La­bor Day, 2017… let’s talk about tex­tiles

Rome News-Tribune - - NEWS -

An­other La­bor Day week­end is upon us. An­nu­ally ob­served the first week­end in Septem­ber, it marks the end of the so­cial sum­mer sea­son. It is there­fore called the “un­of­fi­cial end of sum­mer.”

La­bor Day not only marks the end of sum­mer, but the be­gin­ning of football sea­son. Any bride in the South who plans her wed­ding dur­ing the fall will have grooms­men stand­ing at the al­tar with an ear piece threaded through the sleeve of their tuxedo. Satur­day in the South means college football. No­body wants to miss a minute of the big game… even in the mid­dle of a wed­ding!

The ideation be­hind La­bor Day is to rec­og­nize the Amer­i­can worker. It rep­re­sents an an­nual na­tional trib­ute to the con­tri­bu­tions work­ers have made to the strength, pros­per­ity, and well­be­ing of our coun­try. In the Amer­i­can south, for many years, the pri­mary la­bor force was tex­tiles. Mill work­ers. And so…

I think of tex­tile work­ers

Like my ma­ter­nal grand­mother, Marie Grif­fin from Rocky Face, Whit­field County. Dur­ing the de­pres­sion she earned badly needed cash by work­ing in the bed­spread in­dus­try. Men, known as “haulers,” de­liv­ered stamped sheets and yarn to her house. She sewed in the pat­terns and the haulers sub­se­quently picked up the “piece work” and paid her. Grandma said the com­pleted work was weighed and the work­ers were paid by the pound.

The mill work­ers’ en­tire life re­volved around the mill. Every day, the mill work­ers got up and went to work. There they worked hard to sup­port their fam­i­lies. My un­cle, H.G. Ter­rell, was an elec­tri­cian at Ce­lanese, and he, my Aunt Myra and my cousins — David, Eleanor, Judy, and Gwen, lived in the Ce­lanese vil­lage. Be­fore daddy fin­ished school, he worked in the Lin­dale mill. Dan Reeves, for­mer coach of the At­lanta Fal­cons, is a pa­ter­nal cousin of ours. He worked at the mill with daddy. An en­trepreneurial teenager, Dan also had a heavy equip­ment rental com­pany at the time as well.

Re­cre­ation in the mill vil­lage

Ce­lanese used to be called “Tu­bize” and they even had their own base­ball team. Both vil­lages

Ed­u­ca­tion in mill vil­lages

More than one gen­er­a­tion of stu­dents was ed­u­cated at Ce­lanese School. It went from 1st grade through 6th grade, I be­lieve. My cousins went to Ce­lanese School… where my daddy was one of their teach­ers. In the Lin­dale com­mu­nity, McHenry School was a high school, which evolved into Pep­perell High School, where more than one gen­er­a­tion grad­u­ated from high school. Of course, the school’s name came from the com­pany, West Point Pep­perell. The dragon mas­cot came from the com­pany logo for West Point Pep­perell. PAM WALKER had a swimming pool. I re­mem­ber tak­ing swimming les­sons at Ce­lanese there. The Ce­lanese Vil­lage and Lin­dale Vil­lage both had a phar­macy, a club house and a Scout Hut.

Churches in the mill vil­lages

In the Lin­dale Mill Vil­lage there was Lin­dale Methodist Church, First Bap­tist Church of Lin­dale, and a Pres­by­te­rian church as well. There was a Methodist church, and a Bap­tist church in the Ce­lanese Vil­lage. St. Luke’s Methodist Church, in the Ce­lanese Vil­lage, spon­sored Boy Scout Troop 11 and a Cub Scout pack for which Daddy was the Scout Mas­ter for many years. My brother, Steve Ter­rell, earned his God and Coun­try Award there, as well as the rank of Ea­gle at 13 years of age.

The Amer­i­can la­bor force em­bod­ies sev­eral in­dus­tries in­clud­ing, but not lim­ited to, me­chan­ics, plum­bers, con­struc­tion work­ers, food ser­vice work­ers, re­tail, coal min­ers, truck driv­ers, law en­force­ment, med­i­cal work­ers and farm­ers.

I don’t want to leave any in­dus­try un­rec­og­nized!

I am proud to be part of a city like Rome which hon­ors the tex­tile work­ers and their tra­di­tions.

I sin­cerely ap­pre­ci­ate the work­ing force in every in­dus­try of this great coun­try of ours. It is fit­ting that we na­tion­ally rec­og­nize the Amer­i­can la­bor force every Septem­ber.

En­joy your La­bor Day week­end one and all.

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