Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day and the Story of the Red Rock Notch

This morning on Father's Day the entrance to the Red Rock Scenic Drive was open at 6 a.m. -- not the 8 a.m. start time when the Bureau of Land Management reopened the scenic drive to motorized traffic a few weeks ago.

It was 6:10 a.m. when I was bicycling by the Red Rock entrance off State Route 159. I peered toward the red rock ridge, which has a notch in the middle. I love that notch, which allows beams of lights to shoot through the ridge at daybreak.

Funny, Red Rock has nothing to do with a summer job I worked to afford college. But whenever I see that "notch" in the ridge, I think of the "notch" in the garment patterns I worked on at the Liz Claiborne plant, where I worked with my dad.

I worked with my father for 3 1/2 summers though high school and college, driving the hour back and forth with him from suburban New York to north New Jersey. The Claiborne production plant was not too far from the Giants football stadium in the Joisey swamps.

My dad was a worker bee. Man, he worked in the garment business for many years working long hours every day. I witnessed it.

Julius Cznel survived the Holocaust as a little kid fleeing with his family to Siberia, lived in displaced person camps following World War II and came to the USA at age 14 when he began learning the garment business in school. His last name was changed to Snel when he arrived in the United States.

When Liz Claiborne created her brand and line of women's clothing, Julius Snel was the second person hired in the production house.

He raised three kids outside New York City. And my dad and I bonded well at minor league ballgames in Florida.

Happy Father's Day, Julius. Keep on pedaling.

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Read more about bicycling and life by buying Alan Snel's new book Bicycle Man: Life of Journeys. Email to order the book.

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