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Georgia Crow Oral History Interview, March 26, 1979

Oregon State University
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JL: Georgia, why don't we start with what you remember of your grandparents?

GC: Well, I'll tell you, Jennifer, I was born in Connecticut, near Hartford, and we came to Oregon when I was four, so I have no recollection of grandparents on either side of the family.

JL: They were in Connecticut?

GC: Well, no, my mother's people are all New York staters. My father grew up in the south, and my grandparents lived in Georgia, his family. Of course, when I was tiny I saw my Grandmother Creswell, and my Grandfather Wilbur, but my Grandfather Creswell and my Grandmother Wilbur were both gone when I was gone.

JL: Now Wilbur is your mother's father?

GC: Mother's maiden name was Wilbur.


JL: How did your parents get together, if one grandparents were in New York and the other in the south?

GC: Well, thereby hangs quite a little tale. Dad's brother and my mother's sister corresponded through the papers. They wanted to, Dad's brother lived in the south and he was very much interested in plants that grew north, and whether or not they would grow in the state of Georgia. And my mother's sister wrote an ad, wanting to correspond with someone that would send her plants from the south that might grow in the North.

JL: How did they get interested in that, I wonder?

GC: Don't ask me, I never heard. But my Aunt May sent Uncle John some training arbutus from New York.

JL: Some training arbutus?


GC: Yes. I don't know what it is, I never saw any. But that's what it was a plant. And what he sent her, if anything, I don't know. But he decided to trot about a little bit and come north and meet the lady that he had been corresponding with. And they were married. And my dad was sort of a fiddle foot in his younger days, and he tramped across the United States, following the harvest crops and one thing and another. He worked in some mills and he followed the harvests to the middle states, and ended up in San Francisco.

JL: He was with your mother at the time?

GC: No, no. This was all before he ever met mom.

JL: Well, he was born from these two people that came together that were looking for certain plants.

GC: No, no. That's dad's brother.

JL: Oh, oh, I'm sorry. OK.

GC: After he came to San Francisco, while he was down there, his father died, my 00:03:00Grandfather Creswell was a doctor. And dad went home, in Macon, Georgia, I believe, and at any rate he stayed for a short period of time but he was intrigued with the west, and he came back to Oregon, that's where he had headed for but he hadn't made it yet, because of the Hood River Valley and apples. Dad was always interested in horticulture. So he came to Hood River Valley and he worked there for two years at different ranches.

JL: Do you know what year this was?

GC: Well, it was after 1907. Probably between 1907 and '10.

JL: Your Grandfather died in 1907 then?

GC: I think so. That's as near as I know, because the San Francisco earthquake was about that time, and dad was there.


JL: Did he tell you anything about that?

GC: Never. It was just one of those things. And he decided to go back and see Uncle John in New York state.

JL: This was his brother.

GC: Yes. And then he went to Connecticut because Cornell University was up there. And he wanted to study horticulture a bit. And he worked for J. H. Hale, the peach man.

JL: Had he gone to school previous to?

GC: Not at all only night school to learn to keep books.

JL: So his profession then was keeping books, and then he had a...

GC: You could say he had a profession, it would have been bookkeeper, because he had done a bit of that, but he was just a young man, trying to find himself I think. He worked for J. H. Hale in Connecticut, and he attended classes at some 00:05:00time or another at Cornell because when he passed away I found a little certificate that said he had passed a horticulture examination. Back in those days you know they worked and paid their way by helping on experiment stations and so on. And then he married mom, and through the years, I don't know just what period of time, but anyway he'd go to New York State and visit Uncle John and see my mother.

JL: How did he meet your mother?

GC: By going to New York state to see his brother.

JL: And his brother knew your mother?

GC: Well, they were living practically together, they were living on the Wilbur farm, as they call it back there. They raised cattle, dairy.

JL: In upper New York state?


GC: It was near Poughkeepsie, a small place called Stansfordville. Poughkeepsie was the biggest town nearby. And so Uncle John was helping out there, and my mother was still at home. She was working in Poughkeepsie some.

JL: What did she do?

GC: Well, she looked after her mother who was a paralytic for many years. She'd had a stroke and was bed fast, and she looked after her and took care of her father until he passed away.

JL: Was she an only child?

GC: Oh, no, she had this, Uncle John's wife, Aunt May, and then there was another sister, Lena, who was much older. She married and left, she went to White Plains, if I'm not mistaken.

JL: So two brothers married two sisters.


GC: Yes. Dad and Uncle John were brothers.

JL: What was your mother's full name?

GC: Effie Wilbur.

JL: Effie Wilbur.

GC: Effie Gurnsey Wilbur, if you want the middle. I think it goes back to English origin. I kind of heard that. But you know as a teenager you get kind of irritated with what people try to tell you. I wouldn't listen to family history then.

JL: So your father and mother got married when?

GC: Oh, just previous to World War I. I couldn't give you an exact date. It was before World War I broke out.

JL: And they got married in New York?

GC: In New York at the home, and they took a trip to Washington D.C. and they went back to Connecticut to the Hale peach orchards, which is called [unintelligible] Hill. And they lived there until about 1916, and the peach business kind of went downhill with war times and one thing and another, and dad decided he didn't like to work there any longer and he wanted to show Mom Oregon, so they came to Portland to see people that dad had known when he was out here before, and I had a brother by that time.

JL: And you had been born in Connecticut?

GC: I was born in 1914. And my brother approximately two years later. He was a babe in arms pretty much when we came on train.

JL: What was your brother's name?

GC: Nevilee Sackett Creswell.

JL: So you came on the train to Portland. Do you remember anything about that?

GC: The only thing I remember about Portland was we were probably in St. John's as near as I can put things together, and close to the river because there were lots of little garter snakes in the backyard. And the old lady that we stayed with was deathly afraid of them, and she just screamed loud and long when she saw one and run and grab a shovel and chop it all up. And that's the only thing I can remember. Little kids don't remember many things.

JL: So you lived in where in Portland?

