to 2nd and 4th grades on one side, and perhaps less than 2nd, and high school on the other. They saw my ability to go to school every year even when I was in my teens as a huge, beneficial luxury. I finished college and the two still living were really thrilled for me.

There are people on this list who are half my age and their grandparents might have been born after WWII. Try to think of the story from the point of view of people whose lives have been lived as close to that photo as they have been to iPhones. Maybe closer, if they themselves were in the child labor pool, and they will never use a smartphone of any sort.

The photos are mostly of people in the eastern U.S. (not all of them), but they've been interesting mostly for clothing, to me.

I think this one might have been a bit of a nasty photo in the day. I could be wrong, but the names seem made up like Bond girls or Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (written by the James Bond writer too).

This is the first time I've shared any of the pictures with anyone. Usually I just look at them myself and make my own tie-ins with places, people and photos of my own.