Many school-age kids hid from Charleston's heat this summer by staying indoors, playing video games and watching television.
But Billy Green's great-grandchildren and great-grandnephews piled in the back of his white Chevrolet van in North Charleston and headed to work.
On work days, they wore matching uniforms — white Sherwin Williams outfits — and jumped out of the van onto Charleston's East Side to continue painting the exterior of a house.
"I'm sweating and they're sweating, too," said the 64-year-old great-grandfather of seven and owner of Green and Sons Painting.
This crew wasn't the first generation of adolescent painters who have grown up with splatters on their fingers and clothes.
Unlike some of his other cousins who have been working for four years, this was 12-year-old Javeon Law's first summer working for "Papa."
"I like that I've got something else other than being bored in the house all day," he said.
This week's theme was church steeples, and we had plenty of solid Charleston submissions (which is to be expected from residents of a place wi…
Law is saving his painting money to buy new sneakers for the school year so that his mom doesn't have to. He will be a seventh grader at Northwoods Middle.
"I don't have to ask anyone else if I want something," Law said.
Green paid the kids $40 per week, depending on how many days they worked. They preferred to be paid with $1 bills to make their take-home pay feel like a fortune.
Green threatened to dock money from their pay when they spent too much time away from a brush. He sometimes caught them using a paint bucket as a basketball hoop.
He hoped that this experience will teach them a strong work ethic and how to save their money. But mostly, Green said, he wants the children to look back fondly at their summers spent with him and to pass the tradition of hard work on to future generations.
"When they grow up, I hope they say to their kids to come to work with them, because Papa took us to work."