Letters to the Editor: Column on 'The Migrant Mother' praised; Learn from history, don't destroy it; Thank you to workers wearing masks

Letters to the Editor: Column on 'The Migrant Mother' praised; Learn from history, don't destroy it; Thank you to workers wearing masks

Column on 'The Migrant Mother' praised

Columnist Mark Miller wrote a well-researched article on “The Migrant Mother.”  He also wrote a poignant story about both Dorothea Lange and Florence Owens, “The Migrant Mother.”  It was interesting to learn that Lange almost overlooked the most iconic figure of The Great Depression. 

Lange apparently drove past Nipomo and was up around Arroyo Grande when “an inner voice told her there was something in that (Nipomo camp for pea pickers) she needed to see.”  Miller somewhere came up with Lange’s recollection of first seeing Owens and her children.  Lange said, “I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother as if drawn by a magnet.  She sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her.”  

To all of us who have seen Lange’s riveting photo of Owens and have read the literature from The Great Depression, we can’t help but think that Owens looked like a subject straight out of “The Grapes of Wrath.” 

Thanks to Mr. Miller I learned that Owens was a widow at the time Lange took her photo. Being without a husband and father for her children just makes Owens that much more of a pathetic figure. 

One thing bothered my wife about Miller’s story, and I wonder if others reading Miller’s fine article might have felt the same way? Miller doesn’t mention whether Lange offered Owens some kind of help. Obviously, Lange could see that Owens was destitute, without a husband, and had seven little children to feed. Lange undoubtedly was much better off than most people in the Great Depression. She had a car and probably some expensive cameras and lenses, so she was reasonably well off. Maybe she did give Owens some money. My wife and I hope she did. 

In any case, we appreciate Mr. Miller supplying us with the illustrative background for “The Migrant Mother.” It was interesting to learn that she moved to Modesto, remarried and had two more children. 

Miller crafted what seems like a fitting conclusion to his article, even if it was not particularly true.  Miller wrote, “Florence may have lived a life of hardship and obscurity, but when she passed, people knew who she was.”  Maybe some of the people in Modesto knew that Owens was the subject of Lange’s iconic photo, but most of the rest of us had to wait to read Miller’s article to learn the name and history of “The Migrant Mother.”  We thank Miller for his research and his journalistic skills.

Morrie Schneider

Santa Maria

Learn from history, don't destroy it

In a recent editorial you said "Hitler was a major player in American history. Would you tolerate his statue in your hometown?"

How in the world could you compare having a statue of Hitler in an American town to those that are being torn down now. What a horrible comparison you were attempting to make. To suggest that having a statue of Hitler is the same as a American Civil War general is ridiculous.

I do think instead of destroying any Civil War statues maybe all being put in a museum of American history is the answer. We need to learn from history not destroy it. 

Carol Malin

Santa Maria

Thank you to workers wearing masks

Thank you to all of the retail, food service, and grocery store workers that are continuing to wear masks and social distance.

I expect it is very difficult to work a shift wearing a mask, and to continually be aware of the space between you and other people. It is reassuring to see most you are taking these guidelines seriously, and putting in the extra effort to be safe ... for yourself and for others around you.

And thank you to the owners and managers that make safety a priority. I’m sure it is exhausting to train, monitor, and re-enforce these rules. I imagine you have also had some tough situations with difficult employees and customers. But you understand how important these changes are to health and business.

It is encouraging to see the cooperation most people set forth to help #KeepEachOtherSafe. It is a sign we will be past this pandemic sooner, and better for it.

Mark Kozel

Santa Maria


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