Sunday, September 15, 2013

How do you get to a Reunion?

Thirty-five years. Wow, how did this happen, that these 35 years could pass without a second thought? Since I graduated high school, I have done so much, while accomplishing so little. Like so many people, I look back and find myself asking what proof is there that I have done anything that mattered. Graduating high school is supposed to be the beginning of independence. It is also the start of one’s influence in society and eventually one’s affluence within their community.

As I have written elsewhere, I graduated high school to do like my father had done—work at McLouth Steel. 1978 was a time when blue-collar jobs were withering and employment officially became a who-you-know process.

Everyone who hired in the summer of 1978 was connected to current employees. Some were connected to management; some with labor and others were friends of a friend whose mother was sleeping with someone that had enough influence to move their son’s application to the top of the pile. Me, I had my father who had been in management the past 6 years.

So with no thought or concerns as to what I was walking into, I went to work the steel mill in July 1978.

For those who have never worked a factory, the best way for me to describe it is by comparing industrial life with moving to another country with just the clothes on your back and a job you have never heard of or trained for until you arrive at the time clock.

The factory is a lot like high school. Everyone finds a clique and communities begin to take shape. I found myself floating between several communities. Eventually I found a home with the locals. Once you have a preferred community, it precludes your mingling with other folks, even those who are like-minded. Even amongst the deviant, there are cliques.