Why I have Lots of Dead People On My Wall
And how it has become an important part of my daily routine
No one was hurt in the making of this post. Now that the disclaimer is out the way, let’s jump in.
Earlier this month, I wrote about the photographer Lewis Hine. I talked a little about his work and all the good he did in the world. He should get more recognition, but that’s another conversation.
When I wrote that, it wasn’t just because I needed some kind of content to write. I do admire him and have one of his photographs from the early 1900's hanging up in my living room right now.
It depicts between 30 and 50 children of different ages. Their ages range from about 7 to 16. They are “Breaker Boys.” These kids would work 6 days a week 12 hours a day.
The work was back breaking. They would be deep in a tunnel moving rock and dirt the whole time. There was no sunlight. There was no lunch breaks, benefits, or room for advancement.
They did this to put a few extra cents into the family income. They worked to help support the family at a young age. Rarely did people go to school back then.
The faces’ of these young men are rugged. They are dirty. They have the faces of 40 year old men. If they came into a bar today, I wouldn’t ID them.
Despite their tough lives that often ended tragically and early, some of these boys are smiling. Maybe they are happy to pose for picture since it means a break.
Maybe they feel accomplished and proud of the work they are doing. Maybe the work they did that day was enough to put a loaf of bread on the table for a sickly parent or sibling.
Whatever the reason, it always amazes me. I look at this picture every day early in the morning before I leave for work. I take a few seconds or a minute to try to find a new face in the crowd.
I think of how they would feel to be in my shoes. To have their own place with plenty of food in the fridge. To have some kind of future that didn’t involve being underground.
I feel ashamed when I think my job is tough. Here I am complaining about working 40 hours a week when they were working 72 hours a week at 10 years old.
The picture helps me to be grateful for where I am and the things I’ve done up to this point.
It makes me want to work harder. I have no reason to not smile today when they were smiling.
It is a humbling experience for me. It had such an impact on me that it has become part of my daily routine. It may not be for everyone, but it helps me to start the day off grateful and in a positive mood.
If anyone is interested, I purchased it here. I do not own the shop and do not know the owner. I make no money should you decide to purchase anything.
I just wanted to share something I find really cool. They sell all kinds of old pictures and I know there are some history buffs out there that might enjoy it.
I think more people should find some kind of routine that gets them in the right mindset in the morning. It could be looking at an old picture or anything else.
Try to get into that routine and start every day off on a good note. It can only be beneficial to you.
If you’re reading this, you are blessed and have things to be grateful for.
Make sure you smile today.