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my notes Spring is finally here, and after the winter we’ve endured, all I can say is Amen. I have an Attitude of Gratitude toward Spring.

• To be still and Appreciate each morning. • Awaken with Hope for what each day can hold. • Seek and give kindness to others. • Not respond to negative comments with negative comments. • Notice and be aware of any words following “I Am.” • Pay more attention to the things that are good and try and stop talking about what is wrong. • Go outside my comfort zone at least once a month. • Take time to thank others on a regular basis. • Listen to my breath, feel my heartbeat and know my body is not replaceable and treat it with the respect it deserves. • Open my eyes and notice something beautiful in nature on a daily basis. • Reflect on my day and my life each night and find gratitude in something, even if its only My Breath, My Heartbeat, My Life


Wendy Junker, Marketing Director CJ, Production Manager Debra Jennings, Text Editing

Front Cover: David Mills

Bubba, Director of Goodwill

P. 4, 6, 70, 90 Amber S. Wallace


P. 34, 50 Katherin Cambareri

Already a quarter of 2014 has slipped away, without even really noticing. I did, like many others, make resolutions at the beginning of the new year. Well, not exactly make them myself. I saw them somewhere from someone and someplace that I don’t know, but they resonated with me and I try to keep committed to them going forward.

Cher Valentino, Editor

P. 52 Elise Marie Fallon P. 80 Josh Deaton P. 90 Judy Schwab

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Spring ‘14 Copyright © 2014

All rights reserved. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or part is prohibited. Our USA Magazine 

Our Country, Our People, Our Stories


Painting for America: An Artist’s Take on National Pride

12. The Fine Art of Art 16. Who the *$&% is Jackson Pollock? 20. Advice From An Artist 24. ArtPlace 30. The History of Crate Labels 36. Pay it Forward - Art Lifting 42. Under the Covers 46. There’s

Only One Note You Came To Sing

49. The Soul’s Music 

54. There are Far, Far Better Things Ahead

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Spring 2014

56. Finding My Soul’s Vocation 62. Earning My Wings 65. My Second Act 66. Putting My Kids’ Art in the Trash 69. Child Prodigy

72. A Pink Plastic Diary 74. Not Your Average Bear 78. Green Wisdom

82. Get the Dirt on Dirt 86. Hard Drive Not Recognized 88. My First Job 90. Why Arguments Against Gov’t. “Buy Made in USA Are All Wrong.

92. Channeling American Style

USA Photo: Our Amber S.Magazine Wallace 

David Mills - Cover Art “Cascade” Inspired by the events of September 11th Newly transplanted to the art rich city of Austin, Texas from Washington DC, David now calls Austin home. He studied art at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC and the University of Maryland University College. He later was invited to join the U.M.U.C faculty serving in the art department as an educator for over five years. His work has been exhibited throughout the Baltimore and Washington region for more than a decade. Follow David at

Kay Thomas Kay Thomas has lived in the rural Finger Lakes hills of western New York for many years. After a successful teaching career, she is pursuing opportunities in freelance writing. Her first book, “AND ONE MORE THING: I Brake for Squirrels and Other Thoughts I Have No Doubt About” is based on her bi-weekly social commentary column in the Livingston County News, Geneseo, NY.

Tama J. Kieves Tama Kieves is the best-selling author of “This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love!” and “Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work!” As a sought after speaker and career coach, she has helped thousands worldwide to discover, launch, and live the work and life of their dreams. Visit her at and sign up for her free “Inspired Success Launch You Kit” and free mojo-messages. And join her Facebook tribe!

Amber S. Wallace Amber S. Wallace, a photographer in the foothills of North Carolina, thoroughly enjoys all of the creative aspects that are involved in the art of photography. Amber’s personal ambition in a photo is to show her unique art style through a combination of location, fashion, props, models, mood and light. You can follow her new blog at or find her on Facebook: Amber S. Wallace Photography.

We do not make


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Rev. John F. Hudson The Reverend John F. Hudson is pastor of the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Sherborn, MA. He is the creator and writer of “Spiritually Speaking,” a weekly newspaper column exploring the intersection of spirituality and popular culture which appears in the Community Newspapers of Eastern Massachusetts. His work has also been featured in The Boston Globe and Boston Herald newspapers and he is currently at work on a spiritual memoir about life as a small town minister. He blogs at

Larry W. Fish Larry was born and raised in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. In 2004 he moved to North Carolina with his wife, Lina. He enjoys writing short stories of his youth, politics, nature, and scary fictional stories. Larry has his first novel “Golden Haze” available at Amazon. His second novel,“A Walk To Love” will be out soon.

Shannon Hayes Shannon is the author of Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture, The Grassfed Gourmet, and The Farmer and the Grill. She is the host of Grassfedcooking. com and Hayes works with her family on Sap Bush Hollow Farm in upstate New York.

Michael McKeldon Woody Michael McKeldon Woody is host of the upcoming television program “American Dragon,” which profiles U.S. manufacturers successfully competing with overseas companies. He can be reached at and on Facebook at American Dragon – Michael McKeldon Woody.


recognize them

~G.Henrichs USA Photo: Our Amber S. Magazine Wallace 


hen it comes to understanding art, the first step may be to better understand the artist. The same is probably true in reverse. One could come to understand who an artist is and what they are about by studying their work. The frenetic web of spatters and drips displayed by Jackson Pollock’s large erratic compositions echo his inner demons and bipolar psyche. The witty illustrations of Norman Rockwell’s “Saturday Evening Post” series allude to his sense of humor and romantic sensibilities. The color and subtle eroticism of the feminine themes that underlie Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings relay her views on women and their perceived roles. 

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PAINTING FOR AMERICA: An Artist’s Take on National Pride By William Travis

Upon studying the work of Austin-based artist David Mills, one might characterize him as patriotic, nostalgic and astute. His work then might be characterized as allegorical, poignant and perhaps revolutionary. Not revolutionary in the way that would change the perception of art, or change the direction of a greater art movement. No, the narrative behind the paintings of David Mills calls the American people to action. Calling them to remember, to react, to change and to inspire others to follow suit, effectively changing the course of an America who has lost her way. American by David Mills

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“Right side emblem of a 1967 Ford Mustang. ‘67 was the last year before they changed to a script font. It’s also the year I was born. Painted on hardwood panel, layered with newspaper, acrylic texture medium, acrylic, oil and metal reactive paint.” David’s most powerful series entitled “Rust In Peace” focuses on the nostalgic themes of U.S. auto nameplates, harkening the days when America made, with its own hands, some of the best products ever manufactured. Products made by a hard working group who took pride in their work and the wares of their labor. Products and industry that fueled our economy and built a foundation for the strength of our nation on the backs of hard working men and women bent on achieving the once attainable American Dream. People who collectively were and are America. David’s work seems to speak the weary voice of America, beaconing us not to forget our past and to help her rise up again, collectively through our strengths, despite our failures and differences. From David’s series of abstractions dedicated to the most recognizable and revered icon in America and perhaps the world, Old Glory, to his latest series on the former glory that was the American family farm, the story is the same: we were (in some ways) better than we are now, and we can once again be on top provided we reject the status quo and stimulate a consumer revolution. Every piece from the “Rust in Peace” collection bears the “Made In USA” stamp as an alert to the viewer that it DOES matter and it CAN be done. Although not yet 100 percent Made in USA, which he admits is not only near impossible but also impractical, David makes every reasonable effort to support companies that are working hard to keep manufacturing at home in the United States. You will most often find him wearing only American made clothing and employing only American-made tools and materials. With greater exposure his work could be the very impetus for a consumer revolution. At the very least his oeuvre should serve as a record of the state of America at this time in our history. 10

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More Than Words “Constructed of American timbers, blue denim and papier mâché stars, this flag has a story to tell. After some research I found that if you stacked thirteen 2x4x8’s (the industry standard lumber size for building homes) side by side, the length to width ratio would be the same as the ‘hoist to fly ratio’ of the US flag. The Pledge of Allegiance is scripted onto the stripes as recited by Red Skelton on television in 1969. I used a slightly modified version for this flag.”

“This is the hood ornament from a 1941 Pontiac. The original chrome sculpture was modeled after Chief Pontiac, a great leader of the Ottawa Indian tribe who led an intertribal coalition against the British at Fort Detroit. His sad expression tells of his peoples tragic heritage and alludes to the discontinuation of the Pontiac brand by General Motors in 2010.” Our USA Magazine 11

The Fine Art of


Franz Kline Born 1910 Wilkes-Barre, PA

Leslie’s Untitled Collage, 1960 Then $700 Today $100,000 From the Sabro Series by Kline Then $11,500 Today $12 Million Alfred Leslie Born 1927 The Bronx, NY self-portrait, 1989 12

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ound a wonderful article that was printed in Taschen Magazine, from an article in Playboy (1962) entitled “The Fine Art of Acquiring Fine Art” by Sidney Tillim. If you Google it, you might be able to find it – the illustrations are wonderful. Unfortunately we could not get permission to reprint it, but wanted to highlight the value of fine art. The article represented some of our favorite abstract expressionists, all American artists. Here is a sample of their work and what one could expect to pay in 1962, compared to what it would possibly be valued at today.

Richard Diebenkorn Born 1922 Portland, Oregon Landscape with Smoke Then $6,500 Today $5 Million

Helen Frankenthaler Born 1928, New York Le Rouge et le Noir, 1961 Then $450 Today $150,000 Our USA Magazine 13

Jasper Johns Born 1930 Augusta, GA Painting with Ruler and “Gray” Then $2800 Today $15 million

John Grillo Born 1917 Lawrence, MA Untitled, 1953 Then $150 Today $25,000


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Robert Rauschenberg Born 1926 Port Arthur, TX Factum II, 1957 Then $4000 Today, $25 million

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Who the *$&% Is Jackson Pollock?

Pollock painting (3 of 5 photographs) By Hans Namuth (1915-1990)Gelatin silver prints, 1950 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; gift of the estate of Hans Namuth


ho the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?� is a 2006 documentary following a woman named Teri Horton, a 73-year-old former long-haul truck driver from California, who purchased a painting from a thrift shop for $5, only later to find out that it may be a Jackson Pollock painting. She had no clue at the time who Jackson Pollock was, hence the name of the film. According to an interview from the film, Horton purchased the painting from a California thrift shop as a gift for a friend who was feeling depressed. Horton thought the bright colors were cheery, but when the dinner-table-sized painting proved too large to fit into her friend’s trailer, Horton set it out among other 16

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Ms. Horton, once turned down an offer of US $9 million from a Saudi Arabian buyer, and says she will take no less than $50 million for the painting.

items at a yard sale. A local art teacher spotted it and suggested that the work could have been painted by Pollock due to the similarity to his action painting technique.

The $5 treasure & Teri Horton

The film depicts Horton’s attempts to authenticate and sell the painting as an original work by Pollock. Its authenticity was doubtful, because the painting was purchased at a thrift store, is unsigned, and its origins unknown. The main problem with the painting is that it “does not have the soul of a Pollock,” according to collectors. In addition, Pollock had many imitators during his lifetime. A forensic specialist matched a fingerprint on the painting with those on two authenticated Pollocks and a can of paint in his studio, as well as finding other evidence. Some art connoisseurs, including Thomas Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, believe the painting to be inauthentic, while Nicolas Carone, an artist and friend of Pollock’s, is uncertain. Horton hired Peter Paul Biro, a Montreal-based forensic art expert, who matched a partial fingerprint on the canvas to a fingerprint on a can of paint in Pollock’s studio, as well as to fingerprints on two authenticated Pollock canvases. Additionally, through an analysis of paint samples from Pollock’s studio, he was able to confirm a match with particles of paint found on the canvas in question

in what he calls a “3-pointmatch.” However, in a June 2008 article in ARTnews, Sylvia Hochfield cited two forensic experts who called into question Biro’s fingerprint analysis. Similar concerns were raised in July 2010 by David Grann in an article for The New Yorker. In a pivotal point in the film, Horton’s painting is compared side-byside with Pollock’s No. 5, 1948, a drip painting once owned by Samuel Irving Newhouse, Jr., CEO of Advance Publications, owner of Condé Nast, publisher of the The New Yorker.

