Think You’re Having A Bad Day?

In the pic taken in Chicago 1948 the mother cries as stark poverty means she can no longer keep her children.

She is forced to do the unthinkable.

kids for sale

Original caption: August 4, 1948 – Chicago, Illinois: They’re on the auction block. These small children of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Chalifoux of Chicago, Illinois. For long months 40 year old Ray and his wife, Lucille, 24, waged a desperate but losing battle to keep food in the mouth and a roof over their heads. Now jobless and facing eviction from their near barren flat, the Chalifoux have surrendered to their heart breaking decision. Photo shows mother sobbing as the children pose wonderingly on the steps. Left to right: Lana,6. Rae, 5. Milton, 4. Sue Ellen, 2 years old.

..Although…see that pole holding up the sign? I’d have to be THAT skinny before I’dΒ  consider selling my kids.



Okay folks, this wonderful lady has done some follow up to this story which you can read here.


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79 thoughts on “Think You’re Having A Bad Day?

  1. There was one time when abortion was legal (in countries where it’s now illegal, somewhere SEA, I think) if and only if the family is too poor to raise the kids. It was then thought to be a noble act of sacrifice.

      1. Yes, books in four genres, blog posts on books, health, technology and whatever sparks my interest! Sometimes I dont know what to market around πŸ˜‰ Though i’ve been concentrating on trying to sell the cookbook.

  2. Hi!
    Maybe we should learn more about things that we could do to save money than to spend it as fast as we get it. We have to think of the future than what we can do to burn what we have right now.

      1. Thanks to you for reading it! I know I am long winded in everything I do. That’s just me! I am having a tough time as I look for work & get on my blog & pay for my internet usage too. Have a good one!

  3. I’m just so speechless at this article. And it sort of makes me sad that these situations still happen today, just at somewhere we don’t know of.

    1. It certainly does, I seem to read a lot of stories about travelers or gypsies (to name just one group) selling their babies. Or remember that story when a druggie mother sold her toddler to a pedophile who was pictured taking the little girl to a motel before killing her? Human nature is human nature, no matter the year or the creed or the social group.

  4. Something like this still happens today (e.g. in parts of India) – families are forced by extreme poverty to choose between selling one of their children into God knows what kind of life, or letting all their children starve. Hell of a choice.
    This is why I support Freeset πŸ™‚

      1. Freeset is an organization working in India who employ women who want out of the Kolkata sex trade.
        So many of them were sold as girls from one region that Freeset is now working on starting a business in that area to give families a third option for their kids – a much better option than sell or starve!
        Their business makes bags and t-shirts, mostly. has more info if you’re interested.

  5. I can’t even imagine going through that type of poverty. Selling or giving away children happened during the depression. The US economy didn’t take off until close to 1950. This doesn’t happen in the US now due to govt aid programs.

      1. Started good and has become steadily worse as the day has gone on. Right now I am pretty pissed and anxious.

  6. Proof that perspective is eveything.
    If you think your having a bad day…look around, you will find someone who is worse off.
    This is the reason why looking outside of ourselves is so important.
    Thanks for sharing this post today.

  7. I need to know what happened to the children! Although, like Dweezer19 above, I suspect it has been staged for effect. No mother that chunky would have considered the possibility of letting them go, let alone for money, without at least cutting down her own intake. And the children are remarkably well upholstered for being on the brink of starvation!

  8. Wow…this is so sad. And my curiosity got the best of me so I looked it up to see if there was any information following this photo…I am not a “google savey” kind of girl so I don’t know how accurate this article is, Life after this picture doesn’t sound like it was very good at all. I have two kids of my own and have had days when I don’t know if we will have money for milk, but I would beg steal or borrow what ever I could in order to keep my kids. Life back then was so much different I can’t even begin to imagine. It made me tear up a little.

      1. πŸ™‚ Like I said, curiosity got the best of me…hehehe…it’s nice to know the rest of the story…although nice doesn’t seem like the right word..hahaha…thanks for sharing the photo πŸ™‚

  9. What tragic hardship. My days looks like heaven in full bloom, comparatively speaking. A very thought-filled read.

    Good post.

  10. OH that is simply heartbreaking. a Poignant reminder that we can/should never take ANYTHING for granted. thank you for sharing this as a reminder to all of us that what we have, regardless of whether it is “perfect” or not, is still Precious!

  11. Think is for real? Or just a goofy picture, my parents used to jokingly say they were going to leave us on the side of the road when we were being little monsters.

  12. Is there any followup on what actually happened to these children? I could understand her not wanting her children to starve but I have to wonder how authentic her concern is when she’s offering to sell the children, not asking for homes for them. Seems a little mercenary. Thanks for sharing that photo. It is eyebrow raising!

    1. See, you lot are fab. That’s the second of you to raise the issue with ‘giving’ away rather than ‘selling’. I hadn’t even considered that.
      I’ll see if there is a follow up – although methinks the trail may have gone cold Watson! πŸ˜‰

      1. By offering to ‘sell’ then she is ensuring that the people who take them have the means to raise them. In a time of such poverty ‘free’ children used to hard lives may have been seen as a source of free labour even at that young age.

      1. Wow! Great detective skills, Holmes! Such a sad, sad story. And as I suspected, the mother really didn’t care about her children’s welfare. Why they weren’t taken from her right after that picture was published is beyond me. Definitely makes you think!

  13. I kind of deserved this, today…
    I’ve got four children too, and our life sort of sucks for the moment, but today the only hard choice we had to make with my lady at he grocer’s, was doughnuts or apple turnovers…
    You reckon some shame would be OK, for now?

    1. Nah, no shame in feeling the hardship of your own little universe. I guess it’s good to also take time to compare and contrast occasionally to see just how lucky we are. Always like your visits LoT.
      (Doughnuts by the way). πŸ™‚

  14. Talk about taboo. Selling them is worse than giving them away. One would think their greatest need of money would be to feed the children. Is there any way the newspaper coerced them into the shot to being public attention to poverty? We all know how crafty reporters are.

      1. I hope you can find some follow up. After all, I always thought news reporting to be a vehicle designed to increase public awareness, either by exposing truth or creating interest in issues. The children in the photo do not appear to understand exactly what is going on. Thank goodness for that. This is actually a photo that could inspire short stories.

      1. Well, from my little Iberian corner and with my (relatively) old glasses, what I see is a world dominated by a corrupt political class and global institutions sold to a few people that possess money and an evil mind…Is the human mind equipped to fight for freedom and harmony?…

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