There is a movie that came out in the 1960s which became a bit of a cult classic.
The movie is called…
“Where Were You When The Lights Went Out.”
It stars Doris Day, Patrick O’Neal and Robert Morse.
WIKI describes the movie as being set in “New York City during the infamous northeast blackout of 1965 in which 25 million people scattered throughout seven states lost electricity for several hours.”
Popular urban myth has it, that nine months later there was baby boom in affected states.
Well, here’s another true story. Consider it a variation on a theme.
This recollection came to me last week, on the occasion of my youngest daughter’s 30th birthday.
It was July 24, 1985, the day after my daughter Aria was born. From my hospital room I could hear the nurses making a big commotion at the nurse’s station.
I went out to the hallway to see what was going on.
Across the big white board that hung over the nurse’s station, someone had scrawled in big red letters:
“Doctors we need more beds. Send your patients home.”
“What’s up,” I asked the nurse sitting behind the desk.
“For the past week, we’ve been delivering an average of ten babies a day, and for this hospital… that’s a lot of babies.”
I took a good look around…
Until that moment, I had not noticed how busy this hospital floor was. I guess I’d been a little preoccupied.
Then, I became curious.
“Interesting,” I said to the nurse. “Do we know why there are so many babies?”
The nurse paused and smiled, savouring the secret.
“Tell me,” I insisted.
“Actually, a bunch of us were talking about this during break. That’s when someone started counting back nine months.”
“Do you remember what was going on nine months ago?” she asked looking up at me.
“No,” I said truthfully. “Tell me, what was going on nine months ago?”
“The G.M. strike.”
She was of course, right.
Harry Antonides reported on this strike via Cardus.ca by writing:
36,500 employees of General Motors of Canada went on a 12-day strike in October. Just a few weeks earlier, 350,000 American GM workers had settled for a ‘new contract without a strike. The Canadian strike, which forced the layoff of 40,000 U.S. auto workers, was on the surface all about dollars and cents expressed in direct wages and benefits.
Back in the day, my home town of St. Catharines use to be a big G.M. town, employing thousands.
As I pondered this revelation, I returned to back to my hospital room, which I shared with another new mother, who coincidentally, worked at General Motors.
So, there you have it, a small piece of St. Catharines and the Canadian Auto Worker’s Union history.
If it were ever made into a movie I’ve got the perfect title.
It should be called…
“Labours Of Love.”