Jackson Pollock’s “No. 5” (below) was sold at Sotheby’s in November of 2006 for a record $140 million dollars, the highest price ever paid at auction for a painting, to an unknown buyer.

A May, 2012 article (Fine Art Investigation) reveals a 2006 audio tape interview with Nicolas Carone, in which he admits being “advised” not to give his true opinion on camera, when in fact he believed the painting to be authentic, as did his family.

Editor’s note: To our dismay we could not find any current information about the painting.

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Photo Credit: From Art History Spot

In November of 2006, Number 5, painted in Pollock’s unique drip technique, was sold for $140 million dolars, the highest price ever paid at auction for a painting, to an unknown buyer.

Photo: Wiki Paintings 18

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Ms. Horton, once turned down an offer of US $9 million from a Saudi Arabian buyer, and says she will take no less than $50 million for the painting.

Photo Credit: Pheonix New Times Our USA Magazine 19

’ An Artists Advice

Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbs, delivered a commencement speech at Kenyon College in 1995. Cartoonist Gavin Aung Than, who pens comics on his blog Zen Pencils, created this tribute to Watterson last year, using his speech.

1. Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. 2. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life... 3....A person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. 20

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4. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. 5. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and considered a flake. 6. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential. 7. As if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. 8. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing. 9. And never be satisfied where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. 1 0. There are a million ways to sell yourself out...and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. Our USA Magazine 21

11. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy... 12. But it’s still allowed...

Bill Watterson concluded his speech by echoing Rilke: “Your preparation for the real world is not

About the Cartoonist Gavin Aung Than is a freelance cartoonist based in Melbourne, Australia. After working in the corporate graphic design industry for 8 years he quit his unfulfilling job at the end of 2011 to focus on his true passion, drawing cartoons. Gavin launched Zen Pencils at the start of 2012, a cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories, and hasn’t looked back since. “Besides the fact that Calvin and Hobbes is the comic I cherish above all others, Bill Watterson is my biggest creative influence and someone I admire greatly as an artist.” The above cartoon is Than’s homage to the artist who is his inspiration.


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in the answers you’ve learned, but in the questions you’ve learned how to ask yourself.”

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rt is inspiring and motivating. But it is also a powerful catalyst for change within communities, invigorating neighborhoods, supporting local businesses, and creating vibrant places where people want to be. Below are profiles of the first-ever list of America’s Top ArtPlaces. Twelve neighborhoods across the country were identified by ArtPlace as most successfully combining art, artists and other creatives, independent businesses, retail shops and restaurants, and walkabiliy to make vibrant places. Brooklyn, NY The intersection of Downtown, Fort Greene, Gowanus, Park Slope and Prospect Heights This borough has more artists than any other borough in NYC, and that comes across in every aspect – bars, cafés, night clubs, books, houses of worship. Change comes quickly in metropolitan New York, and Brooklyn has seen a great deal of change over the last couple of decades. The arts have been a catalyst in this unique intersection.of neighborhoods and are poised to provide a solid base for future growth.

Flea Market @ Lafayette Ave.Photo: John Montgomery

Los Angeles, CA - Central Hollywood

Credit: Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions 24

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There’s more talent in Hollywood than in any other city in the country. In 1965, film composer Oscar Levant famously wrote, “Strip away the phony tinsel of Hollywood and you’ll find the real tinsel.” The tourist-filled area around Sunset Boulevard near Vine certainly contains more than its share of glitz, with Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum all within a few blocks. But the neighborhood also contains some hidden gold, with a thriving population of agents, scene builders, music mavens and magicians making their homes in the shadow of the Hollywood sign.

Dallas, TX The Dallas Arts District, with parts of Deep Ellum and Exposition Park Can you manufacture an arts neighborhood from scratch? The Dallas Arts District makes a solid case that you can. Today it is a neighborhood in transition, buzzing with new arts activity but lacking a community of residents like the ones in nearby Deep Ellum and Exposition Park, which percolate around the clock. In the near future these neighborhoods may grow together into a cohesive community, connected by the arts. Jorge’s Restaurant in the Dallas Arts District Credit: Copyright Dallas Arts District

Miami Beach, FL - South Beach

The Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theater Miami Photo:John Montgomery

Today, Lincoln Road between Washington Avenue and Alton Road is a bustling pedestrian mall, a go-to destination for tourists and locals alike with shops, galleries, a movie theater and a Herzog & de Meuron-designed parking garage, often used for high-end social and arts events and as a backdrop for fashion shoots. Head south on Washington Avenue past countless t-shirt stores, bodegas and pizzerias and you’ll find the World Erotic Museum of Art; Miami Beach Cinemathèque, an independent film house located in the former historic City Hall; and The Wolfsonian, a modern art and design museum that opened in 1995.

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Milwaukee, WI East Town and a portion of the Lower East Side The quality and quantity of the arts in and around East Town cannot be found anywhere else in the state of Wisconsin, giving the neighborhood a great competitive advantage.

Elsa’s Restaurant in Milwaukee’s East Town Photo: Kenya Evans

Bursting at the seams with work, play and downtown living options, East Town begins just east of the Milwaukee River on North Water Street.

Oakland, CA Downtown, including Chinatown, Old Oakland and Jack London Square

Oakland at the turn of the millennium looked very different from the city that was ranked as one of the top places to go in 2012 by the New York Times. So has Oakland’s time finally come? The city’s economic challenges remain; in some census tracts in and around downtown more than 35 percent of residents live in poverty. But with a strong underpinning in the arts, a thriving art walk and a hot restaurant and bar scene, Oakland is experiencing a new energy that hasn’t been seen since the 1940s. 26

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Oakland’s Fox Theater, just outside the 1/2 mile radius Credit: Flickr user amiciara

New York, NY Manhattan Valley Amsterdam Avenue between W. 108th and 109th streets is lined on its eastern side with the types of homegrown businesses that characterize Manhattan Valley and render it different from other more corporatized pockets of the West Side. Part of it is just that we are further from the centers of power. And this has always been true, since the beginning of the 20th century. Manhattan Valley had the advantage, culturally, of being a little bit marginal but not very marginal. The Manhattan Valley Historic District-Credit: John Montgomery

Philadelphia, PA - Old City With First Friday’s throngs and Old City’s strengthened core of arts offerings have come many more restaurants, including restaurants from Iron Chef Jose Garces and theatrical restaurateur Stephen Starr. New businesses like Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, a highly-curated, vaguely Steampunk-ish retailer accented with racks of Warby Parker eyeglasses and shelves of Monocle magazines, continue to raise the area’s hip quotient. “Once art was established as a key driver,” says Pfister, “we added density and diversity to the neighborhood.” Photo Credit: the Arden Theater

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San Francisco, CA The Mission District Art has been the driving force that has shifted the environment in the Mission from a very violent area to a very vibrant neighborhood. For decades, San Francisco’s Mission District has been the city’s artistic breeding ground. Even today, when Silicon Valley has taken over as the Bay Area’s employment hub and San Francisco has become a bedroom community for software developers, the Mission holds its own as a hotbed of the arts. People come here because they know it’s an artist neighborhood. Artists here sell edgier, more affordable work than the downtown scene.

ODC Dance Theater CREDIT: Flickr user RShinozaki

Portland, OR The Pearl District and a portion of Downtown

The Pearl District - Credit: Flickr user LikeWhere1 28

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By the mid-2000s, the Pearl had become much more attractive both aesthetically and economically. Established local art galleries took note and began moving into the neighborhood. The Elizabeth Leach Gallery, a 31-yearold institution with a world-renowned reputation, planted its flag on N.W. 9th Avenue in 2004, and a fleet of prestigious and established names – Froelick Gallery, Blue Sky Gallery, the Augen Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Craft – followed in 2007, colonizing the historically renovated DeSoto Building. The presence of these new tastemakers raised the neighborhood’s profile, and in the newly centralized gallery district, First Thursday turned from a monthly whim into a ritual tradition, a draw for tourists and suburbanites as well as a neighborhood celebration.

Seattle, WA The Pike-Pine Corridor

Vermillion Art Gallery during ArtWalk Credit: Flickr user laviddichterman

Capitol Hill is a perfectly dynamic part of Seattle, with a wide range of passers-by including families, students, tourists and young professionals. In the evening, artists of various genres can be found in the area: at the Vermillion Art Gallery sipping wine and hatching plans for new exhibitions, in the upstairs loft of Caffé Vita crafting short stories, or in Moe Bar talking about their band’s latest national tour. For many artists and arts patrons in Seattle, there is little this neighborhood doesn’t offer.

Washington, DC The intersection of Adams Morgan, U Street, and Dupont Circle The Adams Morgan neighborhood and the area around it continue to thrive because they form a community that fosters and fights for artistic thinking, cultural diversity, and idealism within a larger, more staid urban setting. As B. Stanley says, “Adams Morgan as an artsy community is less about making art and more about the community and about being a place for art to thrive.

The Adams Morgan neighborhood with Toro Mata in the foreground.

For the full report click here.

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A History of Crate Labels


By Thomas Pat Jacobsen

ince Western settlers discovered there was more wealth in oranges than in gold, the fruit-crate label has more truly represented the California dream of striking it rich than the early cries of “Eureka!” Although the California soil may have been as rich as gold, fruit farmers needed a way to market their golden globes to East Coast buyers. To attract the eye of buyers, the fruit-crate label business was born. In the 70 years between the 1880s and the 1950s, millions of colorful paper labels were used by America’s fruit and vegetable growers to advertise their wooden boxes of fresh produce that was shipped throughout the nation and the world. Collectors value crate art for its colorful design and its ability to trace the social and political history of American agriculture. Beginning primarily in the southern regions of California, labels became an industry-wide necessity to communicate the appeal of fresh produce to Eastern buyers. In the fast-paced setting of Eastern auction halls and commission markets, buyers could not see the fruit, which was individually packed in tissue paper and sealed in a wooden box. The brightly colored, attractively designed label soon became the growers’ chief advertising device, the symbolic window from which the fruit could be judged. In wholesale auction yards, the more vivid, powerful and attractive the illustration, the better the produce would sell. The labels included nearly every theme, especially regional and national history and scenery. Crate art included Indians, children, the Gold Rush, the old West, politics, the romantic era, war, fierce animals, beautiful women and luscious vignettes of fruits and vegetables. The first products shipped in this way were oranges and lemons from Southern California, grapes and raisins from the Central Valley, and apples, pears, and other tree fruits from Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia. When ships and railroads installed refrigeration, and packing techniques improved, farmers began to ship such perishable produce as melons, tomatoes, lettuce Our USA Magazine and asparagus.


Nearly all paper labels were produced by San Francisco’s tremendous lithographic industry, the first labels being created by superimposing up to six, even 12, separate colors, one after the other, to form a single image. Label design concepts can be divided into three groups. From the 1880s to the 1920s, “naturalistic” themes predominated. Labels included pictures of flowers, children, landscapes, famous landmarks and trains. A 1905 label from the Occidental Fruit Co. of Hood River/Yakima featured a nine-color stone lithograph of Mount Adams in the distance, with an articulate farm scene and acres of manicured orchards at the foot of the mountain.

