The Bitter East End

 

Dore dancing

Just a block party, really

Joanna here.

I set a novella in East London recently. It got me thinking about how we see what is unfamiliar as a dire, strange, dangerous place. Especially if it is, like, dire and dangerous.

I'm thinking of the bad parts of cities, mostly, which is by no means a new idea. They probably had good and bad sections of the early mud daub and wattle villages of the Bronze Age farmers.

London’s East End — Seven Dials, Whitechapel, and so on — in the period in which I’ve been writing, was just a horrific slum, full of crime and disease, with the added bonus of various shady characters who would as soon knock you over the head as look at you.

Here’s a Victorian account of travelling into deepest Whitechapel:

We dismiss our cab: it would be useless in the strange, dark byeways, to which we are bound: natives of which will look upon us as the Japanese looked upon us the first European travellers in the streets of Jeddo. The missionary, the parish doctor, the rent collector (who must be a bold man indeed), the policeman, the detective, and the humble undertaker, are the human beings from without who enter this weird and horrible Bluegate Fields. 

We arrived at Whitechapel Police Station, to pick up the superintendent of savage London. He had some poor specimens — maundering drunk — in his cells already — and it was hardly nine o'clock. 

High_change_in_bond_street 2_or__hi

Bond Street, not nearly as cool as you think

We plunge into a maze of courts and narrow streets of low houses — nearly all the doors of which are open, showing kitchen fires blazing far in the interior, and strange figures moving about. 

At dark corners, lurking men keep close to the wall; and the police smile when we wonder what would become of a lonely wanderer who should find himself in these regions unprotected. "He would be stripped to his shirt" was the candid answer — made while we threaded an extraordinary tangle of dark alleys where two men could just walk abreast, under the flickering lamps jutting from the ebon walls, to mark the corners.
Jerrold Blanchard, London: A Pilgrimage 1872 

Sounds pretty grim, does it not? Living there was doubtless a bit of a challenge for our great-great-greats who lived there. Also for those who inhabited the slums of New York or Washington,D.C., or the seedier parts of Berlin or Naples. Though at least it would have been warm in Naples.

 

Slum-eating

Wild times in the Regency slums

But let me get up on one of my hobbyhorses here. (jo climbs up, holding her skirts carefully so nobody gets a flash look at her ankles.)

The most important thing about the rookeries of London in 1802 — and the Roman tenements in 79 AD and the slums of SE Washington DC in 1960 — is that the denizens of the place were 'at home'.  For them it wasn't a landscape of horror. 

Those men and women were ordinary folk.  Living in these stacked-up, decrepit buildings and dirty streets were ordinary, well-meaning, hard-working people, not monsters.  The violent gangs hanging out on street corners were a dangerous minority who preyed on and were hated by everyone else.

I keep this on one side of my mind when I’m writing about my dicey Regency people.

When the heroine makes a wrong turn and ends up in a bad neighborhood, she hasn't fallen into a pit of vipers. Those people passing her on the narrow slum street and the ones living three flights up in those poorly repaired buildings are no better nor worse than the everyday folks she passes in Mayfair. Her maidservant grew up a block to the left. Her cook has a brother living down at the end of the alley. That's where the cook goes every Sunday on her day off Your heroine's problem is not that the streets are populated with slavering hyenas. It's that she's conspicuous. 

Here I am in My Lord and Spymaster trying to show the heroine as someone who comes from the mean streets, who understands them, who recognizes the dangers but doesn't see the place as a filthy hell filled with maniacal demons.

 

Girls

That's me in some past life

I think, both as writers and as readers, we have to look past the Victorian descriptions and illustrations of the poorer quarters. Every historical representation of these is by someone from outside, making a point. The contemporary writer or painter says as much about himself as about what he's reporting.  Hogarth's Gin Lane is propaganda. Propaganda from the good guys, but still, a selection of detail to make a point.

So I walk my 1802 or 1766 heroine into the rougher sections of town. Some of them are at home there and some of them are not. But I try not to always assume the alley is a seething cauldron of evil into which she had incautiously been tipped.

Those filthy and villainous women — no better than they should be — eyeing my heroine as she cringes along her way … I suspect those were my ancestors, not the rich lord who's about to rescue her. I can just see myself scratching my nose and summing up the value of the heroine's ensemble, wondering if I can make off with it.

So what about you? Any preference for villainous ancestors over more respectable ones?

Or … do you know?

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220 thoughts on “The Bitter East End”

  1. Jo, from what I know, my ancestors were country folk working on farms. Not exciting–but probably healthier than those who lived in the stews. And probably not as good at summing up the value of a mark. *G*

    Reply
  2. Jo, from what I know, my ancestors were country folk working on farms. Not exciting–but probably healthier than those who lived in the stews. And probably not as good at summing up the value of a mark. *G*

    Reply
  3. Jo, from what I know, my ancestors were country folk working on farms. Not exciting–but probably healthier than those who lived in the stews. And probably not as good at summing up the value of a mark. *G*

    Reply
  4. Jo, from what I know, my ancestors were country folk working on farms. Not exciting–but probably healthier than those who lived in the stews. And probably not as good at summing up the value of a mark. *G*

    Reply
  5. Jo, from what I know, my ancestors were country folk working on farms. Not exciting–but probably healthier than those who lived in the stews. And probably not as good at summing up the value of a mark. *G*

    Reply
  6. My ancestors also included many farmers. But there were small merchants — many in small rural towns, but some in cities. Perhaps they lived in the slums?
    And many of my ancestors were teachers; again, mainly in small rural towns, but also in cities. So they may well have taught in the slums.
    I know for a fact that my father taught summer classes in a reform school — but that school was on a large city-owned farm.

    Reply
  7. My ancestors also included many farmers. But there were small merchants — many in small rural towns, but some in cities. Perhaps they lived in the slums?
    And many of my ancestors were teachers; again, mainly in small rural towns, but also in cities. So they may well have taught in the slums.
    I know for a fact that my father taught summer classes in a reform school — but that school was on a large city-owned farm.

    Reply
  8. My ancestors also included many farmers. But there were small merchants — many in small rural towns, but some in cities. Perhaps they lived in the slums?
    And many of my ancestors were teachers; again, mainly in small rural towns, but also in cities. So they may well have taught in the slums.
    I know for a fact that my father taught summer classes in a reform school — but that school was on a large city-owned farm.

    Reply
  9. My ancestors also included many farmers. But there were small merchants — many in small rural towns, but some in cities. Perhaps they lived in the slums?
    And many of my ancestors were teachers; again, mainly in small rural towns, but also in cities. So they may well have taught in the slums.
    I know for a fact that my father taught summer classes in a reform school — but that school was on a large city-owned farm.

    Reply
  10. My ancestors also included many farmers. But there were small merchants — many in small rural towns, but some in cities. Perhaps they lived in the slums?
    And many of my ancestors were teachers; again, mainly in small rural towns, but also in cities. So they may well have taught in the slums.
    I know for a fact that my father taught summer classes in a reform school — but that school was on a large city-owned farm.

    Reply
  11. A friend of my family grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 20th century. He was outraged when he read in his social studies textbook about “The underprivileged on Rivington Street”—the street he lived on. “Who’s underprivileged?” he wanted to shout.
    Back before World War I, my father ran away from an orphanage when he was twelve. He would never tell us anything about his life for the seven or eight years after that.
    I don’t want to make a political point—well, maybe I do—but they were the equivalent of the people living in the Rookeries, the Deplorables of their time.
    I wish people would remember that.

    Reply
  12. A friend of my family grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 20th century. He was outraged when he read in his social studies textbook about “The underprivileged on Rivington Street”—the street he lived on. “Who’s underprivileged?” he wanted to shout.
    Back before World War I, my father ran away from an orphanage when he was twelve. He would never tell us anything about his life for the seven or eight years after that.
    I don’t want to make a political point—well, maybe I do—but they were the equivalent of the people living in the Rookeries, the Deplorables of their time.
    I wish people would remember that.

    Reply
  13. A friend of my family grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 20th century. He was outraged when he read in his social studies textbook about “The underprivileged on Rivington Street”—the street he lived on. “Who’s underprivileged?” he wanted to shout.
    Back before World War I, my father ran away from an orphanage when he was twelve. He would never tell us anything about his life for the seven or eight years after that.
    I don’t want to make a political point—well, maybe I do—but they were the equivalent of the people living in the Rookeries, the Deplorables of their time.
    I wish people would remember that.

    Reply
  14. A friend of my family grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 20th century. He was outraged when he read in his social studies textbook about “The underprivileged on Rivington Street”—the street he lived on. “Who’s underprivileged?” he wanted to shout.
    Back before World War I, my father ran away from an orphanage when he was twelve. He would never tell us anything about his life for the seven or eight years after that.
    I don’t want to make a political point—well, maybe I do—but they were the equivalent of the people living in the Rookeries, the Deplorables of their time.
    I wish people would remember that.

    Reply
  15. A friend of my family grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 20th century. He was outraged when he read in his social studies textbook about “The underprivileged on Rivington Street”—the street he lived on. “Who’s underprivileged?” he wanted to shout.
    Back before World War I, my father ran away from an orphanage when he was twelve. He would never tell us anything about his life for the seven or eight years after that.
    I don’t want to make a political point—well, maybe I do—but they were the equivalent of the people living in the Rookeries, the Deplorables of their time.
    I wish people would remember that.

    Reply
  16. I think that’s the point I’m making too.
    When we write historically. When we go into the past, it’s easy to forget that the rich/middle class/poor divide was full of ordinary folks.

    Reply
  17. I think that’s the point I’m making too.
    When we write historically. When we go into the past, it’s easy to forget that the rich/middle class/poor divide was full of ordinary folks.

    Reply
  18. I think that’s the point I’m making too.
    When we write historically. When we go into the past, it’s easy to forget that the rich/middle class/poor divide was full of ordinary folks.

    Reply
  19. I think that’s the point I’m making too.
    When we write historically. When we go into the past, it’s easy to forget that the rich/middle class/poor divide was full of ordinary folks.

    Reply
  20. I think that’s the point I’m making too.
    When we write historically. When we go into the past, it’s easy to forget that the rich/middle class/poor divide was full of ordinary folks.

    Reply
  21. All my people — so far as I know — were country people too.
    But ya know … the cities were there and nobody came out and kidnapped farmers to force them toward London or New York. Folks just moved to ’em in droves, (where they died like flies.) There must have been some attraction. Bright lights? Oranges for sale in the streets? Books? Somebody to date who wasn’t a cousin?
    I think I once read something along the lines of, “Yes, it was hard to work in the mills … but have you ever been stepped on by a mule?”

    Reply
  22. All my people — so far as I know — were country people too.
    But ya know … the cities were there and nobody came out and kidnapped farmers to force them toward London or New York. Folks just moved to ’em in droves, (where they died like flies.) There must have been some attraction. Bright lights? Oranges for sale in the streets? Books? Somebody to date who wasn’t a cousin?
    I think I once read something along the lines of, “Yes, it was hard to work in the mills … but have you ever been stepped on by a mule?”

    Reply
  23. All my people — so far as I know — were country people too.
    But ya know … the cities were there and nobody came out and kidnapped farmers to force them toward London or New York. Folks just moved to ’em in droves, (where they died like flies.) There must have been some attraction. Bright lights? Oranges for sale in the streets? Books? Somebody to date who wasn’t a cousin?
    I think I once read something along the lines of, “Yes, it was hard to work in the mills … but have you ever been stepped on by a mule?”