GC: I think it's St. John's, and we stayed with this old lady for, oh, I don't know, a short period of time. And then dad decided that he wanted to come back to Hood River Valley, and he knew a man in Hood River that he had worked for in West Virginia in a logging camp, auditor it seems even in those days you ran on to people that you'd known across country. And we stayed in a tent that summer in Hood River? In Hood River. And I think that was the summer of 1917, I'm not sure, but it had to be, I think, and Mr. Hoover and part of the time we went to the O'Dell area and dad worked with Billy Sunday.

JL: Doing what?


GC: Apple orchard work. Tree trimming and probably thinning apples, dad nailed boxes, too, for Billy Sunday, I remember, and we lived in a tent there, and had some beds in an old shed alongside the tent. And a thunderstorm came up and blew the tent down, I can recall that. Probably more from hearing people talk than actualities, I would think, because I was only five, you see.

JL: Why is it that the peach market went down and not the apple market during the war?

GC: Well, I think probably there was some friction between dad and Mr. Hale 00:09:00left, and dad didn't like the son very well. I think that had something to do with his leaving. But those things are very vague, you see, nobody ever explained very much to me about it.

JL: How did your mother like Hood River compared to back east?

GC: As I look back over it, I think she must have been very lonely. She didn't make friends easily, and as time went along and we bought the farm and had the apple orchard and everything, there were five of us kids, and she worked very hard. And didn't go very much. Times were tough when we were growing up. We grew up in the 20's and 30's when things were really rugged.

JL: I want to hear about that. But first, what happened during the war years, do you recall them talking about that time? How was your family affected?

GC: After we had spent this summer in Hood River we went back to Corvallis for the winter. We lived on Cottage Street. Do you know where that is?

JL: No. Oh, in Corvallis?


GC: Yes, it's not far from the campus, because dad walked all the time.

JL: How did he happen to go to Corvallis?

GC: Well, because he was interested in horticulture and he could go to school and help with that orchard that they had there. For tuition, or however they did, I don't know. He didn't pay very much to go to school. But that was his object for going to Corvallis for that winter. He worked in their experimental orchards, learning the newest techniques for pruning and fertilizing and all those things.

JL: How did he hear about OAC?

GC: Well, it was the agriculture college, the most prominent one on the west coast at the time, I think, and being a man that was interested in that sort of 00:11:00thing, he read constantly. Dad was an avid reader of everything, and he probably found out through reading. I don't know. But he may have approached some of the county agents. They did have such things even then. I can't remember when they didn't have somebody that would give advice to ranchers and one thing or another. It wasn't called county agents then, but then it amounted to the same.

JL: What would they do?

GC: Well, if you approached them, they would give you information from the agriculture college.

JL: So your father got information from the county agents?

GC: I suppose something that way, or reading. I'm not sure how, Jennifer, but anyway he went to school there for that year. And he made a trip to, he was 00:12:00looking for a farm to buy all the time. He decided to make his home here. First he was going to take mom home, but it was war time and the flu epidemic in 1918, and the health authorities guaranteed Corvallis at that time, and I had a baby sister born the year that we were there. That was in February of 1918. And it was just after that that dad asked to leave, and when he come west he promised mom to take her home through the Panama Canal. And I guess...

JL: To New York?

GC: Yes. And of all the places that the flu was worst was down in that area, I guess because when he asked to leave Corvallis, they said it would certainly be death to my sister.

JL: To your new baby sister.

GC: And probably to us kids and maybe even to mom and dad, it was that bad in those days.

JL: Did you get the flu?


GC: I can't remember that I had it, but dad was very sick shortly after that; he was in bed in Corvallis I remember, and he was in bed for several days. So he must have been quite sick, because my father wouldn't go to bed under any circumstances if he could avoid it. And so he never took mom home. She never ever went back. And we came to Hood River...

JL: What do you remember about OAC and Corvallis?

GC: Well, I can't remember very much with the exception of one little incident. I used to follow dad around with his chores over there, doing different tings, and I don't remember what he did. But one time we were caught over there, we 00:14:00had taken an old model T for some reason or another, and we had it parked. There was a football game. Now whether it was an armistice football game or just a football game I don't know. It didn't mean anything to me except that I can remember a little cart with the Beaver symbol on it, they had a stuffed Beaver. In those days they didn't have any loud speakers or anything, they were using megaphones. And these foolish looking young guys ran around the [unintelligible] shouting through those megaphones, and they just tickled me, and that's all I remember. OAC and the University of Oregon. And one of those fellows from OAC would go out and must have been a good plan, he'd say 00:15:00"rah rah for OAC" and the University of Oregon fellow wasn't going to be outdone and he'd jump up and down and holler "No, no, U of O". And that's the only thing I remember about that football game. Other than that I have no memories much of Corvallis. I do remember one other little thing. I got bit by a bee, I sat on a bumblebee's nest in our yard, clover, we had a rowing hedge to the lawn that sloped down to the sidewalks, there was lots of white clover there, and the bumblebees had a nest in that bank. I didn't know it, no one else did until I got stung. I remember that.

JL: You don't remember any of the ROTC soldiers or military or anything?

GC: No. I remember they had drills and I know my father drilled. Now maybe I 00:16:00watched some of that, I don't know. But I used to go with him many times. I was my father's shadow. I followed him, we could walk from this Cottage Street address.

JL: He was in the military?

GC: Well, he never had to go to war, but he had to drill. For how long I don't remember. I was just too little for these things maybe impressed me a bit at the time but not enough to carry on.

JL: He was then taking horticulture classes and ROTC

GC: At one time they decided to conscript the fellows with families, and he had to begin by taking ROTC, and just how much of that I don't know. It couldn't 00:17:00have been very much, because you see the Armistice was signed in the fall of 1918, and we moved then the next spring to Hood River Valley, he bought the apple orchard there, he bought 40 acres.

JL: So his plan was always to look for a farm in the Willamette Valley?

GC: Right, either the Willamette Valley or the Hood River Valley. Hood River was becoming very prominent at that time for orchards. It was all new, and he was looking, and this Mr. Hoover looked for him, too, and found a place just right adjacent, and we became neighbors to the Hoovers.

