This past fall season, with the colder weather of winter approaching, I went through one of my annual rituals, adding a blanket to our bed in the master suite. As I unfolded this favorite lightweight thermal blanket that we have used for almost 30 winters, I noticed a little tag in the corner. It read “Crafted With Pride in USA By Ruby A.”
Now I don’t know Ruby, or whether she is still in the work force or even still living. I do know how much we have enjoyed the old frayed American-made blanket with Ruby’s name on the tag. I immediately recognized the Crafted With Pride logo, because it was the same one we started running on the Wrangler Jeans sponsored Winston Cup cars driven by Dale Earnhardt and Ricky Rudd for Bud Moore and Richard Childress beginning in 1983. The circle seen on the rear post of Dale’s 1983 Daytona entry is the logo.
A very quick bit of research revealed something unknown to me. The Crafted With Pride in USA/America campaign was designed by the famous textile magnate Roger Milliken of Spartanburg, SC, not far from the Bud Moore race shops. Maybe that’s why we were so quick to put it on the Bud Moore cars… after all, 70,000 Americans were manufacturing Wrangler Jeans at the time. None (ZERO) do today.
The Milliken folk had a beautiful complex on the road leading into Spartanburg from I-85. In front of their headquarters building was a beautiful duck pond that always made me think of Clay Earles’ duck pond at Martinsville. Whenever the local radio station gave the weather forecast, it always noted the current temperature at the Milliken duck pond.
Editor’s note: Being familiar with Milliken, it was an easy decision that such loveliness should be shared. Here is the aforementioned Duck Pond in all of its glory.
Mr. Milliken died on December 30, 2010. He was aged 95 when he passed, meaning he was already age 68 when he invented the “Crafted With Pride” campaign. His accolades were legendary. He was a much loved and respected businessman and humanitarian.
I think this particular old blanket on my bed was purchased in a JP Stevens outlet store in Smithfield, NC on I-95 in 1983-1984. That means that Ruby was most likely employed at either the JP Stevens Roanoke Rapids, NC location down the road from Chantilly Speedway where Joe Dean Huss battled Nathan Wright and company on Saturday nights through the 70s… or, Ruby may have made it at the JP Stevens plant in Eden, NC, where lots of us always stayed when racing at Martinsville.
Unfortunately for me, I saved little and I don’t keep any racing memorabilia in my home except for a picture of my late dad with a 1982 Bud Moore T-bird. But, somehow, my home continues to be full of racing memories in the most unusual places. Thank you Ruby A. and thank you Roger Milliken. We sure do need to see that Crafted With Pride logo on the stuff we buy again.