After California growers began using crate labels in the 1880s, the idea caught on. Labels were used in 43 states and in such countries as New Zealand, Chile, France, Japan and Tasmania. A good label, said a 1924 edition of Blue Anchor Magazine of the California Fruit Exchange, was one that would “dignify the pack” — it must catch the buyer’s attention, bringing the product to mind. In creating brands for fresh and canned goods, lithograph houses used unusual color schemes and art styles, catchy slogans and lively designs with instinctive lettering to make each brand stand out. For example, Duckwall Brothers Inc. of Hood River featured a label with a duck standing in front of a rock wall. The idea of the image brought the brand name to mind. 32

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From the 1920s to the 1930s, the emphasis drifted toward the benefits of health obtained by eating fresh produce. A 1910 label from Jucy Bite of Yakima featured a tubercular-looking child in ragged clothing ravishing an apple. Finally, from the 1930s to the late 1950s, design took on the commercial art concepts of the day: bold lettering and geometric patterns were directed solely toward product recognition. For example, Magnetic of Whittier, California, featured a magnet that disrupts the lettering of the title “Magnetic.�

In the mid 1950s, paper labeling of wooden crates ended abruptly with the introduction of the more economical preprinted cardboard box. Large quantities of labels were discarded, but many remained unused in the basements of packing sheds and in litho house files. Collectors prefer these mint-fresh labels, without glue, tape or lacquer, but they also collect labels on wood. Today, with the produce industry a multinational agribusiness, label art is all but extinct. This is also true of the lithographic industry that created label art. Ninety percent of these printers have closed their doors, and only one of San Francisco’s original litho houses is in business today. Our USA Magazine 33


Crab Photo: Katherin Cambareri Our USA Magazine

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Paying it Forward


young brother-sister team, Spencer and Liz Powers, have started a program that sells artwork created by people who are low-income and/or homeless. They are registered as a “L3C,” which is a low-profit, limited liability company, and means they are a business driven by a social mission. Their mission is to empower sick, disabled and homeless artists through the celebration and sale of their work. As a college student, Liz wrote a thesis which explored the social benefits of art therapy programs. Upon graduation from college, she created art groups in women’s shelters in Cambridge, MA. She realized that there were many great art therapy programs in Boston, but the missing piece was an equally empowering method for the artists to share their artwork. In 2011, Liz founded City Heart, an annual art show in Boston, which offered a professional marketplace for members of eight local shelters to sell artwork to customers. In 2012, Liz’s brother, Spencer, joined the team to help with the finances and logistics and, by 2013, the show had grown to include 70 artists. The shows were a success and the community demanded more. So, Spencer and Liz launched a professional marketplace for artists in hospitals and disability centers as well as shelters. The result is ArtLifting, a social enterprise solution for homeless and disabled artists. As Liz states “We are driven by our mission and seek to empower our artists by providing a professional gallery where they can sell their work. We encourage you to explore the gallery and enjoy the artwork created by our friends. We encourage you to uplift the artists while brightening your walls.” Let us introduce you to some of the inspired artists:


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Ed Johnson has been through a lot. He was born and raised in New Orleans and became homeless after losing his home in Hurricane Katrina. He had a drinking and drug problem in the past but is currently sober. Ed shared: “Art helps me stay sober.” He has been painting and drawing for 50 years. He says: “I like making art because it is relaxing and it’s good therapy.” Jesus and His Disciple by Ed Homage to Klimt’s The Kiss by Bill

Bill Flowers has been painting since he was a child. He uses painting as a de-stressor. Bill shares, “Art does not make me feel anything, it helps me feel nothing. I get lost when I make art. Time goes away. Everything goes away and I get in the zone. Hours go by without a care.” Selling work through ArtLifting enables Bill to purchase more art supplies, make an income, and share his point of view with others. Our USA Magazine 37

Randy Nicholson is an abstractexpressionist artist who started creating art due to a need to express himself. He was abused as a child and suffers from bipolar disorder. The day Randy joined ArtLifting, he shared: “Your interest in my work makes me feel validated. Validated. Not ‘validated as an artist’ or anything like that - just validated.” Excrutiating by Randy Eternal by Katie

Some of Katie Hickey Schultz pieces take a couple of weeks for her to create. Katie explains, “It just happens. My hands are constantly reaching to do something.” Katie is excited to sell her work through ArtLifting as a means to purchase more art supplies, help make a living, and share her vision with others. 38

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Romani Berlekov admits that her “joy is often buried by day to day stress.” However, the act of painting allows her to tap into her inner joy. Romani believes that the “meditation of creation” helps her stay strong through the many challenges that accompany homelessness and shares, “In this position of homelessness, I get disconnected from the light and joy in me and painting plugs me back in.”

Beauty: La Femme by Romani

Elizabeth B. Cayce is a lifelong visual artist who has survived child abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness. She says, “Overcoming these situations has been and continues to be a long journey. I participate in a unique arts ministry program which is a source of community and encouragement for me.”

We’re Sending the Soul Down Through the Atmosphere by Elizabeth

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Theatre Zone by Dante

Allen Chamberland does not let anything stop him. Despite suffering from disabilities and limited financial opportunities, Allen wholly devotes himself to his artwork. Allen describes that his motivation to create work is to “keep busy and make people happy.” Allen’s artwork takes incredible patience and vision. A single piece can take several days for him to create. 40

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Dante Gandini has been a believer in art therapy his entire life. Painting has helped him cope with a series of challenges since he was a young man. Dante always feels relaxed and content when he paints. Painting not only enables Dante to interpret the world around him, but it also helps him connect with others. When asked why he wants to sell his work, Dante had a simple answer: “Survival.”

Bridge by Allen

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D Beach Boys—Surfin’ Safari Paradise Cove (just north of Malibu on Pacific Coast Highway) in Malibu, California. On a chilly morning in 1962, the Beach Boys posed here on this stretch of California beach for the cover of their first album. (The site is open to the public, but there is a charge for entry.)

oes that building look familiar? Or that mountain? California has a lot of rock and roll history, from recording studios to concert sites. But a lot of album covers were shot here, too. From our friends at Rock Cellar Magazine

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Jackson Browne—Late for the Sky 215 South Lucerne Street Hollywood, California Jackson Browne’s third album, 1974’s classic Late for the Sky, had its title track featured in Martin Scorsese’s film Taxi Driver. The album also boasted other Browne standards For a Dancer and Farther On. The house featured on the cover is in the upscale Hancock Park section of Los Angeles. 42

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Under the Covers: California, As Seen Through Classic Album Art

Remember America’s Greatest Hits from 1975? It featured Horse With No Name, Sister Golden Hair, and Tin Man to name a few. If so, then you’ll probably recognize the Crossroads of the World center from the album cover illustration. Considered to be L.A.’s first modern shopping mall, Crossroads was built in 1936. The centerpiece building resembles a miniature ocean liner, an Art Deco facade complete with portholes, railings, life preservers, and decks. An outdoor village of small, Europeanstyle bungalows surrounds the “ship,” and rising above it all is a central 30-foot Streamline Modern tower, topped by an 8-foot, revolving globe of the Earth. Once a retail shopping center, today the Crossroads of the World is a quiet office complex

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If you are interested in timeless music, and stories about its artists, please check out this wonderful online magazine. Conceived as a labor-of-love by founder/publisher Kevin Wachs, Rock Cellar Magazine’s focus is on music and musicians from the 1960s through the 1990s – seasoned, established artists who are still recording, touring, and whose voices still remain relevant today. Wachs felt that he–as others–just didn’t have the time to endlessly surf the internet trying to find music and articles on older artists. “I thought it would be cool to start collecting artists all in one place, and then eventually offer their music, books, whatever, right at our site.”


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Keith By Musician/Artist Ronnie Wood

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There’s Only One Note You Came to Sing By Tama Kieves


listen to creative minds, visionaries, and entrepreneurs all day long in my coaching practice and I am moved by the spirit that moves them. Like you, they bounce off walls with ambition, hunger, and frustration. They secretly dream big, because they are big. Still they whisper their most gorgeous desires, swallowing hard, as though they are confessing, say, a small hygiene problem or a third head. “I don’t even know if I’ll ever have what I want,” they say. But I do. I know they are relentlessly drawn to where they belong.



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We don’t choose our wildest dreams. They choose us. They point us toward our natural environment. When we’re not using our deepest gifts, we can feel like trout thrashing about on a dock desperate to find water. It’s that necessary to live our calling. It’s eventually unbearable to deny our love, strength, and essence. We’ve said “yes” to some sacred arrangement in the ethers, and here on earth—until we live our most meaningful dreams—we ache with the pangs of blessings unfulfilled. We can golf if we want to, but it will never fill that hole. We can shop, but we can’t buy our freedom. We can even hire a “life coach,” but then, and I hate this part, we still have to do our life. “You’re just so restless,” my mother, a torch-bearing worshipper of security, used to say to me. I thought wanting to “be all you can be” in life was a good thing, not a personality disorder to cover up with a “TV Guide” or a tri-level house in Long Island. But, like many inspired souls, I’ve often felt lonely in my consistent desire for true expression. I’d envy those who could kick back in “normal” lives, enjoy a few burgers at a backyard barbecue and some nice, conventional success. They’d fix a garage door, buy a house at the lake, or take a cruise to Alaska, and that would be enough. They didn’t wrestle with some unnamable gravitational pull, a colony of inner voices, or the secret claustrophobia of their own trapped potential. They didn’t need to change the world, chant some mantra, become a brand, or win a Pulitzer or a Grammy. In other words, they could just turn on the news. They didn’t need to be the news. But a therapist of mine once said she believed my “restlessness” was an essential prerequisite for progress and abundance. Therapists always say these things, serving up hot cocoa for the soul and wiping our chins, which is why we pay them half our gross income. She explained how restlessness wouldn’t let me fall asleep to the presence of my gifts, and the difference I could make in the world. She saw longing as a wonderful capacity to “stay attuned to what my Inspired Self wanted to become.”

Just so you know, this is why I’ve never fit in at barbecues. I just can’t talk to a financial analyst or a plumber in a Hawaiian shirt or baseball cap and get the words “attune” and “pass the dogs” into the same sentence. “You want more,” said my wise counselor, “because you are more. There’s more in this lifetime for you to become.” And that’s what I’ll tell you. You have more to give us. You have a built-in, divine assignment to employ all your gifts and to realize your exponential capacity. Your inspired self has bigger fish to fry and it doesn’t perceive any of the limitations that you do. That’s why it graciously kicks you in the ribs at night and tells you to stop dreaming small. Your desire is the full moon that stirs and pulls the tide. It’s compelling because it’s more real than anything else. You dream of the life that calls you because everything under the sun is hardwired to know where it belongs. You don’t need reasons or evidence when your bones trill with longing. Birds and fish just migrate. Everything living seeks to unfurl its own true nature. Gregg Levoy, author of Callings, says a key is made to fit one lock and only one lock. “Anyone who feels made to do one particular thing in this world but is unable to do it becomes, in a sense, an unreconciled key,” he says. Your relatives might think you’re going off the deep end with a savior complex or an impractical business plan, a fat head and some bad bee stings in store. Your guru or yoga instructor might think you need to banish yearning, stop “searching outside yourself,” and simply find peace in this moment. But I think you are searching to reconcile your key or even your whole paradigm key chain. You are migrating toward your destiny. I remember talking to my friend Angela one night. I felt suspicious of my own desire to take my creativity to the next level. I wondered if I’d just watched one too many “Oprah” shows. Or maybe I wanted bigger success because I was still hunting for approval or love, admittance into some elusive club, an addict on a spree. Hey, I’d been to therapy. I’d sat on enough leather couches to know to ask myself a question or two. Our USA Magazine 47

“I wish I could say I wanted to help the world, like Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela, and that’s why I was doing this,” I said to Angela. I did want to help, but that didn’t seem to be the fuel in my engine.

Everything within me relaxed in that moment, so I continued, “It’s just the note I came to sing,” I said. Then my words and tears just flowed. “I want to be big. I want to be known. It’s the level of expression that I feel like my talent was made for. It’s “Well, why are you doing my note,” I said, looking into her this?” she said with a voice full soft brown eyes. “I think it’s the of love and confidence, encouraging me to sound out possible truths. She had no fear of anything I might say. Meanwhile, I cringed as I pinpointed a slippery feeling in the back of my consciousness, something crouching and uncomfortable. “I want to win,” I said to her, and it felt so ugly and unenlightened, competitive and calculating. Goodbye, Dalai Lama, enter the beast with beady eyes. “I want to win,” I said again. Having confessed it, I decided to explore that naked desire more. “It’s not that I want tons of money,” I said, though of course I’d welcome a padded bank account. “What is it?” she said gently. “It’s not that I want fame, though I wouldn’t mind the benefits that come with that,” I admitted. “Then what is it?” she repeated.

only note that will feel real to me.” Then she repeated back to me, “It’s just the note you came to sing.”

