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This is my journey. This is what I see. I am a wife, a mother, an artist. I am on His path.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Factory

My Dad, in his infinite wisdom and all of his connections, steered me in the direction of a job after my junior year in high school.  It was a hard job. It was a dirty job.  It was a rate job.  It was a factory job.  We made…….clothes hampers.  Glamorous, yes?

It was rate, which meant I was paid for producing a minimum number of pieces per hour.  If I was able to produce more than that minimum, I made bonus!!!  Extra money!! 

I started this grand excursion at hamper lids.  These are produced by placing a piece of vinyl on a heat table …did I mention it was summer in an old warehouse on the Mississippi River?......heat table.  Then you place a piece of foam for padding, a board and you begin stapling….with an awesome pneumatic stapler.  There was a trick to this.  You start in the centers of each side and work your way to the outside edges, that way there are no wrinkles on the top.  Did I mention this is all done on a heat table?  This keeps the vinyl soft and pliable to give a slight stretch to the material.  It creates a beautiful lid….as long as you don’t pull too hard.  I ripped that vinyl to shreds the first day.

It took me about a week to get the feel right and then I was off and running.  By the third week, I was making rate!!  I only took one staple through the knuckle of my thumb. 

But you guessed it.  I made rate…I got moved.

I worked the sewing machines that stitch the vinyl and hemp braiding that goes on the edges and seams.  That didn’t last long though.  I broke one machine and let another one run out of thread….oops.  No one explained it takes about 45 minutes to rethread one of those fancy machines.  Did you know, that to soften the braided material, it runs through oil.  It makes a mess and it stinks.  I also broke a million needles in the two hours I was on that job.  I was never allowed back into that department.

I ran the restock items from the warehouse….the elevator was scary, but really awesome!  I pounded the frames of the hampers together at the start of the line.  I boxed hampers at the end of the line.  I even loaded the truck on the platform.

The lessons I learned working in a factory:

I worked with a cross section of America.
From all walks of life.  Each with their own dreams and goals.
These were incredible people....

I loved the lunch truck!!

No one ate onions for breakfast…..
It is called body odor.

I did it!  
I accomplished every task set before me and I survived!

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