Thursday, June 28, 2007

Doesn't Anyone Care?

The nation had just celebrated the bicentennial of American independence, but for many living in and around Portsmouth, Ohio, there was sadness and uncertainty about what the future held. As discussed in my previous post, "Cheap Shoes," Williams Manufacturing shut down its factory in 1976. Recently, while I was digging around in the local history department of the Portsmouth Public Library, I came across a letter to the editor of the Portsmouth Daily Times, dated 15 July 1976. Written by Dorothy Robinson of West Portsmouth, a long time shoe worker at Williams, the letter deserves to be preserved. Mrs. Robinson clearly spent some time picking her words.

Doesn't Anyone Care?

After all the blood, sweat and tears we've shed at Williams throughout the years, the time has come to say good-bye. I'm a little sentimental, so I'm gonna cry. I'll try to remember all the good times that we've had.

I remember Blaine, Graves and Frosty* too, and they all knew how to make a good shoe! They were men who cared for their fellow man, always there to lend a helping hand. They passed on and entrusted their work to other men. I'm afraid it was never the same again.

There were some who tried and gave their best, and some who couldn't stand up to the test. We've made many friends from day to day, with whom we've shared joys and sorrows along the way. As we sit and ponder and try to think back, when did we seem to get off the right track?

Doesn't anyone care our hearts cry out for all these good people standing about? Nowhere to go and no work to do, for never again will they make a shoe. No more to eat from Williams kitchen, all that bologna and coffee we'll be missing. To hearts that were yesterday, light and gay, we know how heavy they must be today. And Blaine, Graves and Frosty, wherever you are, you looked to the future as a bright and shining star.

We know your hearts too would be heavy today; not one of you this whole thing would have wanted it this way. I've thought this whole thing through and through. These are my sentiments; what about you?

Mrs. Dorothy Robinson
West Portsmouth

*Blaine, Graves, and Frosty (Forrest) were the three Williams brothers who founded the company in the 1920s.

No comments:

Post a Comment