Suddenly my desire didn’t seem so evil or garish anymore, suddenly it wasn’t narcissistic, Finally, I felt an encrusted door slimy, or base. It was just the swing open inside me. I looked truth. It felt as natural as the inclination to write with my right at my friend and said, “I want to win because I think I have a hand, and love red maple leaves home run in me.” and coffee ice cream, or hate 48

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sauerkraut, humidity, and anyone, anywhere, who could wear Lycra and look decent. It felt neutral and ordinary and even involuntary. I realized then that we don’t get to choose our calling. We get to choose whether or not we will listen to each nudge or flare, whether or not we will believe, and whether or not we will dedicate ourselves to this territory of homecoming within us; but we don’t get to choose which doorway has our name on it, which one swings open for us, into the wild country of heightened capacities, love, and awe. Suddenly this need for boundless expression and a sweeping life was no longer about my ego. It was about my integrity. It was about staying true to the evolving, amazing life force within. It was simple. I needed to breathe fire so that I could breathe. I urge you to stay true to your integrity. I urge you to listen to what only you know inside. You dream big because you’re called. It doesn’t matter if you feel like a frightened beginner, a star-spangled fool, or a beaten, wilted cabbage in the sun. It’s not about knowing how to make it happen or being “worthy.” You didn’t choose this dream. It chose you. Say yes to your only reality and unimaginable adventure. Say yes to the ride. You belong in the life of your dreams. And you don’t belong anywhere else.


The Soul’s Music By C. Debra Thomas

Hope Wishing Well

To everything there is a season Bone chilling cold Weight of drabness, refusing to pass Stretched to the limit of one’s endurance Pressing through the snow and the rain To the glory of spring The sheer indomitable force of God To bring forth life out of desolation and barrenness Replanting Pruning Growing Joy. Heart Broken

I wanted To sit Close to you In Battery Park On a bench Watching the Statue of Liberty Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge In the cool, crisp, slightly misty evening To hold hands Roam bookstores And poetry hangouts Exchange knowing glances Fig Leaf Talk about all the things That I have been storing up Unveil hidden wounds To share with you Acknowledge the deep sorrow It is all sitting here Of lost perfection A tender spot In my chest In my lungs And I Can’t breathe For expectations Dreams Desires That I must now Gently prune And carefully harvest To fill the space That cannot be (regret)?

I loved you Once Before The pain of infidelity Before A twenty-first century break up Texted Before The birth of a continental love child Before A wife Before Silence Before Tears Before Sleepless nights I loved you Once I thought But my heart still beats for you And love still lingers there.

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Cheesequake By Katherine Cambareri Our USA Magazine

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“Bullet Blues Jeans are my favorite, not only are the jeans stylish they are made right here in the USA!�

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A Sure Sign of Spring

Photo: Elise Marie Fallon 52

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There are far, far

better things

ahead than any we leave

behind. ~ C.S. Lewis 54

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etirement – a time of rest and relaxation, a time to pursue your own interests, and for a lot of folks this certainly holds true. But there is a growing phenomenon occurring among many older Americans who seem to be avoiding retirement in order to initiate their own startups. Steve Matthews, a writer for the Boston Globe states it is a trend fueled by a lack of sufficient retirement funds, or an uncertain financial future. This may be true, but we contend there is a deeper reason, a deeper passion. Matthews says, “Increasingly, older Americans are shunning retirement to start companies because they see limited job opportunities after age 55, don’t have enough savings to retire comfortably, or want to work for themselves. People ages 55 to 64 started 23.4 percent of companies in 2012, up from 14.3 percent of new entrepreneurs in 1996, according to the Kauffman Foundation’s research.” Further, according to a 2010 Babson College report, “10% of US women aged between 55 and 64 had taken steps to start their own business, compared with 7.5% of men.” So women lead the way, and to prove this point we have engaging stories from three dynamic women who did just that! OurTheOnlyRaquel USA Magazine 55 Photo Credit:


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My Souls

’ Vocation By Jeanie Tomanek


am a lucky person to be able to do what I love and make a living doing it. This dream of being an artist has been a “second act” in my life, and as in a play, the first act carries as much weight as the other two in creating the whole story. I married young, did not finish college and was busy raising a child throughout the seventies and eighties. A typical baby boomer exposed to feminism, I was told women could achieve beyond child rearing and homemaking, so I was always seeking that one true thing that would be my passion and life’s accomplishment. I worked throughout these decades at a variety of jobs that helped pay the bills but did nothing to nourish my need to create. I was employed in accounting, human resources, sales management, and real estate among other things. I hated the containment and structure and tried in my free time to find my path.


I was always a lover of the written word, read voraciously and thought perhaps that was my thing. I took workshops, continuing education classes, and studied and researched on my own the possibilities for a career in writing. By the early eighties we had relocated from Cleveland, Ohio to Atlanta, Georgia by way of an entry level sales management position I had. I continued to study and write and did get some poetry published in small literary magazines, but eventually realized that though I might do this well, it would be nearly impossible to make a living at it. Our USA Magazine 57

One constant throughout these years was my painting. Sometimes as little as once a year, I would buy a canvas, unearth the acrylics and paint. It made me happy but I took it for granted. I’d drawn and painted since I was a child. My grandmother and uncles were weekend painters. The fact that I might make a living with art was not even considered. In the mid-nineties I was working at a telecommunications company using my accounting and human resources skills, looking for a way out of cubicle hell. I found a small wholesale silkscreen T-shirt company for sale and my husband Dennis and I got a loan and bought the designs and the equipment. The previous owner was an artist who created her own whimsical designs that needed to be hand painted once they were printed.


Wild Night and A New Road

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I kept my job while my husband started running the company. This was right after the commercial real estate crash in Atlanta and he was looking for something else to do. On evenings and weekends we would fill the orders—Dennis printing and me painting. I knew I wanted to add other lines and began to draw and design them. We attended gift and trade shows, had some decent orders from stores, but we were underfunded and in a few years time we had to close the business. By now the real estate market had rebounded and Dennis and I were both working in it. The drawing I did in our little company had sparked something in me. It was the dawning of the realization that art was what I had been intended for all along. I knew I needed to learn more before I could take the leap. The telecom company where I had previously worked became my biggest client as I helped relocate their employees to the U.S from all over the world. Since I had the flexible schedule of a residential real estate agent, I began to devote all my spare time to learning all I could about the making and marketing of my paintings. I had read Julia Cameron’s “ The Artist’s Way” while I was writing, and went back to it for support in nourishing my creative consciousness and confidence. It was a huge help in accomplishing the mind shift necessary to believe in my power to create. She especially addressed the issue of creating even if you thought you were too old to start over.

Sunrise at the Gap Everything I read told me you had to have a body of work and a singular style before you could approach a gallery to show your work. I began painting and studying, plotting my escape from my other career. In 2001 I stopped being a realtor and began showing in a cooperative gallery where the artists shared shifts and expenses of the shows to support the gallery. I did abstract acrylics at first, and over the next two years my work evolved into figurative oil paintings with a bald “Everywoman” as the protagonist in my narrative and allegorical paintings. I began to explore various archetypes of women and tell their stories. I was amazed at the response to my work and felt validated in my decision to begin this second act. Now thirteen years later I am represented by six well respected galleries, have had numerous group and solo shows, have had my work used for the covers of literary magazines and poetry collections, been featured in online magazines, broadband exhibitions and a museum show. I have a shop on, EverywomanArt, where I sell prints and small originals. The internet has made a huge difference in my being able to make people aware of my work. I don’t know if I would have succeeded in a pre-web world. If you are a visual artist these days you must have a website and participate in social media.

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Becoming They say nothing is ever wasted and I realize all those awful jobs taught me skills that I use in my career today. I could never have approached new galleries or marketed my work without my sales background. My accounting helps me keep track of my small business finances and my poetry has become a source of inspiration for my paintings as I continue to explore the themes I once wrote about. My lifetime of seeking even comes forth in my painting style. I reclaim areas of the canvas, revising, unearthing and renewing the vision as it reveals itself. I should be black and blue for the times I pinch myself knowing how fortunate I am to have had this second chance at my heart’s desire. Finding my soul’s vocation rather late in life has enriched both my work and my appreciation for the generosity of the Universe. My life experience and point of view gained over time has informed my work and made it what it is today. I don’t think I’d have had as much to say or reflect upon in my earlier years. 60

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Biography Our USA Magazine 61

Earning My Wings By Nancy Anderson After packing up my things a few days later, it hit me. Life in this company was moving on, only I was no longer a part of it.


n June of 2008 I happily went off to a staff meeting. I was excited and chatted with some of my work mates as we made our way to the conference room.  We had a new Senior Director and he called us together to explain his vision for our department. I loved my job as a learning and development consultant and looked forward to hearing how our team was going to grow and expand our reach.  Within the first five minutes of that meeting, we learned that the new organization would not include many of us.  We were told to return to our work stations and then one by one, when called, return to the conference room to learn our fates.  When I was summoned to the conference room, I learned that my position was eliminated. Period. The End. The Human Resources Director sitting next to me began to review my severance package but I didn’t hear a word he said. I was terminated after 21 years with the company I adored. How could this be? This was my home away from home.  It was the place where I had spent most of my adult life.  I was devastated, almost 54 years old and all I could think of was, “What Now?” 62

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Driving home I cried and cursed the company that hurt me so. Then something almost divine happened. I said a prayer to my deceased parents and asked them to watch over me and let me know that all would be fine.  As I said these words out loud, the radio in my car played the John Lennon and Paul McCartney song, “Blackbird.” “Take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life, you have only waited for this moment to arise.”  There among the boxes and tears, Blackbird Learning Associates was conceived. Now I had to figure out who and what Blackbird Learning Associates would be. Over the next few months I planned and learned what it takes to become a company. The local unemployment office suggested I attend a sixweek program on becoming an entrepreneur. Here, along with 15 hopeful business owners, I learned about law, accounting practices, business planning, taxes, advertising and networking.  It was from this class that I learned several crucial steps to business ownership. I also stepped out of my comfort zone and learned to network and sell myself. In February 2009, Blackbird Learning Associates LLC was established. Continuing with the blackbird theme, I liken my company to a job search flight school where I provide the training, tools and encouragement that allow people to reach their potential and take flight in their careers. Since Blackbird opened, I have trained hundreds of my state’s unemployed and underemployed to learn how to write their resumes, interview for

success and network. Using the skills and competencies I honed in my corporate careers, I‘ve designed training programs for the older job seeker, younger job seeker or mom returning to work. I’ve also been invited into organizations to give job search classes to the staff it plans to downsize. In 2010 I wrote the book, “Job Search for Mom’s,” and in 2011 I branched out into resume writing and job search coaching. After designing a LinkedIn training program in 2013, I added LinkedIn Profile design to the Blackbird portfolio. In 2014, a new job search book is planned. Looking back on my career I must say that I have no regrets. While I was so disappointed at the callous way that my position was eliminated several years ago, I cannot say that I am sorry. If not for that, I wouldn’t have spread my own wings and been able to touch so many lives. Owning Blackbird Learning Associates is hard work, but something that I am very passionate about because it allows me to relate to my clients. I look at it this way: I’ve been there, done that and most importantly, felt that.

