Today was a very special day for me. I am so appreciative for those who were there to share it in person and in spirit. The story of John and Arlene Meyer of Norwich is not just the story of our particular family, but the story of America.
In the project I found profound lessons about hard work and inspiration, about strong communities, about decency and fairness, about American values, about American ingenuity, and most of all, American manufacturing.
I learned the value of "good manners in behavior and in dress", and how that makes everyone a bit more comfortable.
I learned about co-operative, not cut-throat businesses: woolen mills and thread mills, and button factories and factories large and small, and avid and skilled local workforces that supported vibrant small towns all over New England.
I learned about the immigrants who came to this country with only the skills of their hands and their heads, who built great companies and made great products.
I saw our family ride the wave of American Jews from Hester Street (literally- look at the 1880 census!), across the Bridge, first to Herkimer Street and, with success, to Midwood Brooklyn- where there were fields to run in between the houses, to be part of the historic and the Groundbreaking East Midwood Jewish Center from it's very first year. Instilling values that last 2 generations later.
And from there to the suburbs and far beyond. But finally, I understood why, when I moved to Broome Street in 1976, my family joked about my moving back to the Lower East Side after the hard work to get to Connecticut-- I don't think anyone knew that my paternal grandfather's factory was exactly four blocks from the loft I inhabit to this day. Or that my maternal grandfather was born on Grand St., exactly three blocks away.
I learned what keeps families together, and what breaks them apart.
I learned that the amazing community of Vintage Clothing dealers, collectors and the like are today's equivalent of yesterday's piece workers-- let's hear it for cottage industry. As much as the BIG businesses I came to appreciate the small as well. Thanks to all of you for helping me create the archive, without which the story has no pictures. Check my Pinterest Board, for some links to some of the dealers who helped.
And here is a link to one of my favorite Vintage Lover/Dealer blogs, The Vintage Traveler. She is a fan. You will enjoy it
And I really learned the value of the internet. Ancestry.com, and deep, late late nights on google.com. You want to know anything? Learn how to search effectively.
And I learned that my mother was right, I do look good in yellow.
Here are the details if you will be anywhere near Waterbury Ct. between now and September 8, 1913. I think you will have fun.
Elise, I saw the exhibit this weekend and loved it so much. Currently I noticed there are some John Meyer things on eBay. Please read my blog post about the experience. The women on the video brought tears to my eyes!ReplyDelete
Growing up in the Upper Great Lakes areas, I loved John Meyer ads in Seventeen Magazine. They made me think about country weekends, farm markets, antique fairs and apple pie. I could not find JM clothing in my small community, so I tracked down similar items from other stores and cobbled together a similar wardrobe. Finally, a great aunt gave me a dress she'd outgrown and I wore that dress straight into college. I came of age in the hippie era, so you know I must have stood out a bit. But I loved it.ReplyDelete