Our USA ®
Charming Stories & Photos Created by remarkable Americans just like you! Spotlighting “Made in America” page 32
Our Country - Our People - Our Stories ourusamagazine.com
our country, our people, our stories
6 Reasons to Serve
This group believes in the inherent generosity of others and their aim is to ignite that spirit of service.
16 You Are In
24 JFK’s White
Unsure, scared, lonely? Read these words of inspiration, motivation and celebration.
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death, but the memory still lingers in the hearts of many Americans.
The Best of Times
20 Letting Go Watching them leave the nest is difficult for any nurturing parent, but should you encourage it?
Serves the World’s Poor for 100 years
A rare look at the magnificent seminary in Ossining, NY
14 Share Your Stuff
“When we share, we walk more lightly on the earth and often improve our quality of life.”
22 One Word They say one picture is worth a thousand words. See what these images speak to you.
25 A Mother’s Worth
“A son went to war today. Packed his bags without delay. His mother prayed to the Lord. Bring him home she implored.”
Making A Difference
Entrepreneurial women taking a chance, and following their passion.
DEPARTMENTS 4 Photographers 5 Contributors 9 19 Point of View
Morning Mountain Reflection
29 Artistic Homage Being Conservative
42 Photo Montage “A person’s a person
There is a trend afoot that is helping us to relearn ancient skills and reclaim our roots, literally and figuratively.
32 We Just
Can’t Live Without It
no matter how small.”
Sign Museum A nostalgic look at America’s past.
Teenage Life Forms
40 My Little
For this medic, answering a 911 call always gets the adrenalin rushing, but when it concerns a child he goes into overdrive.
“Made in USA” – Do these three words still offer the hope and promise of the American dream?
45 I’m Just Sayin’
“Now,” she thought. “I look like everyone else. Now I’m normal.”
26 A Harvest
50 Photo Montage America the Beautiful
52 My Hometown First Falls
54 Back In The Day 56 Etsy Artisans
A Harvest Dinner By Angela Madaras
reserving farms, food and heritage seems to be the buzz lately. In addition to Slow Food USA, many other organizations have been around for years educating people on heritage breed animals, heirloom variety plants, and traditional foods prepared as they did in the old world. Food preservation techniques have become more popular as well, with canning parties and community kitchens, while preservation courses and chicken coop construction classes are just a sampling of what is happening throughout many communities in the US and abroad. Organic gardening workshops have increased as has â€œDo It Yourselfâ€? sales in most hardware stores and farmer supply
stores. Tractor supply stores now carries heritage breed chickens in partnership with American Heritage Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
Even cookbooks, food TV shows, food blogs and books on all things food have grown in popularity through online retail stores and at the local library. I find a longer waiting list for books in these areas. The good news is that this trend is helping an entire nation retool its sheds, relearn ancient skills and reclaim our roots. It is helping urban areas by supporting urban gardens, which feed school kids and people in under-served urban neighborhoods for whom fresh produce used to be a distant dream. Employment and hands-on training for volunteers offer a new economy driven by skilled growers, chefs, artisans, trades, etc. The value is at the core of what it means to be a steward of the earth.
Miraculous things happen when people are taught how to raise their own food, store it properly for winter, prepare it in healthy and tasty ways, save seeds, and pass it along for others to enjoy. There are many benefits found in raising and preserving one’s food: more exercise, time spent outside, money spent wisely and better health. Fewer trips to the doctor and pharmacy mean lower medical costs. One could also make a case for less fast food bucks spent and less fuel used to ship in food from other countries. This all makes for a healthier nation in the long run. Additionally, we find that when children are fed wholesome meals, their test scores go up and they stand a better chance of succeeding academically, therefore making a higher salary as an adult. Economics and agriculture go hand in hand. As Wendell Berry once stated, “Eating is an agricultural act.” It is also an economic one. All of this popularity in all things food has spurred on many movements: support local food, farm to table, farm to school, and sustainable agriculture. Even prime time and day- time TV is turning to cooking and DIY programs, like “The Chew” and “Hell’s Kitchen” thus cashing in on the movement.
