Across New England, the spire on city hall typically had prominent clock. Its purpose, I’m told, wasn’t just civic pride.
No, it was to keep the mill owners in check, just in case they were tinkering with their own clocks to squeeze unpaid time out of their workers.
It’s comforting to know the town fathers could stand up to corporate powers. Most of the owners, by the way, lived far from these sources of their wealth. Many of them were Boston Brahmins clustered around Harvard.
In honor of the workers and those who stand up for them, Happy Labor Day.
At one point in earlier versions of my new novel, What’s Left, I envisioned her family using their financial resources to drive an alternative local economy. The concept survives in the final version of the book, although this passage was boiled way down and many of the details changed:
Dimitri admits our enterprises will operate at the fringes of the economy.
He anticipates other extensions. We’ll encourage other friends to open a bakery. A guitar maker will join in a folk music shop. Rural skills like chair-caning and quilting will find a market here. Not everything we encourage will be quaint, as we’ll discover. Technology might include not just Baba’s darkroom and cameras but recording studios, computer designers, and solar entrepreneurs as well.
Or, as I noted in another now-deleted passage:
With patience, we’ll assure our dilapidated neighborhood just off campus undergoes rebirth.
Money issues – especially of an emotional, theological, and personal nature – are a topic I believe worthy of deep discussion. Just look to my Talking Money series archived at my Chicken Farmer I Still Love You blog for inspiration. Admittedly, they’re too big for this novel, though now I’m beginning to wonder about another, maybe as a series of telephone conversations? Please, somebody talk some sense into me!
(Oh, my, now I’m recalling that “financially secure” line in the old personals ads and still wondering exactly what the women meant by that – a guy who has a regular job with benefits or a seven-figure portfolio instead?)
Thinking of operating at the fringes of the larger economy, though, good things can happen. Where do you imagine an infusion of “greenback energy” might empower you or your friends to better the world as we know it?
In my new novel, What’s Left, the family’s nest egg was built by living on one income – in a single household – while everyone worked at the restaurant. The surplus went into savings and investments. Once the kids come along, their earnings also go in the pooled income, to be drawn out for college or marriage. Over time, as the family grows, the house has parents, grandparents, kids, aunts, uncles, and cousins. What a circus!
As for pocket money? Take it from the till? Some places, yes. And some places, no.
They’re about to start over, in a way, when Cassia’s father-to-be shows up.
Mrs. Richardson had been yelling at the kid the fifth-grade girl who came around to our door begging money to pay the babysitter Mrs. Richardson yelled at the grandchild for three days, and spanked her then they were crying, in different parts of the building all the while, their phonograph repeated “the angels sing, glory […]
A three-year-old girl held a life-size Mr. ZIP’s cardboard hand in her own while waiting for Daddy or an interior lobby stoplight to change. Can we go now? These days, she must be my wife’s age. To continue, click here. Copyright 2015