September 8th, 2021


She thought it was only a dime…

Here’s a bit of my family lore. When my great-grandmother was a young girl, her family fell on hard times, and she had to get a job. They were living in Milwaukee, and Pabst Brewery had recently won a blue ribbon at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, the Chicago World’s Fair. The brewery was tying blue silk ribbons on every bottle.

That was her new job. (In those days, children could work in factories that made beer.) After her first week, tying countless ribbons, she got her pay envelope. She could tell by feel that it contained only one small coin. A dime! She’d worked so hard and wanted to be so proud of the help she could give her family, but she’d earned only ten cents.

She cried all the way home on the trolley and gave the envelope to her mother, who opened it. The coin was a ten-dollar gold piece.