Let’s Change the World

I hope my video made some waves in your life. As you may recall, a few months ago I made a video asking everyone to help make a bit of difference for Addie, and other LP children and adults in the US.

I was hoping to have a few thousand views and that would help us make a difference, but we didn’t get to that goal. Still, I persisted. In fact, I called Gedney Foods multiple times (until I reached the very understanding Peg, of customer service), and plead to them to watch my video and hear me out. That was in December. I heard nothing back, so four weeks later I began my calls again. My message was (finally) passed onto the president of Gedney: Mr. Barry Spector.

And last night, at 5:15, he called me.

In his first few words, Mr. Spector requested I not record the call. I had my video camera rolling, but I stopped the recording and asked if I could take notes. He encouraged me to do so. I felt my heart in my throat. I was scared he was going to be mean and hurtful. To tell me I was being overly-sensitive and ask if I thought the world revolved around me…

But he never said that. He just asked to not be recorded. And so I didn’t record him, although I wish I had. His words would have made you all soar, like me. I feel free, relieved, elated, and most of all: proud. I We did it! As I compiled my notes together to form whole sentences, I wish I had gotten his word on record, but I hold much hope. He did, after all, promise me (multiple times) during our conversation to hold true to his word.

Mr. Spector began telling me that the person or people who named the pickles never meant harm, it was just a word when the marketing was done for the pickles. He agreed that in these times that same word is offensive, and he and the company would never want to offend anyone. Because of this, he sent my video to the company’s board who voted to… CHANGE THE LABEL! There’s about 6 months of stock already packaged and labeled, but the unused labels are going to remain as such: unused. New labels are be designed now- currently waiting on a new name. Mr. Spector pointed out some companies use “baby”, but he didn’t seem sold on it. I think “lil’ bits” would be fun, but I didn’t say that! He did promise to send me the new label in goodwill! I am SO excited to see it! I plan on buying one jar now to a) get them off the shelves faster and b) have a comparison for the future.

I want to brag: I am proud of myself.

Mr. Spector noted that he realizes consumers have more power over companies (I’m assuming he meant due to social media outlets, etc.), and that he, like every company, needed to listen and respond. I was shocked he had said that. Many companies don’t listen to their consumers, especially if it’s not something that personally touches them. Many times, a company simply doesn’t want to change- they think there is too much cost and hassle, but not this one. This company assures me that change is good and keeping with with the times is important to them.

Gedney owns their own brand, as well as Cains’ and Del Monte. I do hope that all of these brands will be renamed, but we did not (regretfully) discuss that. As a final closing, Mr. Spector said (AND I QUOTE VERBATIM) “I promise, what I’ve told you is what we’re gonna do.”

M-word pickles, BE GONE! But, the tiny gherkin lives! (Vlasic brands their pickles as Sweet Midgets; tiny, sweet, crunchy. That just sounds kind of gross to me. “Midgets” are defined as unusually small people according to Webster. Who sells a pickle under the guise of a sweet small person. CRINGE)

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I guess this means I have another company to educate…

I wanted to write all this last night and celebrate a better tomorrow with Addie and Dave, but after a litany of incoherent text messages from my hubby and one voice mail, I hopped in the car with my MIL and FIL and made the 50+ mile journey to Dave’s work to pick him up. A list of ailments included numbness and tingling in the arm, at which point Dave felt it was a migraine and took Excedrin. Then he felt strange and we spoke a few times, but he seemed confused and disoriented. After not understanding him in a cell phone conversation, I called his desk and spoke with his co-worker. He checked on Dave, who was resting, and agreed he sounded “confused”. Then, I panicked. Not having health insurance, I knew that Dave would not agree to calling 9-1-1, so I asked him to smile in the mirror and make sure his face was moving on both sides. I asked him a few questions (dates, names, places). I made him say “The sky is blue”. His speech was slow, but seemed to be becoming more coherent with time.

When we got to work, he was half asleep, the president of his company came out to greet us and told Dave to work from home (pending blizzard!) tomorrow, if he could, but to call him no matter what, and let him know how he was feeling. Dave’s boss (also a Dave) is a wonderful man, and truly cares for our family (if only the company offered insurance!)- for this we are truly blessed. I know that Dave will not be docked salary for the day, or for the snow day- Dave (boss) is just that kind of guy.

