They scurry through the house with bonnets and skirts reaching to the floor. Outside, their pot of soup is full of water and grass, stolen garden chives and potato peels. Today, the girls are poor prairie girls, orphaned and trying to survive.
They smeared their faces with dry dirt, their hands and arms too. Shovels, too big and heavy, were in hand. They dug and found bucket after bucket of coal. They worked from morning light to evening dusk. At first, all I saw were dirty kids and buckets of my black landscaping rocks. Then I knew, we’d been reading about child labor in the early 1900s, about coal miners.
“But I don’t have one”
Unwilling and dreading a fight over a thing I thought they should let go, I pretended I couldn’t hear. Twenty minutes later they had their hair tied in high ponies with scarves, large, ill-fitted but poofy skirts and T-shirts. They wanted ice cream. And felt, to make a poodle. Could they sew it onto their skirts, pleeease?
I love raising girls who haven’t had their imagination stolen by mind-numbing screen entertainment.
*Photo by Lewis Hines in Pittsburgh, PA. Hines worked tirelessly as a photographer trying to expose the horrors of child labor in the first decade and a half of the 1900s.
Joining Lisa-Jo and other other weavers for a a five minute write on imagine. If you are a mother to a tween, have a tween girl, or just have a friend who is a tween mom, check out a giveaway of Nancy Rue’s books here.