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All Tucked In: 1941

All Tucked In: 1941

March 1941. "Mother and children from North Carolina farm. They came to Norfolk, Virginia, so husband and older sons could get employment in defense industries." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Today’s Top 5

Three to a Bed

Wasn't always bad but my two little brothers -- four and five years younger -- had a bad habit of wetting the bed. So except for wintry nights when it was cozy, I often slept on the floor, rolled in my blanket.

Looks Familiar

Two of my brothers and I shared a bed for a number of years. We would hold singing contests and vote for the winner. Being the middle brother, I got the middle and was always warm enough in Minnesota winters with surplus army wool blankets.

We would do back scratches like the Three Stooges. We would laugh and make noise until our grandmother would threaten us with her shoe. And she knew how to use her shoe having raised 15 children herself. Great memories.

Problem solved

If my siblings and I had had to sleep like that, we'd have killed each other. That would reduce the overcrowding.

Sharing a bed

I'm the youngest of 9, and for the first 3-4 years of my life, I shared a bed with my youngest sister, and my brother. There were 3 bedrooms other than my parents room, so the three of us not only shared a bed, there were 6 of us total in that bedroom. Some would call this tough times, but it made the family bonds all that much stronger. The funniest part of this was that two of my sisters used to talk in their sleep. As each one would speak, the other would hear it and respond, even though the conversations were unrelated.

Class clown

Looks like Mama is chuckling over the young'un who's pretending to be asleep. There's always that one.

When you have no space to give

Too bad John Vachon did not identify his subjects by name. Some of these five kids, plus at least two older sons mentioned, might show up in an Internet search.

The mother's pride as she looks at her children is heartwarming. The walls are in much better shape than Piano Man's. But small children sleeping directly on a mattress does not usually work out well.

Crowded quarters!

So, when come winter, 6 dogs??

A very precarious perch for those canning jars.

I just wonder how long they survived those five kids. One looks a little wobbly as we speak.

Pleasantly Satisfied

Mom’s very pleased with her bugs in a rug.

No sheet!

Poor little pooters in the right bed do not even have a bottom sheet, just sleeping on the bare mattress.

I have slept many nights with several of my siblings in the same bed. Sometimes, if we had company, we’d have to sleep half with our heads one way and half the other way, at the foot of the bed. One advantage is plenty of warmth!

Once on a bonechilling night we had so many quilts we could not turn over; had to get out of bed to turn over. On those cold nights, you hope you would not have to go to the outdoor toilet. No matter which way the outhouse was oriented, the wind always seemed to blow in the back and up through the openings.

All I Can Hear Is,

"Good night, John-Boy", "Good night, Mary Ellen", "Good night, Jim-Bob!"
Those are some close quarters. I've had to share a room with a sibling, but never a bed!

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