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  • In college you studied the photographs of the Great Depression. You admired the artistry of Dorthea Lange and her famous "Migrant Mother" picture. It was a powerful image, but it was from another time, a distant past. You knew it was a real picture of a desperate mother, but you didn't understand it. How could you? You were behind the camera with Dorthea, not broke and broken down by the side of the road. Not being photographed for history's sake.

    You lose your job and your wife loses hers. Times are "challenging" and you must now adjust to the "new normal". You remember the stories your Grandfather told you about family members going out West, trying to find work. Stories of no shoes. A piece of cornbread for a child's meal. Stories of banks and bulldozers. You wondered if Grandpa was lifting his tales from Steinbeck, confusing his own life with that of Tom Joad, but Grandpa never read "The Grapes of Wrath".

    It was so long ago. Different times and circumstances. We have computers now, plasma televisions, smart phones, and the internet. There's no depression, right? America is a wealthy nation. Wall Street is booming. No one is jumping out of windows today.

    It's all normal, the new normal.

    You're driving across the country hoping to find work. It's a huge roll of the dice but you can't think of anything else to do. You fill up the car and see your son asleep in the back seat and you wonder how deeply you've failed him and you pray that things will work out.

    You remember the pictures and the stories and you realize that she wasn't a "Migrant Mother" - she was a economic refugee and she was scared and scarred. Just like you. You get back in the car and you drive.
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