A Part Of My Life

A personal take on a community losing a major employer.

When General Motors announced its list of plant closings Monday, I was among those waiting to see which plants were on the list.

Obviously, I don't work at a GM plant, and it's been 40 years since I had a family member who did.

But two plants which were a big part of my life were on that list: a portion of a plant in Parma, Ohio (outside Cleveland) and a powertrain plant in Massena, NY (whose closing, I just learned, was actually announced a few weeks ago).

The Parma plant was where my father got his first job in 1956 coming out of the Army, and just days after the birth of his first son.

Six years later, our family was transferred to the Massena plant (see one of my previous blogs), where we spent most of the 1960's until my father left the company for good in 1969.

But we've never completely left General Motors.  Every car I've had, except one, has been built or marketed by GM.  The same goes for every car, except one, my parents owned.

Reynolds Metals was a major supplier to the New York plant.  Mainly for that reason, my mother never had any aluminum foil in her kitchen other than Reynolds Wrap.  That kitchen, for years, was also stocked with Frigidare appliances, even after GM sold the Frigidare division in the 1970's.

All of this doesn't take into account my ancestors, who worked for various GM divisions before my father did.  Most of those were plants which closed years ago.

There may be a "New GM", as government and company officials are saying, after it emerges from federal bankruptcy.  But the General Motors I and my family, and hundreds of thousands of one-time GM employees knew, may be gone for good.


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