One phenomenon that has grown out of these movements is the “Dinner on the Farm–In the Barn” concept happening all over the countryside. “Outstanding in the Field” is a group of trained chefs/ cooks/foodies who drive around the country in a portable kitchen bus. They arrange dinners with farmers and chefs at each stop, and invite people to join–for a hefty ticket price–in a farm fresh and locally sourced meal prepared by a group of cooks who understand the importance of gathering together in sup-
port of the farm-to-table movement. Tickets sell out online months before the actual meal. These meals are similar to traditional “harvest celebrations,” but ironic considering the transport costs of shuttling chefs around in a gas guzzling bus. But they get bonus points for bringing attention back to the farmers who grow the food, their fields, and the structures that hold the bounty and house the livestock. Harvest dinners have been going on since the first barn was raised.
During the end of the growing season, people gather in celebration on farms in rural communities throughout the countryside. Think of going to a cider mill for cider and doughnuts or taking a hay ride through a pumpkin patch. Those of you raised on a farm remember getting out of school to harvest the fields with the whole family and community. Farmers raised barns together where they broke bread after a long day gathering feed and food to dry, save, eat and feed livestock. Thanksgiving is the ultimate harvest meal. Add to that a cozy barn setting, a long harvest table, and people you love, and you have a memory to last a lifetime. It is a way of celebrating the bounty. Misty Farm in Ann Arbor, Michigan is just the place for this type of celebration. A group of farmers, food lovers and preservationists celebrated with a fall harvest dinner at a 17’ douglas fir harvest table with 6 pine-beam stools seating a total of 22 people. And room for many more at folding tables in an area made for dancing. They regularly host weddings and special dinners on their private grounds. We decided to dine in the smaller of the two barns where the harvest table took center stage. Preservation, local food, farmers
We Just Can’t Live Without It By Logan Beam
Part of a Tradition
“Made in USA” is perhaps the second most important set of three words in our country’s history, arguably coming in behind our founding father’s famous three words, “We the people,” that grew and maintained our country. The phrase “Made in USA” is a staple of American tradition. It is more important than Toby Keith, baseball, and Mom’s apple pie. These words are what built America during the Industrial Revolution. “Made in USA” is what gave people from all over the world a vision of the American Dream. From the auto industry workers on the assembly line, to the farmers who harvest our food, to the cotton mill workers who create the fabric used for our clothing—the days of the Industrial Revolution created millions of American jobs with three words we just can’t live without—“Made in USA.” The Few, The Proud, The Jobs Today, there are very few companies that can still say their products are “Made in USA.” In a way they are a proud part of the history that stretches from the Industrial Revolution. When you see a tag that says “Made in USA” it was made by American workers, from American
materials, and helped the creation of American jobs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the American population was estimated at 313,793,643 as of June 2012. If every American in our population spent $50 on one USA-Made garment a year, it would create an estimated $15.7 billion in revenue. This number alone would create thousands of jobs for Americans. A job allows citizens to get an education, support the military, police, firemen and emergency personal. Jobs also support our municipal needs such as food, electricity, water, garbage removal, social security and savings that allow citizens to take the family on that memorable vacation. These needs are only met if our citizens have a job. Jobs allow them to live. A Dying Tradition There once was a time when we took pride in having products
“Made in USA;” when it was a traditon to have that label on all of our items, when there was a promise of the American Dream through American manufacturing that provided jobs for U.S. citizens; and when industries like the apparel industry thrived on being one of the leading job suppliers for citizens in the United States. Those days are over. The American manufacturing industry is on the brink of extinction. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American apparel industry alone accumulated 938,600 jobs in 1990. Today, that number has plummeted to 150,300 jobs. Along with other industries, American manufactuing in the apparel industry is slowly dying, racking up an 84 percent loss of 788,300 jobs. If this trend continues, Americans will continue to lose jobs, the national debt will continue to plunge, and someday we will never see tags on our clothing that say “Made in USA.” With the current unemployment rate at 8.2 percent (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), we are living in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The need to supply American citizens a job in an American manufacturing industry is more important than ever for both our citizens and our economy.