JL: Do you know if he got a degree from OAC?

GC: I never saw any papers, I don't know whether he ever got any signed affidavit that he went there, or whether it was just something he did to improve his knowledge of the fruit business.

JL: He was in Corvallis for only one year?

GC: I think so, we went in the fall of '17 and left in the spring of '19. In May 1919 was when we went to Hood River to live.

JL: How did he make any money to buy a farm?

GC: Well now, they paid him at the college, he was on salary somehow.

JL: He wasn't teaching?

GC: Oh, no, but like I say there was some way in those days you could work and learn these things and draw wages. I don't know how it worked out. I have no idea.

JL: So you moved back to Hood River and he bought a 40-acre farm?

GC: Yes, 40 acres of apples is a lot of apples. We had apples, pears, and cherries. I lived there until I started school away from home in 1934, I believe.


JL: Now, did you help your father?

GC: Oh, my yes, all of us kids, we didn't grow up like these kids these days, we had chores. We had all sorts of things we had to do. We had chickens and pigs to feed, and cows to stake out, we always had a cow and a calf that we'd butcher in the fall, and we always had pigs to butcher, we always had chickens, and as fast as we were big enough to help we had to work in the orchard, thinning apples and in the springtime when they pruned the trees we had to gather brush and throw it on the brush sled when they hauled it out, and all those things. We had a big lawn we took care of. We had huge big gardens because mom canned fruit and vegetables enough to last us from one season to the next.

JL: It wasn't uncommon for a girl to do these activities?

GC: Oh, no, as long as you were working for your father in a family affair. I had to help mom in the house, too, but I preferred to be out, so I usually squirmed away from the dishes and the cooking and what-have-you like that.

JL: You were a tomboy?

GC: More or less. But I did learn mom taught me to sew and to cook. I always did like to sew, and she saw to those things as I got older, why I stayed in more but when I was little, like I say, I was my dad's shadow, and more so than my brothers even.

JL: Well, Georgia, would you say you were closer to your father than your mother?

GC: Oh, always. Dad was mine. And mom was, well, mom was a New York state person, and she was, oh, I don't know, she was distant. You couldn't, I never 00:19:00found that I could get very close to her, and I don't believe the other kids ever did, either. She was raised very differently than people in the west and she never would westernize. She was always bringing up little things, well, when I was a girl, she would say, and you just don't do those things in the east, and she just couldn't adjust. And my father was very progressive and he would go out and mingle and bring back new ideas, and he would keep up with what we kids wanted to do, he was much more reachable.

JL: You said he was an avid reader.

GC: Oh, yes.

JL: Did he teach you a lot?

GC: Oh, my goodness, from the time I could start to read, and all of us kids, he went to the library once a week and he'd bring back a big stack of books, and we 00:20:00were to each read one at least. He brought them in from ABC size up to me, in high school, and we were to read at least one a week, and the more the merrier, and if we got in the middle of one and it was due he'd take the card back the next time he went and renew what we weren't through with. And we always had a whole house full of magazines we had everything, from kids magazines up to ones that at first he wouldn't let us read because he said they weren't fit for kids.

JL: Like what?

GC: Oh, it was Colliers and McCalls perhaps. They weren't anything like we have now, but he just thought there were things in there that kids were a little bit, well shouldn't put them out to, oh, love stories and things like that, and he had a lot of western hoop-te-bang things. There was an old paperback thing 00:21:00that came every month called Adventure, and it had a lot of W. C. Tuttle Wild West tales in it, and I used to like to get that, and he thought that was trash. He wanted us kids to, what he said edify ourselves. He was always using that term. He said, "now I want you to edify yourself... I've brought you these books." I think that was a southern term.

JL: What kind of books he would bring for you? Would he bring different books than your brothers?

GC: Oh, no, they were just kind of age classed. You see, he would bring fiction that he thought we would enjoy. Anything that he'd pick up that he 00:22:00figured was good literature. He didn't want any of that more modernistic types. He was more wanting it to be the standards, the classics. Although he was very fond of Zane Grey, and he figured that Zane Grey had lots for anyone because of the backgrounds that he gave you of different areas.

JL: Was that unusual? Did other children...

GC: I think that dad was very much different that way. We had no money much for outside entertainment, so we made our own good times, and reading was one. You see, back then they didn't even have radio. We got our first radio I think in 1928.

JL: You remember that?

GC: Oh yes, I certainly do, because we didn't have money to buy one and we kids had been begging and begging for him to get one, because they had been on the 00:23:00market for a number of years. And his uncle, my Great uncle George, passed away in St. Helens, Oregon, and dad went down and settled the estate and there was just enough money left when he got all the bills settled and everything, to buy a radio. And he bought a Zenith console, and I have it yet today.

JL: Tell me about that first time when you first heard your radio.

GC: Well, I think, as I recall, I was sick in bed with poison oak when he brought it home, and I listened to it from the bedroom. I'd been out and picked mom a bouquet of wild violets, these little johnny-jump-ups, that grow in the woods down there, and somewhere or another I got into poison oak. And I was very susceptible to it, even on hot day if the wind was blowing and it was 00:24:00in bloom, and I would perspire a little bit I would get that blossom pollen on my skin and have poison oak, a good case of it, but this time I walked in it with my bare legs. I didn't see it. I think I kind of squatted down in it when I picked the violets. And I missed a whole week of school I was in high school at the time.

JL: You were going to a school in Hood River?

GC: Yes, I caught a bus about a quarter of a mile from home.

JL: By the mid-20's your mother had 5 children, is that correct?

GC: Yes, I think my last brother was born about 1925, I'm not quite sure, Jennifer, but I think that's when.

JL: Georgia, I wanted to hear about what it was like, the picking of the apples and the processing and selling them, from the very beginning. Tell me the process. Were the apple trees there when your father bought the farm?

GC: Yes, it was a very young orchard, and...

JL: How many years old?

