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Stinson Seafood Cannery Closes | Here in New England

Stinson Seafood Cannery Closes | Here in New England
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“That was a bad day,” Lela says, shaking her head just a bit. “A sad day. The head guy from California came and talked to us about our severance pay. Then we cleaned our lockers out and lined up to get our papers signed. Peter stood up in front of the line, and we went out saying our goodbyes. You couldn’t help crying. You couldn’t help it. You knew you couldn’t be with your friends. Then we walked out.”

She was driven home, and she put her final can of sardines in a glass display case in her dining room. Then she walked to the wharf, where her son was tending his traps.

“I had an operation last year,” Lela says, “and Peter had me doing quality control–repacking all the cans that weren’t done right. ‘Whenever you’re ready,’ he told me, ‘your table is waiting for you.’ I was going back on the line this summer.”

She looks right at me. “It got harder as you got older,” she says. “But I could go with the best of them. I’m a packer. I will always be a packer.”

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One Response to Stinson Seafood Cannery Closes | Here in New England

  1. Rebecca Robinson December 7, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

    there were sardine factories and whistles summoning the workers in Eastport, Maine, too. My younger sister and one of her friends worked there during summers. Its sad that a way of life for so many is over. I knew our factories had closed a long time ago, but had no idea that none were now left.

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