Weight of Wings by Jeanie Tomanek Our USA Magazine 63

Bouquet by Jeanie Tomanek


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was forced into retirement in my late fifties due to my employer’s bankruptcy. I had worked the last 11 years for this company, and I planned to retire from this job. Alas—“The best laid plans of Mice and Men.” My lifetime career had been in business and accounting. If I were to be honest, I was never enthusiastic about the jobs. I enjoyed working with my co-workers, meeting the public and, of course, there was the paycheck. We had three daughters to support and put through college. My dream job as a teenager was to be a writer. This goal was squashed by a guidance counselor who said, “You’ll never make a living writing.” Perhaps she had read some of my stories, or it was just a general consensus at the time. In any event, I gave up the idea. However, the writing creativity still came out in poems, for my husband, stories for my family and friends, and news releases for the companies for which I worked. After my job ended, my husband saw an ad in a local paper for a writers’ workshop in a city about three hours from our home. He wanted me to write the life story of a colorful 95-year-old neighbor. I kept saying, “I don’t know how to write a book.” He encouraged me to attend the conference and learn how to write this story, sell the movie rights, become a millionaire—so he could retire. Ha!

My Second Act By Janet R. Sady

I did attend the conference and received so much encouragement that I came home and established a local writers’ group for support. The group promoted workshops and we studied and shared everything we could about the craft. I attended dozens of seminars and took hundreds of hours of instructions from wonderful mentors. We published a small journal on a quarterly basis as an outlet for the writers. Since that time, I have authored six books, won numerous contests, and received many writing awards and cash for expertise in writing. (The novel on the neighbor, however, is still in my briefcase to be rewritten.) My writings have also spawned a speaking career. In order to promote my books, I found it necessary to take classes in public speaking and presentation. I have been speaking for the past 14 years in churches, civic groups, libraries, schools, and to women’s groups. I’ve developed a storytelling reputation using Bible characters, and a secular comedy routine. Since my interest also strays to photography and watercolor, I combine some of these into my dream job by selling greeting cards and paintings along with my books at events where I am asked to do presentations. It is a dream retirement which has come true. Since I am finally self-employed, it is easy for me to take time out to travel with my husband. Do I plan to quit this second career anytime soon? No! Absolutely not. As long as God continues to bless me with good health and ability, I’ll be out there doing what I love. Our USA Magazine 65

Putting My Kids’ Art in the Trash:

How I Got Past the Guilt by Shannon Hayes

A desk at the author’s home, covered with her children’s art supplies, drawings, and toys. Photo by Shannon Hayes.


friend of mine once described my home as “a houseful of doers.” At any moment in time, there is a pot on the stove, dishes in the sink, a knitting project next to a rocking chair, a half-woven basket on a work counter, soaps lined up and aging beside it, candle-making supplies neatly piled in the corner, canning supplies lined up on benches, fabric crated in Rubbermaid totes stacked beside a sewing table, research books and articles piled on every side table and beside the toilet. That’s just Bob’s and my stuff. Then there’s the kids. Each girl has her own craft space: tables blotted with colorful splotches of spilled paint, made sparkly by a few glitter accidents and uniquely textured with crayon wax drippings. These tables are rarely cleared. They are littered with paintings, sculptures, unfinished embroidery samplers, beading projects, weaving projects, knitting projects, sewing projects, and mud projects. Those projects that are actually seen through to completion then find their way to my kitchen counters, the refrigerator, my bedstand, and absolutely every wall in my house. 66

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In all sincerity, while I’ve never seen it promoted in any glossy magazine, I like the “shabby homeschool” look for interior design. But I’m running out of wall space. I’m running out of storage space. And I face another year of creativity. Bob and I stealthily began breaking down a few of the household art exhibits. The collection of capital letters decorated with macaroni and Rickrack trim went out with the trash. The best paintings and crayon drawings were salvaged, but the rest went into the fire bin, carefully hidden beneath a stack of newspapers. The cardboard city that was slowly taking over the bedroom space was broken down for recycling.

I’m running out of wall space. I’m running out of storage space. And I face another year of creativity.

Each time I select a piece for discard, I am wracked with guilt. I think back to the first days I held newborn Saoirse in my arms. Customers would visit the farm, coo over the baby, then admonish me repeatedly with what I have come to call “the lecture”: “Hold on to this! Cherish everything! Take lots of pictures! Save all their beautiful artwork! The time flies, and pretty soon you’ll be missing all this!”

I hear these words as I remove crayon-colored pictures curling up at the edges that are taped beside the bathroom mirror. And I feel as though, somehow, by throwing out a large percentage of my children’s artwork, by going through their drawers and removing wornthrough garments, by pulling out abandoned knitting efforts and rewinding the yarn for another use, I am somehow flouting the wisdom that has rained down from every parent who has gone before me. The truth is, as soon as I had a six-month-old baby, I no longer missed having a newborn. And as soon as I had a one-year-old baby, I no longer missed having a six-month-old. As soon as I had a walking, talking toddler, I no longer missed having a baby at all. And now that I have a ten-year-old and a six-year-old, I definitely don’t miss having toddlers. I look back at a few of the photos now and then, and they certainly make me smile. But the more engrossed I am in my life with these children, the less I think about the past and the more I immerse myself in enjoying the present. It is this thought that pushes me forward and helps me override the guilty thought that by refusing to hold on to every artifact of my daughters’ childhood I am somehow destroying memories and flouting the divine gift of family that has so enriched my world. I pull down the picture. With my fingernail, I begin scraping away the bit of tape that held it to the wall. I assuage my guilt by reminding myself that I am making room for this year’s projects. I am clearing space so that we can all celebrate Saoirse’s and Ula’s newest creative endeavors. It is good to cherish the past, but equally important to make room for enjoying the present and the future. Our USA Magazine 67

It feels bad to throw away the crayon drawings and unfinished projects. But the memories stored there can never really be lost.

But what of that past? The curled-up crayon drawing is still in my hand. I remember the day they made it. They had decided they were opening a beauty salon, and decorated the bathroom with drawings and paintings of stylish women sporting trendy haircuts. If I throw out that picture, where will that memory go? And then, I catch a glimpse of my own image in the bathroom mirror. My face has changed dramatically since I had Saoirse ten years ago. My own youthful skin is slowly giving way to smile lines and crows’ feet, evidence of the years I’ve spent grinning, giggling and laughing with these children. And there, written plainly across my aging face, is my truest memory book. I cannot hold on to each and every slip of paper, to each and every shred of fabric, to each and every knitting project, shed tear, spill, impromptu song, music lesson, snuggle, or kiss. All of them drift away. And I must keep physical and emotional space in my home and in my spirit to allow new ones to enter. But if I do, the lines on my face will capture all of it somehow, and when I gaze at myself and see those slowly emerging signs of age, I will know that I have lived well, and that I have enjoyed every moment.


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Shannon Hayes wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions.

Child Prodigy “I was inspired to paint all the races, but to find people of color where I lived was very hard. After a lot of prayer I met two African American children whose story was so amazing that I wanted to paint it right away.

There was a taboo in their small Madagascar tribe against saving the orphans. So after their parents died, the two-year-old brother was taking care of his three-month-old sister for over two months. When they were found, they were barely alive. I painted them older and healthier to create what their vision might have been during the three-month survival. The baby girl has noticed the help approaching and is gently caressing her exhausted brother to lift his head up. After I invited the adoptive parents to look at the finished portrait, they were crying. Although I had painted five different backgrounds complete with deserts, animals, birds and prairies I decided to paint the waterfalls at the very end. Everybody including me was surprised at the painted waterfalls in the background, because I had not known that the orphans had been found in the only waterfall jungle in the Madagascar.” Found by Akiane, painted at age 9


Akiane Kramarik

kiane Kramarik was born July 9, 1994, in Mount Morris, Illinois to a Lithuanian mother and an American father. She was homeschooled. She is primarily a self-taught painter. She states that God spoke to her when she was three years old, encouraging her to paint and draw her visions. Her parents were atheists at the time (they later converted to Christianity on account of Akiane’s paintings and visions). Akiane started drawing at the age of four, advancing to painting at six, and writing poetry at seven. According to Akiane her art is inspired by her visions of heaven, and her personal connection with God. Akiane’s art depicts life, landscape, and people.

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Photo Credit: Amber S. Wallace 70

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obby pins are useful items. Or, they were, if you follow me back into the 50s for a glimpse of post World War II life. In this case, a bobby pin is called into action of a highly classified nature. A cardboard package of a dozen clips from Woolworth costs five cents. Once a pack is opened, each one strays away like a teenager searching for personal identity.

I flipped back a few pages to see if past posts could spark inspiration. January 3- The temperature today was 22. I wore a white linen blouse and my black watch plaid skirt. January 14- I took a foldover peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Talked with Bobby after band.

A Pin k Plast ic Diary

The truth of the matter: I In one quick sleight of hand and a did have bobby pin or two, my round face something is no longer hidden in the important shadows. Magic is performed going on in concealing the strays of my my life — Bobby, wispy brown hair giving a trumpet player in a glow to my skin. band sits one row behind me slightly In a pinch, a bobby By Kay Thomas off to my right. I pin serves well as have been eyeing a bookmark to him, and my girl keep my place in friends tell me that he has the post Civil War been asking about me, also. time period when A mutual admiration society I am forced to of flirtation is taking place in time take my nose out of “Little Women” to eat to the beat of a Sousa march. dinner with my “real” family and not the March clan in New England. I couldn’t trust myself enough to write my truest Take the night I have to use extraordinary meafeelings in my diary for fear of them being read sures to secure my diary from suspicious snoops. and misunderstood by a vast audience of admirers when my diary was discovered after I became I have my pink plastic diary open to a blank page famous — as an actress, socialite. (I never once on my twin bed. thought about becoming a writer; I did have a vivid imagination already in motion.) “Six lines to fill up,” I remark to the walls, ceiling and to my black and white cat Scampy, who apparThe tiny gold-plated key that came with the diary ently is not inclined to sympathetic feelings about didn’t lock away my secrets. Ah, a simple bobby my dilemma. pin could break and enter those pages, too. Unfortunately, at thirteen my writing is stifled and stiff, and my own voice would be under wraps for a few more years. I didn’t have the adequate grasp of words and phrases at my fingertips to express how unusual stories could be written about a plain and simply boring 24-hour period of time. I wasn’t feeling beauty around me. Then again, I didn’t know how to stay attentive until amazing experiences came. 72

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I closed the cover to the outline picture in black of a ponytailed teen in her poodle skirt and saddle shoes. The diary had been a birthday present back in December, and I remembered how thrilled I was at the idea of a private journal. I thought for a moment, and decided that I needed to relax a bit and write out what was going on with Bobby word for word.

It would be fun to look back and see how our relationship got started — or would it do more than sputter? Before I knew it I had written a full page and even slipped in an extra sheet of yellow theme paper. I closed it up. Locked it. The key would stay with me. I had recently started carrying a small purse like all the other girls with a tube of lipstick and powder; primarily it was for holding holding bulky Kotex napkins for whenever “the curse” would strike unexpectedly. The hiding place for my diary was between my cotton underpants and undershirts in the second bureau drawer. (I was a proud new owner of size 32A bras filling a separate drawer with my silk stockings.) The diary slipped in like the filling of a sandwich. Tonight, I would be extra vigilant. On top of the diary, at a 30-degree angle facing the right shoe of the girl in the picture, I positioned the bobby pin.

When I raced home from school I immediately bounded up to my bedroom, shut the door and opened the bureau drawer. The diary had been disturbed. The bobby pin was not posting sentry duty protecting precious thoughts from unwelcomed visitors. Across the hallway it was unusually quiet in my sister’s bedroom. Her friend always came to play right after school for at least an hour before I arrived. I barged in without knocking. The two little girls were playing Barbie dolls and keeping their eyes averted like innocent victims. “Have you gotten into my things?” I raged and threw my hands up in the air. After a lot more yelling and screaming back and forth blaming the two for calling Bobby’s sister, one of their classmates, I realized that they didn’t have a clue as to what I was talking about.

The trap was set. I could go hop in bed and get a good night’s sleep.

Just at that moment, my mom came upstairs with a bundle of laundry heading for my room. She opened my drawers and started putting in fresh clothes.

Oh, I slept just fine. I checked my bureau when I selected my underwear for the day. The diary was safe and the bobby pin was exactly as I had left it. My secrets had survived the night.