    Reply
  24. All my people — so far as I know — were country people too.
    But ya know … the cities were there and nobody came out and kidnapped farmers to force them toward London or New York. Folks just moved to ’em in droves, (where they died like flies.) There must have been some attraction. Bright lights? Oranges for sale in the streets? Books? Somebody to date who wasn’t a cousin?
    I think I once read something along the lines of, “Yes, it was hard to work in the mills … but have you ever been stepped on by a mule?”

    Reply
  25. All my people — so far as I know — were country people too.
    But ya know … the cities were there and nobody came out and kidnapped farmers to force them toward London or New York. Folks just moved to ’em in droves, (where they died like flies.) There must have been some attraction. Bright lights? Oranges for sale in the streets? Books? Somebody to date who wasn’t a cousin?
    I think I once read something along the lines of, “Yes, it was hard to work in the mills … but have you ever been stepped on by a mule?”

    Reply
  26. I should think merchants did pretty well, most times. I mean, you had to own stuff if you were going to sell it.
    In London, in close to my time period, people would go running to the shop to buy a quarter cup of sugar and two pinches of tea. They were utterly without resources. They didn’t have bread or meat or eggs for more than the meal, or that meal and the next. They bought the day’s food on the day.

    Reply
  27. I should think merchants did pretty well, most times. I mean, you had to own stuff if you were going to sell it.
    In London, in close to my time period, people would go running to the shop to buy a quarter cup of sugar and two pinches of tea. They were utterly without resources. They didn’t have bread or meat or eggs for more than the meal, or that meal and the next. They bought the day’s food on the day.

    Reply
  28. I should think merchants did pretty well, most times. I mean, you had to own stuff if you were going to sell it.
    In London, in close to my time period, people would go running to the shop to buy a quarter cup of sugar and two pinches of tea. They were utterly without resources. They didn’t have bread or meat or eggs for more than the meal, or that meal and the next. They bought the day’s food on the day.

    Reply
  29. I should think merchants did pretty well, most times. I mean, you had to own stuff if you were going to sell it.
    In London, in close to my time period, people would go running to the shop to buy a quarter cup of sugar and two pinches of tea. They were utterly without resources. They didn’t have bread or meat or eggs for more than the meal, or that meal and the next. They bought the day’s food on the day.

    Reply
  30. I should think merchants did pretty well, most times. I mean, you had to own stuff if you were going to sell it.
    In London, in close to my time period, people would go running to the shop to buy a quarter cup of sugar and two pinches of tea. They were utterly without resources. They didn’t have bread or meat or eggs for more than the meal, or that meal and the next. They bought the day’s food on the day.

    Reply
  31. Great post, Jo. Changes in agricultural practices were what drove many people to the cities, looking for employment, and I’d be guessing that even those who lived in the cities still considered themselves from elsewhere.
    I’m also thinking that the TV series Call The Midwife show some pretty dire slums in a very everyday and non-horrified way — it’s where the characters live and work, where the nuns and the midwives are needed. And we sympathize with most of the people living there, so easily, as we learn a little about how they came to be there. Wonderful show.

    Reply
  32. Great post, Jo. Changes in agricultural practices were what drove many people to the cities, looking for employment, and I’d be guessing that even those who lived in the cities still considered themselves from elsewhere.
    I’m also thinking that the TV series Call The Midwife show some pretty dire slums in a very everyday and non-horrified way — it’s where the characters live and work, where the nuns and the midwives are needed. And we sympathize with most of the people living there, so easily, as we learn a little about how they came to be there. Wonderful show.

    Reply
  33. Great post, Jo. Changes in agricultural practices were what drove many people to the cities, looking for employment, and I’d be guessing that even those who lived in the cities still considered themselves from elsewhere.
    I’m also thinking that the TV series Call The Midwife show some pretty dire slums in a very everyday and non-horrified way — it’s where the characters live and work, where the nuns and the midwives are needed. And we sympathize with most of the people living there, so easily, as we learn a little about how they came to be there. Wonderful show.

    Reply
  34. Great post, Jo. Changes in agricultural practices were what drove many people to the cities, looking for employment, and I’d be guessing that even those who lived in the cities still considered themselves from elsewhere.
    I’m also thinking that the TV series Call The Midwife show some pretty dire slums in a very everyday and non-horrified way — it’s where the characters live and work, where the nuns and the midwives are needed. And we sympathize with most of the people living there, so easily, as we learn a little about how they came to be there. Wonderful show.

    Reply
  35. Great post, Jo. Changes in agricultural practices were what drove many people to the cities, looking for employment, and I’d be guessing that even those who lived in the cities still considered themselves from elsewhere.
    I’m also thinking that the TV series Call The Midwife show some pretty dire slums in a very everyday and non-horrified way — it’s where the characters live and work, where the nuns and the midwives are needed. And we sympathize with most of the people living there, so easily, as we learn a little about how they came to be there. Wonderful show.

    Reply
  36. Meant to add, my g-g-something grandfather came from poverty in Glasgow, worked on a ship as a young man, under a violent and cruel captain, and jumped ship in Australia in the 1860’s, after he’d met my g-g-something grandmother and had a reason to stay. I’m told she kept him waiting for some time until he proved himself to her satisfaction. *g*

    Reply
  37. Meant to add, my g-g-something grandfather came from poverty in Glasgow, worked on a ship as a young man, under a violent and cruel captain, and jumped ship in Australia in the 1860’s, after he’d met my g-g-something grandmother and had a reason to stay. I’m told she kept him waiting for some time until he proved himself to her satisfaction. *g*

    Reply
  38. Meant to add, my g-g-something grandfather came from poverty in Glasgow, worked on a ship as a young man, under a violent and cruel captain, and jumped ship in Australia in the 1860’s, after he’d met my g-g-something grandmother and had a reason to stay. I’m told she kept him waiting for some time until he proved himself to her satisfaction. *g*

    Reply
  39. Meant to add, my g-g-something grandfather came from poverty in Glasgow, worked on a ship as a young man, under a violent and cruel captain, and jumped ship in Australia in the 1860’s, after he’d met my g-g-something grandmother and had a reason to stay. I’m told she kept him waiting for some time until he proved himself to her satisfaction. *g*

    Reply
  40. Meant to add, my g-g-something grandfather came from poverty in Glasgow, worked on a ship as a young man, under a violent and cruel captain, and jumped ship in Australia in the 1860’s, after he’d met my g-g-something grandmother and had a reason to stay. I’m told she kept him waiting for some time until he proved himself to her satisfaction. *g*

    Reply
  41. Call the Midwife is a wonderful series, but the memoirs they are based on are even better. Some storiesshevtells are so emotionally painful it hurts to read them, others are beautiful or funny. They are great books, and tell the stories much deeper than the ttv series ever could.

    Reply
  42. Call the Midwife is a wonderful series, but the memoirs they are based on are even better. Some storiesshevtells are so emotionally painful it hurts to read them, others are beautiful or funny. They are great books, and tell the stories much deeper than the ttv series ever could.

    Reply
  43. Call the Midwife is a wonderful series, but the memoirs they are based on are even better. Some storiesshevtells are so emotionally painful it hurts to read them, others are beautiful or funny. They are great books, and tell the stories much deeper than the ttv series ever could.

    Reply
  44. Call the Midwife is a wonderful series, but the memoirs they are based on are even better. Some storiesshevtells are so emotionally painful it hurts to read them, others are beautiful or funny. They are great books, and tell the stories much deeper than the ttv series ever could.

    Reply
  45. Call the Midwife is a wonderful series, but the memoirs they are based on are even better. Some storiesshevtells are so emotionally painful it hurts to read them, others are beautiful or funny. They are great books, and tell the stories much deeper than the ttv series ever could.

    Reply
  46. My ancestors (as far as I know) were farmers in Germany, Sweden and Scotland, who emigrated to the US in search of good land and (for my mother’s people) religious freedom. My mom’s mom’s family came from Scotland, where that name is known and their old country house is a registered historical site, so I think they must have been prosperous farmers or perhaps landed gentry, but they’re nothing to me. I suspect that if I lived then, I’d be stuck doing household chores on a farm in a cold country that has Winter 🙂

    Reply
  47. My ancestors (as far as I know) were farmers in Germany, Sweden and Scotland, who emigrated to the US in search of good land and (for my mother’s people) religious freedom. My mom’s mom’s family came from Scotland, where that name is known and their old country house is a registered historical site, so I think they must have been prosperous farmers or perhaps landed gentry, but they’re nothing to me. I suspect that if I lived then, I’d be stuck doing household chores on a farm in a cold country that has Winter 🙂

    Reply
  48. My ancestors (as far as I know) were farmers in Germany, Sweden and Scotland, who emigrated to the US in search of good land and (for my mother’s people) religious freedom. My mom’s mom’s family came from Scotland, where that name is known and their old country house is a registered historical site, so I think they must have been prosperous farmers or perhaps landed gentry, but they’re nothing to me. I suspect that if I lived then, I’d be stuck doing household chores on a farm in a cold country that has Winter 🙂

    Reply
  49. My ancestors (as far as I know) were farmers in Germany, Sweden and Scotland, who emigrated to the US in search of good land and (for my mother’s people) religious freedom. My mom’s mom’s family came from Scotland, where that name is known and their old country house is a registered historical site, so I think they must have been prosperous farmers or perhaps landed gentry, but they’re nothing to me. I suspect that if I lived then, I’d be stuck doing household chores on a farm in a cold country that has Winter 🙂

    Reply
  50. My ancestors (as far as I know) were farmers in Germany, Sweden and Scotland, who emigrated to the US in search of good land and (for my mother’s people) religious freedom. My mom’s mom’s family came from Scotland, where that name is known and their old country house is a registered historical site, so I think they must have been prosperous farmers or perhaps landed gentry, but they’re nothing to me. I suspect that if I lived then, I’d be stuck doing household chores on a farm in a cold country that has Winter 🙂

    Reply
  51. Ditto on the Call the Midwife books—even the men in my book club gave the title book 10/10! All three books are amazing, and the last story in book three exploded my mind.

    Reply
  52. Ditto on the Call the Midwife books—even the men in my book club gave the title book 10/10! All three books are amazing, and the last story in book three exploded my mind.

    Reply
  53. Ditto on the Call the Midwife books—even the men in my book club gave the title book 10/10! All three books are amazing, and the last story in book three exploded my mind.

    Reply
  54. Ditto on the Call the Midwife books—even the men in my book club gave the title book 10/10! All three books are amazing, and the last story in book three exploded my mind.

    Reply
  55. Ditto on the Call the Midwife books—even the men in my book club gave the title book 10/10! All three books are amazing, and the last story in book three exploded my mind.

    Reply
  56. One of my few disappointments in three trips to London/GB was visiting Seven Dials and finding it a clean, bustling business district. I didn’t expect it to be as slummy as it had been in Regency times, but I had hoped for some architectural ambiance at least. Nope! And worse, there were only three or four clock faces on the post, which was in the middle of a traffic rotary. On the plus side, though, no one tried to knife me for my reticule, hehheh.

    Reply
  57. One of my few disappointments in three trips to London/GB was visiting Seven Dials and finding it a clean, bustling business district. I didn’t expect it to be as slummy as it had been in Regency times, but I had hoped for some architectural ambiance at least. Nope! And worse, there were only three or four clock faces on the post, which was in the middle of a traffic rotary. On the plus side, though, no one tried to knife me for my reticule, hehheh.

    Reply
  58. One of my few disappointments in three trips to London/GB was visiting Seven Dials and finding it a clean, bustling business district. I didn’t expect it to be as slummy as it had been in Regency times, but I had hoped for some architectural ambiance at least. Nope! And worse, there were only three or four clock faces on the post, which was in the middle of a traffic rotary. On the plus side, though, no one tried to knife me for my reticule, hehheh.

