23 photos from the '30s and '40s that prove your grandparents were so much more badass than you.

Your grandparents went hard.

A light day at work for your grandpa in Pittsburgh, 1938. Photo by Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration.


And now, there's photographic evidence to prove it.

Yale University recently released 170,000 photos from the Great Depression and World War II-era America: some classic, some obscure, many taken by New Deal government photographers, and all of them proving what bad MF'ers your grandparents were.

From California, to the Bronx, to Alabama, the parents of your parents did nothing but demonstrate their strength, hard work, and good ol' fashioned American can-do know-how just-try-coming-at-me-and-you'll-see-what-happens, time and time again.

Here are 23 of those times.

1. Your grandma, doing her laundry by hand in a metal bucket on top of a rickety wooden barrel

Imperial Valley, CA, 1937. Photo by Dorothea Lange/Farm Security Administration.

Oh, it's so hard to schlep your clothes all the way down to the basement? Well, here's your grandma in Dust Bowl-era California washing your dirty socks by hand in the middle of the street.

So, you know. Keep complaining.

Most likely, your grandma stuck it out in the cabbage fields until the beginning of World War II, when she and your grandpa found better paying industrial work that allowed them to move to the big city. Though if she was one of the thousands of the mostly Latino and Asian migrant workers who stuck around, there's a good chance she was part of one of the biggest workers' rights victories of all time two decades later, when many of California's agriculture laborers successfully agitated for their rights to unionize behind Cesar Chavez and United Farm Workers.

Either way, total badass.

2. Your grandparents, dominating the dance floor so hard that everyone else just flat-out left

Birney, Montana, 1939. Photo by Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration.

Little known fact: "The Club" was invented in Birney, Montana, in 1939, by your grandparents. There they are. Look at them go.

3. Your grandma, obviously knowing what's up

Imperial Valley, California, 1937. Photo by Dorothea Lange/Farm Security Administration.

That's her in the middle. Her parents left their home, most likely in Oklahoma — or Texas, or Arkansas, or Missouri — and dragged her halfway across the country so they could find work picking vegetables.

Her friend on the left is jazzed, but your grandma knows the deal. She knows this is going to be some John Steinbeck ish. She's not here for any B.S.

4. Your grandpa, cutting these logs in half all by himself with nothing but an old rusty handsaw

Bradford, Vermont, 1939. Photo by Russell Lee/Farm Security Administration.

How do you heat your home in winter when you live in rural Vermont and you've been waiting decades for the gas company to give you an activation date?

You burn wood. Lots of it.

Who volunteered to cut it? Your grandpa, that's who.

5. Your grandparents, working together to make humongous guns

Erie, Pennsylvania, 1941. Photo by Unknown/Office for Emergency Management.

Even though the United States didn't officially enter World War II until 1941, mobilization efforts began significantly ramping up the previous year.

The period between 1940 and 1945 saw a larger percentage increase of women in the labor force than at any other time in the 20th century, and right in the thick of it was your grandma, seen here in the top middle, making sure these giant guns were good 'n' killy.

6. Your grandpa, chilling on a stump

Iron, Michigan, 1937. Photo by Russell Lee/Farm Security Administration.

That beard. That is all.

7. Your grandma, straight-up carrying a chicken on her shoulder

Manning, South Carolina, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/Farm Security Administration.

That's your grandma, one of a small number of black farmers who received a loan from the Farm Security Administration. Like many New Deal programs, white farmers fared far better under the FSA, which provided much-needed financial assistance to struggling farmers. Not coincidentally, the resulting poverty, along with the persistence of socially sanctioned terrorism, prompted many black families from places like Manning, South Carolina, to join the Great Migration to northern cities that began several decades earlier, and would last until around 1970.

In the meantime, your grandma is happy just casually hanging onto this chicken that could peck her eyes out at literally any moment.

8. Your grandpa, manually cranking up his jamz on a radio rigged to the top of his tractor

Jasper, Iowa, 1939. Photo by Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration.

This is how your grandpa did work — driving that farm machine real slow, bumping "Nice Work if You Can Get It" all around that Iowa cornfield.

9. Your 6-year-old grandma, babysitting your baby great-uncle by herself

Hudson, Colorado, 1938. Photo by Jack Allison/Farm Security Administration.

Here's your grandma as a 6-year-old making sure her baby brother stays out of trouble. Her parents are hard at work at a nearby beet sugar farm in Hudson, Colorado, and she's on child care duty, despite being ... 6. Already more mature and responsible than you'll ever be.

10. Your grandma with the giant tree she just cut down while building a farm from scratch with her bare hands

Thurston, Washington, 1939. Photo by Dorothea Lange/Farm Security Administration.

There she is, clearing her own land in Thurston, Washington, leaning against the stump of a giant pine tree she probably just owned, looking suitably pleased with herself.

11. Your grandpa, rolling 200-pound barrels full of potatoes down the street

Presque Isle, Maine, 1940. Photo by Jack Delano/Farm Security Administration.

Or, as your grandpa called it, "the gym."

12. Your grandma, carrying heavy buckets full of water to thirsty farm workers

Belle Glade, Florida, 1937. Photo by Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration.

Migrant worker camps sprouted up all over agricultural areas during the Great Depression — not just out west. Here's one in Belle Glade, Florida, and there's your grandma, being a goddamn hero, and getting swole in the process.

13. Your grandpa, single-handedly dragging a car across the river on some old wooden planks


Gees Bend, Alabama, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/Farm Security Administration.

