Calling all Fruits

All “fruits” were called to return to Brundidge, Alabama. Fruits? What “fruits?” The 900-plus former employees of the Brundidge Fruit of the Loom Shirt Factory and Reigel Gloves were invited to gather for a “talk down memory lane.”

In the late 1960s, the shirt factory employed nearly 700 workers, the largest employer in the county. Of the 700 employees, only about 100 were men. The number of employees fluctuated from time to time, but the plant gave a continuous boost to the local economy and put many meals on tables. The relationship between the town and the textile plant was a win-win situation.

Erma and Joe Green organized the reunion (Erma organized retirement and holiday parties for 21 years). No invitations were sent because the reunion committee used radio, newspapers and banners strung across Main Street in Brundidge. They were depending on word of mouth. They planned refreshments, photos to look at and a short program with lots of surprises.

Laughter and chatter characterized the first-ever, but not last, Fruit of the Loom employees reunion with 350-plus in attendance. “Fruits” shared memories, caught up on news and even told secrets on each other.

Patsy Goodson said employees and management were a close-knit group. “Older employees really looked after us and were like part of our family,” she said. “We spent every day together and soon learned to talk and work at the same time and make production doing it. So, we knew all about and cared about each other.”

From articles in the Troy Messenger, Troy, Alabama, by Jaine Treadwell.