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May 12, 2021

Tough memories for one Pillowtex worker

By Hugh Fisher
hfisher@salisburypost.com
Angela Daniel’s home is filled with collectables ó figurines and hand-hooked rugs, religious artwork and souvenirs.
She tells the story of several ceramic figures that are more than 40 years old, ones she’s owned since she was a child.
Those familiar things keep her smiling in the midst of difficult times. Daniel has had a long, hard road in the five years since Pillowtex closed.
Employed in Plant 1, she said she knew the company was in trouble due to frequent layoffs ó she worked a week, was off for a week, then back at work again.
But the way she finally found out her job was gone still surprised her.
“We were picking up checks at the gate, (and) they told us we weren’t coming back, that the mill was closed,” Daniel said.
“It was ó well, I kind of sensed something was going on. You kind of knew something was happening.”
Daniel went to work at the mill in 1985. Toward the end of that 18-year span, a lot of troubles hit all at once.
She and her husband divorced, and without enough work to keep bills paid, she lost her home in Kannapolis.
“I had to go back to my mom’s house in Anson County,” Daniel said. She drove about 60 miles each way to take care of business in Kannapolis.
Today, she rents in Kannapolis, within walking distance of downtown. “Where I live now is very convenient,” she said. “I can walk and I don’t have to gas up the car to go get groceries.”
But she’s still driving to Anson County often to care for her parents. Her father requires dialysis treatments and she helps take him there.
Now is a particularly difficult time because Daniel is out of work again. She said she had to leave her job with another textile plant, Star America in Concord, due to personal reasons.
“I’m going back through it again,” she said. “I’m looking as hard as I can for another job.”
Despite her problems, Daniel said her family and her church have kept her strong, and she’s used to facing adversity.
“You know, this is what I’m used to,” she said. “… I just appreciate all the prayers I can get right now.”

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