The weird thing about history is that it happens in the present moment. And it touched me yesterday in a way that I never believed would happen in my short lifetime.
I called home to catch up with my parents; dad answered the phone and I could tell something was wrong. He was irritable, frustrated and although he would never admit it...on some level, confused. He shared the news with me that the GM dealership that he's worked for the last 10 years received their letter from head office in Oshawa that they were one of 240 dealers to close their doors. While some of you may feel on a grander scale this was owed or deserving to the corporation, what you might forget is all the people in all the towns and communities across THIS country that work their ass off to make GM a success. These people, to some extent, have no impact on the decisions that have been made to bring the corporation to it's knees. Their pride and dedication is birthed from a desire to be providers to their family, to have a successful career and to have a company that employs people in that town and community.
Dad has worked for GM for 30+ years, previously at another dealership in my hometown. I grew up with General Motors. It's more than a car company to me - it represents my dad, it represents my family, it represents so many incredible childhood memories. When I was in elementary school, dad used to have to work the odd Saturday. My brother and I would go in with him to the office and we would sit in the cars in the showroom and pretend we were racing each other. We'd always fight over who got the camero with the top down. When I was sixteen, my first job was working the reception desk for 3 weeks in the summer and answering the switchboard for the salesmen, parts, service, finance and the used-car lot. I loved that job and listening to John, Robert, Big Jim and old Haddon talk about how cranky 'my old man was sitting upstairs in his office'. Even thinking back to that building I can say that GM has a rich smell - the combination of the oil, gas and rubber. And when I walk into a GM dealership anywhere in Canada now the smell is consistent and brings me back to Disco Street in Sydney, Nova Scotia. GM IS my dad and what he (and it) stand for - strength, hardworking, commitment and loyal. GM is my university education, my original home on Beechwood, it's the pool in my parents backyard, my family cars and even my value system.
In my adult life, my affinity for the company continued to grow when dad changed dealerships and went to work in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia for Carlo. Not only was dad seeing the happiest years of his life, but he had made an incredible friend. Carlo has been so good to me - from providing me with sexy Aleros and sassy Aveos, to taking care of my sweet Daws on drives from the Cape to Halifax. Carlo was a boss, a friend and a professional advice-taker to my dad. So, GM is way more than a big American company, a country music song, rugged trucks or construction workers. It is a touch, a smell, a family and a passion.
Carlo, remember that from big change, even tradegy, comes sunshine and strength. Hold on to your memories and everything you've built, be proud and strong.