All-in-all, I wish we had a chance to celebrate last night, but when I said to Dave, “Remember I had that call today?” He looked up at me from under his blankets and pillows. I continued, “We did it.” He raised his hand weakly for a high-five.

We all did it. Thank you Gedney Foods, Barry Spector and each and every one of you out there who have read and supported. We hope to remove the m-word from more products in the next year, too, but I will always remain forever grateful to the man who recognized that my little girl, though only one, means a lot in this world.

Hearing a total stranger tell me, “You did a good thing for your daughter,” gave me a warm glow sure to last me through Nemo!

Comments

  1. Rachel says

    You are a miracle and an inspiration. A true woman warrior. Thank you for changing our world, every day, for the better.

  2. Kelli says

    I’m so proud of you, Chel!! I have tears of joy in my eyes to think of how blessed Addie is to have you for her mother!! Congratulations of your victory!! Also I hope Dave continues to feel better :) love you guys!

  3. says

    1. I hope Dave is okay today – scary!
    2. Congratulations! Good for you sticking to it and fighting for what you believe in!
    3. I like Vlasic Pickles even more hearing that they have responsive and open hearted leadership.

  4. says

    You should be SO proud of yourself!! Way to go! You made a HUGE change for Addie, LP children, and really, all people who face discrimination, by taking this stand. I hope Dave is feeling MUCH better today so you can really celebrate!

    • says

      OMG- he is SO much better. His migraines are terrifying. I’ve never seen one like this :/ I am proud, and so blessed I have the opportunity to teach and learn as I go for the sake of my baby and so many others out there!

  5. says

    Rock on, mama, rock on!! You should definitely be proud of yourself!! I keep forgetting to scour the pickle aisle at the grocery store, but I’m fairly certain that none of the brands in Canada (in my area, anyhow) use the ‘m word’. It’s mostly ‘baby dills’…but I am going to double check next time I’m there.

    I hope your hubby is back to himself today! I must say that when I read about his symptoms on FB last night, and having worked for the Heart & Stroke Foundation in the past, I was worried for you guys!

    • says

      I was so scared, too! Let me know about your pickle situation. There are a quite a few brands here that use the m-word… as well as a company that makes bakery papers with the name. So strange. I shall crusade on!

  6. says

    I am reading this post late, but it brought a huge smile to my heart. Way to go! Inspiring and amazing and I’m sure you are so excited. You are a great mom to your little girl and she’ll learn to take on challenges with strength and determination from your examples. Excited for you!

  7. says

    And once again I have tears in my eyes (I have to remember not to read your blog at work ;) Thank you for your tireless effort on behalf of our amazing kids.

  8. Jodi says

    Wow. I am so proud of you for creating such a beautiful, positive and moving message! Well done and amazing results! I can’t wait see what’s next :) xo

  9. Laurie says

    this video was awesome, so awesome that i wrote the company after i saw it, which is something i never do. so now to see your success. well i feel so proud of you. you are strong, talented and well written. Gary said that you should write professionally and he is very smart, he recognizes talent. he sees it in you. congratulations on your success and you are a good mother. also, dave is a lucky man. laurie

  10. says

    Hi, I do think you have a lovely child, no matter the size. You see, i am a larger than average person, most would call obese. I am still active, I walk around, I try to eat better.. but folks that dont know me look at me funny. You may think that this is different from your little girl, but it really isnt. We both get treated differntly. We both get looked at strangely. But on the inside, she and I are just the same. We are different. And what a lovely thing that is. All people are different. Colors, Size, Shape, Ideas, Thoughts, Wants, Needs, Desires, Love… I think it is more important to be what you are, Who you are.. then to try to fit.. So.. if you are small, if you are tall, if you are thin, if you are large… Join in.. be who you are, be what you are.. it really shouldnt matter.. we all have worth, we all have merrit, we all have somthing to contribute.. Thank God for your child… She is wanted, she is revered, and she is special. Love.. Diane

  11. Danittza says

    You are an amazing and strong woman, Addie shoul be so proud to have a mother like you. You are an inspiration for all of us mother around the world. Congrats and more power to you and you precious one ;)

  12. says

    Hey! I just found your blog via a local newspaper…. I have no real experience with dwarfism but have run across these pickles in my store and am always shocked that they exist. I love that you made them wake up and change! You are a strong an amazing peaceful warrior! Please keep up the good work.

