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Children Who Work

Mary Engel, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(3):291-297. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730270035007.
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RALPH started shoeshining when he was 10 years old, and this is how it happened.

Well, really, the first time I went, I went down there and, you know, and I, and I just sat there for five minutes and then, you know, I didn't do nothing about it, you know, I just knew that you were supposed to shine a guy's shoes. I didn't know nothing about it, you know, and there was no one on the corner that night. I think it was a Wednesday and that's the rottenest day you can go. It's before payday . . . so I went up there and this guy came along and he says, "I'll take a shine," so I shined his shoes, and he gave me a quarter. And I go "I made a quarter!" And then I was just getting ready to go home, and I was only there for


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