by Roger Thomas

The Sunday School Story (2 of 11)
Series: Patriotic and Special Occasions
Roger Thomas
Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Timothy 3:14-17
August 31, 2003

Little ten year-old Maggie had a rough life. As tough as some of you think you have had it, you can't even imagine what life was like for Maggie. The little girl lived with her mother and older sister on Soot Alley, a poor run down tenement section of Gloucester, a dirty English factory town. In the late 1700's, the poorest of the poor lived in Soot Alley.

Maggie's little apartment sat directly across the street from the city prison. Her mother considered that a blessing. That way she could visit Maggie's older brother. A judge sentenced him to spend the next five years in that horrible place. He was only in his late teens at the time. More of the young men in the neighborhood than not ended up in jail. Far too many never lived long enough in the dark disease infested place to complete their sentences.

The future didn't promise much for a girl like Maggie. Six days a week, she worked in the same dirty, stinky factory that her mother and older sister labored in. Schools didn't exist for working class kids. Even if they had, Maggie probably couldn't have gone. Her family needed every penny she could make to help put food on the table. Maggie's father died while only in his mid thirties. He had worked as a chimney sweep. He started as a youngster. Building owners often used small boys to climb into the dirty grimy places that grown men couldn't reach. Not long after Maggie came along, breathing the black soot all his life finally caught up with him. Her poor mother was left to raise three kids alone.

From early in the morning to late afternoon, Monday through Saturday, the little ten year old girl sat bent over a sewing bench deep in the bowels of a huge garment factory. Hundreds of children filed through the factory gate six days a week.

Sunday provided the only day Maggie and her friends had ...

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