GC: I was too little to know, or to care. But the first thing they do, in February usually before the sap starts to run they trim the trees, they prune. Some people cut back quite ruggedly and I think much more now, because the object now is to have a short, squatty tree. Our trees were very tall, they hadn't been pruned very much, and dad pruned them back a lot. And then you start spraying, you have a right after pruning, probably about the first of May, just before they bloom, you have a spray, and I think it was an arsenic spray, in those days.

JL: Arsenic?

GC: Yeah, sulfur and arsenic. And they put a little oil in it to make it stick. And that was for coddling moths, that's to kill those little worms that get in your apples. And then nothing much; you'd irrigate several times, I don't know, whenever you got the water, because the water came through the ditch and you were allotted a certain amount, and you could go so far with it.

JL: How did you irrigate?

GC: With rills or corrugations; we called it rills, out in this country they call it corrugations, but all the same. Just tiny ditches down through the orchards and you watered your trees that way. As time went on, lots of years we got our water off Mt. Hood, and if there was a slack snow year then they'd 00:25:00divide the water up and lots of times several neighbors would go together and use oh, maybe three neighbors would have as much as 16 inches of water if they put it all together, so they could cover more ground. And they would cover more ground, and the next time when it was time for the next neighbor would have it, he'd take all the water instead of your little 4 inches or whatever, because that wouldn't cover very much area at a time. And then after, oh, I'd say the first apples that we would pick would be about they pick Gravensteins in probably August I think, maybe the first of September. That would be the first apples that went commercial at all. We didn't have but one tree of those so we 00:26:00never did anything with those. And then the really commercial apples they started picking in September through October. And they went to a packing house in Hood River, dad belonged to the apple growers association.

JL: What kind of apples were they?

GC: Oh, we had Spitzenbergs and Ortleys, Arkansas Black, and for many years we had Winter Bananas, but they're not very good as commercial, and we later pulled them out. Then we had Red Delicious, and there were a few trees of Northern Spy, but I don't know, I think they always went to the cider, and some years if they were very wormy and apples dropped a lot, or were awfully cheap, you didn't have them packed, you sent them to the cider mill, and they were made into vinegar, and some cider, but they didn't commercialize cider in those days, like 00:27:00they do now. Have little roadside stands in the fall of the year, but they didn't process it so it would keep the year around like they do now.

JL: Tell me about the picking process. Who picked them? How were they picked?

GC: Transient labor.

JL: Mexicans?

GC: No, not then so much. I don't think the Mexican labor came in until, oh, in the '30's, but lots of people, you had, oh, I don't know what you'd say, but you had your transients, the people that followed crops. They'd begin in the south and move north, following the citrus crops, and everything on up, and they'd pick fruit, well, they called them fruit bums, is what they called them.

JL: Do you remember them?

GC: Oh my, yes, we had some people, one family, the Alton family came from Blodgett, Oregon, and they came many years, at apple picking time, and Mr. Alton was a real fine teamster, he hauled the apples in and stacked them in the barn lot and the trucks would take them to the packing house. And in the early years there was a packing plant about a mile and a half from home, maybe a little less, and we hauled them with the team to that packing plant, a team of mules, our neighbor and dad worked together, and he had a team of mules. But as time went on and cars became more prevalent they hauled them to Hood River to the cannery and to the packing plant, and the stuff that wasn't fit for packing 00:28:00and shipping out to foreign ports or back east, why, they went through the cannery in later years.

JL: I want to hear about the process. How many people would pick the apples?

GC: Well, it would depend on the size of the orchard. I think we used to have 4 or 6 pickers usually.

JL: Start from the beginning. They came out in the orchard and what?

GC: Well, first we had to have housing for them, and our housing was tents with board floors and board sides that we set up every fall. And for this Alton family we had a little cabin because there was a whole scad of them, I think they had six kids. How they got by, I don't know, but in those days schools allowed for such as that, I guess, and they didn't go to school, and they brought a big tent to sleep in, but dad felt sorry for her, having to cook in a tent, so he had this one room cabin that had a cook stove and he allowed them to live in that and she could cook. He always provided vegetables for her to can and fruit for her to can to take home with them to Blodgett. And like I say, they were pretty nice people. They came here year after year, so dad catered to them. Then we had, just catch as catch can through the association employment office. They would send out to the ranches, you would tell them how many people you wanted.

JL: Did they have a characteristic?

GC: Well, they were just the rambling type of people, they didn't have anything, they didn't hardly have the clothes on their backs, they were just in tatters most of them, and lots we had drinking problems, dad would have bad times with 00:29:00that sometimes, and there were a few neighbors who would come in. We had two boys that lived just about a mile from us, and they would come to pick apples.

JL: Were they educated, or not?

GC: Not much. They, well, like I say, this Alton family took their kids out of school, and were up there six weeks to work for us, so how could they get too much education?

JL: What would be the routine, they'd go out in the morning,

GC: They would go out as soon as, well good daylight, they worked good day eight hour days, and some of them worked more. It depended, because they paid by the box. It was just pennies, maybe just 3 cents a box. And if you would stay the complete season maybe you'd get a bonus, so that you would have gotten five 00:30:00cents. Times were rough, Jennifer, and if you paid more you couldn't make it. Oftentimes when we got them picked, one kind of apples would have to be packed and paid for by another kind, they wouldn't bring enough. I remember one time our cherries paid for the packing of the apples that year.

JL: Well, did they have ladders at each tree?

GC: Oh, yes, everybody had ladders, we had a numerous supply. We had six, eight, and ten foot ladders, and then to get the very highest somebody that didn't mind climbing we had a 32 extension, and that fellow got just a little bit more because he what we called topped the trees. And if there were girls that worked in the field, which there were lots of times, women, and they could pick as well and probably damage your tree less than the guys, and they would pick from the ground, or maybe off the 6 foot ladder.

JL: Did they have a gunnysack attached to their belt?


GC: No, it was an apple-picking bag and it fit over your shoulders and tied around your waist. It was a canvass bag and it looped up in front, and you unhooked it from the sides and poured them out into boxes. You stacked the boxes about four high under the trees, and the fellow who carried them in loaded them on a flatbed wagon. We had a one horse wagon at first then we got a team, then later just an old [unintelligible] tractor. Came along little by little, and...

