Lilly’s window of bliss


Thank you, Roger Shipp, for again anchoring (you’ve probably heard that pun too many times) Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. I had to edit MANY times to get within 200 words (see my comment below). This is such a poignant picture with so true a tale to tell.

Lilly found her moments of bliss in those minutes before the whistle blew to start shift. She could look out the window an see snatches of sky, sometimes the arc of dawn, below a few spindly trees, and tufts of green grass.  And up here, it was quiet. At home, there were always raised voices, thuds of fists, screams of pain, the newest baby crying. Here, silence like she imaged you heard in one of those beautiful big churches what the fancy folks went to.

“I know it’s only been 3 weeks”, she thought, since the foreman had transferred her upstairs. “Youse tall ‘nough now, and nimble, so up ya go.” The work was harder and more dangerous, but she’s get paid 2 more pennies a month – information she’d not yet told her father. Two pennies for her, not for the barkeep up Darbin Road, or that woman on Flower Street.

“Only 3 weeks, the foreman sputtered. “Musnt’ve learnted how to do it right.”

“Only 3 weeks, her father cursed and spat. “I ain’t even getttin’ her full month’s pay.”

“Only 3 weeks,” the smaller children on the bottom factory floor whispered, sizing each other up, and keeping their heads down.

I refrained from a history lesson on child labour – I’m known to get historically hysterical. I actually just finished a work of fiction this evening in which child labour in silk and cloth mills played a role, before looking at Roger’s picture for this week. So, the Lillies of the world (then and now) were on my mind.



24 thoughts on “Lilly’s window of bliss

  1. luckyjc007 March 7, 2016 / 12:09 am

    I will never understand how people can treat children like that. It is so sad and cruel! Well written story. :)


    • taleweavering March 10, 2016 / 1:37 am

      Neither will I ever understand. And it seems so child anywhere in the work is safe from harm.


  2. bikurgurl March 6, 2016 / 3:59 pm

    I had the same thoughts on child labor and couldn’t get past it either with this image, but am so happy this is the image he chose this week.


    • taleweavering March 7, 2016 / 10:56 am

      A tough topic. Knowing it from a historical perceptive makes today’s abuses seem like we are devolving again. Unfortunately, it’s something we have to keep thinking about.

      Liked by 1 person

      • bikurgurl March 7, 2016 / 11:22 am

        Agreed – ‘those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it’


  3. writersdream9 March 6, 2016 / 1:37 pm

    The photo sparks that doesn’t it? Your repetition of the phrase adds so much to the story. Very good!


  4. summerstommy2 March 4, 2016 / 6:32 pm

    I love how you captured the vernacular, and yes it generates so many sad stories the thought of a life spent like this….well done my friend…


    • taleweavering March 5, 2016 / 6:11 pm

      Thank you — I might go back into the topic, and provide some historical background — like a Royal Commission Canada had in the 1880s, laws, etc.
      Sad too that this happens elsewhere still.

      Liked by 1 person

      • summerstommy2 March 5, 2016 / 6:53 pm

        So sad it is allowed to happen that some men still see other humans as disposable….


        • taleweavering March 6, 2016 / 6:51 am

          Yep! Slavery still exists, too. And forced child prostitution. Buying and selling of donor organs, children, and other dark and evil things.
          Damn, we do devolve at times.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. angietrafford March 4, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    This is why I ignored that topic with my story :-) yours is very well written, though, so very well done!


    • taleweavering March 8, 2016 / 12:25 am

      Thanks — I guess because I know some about the history of it, that was the first thought that came to mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. amymorrisjones March 4, 2016 / 10:31 am

    I find this time of history really interesting, too. I like that you highlight that the factories were sometimes an escape from worse situations, something we don’t often think about since we’re focused on the wrongs of child labor.


    • taleweavering March 8, 2016 / 12:26 am

      Gosh yes — when you read about living conditions, abuse, homelessness, scratching out a living — childhood began to exist for the middle class, but not for the lower class/poor in so many cases.


      • amymorrisjones March 8, 2016 / 11:39 am

        I read a book in college about the evolution of the concept of “childhood” to what it is today–fascinating! It’s hard to imagine a world where children aren’t prized, but not so long ago, their value was more economic than anything else.


        • taleweavering March 10, 2016 / 2:07 am

          And, in places of war, civil unrest, extreme poverty, children don’t really get childhoods still. So sad.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. The Voice March 4, 2016 / 9:37 am

    I think you and I had the same mindset with this photo. Well done.


    • taleweavering March 4, 2016 / 11:28 am

      Thank you.
      Your story was so heart-breakingly true. Your inclusion of a discussion and links makes me want to amend my piece and go on one of my historical rants.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Voice March 4, 2016 / 12:06 pm

        Don’t hold back. I find it’s better to get it out and see what ripples may come from your actions than to stay quiet. If you feel compelled (as I did) to carry on the conversation well… that’s why we have blogs, isn’t it? :)

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Priceless Joy March 4, 2016 / 8:32 am

    Great story, Phylor. Child labor is so horrible and this shows that well!


    • taleweavering March 8, 2016 / 12:27 am

      Thanks PJ (if PJ is okay) — the sad and horrifying thing is child labour still exists.


      • Priceless Joy March 8, 2016 / 5:28 am

        Yes, PJ is fine! That is sad that child labor still exists in this world but as far as I know, it doesn’t exist in the U.S.


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