The Hands That Built America: The Three Muses Challenge

The Hands That Built America

These Are The Hands That Built America

This is my entry for the Three Muses Challenge this week which was Give Us a Hand. Recently my mom let me rummage through two large boxes of old photos, and as I was looking through them a song came on the radio by U2: “These Are The Hands That Built America”, and I thought yah, you betcha these are some of them don’t yah know.

My dad (on the unicycle) was one of eight children (photograph center left), he was a pro-types engineer and avid model plane builder. His dad and mom immigrated from Sweden when grandfather was three and grandmother was 16. They found each other and were married in Michigan, and soon moved to Burbank, CA. My grandfather was a blacksmith, who then became a mechanic and my grandmother was a house cleaner and a full time mom (seen together in the oval picture above my dad).

My mom (seen in her nurses uniform) was an only child (and her baby picture is to the right), she loves to create whether it be knitting, embroidery, painting and many other areas. Her dad (top right small photo) immigrated from Scotland, and grandpa worked as a warehouse stock person most of his life, he loved dogs, cigars, and bridge. Her mom immigrated from England, and grandma worked first for Eatons Department Store (top photo above my mom), later as an executive secretary, and finally for a bank (at the age of 80). Grandma and grandpa (seen in the oval picture on the right) were married for 62 years, and lived in the house that had been in grandpa’s family.

The song “These Are The Hands That Built America” was written prior to 9/11. Even so the words were quite poignant and almost eerily applied to the hearts and minds of the survivor’s and the families who lost people in the tragic events and was sung at a benefit concert listing every person’s name that was lost.

Excerpt of the 1st and 2cd choruses:

These are the hands that built America
(Russian, Sioux, Dutch, Hindu)
Oh, oh oh, America
(Polish, Irish, German, Italian)

And these are the hands, that built America
(The Irish, the Blacks, the Chinese, the Jews)
Ah, ah ah, America / Hand
(Korean, Hispanic, Muslim, Indian)

I bet that all of us have a great deal of shared history in building this country, and I hope that you are able to share this with your children so that they too can pass on this legacy of strength, courage, determination, and love to their children.

Christen

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8 thoughts on “The Hands That Built America: The Three Muses Challenge

  1. Christen — I can’t tell you how humbled I am to have chosen a theme that inspired you to express in montage and written word your very personal feelings. Each of us privileged to live in our modern lifestyle owe it to those who came before, who persevered under great hardship to make a better life for their children. Thank you for reminding us!

  2. I enjoyed reading your family history so much, all the places that your ancestors came from, the little insights into their lives, and the song that came on the radio as you rummaged through the photos…thank you for sharing with us…

  3. This is a stunning piece of work. I love your collage with all its precious photos and I enjoyed the story of your family from early days until now.
    Your Mom reminds me of an old black and white movie starring Loretta Young (your Mom and Loretta are equally beautiful). If you haven’t seen it, watch out for it. I think it pops up on Turner Classic movies once in a while and it is about a Swedish farmgirl who goes to the big city to be a nurse.

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