JL: Did you help with the picking, Georgia?

GC: Oh yes, I picked apples. And I forgot to tell you, too, in June you thin apples.

JL: What does that mean?

GC: You space them out on the limbs to about 4 to 6 inches and one apple on a spur. A spur is the little twig that they grow on, you know. That makes them better size. We kids had to pick apples at times, and we had to pick pears, we had to pick cherries. We did it all as we got old enough to. We did more thinning than anything because apple picking came at school time. Apple thinning was just between times, and we used to thin apples. It got pretty monotonous for a bunch of kids from about 7 or 8 years old up to 15, 16. We used to get in some apple wars, we threw apples, and dad would come along and give us heck.

JL: What kind of things did you play with, who did you play with, and what type of things did you do?

GC: Oh, we had two families that we played with quite a bit. There was one 00:32:00white family, and there were many Japanese in this community, and so we had a Japanese family across the road about a half a mile. And those kids and us played baseball. We played what we called work up, and I don't remember just how it worked anymore, but somebody batted and somebody played bases. And we played cross out instead of tag them out because you couldn't it was so few but you threw the ball between the bases and that put the guy that was trying to make the next base, out, and we changed places, and that's why they called it work up.

JL: Why were there so many Japanese in that area?

GC: The Japanese just moved into Hood River because they are industrious people and it was a good place for them to get established. They ranched. Some of 00:33:00them had berry farms, but in the early years strawberries were grown a lot. They are not now because there's no open fields. When you first set out an orchard you had to have some money making crop, and berries were good, and that was the kind tide over until your fruit trees would bear. As I grew up our school had pretty many Japanese students as it did white children.

JL: Did they speak English?

GC: Oh my yes, they have learned fast. Japanese are very shrewd. At home they spoke Japanese, but they learned fast at school, and often times if a family was prosperous enough there was a Japanese school on Saturdays and Sundays and holidays, and they sent their kids there to learn the Japanese ways and the Japanese language. I suspect it is still there, but I don't know. But it was the last I know.

JL: Was there any prejudice towards the Japanese from the Anglos?

GC: Not that I really knew. People didn't protest as highly as we were growing up there, and I don't think anybody protested Japanese nearly as much as they did the black people. We very seldom had any black people in town. We had a few Indians from time to time. I think they were mostly Klickitats, they came across from Washington. One or two went to school with us. I'm not sure what tribe or anything, but we accepted them, too, they were good friends. Until 00:34:00World War II came along and they put the Japanese out of Hood River Valley into those camps, which was kind of in some respects a little bit rugged, I think. There were some things said then that no business to have been said because they were said about the wrong ones. I was out here by that time but I read it in the papers. Some of the fellows that said things then, it was entirely wrong.

JL: Did you have friends that were Japanese?

GC: Oh my, yes, some of my best friends were Japanese. This Yakamatsu family lived did I tell you we played baseball with, they were there many, many years. We went all through school with them. They were very good friends. All 00:35:00boys, but we associated with them. That's one thing, they kept the girls pretty much at home. Most of the girls had to work in the home, and Japanese the little kids, I've seen little kids 2 and 3 years old picking up brush at brush picking time.

JL: What's brush picking time.

GC: When they prune the trees you'd have to gather the brush and put it on the sled and haul it out somewhere and burn it. You didn't burn in the orchard because you might damage the trees.

JL: What did you do in the cold spells? Did it affect the trees?

GC: Well, there were years when it froze out crops, and I remember one May, but I don't remember what year, it snowed about 6 inches on the blossoms in May. And did some damage because it washed away the pollen. But it didn't last. But I remember seeing snow in May, just a freak storm.

JL: Can you remember anything else about the Japanese?

GC: Oh no, just that they worked very hard, they really put effort in that the white people wouldn't.

JL: Did they have their own festivities and religious holidays?

GC: Oh, yes, I never had anything to do with it outside of this school that I spoke of. I know that they, and not all of them participated. You see, lots of people in those times were so strapped for funds that they didn't have money enough to pay this extra. It was more wealthy families who sent their families on to the Japanese school. But they just went on with us all through school. A good many families I started in first grade with, and went right on up through to high school.

JL: What do you remember about the depression years? How did it effect your family?

GC: Well, you just grew through those times. Outside of the fact that perhaps now and then we may have been a little jealous of some of our town cousins so to speak, the people that worked for wages and spent a little more money, we didn't ever realize there was a depression. You made your own good times, and mom was a good cook. We always made an effort to kind of have a family party every time there was a birthday or holiday or anything, she cooked an extra good dinner, and somewhere along we always managed to get some little gift for a 00:36:00person's birthday. I still have a thimble that was given to me on my 12th birthday, and a pair of scissors another birthday, and, just little things. Well, it wasn't the way people spend money now, and you think you have to have the moon and all on a platter. You just accepted little things and it was lots of fun. We played games. On Sundays we either, mom would fix picnic lunches and if we couldn't do anything else, we ate in the yard. And during the summer when dad could, we made it a point to go to Bonneville, that was really a trip in those days in the Model T. The roads weren't good, they were gravel, and we'd go to the fish hatchery and watch the fish, and eat a picnic lunch, they had a park with swings and teeter-totters and stuff like that, and we'd have a 00:37:00good time. And dad used to read the Oregonian and find out when Meier and Frank and Lippman and Wolfman, the big companies in Portland would bring a special train up to Bonneville, and they'd have big picnics for all their employees, and they'd be big lines of people. They would give away free ice cream to families, and dad would always find us a picnicking spot close to those big lines and he'd give us older kids a big pan to go get ice cream. Well, they never checked up to see who was who, and I bet they knew that lots of people crowded in, but we used to have big days on Meier and Frank and Lippman days.

JL: That was during the depression years?

GC: Yes. Depression years at home in the Valley, the Grange would have big picnics and the firemen would have picnics, and you'd take your own lunch but 00:38:00there'd be free ice cream for the kids. Sometimes it was cones, sometimes they would dip it out into a big pan and you could take it to your family and divide it up, you see. And we'd have races, and all sorts of picnic contests or a ball game.

