DON’T ALWAYS BELIEVE WHAT YOU THINK-(the creation of a viewpoint) ROADNOTES 2018

DON’T ALWAYS BELIEVE WHAT YOU THINK-(the creation of a viewpoint) ROADNOTES 2018

DON’T ALWAYS BELIEVE WHAT YOU THINK-THE CREATION OF A VIEW POINT   By Bill Keitel.

A curious beginning, I had just finished apprenticing at a local shoe repair shop, I specialized in creating prescription  orthopedic buildups for a Podiatry School that was located in my community.

I elected to strike out on my own and spent 1/10th of my savings on a $50.00 sign for my newly rented store front in the lower level on an old bank building.

Inscribed on the  sign were the words and products that we sold “Leatherwoods, Candles and Imports”.   We were neer-do-well hippies.  My wife and I set about trying to make a living selling these items written on our signage….”leathergoods,  candles and imports.”

Forty six years later I can sit back and ponder how and why this all transpired into a positive experience.  In 1972 imports or imported merchandise was a rarity.   Retail merchandise that came from a far off country was unheard of.

My remaining $450.00 was spent on leather, candles, incense and Sheesham wood boxes from India.

This simple progression of events may have had a bearing on how I view the world vs how you view the world.

My associations included a tannery in St. Louis, a candle factory in Chicago, an Indian importer from Hyderabad, India (Umesh Mangallick-India Imports) and lastly a Turkish importer by the name of Noyan Tanberk (Turkish Handicrafts)   It was purported that Noyan was avoiding conscription into the Turkish Army and wound up being an importer in Minneapolis with a storefront and warehouse in DinkyTown.

Here is where I suspect my opinions began to formulate and how I might view the world differently than someone that has not had the same associations as myself.

As I travel the nation I wind up in many different locations, some densely urban setting and other times remote and small town.   I am not even noticed in a big city and yet when I drive into a small town like Wheatland, Colorado with vehicle problems I get a look and a smile that says “you’re not from around here, stranger?”

Remote and lightly populated regions are suspicious of outsiders and yet there is a bond  that commits that everyone work in concert for the good of all.   In a big city there is such a mix and variety of people that it becomes common place to see and witness customs from around the world.   In large diverse communities people profit from one another, much like I profited from my associations with Indians and Turks.   Bonds of trust were built, terms of credit were established, respect for each others knowledge was founded.   

We would travel to DinkyTown to hand pick our merchandise and other times it would arrive at our store by U.P.S. delivery.   The bales and crates from which the boxes were package revealed individual packing of recycled cardboard.   In 1972 we had never seen recycled cardboard.  It was layers of previously used cardboard that was re-compressed into new packaging/cardboard.  You could see labels and designs from the previous life of the cardboard.

This allowed us to ponder its origins, (India) a place so deplete of resources that they were scouring dump sites for packaging.  Today we proudly call it recycling.

We sold many woven baskets, some of very high detail and intricacy.  Once while unpacking a large crate of baskets a bamboo spike fell out of a basket.  It was about the 2/3 the size of a skinny pencil!.  Upon inspection it was a bamboo sewing needle for the baskets that I happened to be unpacking, interwoven into the basket was a strand of long, long thick black hair, the creator of this basket.

Today we are a curiosity,  our business thrives because we sell something OTHER THAN IMPORTED MERCHANDISE.  We continue to handcraft our own leatherwoods and they are all made locally products by our own hands.

I have benefitted greatly because of an association with people different than myself.  We all took risks in creating bonds of business and friendship.

I live in a small community of 12,000 people and there are sixty four different languages spoken within our school system.

  My friends that have a different point of view haven’t had the same experience that I have had.  They are hard pressed to see the resource in these new found immigrants.   

It is perfectly visible to Noyan Tanberk, Umesh Mangalic and myself.   In the blink of one generation, We all found friendships and success.

RoadNotes 2018 Bill Keitel

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