I used to pick blueberries alongside my Japanese war bride mother when my dad, a sailor, was out at sea. We lived in a trailer in rural Michigan for two years. She had only arrived in the US a few years before and didn't know putting a five-year-old in the fields to pick wasn't exactly proper parenting in the US. The farmer was not taking advantage of child labor, rather doing my mother a favor by allowing her to bring her children into the fields. I took advantage of that opportunity. I made 10 cents a quart and my little fingers picked the berries very carefully but quickly. I often earned a dollar or more a day. My memories of those times are pleasant. I took great pride in contributing to the family and being in the fields. My younger brother played with the son of the farmer and my little baby sister sat beside us playing in the dirt. And to this day, l love blueberries, especially those grown in Michigan.
Leave a Reply.