JL: Was the apple market affected by the depression?

GC: Oh my yes. Like I told you once before sometimes apples would be so cheap that one kind wouldn't sell for enough to even pay for the packing. Your pears or your cherries would pay for the packing of some of your apples. And you couldn't have sole them at all if it hadn't been for the Association. And if they were just too terribly cheap they went to the cider mill or vinegar factory, as they called it then. Then in later years, right now for instance, the poorest apples would go to the cannery, and through the different outlets you'd get by. But most everyone in Hood River Valley was in debt to the Spokane Land Bank, they owned most of the property in Hood River Valley at one time, I think. I remember the man coming around and walking through the orchard with dad lots of times to check out to see whether he was keeping the orchard up, and spraying enough times, and doing all the things that you were supposed to do to maintain your loan.

JL: And so you always had enough to eat?

GC: Oh my, yes, my mother like I say has a fabulous cook, and dad was a good gardener. We lived out of the garden and off the chickens and things, and the pigs, and we had a good cow and lots of butter and cream, and milk, and we'd get a calf and raise it on a bucket and had it butchered in the fall. Because 00:39:00there was no way to keep it unless you canned it, dad would sell the calf to the butcher and then he could go in and get so many pounds of meat back for the calf, he didn't take cash, you see, the butcher just kept track of how many pounds he let us have. And butchers in those days were very gracious. They'd give you a big package of soup bones extra, and they wouldn't be just straight up old bones, either, there'd be a lot of good meat on them. They always knew who paid their bills and who needed a little extra, you know, and they would be good. The grocer would always throw in a little sack of candy for the kids in the family. Nobody does that sort of thing anymore.

JL: Did you go to Portland very much?

GC: Very, very seldom. We didn't go anywhere like that. In the fall of the year so that we could kind of say that we bought our clothes somewhere else, as we got a little older, dad would see to it that we went to The Dalles to shop for our school clothes.


JL: Do you remember The Dalles at all? What was that like?

GC: Oh, it was a larger version of Hood River Valley. There was a restaurant there that served meals family style, and that was a big treat to go out to eat like that. It was called the Black and White. I don't know if it is still in existence or not because I haven't been to The Dalles for probably 30 years.

JL: I wanted to ask, did you ever go to DeMoss Springs or know any of the DeMoss'?

GC: No, that name is not familiar to me at all.

JL: They were a musical group.

GC: I never went to dances or anything. My mother and dad didn't approve of 00:41:00them. Dad did go to Grange quite a bit, and I went with him if there was going to be a pie social or something that way, and by going with him I learned to do a lot of working in kitchens for big dinners and things like that. When I was about 12 to 14, something like that, he used to take me, and the ladies would teach me to serve at the big tables, and as time went along I learned to do dishes for big crowds and help with the cooking at times, and it came in good knowledge as time went along.

JL: Did you have any boyfriends, Georgia?

GC: Not when I was home. That was another sort of a no-no. They thought I wasn't supposed to run around like that, even though a good number of my friends did. I never dated until I went away to school.

JL: I want to hear about that. How did you happen to go away to school?


GC: Oh, somehow or another I dreamed all my life I wanted to teach school, and my father's Aunt Mary, or sister Mary, my Aunt, she agreed that if I wanted to go to school she would pay my tuition.

JL: Now, where was she?

GC: She was a teacher in the state of Georgia. She taught school there for fifty years. The state agriculture college, she was a home economist.

JL: So she encouraged you to go to school to learn to become a teacher?

GC: Yes. And wonder of wonders, when I came out here and decided I didn't care 00:43:00to be the old lady teacher, old maid teacher, she gloried me in my decision and cancelled my debt to her, so that John and I might go ahead and maybe raise a family. Which we were never privileged to do.

JL: So you, how did you decide to go to Monmouth?

GC: Well, like all kids, people came to the high school and showed us catalogs and talked to us about where we should go.

JL: Who came to the high school?

GC: Different people from different colleges, agents I guess like they do nowadays. Showing what they would have to offer, and they would take groups of us, perhaps a bit by our grade averages, and my grade average was never very great because I was no whiz of a student, I didn't apply myself very well. I could think of things outside and one thing or another and dream off pretty 00:44:00good, but I had enough credits, of course, and grades good enough to get me in and I passed my exams. Because I was interested in teaching, or thought I was for sure, Monmouth was at the time the best school and the closest to me, but I could have gone to Ashland at the time, and I could have even gone to La Grande at the time, I guess, but La Grande wasn't considered an accredited school at that particular time. That was 1933.

JL: You didn't consider going to OAC?

GC: That was too expensive. I just didn't have funds enough to pay tuition, and also I think that it would have been a little hard to get in with my grade average. They wanted a little better quality study than I was.

JL: Did you want to go there at all?

GC: No, I didn't really, I was satisfied with going to Monmouth.


JL: Do you remember anybody representing OAC Coming to your high school?

GC: I can't remember who came from any of the schools. It has been over 40 years ago. I just remember that's what we did. They had assemblies and we talked they talked to the whole group and anybody that was interested in a particular school , why you turned your name and address and sooner or later you got a catalog. And I remember we got catalogs from several places, but we figured that Monmouth was the best. And I stayed at the dorm at first.

JL: Was that scary to you?

GC: Not really because I never minded going away. I wasn't a homebody, you might say. I was ready for leaving and finding out for myself what the world was about. I never got homesick.

JL: Your parents, both your mother and father, encouraged you to go?


GC: Oh, they were all for my going to school. Mom in particular had dreams of my coming back and living at home, no less, and sending the rest of the kids to school. That was what she wanted. But that's not for kids that have been held down, you know. And once away, and you get a little more freedom, not that I went wild or anything like that. At home everything was held at a very modest pace, and we weren't allowed to well, really what we thought we wanted to. Perhaps it was a good deal.

JL: Was your family religious?

GC: I don't think so, although dad made every effort to take us to church on Sundays.

JL: What church was this?

