Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Strong Women With No Apologizes

My Aunt Louisa Cullum - a strong and proud factoy worker
My good friend Judy Keithly Hopps just sent out a message on Facebook about the passing of her mother  Anna Marguerite Keithley.  Anna was a strong woman.  She lived in a time when strong women were not always appreciated. They were sometimes just ignored or forgotten.  I have so many memories of her and her quiet spirit.  She was never ourspoken.  She just lived her live as best as she could. She raised three children on her own.  This was during the Ozzie and Harriet years when we watched ideal families on TV and when the image was so distorted that there was no reality for us to see.  But we all looked for that reality and wondered why we were different.  We weren't different.  The image was different and wrong.  

Anna Mauguerite Keithly along with my Aunt Louisa Cullum (in the photo above) both worked in a shoe factory that was little more than a sweat shop.  They worked for minimum wages and worked hard.  They did not expect a hand out or a free meal.  They worked hard to pay their rent and put food on the table.  My Aunt was a divorced woman with no children.  She lived with her mother for the majority of her live.  She worked extremely hard cementing counters on the back of three buckle arctic boots that the factory had contracted to make for the U.S. military.  She worked in an factory with no air conditioning putting steaming hot cement on the back of the boots where she would place the back support called a counter.  The conveyor belt never stopped running and the were forced to keep up with production.  Yes it was funny watching Lucy eating chocolates on a conveyor belt on I Love Lucy.  It was not so funny watching women burn themselves from the hot glue and being afraid to stop the conveyor belt.  

Anna Keithley had no time to complain on the job either.  Like my Aunt she also could not stop the conveyor belt.  She had a family to feed.  She had rent to pay.  She had responsibilities that she never took lightly.  I mourn with my friend Judy today for her loss.   And I admire people like Anna Keithley and my Aunt Louisa Cullum. They would never meet societies norm today.  They did not have college educations.  Hell my Aunt did not have a high school education.  And they did jobs then that a lot of  people would not do today.  Those jobs are now out sourced to foreign countries where strong women are working for slave wages because they have responsibilities.  Look at the labels on your clothing and shoes and think of the people who make them.  They deserve our highest respect.  

Rest in peace Anna. I plan to attend your memorial service on Friday.  I am sure my Aunt Louisa and the other ladies and men who worked in that shoe factory have already greeted you in Heaven.