Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Personnal note


It just hit me yesterday that today marks one of those benchmarks you tend to forget as you get older. It was 30 years ago today that I started the paperwork on the place I now live having packed up my van, said my goodbyes, and never looked back on the rustbelt from where I came two weeks earlier. When I heard that many of the mills were set to close I knew it was an end of an era. No more big steel providing those family wage jobs which in turn supported the rest of the area. From what I hear what's left are the scraps and some small specialty steel. Strangely I never set foot in a mill until I came out here and started in Haz Mat work. Yes we do have a few very tiny mills here making mostly rebar for the roads and buildings. That nasty sulfur smell brought back memories as a kid from the east. I remembered the street lights coming on during the day and black snow in winter. Yes it was that bad back then. But that was a different time and a different life. When I saw that Seattle was to be the premier area for technology I knew there would be better prospects here. It was a hard start here but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

10 comments:

BBC said...

Seattle was okay back in the 60's but I wouldn't live there now, too many monkeys there.

I worked in a smelter after getting out of the Navy, for just over a week, every job there was nasty so I quit and moved on.

I've hauled some loads of steel out of small plants when trucking and they didn't seem too dirty, but that was in the 80's and 90's and I don't expect places like that to look pretty.

Now I'm just a damn bum, but I'm pretty good at it.

Tim said...

Demeur
At my age and Health, I think we decided on Vermont to move too. I'm just an old Hippy at heart. I have a few years left so I think that would be a good place for us.
What you did back then took courage.
You do seem to love where you live.
That's good as a Man needs to draw solace from somewhere.

The Blog Fodder said...

The top picture looks like a refinery.

Regina has a steel mill - pipes for oilfield mostly but rolled steel too. Electric blast furnaces recycling old steel, mainly cars. I have no idea if it was big or small but it is still in business after a great many years.

The company used to be IPSCO but expanded into the USA where it is now larger than it was in Canada. Not sure of the new name.

Sure is pretty country around Seattle.

Demeur said...

Billy I was refering mainly about the area but you're right there are too many monkeys here now.

Tim the only problem is I'll have to move farther out when I retire. Cities are too expensive.

Fodder actually it's an old abandoned mill in eastern Pennsylvania. Bethleham I believe. Just picked one at random.

Tom Harper said...

Happy 30th anniversary. I'm from Pittsburgh originally. What part of the Rust Belt are you from?

an average patriot said...

You made a good move 30 years ago, I just have a question, hows the job search going?

BBC said...

The top picture looks like a refinery.

It looks like a refinery to me also, and may well be, Pennsylvania is where oil was first drilled for and found in this country.

Those tall stacks are called 'crackers'.

BBC said...

An old steel mill would have had bethenny (sp) furnaces in it, not crackers.

Bustednuckles said...

Fucking technicalities.
It's just damn image grabbed off the net.

I am sure after thirty fucking years around here you have grown the required webbing in between your toes.

S.W. Anderson said...

You made a terrific choice, Demeur, even though the job situation is awful now. It will come back.

I grew up in the Northeast, did a fair amount of traveling, lived and worked in the deep South and the Northwest. I've spent time in many major cities. Seattle for various reasons is my favorite. I'd live in that area now if it wasn't for my better half's family ties over this way.

I have to say, though, the price of a place to live can be daunting in the whole Puget Sound area. I've seen some pretty steep prices on what can only be described as weatherbeaten, rundown hovels. Home prices in Eastern Washington are bargains by comparison.

Regarding abandonment of the industrial regions of the East and upper Midwest. It wasn't just a case of companies suddenly discovering the Sun Belt. Southern states set out to lure industries away with every kind of tax break, cheap land, union-hostile policies and brainwashed work forces just glad to have alternatives to field work in high heat. It was all very successful for the southern states and many of the industries. For the non-union southern workers and abandoned Rust Belt communities and states it was a ripoff. There should've been a mechanism to compensate the Rust Belt regions, especially since so many of the fleeing industries left behind used up eyesore plants and every kind of environmental damage.