GC: It was a community church, and it was all faiths, they had a Presbyterian minister, but he always left that up to us to decide for ourselves, and I think he favored the Lutheran church himself. Mom was a Baptist, but they never affiliated themselves with any particular church in all the years that I was around. But I went away to school, and I was really surprised when I got to Monmouth, I went by bus around by Salem, and got at the dorm and I had

I got a room by myself because I wasn't about to move in with somebody I didn't know at all. I was going to pick my company. And low and behold when I got 00:47:00there I was met by a girl that I had gone to grade school with. Her father had been the county school superintendent at Hood River, and I never will forget that because it made it so much nicer, she took me around and introduced me to a number of people and I lived in this room for the first semester, and then I went to a double room, I had gotten me a girl I could get along with real well and, Ruth Cherry from down in the valley. She and I roomed together along time. Then we decided that we were tired of jumping to a bell all the time, there was a bell to get up and a bell to go to bed, and a bell to come to 00:48:00dinner, a bell for this and that and all, and we got a chance for three of us to go together and go across the street to Weniger Apartments, and it had been a dairy, and the dairy barn was built into a big apartment house for the teachers, and the milk house was a place for three girls to stay. So we rented the milk house.

JL: Was that unusual for three girls to go off and live?

GC: Oh, no, they had batching quarters for boys and girls all over the campus, just here and there. This was right across the street from everything, and a very respectable spot. Along with me these other girls, Delma Fagan was the third one, and we kind of slipped out without our parents knowledge because we knew if we said anything we'd be in hot water. So we just moved out of the dorm and moved over there, and it was too late for mom and dad to yell very loud.

JL: They wouldn't have approved?

GC: No, definitely not, but we were all the same kind of kids and had been raised up pretty close, so we got along. It was great. We were looked after, Mrs. Weniger wouldn't have let us do anything that was wrong at all. She took us right under her wing and saw to it that we marched right down the line pretty straight. And I don't remember whether the other girls ever worked out or not. But I found that I kind of needed a little more spending money. Money was real hard to come by, and Aunt Mary didn't send me very much above my tuition, just 00:49:00ever so little, and it had to last me a whole term, you see, may be $30 for a whole term, and that wasn't very much. Of course, she paid when I told her I moved out she still sent me the same amount of board money that I would have had at the dorm, so we got that to eat on, and we got friendly with the dairyman, and he'd bring us extra cream once in a while and a little extra milk.

JL: Did you start gaining in Monmouth?

GC: Yes, we all did, and we'd have big parties at home, and Mrs. Weniger would stick her neck in once in awhile to see that we were getting along all right.

JL: What kind of parties did you have?

GC: Oh, there were just dinner parties.

JL: Would there be any alcohol there at all?

GC: Oh, no. We didn't drink, none of the three of us, and none of the boys that we brought there ever brought anything to drink. We'd just have a dinner and fun. I remember one particular dinner we had, one Sunday afternoon. It was my 21st birthday. Mom sent us a cake with 21 daffodils. She'd pick them as buds and wrapped them bread wrappers with cotton around the stems so they'd stay damp, and she frosted the cake with a real thick layer of fudge so that it couldn't dry out in the mail. The girls decided to surprise me and have some guys come in and eat with us that night. And one boy that we had a lot of fun with, he brought me a celluloid fish and handed it to me for my gift. "You poor fish, you've made it now." Little things like that you remembered, you know.

JL: You didn't get close to any fellows then, huh?

GC: No, not really.

JL: How long were you at Monmouth?


GC: I was there from January 1934, see I worked for one period of time in the packing house to get me some money.

JL: You were doing that in Monmouth?

GC: No, in Hood River before I went to school. I graduated in 1933 from high school, and during the summer dad promised me I could work in the apple house that fall, but he stalled and he stalled and he stalled, he didn't want me to work away from home. No girl of his was going to work like that. But I had to, I didn't have any school money except very, very little, in my savings account, and finally the man I was going to work for, I'd known him since I was 00:51:00a baby, and dad had, too, and I knew I'd be all right over there. It was just letting go the first time was the problem. So finally I took it upon myself to tell that fellow when he came after me the last day before the plant opened, he said, "Georgia, I've got to know." And dad was still stalling, and I said, "I'll be there, in the morning at 7:00." And I sure caught it when Mr. [unintelligible] left, but dad didn't stop me from going, but he made me feel like a little kid, he walked me to work that day, a half a mile across the orchard to the packing house. After that I never had any problems, if I said I was going to do something, or I needed to do it, he would agree. It was just, he hated to let go for the first time for the first child, that was, and as long as he lived, I was always his favorite.

JL: You were always the favorite, huh?

GC: Pretty much, if there was any favoritism at all he favored me, and so far as I know I was the only one with a nickname; he always called me Chip, and it means little one, and for as long as he was around, he was always calling me Chip.

JL: So you made a little bit of money in the packing plant, and in January of 1934 you started at Monmouth.

GC: Yes. I made 26 1/2¢ an hour. And they took out part of that for compensation, you know how it goes. And so then I went a year at Monmouth, and I was short again of money. I went even during the summer for the first year, then I stayed home another term. It had to be the following fall I guess I 00:52:00stayed, because I worked two years there. The second year I worked in the packing house I got sick. 28 1/2¢ that year, and I got sick and had to go to the hospital and have surgery, appendicitis, and I was paying 50¢ a week then for hospitalization in case of emergency, and by gosh, that saved the bacon for my father, that that hospitalization on my work credits pretty near paid the bill, dad didn't have to pay very much, which was really lucky, because times were hard then. And then I finished up school, went back to school, in January of '35, and finished up. I went right through the summer again and finished school in time to apply for a school out here in the fall of '36.


JL: Now wait a minute, you only had to go two years to get certified in education?

GC: Yes.

JL: Did you like the classes?

GC: Oh, I enjoyed everything but psychology, and that stuff would put me to sleep. I could lie down with a book on psychology and just dream right off and forget the world.

JL: How did they teach psychology that it was so boring?

