As a young person you hear constantly about how much tougher people were back in the day. They had to walk up a hill both ways through snow to get to school and the food industry basically allowed severed fingers in meats til about 1907, but holy shit this picture is INSANE to me.
I didn't realize how bad ass kids were back then. Look at this picture; just like 20 kids messing around on a jungle-gym no less than 30 feet off the ground. I know people will say this country is getting too soft and children are too coddled, but at least parents nowadays actually care about their children's well being. How did nobody in 19whatever stop this?
What this picture really does is just reiterate my hypothesis that love didn't really exist in most families until after WWII. It wasn't until returning from the horrors of war (for some; a second time) that people realized you should probably try to be happy in life. That's how the idea of the American Dream started. Generations finally realized it's okay to relax and not work 22.5 hours a day so you can die of old age at 35.
When I was in school learning about the U.S. from basically the Constitution to when the boys came back from overseas in 1945; I started to think the idea that you were "supposed to love your spouse and children" was not commonly practiced. I'm sure there were a few people early to the trend, but there's no way the majority of people loved their families AND allowed them to do the things that went down before the baby-boom.
I mean look at the way people used to treat their children, let's start with the obvious: Child Labor. Child Labor wasn't completely illegal until 1938 and for the kids who were lucky enough to go to school they got beaten with rulers and climbed what I'm sure was not very sturdy metal poles for fun. If they made it to class after recess it was time for intro-to-steel or Model T assembly. You're going to tell me with a straight face people cared about their kids and let them work in factories at 6 years old? GTFO! Nope!
In 1893 your 6 year old son was just another employee to you to help keep a roof over you, your wife and your 14 kids' heads in your 2 room apartment.
Plus 1938 is really not that long ago, there are plenty of people still alive when kids could be working 60 hour weeks in the textile mills (until they would eventually catch on fire). It's like when you think about how women couldn't vote until 1920, or black people until 1965. Smh @ everybody with power. It's crazy how crazy (sweet sentence) this country was not even 100 years ago. (Spoiler Alert: It still is)
Since you were having litters of anywhere from 8-18 children (who were really just like your own little slaves) and a decent percentage wouldn't see adulthood; you just didn't have the time to develop a loving relationship with your kids. Why waste the time to love your son or daughter or even learn their name were they're gonna get smallpox and be gone before the time it takes you go out to the ice box to grab some salted meats for dinner?
Also arranged marriages were pretty common until the 18th century in the US. So that pretty much eliminates the idea of falling in love with your spouse for the first century of America's existence. Then in the 1800's people were too busy trying to explore this country. There was no time to worry about your wife or children when you were going across the country on a covered wagon with your entire town. You had to make sure you weren't going to get stampeded by Buffaloes. Also people who immigrated to the US during the great waves of immigration in the mid to late 1800's to early 1900's also had arranged marriages set up, usually to make it easier to get into the country.
No wonder why families used to have 18 kids. In addition to no birth control (other than your wife dying during labor) people would have to make up for the 6 kids that would die before they turned 5 years old. After looking at this picture I'm guessing you also had to make up for the 3 kids who would die everyday at recess. There must have been body bags everywhere from the kids who were climbing the framing of a skyscraper that was being constructed for the big new city.
I mean seriously, how tall was this thing? At least if you were lucky enough to survive recess, you knew you weren't going to be doing this for very long since after about 4 years of school it would be time to drop out to go to work full time at the ripe old age of 9.
Just study this picture for like a minute, there's soooo much going on. First off this "jungle-gym" is at least 30 feet in the air. I counted and there are at least 11 kids on the top level on this thing. 11!! That's a football team full of kids just hanging out during school on what was probably the tallest structure in whatever town in Texas this picture was taken in. That means there could be 11 different families worth of kids doing this. There wasn't one who said "you know what? maaaaaaybe it's not the best idea to have Clarence and Harold climbing 200 feet into the air to balance on a pipe?"
Not only is this contraption about 200 feet tall but it also has benches placed directly underneath. So when you did fall to your death at 7 years old you aren't even going to have the luxury of dying from hitting a flat surface. Nope, you get to die falling on a park bench. Even the way people died was more manly than we do now. If you don't have the bench break your fall, don't worry, there's a kid riding a damn bicycle underneath this death trap as well!
Didn't somebody have a hoop they can push with a stick instead?