Thursday, December 04, 2008

Migrant Mother- story behind the image

I saw this article from CNN that explains the story behind this famous photograph. The photo was taken by Dorothea Lange at a Migrant work camp in 1936. The mother pictured was 32 year old Florence Owens Thompson. She was the mother of 7 children.

Katherine McIntosh (pictured on her mother's left) was 4 years old when this picture was taken and she had this to say about her mother:

"She was the backbone of our family," McIntosh says of her mom. "We never had a lot, but she always made sure we had something. She didn't eat sometimes, but she made sure us children ate. That's one thing she did do."

The message from the McIntosh is to work hard and live within your means. Meanwhile everyone is saying that on the one hand but the next minute we have commercials for "no payments until 2010", no credit, no cash, no problem. Save but spend to help "save" the economy.

I read an article recently about a mother who had lost her job and was feeling guilty that she could not spend $600 on her one daughter for Christmas. Yes, $600 on ONE daughter. I've spend $500 on 5 kids and felt guilty about that. It's interesting to read about what people consider "hard times".

I'm reading this great book: "We Had Everything but Money: When Banks Closed and Hearts Opened: Stories of the Great Depression".

And what you come away with after reading this is that no money did not equal misery. People were happy. They struggled. They worked hard and sometimes they were disappointed but life went on, they were able to prevail and most of all the children remember those times as filled with the love of family.

So which would you rather have- money, financial security or the love of your parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and aunts and uncles?

N.B. This is a clue for those struggling with the issue of "family size". Please see my last post and the anonymous commenter.


Leila said...

I think there is a need for people to see the big picture, and books like "We Had Everything But Money" are helps for that. We today can't even imagine stories like the ones about the families whose entire bank account was simply gone one day. If they had taken out $5 in cash before the paycheck went in, that's what they had. Period.

Once I read an article about a woman who had 19 children. Not only was she poor, but she sort of hitched herself around on a stool when she was pregnant because she really couldn't walk.

A case for NFP, I'd say, right? What was so moving about the piece was that her 19th child was a nurse who was able and willing to take care of her in her old age; she lovingly attended to her mother who really suffered to bring her into this world, with less than nothing!

How many who reckoned as the world reckons are old with no one to even visit them, let alone take care of them?

We've become so soft, not able to even imagine what true poverty is, that it's laughable -- or would be if it weren't so sad.

People need to read more, methinks! :)

From Bear Hill said...

I love this! I remember the days when my Mom and Dad would have lettuce sandwiches (sometimes with onions) so the nine of us could have meat,and they said they "loved them!". Christmas time my Dad asked for an iron and ironing board so he could help my Mother with the ironing: mostly school uniforms!To receive an orange and ribbons, in our stocking at that time of year, was the highlight of the day.Even the "Barn Mass" and the singing in the barn was for me the best of Christmases and certainly did not compare to the toys and silly things we all gathered to open later in the morning...Mary you have really hit the nail on the head. I pray this "migrant" worker is enjoying the fruit of her labor was the "...Fruit of Our Lady's womb". Grace