As you know we Wenches like to talk about history, so it seems right to start off today with a small snippet on the origins of Labor Day here in the U.S. (For our international readers, the first Monday of September is celebrated as a national holiday to honor the achievements of the American worker.)
The late 1880s were not a great time to be toiling in the United States—the average worker put in 12-hour days, seven days a week, and many children as young as six and seven were employed in mills and mines. As unions formed to agitate for better working conditions, the clashes between workers and businesses sometimes turned ugly.
Perhaps one of the most infamous examples was the Pullman strike in 1894, when labor leader Eugene V, Debs called for a nationwide Pullman strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. With the railroads crippled, the federal government intervened, sending federal troops to Chicago to break the strike. In the ensuing riots, over a dozen workers were killed. It was to calm working-class sentiment that the government quickly recognized “Labor Day,” a celebration that had been gaining momentum in a number of states, as an official federal holiday later that same year.
But on a lighter note, this weekend is also celebrated as the end of summer, with lots of parties, parades and general merriment before everyone buckles back down to school and the office routine. Of course, it’s always a little sad to see summer, with its long lazy days and laid-back pace, end. But as I look back, I’m smiling over the nice times I had over the last few months. Here are a few snapshots of the highlights of my summer fun. (Top to bottom: the flowers on the beach lagoon near where I live; I love walking in early evening during the summer and fix plot twists as I play golf; my wild raspberries which recovered from Hurricane Sandy to ripen in July; seeing fellow Wenches Mary Jo and Jo at RWA in July, where Mary Jo was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award; an August NYC get-together with my best friends from college.
So what about you? What’s one of your favorite memories from this past summer? Did you travel anywhere special? Meet with old friends? Read a memorable book? Please share!