Chega de “Black Fridays”!
Shorpy was born 114 years ago on November 23, 1896. After this photo was taken, he lived 17 more years until he died in a mining accident at the age of 31. This Thanksgiving, let’s raise a toast to his too-short but memorable life.
December 1910. “Shorpy Higginbotham, a ‘greaser’ on the tipple at Bessie Mine, Alabama, of the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Co. Said he was 14 years old, but it is doubtful. Carries two heavy pails of grease, and is often in danger of being run over by the coal cars.”
© Lewis Wickes Hine
Now, revisionist history aside, Thanksgiving is a great holiday. It is two full days during which most people in the U.S. are liberated from work and school. It comes at a time when the days are getting shorter, trees have lost their leaves, and we’re pulling the sweaters out from the back of our overstuffed closets. It’s the perfect time to cozy up and nest with friends and family. In the midst of our hectic year-end bustle, we get to spend two days pausing, recharging, looking into the faces of loved ones rather than into our computer screens. And, of course, remembering those who can’t be with us.
There’s one mother I especially think of on Black Friday: Marie Tellismond. Two years ago on Black Friday, Marie lost her 34-year-old son, Jdimytai Damour.
Jdimytai — known as Jimmy to his friends — had taken temporary job at a Walmart store in New York State, near his home. When the store opened at 5:00 in the morning, the crowds of shoppers — many of whom had been waiting in the cold for hours to score good deals — stormed the doors and trampled Jdimytai as he struggled to protect a pregnant woman from the stampede.
We have more and cooler stuff than our parents and grandparents could have ever imagined, but we pay dearly. We spend more time working and shopping than they did and we spend much less time in leisure, on vacation and with friends. What is the use of a brand new Pottery Barn table if we don’t have a gang of friends and neighbors to gather around it?
If we’re going to figure out how to build an economy and society that is healthy for people and the planet, this Friday is a good place to start.
Annie Leonard é diretora do “The Story of Stuff Project”