    Reply
  59. One of my few disappointments in three trips to London/GB was visiting Seven Dials and finding it a clean, bustling business district. I didn’t expect it to be as slummy as it had been in Regency times, but I had hoped for some architectural ambiance at least. Nope! And worse, there were only three or four clock faces on the post, which was in the middle of a traffic rotary. On the plus side, though, no one tried to knife me for my reticule, hehheh.

    Reply
  60. One of my few disappointments in three trips to London/GB was visiting Seven Dials and finding it a clean, bustling business district. I didn’t expect it to be as slummy as it had been in Regency times, but I had hoped for some architectural ambiance at least. Nope! And worse, there were only three or four clock faces on the post, which was in the middle of a traffic rotary. On the plus side, though, no one tried to knife me for my reticule, hehheh.

    Reply
  61. My fathers people came to the US from Ireland. They were here before the great famine. They were farmers, but they appeared to be educated. I’ve always wondered why someone would make such a dangerous journey. I’ve always assumed that they were either desperate, adventurous, or ambitious – or all three.
    As for poverty, when my mother would talk about living through the Depression she would say that her family was poor but they didn’t know it. They lived in the country and they were able to grow their own vegetables and managed to keep a chicken or two. I guess that was pretty good for those times. For entertainment (they didn’t always have a radio) they would sing or tell stories all evening. When we had family reunions they would all drag out their guitars and start singing. It doesn’t sound like much, but I always enjoyed it.

    Reply
  62. My fathers people came to the US from Ireland. They were here before the great famine. They were farmers, but they appeared to be educated. I’ve always wondered why someone would make such a dangerous journey. I’ve always assumed that they were either desperate, adventurous, or ambitious – or all three.
    As for poverty, when my mother would talk about living through the Depression she would say that her family was poor but they didn’t know it. They lived in the country and they were able to grow their own vegetables and managed to keep a chicken or two. I guess that was pretty good for those times. For entertainment (they didn’t always have a radio) they would sing or tell stories all evening. When we had family reunions they would all drag out their guitars and start singing. It doesn’t sound like much, but I always enjoyed it.

    Reply
  63. My fathers people came to the US from Ireland. They were here before the great famine. They were farmers, but they appeared to be educated. I’ve always wondered why someone would make such a dangerous journey. I’ve always assumed that they were either desperate, adventurous, or ambitious – or all three.
    As for poverty, when my mother would talk about living through the Depression she would say that her family was poor but they didn’t know it. They lived in the country and they were able to grow their own vegetables and managed to keep a chicken or two. I guess that was pretty good for those times. For entertainment (they didn’t always have a radio) they would sing or tell stories all evening. When we had family reunions they would all drag out their guitars and start singing. It doesn’t sound like much, but I always enjoyed it.

    Reply
  64. My fathers people came to the US from Ireland. They were here before the great famine. They were farmers, but they appeared to be educated. I’ve always wondered why someone would make such a dangerous journey. I’ve always assumed that they were either desperate, adventurous, or ambitious – or all three.
    As for poverty, when my mother would talk about living through the Depression she would say that her family was poor but they didn’t know it. They lived in the country and they were able to grow their own vegetables and managed to keep a chicken or two. I guess that was pretty good for those times. For entertainment (they didn’t always have a radio) they would sing or tell stories all evening. When we had family reunions they would all drag out their guitars and start singing. It doesn’t sound like much, but I always enjoyed it.

    Reply
  65. My fathers people came to the US from Ireland. They were here before the great famine. They were farmers, but they appeared to be educated. I’ve always wondered why someone would make such a dangerous journey. I’ve always assumed that they were either desperate, adventurous, or ambitious – or all three.
    As for poverty, when my mother would talk about living through the Depression she would say that her family was poor but they didn’t know it. They lived in the country and they were able to grow their own vegetables and managed to keep a chicken or two. I guess that was pretty good for those times. For entertainment (they didn’t always have a radio) they would sing or tell stories all evening. When we had family reunions they would all drag out their guitars and start singing. It doesn’t sound like much, but I always enjoyed it.

    Reply
  66. My Father’s people came from Ireland. A family legend, as yet unproven, says they came with Oglethorpe to Georgia in the late 1600s or early 1700s. What Oglethorp did was to get settlers from the debtor’s prison and slap them down in the wilderness of Georgia. No one in the family was educated or even literate until the late 1800s, so we don’t have any family bibles or other documents to tell the stories of their lives.They lived on farms in the same county since the beginning of census records. They may have done better than some because of being able to raise chickens and milk cows, but they ate what veggies were in season and apparently were hungry a lot during the winter. My paternal gf was under 5 ft tall, and I’m guessing that was malnutrition. In later years, Granddad was a rural mailman, which gave them a steady income.All of the children did better in their lives because of education and all but one moved away from the area as soon as they could.

    Reply
  67. My Father’s people came from Ireland. A family legend, as yet unproven, says they came with Oglethorpe to Georgia in the late 1600s or early 1700s. What Oglethorp did was to get settlers from the debtor’s prison and slap them down in the wilderness of Georgia. No one in the family was educated or even literate until the late 1800s, so we don’t have any family bibles or other documents to tell the stories of their lives.They lived on farms in the same county since the beginning of census records. They may have done better than some because of being able to raise chickens and milk cows, but they ate what veggies were in season and apparently were hungry a lot during the winter. My paternal gf was under 5 ft tall, and I’m guessing that was malnutrition. In later years, Granddad was a rural mailman, which gave them a steady income.All of the children did better in their lives because of education and all but one moved away from the area as soon as they could.

    Reply
  68. My Father’s people came from Ireland. A family legend, as yet unproven, says they came with Oglethorpe to Georgia in the late 1600s or early 1700s. What Oglethorp did was to get settlers from the debtor’s prison and slap them down in the wilderness of Georgia. No one in the family was educated or even literate until the late 1800s, so we don’t have any family bibles or other documents to tell the stories of their lives.They lived on farms in the same county since the beginning of census records. They may have done better than some because of being able to raise chickens and milk cows, but they ate what veggies were in season and apparently were hungry a lot during the winter. My paternal gf was under 5 ft tall, and I’m guessing that was malnutrition. In later years, Granddad was a rural mailman, which gave them a steady income.All of the children did better in their lives because of education and all but one moved away from the area as soon as they could.

    Reply
  69. My Father’s people came from Ireland. A family legend, as yet unproven, says they came with Oglethorpe to Georgia in the late 1600s or early 1700s. What Oglethorp did was to get settlers from the debtor’s prison and slap them down in the wilderness of Georgia. No one in the family was educated or even literate until the late 1800s, so we don’t have any family bibles or other documents to tell the stories of their lives.They lived on farms in the same county since the beginning of census records. They may have done better than some because of being able to raise chickens and milk cows, but they ate what veggies were in season and apparently were hungry a lot during the winter. My paternal gf was under 5 ft tall, and I’m guessing that was malnutrition. In later years, Granddad was a rural mailman, which gave them a steady income.All of the children did better in their lives because of education and all but one moved away from the area as soon as they could.

    Reply
  70. My Father’s people came from Ireland. A family legend, as yet unproven, says they came with Oglethorpe to Georgia in the late 1600s or early 1700s. What Oglethorp did was to get settlers from the debtor’s prison and slap them down in the wilderness of Georgia. No one in the family was educated or even literate until the late 1800s, so we don’t have any family bibles or other documents to tell the stories of their lives.They lived on farms in the same county since the beginning of census records. They may have done better than some because of being able to raise chickens and milk cows, but they ate what veggies were in season and apparently were hungry a lot during the winter. My paternal gf was under 5 ft tall, and I’m guessing that was malnutrition. In later years, Granddad was a rural mailman, which gave them a steady income.All of the children did better in their lives because of education and all but one moved away from the area as soon as they could.

    Reply
  71. I was born in England to Irish parents and now live in Ireland. My mother, who’s 86, has been telling me all about the family from the past of late. Jeez it’s better than any book. We’ve had them all in our family. Unmarried Mothers, fighters in the Civil War, (Irish) in WW1 and WW2. jailbirds and there’s even a murder in there!! Fascinating stuff. If I had lived back in the day I would have definitely been living in the slums.
    Great post as usual.

    Reply
  72. I was born in England to Irish parents and now live in Ireland. My mother, who’s 86, has been telling me all about the family from the past of late. Jeez it’s better than any book. We’ve had them all in our family. Unmarried Mothers, fighters in the Civil War, (Irish) in WW1 and WW2. jailbirds and there’s even a murder in there!! Fascinating stuff. If I had lived back in the day I would have definitely been living in the slums.
    Great post as usual.

    Reply
  73. I was born in England to Irish parents and now live in Ireland. My mother, who’s 86, has been telling me all about the family from the past of late. Jeez it’s better than any book. We’ve had them all in our family. Unmarried Mothers, fighters in the Civil War, (Irish) in WW1 and WW2. jailbirds and there’s even a murder in there!! Fascinating stuff. If I had lived back in the day I would have definitely been living in the slums.
    Great post as usual.

    Reply
  74. I was born in England to Irish parents and now live in Ireland. My mother, who’s 86, has been telling me all about the family from the past of late. Jeez it’s better than any book. We’ve had them all in our family. Unmarried Mothers, fighters in the Civil War, (Irish) in WW1 and WW2. jailbirds and there’s even a murder in there!! Fascinating stuff. If I had lived back in the day I would have definitely been living in the slums.
    Great post as usual.

    Reply
  75. I was born in England to Irish parents and now live in Ireland. My mother, who’s 86, has been telling me all about the family from the past of late. Jeez it’s better than any book. We’ve had them all in our family. Unmarried Mothers, fighters in the Civil War, (Irish) in WW1 and WW2. jailbirds and there’s even a murder in there!! Fascinating stuff. If I had lived back in the day I would have definitely been living in the slums.
    Great post as usual.

    Reply
  76. Good post and so true! My husband comes from the Pilsen area in Chicago, and when he was young everyone was in a gang, mostly sorted by ethnicity. Last year we went to his highschool reunion, where almost everybody was a Vietnam vet who’d done pretty well. They promoted the event by word of mouth because they didn’t really want the guys who’d gone to prison to show up!

    Reply
  77. Good post and so true! My husband comes from the Pilsen area in Chicago, and when he was young everyone was in a gang, mostly sorted by ethnicity. Last year we went to his highschool reunion, where almost everybody was a Vietnam vet who’d done pretty well. They promoted the event by word of mouth because they didn’t really want the guys who’d gone to prison to show up!

    Reply
  78. Good post and so true! My husband comes from the Pilsen area in Chicago, and when he was young everyone was in a gang, mostly sorted by ethnicity. Last year we went to his highschool reunion, where almost everybody was a Vietnam vet who’d done pretty well. They promoted the event by word of mouth because they didn’t really want the guys who’d gone to prison to show up!

    Reply
  79. Good post and so true! My husband comes from the Pilsen area in Chicago, and when he was young everyone was in a gang, mostly sorted by ethnicity. Last year we went to his highschool reunion, where almost everybody was a Vietnam vet who’d done pretty well. They promoted the event by word of mouth because they didn’t really want the guys who’d gone to prison to show up!

    Reply
  80. Good post and so true! My husband comes from the Pilsen area in Chicago, and when he was young everyone was in a gang, mostly sorted by ethnicity. Last year we went to his highschool reunion, where almost everybody was a Vietnam vet who’d done pretty well. They promoted the event by word of mouth because they didn’t really want the guys who’d gone to prison to show up!

