Monday, May 11, 2015

a glimpse: willie kramer, born 1932.

willie kramer of south heidelberg township worked in a tannery in fleetwood for several decades until he retired in 1995. below is an excerpt of the poem crafted from his memories for this project. he offered some great old photographs of his time while there, too. some newer ones are included below as well.


i still have my cutting knives. but i spent
18 years in the color department before i began
slicing leather that soon became what people

would later sit on in automobiles. i kept cups
of colors in front of me, starting in 1957. 
i matched mixed paint to the samples car

manufacturers mailed to garden state tanning
in fleetwood. we carpooled from cressona,
schuylkill county and had some icy-roaded

scares on route 662 in the chillier months.
about 20 different hues took homes inside
50-pound barrels. they never put it this way,

but i became an incidental chemist, regularly
measuring and weighing what i blended.


( cutting tools )

( leather samples )

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