I was thinking about the old Weave room tonight. Back before the air jets and sulzers…the days of the old X1′ s and X2′ s. The old clackety clack of the shuttle’s flying out and back, and the beat up slamming that filling yarn in so tight. That rhythmic beat you could hear before you even hit the front door. “Slamaty..Clamity..Slamity..Clamity” over and over and over again. Hundreds of them in time creating an almost unbearable noise and a vibration that shook deep inside your chest.
I remember no air conditioning, and the sweat falling off in salty rivulets…And the white t-shirts all the men wore being soaked with sweat and dirty and greasy from laying on the Weave room floor up under a loom, legs sticking out in the narrow alleys.
And all the women with their waste aprons shoving those round battreys on each loom full of wound double tight yarn spools fresh out of the spinning room, double checking that it’s the right gauge and thickness. “Can’t have no mixed yarn.” Says the floor boss. You’d get wrote up for that. “Hell with that thick yarn!” Momma says. “Can’t get a break without the battery running out.”
And them’s the good old days.
But when we cut ourselves the blood was red. And some fixer who was caught up would help fill the battries so you could take a break and go to the water house and eat a bite. And the paychecks came home, with one savings bond a week coming out of it. But…in the end the money ran out anyway. And the old looms gave way to the air jets. And things changed and changed and changed some more.
But is it better? I can still hear those old looms in my head. My hearings a little hard, but my eyes are a little misty.