Washburn Wire Steel Mill, East Providence/Phillipsdale RI (now closed and demolished)
What am I thankful for on this day where America is supposed to be celebrating its declaration of independence from the rule of a faraway king of England, but now this America suffers from a wannabe king, a two bit huckster who seems to love the despots of the world? But still, I'm thankful for an America that allowed my grandfather to escape hardship in his birth land in Italy and an America that allowed him to return to that land to fetch his bride Mary Saccoccio and to bring her back to America to raise a family of 10 children with this bride. One of those children became my Mom who married my Dad from Boston and who together the two settled in the Italian-American community just outside of Providence, RI in a home across the street from my grandparents to raise their own family of six children.
I'm grateful for a Dad who worked rotating shifts at a steel mill and a Mom who worked at U.S. Rubber factory and a grandmother who came over in the morning to get us up and ready for our walk to the neighborhood school where we got a good founding for our education.
I'm grateful for my stint at working for over a year in the very same steel mill that my Dad spent working for 30 plus years and how my experience at the mill convinced me I should get some more learning and I'm grateful for an uncle Tony who saw some potential and guided me to the test for a scholarship which got me to college and I'm grateful for the summer, after my BA, and for the autumn, when I started graduate study at that educational fortress on the hill, Brown University, yes, and grateful for the chance to work for a summer at my Mom's U.S. Rubber company. A summer that taught me how hard my Mom had to work to contribute to raising us.
And I'm grateful for the professors at Brown - Grossman, Schupack, Borts, Taft, Stein, Brennan, Beckman, Ryder, Altman et.al, who inspired me. And I'm grateful for the support and loyalty from the woman I married when we were young with still a lot to learn, as we struggled with a family with two toddler sons while we both tried to acquire more education for ourselves to satisfy our curiosity and to contribute more to our society. It has been a fun journey, and we are lucky. it is not over yet.