    Reply
  81. My people came from Italy after Word War I. I’m sure Italy was a shambles after the war, and America must have looked like heaven.
    They settled in a city, and managed to buy a house when they arrived, so they must have had some money, but they certainly weren’t of the nobility. (The rich people stay in the old country because they have everything there. The poor people leave.)
    If they had stayed in Italy, I probably would have been one of the poor women in a slum.

    Reply
  82. My people came from Italy after Word War I. I’m sure Italy was a shambles after the war, and America must have looked like heaven.
    They settled in a city, and managed to buy a house when they arrived, so they must have had some money, but they certainly weren’t of the nobility. (The rich people stay in the old country because they have everything there. The poor people leave.)
    If they had stayed in Italy, I probably would have been one of the poor women in a slum.

    Reply
  83. My people came from Italy after Word War I. I’m sure Italy was a shambles after the war, and America must have looked like heaven.
    They settled in a city, and managed to buy a house when they arrived, so they must have had some money, but they certainly weren’t of the nobility. (The rich people stay in the old country because they have everything there. The poor people leave.)
    If they had stayed in Italy, I probably would have been one of the poor women in a slum.

    Reply
  84. My people came from Italy after Word War I. I’m sure Italy was a shambles after the war, and America must have looked like heaven.
    They settled in a city, and managed to buy a house when they arrived, so they must have had some money, but they certainly weren’t of the nobility. (The rich people stay in the old country because they have everything there. The poor people leave.)
    If they had stayed in Italy, I probably would have been one of the poor women in a slum.

    Reply
  85. My people came from Italy after Word War I. I’m sure Italy was a shambles after the war, and America must have looked like heaven.
    They settled in a city, and managed to buy a house when they arrived, so they must have had some money, but they certainly weren’t of the nobility. (The rich people stay in the old country because they have everything there. The poor people leave.)
    If they had stayed in Italy, I probably would have been one of the poor women in a slum.

    Reply
  86. Most of my ancestors are from Scotland, and most of them worked either in textiles or coal. One branch owned a calendaring business in Glasgow and processed cotton from the US before sending it on to be made into products. They were prosperous enough to have portraits painted of themselves. Another was involved with tambour work which I gather involved embroidering on muslin (ever wonder where all that sprigged muslin came from for Regency heroines’ dresses?) as well as making a kind of lace on netting. A third bunch went from crofting to being hand loom weavers in Montrose. I think the coal miners had it the worst. The reports on miners’ housing in the 19th century describe bad conditions, and, of course, it was a dangerous occupation. But my g-grandfather managed to work himself up to mine manager with the result that my grandfather grew up in a comfortable house that still exists. After WWI, he didn’t see many opportunities in Scotland, and came to the United States with my grandmother and family. I have one g-grandmother whose family goes back to the 1640’s in the US. They were farmers, first in Virginia, then Ohio, then Illinois. Some distant cousins farmed all the way until about three years ago and raised some of the best sweet corn in the Chicago area.

    Reply
  87. Most of my ancestors are from Scotland, and most of them worked either in textiles or coal. One branch owned a calendaring business in Glasgow and processed cotton from the US before sending it on to be made into products. They were prosperous enough to have portraits painted of themselves. Another was involved with tambour work which I gather involved embroidering on muslin (ever wonder where all that sprigged muslin came from for Regency heroines’ dresses?) as well as making a kind of lace on netting. A third bunch went from crofting to being hand loom weavers in Montrose. I think the coal miners had it the worst. The reports on miners’ housing in the 19th century describe bad conditions, and, of course, it was a dangerous occupation. But my g-grandfather managed to work himself up to mine manager with the result that my grandfather grew up in a comfortable house that still exists. After WWI, he didn’t see many opportunities in Scotland, and came to the United States with my grandmother and family. I have one g-grandmother whose family goes back to the 1640’s in the US. They were farmers, first in Virginia, then Ohio, then Illinois. Some distant cousins farmed all the way until about three years ago and raised some of the best sweet corn in the Chicago area.

    Reply
  88. Most of my ancestors are from Scotland, and most of them worked either in textiles or coal. One branch owned a calendaring business in Glasgow and processed cotton from the US before sending it on to be made into products. They were prosperous enough to have portraits painted of themselves. Another was involved with tambour work which I gather involved embroidering on muslin (ever wonder where all that sprigged muslin came from for Regency heroines’ dresses?) as well as making a kind of lace on netting. A third bunch went from crofting to being hand loom weavers in Montrose. I think the coal miners had it the worst. The reports on miners’ housing in the 19th century describe bad conditions, and, of course, it was a dangerous occupation. But my g-grandfather managed to work himself up to mine manager with the result that my grandfather grew up in a comfortable house that still exists. After WWI, he didn’t see many opportunities in Scotland, and came to the United States with my grandmother and family. I have one g-grandmother whose family goes back to the 1640’s in the US. They were farmers, first in Virginia, then Ohio, then Illinois. Some distant cousins farmed all the way until about three years ago and raised some of the best sweet corn in the Chicago area.

    Reply
  89. Most of my ancestors are from Scotland, and most of them worked either in textiles or coal. One branch owned a calendaring business in Glasgow and processed cotton from the US before sending it on to be made into products. They were prosperous enough to have portraits painted of themselves. Another was involved with tambour work which I gather involved embroidering on muslin (ever wonder where all that sprigged muslin came from for Regency heroines’ dresses?) as well as making a kind of lace on netting. A third bunch went from crofting to being hand loom weavers in Montrose. I think the coal miners had it the worst. The reports on miners’ housing in the 19th century describe bad conditions, and, of course, it was a dangerous occupation. But my g-grandfather managed to work himself up to mine manager with the result that my grandfather grew up in a comfortable house that still exists. After WWI, he didn’t see many opportunities in Scotland, and came to the United States with my grandmother and family. I have one g-grandmother whose family goes back to the 1640’s in the US. They were farmers, first in Virginia, then Ohio, then Illinois. Some distant cousins farmed all the way until about three years ago and raised some of the best sweet corn in the Chicago area.

    Reply
  90. Most of my ancestors are from Scotland, and most of them worked either in textiles or coal. One branch owned a calendaring business in Glasgow and processed cotton from the US before sending it on to be made into products. They were prosperous enough to have portraits painted of themselves. Another was involved with tambour work which I gather involved embroidering on muslin (ever wonder where all that sprigged muslin came from for Regency heroines’ dresses?) as well as making a kind of lace on netting. A third bunch went from crofting to being hand loom weavers in Montrose. I think the coal miners had it the worst. The reports on miners’ housing in the 19th century describe bad conditions, and, of course, it was a dangerous occupation. But my g-grandfather managed to work himself up to mine manager with the result that my grandfather grew up in a comfortable house that still exists. After WWI, he didn’t see many opportunities in Scotland, and came to the United States with my grandmother and family. I have one g-grandmother whose family goes back to the 1640’s in the US. They were farmers, first in Virginia, then Ohio, then Illinois. Some distant cousins farmed all the way until about three years ago and raised some of the best sweet corn in the Chicago area.

    Reply
  91. I come of mixed stock, some from less affluent areas for sure. My paternal grands were from Hackney — shopkeepers, I think. My mom’s ancestors were better educated/better off.
    I just read a lovely story about the poor in Victorian London — The Street Sparrows by Rose Ayers.

    Reply
  92. I come of mixed stock, some from less affluent areas for sure. My paternal grands were from Hackney — shopkeepers, I think. My mom’s ancestors were better educated/better off.
    I just read a lovely story about the poor in Victorian London — The Street Sparrows by Rose Ayers.

    Reply
  93. I come of mixed stock, some from less affluent areas for sure. My paternal grands were from Hackney — shopkeepers, I think. My mom’s ancestors were better educated/better off.
    I just read a lovely story about the poor in Victorian London — The Street Sparrows by Rose Ayers.

    Reply
  94. I come of mixed stock, some from less affluent areas for sure. My paternal grands were from Hackney — shopkeepers, I think. My mom’s ancestors were better educated/better off.
    I just read a lovely story about the poor in Victorian London — The Street Sparrows by Rose Ayers.

    Reply
  95. I come of mixed stock, some from less affluent areas for sure. My paternal grands were from Hackney — shopkeepers, I think. My mom’s ancestors were better educated/better off.
    I just read a lovely story about the poor in Victorian London — The Street Sparrows by Rose Ayers.

    Reply
  96. Theoretically, I think it’s fun to think about a (distant) ancestor who was villainous. And in literature it’s often romantic because it’s fiction and we read to escape, and the author usually tries to clearly make the bad guys bad and the good guys good, even the reformed ones. So in books, I’m like; bring it on! In real life I’ve often heard certain people (usually interviewed on T.V.) refer to an ancestor humorously as a scoundrel (name your vice or crime.) But those people usually have the advantage of distance going for them.
    In my own family I’ve seen and heard of some of the bounders (or worse) and the reality of that is unpleasant. But most all my relatives were hard working farm people, whose children moved to town because farming was very tough, families tended to be quite large and in most cases the farm only could support one of the sons for the future. That trend was difficult for so many, as we all know farmer’s kids in a very rural area were extremely fortunate to graduate high school, and often as not were lucky to get through the 8th grade. So moving to the city meant just as much hard work trying to make it, being without the education to get a job that wasn’t quite labor intensive.

    Reply
  97. Theoretically, I think it’s fun to think about a (distant) ancestor who was villainous. And in literature it’s often romantic because it’s fiction and we read to escape, and the author usually tries to clearly make the bad guys bad and the good guys good, even the reformed ones. So in books, I’m like; bring it on! In real life I’ve often heard certain people (usually interviewed on T.V.) refer to an ancestor humorously as a scoundrel (name your vice or crime.) But those people usually have the advantage of distance going for them.
    In my own family I’ve seen and heard of some of the bounders (or worse) and the reality of that is unpleasant. But most all my relatives were hard working farm people, whose children moved to town because farming was very tough, families tended to be quite large and in most cases the farm only could support one of the sons for the future. That trend was difficult for so many, as we all know farmer’s kids in a very rural area were extremely fortunate to graduate high school, and often as not were lucky to get through the 8th grade. So moving to the city meant just as much hard work trying to make it, being without the education to get a job that wasn’t quite labor intensive.

    Reply
  98. Theoretically, I think it’s fun to think about a (distant) ancestor who was villainous. And in literature it’s often romantic because it’s fiction and we read to escape, and the author usually tries to clearly make the bad guys bad and the good guys good, even the reformed ones. So in books, I’m like; bring it on! In real life I’ve often heard certain people (usually interviewed on T.V.) refer to an ancestor humorously as a scoundrel (name your vice or crime.) But those people usually have the advantage of distance going for them.
    In my own family I’ve seen and heard of some of the bounders (or worse) and the reality of that is unpleasant. But most all my relatives were hard working farm people, whose children moved to town because farming was very tough, families tended to be quite large and in most cases the farm only could support one of the sons for the future. That trend was difficult for so many, as we all know farmer’s kids in a very rural area were extremely fortunate to graduate high school, and often as not were lucky to get through the 8th grade. So moving to the city meant just as much hard work trying to make it, being without the education to get a job that wasn’t quite labor intensive.

    Reply
  99. Theoretically, I think it’s fun to think about a (distant) ancestor who was villainous. And in literature it’s often romantic because it’s fiction and we read to escape, and the author usually tries to clearly make the bad guys bad and the good guys good, even the reformed ones. So in books, I’m like; bring it on! In real life I’ve often heard certain people (usually interviewed on T.V.) refer to an ancestor humorously as a scoundrel (name your vice or crime.) But those people usually have the advantage of distance going for them.
    In my own family I’ve seen and heard of some of the bounders (or worse) and the reality of that is unpleasant. But most all my relatives were hard working farm people, whose children moved to town because farming was very tough, families tended to be quite large and in most cases the farm only could support one of the sons for the future. That trend was difficult for so many, as we all know farmer’s kids in a very rural area were extremely fortunate to graduate high school, and often as not were lucky to get through the 8th grade. So moving to the city meant just as much hard work trying to make it, being without the education to get a job that wasn’t quite labor intensive.