  13. says

    Really, this is your attempt at changing the world, they never aimed their midget branding at people or in any way meant it in a derogatory manner. What kind of glass house do you live in exactly?

    • says

      This is my attempt, yes! While my home is brick and mortar, words hurt, especially derogatory words. I’m sure the m-word does not hurt you, as many derogatory words do not hurt me. I am simply trying to make the world more sensitive to the LP community. I appreciate everyone’s opinions, and do not expect the world to share my viewpoints. Thank you for reading.

  14. Carole says

    I’m sorry, but you need to be educated a bit further. “Midget” is not a derogatory word (except in your mind), nor is it a synonym for “dwarf”. You have a beautiful daughter; please don’t embarrass her, and yourself, any more.

    • says

      “…we hope to continue to raise awareness around the dwarfism community and use of the word midget – a word that many people of short stature consider a slur and a word closely associated with the public objectification of people of short stature.” Also, “Though we can’t control what people say and what content is broadcast, working together, we can ensure that people understand the impact of what they say and what they broadcast.” From the LPA
      Though you do not find it derogatory or a slur, others do. I am not asking you to agree- or to care.
      Many people question the derogatory history of the word, the medical term, etc. I can tell you that this word is no longer in use in the medical field- forms of dwarfism are blanketed under “dwarfism”- not “dwarf”. And the long standing history of harm includes mockery with: circus sideshows, semi-sexual exploitation, games such as bowling and tossing- the list goes on. The thought of someone picking up another human to throw them sickens me, and the m-word is associated with it. While I am sorry you do not feel the same way about the emotional or physical harm of another human, I respect your right to feel such things. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Chris says

    Alright damnit. What do you want me to refer to them as “Ultra Size Challenged Homo Sapiens… Nope got the word Homo in it… that won’t work… Opps and now that I look at it I used the term Challenged (suggesting that they really can get to the top shelf without help). Hmmmm. How about Size Inhibited People of Less Than Normal Stature…. DAMN! Can’t use that either because it suggests Size and that might instill fear in those who have other size challenged parts damn… (Bob I am sorry I just let the Cat, no I meant Horse, oh hell whatever it is I let it out of the bag)… Damnit now I just insulted every one named Dick, Bob and cats and horses and Parts. Oh hell I said normal… who is to say what is normal. Ok let’s do this the Diane Feinstein way. Let’s ban the word size and all references to it (we will have a lot of book burning to do), now we ban Challenged and all references to it (MORE book burning) now that nasty word Homo (it’s Latin but people won’t know that) so MORE BOOK BURNING! Now what else… Hmmm I did say Bob and Cat and Horse and Dick and Bob and Neil, parts, Hell, Normal and damnit and book and inhibited and Sapiens and………… You know what lets ban the Internet so people are never offended again, burn all the books, libraries and computers…. WAIT! I think I have it! Let’s ban all speech, all words, all communications, names, pictures… wait have we banned Atomic weapons yet? NO I don’t think so. Let’s point them straight up in the air and let them go… when it is all over with… DO YOU THINK YOU WILL STILL BE OFFENDED? We will never know because we just banned the human race, because someone was offended by a 6 letter word. Who would ever have imagined how many problems would be solved because one woman with a genetically altered little girl wanted to complain about the word midget and belittle and insult her own child by so loudly pointing it out. Guess we will never know… because we are all dead and there is nothing else to ban. What a shame… On a happier note…

