Labour Day


September 3, 2012 by Vicki

“Support your Steel Workers”

I walk outside and read, floating above a large crowd, “Employment not Nation Wrecking” “Support Your Steel Workers”. A large group of young to middle aged men gather outside, handing out sheets and talking amongst themselves.

“Your Steel Workers”

I remember  my grandfather at his retirement party, 65 years old and as strong and healthy as my own father. So happy, laughing with his sons, talking with his grandchildren.

I remember Granddad sitting for hours in his well guarded spot on the couch, me on my green chair listening to him tell stories of his forty-five years in the shop. The pranks they pulled on each other. Watching Grandpa sit and talk with his friends about the old days, his lined face lighting up with interest and concern. Pictures throughout the house of a younger grandpa sitting in front of large pieces of machinery.

I walk though the mass of men and listen. They speak loudly amongst themselves, their fear and anger evident in their voices. Memory of my grandfather slouched in his grey sofa holding a letter, confusion in his eyes and betrayal on his face. Cut backs cutting his pension without regard for his years of service. Watching as more letter come in and he seems to shrink. Begins to speak of having to move away from his home, from his house that he had bought for his family twenty-five years ago. Away from the home that held the connection with grandma who had passed away.

I turn, and one man wih light brown hair steaked with grey approaches, sheet in hand.

“Support your Steel Workers?”

Memory of my granddad lying in His home with his children and grandchildren surrounding him. Memory of my uncle crying as he held onto the bed but telling grandpa it was okay. That we would be ok. He looked around at all our faces in his home. His family that he had held together, supported, and loved. His family that gathered in his home to support him through that last fight.

I see images of my Uncle still fighting the good fight. Still supporting his family.

“Support your Steel Workers?” he asks handing me a sheet of paper. I take it from his hand “Anytime”.

4 thoughts on “Labour Day

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh Vicky, you are a powerful writer. Keep it going! Linda

  2. Kate says:

    I read this, Vicki, and it told a story that so seldom gets told. The man, the family, the hurt behind cutbacks and labour disputes. Linda is right, you are a powerful writer, especially when it is something from yourt heart.

  3. RM Luffman says:

    Wow, Vick. Ya, powerful is a word for it. I could see the steel in your spine and the glint n your eye as you took the paper. That one word brought tears to my eyes.

    • Vicki says:

      Thank you everyone for your positive reviews. I don’t think it would surprise anyone to learn that I wrote that piece with tears in my eyes and a catch in my throat. To this day, I can’t read it without the same response. I know it’s a story that applies to more than just my family.

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