    Reply
  100. Theoretically, I think it’s fun to think about a (distant) ancestor who was villainous. And in literature it’s often romantic because it’s fiction and we read to escape, and the author usually tries to clearly make the bad guys bad and the good guys good, even the reformed ones. So in books, I’m like; bring it on! In real life I’ve often heard certain people (usually interviewed on T.V.) refer to an ancestor humorously as a scoundrel (name your vice or crime.) But those people usually have the advantage of distance going for them.
    In my own family I’ve seen and heard of some of the bounders (or worse) and the reality of that is unpleasant. But most all my relatives were hard working farm people, whose children moved to town because farming was very tough, families tended to be quite large and in most cases the farm only could support one of the sons for the future. That trend was difficult for so many, as we all know farmer’s kids in a very rural area were extremely fortunate to graduate high school, and often as not were lucky to get through the 8th grade. So moving to the city meant just as much hard work trying to make it, being without the education to get a job that wasn’t quite labor intensive.

    Reply
  101. Australians go crazy over having an original colonial convict relative! Australia was built on a colony of petty (“I stole a loaf of bread and was sent to the other side of the world for years”) criminals!
    I have none of that blood, however I did have a friend who was So Proud of having a First Fleet (I guess like America’s Mayflower) ancestor.

    Reply
  102. Australians go crazy over having an original colonial convict relative! Australia was built on a colony of petty (“I stole a loaf of bread and was sent to the other side of the world for years”) criminals!
    I have none of that blood, however I did have a friend who was So Proud of having a First Fleet (I guess like America’s Mayflower) ancestor.

    Reply
  103. Australians go crazy over having an original colonial convict relative! Australia was built on a colony of petty (“I stole a loaf of bread and was sent to the other side of the world for years”) criminals!
    I have none of that blood, however I did have a friend who was So Proud of having a First Fleet (I guess like America’s Mayflower) ancestor.

    Reply
  104. Australians go crazy over having an original colonial convict relative! Australia was built on a colony of petty (“I stole a loaf of bread and was sent to the other side of the world for years”) criminals!
    I have none of that blood, however I did have a friend who was So Proud of having a First Fleet (I guess like America’s Mayflower) ancestor.

    Reply
  105. Australians go crazy over having an original colonial convict relative! Australia was built on a colony of petty (“I stole a loaf of bread and was sent to the other side of the world for years”) criminals!
    I have none of that blood, however I did have a friend who was So Proud of having a First Fleet (I guess like America’s Mayflower) ancestor.

    Reply
  106. Oh Anne, I love Call the Midwife. I loved the premier when the one lady asked, “You must think us right slatterns.” (or something along those lines) and Jenny said, “Actually, I think you’re all heroines.”
    We all are in our ways. We take what we’re given and we try to make the best of it we can. That’s been true throughout history.
    My family comes from Norfolk and York. The Yorkshire ones lived on a dairy farm until mad cow disease left them decimated and they had to sell the farm and move into York. There were about 12 kids, I believe and all the boys over the age of 12 were kicked out to find their own work. My great-grandfather became a policeman. He married and had 5 children and my grandfather was born with a club foot and missing a lot of fingers presumably from his mother having to work so physically hard while pregnant with him. He went on to be a taylor and taught himself to play piano when his father refused to pay for lessons as a waste of time. My fondest memories of my Grandfather were of him playing piano.
    My father’s family lived in Norfolk and you could follow that back for centuries and perhaps anyone with my maiden name is a distant cousin from that part of England. My Great grandfather on my Dad’s side grew vegetables and I have a wonderful old black & white picture of him with a mule drawn cart with some absolutely massive potatoes in the cart. He lived until he was well into his 90’s before passing quietly in his sleep. Still living in his little cottage in Norfolk. He wrote wonderful letters.

    Reply
  107. Oh Anne, I love Call the Midwife. I loved the premier when the one lady asked, “You must think us right slatterns.” (or something along those lines) and Jenny said, “Actually, I think you’re all heroines.”
    We all are in our ways. We take what we’re given and we try to make the best of it we can. That’s been true throughout history.
    My family comes from Norfolk and York. The Yorkshire ones lived on a dairy farm until mad cow disease left them decimated and they had to sell the farm and move into York. There were about 12 kids, I believe and all the boys over the age of 12 were kicked out to find their own work. My great-grandfather became a policeman. He married and had 5 children and my grandfather was born with a club foot and missing a lot of fingers presumably from his mother having to work so physically hard while pregnant with him. He went on to be a taylor and taught himself to play piano when his father refused to pay for lessons as a waste of time. My fondest memories of my Grandfather were of him playing piano.
    My father’s family lived in Norfolk and you could follow that back for centuries and perhaps anyone with my maiden name is a distant cousin from that part of England. My Great grandfather on my Dad’s side grew vegetables and I have a wonderful old black & white picture of him with a mule drawn cart with some absolutely massive potatoes in the cart. He lived until he was well into his 90’s before passing quietly in his sleep. Still living in his little cottage in Norfolk. He wrote wonderful letters.

    Reply
  108. Oh Anne, I love Call the Midwife. I loved the premier when the one lady asked, “You must think us right slatterns.” (or something along those lines) and Jenny said, “Actually, I think you’re all heroines.”
    We all are in our ways. We take what we’re given and we try to make the best of it we can. That’s been true throughout history.
    My family comes from Norfolk and York. The Yorkshire ones lived on a dairy farm until mad cow disease left them decimated and they had to sell the farm and move into York. There were about 12 kids, I believe and all the boys over the age of 12 were kicked out to find their own work. My great-grandfather became a policeman. He married and had 5 children and my grandfather was born with a club foot and missing a lot of fingers presumably from his mother having to work so physically hard while pregnant with him. He went on to be a taylor and taught himself to play piano when his father refused to pay for lessons as a waste of time. My fondest memories of my Grandfather were of him playing piano.
    My father’s family lived in Norfolk and you could follow that back for centuries and perhaps anyone with my maiden name is a distant cousin from that part of England. My Great grandfather on my Dad’s side grew vegetables and I have a wonderful old black & white picture of him with a mule drawn cart with some absolutely massive potatoes in the cart. He lived until he was well into his 90’s before passing quietly in his sleep. Still living in his little cottage in Norfolk. He wrote wonderful letters.

    Reply
  109. Oh Anne, I love Call the Midwife. I loved the premier when the one lady asked, “You must think us right slatterns.” (or something along those lines) and Jenny said, “Actually, I think you’re all heroines.”
    We all are in our ways. We take what we’re given and we try to make the best of it we can. That’s been true throughout history.
    My family comes from Norfolk and York. The Yorkshire ones lived on a dairy farm until mad cow disease left them decimated and they had to sell the farm and move into York. There were about 12 kids, I believe and all the boys over the age of 12 were kicked out to find their own work. My great-grandfather became a policeman. He married and had 5 children and my grandfather was born with a club foot and missing a lot of fingers presumably from his mother having to work so physically hard while pregnant with him. He went on to be a taylor and taught himself to play piano when his father refused to pay for lessons as a waste of time. My fondest memories of my Grandfather were of him playing piano.
    My father’s family lived in Norfolk and you could follow that back for centuries and perhaps anyone with my maiden name is a distant cousin from that part of England. My Great grandfather on my Dad’s side grew vegetables and I have a wonderful old black & white picture of him with a mule drawn cart with some absolutely massive potatoes in the cart. He lived until he was well into his 90’s before passing quietly in his sleep. Still living in his little cottage in Norfolk. He wrote wonderful letters.

    Reply
  110. Oh Anne, I love Call the Midwife. I loved the premier when the one lady asked, “You must think us right slatterns.” (or something along those lines) and Jenny said, “Actually, I think you’re all heroines.”
    We all are in our ways. We take what we’re given and we try to make the best of it we can. That’s been true throughout history.
    My family comes from Norfolk and York. The Yorkshire ones lived on a dairy farm until mad cow disease left them decimated and they had to sell the farm and move into York. There were about 12 kids, I believe and all the boys over the age of 12 were kicked out to find their own work. My great-grandfather became a policeman. He married and had 5 children and my grandfather was born with a club foot and missing a lot of fingers presumably from his mother having to work so physically hard while pregnant with him. He went on to be a taylor and taught himself to play piano when his father refused to pay for lessons as a waste of time. My fondest memories of my Grandfather were of him playing piano.
    My father’s family lived in Norfolk and you could follow that back for centuries and perhaps anyone with my maiden name is a distant cousin from that part of England. My Great grandfather on my Dad’s side grew vegetables and I have a wonderful old black & white picture of him with a mule drawn cart with some absolutely massive potatoes in the cart. He lived until he was well into his 90’s before passing quietly in his sleep. Still living in his little cottage in Norfolk. He wrote wonderful letters.

    Reply
  111. I was thinking of Australia when I looked at that question. (In the US we had the debtor colony of Georgia.)
    When one reads about the crimes, they do seem so petty. It’s almost as though the courts in London deliberately picked the youngest of the street thieves and sent them off to the end of the world.

    Reply
  112. I was thinking of Australia when I looked at that question. (In the US we had the debtor colony of Georgia.)
    When one reads about the crimes, they do seem so petty. It’s almost as though the courts in London deliberately picked the youngest of the street thieves and sent them off to the end of the world.

    Reply
  113. I was thinking of Australia when I looked at that question. (In the US we had the debtor colony of Georgia.)
    When one reads about the crimes, they do seem so petty. It’s almost as though the courts in London deliberately picked the youngest of the street thieves and sent them off to the end of the world.

    Reply
  114. I was thinking of Australia when I looked at that question. (In the US we had the debtor colony of Georgia.)
    When one reads about the crimes, they do seem so petty. It’s almost as though the courts in London deliberately picked the youngest of the street thieves and sent them off to the end of the world.

    Reply
  115. I was thinking of Australia when I looked at that question. (In the US we had the debtor colony of Georgia.)
    When one reads about the crimes, they do seem so petty. It’s almost as though the courts in London deliberately picked the youngest of the street thieves and sent them off to the end of the world.

    Reply
  116. Karen, what a wonderful picture your words paint.
    Some of my ancestors hailed from Yorkshire, too, and had that hard-work-and-joylessness attitude. Music, a waste of time? Bah humbug to that. When it gives so much joy, not just to the musician but to those who listen. Im SO glad your grandfather taught himself to play piano. My paternal grandmother was a wonderful pianist, and after she was widowed, she had quite an interesting life, being invited to stay at grand country properties in the outback as a guest — with the tacit understanding that shed play for her supper, and entertain the other guests. She died when I was a child, but I still remember the singalongs around the piano . . .

    Reply
  117. Karen, what a wonderful picture your words paint.
    Some of my ancestors hailed from Yorkshire, too, and had that hard-work-and-joylessness attitude. Music, a waste of time? Bah humbug to that. When it gives so much joy, not just to the musician but to those who listen. Im SO glad your grandfather taught himself to play piano. My paternal grandmother was a wonderful pianist, and after she was widowed, she had quite an interesting life, being invited to stay at grand country properties in the outback as a guest — with the tacit understanding that shed play for her supper, and entertain the other guests. She died when I was a child, but I still remember the singalongs around the piano . . .

