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It’s Labor Day!

It’s Labor Day here in the United States, which means the end of summer, BBQs, and mattress sales.
Surely there wasn’t a national movement for just those sorts of things…turns out, much like many of our national holidays now steeped in more commercial traditions, this one has some history to it! According to the History Channel website “Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.”
Aha! Yes!

It is a day to honor those who worked their fingers to the bone, their muscles to breaking, and who wanted more for the American worker that would come later.
That’s pretty cool.

I thank them as I work from home in air conditioned comfort in my stretchy pants and sip the soda that was super cheap because of a Labor Day sale.
It honors them. Well…maybe.
Anyway, I raise my beverage of choice to them, and thank them for fighting for 8 hour work days, decent pay, workplace safety, not having my kid doing hard labor in a factory, and all the other things we take for granted these days.

From the Hatfeathers archives (a file of old pics on my computer):
one of my Great Uncle’s war buddies enjoying the first of what appears might be many bottles of Dick’s Beer.

Feel free to make your own dirty joke about the name.
cooling off

Speaking of my Great Uncle Eugene, here he is posing under a sign bearing his name as Foreman at the Brown Shoe Factory.
So many shoes…American made shoes!
Brown Shoe Factory

Here’s a famous photo of American workers:”Men on a Girder” by Charles Ebbett, showing men taking a lunch break as they build up the New York City skyline.
I, however, prefer to call it “Hell No, No Way, Does Your Mother Know You’re Up There, Holy Crap, Don’t Drop Anything”.
I’m not keen on heights.
Men on a Girder by Charles Ebbett SM

They’re lumberjacks, and they’re OK!
They’ve cut down a tree with a six-foot wide trunk with something people hang over their couch as an antique.

I had to saw down a 3″ wide branch once.
I got a splinter and it hurt. I would have starved to death back then.

Of course, as a lady, I like to make sure to single out the women in the work force.
Like these gals, assembling the 1942 Sears catalog. By hand.

If you ever find an old catalog with blood on it, it was probably from one of these gals. So many paper cuts.
assembling 1942 Sears catalog

Of course, women worked hard even before they had traditional jobs outside of the home. Can you imagine doing your laundry on a wash board? The pressure of gardening when it was make or break, because what you canned now was what you ate in February? One bad run of early blight could mean starvation.

Once the men went off to war, there was a national push for women to do what they’d always done, but harder and on their own while also working outside the home.

She wears a shirtwaist and heels, curls in a scarf, and defeats communism. Bam!
Women Worker Slapping Hitler

A 1943 war propaganda poster let’s the war time gal know she’s an important part of the effort.
Except for the 133rd Naked Brigade…they prefer the element of surprise.
1943 war propaganda poster

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the “Rosies” in a salute to laborers.
My husband’s Great Aunt was the tiniest little wisp of a thing. Her job was riveting in the hard to reach crevasses of airplanes. That’s pretty cool.
We Can Do It sm

With so many of the men out shooting and flying and fighting, someone had to be back home building the planes and packing the bombs.
Women stepped up and did their part.
A Rosie at Work

Even the smallest job was important, such as checking the electrical assemblies on aircraft.
No pressure. Fabulous rayon dress, by the way!
Woman aircraft worker Vega Aircraft Corporation Burbank Shown checking electrical assemblies 1942 June