Thursday, September 07, 2017


Grandma Frances, the hardest worker I ever knew!

I realize this is a few days late, but the Labor Day holiday always was to my eyes, a holiday of heroes. Labor Day was the day that was especially dedicated to immigrant workers, the guys from the “other side” who toiled in innominate and unheralded glory. They were the Irish cops, the Polish welders, the Italian construction workers and all the people from South America, Asia and Europe who could hardly speak English but used their backs and hands, the sweat of their brows and the strength of their bodies to build America for their children and grandchildren, to wash away the prejudice that was directed toward them because they did not have a birth certificate that said: “Born in the USA”.

It was a day that families celebrated those that took up the mantle of providers and protectors, who poured their bodies into everyday tasks without hope of a vacation that was in anyway than the rest of their days.

Back in the day, when jobs were important to a family where the breadwinner was Poppa, and Mamma stayed home to raise the children, their lives centered on the job. Poppa’s job ensured food on the table, rent for a roof over a family’s head and tuition for an education. Poppa made the money and Mamma carefully and prudently spent it. Wise was the ways of those wonderful people that taught their children right from wrong, the value of money and that love came in both heart and soul.

Some families defied the odds when Mamma needed to go to work on an assembly line or a sewing machine, pouring out the hours and labor and sacrifice to make ends meet. The everyday regimen was dictated by the time-clock, the hope for overtime and the dream that the overtime would help pay for a college fund, a wedding or graduation in the future.

But in all their labor and sacrifice, one underlying thread was always common, the fact that all that labor, pain and sacrifice was for their children, the unheard of but deeply felt: Love.


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