Saturday, September 21, 2013

Work during the 50s by Barbara Edwards

My husband and I

Tobacco drying shed
were driving though South Windsor Connecticut when I spotted tobacco drying in one of the old sheds and it reminded me of hot summers and cool autumns during my childhood.
If you don’t have a family member who smokes cigars, you’ve probably never heard of Connecticut Valley-grown broad leaf wrappers.
When Cuba was famous for their hand-rolled cigars, the premium wrapper in the world was grown in Connecticut. Shaded fields filled the farms of northern Connecticut. Tobacco is on crop that draws its flavor from the soil. The plants have been planted in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rico and other sites further south. They produce a useable leaf but it doesn’t have the flavor.
So, with the recent upsurge in cigar popularity, growers are opening the old fields.
In years past, the last weeks of high school had growers recruiting boys and girls to work in the tobacco fields for the summer. The farms would send a bus to pick up the workers in the early morning and return them around four pm.
This was in the days before itinerant farm workers and the guys were glad to do the hard job. They worked by the piece. A faster picker could bring home decent money.
The girls didn’t pick, they used a large needle threaded through the stems to make bunches that were then hung in the drying sheds.
My bother returned home filthy, covered in black dust from head to toe. He did this every summer until college.
I'm glad I got a job at the library.

Check out my new release, Journey of the Magi, with a happy ending in Connecticut.
Noel is struggling to keep her promise to her children. A blizzard in Minnesota, a broken down car and lack of money halts their journey to a home in Connecticut. When the man of her dreams offers his help and love, can she resist?

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Margo Hoornstra said...

Great memories. And what sounds like a great book. Think about how nice it is to have hard work part of our heritage.

Jannine Gallant said...

Wow, sounds like hard labor. Kids today are probably way too soft for that sort of work. I know my girls are! Best of luck with your new book, Barbara!

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Margo,
I look back and wonder if this generation could work as hard as our parents. Thanks for the good wishes.

Barbara Edwards said...

It was hard but the money was very good for the times.

Alicia Dean said...

Wow, interesting post. I would love to visit Connecticut someday. I am fascinated with that part of the country. I have Magi, just need to find a chance to read it...sounds wonderful!

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Alicia,
Come in the Fall for the foliage. Hope you find time soon.

Leah St. James said...

I had no idea tobacco was a crop in Connecticut. How fascinating! Fall foliage in the northeast can't be beat. Where I now live in southeastern Virginia, the colors aren't nearly as pretty. I miss that!

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Leah,
It's definitely returning. I wish I had pictures of the shades over the plants. Maybe next year.