Sjs59's Blog

compositions from my heart

Little Miss “Blues Clues” Crying Again

“I Can’t help it,” she said, “it’s just the way I am, I’ve always been like this.  It’s not my fault that I prefer the first born over all the rest”, as she walked past the open door of the room with the baby, the child I had nicknamed “Little Miss Blue’s Clue’s” because she loved that children’s show so much, standing in her crib, crying, again, because she was being left at home, again, when others were being taken out somewhere to have some fun.

This was the mentality of my former in-laws and my ex-husband. How it was perfectly ok to favor one child over the other.  This is how they treated my daughter Katie and it had lasting affects on her feeling of self worth.

I, on the other hand, was raised in a home with eight siblings and the mottos were, “the more, the merrier”, “there’s always room for one more” and “the kids eat first”.

I have to admit, I do understand how some family behaviors seem perfectly acceptable within the confines of that family.  For example, we were raised with the notion that it was perfectly ok for my father to, (sometimes, not always), have a steak for supper when we were only having stew or hamburgers for our supper.  Or for him to have some foods saved in the refrigerator just for him.  The reason being, he was the bread winner providing for all the rest of us and deserved certain privileges.

It wasn’t until I had a family of my own that I saw how detrimental to a person’s self-worth that this way of thinking could be.  You end up feeling a great deal of the time that having something is better than having nothing and you become accustomed to settling for what you get, even though it may not be what you want or feel that you deserve.

My mother also believed that the relationship that she had with my father came first, even before us.  She told me once, “I was with him before I even knew you.”  This way of thinking I do agree with.  Relationships are important and they take work and real effort on the part of people who are in the relationship in order for them to work. 

Also, both people should want the same thing.  They should both really want for the relationship to work.  If you really don’t care whether or not it survives or that it’s just a stepping stone for you to get something else, you will get exactly what you have put into it.

It is not just relationships between couples that need to be worked at in order for them to survive.  Any relationship with any person that you place any value on, must be worked at in order for it to survive.

I have always tried to make an effort with people I care about to show them as much as possible how much I care about them.  I happen to believe that “actions speak louder than words” and it’s important for people to see by my actions that I mean what I say.

Much to my dismay however, I have to come to terms with the fact that sometimes, no matter how much I try, some relationships in my life will not survive, no matter what or how much I do to try to show the people that I care about how much I care.  They will simply have nothing to do with the relationship or with me.

I wish I could simply say, “their loss” and be done with it but the sadness lingers a great deal of the time over the loss.

I wonder now, if it had been me who uttered those words mentioned above, would my life be any different than it is now?

My heart is telling me no, probably not…..what will be, will be. 

One thing that I do know however, is that love for someone does not end simply because they make the choice to not be in your life.  You learn to simply carry on without them and grow stronger as a human being.



First, You Have to Care

It’s been my experience that in order to be able to do anything and do it well, you first have to care about whether or not it is done well.

That may sound very simple to some or very common sense like but when it comes down to it,,,,most people these days don’t give a crap about how well something is done anymore.  They just want to be able to say, “it’s done”, so they can move onto doing something else.

My thing is, does it really make sense when you do something to have to have someone else come behind you and have to finish what you started or to have to do it over again because you didn’t do it right?

Carpenter’s have a saying, “Measure twice, cut once” and my father used to say, “if you’re going to do something, do it right or don’t bother doing it at all!”

I don’t understand why it is so hard for some people to care about what they’re doing.  No one gets praised for doing half-assed work,,,,trust me.

Personally, I like it when people know that I’ve done a good job with anything I do.  Not so much because I get praise, but because it makes me feel good about myself knowing that I was capable of doing what I did.

When I was parenting my kids, I always thought about what kind of people my kids would become.  My goal was for them to become decent human beings but I also knew that they would have to be able to make their own way in the world that they lived in and for that they needed to be able to think for themselves.