    Reply
  118. Karen, what a wonderful picture your words paint.
    Some of my ancestors hailed from Yorkshire, too, and had that hard-work-and-joylessness attitude. Music, a waste of time? Bah humbug to that. When it gives so much joy, not just to the musician but to those who listen. Im SO glad your grandfather taught himself to play piano. My paternal grandmother was a wonderful pianist, and after she was widowed, she had quite an interesting life, being invited to stay at grand country properties in the outback as a guest — with the tacit understanding that shed play for her supper, and entertain the other guests. She died when I was a child, but I still remember the singalongs around the piano . . .

    Reply
  119. Karen, what a wonderful picture your words paint.
    Some of my ancestors hailed from Yorkshire, too, and had that hard-work-and-joylessness attitude. Music, a waste of time? Bah humbug to that. When it gives so much joy, not just to the musician but to those who listen. Im SO glad your grandfather taught himself to play piano. My paternal grandmother was a wonderful pianist, and after she was widowed, she had quite an interesting life, being invited to stay at grand country properties in the outback as a guest — with the tacit understanding that shed play for her supper, and entertain the other guests. She died when I was a child, but I still remember the singalongs around the piano . . .

    Reply
  120. Karen, what a wonderful picture your words paint.
    Some of my ancestors hailed from Yorkshire, too, and had that hard-work-and-joylessness attitude. Music, a waste of time? Bah humbug to that. When it gives so much joy, not just to the musician but to those who listen. Im SO glad your grandfather taught himself to play piano. My paternal grandmother was a wonderful pianist, and after she was widowed, she had quite an interesting life, being invited to stay at grand country properties in the outback as a guest — with the tacit understanding that shed play for her supper, and entertain the other guests. She died when I was a child, but I still remember the singalongs around the piano . . .

    Reply
  121. You are absolutely right. The perfectly awful black sheep of the past becomes the romanticized highwayman a century later.
    Though … in their own day these thieves and pirates were sent on their way to the gallows with broadsheet ballads and a large crowd of the curious and bawdy and somewhat approving. Maybe we all love a rascal and rebel. I mean — look at the antiheroes in the comics.

    Reply
  122. You are absolutely right. The perfectly awful black sheep of the past becomes the romanticized highwayman a century later.
    Though … in their own day these thieves and pirates were sent on their way to the gallows with broadsheet ballads and a large crowd of the curious and bawdy and somewhat approving. Maybe we all love a rascal and rebel. I mean — look at the antiheroes in the comics.

    Reply
  123. You are absolutely right. The perfectly awful black sheep of the past becomes the romanticized highwayman a century later.
    Though … in their own day these thieves and pirates were sent on their way to the gallows with broadsheet ballads and a large crowd of the curious and bawdy and somewhat approving. Maybe we all love a rascal and rebel. I mean — look at the antiheroes in the comics.

    Reply
  124. You are absolutely right. The perfectly awful black sheep of the past becomes the romanticized highwayman a century later.
    Though … in their own day these thieves and pirates were sent on their way to the gallows with broadsheet ballads and a large crowd of the curious and bawdy and somewhat approving. Maybe we all love a rascal and rebel. I mean — look at the antiheroes in the comics.

    Reply
  125. You are absolutely right. The perfectly awful black sheep of the past becomes the romanticized highwayman a century later.
    Though … in their own day these thieves and pirates were sent on their way to the gallows with broadsheet ballads and a large crowd of the curious and bawdy and somewhat approving. Maybe we all love a rascal and rebel. I mean — look at the antiheroes in the comics.

    Reply
  126. Good for g-g-something grandmother. But I’m glad she took him in the end.
    No need to waste a perfectly good sailor is what I say.

    Reply
  127. Good for g-g-something grandmother. But I’m glad she took him in the end.
    No need to waste a perfectly good sailor is what I say.

    Reply
  128. Good for g-g-something grandmother. But I’m glad she took him in the end.
    No need to waste a perfectly good sailor is what I say.

    Reply
  129. Good for g-g-something grandmother. But I’m glad she took him in the end.
    No need to waste a perfectly good sailor is what I say.

    Reply
  130. Good for g-g-something grandmother. But I’m glad she took him in the end.
    No need to waste a perfectly good sailor is what I say.

    Reply
  131. What gets me is how many Scandinavians and other North Europe folks, having all the US to settle in, chose to go to exactly those spots that are cold as Niflheim.
    “Oh, look,” they said, crunching across the frigid prairies and snow-covered mountains of Minnesota, Dakotas, Wisconsin. “Home!”
    I’m pleased myself that I don’t live on a farm, even in beautiful Mountains. I don’t feel competent to milk goats and spending the long evenings darning.

    Reply
  132. What gets me is how many Scandinavians and other North Europe folks, having all the US to settle in, chose to go to exactly those spots that are cold as Niflheim.
    “Oh, look,” they said, crunching across the frigid prairies and snow-covered mountains of Minnesota, Dakotas, Wisconsin. “Home!”
    I’m pleased myself that I don’t live on a farm, even in beautiful Mountains. I don’t feel competent to milk goats and spending the long evenings darning.

    Reply
  133. What gets me is how many Scandinavians and other North Europe folks, having all the US to settle in, chose to go to exactly those spots that are cold as Niflheim.
    “Oh, look,” they said, crunching across the frigid prairies and snow-covered mountains of Minnesota, Dakotas, Wisconsin. “Home!”
    I’m pleased myself that I don’t live on a farm, even in beautiful Mountains. I don’t feel competent to milk goats and spending the long evenings darning.

    Reply
  134. What gets me is how many Scandinavians and other North Europe folks, having all the US to settle in, chose to go to exactly those spots that are cold as Niflheim.
    “Oh, look,” they said, crunching across the frigid prairies and snow-covered mountains of Minnesota, Dakotas, Wisconsin. “Home!”
    I’m pleased myself that I don’t live on a farm, even in beautiful Mountains. I don’t feel competent to milk goats and spending the long evenings darning.

    Reply
  135. What gets me is how many Scandinavians and other North Europe folks, having all the US to settle in, chose to go to exactly those spots that are cold as Niflheim.
    “Oh, look,” they said, crunching across the frigid prairies and snow-covered mountains of Minnesota, Dakotas, Wisconsin. “Home!”
    I’m pleased myself that I don’t live on a farm, even in beautiful Mountains. I don’t feel competent to milk goats and spending the long evenings darning.

    Reply
  136. There are Regency Row houses and old Georgian stuccoes in some sections of London. One can go on ‘Jane Austen walks’ or ‘Dickens walks’ and see the pieces of Old London that survive.
    Not so many, I think, from the Regency period. And the old slums, being jerry-built to begin with, were the first to go.
    I’m surprised and sorry the Seven Dials district hasn’t put up some clocks.

    Reply
  137. There are Regency Row houses and old Georgian stuccoes in some sections of London. One can go on ‘Jane Austen walks’ or ‘Dickens walks’ and see the pieces of Old London that survive.
    Not so many, I think, from the Regency period. And the old slums, being jerry-built to begin with, were the first to go.
    I’m surprised and sorry the Seven Dials district hasn’t put up some clocks.

    Reply
  138. There are Regency Row houses and old Georgian stuccoes in some sections of London. One can go on ‘Jane Austen walks’ or ‘Dickens walks’ and see the pieces of Old London that survive.
    Not so many, I think, from the Regency period. And the old slums, being jerry-built to begin with, were the first to go.
    I’m surprised and sorry the Seven Dials district hasn’t put up some clocks.

    Reply
  139. There are Regency Row houses and old Georgian stuccoes in some sections of London. One can go on ‘Jane Austen walks’ or ‘Dickens walks’ and see the pieces of Old London that survive.
    Not so many, I think, from the Regency period. And the old slums, being jerry-built to begin with, were the first to go.
    I’m surprised and sorry the Seven Dials district hasn’t put up some clocks.

    Reply
  140. There are Regency Row houses and old Georgian stuccoes in some sections of London. One can go on ‘Jane Austen walks’ or ‘Dickens walks’ and see the pieces of Old London that survive.
    Not so many, I think, from the Regency period. And the old slums, being jerry-built to begin with, were the first to go.
    I’m surprised and sorry the Seven Dials district hasn’t put up some clocks.

    Reply
  141. A brave act indeed, coming all that way in those times. A farmstead entirely of their own may have been reward enough.
    I’ve heard before from many folks that the past generation of their family weathered the Depression better because they were in the country. However hard it was, at least they had enough to eat.

    Reply
  142. A brave act indeed, coming all that way in those times. A farmstead entirely of their own may have been reward enough.
    I’ve heard before from many folks that the past generation of their family weathered the Depression better because they were in the country. However hard it was, at least they had enough to eat.

    Reply
  143. A brave act indeed, coming all that way in those times. A farmstead entirely of their own may have been reward enough.
    I’ve heard before from many folks that the past generation of their family weathered the Depression better because they were in the country. However hard it was, at least they had enough to eat.

    Reply
  144. A brave act indeed, coming all that way in those times. A farmstead entirely of their own may have been reward enough.
    I’ve heard before from many folks that the past generation of their family weathered the Depression better because they were in the country. However hard it was, at least they had enough to eat.

    Reply
  145. A brave act indeed, coming all that way in those times. A farmstead entirely of their own may have been reward enough.
    I’ve heard before from many folks that the past generation of their family weathered the Depression better because they were in the country. However hard it was, at least they had enough to eat.

    Reply
  146. I am picturing the kids, one by one, wiping the dust of their country town off their boots and departing for the city when the ink was barely dry of their diploma. It seems to be the custom today in the country places I know best.
    I hadn’t exactly thought of it this way, but the bright lights of the city still pull in the country youth, just as they did in 1670 or 1870.
    The whole — “Debt is a jailable offense” seems counterproductive somehow.

    Reply
  147. I am picturing the kids, one by one, wiping the dust of their country town off their boots and departing for the city when the ink was barely dry of their diploma. It seems to be the custom today in the country places I know best.
    I hadn’t exactly thought of it this way, but the bright lights of the city still pull in the country youth, just as they did in 1670 or 1870.
    The whole — “Debt is a jailable offense” seems counterproductive somehow.

    Reply
  148. I am picturing the kids, one by one, wiping the dust of their country town off their boots and departing for the city when the ink was barely dry of their diploma. It seems to be the custom today in the country places I know best.
    I hadn’t exactly thought of it this way, but the bright lights of the city still pull in the country youth, just as they did in 1670 or 1870.
    The whole — “Debt is a jailable offense” seems counterproductive somehow.

    Reply
  149. I am picturing the kids, one by one, wiping the dust of their country town off their boots and departing for the city when the ink was barely dry of their diploma. It seems to be the custom today in the country places I know best.
    I hadn’t exactly thought of it this way, but the bright lights of the city still pull in the country youth, just as they did in 1670 or 1870.
    The whole — “Debt is a jailable offense” seems counterproductive somehow.

    Reply
  150. I am picturing the kids, one by one, wiping the dust of their country town off their boots and departing for the city when the ink was barely dry of their diploma. It seems to be the custom today in the country places I know best.
    I hadn’t exactly thought of it this way, but the bright lights of the city still pull in the country youth, just as they did in 1670 or 1870.
    The whole — “Debt is a jailable offense” seems counterproductive somehow.

    Reply
  151. You have much more interesting ancestors than I do. It seems so unfair. (Or maybe my respectable Victorian foreparents just ‘Didn’t talk’ about That Side of the Family.
    If I might make a suggestion. (Sorry.) Why don’t you rent a video camera and tape your mother telling family stories? Put the tapes into digital. Your own grandkids would probably thank you for it someday.

