I am up early. Actually I have been awake since 3. It is now just after 5.
A lovely day yesterday. The weather is typical perfect Fall weather. A chill in the air, trees turning. The sun bright.
Sun will be a rarity in a couple of months. The winters are gray. Utica is located in a valley. The Mohawk Valley of historical fame. A bank of clouds sits over the valley for 4-5 months during the winter season. No sun. Very demoralizing.
I spent the better part of the day doing some work which brought me here. Then in the evening I had dinner with my Father and his lady friend Frances. My Dad is 96. Frances 63. They have lived together about 10 years. She is good to him. And good for him.
We went to a local restaurant. The conversation was giddy. We laughed much.
My Father has slowed down in his latter years. An aortic valve problem. He cannot walk 20 feet without tiring dramatically. But sit him down and he is vibrant and animated.
We talked of him visiting Key West. It has been years since he did so. His concern is the embarassment of a wheel chair in the airports. Frances wants him to go. She would come with him, of course. I even said, as I have in the past, that I would come to Utica and accompany him both ways.
When we were leaving the restaurant, Frances drove the car up. I assisted my Father in entering the car. He had to step down a curb. He knew the curb was there. He said hold my arm. Told me how.
He effected the step off the curb. But very badly. Mumbling…..curbs bother me.
I realized at that moment he would never visit Key West again.
We talk much these days about America’s manufacturing business which has gone to other countries. The American worker no longer has a plant to go to every day. This scenerio, the export of American jobs, is considered a major contributor to our economic distress.
A similar situation occurred early in our Nation’s history. With a beneficial result to the Utica area!
The time is 1807. Thomas Jefferson is President. The new United States is being buried with cheap goods from Europe. Jefferson signed into law the Embargo Act of 1807. It basically forbad trade with foreign nations. They could not ship in nor could the United States ship out.
The mercantile business boomed. People needed clothes and underwear. Knitting mills prospered.
Utica was one of those places where the knitting mills prospered. The knitting mills of New England prospered for the same reson.
Utica’s knitting mill prosperity had some ups and downs. But it basically succeeded till after World War II when the knitting mills went south. The south provided cheaper labor and the plants were closer to where the cotton grew.
Utica’s leading citizens banded together to bring industry to Utica to replace the knitting mills. The effort was called Loom to Boom! It worked. Companies like General Electric and Chicago Pneumatic opened plants here. GE made its radios in Utica. Utica became known as the radio capital of the world!
Then came the Asiatic markets and cheap everything. Utica and the rest of the northeast lost their manufacturing plants.
Today, Utica is as the rest of the northeast. Economically depressed. It did not need the present recession to make it so. It became that way many years ago.
By the way, Jefferson’s Embargo Act of 1807 was considered a failure. The only areas that benefitted were Utica and New England and their knitting mills. Americans at the time were not happy with the Embargo Acrt. They operated ships back and forth to Europe and delivered and returned goods illegally. The result was somewhat like Prohibition. The public did not accept the law.
The Emabrgo Act of 1807 was also a contributing factor to the War of 1812. The primary reason for the war was conscription. However, underlying the war was Britan’s being upset with not being able to openly trade with the United States.
Dig deep enough and you will generally find money as a cause of conflict. Mideast oil comes to mind at the moment.
Enjoy your day!