Mystery solved. No one had searched my diary — not my imaginary international fan club, my schoolmates nor my sister. I couldn’t accuse a soul.

I liked writing my heart out for about three days.

Years later, after filling hundreds of journals with the ups and downs of my life, I have come to the conclusion that once I throw down the words, they are released to go wherever they will do a greater good in the world.

On the fourth day, seventh period wasn’t quite right. There was a whole lot more giggling near me as I packed away my flute and left the band practice room. Bobby was nowhere to be seen. The first thing that came to my mind was that my entire school had read the secrets of my diary. How was that possible?

What a glorious feeling to let down my guard and cut my hair short without the need for bobby pins anymore. Image Credit: Our USA Magazine 73

How a plush bear became a BFF to children with diabetes


dam pressed his face against the window as the car carrying his new friend pulled up to the curb outside his house. At 5 ½ years old you feel more comfortable with a friend who shares your experiences, and none of Adam’s young friends could understand what it’s like to have diabetes. He had been told that Jerry the Bear could understand, so Adam was anxious to meet him. Two strangers came out of the car, one of them carrying a plush bear that looked about 12 inches tall, holding a glucometer in one hand and sporting a red backpack that made him look as though he was coming home from school. Adam guessed it must be Jerry. Adam’s parents told him to take a seat while they opened the door and ushered in Jerry and the two young strangers who had designed and built him. What Adam didn’t know was that the two young strangers were more nervous than he was.


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Not Your Average Bear By Michael M. Woody

Our USA Magazine 75

The Birth of Jerry Hannah Chung and Aaron Horowitz met at Northwestern University while working on a “Design for America” project – a nationwide non-profit focused on applying the concepts of “design thinking” to address high social impact issues. “Design thinking” is a problem solving protocol that involves intensively interviewing a target audience to develop new product ideas that solve a particular challenge. The group was given the challenge of designing a product to improve the lives of people living with Type 1 diabetes. While interviewing and observing doctors, parents and children they discovered that youngsters with Type 1 diabetes habitually “injected” insulin into their plush toys and talked to them about their condition. Based on that feedback, Hannah and Aaron’s team decided to create a plush bear with diabetic symptoms that children could monitor for glucose levels and treat when necessary. By learning to monitor the bear’s condition, the child would better understand how to monitor and treat their own illness. Their idea won the prize as “Most Creative Submission” in Design for America’s 2009 design challenge. After putting together their first Jerry prototype, they knew they needed some real world feedback from a child dealing with Type 1 diabetes. Adam was the first young person to actually play with Jerry. After observing Adam’s interaction with the bear, and hearing his very direct feedback, Aaron and Hannah went back to the drawing board to fine tune the design. Each new iteration of Jerry went back to families for testing and feedback. After three years, and 29 prototypes, they had a design that was ready to go to market.

which hold a sensor that transmits the type of food to the monitor in his chest. This allows a child, before feeding Jerry, to “read” the bear’s glucose level by pressing one of the buttons in his fingers. Then, using a stylus, she “injects” the amount of insulin to balance Jerry’s glucose level based on the snack he is about to consume. Jerry still sports the backpack that holds the snack discs and stylus. Ramping Up As Aaron and Hannah worked through the extensive series of prototypes and laid the groundwork for launching their company, their work was facilitated by Betaspring, a start-up accelerator based in Providence, RI. Betaspring provides mentorship, a small amount of seed capital, legal counsel and work space for technology and design entrepreneurs. The small business incubator helped the young founders hone their business model, refine their product, develop a website, and begin the process of building their supply chain. In early 2012, their company was officially established as Sproutel, Inc.

Jerry now has a monitor screen in his chest, and insulin “injection points” on his thighs, backside and the backs of his arms. A child can check the bear’s glucose level, which appears on the monitor, Initially, they considered offshoring production of by squeezing one of the buttons imbedded in his Jerry to China. Aaron, in his first ever trip overseas, eight fingers. Jerry is “fed” by passing discs with visited a number of factories in China and held pictures of different types of foods past his lips, 76

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meetings with several companies that had expressed an interest in partnering with him on production. However, after his return to the U.S., Aaron noticed that interest from China partners seemed to wane as they re-focused on larger customers and new product development projects that they believed had greater potential. He also came to realize that extending the supply chain to China would slow down product development efforts – always a hurdle for a start-up company. As a poster in the Betaspring offices reads, “The longer it takes to develop, the less likely it is to launch.” With this admonition in mind, Aaron and Hannah decided to explore sourcing parts and assembly in the U.S. For the plush bear itself, Aaron looked at a couple of options before settling on the Stuffington Bear Factory, a company based in Phoenix, AZ that specializes in the manufacturing of plush toys. The plastic parts for the monitor in Jerry’s chest are sourced locally from Rihani, a small injection molding company in Cranston, RI, and Protomold in Minneapolis, MN. Because of the challenge of finding parts suppliers in the U.S., the electronics are still sourced in China. Unfortunately, small start-ups like Sproutel still suffer the consequences of the wholesale offshoring of supply chains over the last 25 years. In order to further localize assembly of Jerry, Sproutel recently opened an office in the Olneyville section of Providence, a neighborhood that was once a manufacturing center decades ago, fell on tough times, and is struggling to come back. One of the company’s goals is to continue to compress their supply chain, and source locally whenever possible. The first official production run of 280 bears was completed in the winter of 2013. Jerry is now being distributed directly to the consumer on the Jerry the Bear website. To spread the word about Jerry, Sproutel exhibits at trade shows and solicits referrals from pediatric endocrinologists and diabetes educators. They are currently working on a partnership with a national health insurance company that would provide Jerry to customers who have children with Type 1 diabetes.

What happens to Sproutel after Aaron and Hannah achieve their goal of putting Jerry in the hands of every child with juvenile diabetes? How do they continue to grow? Their business model is to create plush animals to help youngsters with other chronic conditions such as asthma and autism. As Aaron puts it, “There are, unfortunately, many children who need the help of a friend like Jerry.” Clearly this is a company that balances the need to be a profitable business with the commitment to helping others. For example, on their website consumers can buy a plain plush version of Jerry without the electronics and accessories for measuring glucose levels and administering insulin. The proceeds from the sale of these plain plush bears help to offset the cost of the fully functional Jerry for a diabetic child whose parents cannot afford to buy him. The website even spells out where each dollar goes from the purchase of these fund-raising versions of Jerry. When asked whether he has any concerns that China manufacturers who have seen the Jerry prototype might steal Sproutel’s intellectual property and begin manufacturing and distributing copies of Jerry worldwide, Aaron responds, “Of course, we hope that doesn’t come to pass. But if it does, what’s the worst that could happen? More children with Type 1 diabetes might be helped.” Now that’s a CEO, and a company, with a social conscience. As of February 2014, the first production run of bears is sold out, and Jerry has found a permanent home with 87 children like Adam. Eight bears went to non-profits who use Jerry in group education classes to teach youngsters how to monitor their condition. An ancillary benefit for those who interact with Jerry is that they improve their math skills due to the calculations required to monitor glucose levels and administer insulin. But the biggest benefit of all is the knowledge that you’re not alone. As one parent put it, “Some children don’t meet anyone else with diabetes for over a year. Knowing that someone else like Jerry has it is an immediate comfort.” Our USA Magazine 77



American Gothic by Grant Wood


By Heather Gunther from Mother Nature Network

ur grandparents (or great-grandparents) — children of the Great Depression — could teach us a thing or two about going green on a budget. “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without,” recalled one elderly woman when asked about what she learned as a child during the Great Depression. Their carbon footprint was uber-small — they used less water, less fuel, created less waste and imported fewer goods than we do. They took these actions out of necessity as opposed to our modern-day desire to help the planet, but the ecological impact is just as powerful. Here are seven lessons we can borrow from our elders that are easy on the wallet, and have significant environmental impact. Perhaps more importantly, they are easy to implement and relevant to our modern lifestyles — no extolling the virtues of riding a horse to work! 78

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Kick the Bottle “Why in the world would I pay money for water in a bottle when there is perfectly good water coming out of my kitchen tap ... for free?” I can just hear my late grandfather, whose frugality was legendary in my family, asking that question with confused sincerity. For some eye-opening stats on the waste created by the bottled water industry, visit the American Museum of Natural History. (Editor’s note: or view “The Story of Bottled Water.”)


Photo:Professor Bop/Flickr

Let it All Hang Out Before the clothes dryer became a standard appliance in every American household, your grandmother simply took advantage of a sunny day, some rope or cord, clothespins, and voila! No cost, no maintenance, no carbon footprint. Clothes dryers have come a long way in energy efficiency over recent years, but the average home clothes dryer has a carbon footprint of about 4.4 lbs. of carbon dioxide per load of laundry. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “the biggest way to cut the environmental impact of cleaning clothes is to stop using a clothes dryer.” Our USA Magazine 79

Grow Local Last spring, the Obama family’s decision to plant a kitchen garden at the White House garnered so much attention that you would have thought it was an off-thewall publicity stunt. But the house garden concept has been around for many years, and local food had a reserved spot on our grandparents’ menu. The benefits of growing your own fruits and veggies are numerous, and you can’t get more local than your own backyard.

Photo: candrews/Flickr

Photo: Josh Deaton 80

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To continue reading the entire article, “7 Green Things Our Grandparents Did,” please go to this link from our friends at Mother Nature Network.

From Pics andOur Paper Etsy USAon Magazine


Get the Dirt on Dirt

A doctor discovers the surprising healing qualities of healthy farm soil


amily physician Daphne Miller long suspected that farming and medicine were intimately linked. Increasingly disillusioned by mainstream medicine’s mechanistic approach to healing and fascinated by the farming revolution that is changing the way we think about our relationship to the earth, Dr. Miller left her medical office and traveled to seven innovative family farms around the country, on a quest to discover the hidden connections between how we care for our bodies and how we grow our food. Farmacology, the remarkable book that emerged from her travels, offers us a compelling new vision for sustainable health and healing—and a wealth of farm-to-body lessons with immense value in our daily lives. Dr. Miller begins her journey with a pilgrimage to the Kentucky homestead of renowned author and farming visionary Wendell Berry. Over the course of the following year, she travels to a biodynamic farm in Washington state, a ranch in the Ozarks, two chicken farms in Arkansas, a winery in California, a community garden in the Bronx, and finally an aromatic herb farm back in Washington. While learning from forward-thinking farmers, Miller explores such compelling questions as: • What can rejuvenating depleted soil teach us about rejuvenating ourselves?

• How can a grazing system on a ranch offer valuable insights into raising resilient children? • What can two laying-hen farms teach us about stress management?

• How do vineyard pest-management strategies reveal a radically new approach to cancer care?

