Yundi and Nellie ran towards Coach Campbell yelling, “Hey Coach!” Coach answered, “Hey – What’s up? How is everybody?” “Good Coach, said Yundi. “Yeah,good. Visit any more mines Coach?”
“Ha, ha – no, no – I am not going back down in those mines again,” said Coach. Nellie nodded her head and said, “Yeah, that was not a place I would want to go. So dark, and dirty. Scary.”
“Sure is,” shared Coach, “Coal mining is a dangerous job.”
Nellie asked,“Hey Coach, remember you said you would tell us about what the young girls did for work?”
“Sure do,” answered Coach. “They were nicknamed Bobbin Girls, and they worked at the local textile mill. They were called Bobbin Girls because their main job was to work with the bobbins of cotton thread.
The Bobbin Girls would run back and forth with the bobbins of thread to keep the looms working. The loom machines wove the threads together to make fabric for clothing.”
“Yundi and Nellie both looked amazed, and Yundi said, “That looks like a lot of running!
I bet those Bobbin Girls were real tired after working. How long a day did they work Coach?”
“The Bobbin Girls put in a long-long day,” answered Coach; “10 hours or so. Plus, the big room with the big looms had the windows closed to keep the wind from messing up the threads of cotton. A little breeze could get them mixed up and stuck. That stops the loom from working.”
“The windows were closed? It must have been so hot,” said Nellie.“Oh yes, very hot and very loud. The giant looms make an awful racket,” added Coach.
Coach pulls out his phone, and says, “I have a youtube movie of a working mill room at the Boott Mills in Lowell. Let’s look at it together. This video shows several machines working at the same time.”
Yundi shook his head and said, “Wow Coach, sure am glad my classroom at school is air conditioned. But, my classroom can kinda get just as loud – SOMETIMES!!”
Coach laughed and shook his head in agreement and Nellie just giggled. Then Nellie added, “I’m glad that, in this country, young girls like me don’t have to work in factories like the Bobbin Girls did.”
Ned M Campbell is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army Officer, who also teaches United States history at a public high school in Brooklyn, NY. He is a published writer, and a volunteer contributor to “Can Do” Street blog for kids and parents. In addition, he is the voice of Coach Campbell in the “Can Do” Street program.