Posts Tagged ‘tragedy’

Shakespeare said ,“Men of few words are the best men.”  If this be so, then doth Friday Fictioneers offer thee the opportunity to be one of the few, the proud, the best men (allowing for “men” to stand for the generic “people.”)  Each FF story is approximately (or exactly) 100 words, yet what grand tales therein be told!!  Joineth us or readeth only, if those so chooseth.  And now, forsooth!  On to the story.

When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain.
~Shakespeare
copyright Claire Fuller

copyright Claire Fuller

Helen

March 26, 1911

Dearest Mary,

I grieve to tell you that Helen perished in a fire at the factory last night.  When she didn’t come home, Mother was frantic.  After hours in the cold, looking at burned bodies, she identified Helen, then fainted.  Thankfully, a kind policemen helped her.  He even gave her $2.

The factory was a scene from hell.   Over 140 died.  The doors were locked and many girls jumped to try to escape.  No one knows yet how the fire started but people are very angry.

I’m sorry to give you such bad news.

Your loving Father

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On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory did burn. As the work day ended, the girls who worked 12-hour days 7 days a week in this sweatshop under terrible conditions, heard the cry of “Fire.” From my reading, it appears likelly that one door was locked from the outside to prevent theft, while the other opened inward. Approximately 600 workers tried to escape and, in a horrible precursor to 9-11 ( note the date of this fire was 1911), many girls flung themselves from windows or down elevator shafts trying to escape. The death toll reached 145 and I’m sure there were many injured as well.

You can read more about the fire, maybe the most famous of the factory fires at this time, at http://www.history.com/topics/triangle-shirtwaist-fire and http://www.historybuff.com/library/refshirtwaist.html. The fire was instrumental in bringing about new laws to protect factory workers. In a bizarre twist, exactly 79 years to the day after this fire, another tragic fire occurred in New York City at the Happy Land Social Club in the Bronx. 87 people were killed, making it the most deadly fire in the city since 1911.

According to the History Buff source mentioned above, a policeman really did give a mother $2, a large amount in those days.

I was deciding what to post for tomorrow when the news came through about the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
In light of what happened, this picture I took Sunday, in Easter’s aftermath, seems to be most appropriate.
Please remember all these people in your prayers and give thanks for the quick response of the first responders and police.

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