Thursday, February 09, 2006

Making Glass

Lately I've been thinking of my factory days a lot. I guess it's because I'm living in such an industrial city. Or, rather, a former industrial city. It makes me remember not only my experience working at Bayer but also working with the displaced factory folks when they shut down the Corning plant. I remember the smell of the burning glass and the blank stares of the workers when they finally realized the plant was closing for real. For good. A girl from my program has been interviewing former steel workers. One of them told her that he is really worried that America isn't making anything anymore. Is he right? Is that why I'm so haunted that those factories were shut down?

Anyway, I found myself laying awake all night thinking about Tammy and Kermit and Kathy and Marilyn and all the faceless, nameless men who blend together now as they streamed in one after the other hoping I could find them a job with any sort of comperable paycheck to their factory work. Where are they all now? What jobs could they possibly find in State College? Is it wrong to hope they uprooted and moved somewhere so they could feed their families? Or is that totally ignoring the problem?

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