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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FIGHT DISEASE WITH CLEANLINESS: 1936

Generations: 1938

Generations: 1938

September 1938. "Mother, wife and child of unemployed coal miner. Marine, West Virginia." View full size. 35mm negative by Marion Post Wolcott for the FSA.

 

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The Structure

From what I have read, the "house" was actually an abandoned company store.

Lost Marine

There's not much of a place there on Google maps or Live Search, just WV Highway 7. Mohegan is nearby and still on most maps. Welch is the nearest community of any size.

Deliverance

I can't get the theme music from the movie "Deliverance" out of my head.

The porch scene. The funny, toothless kid with the banjo and Ronny Cox with the guitar.

Coal Miner's Mother

I wonder how old the Gran was. Probably 45, but she looks 65.

Mixed Signals

Similar shacks are seen in many pictures of the era, precursors to today's mobile homes. Perhaps this one was a trailer not too long ago. Holes in the walls behind Grandma inside the trailer lend additional credence to the hard times. However, no one here looks like they are starving, especially the baby. One more sign of wealth - notice the baby is wearing shoes, which would have been a luxury 20 years before.

[This is not a trailer-shack but a largish two-story house. Marine was described by the photographer as "Abandoned mining community. Almost everyone on relief." - Dave]

Licensed

Either that's a really big RV, or they stuck an old license plate on the wall there, or what's left of the wall. Looks like they tear off the siding for firewood, or to make shingles to eat off of, or chew toys for the baby.

Ma likes to flaunt her cleavage, or just likes to be ready for feeding time.

So many ors.

The Women

These women look totally worn out, but the child looks fit. I hope their life improved. The husband probably went back to work as the war came closer and defense industries needed the coal.

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