Kids are not going to be able to make any decisions for themselves if you as a parent do not give them the information to be able to choose wisely from.  I think that when you deny your child any part of their life that can be beneficial to their decision making, you are denying them growth as a human being.

For instance, my ex-husband tried to teach my kids that it was ok for them to not listen to me because he didn’t agree with what I said.  He also told them to not tell me certain things that he didn’t want me to know about and what that taught my kids was that Mom was the bad guy and that they had to lie to me.

I never felt the need to destroy the character of my ex-husband to make myself look better to my kids.  I knew too that it wasn’t going to help them or be best for them if I was to do the same thing that he was doing.  Like my Mom used to say, “two wrongs don’t make a right!”

I always felt like someone had to be the bigger person,,,,the grown-up and just do what would be best for the kids in the long run.  I knew that eventually, they would see for themselves what was what and they did.

I don’t think a lot of people really think about all that kind of stuff.  Granted, some do, thank God, but there are so many who leave all the teaching to tv, day cares, schools, churches, etc.  And when that is the case, as we all know so well these days, anything can happen.

Teaching a child right from wrong is the responsibility of the parent and whether you believe it or not, it begins from birth.  There is no right age for you to begin teaching him or her anything.  You have to begin teaching when the circumstance or situation presents itself to you and you can’t always be saying, “but they’re only a baby.”  This is an excuse for not wanting to do the hard stuff associated with being a parent.

Some people might say, “yeah, but don’t you first have to know right from wrong in order to teach it?”

I used to think this was the case but now I think it’s all about what we choose to do.  The parents who teach their kids the wrong way are, in my humble opinion, choosing what is best and easiest for themselves, not their kids.

Anyone who has grown up in our society knows what is right and knows what is wrong.  It is the selfish ones always thinking about themselves that always choose to do the wrong things because they simply do not care about anything or anyone but themselves.

Being a parent and raising a child to be a decent human being is work.  No bones about it!  If you love and care about your child, you will be willing to do what it takes to help your child become the best person that he or she can be but,  first, you have to care.

Thank you for reading.



Two Little Trashpickers

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.

I’m remembering how my sister Christine and I rummaged through trash cans when we were little kids, looking for stuff that we thought was still good.

We would sometimes get outdoors early on sunny, summer mornings before the trash men came so that all the stuff that we thought might be useful to us, wouldn’t be gone before we had a chance to get it.

I’m smiling to myself now as I sit here writing, remembering how we would walk along William Sands Jr. Rd., one trash can to the next, stopping and peering into the metal cylanders to see if anything good was visible to the naked eye and worth digging any further into the trash to find out what it was.

Most of the time we only found real trash but every once in a while we would find a real gem like an old pair of high heels that some lady was all done wearing or an old pocketbook that looked like it still had more wear in it.

We would sometimes wonder, “why were they throwing this or that out?”, it still looked good to us!

This was back in the day before being a germaphobe was the “norm” and before there was any such thing as “sanitizer” that you carried around with you every where you went, to have, “just in case” you got too many dirty, filthy, nasty, really bad germs on you.

Believe me, we definitely picked up germs along with everything else when we went trash picking,,,,,it was unavoidable.  I’m not even sure if we washed our hands when we got back home,,,,probably not though because kids don’t usually think to do those things unless they’re told to, right? 

My sister and I never really went any further than the other end of the street from where we lived because we had to stay within hearing distance to my mother when she called or my father when he whistled.  One quick, sharp, screeching, “swisheeep” from him and we knew we had better get our asses home, or else, but quick!

Those days are so long ago now for me but I can still remember how I felt then being there with my sister.  We were a pair, a twosome, compradres,,,,,friends.  She was the leader and I followed her lead.  She was my big sister and I trusted her that she knew what she was doing and I wanted to be with her doing what she was doing, always.

