Dad is one of about 23 million “Silents” in the United States. This group of United States citizens now known as the “silent majority” carry a mix of values formed by the Great Depression and World War II. Fewer children were born during this time between 1928 and 1945. Dad’s father was self-motivated delivering milk and eggs with a horse and wagon. His mother ran the home and worked factory jobs. From the stories Dad shares, both his parents were a part of his life every day. The family lived on a small farm and sustained themselves with the bare necessities. Dad learned early in life that hard work, honesty, and saving his pennies were the key to success. He was rarely without a job of some kind beginning at a young age. He willingly worked the family farm and helped other farmers seasonally. Later working in local garages and some light construction with friends if that was all he could find. The family owned only American made automobiles and tractors. In fact, everything in Dad’s life at that time was made in America.
My “Silent” spoke up recently when he noticed some of the labels on his clothing. Dad requires some assistance selecting clothes so I lay them out on the bathroom counter for him. The plan is to drop dirty clothes on the rug for me to pick up later and to put on the clean clothes. Lately the two get mixed up and I check on him more frequently. One evening Dad took a particularly long time getting dressed so I tapped on the door asking if everything was okay. It wasn’t. Dad had his long sleeve dirty shirt tied around his waste and nothing else on. He was staring at his clean briefs holding them up with both hands. As I peeked in, he said, “my underwear are made in Vietnam!” I responded, ” Oh, well they will work better if you put them on.” He did. A little more time passed so I cracked the door again. “My tee shirt is made in Honduras!” “Gee Dad, aren’t you cold? Let’s get that tee shirt on.” He did. Then as he put on his flannel pajama bottoms, he said, “these are made in Bangladesh! Maybe I should join a nudist colony.” We laughed all the way to the laundry basket. Dad picked up a pair of pants from the laundry and checked the label. He looked at me and said, “Nicaragua. Next thing you know newborn babies will come with labels on them from the countries where they were born.”
Just before we turned out the lights at bedtime that night, Dad said, “I’m glad I am made in America. I said, “Me too Dad, me too.”