I was shaken by Will Connell’s series on Kaiser Steel, images the Los Angeles photographer took in the 1950s of Kaiser’s Fontana foundries. The photos captured the immense scale of furnace superstructure in the lovely, terrifying light — molten steel being poured into forms to make slab steel to be rolled and sold all over the world — the men watching, working, so close to that light. During those years, my grandmother Rosa Leu, an immigrant from Switzerland, was nurse-in-charge for Kaiser Steel, the woman to whom the injured were brought, located in the small, original hospital on the grounds. I had just written about her impassive demeanor for my memoir, and I finally saw the scale of what she must have done for 30 years, caring for the bodies of these men. I had recently re-read the late U.S. poet laureate Philip Levine’s poem “Orange” and thought of my grandmother, who staunched blood and grew oranges in the promised land of Fontana.
Source: latimes.com – Los Angeles Times