This photograph appeared on my news feed today. It reminded me of my maternal grandfather, his brothers, and my paternal great-grandfather. All were immigrant child laborers in the coal mines of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
My maternal grandfather and paternal great-grandfather lived the American dream. Both were auto-didacts. My maternal grandfather transitioned from child laborer coal miner ... to self-employed 18 year old auto striper, painter and detailer ... to automobile dealer (Packard, Buick) ... to Banker and investor. My paternal great grandfather transitioned from child laborer coal miner ... to school teacher ... to Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, scripture quoting attorney and Constitutional law expert. He died at 94 the oldest living practicing member of the Pennsylvania Bar. They were little boys with big dreams determined to rise above their circumstances ... and they did ... because "America."