    Dear Adelaide,

    I think you are a very beautiful little girl and I like you just fine the way you are. I hope Mom saves this so that one day you might read it. I too am different, I am a disabled veteran and words don’t hurt like bullets and bombs. While I don’t like the term gimp, cripple or handicapped, I am. I am proud of it. I also fought long and hard in places most people cannot spell for every Americans’ right to express themselves using whatever words they like. It is something I refer to as freedom of speech. I hope as you get older that your mother does not persuade you to lean on your differences from other people and feel like there is something wrong with you that people should not acknowledge or notice.Accept the fact that you are not like everyone else. Sometimes it is nice to know that you are different and unique. Words are just that, words. Some hurt some people while others it doesn’t, don’t let it hurt. The first known use of midget: 1816: meaning much smaller than usual. The pickle company didn’t call you a midget, your mother did. They did not mean to insult, damage you or make you feel bad… your mother did. Fight through life with the passion and knowledge that you are you, and no one else is. I think maybe Mom has a little growing up to do so that she does not do you a disservice by making you think that because you are different that there is something wrong with you, because there isn’t anything wrong with you. I hope that one day you will have the courage stand in a crowd of people and scream “Hey! I am a midget! And I am damn proud of it! Now that you are a member of our club (people that are different) you will always have the advantage over the people that you meet, because you will always see the world in a different way.

    Good luck little girl and may you have a happy and wonderful life. When you grow up maybe you can tell people what life looks like from your perspective.

    Chris

    • says

      Chris,
      I admire your resolve. Thank you for fighting for this country.
      While midget is a medical term that is no longer used, it was used to describe someone of short, yet proportionate stature. Addie is not this. The word is now used as a term of mockery for all people of short stature. I’m not sure what you are talking about when you say what should we call them… The pickles? “small”. As for LP, I don’t think that is for anyone but the community to decide. I’m solely concerned about a slur being used in an outdated, casual manner. While many people choose to embrace words that are slurs to them, I hope my daughter carries a bit more poise than that and utilizes the dictionary to describe herself in other ways. Beautiful, talented, loving and loved. Everyone is different, whether physical or not. Words can hurt, cause wounds inside that never heal. I don’t expect all to experience such hurt or to agree. Your letter, though condescending, will be here for Addie to read.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  16. Brian says

    My uncle, who was a dwarf, would have been ashamed of this. He insisted all his nieces and nephews call him Uncle Shortie (several of them don’t even know that his first name was actually Dwight). Uncle Shortie never once used his handicap as an excuse, nor did I ever see or hear him get upset and any use of the words midget, dwarf, shorty, etc. I believe he was like this because his entire family treated him as any other child. He was expected to do the same things as everyone else. He was never told he couldn’t do something because of his size. My dad actually taught him to drive a stick shift truck on their farm at a young age. It had a hand throttle and my dad taught him how to jump down off the seat, hanging onto the steering wheel, jam in the clutch, change gears and then jump back up onto the seat. Never heard him complain about being called a midget even though we all were aware that the word did not fit as he was a dwarf. He just didn’t see it at a slur at all. He even created his own little organization with printed business cards called N.O.E.L. (National Organization of Elves and Leprechauns). His nieces and nephews were thrilled when he made us honorary members with our own printed cards. Unfortunately, due to complications from his dwarfism, he was taken from us way too soon. Miss you Uncle Shortie!

  17. Laura says

    You are amazing! While talking to my mother yesterday over the phone (I live in Montreal and she lives in Arizona) she asked, ”are you familiar with a woman in Rhode Island that was able to get a pickle company to stop using ‘midget’ to market their gherkin pickles?” I said that I hadn’t and my mom quickly added that, ”you have to see the video that she made.” My mom said, ”it made me cry, it is so sweet! Her baby is absolutely beautiful.” (Incidentally, my mom knows something about babies, she had 7 kids.) Well, I suppose, like mother, like daughter, because it is indeed the sweetest video and yes, I agree, your baby is GORGEOUS! My mother and I both commend you on your dedication and commitment to making this change. You have inspired me and I will never forget your story and what you are doing for Adelaide and for everyone. Thank you!!!

    • says

      This means so much to me. Thank you for reading, watching and loving our sweet girl! Your support and encouragement are invaluable to our future generations <3

Trackbacks

  1. [...] In a letter to Chaska-based Gedney Foods, the company that manufactures the pickles, Martinka wrote: “I know that as times change it is hard for a company to keep up. But for the equality of all children I hope you consider renaming this product for 2013.” Martinka kept the pressure on with a YouTube video and on her blog. And much to her surprise, earlier this month, Barry Spector, president of Gedney, called Martinka and delivered news she was very excited to hear. From her blog: [...]

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