Grit

I love Dorthea Lange. I respect her work as a photojournalist during the 1930's. You might recognize this iconic photo. She took photos of migrant farmworkers during the Great Depression in California, Oregon, and Washington. The look of Desperation and Grit.

Photo by D. Lange circa 1937 Nipomo, CA
Mother of 7 kids, age 32

When you read and look at photos of that generation the 1930's and then your kid complains because they don't have an iPhone you realize that just a few generations ago, things were not easy for our grandparents. I have photos of my own family and they look like they could have come out of a Steinbeck novel. Yes, those are my grandparents and aunts and uncles. Same generation as the Grapes of Wrath.

Photo of Arther and Frieda Winters and family in Yakima Valley, WA. (These are my maternal grandparents) early 1940s

Things are different now. No one cares about the past, but it would be so easy for our country to go back there. So many Americans live below the poverty line, but the ideas about poverty now are a bit different than 70 years ago. Now if you are poor you are sometimes 50-100 lbs overweight and still have two cars sitting in your driveway. I don't know many children that go hungry.
In those days women had no birth control, the woman in the top photo is 32 and she had about 10 kids and her first husband whom she married at age 17, died from Tuberculosis before he was 40. They call this Generation the Greatest Generation.

A fascinating generation and it is part of my history. I wonder about the current generation of entitlement and consumption. Where you get invited to baby showers and the mom to be requests diaper wipe warmers, luxury strollers, a $300 toddler mattress, and an organic cotton blanket for $80, you are just like wow. Really? I stopped going to baby showers after that.

My own daughter is upset because she feels entitled to an iPhone and I don't buy one. I guess I should buy her a Steinbeck novel. She does love to read.

Photo of migrant farm worker also by D. Lange



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