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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

MLAAW: Bad Reputation

For those of you new to MHS, or my blog, MLAAW stands for My Life as a Witch and is a sporadic series of blog entries about my life, adventures, and experiences as a witch.

In the mid 90’s I was working in one of the many cotton mills owned by Springs Industries as an overhead-cleaner. What this basically means is that I used an air-gun to remove cotton and cotton dust from the ceiling, sprinkler system, and various machines on a daily basis. If you’ve ever seen the movie Norma Rae you have a good idea of what the inside of a cotton mill is like.

Let me clarify that I did not work for Springs Industries myself, but rather was part of the sub-contracted ‘clean-up crew’ whom the Springs Employees often looked down on.

Since I was the only person who did my job, I was one of the few fortunate workers who was paid for 40 hours and also got an entire hour for lunch. Since I was a student of the occult, I could often been seen in the canteen with my nose in a book (usually about witchcraft), which did not escape the attention of my co-workers. Gossip being what it was in places such as these people began to believe I worshiped the devil, but for the most part they didn't ask me about my beliefs and I didn't offer to tell them.

I will also admit that I was going through a phase at that time where my hair was way down past my shoulders, everyone was wearing those large ball chains, and I often had black fingernails and wore dark clothing.

One day I was cleaning off an overhead blower in the spinning room and when I started the machine back up some of the cotton and dust that I blew off the machine drifted under the plastic curtain into the carding room and into the work area of one of the Springs Employees.

I moved on to the next machine and by the time I returned from locking out and tagging out the next blower a Spring associate was waiting for me. Levi, a black man in his early 60’s, confronted me about the cotton that blew into his area and demanded that I sweep it up. Now, if he would have asked me I would have been more than happy to sweep up the cotton; however the minute he began yelling at me and demanding I sweep up the cotton I knew I wasn’t about to do what he asked.

We got into an argument and I was fed up with the way the Springs employees treated my crew and I may have said something to the effect that if he didn’t treat me with respect that he would come to regret it. Everyone saw our argument and it got around what was said between me and Levi.

Later that day I got off work at 4 pm, however the Springs associates where on 12 hour shifts and so they didn’t get off for another 4 hours. The next day none of the Springs associates would even look at me. When I went to the break room, they got up and left. When I walked down the hall they crossed to the other side or turned around and walked away. I didn’t understand what was going on.

Finally, another employee told me that about an hour after we got off work the previous day Levi got a message that his son had been in a car accident and although he wasn’t killed he totaled his car and broke his neck.

After that every time something bad happened to anyone in that mill, it was because I put the whammy on them. If a machine broke down, I had bedeviled it. If someone fell on the stairs, or took ill and work I had hexed them, etc…And that’s how I got a bad reputation.

I ultimately got my revenge on the people of Springs Industries. When many of the mills were being shut down and people were losing their jobs, nobody thought our mill would be shut down because Springs had just paid a great deal of money to renovate the building and upgrade the machines. I divined that our mill would be closing and was able to broker a deal with my manager to basically lay me off so I could draw unemployment right away. I had been with my company for 8 years at this time and basically knew where all the bodies were buried, so my boss agreed to approve my unemployment.

A month later when everyone received word that they would be shutting down the mill I had moved in with a friend in a new town and was able to transfer my unemployment benefits so that I had an income until I found a new job.

Carolina Dean

Links

Inside a Textile Mill (Youtube Video)

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