Believe it or not, my sister Christine and I still go trash picking.  Not so much from one tin can to the next but in second hand stores, flea markets and tag sales.  Occasionally though, there have been the random sightings of “good stuff” heaped up on the curb somewhere and we have stopped, but nowadays, I prefer that she would stop at night, in the dark, so that we aren’t seen doing our trash picking thing.  What can I say, we do change along the way, don’t we?

I feel so lucky to have the family that I have.  

Thank you for reading.

“Lord,,,,,,Take the Wheel!”

I love this expression!  I heard it from my boss.  It is a great expression for when everything becomes so muddled up and impossible to deal with, which, by the way, happens a lot at the place that I work.

I like to think of this expression as a shorter version of the “Serenity Prayer”.  I use this prayer a lot in my personal life.  I have to.  Since my daughter died, it’s hard to deal sometimes with my life.

I know a lot of people have a lot of horrible things happening to them as well and believe me, I sympathize.  I accept though, that no one gets through this life without feeling some pain and it is what you do with that pain which matters.

Fortunately or unfortunately for me, depending on how you want to look at it, I always seem to have to muddle through the “what ifs” and the “what am I doing to create this situation?” and the “what can I do different to change this” kind of thing first before I get to the conclusion of “letting it go” and letting my higher power take care of it.

It’s just the way I am and there doesn’t seem to be any way of getting around that process.  Believe me, I’ve tried!

I don’t think a lot of people know that I am an introspective kind of person.  I am always looking inside myself to try and figure out what I can do different to change some situations in my life.  

The lesson I learn from going through the thought processes I go through is that some things are not meant to change.  At least not in my time, but maybe in my Higher Power’s time and it’s only when I get to that conclusion that I feel peace.

Along with that sense of peacefulness that I feel after tormenting myself from being so long with the thoughts, I also am reminded that I am me.  There is no one like me and there is no one who can replace me.  

I still have the capability to love someone who is present in my life or chooses not to be.

I also do not have to teach people to hate someone else or put someone else down in order to have those people love me.  

I have always known that I am enough for me and it is someone else’s loss that they will not get to experience something more than what they have been told up to this point.  I believe that someday they will open their minds and open their hearts and they will be capable of figuring things out for themselves.

My greatest fear used to be that the unthinkable and unsayable would happen to my children.  Now that something horrible has happened, there is less fear once I get it all figured out.

I sometimes get caught up in the fear that I will not get to experience what I think that I am entitled to experience because of who I am.  It is that that keeps me in a place of unrest.  

It is only when I work through the fear and the feeling that I need to do something to change things that my fear dissipates.  

That’s when I know that what I’m doing is the right thing for me to do.  It just feels right!

Thank you for reading.




A Trip to England Usually Happens to Other People, Not Me

take off from Boston

take off from Boston

When Jackie, (one of my third cousins I connected with doing a family history search), first talked about me visiting her in England, it was just that, talk (for me anyway).  

Yes, I very much would have loved to meet her but taking a trip to England was something I never thought I would ever really, actually do and when she started talking to me about going, I told her it would probably never happen.

For one thing, I was terrified of flying…..I really don’t like the idea of having so much space between me and the ground!  Simple as that!  To have to fly for such a long time?  I thought, “no way, not me!”

Then there was, where was I going to get the money to take a trip like that?  I’m not independently wealthy or anything like that.  I virtually, like most people, work pretty much paycheck to paycheck and it seemed an impossible mission for me.

Then there was the idea that it wasn’t me who had been  particularly interested in taking a trip to England.  It was my daughter Katie who might have loved it but that was no longer possible for her.  However, the thought had been planted and every time Jackie mentioned it, I started thinking more about it.

Thought is a funny thing though once one has been planted.  It’s like a flower or vegetable seed planted in the garden.  Given the right elements, it just seems to grow and grow and becomes what it is supposed to be and that’s kind of what happened with the thought of going to England.

Every time I talked to Jackie on the phone, at least a very small part of it became conversation about me going to England.

