I’ll be doing a signing at the Union City, IN, Hallmark store this weekend. I expect a fairly decent turnout since Union City is my hometown, as much as a country bumpkin has a hometown. I even mention UC in Where Am I Wearing?:
I didn’t get my first pair of new underwear until I was five. I was a younger brother and younger brothers wear hand-me-downs, even underwear. I never had a pair I could call my own until Mom decided that I deserved a pair of Scooby-Doo Underoos for being good while she shopped in The Boston Store, a small family clothing store where everybody knew everybody and the store clerks knew how to measure and make adjustments. The Boston Store has since gone out of business along with the other department stores in Union City, Ohio, including Kirshbaum’s, Kaufman’s, and McClurg’s Five and Dime. They went under in the mid-1980s when all of the local factories started to shut down. Westinghouse moved their factory to Mexico, Sheller Globe downsized their production of plastic moldings for vehicles under the pressure of foreign competition, and the Body Company, which made chassis for step vans, was bought and lost the majority of their work to cheaper labor in the South.
Globalization came to Union City, a small town that straddles the Ohio and Indiana border. It took jobs. It took stores. Today, I’m not sure if it’s even possible to purchase a pair of underwear anywhere in town. You might be able to at Rite Aid, but they likely wouldn’t be comfortable or funny.