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Sunday, December 23, 2012

1915 - 2012

  Some cites on Google say the unemployment rate in the United States in 1915 was seven percent, others nine, and one stated that ten and a half percent in Chicago were unemployed.

  In those days sanitation was not as clean as today, the streets were filled with horses, their waste and flies. We often think of the romance of the horse and buggy days but seldom reflect on the urine and feces flowing freely through the streets, where people stepped and women dragged their skirts. Except for the wealthy elite, most had one coat which was passed on down to younger siblings or from parents to children. Cleaning a coat in 1915 novel. Rugs were hung on the line and beaten to remove loose sediment. Milk was unpasteurized, not necessarily a bad thing, but an easy breeding ground for every thing. Refrigeration was a chunk of ice chopped at your doorstep by the man who rode around town in his wagon. Lye was the soap of choice or the only choice. Clothes were ironed with a heated piece of cast iron placed on the same wood burning stove that prepared food.

  It is 1915, the streets are filthy, people are hungry and out of work. Worry is mounting, how to feed the family, each day eating less and less. Sleepless nights further weaken the populace. War breaks out, men are leaving their families to die on foreign soil. Some service men never left fifty miles from home, die and are buried thousands of miles from their family.

  Still unemployment is high, people are becoming weaker, the nation as a wave of humanity is flowing to the abyss, around the corner the influenza epidemic which will erase the millions of specs of the foam of the wave. And nothing will stop it. Fatigue, filth, hunger, fear, and want will meet on the battlefield and win the skirmish with man/and wo-man. A cough shared in the same room, a hand shake, a kiss, a piece of paper passed from one to another and an epidemic is born to run its course. Mass graves, mass mourning and a major event is recorded for the future.

  And here it is 2012 on the doorstep of 2013. Unemployment is high, Super Storm Sandy made sanitation in many states a challenge, people are hungry, they are afraid, they are homeless, living in the streets, sharing the dirt with their neighbor. Clean water no longer flowing from pipes, heat again from burning wood, carcasses floating down main street a main stream on the doorstep of history repeating, it is different, yet, it is the same. Will we be prepared, will we be ready, will we care, or will they.

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