Sometimes even without planning it, your body starts to make the motions that take you in a certain direction when you really had not planned for that to happen.   You just kind of do the next action which is required next when the thought pops into your head.

Just for the hell of it, I opened a new savings account and had money deposited directly into it so that I wouldn’t even see it to be tempted by….you can’t miss what you don’t see, right? and then I just kind of forgot about it for a while.

And, every once in a while, I would check out airlines on the web and see what flights to England were going for.  I would see that it was a lot of money and would go back to not thinking about that for a while.

Then came the day that in our conversation about going to England, I said,”ok”  I committed myself to making the trip.

Almost immediately I thought about backing out of it because I was so afraid of the flying.  All I thought was, “how the hell am I going to do this?”

My bank account grew and I started to feel more and more like a trip to England might be possible for me, that is if I decided that I wanted to fly all those hours it was going to take to actually get there.  (Trust me, I did actually look into taking a boat).

What finally made me make up my mind to go to England was the fact that Katie would have loved going and she couldn’t.  I made going for her more important than going for myself and I would take her, in spirit, with me.

Jackie in our conversations up until the time I was to leave, was always talking to me about not thinking of the actual flight.  She kept telling me to think about where I was going instead of the how I was going to get there part of it.  

Eventually I stopped focussing on how much space was between me and the ground and started to think about what I was going to do to get through the five hour flight from Boston to Iceland and then another couple of hours to England.  How on earth do you sit in one spot for five hours and then get onto another flight for two more hours?

Just think about how fast your ass falls asleep or starts to feel the littlest of uncomfortable when you’re sitting anywhere for any length of time.  And here you are on a plane, over the Atlantic Ocean?  How does one manage that?

That’s when I had the idea of listening to books.  I started seeing commercials for a new audio book service that could be downloaded to your phone and I thought that would be the perfect way to spend my time in the air, crossing the Atlantic Ocean…..have someone reading to me.

Unfortunately for me, my phone told me I didn’t have enough memory to hold the books.  Eventually, I had to buy another device and some cds of the books, download them to my computer and onto my device from there.  I know, a lot of work but I thought it would be worth it in the long run so that I could be distracted from the actual flying.

So, there, it was decided….I was going to England.  Now to decide on when to go was the next issue.  But because the date hadn’t yet been fixed and the ticket not purchased, I still had the idea in the back of my mind that I could, should I want to, could still back out of it if my fear of flying took over me.

And that is pretty much how it went for me over the course of more than a year.  That’s right.  It was well over a year, almost two from the time Jackie and I first started talking about me going until I actually flew to England.

In the meantime, I let my savings balance grow, periodically checked prices of tickets with different airlines and also looked for the flights with the least amount of stops.  The less upping and downing there was of the plane, the better I liked it.

Then Jackie and I had the dreaded for so long, (by me),  conversation about planning and picking the actual date and time that I would be making my trip to England.  There could be no more beating about the bush for me, humming and hahing, I had to commit, one way or the other, so I did.  I was indeed going to England. 

Jackie and I settled on a date and from then on, everything I did was to prepare for my trip to England.  I kept checking airlines and prices and when the price finally dropped below $1,000.00, I bought my ticket.  I knew that was the best deal I was ever going to get.

My trip to England was an awesome experience.  The flights were fine and I didn’t feel afraid and except for seeing that my suitcase zipper didn’t hold up when I saw it on the conveyer belt in England and an overnight stay in the bus station in Boston when I arrived back in the States, I wouldn’t have changed anything about my trip.

There was even a way to view those two things as positives as well.  As for my suitcase, I wrapped two of my bungie cords around it before I left home, anticipating that I might need them coming home if I bought stuff and needed to keep two cases together.  And in the bus station in Boston, I met another lady traveler who lived in Connecticut and had just arrived from South Africa where she had been visiting her son for about a month, we looked after one another for the night.

Never in a million years would I ever have expected that I would take a trip to England and I did.   It’s okay to feel afraid, but you can’t let your fear stop you from doing something that is otherwise a wonderful thing to do.

