Alpha Readers Piece by Ixel Ochoa

    Eight years in and Alpha Readers celebrated a new year exploring the mines of Colorado with the most recent club book, Ludlow by David Mason. The book club is sponsored by English Chairman Mr. Robert Davies. The first dinner meeting went very well, judging by the successful discussion and satisfied tummies. We enjoyed a delicious, mouth-watering meal provided by parent Ms. Margaret Melberg and the NEHS. The historic aspects connecting the book to the massacre at Ludlow heated up the discussion by relating fictional figures to actual people who fought against the mining companies’ mistreatment of their workers.

The story of Ludlow begins with the life of a young, attractive girl named Luisa. As she matures, her father dies in the mines, and when she is taken in as a nanny, she is given the opportunity to separate herself from the life and culture she knew in the care of the mining companies. When characters such as Louis Tikas and Mother Jones begin to stand up against the companies’ corrupt system of pluck-me stores and miserable working conditions, Luisa and the people she grew up with join the movement; she chooses the past she couldn’t allow herself to escape, rather than accept admission into a higher, more judgmental society.

The people rebelling against the grip of the coal companies follow Louis Tikas to set up camp at Ludlow. Many of the workers had come to America from all over the world for new opportunities; this causes a language barrier within the camp in addition to their struggle to survive winter. When the government becomes involved, violent, tyrannical guards are sent to watch the camp.

On April 20th, 1914, a horrific massacre of the unfortunate people at Ludlow took place. One of the darkest moments in American labor history is crafted ingeniously into a story of over six hundred, eight-lined stanzas of unrhymed iambic pentameter by David Mason.

Our group of Alpha Readers tackled the challenging book, uncovering a single event in the foundation of the United States. At the end of our meeting, a raffle gave lucky Alpha Readers members excellent door prizes provided by Mrs. Lynne Schoonover. A new year of Alpha Readers meetings has begun with fresh, new faces and intriguing books just waiting to have a dinner dedicated to them. See you at the next meeting!

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