The package from Lorlee had three things in it. Some yardage with a farm print, an apron with ballerinas on it and the faded, red, seed packet house dress I used in my latest quilt. In her note Lorlee said a friends mother had died and these things had belonged to her. She thought I might be interested in them, but if not, I should just toss them, they would have gone in the garbage anyway. I’m so glad Lorlee intervened.
As I was cutting the dress apart this morning to use in my quilt, I noticed that the label said “Made in the USA.” When I was a kid, waking up on a weekday morning, the house was filled with classical music. The radio on top of the refrigerator was tuned to WQXR. I don’t remember the music, but I can still hear Karl Haas saying “Hellou Everyone”. And, from time to time, like when I see a label that says “Made in the USA”, I involuntarily start singing the Union Label Song. Look for the Union Label when you are buying a coat dress or blouse. That’s as far as I get, I don’t know the rest of the words. But strange as it may sound, that song chokes me up. It always has. I don’t know if it’s the melody, or the feeling that comes across from it. I know so many Unions are corrupt, and lots of people have lost faith in them, but there’s still something powerful in the idea of people coming together, taking pride in their work and demanding to be paid fairly for it. There’s something proud and patriotic about the song as if there’s no questions that buying Union is the right thing to do.
Maybe I get emotional over it, because I understand how these people feel and believe in what they are singing about. And in a way, this idea has come back in the Buy Local Movement. The Unions are gone, but cottage business are popping up everywhere and people are more and more aware of buying from their neighbors and local small businesses. And now, I’m one of those businesses. So even though Corporations are bigger and have more control than ever, there’s a backlash of people starting their own small businesses and working for themselves. There’s a growing sense of responsible buying and it may be slow in coming, but I have this idea and this hope that this is how things will change this time. Not with violence and demonstrations, but with the slow and subtle shift of awareness. Not from large groups of organized people, but from individuals making similar choices in lifestyle. Slowly and steadily, one person at a time.