Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Picking Cotton

Here's  a story my dad clearly remembers about getting a raw deal as a child laborer.  This took place in about 1944.

Who gave you your first job?   What kind of job was it?   How much money did you make?

A neighboring farmer in Arkansas gave me my first job--picking cotton.   The going rate was 1.5 cents per pound.   Mom sewed a bag into which I would put the cotton.  She made if from feed sacks.   My friend's mom did the same for him.  We were the only hired hands.

The farmer showed us how to pick the cotton, whereupon we each took a row.   We chatted about how much cotton must now be in the bag and fantasized it was a great many pounds.    At length we asked the farmer to weigh our cotton and empty the bags.    Each of us had picked only 4 pounds. Since it was time for lunch we asked to be paid before breaking;  the farmer gladly gave each of us 6 cents.  We chose to not go back after lunch.   I think the farmer was not surprised. 


Finding My Mom said...

I'm sorry I didn't discover your blog earlier in the challenge. This is just the kind of family memories I like to read.

I'm about halfway through and will finish the rest another time.

Nicely done.

Anne Young said...


I just found your blog through reading the A to Z reflections. I am too exhausted to write on my reflections but I am a little interested to read those of others and what they hoped to get out of blogging.

Like you I blog on my family history, though normally about people who are long dead as I don't want to upset the living. When I think about who I am writing for, it is for my children and my immediate family. If others find my blog interesting that is great, but I really want to share the stories and research with people I already know.

I didn't get many new followers or comments, it didn't matter - my children really enjoyed the A to Z and offered up suggestions as to what I should write for each letter :)

I think this post on picking cotton is terrific - it is very atmospheric. A relative would be thrilled to find the story. More generally it is just a fascinating insight into the time and place. It is also timeless - I can really relate to the sensation of having done a lot of work and it not adding up to much in the eyes of somebody else.

Anne from Australia