Thank you for reading.sam_0471 sam_0468 sam_0466 sam_0464 sam_0463

buckingham palace

buckingham palace


kensington palace

kensington palace

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kensington park

kensington park

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entering the underground

entering the underground

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canal boat we road on

canal boat we road on

the family church

the family church

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lady di's memorial

lady di’s memorial


althorp....lady di's family home

althorp….lady di’s family home

fresh from the atm

fresh from the atm

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the back garden

the back garden

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taking off from logan

taking off from logan

london sights

london sights

take off from Boston

take off from Boston


Lessons I’ve Learned About Parenting From Being A Parent

Parenting.  It’s not an easy job and believe me, it is a job!  It’s work!  And if anyone tells you it’s easy, they either don’t care or they’re full of shit!  And, if you have the child’s other parent always trying to undermine everything that you do because they have issues with you, it’s even harder.

But, it can be the best time you’ve ever spent with other people in your whole entire life, hands down!

1.  Most important of all, it is ok to tell and show your kids that they are loved by you and always try to do what is the best thing for them and not what is the easiest thing for you.

2.  Your child’s safety is in your hands, teach them that they need to be aware of their surroundings and you have to pay attention to older kids and adults who are being overly nice or friendly to them.  I was suspicious of almost everyone until I knew that my kids were going to be safe with that person.  

2.   Spanking is okay!  Especially if your child was so busy with their toy that they didn’t notice that they were walking right into the street and possibly heading into the path of oncoming traffic. One good smack on the ass gets their attention quick and they will remember it and what it was for.  

I’ve found that I could talk until I’m blue in the face and it never had as much of an impact as a smack on the rear.

3.  Having a battle of the wills with a 3 year old over whether they will just simply try to zip up their own pants or not never works….you do not ever, ever win!

Regretfully now, yes I did.  So stupid, I know.  But I think sometimes the issue you’re dealing with at the time may not be what is really motivating you to be so stubborn.

4.  Nothing you try works all of the time.  There is no set in stone remedy to a problem or issue that works every single time that you use it.  As your children grow older, sometimes the issues get bigger but you can’t give up, they’re worth your effort.

5.  Know when you should let them go to find their own way.

6.  Appreciate the individuals that each child is and treat them accordingly….no two are exactly alike!  Believe me!

7.  Assure them that it is okay for them to have their voice but to be mindful of how they say it.  Speaking in a fresh or smart-ass tone is unacceptable.

8.  It is possible to have a friendship with your adult children.  They can grow to be awesome people. 

9.  Try not to expect anything in return for all that you have sacrificed, given them or gone through for them….they do not owe you anything.  They are here to live their own lives with their own purpose, be grateful for whatever they give you.

I know there is much more that I’ve learned from being a parent that I can’t think of now but this here is quite a lot for starters.

I can’t even imagine what my life would be like if I had never become a parent.  I loved the job of being Ma to my kids, Adam and Katie and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat if I had to.

Thank you for reading.


I Can’t Sleep!

It’s 2:33 am and I can’t sleep.

I’ve been tossing and turning for almost an hour now, trying to get back to sleep and I realized that it’s probably not going to happen, so here I am,

Everything hurts!  Well, not every thing, but my legs do!!  It’s from all those years of standing in one place on cement floors for long periods of time…..some nights there’s just no relief.  Tonight is one of those nights.

And because I can’t sleep, I can’t turn off all the thoughts either. Some people know how that is, the thoughts about your life and what’s happening or not happening, etc., etc., etc.

My thoughts tonight are about how it used to be and how it is now, quite different for sure…..but I won’t elaborate.  It is what it is.

You get to a point and you just gotta get past the past and let the future take care of itself, ‘cus it ain’t here yet.  

At least I do anyway.  Live in the moment because that’s all you have.  You spend too much time in the past or in the future, you’re never happy…..always longing for what could’ve or should’ve been and what might be.

