I Was Content and Not Content: The Story of Linda Lord and the Closing of Penobscot Poultry

Synopsis

Most studies of deindustrialization in the United States emphasize the economic impact of industrial decline; few consider the social, human costs. "I Was Content and Not Content": The Story of Linda Lord and the Closing of Penobscot Poultry is a firsthand account of a plant closure, heavily illustrated through photographs and told through edited oral history interviews. It tells the story of Linda Lord, a veteran of Penobscot Poultry Co., Inc. in Belfast, Maine, and her experience when the plant -- Maine's last poultry-processing plant -- closed its doors in 1988, costing over four hundred people their jobs and bringing an end to a once productive and nationally competitive agribusiness.

Linda Lord's story could be that of any number of Americans -- blue- and white-collar -- effected by the rampant and widespread downsizing over the past several decades. Born in Waterville, Maine, in 1948, she grew up only ten miles northwest of Belfast in a family that had long made its living in the poultry industry. She began working at Penobscot straight out of high school and remained with the company for over twenty years. Lord worked in all aspects of poultry processing, primarily in the "blood tunnel", where she finished off the birds that had been missed by the automatic neck-cutting device -- a job held by few women. Single and self-supporting, Linda Lord was thirty-nine years old when the plant closed. In part because she was the primary caretaker for her elderly parents, Lord did not want to leave Maine for a better job, but to stay in the area that had been her home since birth.

The book is comprised of distinct sections representing different perspectives on Lord's story and theplant's demise: Cedric N. Chatterley's photographs; Linda Lord's oral history narrative; an essay by the novelist Carolyn Chute, once a Maine poultry worker herself; historical and methodological essays by Alicia J. Rouverol; and

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Alicia J. Rouverol
  • Carolyn Chute
  • Stephen A. Cole
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Carbondale, IL
Publication year:
  • 2000