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September 7, 2009 / theoldsilly

The Adventures of Adam Atom – History Class in Session

Sshhh! C’mon in, have a seat on the beach. No Big Bang Broo-haha today, Adam Atom is holding a history lesson. Please – be seated. We have lots of lawn chairs if you don’t want to get sand in your thongs. Okay, here we go – Adam is just now walking up to speak-

Adam Atom Human Form 1Hello and welcome, bloggy peeps. Glad you could blog in for today’s commemorative class on what is annually celebrated not only in the United States these days, but also Canada and quite a few other industrialized nations including Greece, Italy, The Philipines, The Bahamas, Israel, Jamaica, Turkey, China, Germany – the list is quite long.

american flagcanadian flaggreek flagTurkey Flag

I’m referring of course to Labor Day. At my age, some 15 billion years, you can imagine I’m quite the history buff. I’ve been a molecular part of every major and minor event in all of history so I can speak from direct experience. And I won’t be taking a lot of your time today. I just wanted to share with you some of the history behind what is now not much more than an excuse to get off work and go on a picnic. Cuz I was there.

I was there on September 5, 1882 in New York City. I was a part of the hair piece for Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, who is said to be the founder of Labor Day. I was a dust particle on the floor in the meeting room when the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic in 1882 and 1883. labor day parade

I had a perfect view of the demonstration parades, hanging out in a mulberry tree, and the picnics were fabulous. Although I got eaten in 1883. The digestive process can be quite foul – even when you don’t have a nose.

That first year, 10,000 workers took an unpaid day off to march. Pretty commited! And remember, back then, a work day was often 16 hours, with no minimum wages set yet, and often in miserable working conditions. Starting to get the reason behind the movement?

congress in sessionI was there, in a lemon wax molecule, shining away on the freshly polished mahogony woodwork in 1938, when Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, mandating a minimum wage at a – get this – whopping $.25 per hour.

labor day 1

I was there, a grease smudge atom on the hand of a happy camper young man (that’s me on the blond kid’s left hand on the left) in the factory when he got his first job where he only had to work eight hours and would be earning $2.00 a day! Smiles all around the machines everywhere that day!

I was there, as a button on a white cotton shirt being stored away in the closet for the next 5 or 6 months in the Flabor day 2all of 1939. Back in the day, one of the fashion rules was “No White After Labor Day.” Yup, switch to colors and don’t wear white in the Fall and Winter if ya wanted to be in and cool, daddyo.

So those are some tidbits to chew on along with your spare ribs, mac and cheese, tuna salad and/or whatever else you’re feasting on today as we celebrate Labor Day. Have  cold one for me, and let’s remember and revere the people who struggled against mighty odds and made sacrifices so that we today can work in conditions and receive compensation for our labors that are quantum leaps better than what our great, great, great Great Grandfather and Grandmothers had.

Thanks for blogging in, toodles gang – I’m off to the park. The Old Silly and his family invited me to join in the fun. I’ll be back next Monday with a return to the kind of atomically smashing adventures that’ll have you quivering down to your quarks, guaranteed. So I’ll sign off for now with a “Big Bang!”


big bang

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Leave a Comment
  1. Elizabeth Spann Craig / Sep 7 2009 8:45 am

    Happy Labor Day, Marvin! Thanks for the interesting history lesson (with pics included!)

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Cactus Annie / Sep 7 2009 9:39 am

    Thanks Adam and Old Silly – what a fun way to give a little history lesson! Have a wonderful Labor Day!

  3. quirkyloon / Sep 7 2009 9:41 am

    Labor? Day?

    And here I thought it was just about another Law and Order marathon!

    Hee hee

    Very good reminder post Marvin!

    Yes, I’m grateful that work conditions have improved vastly!

    And thanks to the little guy for giving us his point of view. Rock on Adam Atom!

  4. theoldsilly / Sep 7 2009 9:49 am

    Elizabeth, Cactus & Quidky – You’re welcome and have a GREAT holiday, from Adam and the Old Silly!

  5. yvonne lewis / Sep 7 2009 10:08 am

    A most enlightening history lesson, really enjoyed the post.


  6. L. Diane Wolfe / Sep 7 2009 11:28 am

    We owe a lot to those 10,000 workers!

    And Adam is looking good in that cape!

  7. Helen Ginger / Sep 7 2009 12:52 pm

    Oooh, almost like being back at college and sitting in a huge room listening to the wizened prof. Thanks for the lesson Adam.

    Straight From Hel

  8. Ron Berry / Sep 7 2009 1:04 pm

    Thanks also to Woodie Guthrie and others who fought for unions to make for fair qnd equitable working conditions for the workers.

    Good post Marv, happy labor day!

    • theoldsilly / Sep 7 2009 2:32 pm

      Same to you Ron – and good mention of all that Woddy Guthrie did.

  9. theoldsilly / Sep 7 2009 2:33 pm

    Yvonne, thanks!

    Diane – yes, rather studly looking in his caped swimwear, is he not? 😉

    Helen – Adam said to tell you he thinks you’re one of the most promising students in his class! lol

  10. Crystal Clear Proofing / Sep 7 2009 3:14 pm

    Marvin and Adam, I enjoy your posts so much. A wonderful tribute and entertaining as well! A very pleasant day to you – Adam be careful, don’t get eaten or inhaled today. There are people looking forward to next Monday’s Adam Atom adventure! 😉

  11. Galen Kindley / Sep 7 2009 4:39 pm

    As you know, Marv, I like to learn about history, so this was an especially interesting post for me. Did not know, for example, about the holiday in other countries, nor, did I realize the standard work day used to be 16 hours..or up to, I guess. Wow. That’s a long day, even if you like your work..and most don’t. Good job.

    Best Regards, Galen
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

    • theoldsilly / Sep 7 2009 4:59 pm

      Hey thanks Galen – I thought of you when I was putting this together! 😉

  12. NA Sharpe / Sep 7 2009 8:10 pm

    Now THAT was quite a history lesson. Thanks for the entertaining way you and Adam present it. Love to hear Adam’s point of view – he has, after all seen it all!

    Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

  13. Kazimiro / Sep 8 2009 4:57 am

    It’s Labor Day Weekend. Have a nice day!!


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