18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Friday, October 3, 1913: Working for wages.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Grandma worked long days on her father’s farm husking corn. Did she ever wish that she had a job in town—maybe as a clerk in a store?
It wasn’t all fun and glamor working in a store. Here’s what one of the sonnets published in 1913 in Love Sonnets of Shop Girl had to say:
That floor-walker’s getting’ too breezy;
He hangs around me all the time.
I’ve wanted to let him down easy,
But he doesn’t get wise—he’s a lime.
I don’t like the way that he treats me –
You’d think that he owned me, the slob!
You’d think, by the way that he meets me,
I owed him my life—and my job!
He’s got to quit callin’ me “Baby”
And “Sister” and “Honey” and “Pet.”
I’ve quarreled with Terence; but maybe
He wouldn’t be tickled to get
A chance at this floor-walker Willie,
Who tried to get merry with muh!
Oh, wouldn’t he wallop him silly!
And then for the ambulance—huh?
But I won’t tell Terence; I merely
Will speak to this floor-walker gink,
And tell him, quite plainly and clearly,
Exactly the things that I think.
I don’t want to act at all shady,
But if he get uppish—the yap!—
I’ll lift up my hand like a lady
And bounce him a biff on the map.
Love Sonnets of a Shop Girl by Berton Braley was published in a 1913 book called Sonnets of a Suffragette. The entire book is available on the Internet Archive.