Friday, March 21, 2014

Presentation of DAR Americanism Medal to Luis Lobo by the Colonel Joseph Winston Chapter


In the final analysis, your attitude determines your effectiveness in everything, every time! LGL www.LuisLobo.Biz

Sunday, March 02, 2014

How Samson Bitensky, a Jew, opened doors of opportunity for others in NY and NC

Gerardo "Jerry" Lobo
Samson Bitensky

How Samson Bitensky, a Jew, opened doors of opportunity for others in NY and NC

March 2, 2014 at 1:06pm

"In 1955, Bitensky founded Fab-Lace, Incorporated, a specialty lace company. He began manufacturing operations at a former rug mill in upstate Amsterdam, N.Y. In 1966, John MacArthur asked Bitensky to take over a foreclosed North Carolina textile mill. Bitensky reorganized his company as Fab Industries, and added MacArthur to the board. He began the large-scale manufacturing of tricot knits and other fabrics. The company went public in 1968". - from the obit above.

So the story of the Costa Rican settlements in Amsterdam, NY, then NJ and later in NC begins with this man.  A Jew escaped from Poland before the invasion by the Nazi's in 1939 which effectively decimated the Jewish population of eastern Europe in what is today know as the Holocaust.  Bitensky fled to Far Rockaway, NY at 18, volunteered in the US Armed Forces and participated in the invasion of Italy and went on to innovate textiles in NY.

My father had arrived in Amsterdam, NY February 1964 and was unemployed for about 6 months. That Spring he got a job in an Italian restaurant  as a dishwasher because you do not need to know English to wash dishes, he just needed a JOB!  Week after week he pestered the head waiter to give him a table because he wanted to earn a higher wage.  Then, one day a waiter is out sick, and my dad is,  like : "PUT ME IN COACH, PUT ME IN!"  He has memorized the menu.  He had trained night after night, reading the menu, understanding how to pronounce the words, listening to the waiters and asking lots of questions while waiting his turn as a dish washer.   I am not sure if it happened on his first night or shortly thereafter.  A table of well-dressed businessmen came in, 5 or 6.  My father, all of 21 at the time, proceeded to welcome them and take their order.  He had the uncanny skill of being able to take an order without writing down the details, how cooked, with what kind of beverage, etc. (my brother Roberto has this gift too).

The gentleman at the "head of the table" later beckoned my Dad and asked about his origins, noting my father's accent.  He proceeded to tell him that he had recently arrived from Costa Rica and had left his two sons and wife behind and was determined to make his life in the US.  The gentleman asked my father what sort of work he wished to do.  My father told him that he was "good" with his hands, indeed my Dad could disassemble and put back together whatever, and had many years of experience working for his own father in their  dry good store in Costa Rica since infancy. The gentleman, speaking his English with a heavy Polish accent, pulled out a business card, handed it to my father, and told him to call the name and number on the card, they would be awaiting his call.  That gentleman was Samson Bitensky, founder of FAB industries, first in Amsterdam, NY and later in Lincoln and Catawba counties in NC.  The name on the card was that of Al Delavale  and he hired my Dad on the spot that week, his first job was sweeping in the 3rd shift , 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM.  He was IN!  In short order he became a crack knitter , then trained on the German machinery, by the time we arrived 9-65 he was a third shift supervisor at Adirondack Mills in Amsterdam, he had been in the US all of 18 months. In the mid-1960's FAB moved to purchase mills in NC, my father relocated and thus began a tremendous migration of Costa Ricans that had first followed my father and his cousins, Horacio Lobo and William Montero,  first to Amsterdam, then to northern NJ, then to Lincolnton, NC.

So, tell me we are not capable of tremendous change?  Tell me we are not capable of changing reality? Tell me we are not able to escape our origins and create a life for ourselves through focus and perseverance?

I guess no one told my Dad it could not be done, and he never told us either.

HAPPY 50th ANNIVERSARY on your  one-way ticket with destiny

In the final analysis, your attitude determines your effectiveness in everything, every time! LGL www.LuisLobo.Biz