Under these current conditions, citizens are finding it harder to live. College graduates cannot find a job, parents are supporting their children into their 20s, and even military men and women cannot find a job after they return home from duty. Sad, But True We have military men and women overseas risking their lives. Right now, they are serving the ultimate sacrifice so that American citizens can enjoy the freedoms our founding fathers instilled in this great nation. And what do we do with that freedom? A citizen uses his freedom to buy a shirt that is Made in China because it saves him a dollar. A business owner uses his freedom in taking his company overseas so he can also make an extra dollar. This trend continues for the milions
of Americans in our country. Then, when our servicemen and women return home from duty, they sadly come home to no jobs. We are the ones to blame. It’s sad to think that we have men and women who are willing to die for our country, but we are not willing to buy for it. Made in USA: There is Still Hope If we continue to manufacture overseas and support foreign made items, the trends mentioned above will continue. The debt will only worsen and our manufacturing industries will continue to plummet. Not only will these trends destroy our economy, but Americans will be left out of jobs for one simple reason. We didn’t collectively stand up for an extremely important cause. We must take a stand and make an
effort to support ourselves. Our American manufacturing leaders should stand up to do the right thing and bring manufacturing back to the United States. Our citizens should support the effort to buy at least one USA-made item a year at $50 to create up to $15.7 billion in revenue. There is still hope. If we collectively come together and start buying USA-made items, America will begin to flourish like it once did during the Industrial Revolution. We can turn $15.7 billion in our first year into $30 billion in the next. We can ultimately improve our efforts year in and year out. We have to. We have no choice. We must buy ‘Made in USA.’ We just can’t live without it. USA
Men pulling racks of clothing on busy sidewalk in Garment District, NYC World Telegram & Sun photo by Al Ravenna, 1955. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, New York World-Telegram & Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection
Mindset That Clicks
By Roger Simmermaker
Women Making A Difference
t’s not often that American-made intersects with American theater and the result brings a new brickand-mortar store to life, but oddly enough that’s exactly what happened in Barrington, Illinois. And it’s part of the story of the start of possibly the first ever brick-and-mortar store in America to sell only American goods. Barrington is just a few miles northwest of Chicago, and Chicago is home to the Steppenwolf Theater Company. In 2003, they staged an adaptation of Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.” Playing the role of Ehrenreich was a talented actress named Deborah Leydig, and during that time Deborah started realizing how much of American manufacturing had gravitated to offshore locations. And so Deborah did the same thing many Americans do once they have their patriotic “made in America” moment, she started researching and making a list of what she could find that is made in the USA. One day, while still compiling that list of American-made items, Deborah found herself driving past
a familiar building in Barrington – an old livery barn – that had just gone up for sale. Right then she was struck with an idea: why not take that American-made list, and whatever might be added to it in the future, and offer all those products in a store that sold only Americanmade goods? Flash forward to just six months later. Deborah has purchased the old livery barn–she and her brother did much of the fixing-up and cleaning– and she opened Norton’s USA in June 2007.
The same survey found 81 percent of people in the same age group buy American because they believe it helps our economy. So what might you find while browsing Norton’s USA’s store filled with American-made items? There’s quite a lot to be found, from accessories; baby products; cleaning products; clothing for kids, men and women; flags and patriotic decor (of course); food; candy; gardening products; home goods; housewares; pet supplies; soaps; lotions; stationery; tools; and toys. If you’re into gardening, get your green thumb into gear with the no less than 26 Americanmade gardening tools and accessories from Norton’s USA.
The store started with just 80 items and has now swelled to almost 2,000. And although owner Deborah Leydig knows foreign goods can tend to be cheaper since they’re produced in lower-cost labor countries, she notes, “My customers really want to buy American, so they will pay more if they have to, and of course they get the Americanmade quality as well.” Statistics certainly support the idea that more Americans want to buy American. According to Perception Research Services International, 72 percent of consumers between the ages of 50 through 64 say that the “Made in the USA” label greatly influences their purchasing decisions.
Another category that caught my eye was their sensational selection of American-made Halloween items. These holiday items aren’t easy to find produced domestically, but Norton’s USA has them, and they’re all made in the USA. Finding American-made products at brick-and-mortar stores is becoming more common as these stores spring up across the nation. But big kudos go to Norton’s USA, as they were an early pioneer in what is becoming one of today’s national trends. nortonusa.com
The true inspiration for which the idea of custom Braille jewelry transpired is our son Kingston. He was born with C.H.A.R.G.E. syndrome and has had quite the struggle to be alive today. This little boy wasn’t given three out of the five very precious senses, but has managed to embrace the world with exactly what he has been given.