I’m beginning to feel like I might be able to try and go back to sleep now.

Wishing everyone well.  Good night and thanks for reading.



“Which One Are You?”

This is what my Aunt Terry asks me every single time she sees me….even now….still.

I should first tell you though that my parents raised all of us kids to respect our elders.  So much so that I actually saw most adults as better or higher up than myself.

When I was a young child, I thought that Aunt Terry was being playful when she asked me which one was I?  After all, she was supposed to be my Godmother.  I thought, how can you not know the child you are supposed to care for if anything should ever happen to her parents?

Over the years I came to realize that she had to ask who I was every time because she didn’t care enough to know who I was and just remember me.

I used to try and excuse her by saying well yes, we do have a lot of kids in our family and it must be very difficult for old people to remember everyone of our names but the older I got, the more I thought about it.  What I thought about is that I had just as many people whose names I needed to remember just like her.  

After all, both my parents come from families with at least 4 or more siblings, then they all have spouses and they all have children and I remembered all of them.   Why was it so hard for her to remember who I was?

Because she didn’t care enough to remember me…..simple as that.

When I realized how it really was with her, I saw her very differently then I ever had seen her before.  She became just another human being to me.   From that point on I only spoke to her when I absolutely had to and when she asked who I was after that, I asked her why she asked or smiled and walked away.  

Think she’ll remember who I am now?  Seriously though, now it no longer matters to me whether she remembers me or not.

Thank you Aunt Terry for helping me to become aware.  I feel empowered and strengthened by your inability to remember me.

Thank you for reading.


“Rotten S.O.B.’s”

When my mother was saying “rotten sons of bitches” at the top of her lungs, you knew that she had had enough of what you were doing and she was pissed!  But it was funny to hear and we would crack up every time we heard her say it.

Poor Mom.  Some days when we were young, we really kept her hopping.

I know for myself, I loved being playful and having fun.  I was always coming up with things that could or would get us into trouble like sliding down the stairs on mattresses or cardboard and wetting toilet paper with water and throwing it against the wall to hear it “slap!” and see if it would stick.

I also liked using the kitchen chairs to use as bridges to crawl over  on my knees from one piece of furniture to the other, that is until the day my knee went through the back of my father’s chair and I knew I was going to hear about that one later from him.

We also covered the chairs and the playpen with blankets and made forts in the living room.

Unfortunately for Mom, it was just more crap that she had to clean up and she didn’t like it.

Back then, I never thought of myself as being a destructive kid.  I was just having fun.  But we were all destructive and hard on everything we played with.

It wasn’t that my Mother didn’t try to have us behave better, she did.  She just couldn’t be watching everything that we did all the time.

When you have a lot of kids, you have a lot of work….simple as that and the work wasn’t just minding the kids.  

Back then there were no microwaves and three meals a day had to be made for everybody.  Clothes for everyone had to be washed and sometimes the machine would break down and laundry had to be done in the bath tub by hand on an old scrub board or taken to the laundromat in paper bags loaded into an old baby carriage.  At another time I’ll tell you about those little trips my sisters and I made….talk about embarressment……you have no idea.

Please don’t get me wrong here because I love each and every member of my family and I would not change one thing but I once asked my Mom why she had so many kids.

I think that question hurt my Mom and I really didn’t mean for it to be hurtful, I was just being my naturally curious self.  I was only about 10 or 11 at the time after all, what can you expect?

I wasn’t judging my Mom, I just wondered if it was something women actually thought about or whether it was something that just happened.   

She responded to me by asking, “Who would you suggest I give back Shirley?” and I felt like crap that I had asked.

Once I became a parent, I could see life from my Mom’s perspective a little better.

If I had had the responsibility of keeping so many kids from harm and making sure they were all clean, with clean clothes and nourished, I would probably be calling them rotten sons of bitches too when they couldn’t be acting like they weren’t little hoodlums or heathens. 