    Reply
  152. You have much more interesting ancestors than I do. It seems so unfair. (Or maybe my respectable Victorian foreparents just ‘Didn’t talk’ about That Side of the Family.
    If I might make a suggestion. (Sorry.) Why don’t you rent a video camera and tape your mother telling family stories? Put the tapes into digital. Your own grandkids would probably thank you for it someday.

    Reply
  153. You have much more interesting ancestors than I do. It seems so unfair. (Or maybe my respectable Victorian foreparents just ‘Didn’t talk’ about That Side of the Family.
    If I might make a suggestion. (Sorry.) Why don’t you rent a video camera and tape your mother telling family stories? Put the tapes into digital. Your own grandkids would probably thank you for it someday.

    Reply
  154. You have much more interesting ancestors than I do. It seems so unfair. (Or maybe my respectable Victorian foreparents just ‘Didn’t talk’ about That Side of the Family.
    If I might make a suggestion. (Sorry.) Why don’t you rent a video camera and tape your mother telling family stories? Put the tapes into digital. Your own grandkids would probably thank you for it someday.

    Reply
  155. You have much more interesting ancestors than I do. It seems so unfair. (Or maybe my respectable Victorian foreparents just ‘Didn’t talk’ about That Side of the Family.
    If I might make a suggestion. (Sorry.) Why don’t you rent a video camera and tape your mother telling family stories? Put the tapes into digital. Your own grandkids would probably thank you for it someday.

    Reply
  156. Rough sections of town give us some of the strongest (and often the gentlest) men. The survivors of such places have seen it all.
    One of the women who worked in my father’s office when I was growing up came from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. That was another of those tough areas, filled with gangs.
    I wonder why girls don’t have ganges.

    Reply
  157. Rough sections of town give us some of the strongest (and often the gentlest) men. The survivors of such places have seen it all.
    One of the women who worked in my father’s office when I was growing up came from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. That was another of those tough areas, filled with gangs.
    I wonder why girls don’t have ganges.

    Reply
  158. Rough sections of town give us some of the strongest (and often the gentlest) men. The survivors of such places have seen it all.
    One of the women who worked in my father’s office when I was growing up came from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. That was another of those tough areas, filled with gangs.
    I wonder why girls don’t have ganges.

    Reply
  159. Rough sections of town give us some of the strongest (and often the gentlest) men. The survivors of such places have seen it all.
    One of the women who worked in my father’s office when I was growing up came from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. That was another of those tough areas, filled with gangs.
    I wonder why girls don’t have ganges.

    Reply
  160. Rough sections of town give us some of the strongest (and often the gentlest) men. The survivors of such places have seen it all.
    One of the women who worked in my father’s office when I was growing up came from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. That was another of those tough areas, filled with gangs.
    I wonder why girls don’t have ganges.

    Reply
  161. Hard to say what our lives would be like if we’d grown up somewhere entirely different. Maybe if I’d had nothing at all when I was young I would have worked harder and become madly rich selling fardels to the cat production industry. You would see me hobnobbing with the glitterati.
    My High School English Teacher used to say the best work he saw came from kids who lived in [working class area] rather than kids from [considerably snazzier area].

    Reply
  162. Hard to say what our lives would be like if we’d grown up somewhere entirely different. Maybe if I’d had nothing at all when I was young I would have worked harder and become madly rich selling fardels to the cat production industry. You would see me hobnobbing with the glitterati.
    My High School English Teacher used to say the best work he saw came from kids who lived in [working class area] rather than kids from [considerably snazzier area].

    Reply
  163. Hard to say what our lives would be like if we’d grown up somewhere entirely different. Maybe if I’d had nothing at all when I was young I would have worked harder and become madly rich selling fardels to the cat production industry. You would see me hobnobbing with the glitterati.
    My High School English Teacher used to say the best work he saw came from kids who lived in [working class area] rather than kids from [considerably snazzier area].

    Reply
  164. Hard to say what our lives would be like if we’d grown up somewhere entirely different. Maybe if I’d had nothing at all when I was young I would have worked harder and become madly rich selling fardels to the cat production industry. You would see me hobnobbing with the glitterati.
    My High School English Teacher used to say the best work he saw came from kids who lived in [working class area] rather than kids from [considerably snazzier area].

    Reply
  165. Hard to say what our lives would be like if we’d grown up somewhere entirely different. Maybe if I’d had nothing at all when I was young I would have worked harder and become madly rich selling fardels to the cat production industry. You would see me hobnobbing with the glitterati.
    My High School English Teacher used to say the best work he saw came from kids who lived in [working class area] rather than kids from [considerably snazzier area].

    Reply
  166. I am seeing the seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Century through those many eyes. We can see long, complicated stories going past.
    So many skills to keep them alive and let them prosper. I especially like that some of those skills would have been women’s skills and some of those businesses probably gave opportunity for women to be part of them. Traditional farming is one of the enterprises where the woman’s contribution was as important as the man’s.
    I’m not far from a National Park site near Humpback Rocks. They have a bit of land there that was settled a couple hundred years back. They’ve rescued traditional buildings from elsewhere and moved them there and they give Interpretive History talks and crafts demonstrations in the summer. Could be some of your family lived not too differently.

    Reply
  167. I am seeing the seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Century through those many eyes. We can see long, complicated stories going past.
    So many skills to keep them alive and let them prosper. I especially like that some of those skills would have been women’s skills and some of those businesses probably gave opportunity for women to be part of them. Traditional farming is one of the enterprises where the woman’s contribution was as important as the man’s.
    I’m not far from a National Park site near Humpback Rocks. They have a bit of land there that was settled a couple hundred years back. They’ve rescued traditional buildings from elsewhere and moved them there and they give Interpretive History talks and crafts demonstrations in the summer. Could be some of your family lived not too differently.

    Reply
  168. I am seeing the seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Century through those many eyes. We can see long, complicated stories going past.
    So many skills to keep them alive and let them prosper. I especially like that some of those skills would have been women’s skills and some of those businesses probably gave opportunity for women to be part of them. Traditional farming is one of the enterprises where the woman’s contribution was as important as the man’s.
    I’m not far from a National Park site near Humpback Rocks. They have a bit of land there that was settled a couple hundred years back. They’ve rescued traditional buildings from elsewhere and moved them there and they give Interpretive History talks and crafts demonstrations in the summer. Could be some of your family lived not too differently.

    Reply
  169. I am seeing the seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Century through those many eyes. We can see long, complicated stories going past.
    So many skills to keep them alive and let them prosper. I especially like that some of those skills would have been women’s skills and some of those businesses probably gave opportunity for women to be part of them. Traditional farming is one of the enterprises where the woman’s contribution was as important as the man’s.
    I’m not far from a National Park site near Humpback Rocks. They have a bit of land there that was settled a couple hundred years back. They’ve rescued traditional buildings from elsewhere and moved them there and they give Interpretive History talks and crafts demonstrations in the summer. Could be some of your family lived not too differently.

    Reply
  170. I am seeing the seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Century through those many eyes. We can see long, complicated stories going past.
    So many skills to keep them alive and let them prosper. I especially like that some of those skills would have been women’s skills and some of those businesses probably gave opportunity for women to be part of them. Traditional farming is one of the enterprises where the woman’s contribution was as important as the man’s.
    I’m not far from a National Park site near Humpback Rocks. They have a bit of land there that was settled a couple hundred years back. They’ve rescued traditional buildings from elsewhere and moved them there and they give Interpretive History talks and crafts demonstrations in the summer. Could be some of your family lived not too differently.

    Reply
  171. I know very little concrete info on my dad’s side. We know we were originally English/Welsh and we know that several generations (ending with my father) were farmers, tenant farmers, and indentured servant farmers. Not sure how we got here, but I can pretty much guess that we were one of those very poverty stricken families who put a son on a boat to go be an indentured servant until he served his time and could have a better life. My mom’s side were dentists and barbers in England, and second and third sons came here to the colonies (and then to the south) to build a clientele in the “new world”. My father was a police officer in east St. Louis (for which he left the farm) and saw some truly dangerous stuff but not everyone in those areas are bad and/or dangerous. I agree. It’s the circumstances of life.

    Reply
  172. I know very little concrete info on my dad’s side. We know we were originally English/Welsh and we know that several generations (ending with my father) were farmers, tenant farmers, and indentured servant farmers. Not sure how we got here, but I can pretty much guess that we were one of those very poverty stricken families who put a son on a boat to go be an indentured servant until he served his time and could have a better life. My mom’s side were dentists and barbers in England, and second and third sons came here to the colonies (and then to the south) to build a clientele in the “new world”. My father was a police officer in east St. Louis (for which he left the farm) and saw some truly dangerous stuff but not everyone in those areas are bad and/or dangerous. I agree. It’s the circumstances of life.

    Reply
  173. I know very little concrete info on my dad’s side. We know we were originally English/Welsh and we know that several generations (ending with my father) were farmers, tenant farmers, and indentured servant farmers. Not sure how we got here, but I can pretty much guess that we were one of those very poverty stricken families who put a son on a boat to go be an indentured servant until he served his time and could have a better life. My mom’s side were dentists and barbers in England, and second and third sons came here to the colonies (and then to the south) to build a clientele in the “new world”. My father was a police officer in east St. Louis (for which he left the farm) and saw some truly dangerous stuff but not everyone in those areas are bad and/or dangerous. I agree. It’s the circumstances of life.

    Reply
  174. I know very little concrete info on my dad’s side. We know we were originally English/Welsh and we know that several generations (ending with my father) were farmers, tenant farmers, and indentured servant farmers. Not sure how we got here, but I can pretty much guess that we were one of those very poverty stricken families who put a son on a boat to go be an indentured servant until he served his time and could have a better life. My mom’s side were dentists and barbers in England, and second and third sons came here to the colonies (and then to the south) to build a clientele in the “new world”. My father was a police officer in east St. Louis (for which he left the farm) and saw some truly dangerous stuff but not everyone in those areas are bad and/or dangerous. I agree. It’s the circumstances of life.

    Reply
  175. I know very little concrete info on my dad’s side. We know we were originally English/Welsh and we know that several generations (ending with my father) were farmers, tenant farmers, and indentured servant farmers. Not sure how we got here, but I can pretty much guess that we were one of those very poverty stricken families who put a son on a boat to go be an indentured servant until he served his time and could have a better life. My mom’s side were dentists and barbers in England, and second and third sons came here to the colonies (and then to the south) to build a clientele in the “new world”. My father was a police officer in east St. Louis (for which he left the farm) and saw some truly dangerous stuff but not everyone in those areas are bad and/or dangerous. I agree. It’s the circumstances of life.

    Reply
  176. Iowa and Utah, in my parents’ case. Don’t forget the long hot summers 🙂 My parents came to Los Angeles, the land of opportunity and new beginnings, in the 1920s, and met here. Everybody else in their families pretty much stayed where they were.

    Reply
  177. Iowa and Utah, in my parents’ case. Don’t forget the long hot summers 🙂 My parents came to Los Angeles, the land of opportunity and new beginnings, in the 1920s, and met here. Everybody else in their families pretty much stayed where they were.

    Reply
  178. Iowa and Utah, in my parents’ case. Don’t forget the long hot summers 🙂 My parents came to Los Angeles, the land of opportunity and new beginnings, in the 1920s, and met here. Everybody else in their families pretty much stayed where they were.

    Reply
  179. Iowa and Utah, in my parents’ case. Don’t forget the long hot summers 🙂 My parents came to Los Angeles, the land of opportunity and new beginnings, in the 1920s, and met here. Everybody else in their families pretty much stayed where they were.