• What are the unexpected ways that urban agriculture can transform the health of a community? 82

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Throughout, Dr. Miller seeks out the perspectives of noted biomedical scientists and artfully weaves in their insights and research, along with stories from her own medical practice. The result is a profound new approach to healing, combined with practical advice for how to treat disease and maintain wellness. She introduces us to the critical idea that it’s the farm where food is grown that offers us the real medicine. Dr. Miller uncovers all the aspects of farming—from seed choice to soil management—that have a direct and powerful impact on our health, bridging the traditional divide between agriculture and medicine. The result is a compelling new vision for sustainable healing and a treasure trove of farm-to-body lessons that have immense value in our daily lives. Throughout Farmacology she introduces us to: • A vegetable farmer in Washington state who shows us how the principles he uses to rejuve-

nate his soil apply just as well to our own bodies. Here we also discover the direct links between healthy soil and healthy humans. • A beef farmer in Missouri

• A vintner in Sonoma, California, who reveals the principles of Integrated Pest Management and helps us understand how this gentler approach to controlling unwanted bugs and weeds might be used to treat invasive cancers in humans. • A farmer in the Bronx who shows us how a network of gardens offers health benefits that extend far beyond the nutrient value of the fruits and vegetables grown in the raised beds. For example, did you know that urban farming can lower the incidence of alcoholism and crime?

who shows how a holistic cattlegrazing method can grow resilient calves and resilient children. • An egg farmer in Arkansas who introduces us to the counterintuitive idea that stress can keep us productive and healthy. We discover why the stressors associated with a pasture-based farming system are beneficial to animals and humans while the duress of factory farming can make us ill. Photo: Daddy Pete’s Plant Pleaser

• Finally, an aromatic herb farmer in Washington state who teaches us about the secret chemical messages we exchange with plants—messages that can affect our mood and even keep us looking youthful. Farmacology reveals the surprising ways that the ecology of our body and the ecology of our farms are intimately linked. This is a paradigm-changing adventure that has huge implications for our personal health and the health of the planet. Our USA Magazine 83

Two Leaves Tea Company

Preserves made by the Trappist Monks of St. Joseph Abbey in Spencer, MA

All products seen here may be ordered online through the Abbey of the Genesee


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Our USA Magazine 85



That’s the absolute worst message I’ve ever received as a writer, this blinking missive which appeared on the ominous black screen of my computer when I turned it on. After a working life of a little more than three months, my sleek, brand new, ultraportable, cutting edge, touch screen notebook died, taking with it, I feared, the book I had worked on all summer, some 30,000 words. And my last ten newspaper columns. And several sermons. And my vacation photos, too. No, NO, NO, NOOOO!!!!!! So first I prayed. Then almost wept. Turned the computer on and off a bunch of times. Spoke soothingly, then desperately to it. “Come on... please…pretty please. COME ON!!! WORK!!! PLEASE!!!!!!” But there was nothing, just one damning sentence: “hard drive not recognized.” 86

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Through careful retrieval by other means, I’ve been able to find most of what was lost and yet I’m still confronted with a technology train wreck, this binary betrayal. The manufacturer (who’ll remain nameless but whose initials, ironically, could stand for “Happy People”) promises to repair or replace the unit with a brand new one. This hollow reassurance came from oh so polite and oh so unintelligible service reps, speaking to me on the phone from somewhere in the bowels of a call center in the wilds of Asia. The technician actually tried to talk me through disassembling the unit and jiggling its hard drive (I can’t make this stuff up) but it was for naught. So now I await a pre-addressed Federal Express box, a computer coffin, to send my comatose machine

back to Tennessee, where a nameless technician will try to resurrect it or pronounce it, finally, dead on arrival. Ah technology. I’m kind of geeky and very dependent when it comes to my modern machines. Like many folks, I love my gadgets. Love my laptop, for with it I can study and write anywhere. Love my cell phone, for through it I can connect to others in seconds. Love the net, for there in cyberspace I can “click” and rent a car or buy a plane ticket or purchase anything, all from the comfort of my easy chair. Love my DVR, for the I control what I watch, when I watch it. Even love my GPS. I never get lost anymore. Yet the crash of my computer reminds me of one basic technology truth, a non-negotiable dogma when it comes to all of our flashy techno baubles. No matter how high tech we humans go, no matter how dependent we are upon our machines, finally these miracles of machination are soulless constructs. Bunches of wire and silicon chips, held together by metal screws and drips of solder. We may imagine, even experience machines as magic, yet the reality is that our devices are just tools, implements, no more alive or vital than a

lawn mower or a screwdriver or a toaster. What matters is what we as thinking, breathing, living, sentient human beings bring, or do not bring, to all the technology we invite into this life So while the act of my writing is aided by a computer, the muse who inspires my words comes from God, from my soul, from my humanity, not the inanimate thing upon which I type. The friends I claim on Facebook are not really “friends”—not in a true sense. Unless I connect authentically to them beyond a screen, they are computer code, a string of ones and zeroes. A text message connects me instantly to another but I must never forget that there is a real flesh and blood person on the receiving end of that communication. Machines do matter. Machines are amazing in what they can help us do. Machines are radically transforming our human experience of the world. But eventually computers die. Phones seize up. The power goes out and our home entertainment behemoth becomes nothing more than dead weight. So pass me a pencil and a sheet of paper. It’s time to do some writing. I’ll go back to my technology but will never again assume it is magic. No. Give me a human touch instead. No hard drive needed.

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his summer it will be 49 years since I had my first job. It was a summer job working at J.A. Reinhardt & Co. in Mountainhome, Pennsylvania. It was the summer of 1965; it seems so long ago. My father and brother also worked at the same factory.

My First Job By Larry W. Fish

It was my first taste of manufacturing, a field that I worked in for 30 years of my life. My first job in metal working was filing the burrs off of machined products. It was fun but often times a little tricky, as a burr on a metal panel could cause a cut in an instant. My hands got many slices that first summer. The next June of 1966, I graduated from Pocono Mountain High School in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania. My adult life was now beginning. I immediately started working full time for J.A. Reinhardt. I was hired for the pay of $1.50 an hour. It seemed like a lot of money to me at the time. I was hired as an engraver. Many things were engraved at that time. One of my first jobs was to engrave bakelite. It was a sheet of black plastic with white in the middle. The black was engraved away revealing the white. I would be making signs for banks. How many people remember those? Going in the bank and seeing those was a surprise to me, knowing I could have made the months, days, and years on those calendars. Soon I had many people helping me to engrave more complex pieces. Many metal panels were used in the aircraft industry. There were large rings with hundreds of lines that would be used on ships. I learned how to grind my own cutters, often only a few thousands of an inch wide. It took time and precision, something that took a while to learn. It was almost at the end of my first year that I was given a part and a blueprint and told it was my test to see if I would get a raise. A raise, I thought. That sounded nice. It was a piece of nylon that I had to machine out of a block of material. It had quite a few steps – making it to size, machining a step into it and then making numerous holes in the part. I did fine. I passed the test with flying colors. My first year of full-time work was finally in and I got my raise. I received a nickel an hour raise. I was now making $1.55 an hour. It doesn’t seem like much by today’s standards but in the 1960s, it was good pay. It was now 1967 and I would be doing more advanced work. Image Credit:


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One of those was engraving gold drums that would be used in the guidance system of missiles. They were small – maybe an inch to an inch and a half long and a half an inch in diameter. They were round and had lines engraved in them with a cutter that was only 15 thousands of an inch wide. That is a little over three times the thickness of a human hair. The width had to be precise. If a missile didn’t fly the way it was supposed to, it could be because of my error. I had to use an eye loupe quite a bit in that job and I learned to work in thousands of an inch. The summer of 1968 was approaching and many of my friends were being drafted for the Vietnam War. It was early in that year that I decided to enlist in the U.S. Air Force. I got in on the delayed enlistment program. The owner of J.A. Reinhardt told me one day that he could probably get me out of joining the military because I was doing a lot of work for the government. My reply was no thanks. I felt it was my duty to join the military, something I never regretted. To this day, I feel every able-bodied male should have to serve his country. I feel that ending the draft was a mistake that our country would regret. My job at J.A. Reinhardt ended in July of 1968 when I was sent to basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas. My military experience had me in Texas, Florida, and eventually the Philippines. I ended up as a crew chief and a flight mechanic on C-47 aircraft. The civilian version was the DC-3.

Many of them were made in the 1940s. I got to fly around a lot, seeing much of the Philippines. I also got to Taiwan, and Okinawa for temporary duty. Money was tight at that time and they were asking for people to stay where they were. I continued to stay in the Philippines for 27 months. It was during the Vietnam War but I only got to Vietnam for four hours. We had an aircraft to deliver from Clark AFB to Vietnam. It is funny how things work out. I was in during wartime but never got into harm’s way. I met a young girl who worked at the Airmen’s club on Clark. We wed the week before Christmas in 1970 and our son was born in the Philippines. In April of 1972 we came back to the United States. We were picked up at the airport by my mother and brother. On the drive back to our house, my wife kept staring out of the car window. Finally, she turned to me and said, “The trees are naked, they look so ugly.” I had to laugh. It was still early April and the leaves hadn’t come on the trees yet. She had never seen such a sight. The following winter, she saw snow for the first time. It was amazing to her. Now after 43 years of marriage, she has seen enough of it. I continued to work in manufacturing for 30 years of my life. I was always so proud when I saw a sticker: MADE IN USA. Then, the outsourcing began. All I can say is “get those jobs back here where they belong.” American workers deserve better. Our USA Magazine 89

Why arguments against government


are all wrong

Buy Made in USA

By Michael McKeldon Woody

ast year, the states of Maryland and Texas both considered bills that would mandate preferences for U.S. made products in the government procurement process. The Maryland effort was ultimately successful, and the Texas bill passed overwhelmingly in a bipartisan vote before being vetoed by Texas Governor Rick Perry. In spite of the obvious benefits of such policies, constituencies opposed to the measures made strikingly similar arguments against them. Here is a recap of the arguments typically made against “Buy American” provisions – and why those arguments are wrong.

Thus, although the price of the project may be higher, the difference between the higher price and the actual cost to the government may be ameliorated, or eliminated, by these other factors. Argument #2 It’s impractical some intermediate parts may not be available here in the U.S.

Yes, the price of the project may be higher, but if all companies bidding for the project are under the same “Made in USA” constraints, then the playing field would be level for all bidders.

Yes, that’s possible in some cases. However, most “Made in USA” provisions of which I am aware are expressed as preferences. Thus, if the price is too high, or the product is not available from a U.S. vendor, then bidders are typically allowed to source outside the country.

We must also consider the total cost to the city, state, or federal government. If the price to the government entity for the “Made in USA” project is X% higher, is that X% premium covered by the taxes paid by the U.S. workers employed because

Argument #3 Even though working conditions are deplorable in most low cost manufacturing countries, by buying there we help create better living conditions for the jobless in those countries.

Argument #1 Buying American would raise the costs of the project.


of the “Made in USA” provision? Conversely, if those jobs are lost due to the lack of the “Made in USA” provision, what is the cost to the government entity of unemployment and other benefits?

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Photo: Judy Schwab

This is a public relations argument often used by multi-national manufacturers, brands, and big box retailers to justify offshoring. It’s ironic when large corporations characterize their sourcing model as a form of philanthropy for developing nations, when what the sourcing model truly reflects is the slogan “always the lowest price, always.” For example, it’s apparent that apparel importers started sourcing in Bangladesh not to help the Bangladeshi people, but to buy at the lowest possible price. It is only since the Tazreen factory fire that those same companies are now touting their sense of “social responsibility” for the people of Bangladesh as the reason for not moving their apparel purchases to another country (or back to the U.S.)

under which the comparative advantage argument might be considered. Finally, let’s remember that China is a strategic threat to the U.S., so the trade policy tail should not be wagging the foreign policy dog. Argument #5 Government preference for “Made in USA” is protectionist trade policy China cites “Buy U.S. Made” rules as a justification for their own discriminatory policies.

