So much to see in this picture, depending on which set of lenses one uses. The children in the picture might still be alive today, being now elderly people. Many would pray so.

DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist
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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • Don Quijote

    The children in the picture might still be alive today, being now elderly people.

    And are either crying or laughing their asses off depending on their personalities, as they are realizing that their great grand children are going to have a similar type of childhood to the one they had, thanks to the profligacy and short term thinking of their children and grand children.

  • JSpencer

    I see pride and determination in the mother’s eyes, also love and joy in the oldest child, toughness and suspicion in the eyes of the next, but as you say Dr. E there is much to see here. This is a very moving photo.

  • kritt11

    Its “The Grapes of Wrath” and the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” all in one!

    Thanks for a great picture of real Americana.

  • spirasol

    The one in the long dark coat is at the door……….the oldest son wants the mother to agree to cut a deal. The youngest daughter holds her mother’s real feelings, her rage and fear, the ones she has learned to soften, even if she has to face off with a landlord who dresses like the devil and who has abused her before. The other kid disassociates, staring off down the road, to another time, another life.

  • Ghostdreams

    Great pic.
    I wonder if the young one’s are still alive and what kind of life they led later on.
    Was it all repetition and if so, was it worth the all the suffering just to endure?
    Resignation, insanity expressed as temporal joy, seething anger and impotent dreaming.
    Too little for too many, a life of waste, pain and neglect…
    And I wonder to myself, if life is so sacred then why is it so very hard for so very many.
    It’s not really much different than the world we live in today though, is it?
    Just my $.02 worth.

  • Dr J

    It is a terrific, evocative photo. The government funded a lot of photography at the time through the Farm Security Administration, and many of the photos capture a similar rawness and dignity. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farm_Security_Administration#Photography_program)

  • Janjanjan

    At the Little White House near FD Roosevelt State Park in Georgia, I saw a book of photographs I wish I’d bought. The photographer spent many years capturing likenesses of children at work. The pictures were taken during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, and were extremely poignant. The impression that struck me most forcefully was how dirty the children were. Somehow, I’d been influenced by television and movie pictures which portray perfectly clean and healthy youngsters. These children were neither. We take for granted that all children have access to basic necessities–food, shelter, and clothing. Sometimes it is helpful to realize the ultimate price paid by children living in poverty. And, a family where breadwinners have no work, or who have lost their home, lives very close and can easily fall off the edge.

    I recognize that some states have unemployment insurance laws which seek to reduce employers’ liability, and that those laws may help them attract new business. But, when those states have 10%+ unemployment and they reject funds from the federal government which are intended to help families hold on to the margin, I am speechless. How is it that “principles” can prevent them from helping families, and especially the children? Do they want to return to a past where there was no safety net and those who who couldn’t find work ended up with nothing?

  • river

    A couple of years ago NPR did a segment on Folkstreams. . .

    Folkstreams is a National Preserve of Documentary Films about American Roots Cultures, such as Roots music, rural life, poverty, spoken word, and crafts to name a few, streamed with essays about the traditions and filmmaking. . .There are several that deal with the time period of the Great Depression. . .One is called Dreadful memories, The Life of Sarah Ogan Gunning. She was a Southern style acapella (sp). . .Her songs where of the tragedy and sorrow of her life. She was born and raised as a coal miner’s daughter. . .There are also many old films and documentaries that are interesting. . .

    Dr. E.. . .this is really interesting picture. . .lots of depth and complexity. . .look like strong folks. . .


  • MaggieJ

    I wonder how many myths and stories are hidden in the woman’s eyes? The Appalachian hills are full of stories and songs, I wonder if anyone has studied and mined them for their gems? Although it is not easy to get people to tell them, as their culture has been so demeaned by the rest of the country. But I love the music that comes from there and the stories those songs tellm and the dignity and pride that the people carry.