Generating fashionably green jewelry from cast-off cans was the mission. Cangles, inspired from a combination of the words can and bangles became the namesake of the enterprise. The design and construction of the jewelry is based on the three R’sReusing, Renewing, and Recyclingand uses a reliable and safe manufacturing process to create unique handmade gifts for men and women. Proceeds from four specially designed custom bracelets, commissioned by the Save the Earth Foundation and available on Cangles website directly aid the foundation’s environmental and education efforts. Additionally, a portion of each purchase made is donated to charities that help the environment or provide services to people in need – and their pets. The Wounded Warrior Project, Pet FriendZ, Autism Speaks™, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure® are included.
Deborah Krupp was a successful engineer for more than 30 years, working for businesses all over the Atlanta metro area, with some of the most technical and complicated systems of her field. In 2007, the problems began. Krupp was diagnosed with a hemiplegic migraine, characterized by difficulty in speaking and an over-sensitivity to light. Her career was finished and Krupp had to find other means to make ends meet.
Kingston will never experience the gift of sight and is in the process of learning Braille and American Sign Language. Thoughts With Dots was created with aspirations of his friends and family learning the Braille language to communicate with him directly - with braille dots placed directly on the jewelry. thoughtswithdots.com
That’s when she started her company, Gem Assist. Traveling from doctor to doctor, she needed a quick and efficient way to transfer information about her medical conditon. She settled on the unique solution of using a piece of jewelry. Made to look like a pendant, a durable, waterproof USB drive has been designed to hang from a necklace, and can contain all the important files necessary for medical treatment, especially if the wearer has trouble communicating. The doctor can simply take the USB key and plug it into his computer. Though the USB is purchased off-shore, the jewelry, accessories and adornments, along with the packaging are all Made in the USA. A portion of the profits from sales of the jewelry goes to brain research.
Women Making A Difference
In August 2009, after taking a heartbreaking drive through once thriving neighborhoods where this family had lived for three generations, the idea of creating a business to positively impact the environment and the community was born.
Park Avenue is the home of Hanky Panky’s corporate and administrative offices, sample room and showroom. It is also the locus of creativity where designers combine their understanding of market wants with creative vision to develop the latest from everyday wares to the “after midnight” unmentionables. Thread and cut sheets. Manhattan.
Women Making A Difference
anky Panky is the creation of Gale Epstein and Lida Orzeck and evolved out of a gift that Gale gave to Lida which Gale made out of hand-embroidered handkerchiefs. The women have since gained an international reputation as makers of the finest in women’s lingerie. Customers are passionate about Hanky Panky. Hanky Panky was established in Manhattan in 1977, and is one of the sole manufacturers of ladies lingerie making their product exclusively in the USA. Photographer Brian Goldman was recently commissioned to capture a portrait of the company, its people and processes. This is a very edited look at a most interesting peek inside the company. To see more go to goldmanpictures.com.
The sample-making area is wall-towall thread and bolts of fabric with cut sheets hanging here and there. The cut sheets specify the details of each sample to be made.
Makeda, one of Hanky Panky’s Senior Designers.
A pattern maker creates the templates for the new designs, which are then given to the sample room. Samples are made so that the production team will know exactly what the production garment should look like. Sample making is very similar to production sewing, but is done on a much smaller scale and by hand. The samples have to be perfect. Whatever flaws come out of sampling (there are none) could lead to a flawed production run.
Maggie, Hanky Panky’s Sample Cutter
After the garment is finished in production sewing, it leaves the contractor to be quality inspected and inventoried. Some styles may be embellished with crystals depicting Collegiate logos or Hello Kitty indicia.
Products Proudly Made in the USA - For Years L. C. King Manufacturing in Bristol TN makes the Pointer Brand High Back, Low Back and Carpenter Overalls, and a wide array of other denim products. All are Made in the USA with American source raw materials. Established in 1913, the company remains owned by the founding family four generations later. www.pointerbrand.com
Hanky Panky, the lingerie phenomenon coveted by celebrities and fashion conscious women worldwide, is dedicated to innovative design, comfort, quality and U.S. production. Born in New York and still producing domestically in its 34th year. www.hankypanky.com
Proud to be a daughter of an American Soldier
Photos - Mary Ellen Godinez
I wanna be just like Daddy
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”~ Dr. Seuss
Photos - Amber Wallace
Inspiration Point Letchworth State Park, NY The Grand Canyon of the East
Photo MJ Valentino