This is a spin-off from the “comparative advantage” argument, often used by multi-nationals more interested in selling into China than rocking the boat with China. If China didn’t have “Buy Of course, anyone with a shred of empathy is con- American” policies as an excuse for their own cerned about the poor in developing countries. But trade barriers, they would find another whipping boy. should that concern drive government purchasing policies? Should U.S. government procurement be a form of social welfare for other countries? Is Argument #6 - If it’s good to buy USA-made, isn’t it even better to buy Texas-made? And if that not the role of foreign aid? it’s good to buy Texas- made, isn’t it better still to be Dallas-made, etc.? Argument #4 We should let the free market rule and buy Hoover Institution economist David Henderson where the goods are cheapest. In the long run, actually made this weak “reductio ad absurdum” it’s better for all. argument for a John Stossel column written in November 2011. Why is it weak? Because the This argument is based on the economist David debatable proposition is not whether it is good Ricardo’s theory of competitive advantage. In a to buy “Made in USA.” Rather, it’s whether it is nutshell, it says that if you produce X efficiently in the best interest of the U.S. and its citizens for and I produce Y efficiently, then I shouldn’t waste U.S. government purchasing policy to establish a my labor producing X and you shouldn’t waste preference for products made in the U.S.A. under your labor producing Y. If each of us does what reasonable circumstances. This is a more nuanced we do most efficiently, then we can trade X for Y (and vice versa) and we’ll both be better off in the proposition than the one set up by Henderson. long run. There is no downside to government mandated “Buy American” provisions in Maryland, in Texas, It’s a nice theory, but when Ricardo developed it he presupposed perfect competition and undistort- or in any other state, as long as that mandate ensures flexibility if the comparable U.S. product is ed markets–neither of which exists when it comes to our trading relationship with China, the country much more expensive or simply not available here from which we import most of our finished goods. in the U.S. Sadly, the point may soon be moot. When China lets its currency reach market value, The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement protects intellectual property, and invests in the currently being negotiated with Pacific Rim counmanufacturing costs required to make goods that tries is likely to further weaken – if not eliminate comply with CPSIA and FDA guidelines, then we entirely – government mandated “Buy American” will be nearing the state of undistorted markets provisions. Our USA Magazine 91


In China, Japan and other overseas consumer markets, there’s a booming demand for the authenticity, style and quality produced by tried-and-true American heritage brands. By Adam Minter/Photograph By Michael Henrickson


Red Wing Shoe photo by Michael Hendrickson


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This article first appeared in DeltaSkyMagazine, September 2013


sign hanging over a basement-level escalator at Shanghai’s Grand Gateway Mall points visitors upward to “International Brands.” Sure enough, the first floor is occupied by the kinds of flashy luxury brands that one would expect in a highend mall: Gucci, Armani, Rolex and Tiffany, among others. But ride the escalator to floor two and the atmosphere becomes a bit more low-key—so much so that it would be easy to miss the demure, low-key outlet for Allen Edmonds, the iconic, 91-yearold, made-in-the-U.S.A. men’s shoe brand. For those concerned about the future of American-made goods and their prospects overseas, that Allen Edmonds store—its first in China, as of November 2012—with its American flag-draped window displays, should not be missed. It is, in one sense, the vanguard of a made-in-the-U.S.A. consumer trend that picked up momentum in the United States around the time of the Great Recession and has since expanded rapidly in international markets. Wellheeled consumers increasingly seek quality, an elusive sense of authenticity and—above all—a sense that their fashion choices differentiate them from their peers. As a result, and perhaps unexpectedly, some of America’s oldest and most revered apparel and footwear brands—from Allen Edmonds to Red Wing Shoes, Pendleton Woolen Mills and Woolrich—are becoming highly sought-after, identity-defining style icons overseas.

Allen Edmonds at Grand Gateway Mall in Shanghai. Photo by Chad Ingraham.

The reason for the boom differs by continent, country and culture. In the United States, the interest in vintage, high-quality American brands emerged from a nostalgic desire to reconnect with a disappearing manufacturing base—and the lifestyles it made possible. Needless to say, that’s hardly the reason that heritage brands work in, say, South Korea. Rather, outside of the United States, and especially in the Asia-Pacific, where they thrive best, these brands appeal to well-heeled consumers in search of unique, finely crafted goods that connect to America’s vintage past. Consider, for example, what happens when a Chinese customer who may never have heard of Allen Edmonds wanders into its Grand Gateway store. His first impression will be of a large screen showing American movie scenes that happen to feature Allen Edmonds shoes. Next, that consumer—most likely “a well-heeled gentleman,” says Sheryl Chen, Allen Edmonds’ public relations and marketing manager in China—might notice photos of recent presidents wearing Allen Edmonds shoes. More likely than not, a store clerk will approach to explain that every president from Reagan to the second Bush was inaugurated in the Allen Edmonds Park Avenue model, and he/she then will carefully guide the potential customer to a display that demonstrates the hundreds of steps involved in producing an American-made, handcrafted Allen Edmonds shoe. This last point is key: “Everyone knows labor is expensive in America, so the quality must be high,” Chen explains in the store’s fitting area. “It is new to wear shoes handmade in America. That makes a gentleman different from his colleagues.” Our USA Magazine 93

The desire to differentiate one’s fashion identity via vintage American apparel has existed in the United States for as long as there have been thrift stores and hipsters. Overseas, the trend appears to have emerged most prominently, and first, in Japan. The Japanese appreciation for the vintage American aesthetic is difficult to pin down precisely, but it certainly has some connection to “wabisabi,” an all-encompassing Japanese aesthetic that finds beauty in imperfection. So, for example, imperfections in nature, such as cracked tree bark, are wabi-sabi; likewise, imperfections in a fine, vintage leather boot, such as cracking and creasing, are also wabi-sabi. Beginning in the 1970s, this appreciation for beautiful imperfection drew fashion-conscious Japanese to American thrift shops in search of finely crafted, classic apparel. “I was in Japan for a time in the 1990s, and one way to make money was to hit up a Goodwill store in the Midwest and buy all the old pairs of Levi’s 501s on the rack, as well as worn baseball T-shirts and such, and then suitcase 94

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them back to Tokyo and sell them for $120 a pair,” says Abe Sauer, the Shanghai-based contributor to Brandchannel, an online branding exchange. As curious as it may sound, wabi-sabi—a concept traceable to Zen Buddhism—might very well explain this thrift shop phenomenon. In any case, the passion for vintage—both old and “new”—has never let up in Japan, and beginning in the late 2000s, the country’s hipsters became the single biggest market for several of the most famous and important American heritage brands (including Red Wing Shoes, Pendleton Woolen Mills and Woolrich). Robert Christnacht, director of worldwide sales at Pendleton, the 104-year-old Oregon-based fabric and apparel manufacturer, says that when he travels abroad, especially in Japan, what he “really wants to see is vintage stores.” There, he finds Pendleton goods for “astronomical” prices, compared to their original prices. Similarly, David Murphy, president of the 108year-old Red Wing Shoe Company in Red Wing, Minnesota, says it’s not uncommon to find

Japanese stores selling vintage Red Wing boots for upward of $1,000 and that the company is regularly outbid by Japanese collectors in online auctions for antique versions of its boots (the company collects them for its archive). What, precisely, is the appeal of a $350 pair of new Red Wing boots—or a $1,200 pair of used ones—to someone in Japan? Does it go beyond aesthetics, and wabi-sabi? Murphy, whose “Heritage Collection” caters to men aged 18-35, cites the peculiar, crowded circumstances in which Japanese urbanites live. “The definition of a successful young man isn’t in their home in Japan,” he says. “It’s not an automobile. How can you demonstrate your success? By wearing expensive clothing. Enjoying expensive alcohol. A $300 Mont Blanc pen. That’s how you show success.” But it’s not enough just to flash wealth; it’s also a matter of flashing personality, and Red Wing’s history gives Murphy (and the company’s customers) the ability to do that. In fact, despite being known in the fashion world for its Heritage Collection, 85 percent of Red Wing’s business continues to be work boots that it sells in more than 110 countries, with the oil and gas industry being its single biggest consumer market. “If you want to personify who we are, it’s Paul Newman and Steve McQueen,” he says, referring to two of the most rugged American film icons of the past 50 years.

“We don’t try to be cool. We don’t pay to be in movies. We don’t pay celebrities to be in our boots.” In other words: Unlike other American fashion brands that have to establish their vintage credibility via marketing campaigns that link them to style icons such as McQueen and Newman, Red Wing—due to its century-old roots in the work world—essentially just needs to be itself. “We call it work-inspired,” Murphy says of the company’s expensive Heritage Collection. “They look like work boots.” Those boots, made in America with a lineage going back to rugged oil field boots, attract customers looking for authenticity—something that most mass-market brands spend millions to generate but never truly achieve. For Red Wing, remarkably, 25 percent of its authenticity-seeking customers are located outside of the United States. It’s a “substantial business,” Murphy says, that’s expanded more than 2,000 percent in the past five years, largely driven by Asia—Japan in particular. And it turns out that Japan’s influence on Red Wing isn’t just confined to buying Red Wing. As it happens, the chief designer for the Heritage Collection is a Japanese national, based in Red Wing, whose work is sold in Japan, Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe. “Imagine that,” Murphy says. “He’s so good at designing for Japan that he has connected to the rest of the world.”

Red Wing Shoes in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo by Craig Ferguson. Our USA Magazine 95

Red Wing isn’t the only American heritage brand to turn to Japanese designers to achieve a credible, vintage American look. In 2006, Woolrich Woolen Mills, the flagship fashion label of Woolrich, the 183-year-old fabric and apparel manufacturer (and owner of the oldest fabric mill in the United States), hired New York-based Daiki Suzuki, the Japanese-born and -bred founder of the Engineered Garments label, to serve as its first designer (he departed in 2011). At the time he was hired, Suzuki was already a well-known proponent of vintage American work fashion, and he quickly tapped into his knowledge and passion for classic outdoor apparel to create a renowned, high-fashion line for Woolrich. Suzuki says he felt a calling to design vintage Americana: “In these times of extreme tech, we do not want to forget the charm and character of low-tech sportswear,” he told Black Book in 2008. Though he was working for Woolrich, he might as well have been speaking for the entire American heritage movement, Japanese-designed or otherwise. Fifty percent of Woolrich Woolen Mills’ global sales are based in Japan, with the other half split evenly between the United States and Europe, says Josh Rich, executive vice president at Woolrich. “It’s my position that Japan is the leader for fashion and apparel,” says Rich, who is an eighth-generation descendant of the company’s founder, John Rich. “If it’s successful over there, then Korea and China start following.” 96

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Indeed, the success of American heritage brands in Japan has created a growing footprint for those same brands across Asia and in Europe. Pendleton Woolen Mills’ Christnacht says his European distributors “are always asking what’s happening in Japan.” One way the company is taking advantage of these consumer trends is by placing Pendleton retail outlets in international airports and stocking

“Japan is the leader for FASHION AND APPAREL. If it’s successful over there, then KOREA and CHINA start following.” ~Josh Rich, executive vice president of Woolrich

them with products that are popular abroad. The first, at Portland International, has derived a “significant” portion of its business from international travel. Likewise, “there’s a huge market for Pendleton’s wool shirts in Hawaii,” Christnacht says with a chuckle, noting that Hawaiians aren’t exactly the company’s target demographic. “Those are bought by overseas travelers who know our products and want to bring them home.” He expects that eventually he’ll be serving those customers via retail outlets in their home markets: “I want to be in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taipei, Perth!” Woolrich already operates several stores in Europe, and this fall it plans to open two stores in Tokyo and one in South Korea, a market strongly influenced by Japanese fashion brands. Red Wing Shoes has stores in Germany and the Netherlands, but David Murphy takes special pride in the company’s elegant shop in Taipei: “The design is so cool that people use the façade as a backdrop for photo shoots.” Inside it, and all other Red Wing shops, is a manhole cover that was cast in the city of Red Wing. It’s a replica of historic manhole

toyko street fashion

Blanket Coat: Pendleton Woolen Mills

covers found in the city. The cast-iron footprint serves as a 150-pound reminder of the brand’s roots on the banks of the Mississippi River. Those deep roots in a vintage design aesthetic prevent American heritage brands from becoming victims—or beneficiaries—of fleeting fashion trends. Rather, they face a different kind of challenge as they chart their future: staying true to their lineage in a retail world where the introduction of next year’s model—whether it’s a phone or a pair of jeans—is the surest path to profitability. Doing what you know best well, and doing it over and over for decades, is an entirely different approach. Paul Grangaard, president and CEO of Allen Edmonds, makes this point in discussing his company’s first China store. Briefly, he brings up the company’s legendary wingtips. “The classic American wingtip, they [also] do them in Italy,” he conceded. “And we do spaghetti in the U.S., just not like they do in Italy.” Grangaard and his counterparts in the American heritage niche are counting on overseas consumers to know the difference. And so far, they have.

Nowhere is the influence of vintage American style more apparent then on the urban streets of Japan. Japanese hipsters have cultivated an appreciation for American classics.

Jacket: Wrangler Pants: Woolrich

~Photos by Phil Oh.

Cutoffs: Levis Trainers: New Balance Our USA Magazine 97

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