The coalminers in the backyard

May 31, 2013 in Five Minute Friday

Girls' imagination 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.

“It’s mine”

“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.


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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca May 31, 2013 at 11:06 am

Yes, that screen – it robs the brain of the creativity we were created to use to grow the world for the Creator of all – His imagination beyond anything we could ever do, but ever-striving to be what He created us to be….if we only imagine!


Elizabeth May 31, 2013 at 11:07 am

Loved this photo! My grandpa was a miner in the PA coal mines and the stories he could tell. Thanks for sparking the memory. (visiting from FMF)


Lizzy May 31, 2013 at 12:08 pm

This takes me back to my own childhood. I often think that the creativity we were ‘forced’ to use has done us well for resourcefulness now.


Mothering From Scratch June 1, 2013 at 1:03 am

{Melinda} Yes, screens rob young minds of so much creativity. Childhood just isn’t the same.


pruningprincesses June 1, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Hi Melinda,
I remember when the girls were little, searching hard for “girl” toys that didn’t have a corresponding movie! I wanted them to create their own stories. It took a while but I settled on Littlest Pet Shop. Have a great weekend.


Susan Heiser June 1, 2013 at 2:43 am

When I was growing up, every other sentence started with, “Let’s pretend …” The big brick built-in Barbecue in the neighbor’s yard was dubbed Fort Ewinks, the neighborhood headquarters for whatever adventure we set out on on any given day. The little undeveloped lot down the street was the Forest of No Return. I’m so glad your girls are experiencing that kind of childhood!


pruningprincesses June 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Hi Susan, I too grew too up pretending. I think we used movies for inspiration (good and bad!). My girls have had a rich history education so they base much of their pretend from that. A big bin of dress up clothing helps, still, they always amaze me. Thanks for sharing your pretend world. It sounds lovely.


Melissa June 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Love the way you encourage and support that imagination and creativity!


pruningprincesses June 1, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Hi Melissa, There is a giveaway for books for tweens on my blog right now. It ends tonight at midnight. I didn’t see your name in the list, but surely you would want or know someone you would want to give the books to. Just wanted to be sure you knew about it. Thanks for stopping by!


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