|Edmund Marion Ashe (!867-1941) Work n.d. Oil on Canvas. Photo by Wayne Stratz|
For my ancestors in the Lehigh Valley it was Fabric and Cement; Slate and Steel. I grew up as Bethlehem steel descended, slate quarries were illegal swimming holes, grandmothers who quilted worked days in sewing mills, and grandfathers made Mack trucks or told stories of deaths in cement hoppers. Unions were the friends of generations of workers who remembered conditions. Labor meant something.
My dad worked with the tools of a draftsman, but did not escape the industry that sprang from what the ground contained. He drew on paper of what would become blueprints, which in the field became the places where concrete blocks were formed.
Now Bethlehem Steel is a casino. Drafting tools have been replaced by Autocad. Scrubbers keep the cement dust off of cars. The students at my school travel north to see the Mack Truck museum.
and my dad's drafting tools are used to draw art in my studio.
|Molly Wheeler Wood Pitz (1913-?) Lime Kiln at Night, 1936 oil on Canvas. Photo by Wayne Stratz|