Thank you God for my parents and all my brothers and sisters.  They have been my friends for all my life and I appreciate each and every one.

Thank you for reading.

My First Job

A couple of weeks ago I had my 64th birthday.  I am getting closer and closer to the age that I can retire.

It’s sometimes hard to believe that something that seemed so far away in the future at one time, is almost here.

I have been working now for almost, I think, 50 years.  Holy crap!!!, right?

My very first job was on a tobacco farm in Suffield, Connecticut.  It was the Bissell Farm.  They looked for their summer help in the schools.  It was cheap labor for them and an opportunity to make money for the kids.

The farm provided transportation for the kids every day, to and from, in the shape of an old, yellow school bus, driven by a sometimes hung over older man, who once or twice failed to show up and sadly, I can’t remember his name but who seemed like a decent kind of guy.

My sister Christine and I heard about the job at what was the Duggan Jr. High School in Springfield, Ma. where we were students.   Before we could get the job we first had to apply for our working papers because we were miners still in school and our social security cards.  Back then people didn’t apply for social security cards until they were going to work, unlike today where babies are issued one when they’re born. 

There were actually 4 of us who applied at the same time for the jobs.  It was me, my sister Christine and our friends Ginette and Susie, (also sisters and their yard met ours in the back).

1966 was a long time ago and my memory is not clear about whether we were picked up at 6 or 7 a.m. but I’m thinking it was 6 and we started work at 7 and finished about 3.

Working on a tobacco  farm wasn’t especially back-breakingly hard work but more like hot, repetitivley, tireing , disgustingly dirty work that at the end of the week paid us a huge almost $50.00 paycheck and if we were in the sheds, getting paid by the bundle, we made even more.

That may make you laugh by today’s standards but back then it was pretty good for a 14 year old.

When we first started the job, we were shown how to tie the tobacco plant to the wire above it.  This is what kept the plant from keeling over and growing all over the ground.  It wasn’t always easy to know how tight to tie the string and I’d end up pulling a few little plants out of the ground and hoping no one would notice.

After all the plants were tied in all the fields, we would have to go back to each field and wrap the string around the plant to keep it growing upwards until some of the leaves became big enough to pick.  From then on we worked in the sheds, sewing the tobacco onto wooden, flat sticks called lattes, (pronounced lats), that were hung in the rafters of the barns to dry and this is when earning more money by the piece came into play.

The lattes were in bundles of 50 and the more bundles you got through in the day, the more money you made.  I think a good amount would be in the 12 – 14 bundle range for you to be able to make a good amount of money…..average was about 10.

A typical day working on tobacco started with the bus ride to the farm.  As more and more of the girls got on, the chatter and music got louder and louder until we were there.

Work started right on time, no delays.  Work steady until coffee-break about 10 for 10 minutes, then back to work until lunch about 12.  Half hour to eat and relax a bit then back to work until about 1:30 for another 10 minute break then back to work until about 3.  Then back on the bus and driven home.

In the mornings everyone started out fresh and clean but by first break, the backs of our hands were fuzzy looking and black from scraping against the leaves as we picked them up to sew.

When we ate out lunches, we had to make sure to keep the sandwiches wrapped with the plastic bags so the food wouldn’t touch our hands as we ate.

We used to put our cans of soda in the freezer the night before so that it would stay cold enough until we could drink it the following day.

On the bus ride home, the conversations were of what they did on their dates over the weekends, boyfriends signing up for the armed services and going to Vietnam, singing to the songs being played on the radio, like “my boyfriend’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble, a la, a la, my boyfriend’s back”.

My goodness, so many memories of such a long time ago.  I really liked working on tobacco.  I really liked that I made my own money.  I really like too that we were given the opportunity to earn the money we did back then….I’m not so sure that kids are given that opportunity anymore and I’m not so sure they would want it if it were offered to them. 

Anyway, time sure goes by fast.

Thank you for reading.

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