As Dijon John and I roamed the streets of Chicago in BOLOGNA, we came across the most maginificent center for education in the country: The Oscar F. Mayer Public School!
This Magnet school in a beautiful area of the Windy City was such a proud moment for me. Our founder was such a wonderful, hard working, dedicated man, that they decided to dedicate something back in his honor. A gorgeous plaque at the entrance to the building explains why:
The picture is hard to read, so I’ll transcribe. The plaque says, and I quote: ”
Oscar F. Mayer was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1859. At the age of 14, his father died and Oscar sailed to the United States with his aunt and uncle in search of opportunity and a better life. He settled in Chicago and lived with his uncle at the near north side of the city, where he apprenticed in a small butcher shop. In 1883, he opened his own butcher shop near this location with his brothers Max and Gottfried. Later, he married Louise Griener and they and their five children lived above the store. The butcher shop was successful.
Mayer pursued his ambition for a better life with an instinctive effort to create a better product and service at his shop – always searching for a better way to prepare and present his meat products. The butcher shop quickly became popular with local residents and prospered. It was here that a concept in meat preparation was born which was to ultimately revolutionize the meat packing industry in the United States and throughout the world. In the years to follow, the small butcher shop space grew and Oscar was joined by his son Oscar Gottfried Mayer. Over the years, he led the company’s transformation from a small butcher shop into a manufacturing plant located near Scott and Sedgwick Streets. This location became the headquarters of Oscar Mayer & Company.
The company continued to grow. New plants were opened throughout the US and around the world. Through pursuing innovations in packing, manufacturing, marketing and advertising, Mayer led the company to success as a meat processor rather than a meat packer. The “yellow-band” wieners, the Oscar Mayer jingle, “Little Oscar” and the Wienermobile were creative and unique national marketing programs which not only built a recognizable and trusted brand name, but became an icon of American culture, reflecting the opportunities inherent in our liberties and economic system. In addition, new continuous production techniques, packaging innovation, distribution strategies and advanced quality control procedures have had a dominant influence throughout the meat processing industry and have made Oscar Mayer & Company a world wide success.
Throughout his life, Oscar Mayer always loved and respected this community. To share the opportunity he had in America, and to give something back, Mayer worked toward securing the commitment to establish this school in our community. This school is named in his honor to remind those who come here of the opportunity that exists in our country to pursue ambitions for a fulfilling and successful life – even starting with a job in a small butcher shop on the north side of Chicago.”
Oscar Mayer gave more than hot dogs to this community: he gave hope and the feeling that you can do anything you want if you simply relish your dreams.