One morning in 1939, your grandpa was just hanging out, looking amazing in his hat somewhere in Gees Bend, Alabama, when a government agent and photographer rolled up and said, "Howdy, sir! You wouldn't mind taking our heavy-ass car across the river on your tiny ferry, would you?" And your grandpa was like, "Oh great. Sure. Yes. Love to. Totally..." while giving them the world's hardest side-eye.

But he did it. He freaking did it. All by himself.

14. Your grandma, churning butter with one hand basically tied behind her back like it's NBD

Gees Bend, Alabama, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/Farm Security Administration.

The most ridiculous part? Your grandma was a lefty.

15. Your grandpa, having the time of his life literally playing in the gutter.

Bronx, 1936. Photo by Russell Lee/Farm Security Administration.

Every time you feel a secret twinge of shame scrolling through Twitter in front of your grandpa, this is why.

16. Your grandpa, looking stone-cold in the world's dopest shades

Ansonia, Connecticut, 1940. Photo by Jack Delano/Farm Security Administration.

As you sit at your desk, worried to the point of actual emotional distress that you might have to settle for the "bad" sandwich place for lunch today, here's a reminder that your grandpa worked in a factory in Ansonia, Connecticut, making metalworking equipment in 7-bazillion-degree heat, looking like the villain from a sci-fi horror film.

There he is holding onto some kind of rod, thinking a thought that will alter the universe as we know it.

17. Your grandpa ... actually, not sure about this one

Shelbyville, Kentucky, 1940. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/Farm Security Administration.

Polishing the wheels of a go-kart? Checking the axles of a wheeled dogsled? I don't know. No idea what your grandpa is doing here. But whatever it is, it's obviously serious as all hell.

18. Your grandpa wrestling a cow, delighting the neighborhood children

Marshalltown, Iowa, 1939. Photo by Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration.

These days, we try to amuse our kids by giving them free run of the iPad or plopping them in front of "Dolphin Tale 2" — yet somehow, they never seem satisfied. Your grandpa, on the other hand, understood that nothing entertains children more than watching man and beast locked in a physical struggle for supremacy.

The site of these events is now probably a Panera.

19. Your grandpa, watching the trains go by from on the actual train tracks

Minneapolis, 1939. Photo by John Vachon/Farm Security Administration.

Your grandpa laughs in the face of danger.

20. Your grandpa, taking a nap on top of some dead fish

Baltimore, 1938. Photo by Sheldon Dick/Farm Security Administration.

Oh, you stayed at the office 'til 9 p.m. last night putting together the pitch deck for the new clients?

Here's your grandpa sleeping on some fish barrels in Baltimore. By all means, feel sorry for yourself.

21. Your grandma, rocking out on a giant guitar

San Francisco, 1939. Photo by Dorothea Lange/Farm Security Administration.

Here she is in her Salvation Army bonnet, bringing much-needed relief to the poor and needy in San Francisco. Though the Salvation Army hasn't looked quite so good recently, leading up to — and during — the Depression, the organization was omnipresent, feeding and housing what is technically referred to on the American West Coast as "hella" people. The Salvation Army also tried extra hard to make them Methodist, which, depending on your perspective, was likely either miracle balm for their eternal souls or annoying as hell.

These boys are all like, "Yo! Play that Woody Guthrie, Miss!" But your grandma just frowns and keeps rolling with the church music. Eventually, they like it. They always do.

22. Your grandpa, tolerating a ridiculous amount of racism just to get a drink of water

Oklahoma City, 1939. Photo by Russell Lee/Farm Security Administration.

This is some B.S. your grandpa had to put up with on a daily basis.

Your daily reminder that racism ruins everything.

23. Your grandma, posing for the world's first viral interspecies friendship photo

Weslaco, Texas, 1939. Photo by Russell Lee/Farm Security Administration.

If this photo were taken today, it would launch a thousand Internet posts with titles like "This little girl and this calf are the best of friends and my heart just exploded." Some intrepid web reporters would somehow dig up a half-dozen more shots, and before too long, they'd have a book deal. As it is, we only have the one.

Let's just be glad we do.

Whether they're still alive or long passed on, your grandparents deserve our thanks, on behalf of America, for being the slam.

For more photos of your grandparents, check out the full archive here. You'll be glad you did.

And your grandparents will be like, "Told you so."

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tom Ward / Instagram

Artist Tom Ward has used his incredible illustration techniques to give us some new perspective on modern life through popular Disney characters. "Disney characters are so iconic that I thought transporting them to our modern world could help us see it through new eyes," he told The Metro.

Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

In Ward's "Alt Disney" series, Prince Charming and Pinocchio have fallen victim to smart phone addiction. Ariel is living in a polluted ocean, and Simba and Baloo have been abused by humans.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

With many schools going virtual, many daycare facilities being closed or limited, and millions of parents working from home during the pandemic, the balance working moms have always struggled to achieve has become even more challenging in 2020. Though there are more women in the workforce than ever, women still take on the lion's share of household and childcare duties. Moms also tend to bear the mental load of keeping track of all the little details that keep family life running smoothly, from noticing when kids are outgrowing their clothing to keeping track of doctor and dentist appointments to organizing kids' extracurricular activities.

It's a lot. And it's a lot more now that we're also dealing with the daily existential dread of a global pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval, and increasingly intense natural disasters.

That's why scientist Gretchen Goldman's refreshingly honest photo showing where and how she conducted a CNN interview is resonating with so many.

Keep Reading Show less

Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

Keep Reading Show less