    Reply
  180. Iowa and Utah, in my parents’ case. Don’t forget the long hot summers 🙂 My parents came to Los Angeles, the land of opportunity and new beginnings, in the 1920s, and met here. Everybody else in their families pretty much stayed where they were.

    Reply
  181. If you were ever interested, and you know the names, you could go have a look at the ship’s passenger lists, preserved in the National Archives.
    https://www.archives.gov/research/immigration
    Leaving the farm seems to have been a considered and deliberate decision for many. Younger sons and spare daughters went off to better themselves and to leave more to be shared between the ones left at home.

    Reply
  182. If you were ever interested, and you know the names, you could go have a look at the ship’s passenger lists, preserved in the National Archives.
    https://www.archives.gov/research/immigration
    Leaving the farm seems to have been a considered and deliberate decision for many. Younger sons and spare daughters went off to better themselves and to leave more to be shared between the ones left at home.

    Reply
  183. If you were ever interested, and you know the names, you could go have a look at the ship’s passenger lists, preserved in the National Archives.
    https://www.archives.gov/research/immigration
    Leaving the farm seems to have been a considered and deliberate decision for many. Younger sons and spare daughters went off to better themselves and to leave more to be shared between the ones left at home.

    Reply
  184. If you were ever interested, and you know the names, you could go have a look at the ship’s passenger lists, preserved in the National Archives.
    https://www.archives.gov/research/immigration
    Leaving the farm seems to have been a considered and deliberate decision for many. Younger sons and spare daughters went off to better themselves and to leave more to be shared between the ones left at home.

    Reply
  185. If you were ever interested, and you know the names, you could go have a look at the ship’s passenger lists, preserved in the National Archives.
    https://www.archives.gov/research/immigration
    Leaving the farm seems to have been a considered and deliberate decision for many. Younger sons and spare daughters went off to better themselves and to leave more to be shared between the ones left at home.

    Reply
  186. I love to think of LA as being the ‘Land of Opportunity’. Apparently it was THE boomtown to seek out when your parents headed there.
    And it had, y’know, Hollywood. Yeah!

    Reply
  187. I love to think of LA as being the ‘Land of Opportunity’. Apparently it was THE boomtown to seek out when your parents headed there.
    And it had, y’know, Hollywood. Yeah!

    Reply
  188. I love to think of LA as being the ‘Land of Opportunity’. Apparently it was THE boomtown to seek out when your parents headed there.
    And it had, y’know, Hollywood. Yeah!

    Reply
  189. I love to think of LA as being the ‘Land of Opportunity’. Apparently it was THE boomtown to seek out when your parents headed there.
    And it had, y’know, Hollywood. Yeah!

    Reply
  190. I love to think of LA as being the ‘Land of Opportunity’. Apparently it was THE boomtown to seek out when your parents headed there.
    And it had, y’know, Hollywood. Yeah!

    Reply
  191. I am a very mixed mutt with ancestors from many parts of Europe, and I have to wonder sometimes about the experiences of immigrants throughout different times. One branch of my family was made up of the poorest of the poor among Italian immigrants – the ones who were considered expendable in the building of the Brooklyn bridge in New York. My great-grandmother supposedly died giving birth to my grandmother, but her family was so poor they had to put her in an orphanage. Once old enough, she masked her identity and passed herself off until her dying day as a French woman and not an Italian. I cannot even imagine the poverty they all endured, but I would love to be able to time travel back and see/hear/smell it all for myself for just a short while. Time travel proving elusive, I am grateful to the wonderful writers (like you, Joanna) who bring history to life with your words.

    Reply
  192. I am a very mixed mutt with ancestors from many parts of Europe, and I have to wonder sometimes about the experiences of immigrants throughout different times. One branch of my family was made up of the poorest of the poor among Italian immigrants – the ones who were considered expendable in the building of the Brooklyn bridge in New York. My great-grandmother supposedly died giving birth to my grandmother, but her family was so poor they had to put her in an orphanage. Once old enough, she masked her identity and passed herself off until her dying day as a French woman and not an Italian. I cannot even imagine the poverty they all endured, but I would love to be able to time travel back and see/hear/smell it all for myself for just a short while. Time travel proving elusive, I am grateful to the wonderful writers (like you, Joanna) who bring history to life with your words.

    Reply
  193. I am a very mixed mutt with ancestors from many parts of Europe, and I have to wonder sometimes about the experiences of immigrants throughout different times. One branch of my family was made up of the poorest of the poor among Italian immigrants – the ones who were considered expendable in the building of the Brooklyn bridge in New York. My great-grandmother supposedly died giving birth to my grandmother, but her family was so poor they had to put her in an orphanage. Once old enough, she masked her identity and passed herself off until her dying day as a French woman and not an Italian. I cannot even imagine the poverty they all endured, but I would love to be able to time travel back and see/hear/smell it all for myself for just a short while. Time travel proving elusive, I am grateful to the wonderful writers (like you, Joanna) who bring history to life with your words.

    Reply
  194. I am a very mixed mutt with ancestors from many parts of Europe, and I have to wonder sometimes about the experiences of immigrants throughout different times. One branch of my family was made up of the poorest of the poor among Italian immigrants – the ones who were considered expendable in the building of the Brooklyn bridge in New York. My great-grandmother supposedly died giving birth to my grandmother, but her family was so poor they had to put her in an orphanage. Once old enough, she masked her identity and passed herself off until her dying day as a French woman and not an Italian. I cannot even imagine the poverty they all endured, but I would love to be able to time travel back and see/hear/smell it all for myself for just a short while. Time travel proving elusive, I am grateful to the wonderful writers (like you, Joanna) who bring history to life with your words.

    Reply
  195. I am a very mixed mutt with ancestors from many parts of Europe, and I have to wonder sometimes about the experiences of immigrants throughout different times. One branch of my family was made up of the poorest of the poor among Italian immigrants – the ones who were considered expendable in the building of the Brooklyn bridge in New York. My great-grandmother supposedly died giving birth to my grandmother, but her family was so poor they had to put her in an orphanage. Once old enough, she masked her identity and passed herself off until her dying day as a French woman and not an Italian. I cannot even imagine the poverty they all endured, but I would love to be able to time travel back and see/hear/smell it all for myself for just a short while. Time travel proving elusive, I am grateful to the wonderful writers (like you, Joanna) who bring history to life with your words.

    Reply
  196. I feel that way about so much of history. How poor they were. How little they had. How hard life was.
    I live up in the hills of Appalachia. Not so far from me is an exhibit farm with buildings of the early Eighteenth Century. One of the Park Service interpreters there gives a lovely, thoughtful talk about the poverty of this life.
    He says — more of less — that, looking at history, we have to see it as the people themselves did.
    We see the cold morning and the hard work of mucking out the cow shed and milking the cow. For them this is ‘Thank God we’re still getting milk this late in the year’. It’s a victory to carry a pail into the house for the sisters and brothers.
    We see — the Park Ranger goes on — the few bare possessions left after a couple centuries. But the cabin in 1730 would have been full of people and talk and laughter and, in this part of the country, singing and musical instruments. Reading from the bible or the farmer’s almanac or the newspaper. Sewing a dress. Making a rag rug. Cooking a pie from the early apples. Shooing a hen off the stoop. All the gossip.
    They were dirt poor, he points out, but there’s no reason to believe they ‘felt poor’ when they had enough to get by on and everyone they knew was in more or less the same situation.

    Reply
  197. I feel that way about so much of history. How poor they were. How little they had. How hard life was.
    I live up in the hills of Appalachia. Not so far from me is an exhibit farm with buildings of the early Eighteenth Century. One of the Park Service interpreters there gives a lovely, thoughtful talk about the poverty of this life.
    He says — more of less — that, looking at history, we have to see it as the people themselves did.
    We see the cold morning and the hard work of mucking out the cow shed and milking the cow. For them this is ‘Thank God we’re still getting milk this late in the year’. It’s a victory to carry a pail into the house for the sisters and brothers.
    We see — the Park Ranger goes on — the few bare possessions left after a couple centuries. But the cabin in 1730 would have been full of people and talk and laughter and, in this part of the country, singing and musical instruments. Reading from the bible or the farmer’s almanac or the newspaper. Sewing a dress. Making a rag rug. Cooking a pie from the early apples. Shooing a hen off the stoop. All the gossip.
    They were dirt poor, he points out, but there’s no reason to believe they ‘felt poor’ when they had enough to get by on and everyone they knew was in more or less the same situation.

    Reply
  198. I feel that way about so much of history. How poor they were. How little they had. How hard life was.
    I live up in the hills of Appalachia. Not so far from me is an exhibit farm with buildings of the early Eighteenth Century. One of the Park Service interpreters there gives a lovely, thoughtful talk about the poverty of this life.
    He says — more of less — that, looking at history, we have to see it as the people themselves did.
    We see the cold morning and the hard work of mucking out the cow shed and milking the cow. For them this is ‘Thank God we’re still getting milk this late in the year’. It’s a victory to carry a pail into the house for the sisters and brothers.
    We see — the Park Ranger goes on — the few bare possessions left after a couple centuries. But the cabin in 1730 would have been full of people and talk and laughter and, in this part of the country, singing and musical instruments. Reading from the bible or the farmer’s almanac or the newspaper. Sewing a dress. Making a rag rug. Cooking a pie from the early apples. Shooing a hen off the stoop. All the gossip.
    They were dirt poor, he points out, but there’s no reason to believe they ‘felt poor’ when they had enough to get by on and everyone they knew was in more or less the same situation.

    Reply
  199. I feel that way about so much of history. How poor they were. How little they had. How hard life was.
    I live up in the hills of Appalachia. Not so far from me is an exhibit farm with buildings of the early Eighteenth Century. One of the Park Service interpreters there gives a lovely, thoughtful talk about the poverty of this life.
    He says — more of less — that, looking at history, we have to see it as the people themselves did.
    We see the cold morning and the hard work of mucking out the cow shed and milking the cow. For them this is ‘Thank God we’re still getting milk this late in the year’. It’s a victory to carry a pail into the house for the sisters and brothers.
    We see — the Park Ranger goes on — the few bare possessions left after a couple centuries. But the cabin in 1730 would have been full of people and talk and laughter and, in this part of the country, singing and musical instruments. Reading from the bible or the farmer’s almanac or the newspaper. Sewing a dress. Making a rag rug. Cooking a pie from the early apples. Shooing a hen off the stoop. All the gossip.
    They were dirt poor, he points out, but there’s no reason to believe they ‘felt poor’ when they had enough to get by on and everyone they knew was in more or less the same situation.

    Reply
  200. I feel that way about so much of history. How poor they were. How little they had. How hard life was.
    I live up in the hills of Appalachia. Not so far from me is an exhibit farm with buildings of the early Eighteenth Century. One of the Park Service interpreters there gives a lovely, thoughtful talk about the poverty of this life.
    He says — more of less — that, looking at history, we have to see it as the people themselves did.
    We see the cold morning and the hard work of mucking out the cow shed and milking the cow. For them this is ‘Thank God we’re still getting milk this late in the year’. It’s a victory to carry a pail into the house for the sisters and brothers.
    We see — the Park Ranger goes on — the few bare possessions left after a couple centuries. But the cabin in 1730 would have been full of people and talk and laughter and, in this part of the country, singing and musical instruments. Reading from the bible or the farmer’s almanac or the newspaper. Sewing a dress. Making a rag rug. Cooking a pie from the early apples. Shooing a hen off the stoop. All the gossip.
    They were dirt poor, he points out, but there’s no reason to believe they ‘felt poor’ when they had enough to get by on and everyone they knew was in more or less the same situation.

    Reply

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