recently, life was pretty tough. Life expectancy was down, infant mortality was
up. For women, maternity leave in the 19th Century was little more than a short
nap before getting back to making soap or scalding hogs. For men, there was always
plenty of overtime available after fulfilling your standard 72-hour work week.
But who said anything about extra pay?
In an agricultural economy, leisure
time was either after the harvest or on Sunday afternoons. Even then, getting
one’s clothes ready for a church or a picnic was a major ordeal. When work was
finally over, people (after the initial physical collapse) might actually have
the energy for a smile or laugh.
This series, gleaned from photo collections
(ancestors were very big on gleaning) and / or sent in by readers, shows our antecedents
lightening-up, cutting loose, acting the fool, posing, posturing, cutting rugs,
cracking wise, pulling pranks and legs (with or without the benefits of beverage
See Guidelines for