GC: Oh, well, I don't know, just psychology was boring to me. I couldn't get interested in it, and I had one psychology teacher that was a pretty good scout. He figured what he was teaching was pretty dumb, and he told us to write down in a notebook everything that was on the board as he put it down, and I did, and he said, keep your notebook because you are going to need it. And the day before 00:54:00final exam he said, now bring your notes to class because you can copy out of your notes. And they'd give us, I don't know whether you ever heard of it, but it was tests and measurements. It was how to grade papers and rate your students, and there were a whole lot of formulas and stuff like that that you wouldn't use in a hundred years. So if you had them all written down he would let you [unintelligible].

JL: What was his name?

GC: Forbes, Dr. Forbes. I don't remember initials. He was an old man kind of.

JL: So then you graduated after the summer of 1936?

GC: Yes, then I went to the graduation ceremony in the spring, before they gave me my diploma. You see, I went until fall, I went through the summer.

JL: They were all 2 year programs? There were no 4 year programs at Monmouth?


GC: No, not at that time. They soon went into effect, they kept adding on. I think Ashland became the first four year teaching school, I'm not certain, then Monmouth came along.

JL: Did you feel prepared to teach after that? Had you done any student teaching?

GC: Oh, yes, I taught at Independence during the summer, I had a class of the kind of kids that hadn't done too well in school and they went to summer school. And then I taught some 7th and 8th graders at Monmouth.

JL: What did you teach?

GC: Everything. They worked it around so you had practically all the classes, and you had to plan your work, and you had a supervisor who helped you.

JL: Did you ever-

GC: Then I went to, over by Dallas, but not Dallas; Rickreall, that's where they had one school I taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd over there. And I got some experience in every grade before I left.

JL: You liked teaching then?

GC: Oh, I still like to take a bunch of youngsters. My favorite ones are 1st and 2nd grade kids, and teach them. When you get above the 3rd then they begin to run bluffs on you, you never are sure you are the dumb one or they are the dummy. But little kids you can work around and if you can't make them understand it one way, you try another, and you very soon find out whether you are getting through to them or they are so dense they don't understand you.


JL: Did you ever get to Corvallis?

GC: Oh, I had a roommate, this Ruth Cherry, she had a brother Howard, and he was going to Oregon State, and I was going with a fellow there at Monmouth who's father, one way or another or both, run a dairy, and we used to snare John into taking us over to Corvallis to see Howard once in awhile.

JL: What did you do?

GC: Oh, we'd just visit awhile and come back. One time we got lost in the fog on the way back, and got into Albany, we crossed the Albany bridge. But we made the wrong turn in the fog. You know how foggy it gets down there. We got home a little after ten at night and had to get the matron from the dorm to let us in, and she was sure mad.

JL: Tell me how you found out about the job in eastern Oregon.

GC: Well you apply for schools, you go to the office and they give you a list of schools where they think you would be most adaptable. And because I was the outdoor type and all, they picked schools out here.

JL: Why not in Hood River?

GC: I didn't want to go to Hood River. Quite definitely I didn't want to go to Hood River because I didn't want to have to tell mom and dad I wouldn't live at home, and I figured I'd get along much better somewhere else. And I talked it over,

I had the opportunity to go there, the county school superintendent came and talked to me at Monmouth, but he agreed with me that if I went farther away I'd probably be happier.

JL: Did you want to leave the Willamette Valley?

GC: Well, I didn't have any choices down there. I didn't get any opportunities to apply there, but I had several places here and I picked Harney County because of the animals and the openness and I figured I'd like it.


JL: Had you ever been to eastern Oregon before?

GC: No farther than Kent down in Sherman County, in the wheat country. I'd spent a couple of weeks there once. But the fact that it was cow country and horses and things, and I liked animals and figured I'd have a chance to be outdoors. And like I say, they pick you for your adaptability, and they told me that I probably could get along out here in this country probably much more easily than many of the other girls because of my likes for the open country and all.

JL: So tell me about that, what were your choices, do you remember?

GC: I don't remember. I just remember one other thing about this applying for schools. They told me whatever I did do not apply for the [unintelligible] school.

JL: Why?

GC: It had, like John was telling you yesterday, it had a horrid reputation that the kids there were regular demons, and that I wouldn't get along with them because I'd have a terrible time the first year. So I applied for Boltige, which is it was the last year the Boltige school ran, and it was about ten miles from Narrows.

JL: So you applied and they accepted you?

GC: They accepted.

JL: Who's "they?"

GC: The school board, you see, at that time it was Violet Marshall, Colver Marshall, Charlie Backuss, and Mary Marshall I think. I believe those were the ones. At least, there could have been one more, but I don't remember.

JL: So you got your acceptance in the summer of '36?

GC: Yes, and I came out here in September, I believe it was the 22nd.

JL: Tell me about that ride over here. How did you get here?

GC: Oh, I came over on the bus, and I never put in such a long, we traveled overnight, we had layovers in Bend and we had here and there, we spent a lot of time just stopping here and there. The first place that I could see anything, we traveled at night, and I changed buses at Bend, and we got out here at Hampton, we stopped for breakfast, and the wind was just howling and the dirt was flying, and I lost my hat, we had to chase it down the road, then you could see the smoke from the Hines Mill and I thought we never ever would get to where that smoke was coming out. By the time I got into Burns it was late again.

JL: Were you scared or excited, or

GC: Oh, of course I was a little nervous over who I would meet, and how it would work out, and I had some things I knew I had to do when I got to Burns, I had to see the superintendent and get certain books and papers from her, and I found that all right.

JL: What had you been told who you would teach

GC: I was told I would have between 5 and 9 students in all 8 grades, and I would be way out in the booneys, which I was, and I would probably have to walk or ride two miles to school. And I had never ridden a horse, but I learned. 00:58:00I got to and Burns and the bus depot was in the Welcome Hotel, which is now gone, it burned a good number of years later. And no one met me. They were supposed to, but no one did. And so I didn't really know what to do about that, but I left word at the desk at hat I had arrived. And then I went to find the court-house and the county supervisor. And she was [unintelligible], a very lovely lady. She gave me my books and I came back to the hotel, but I didn't get a room because I expected someone to come for me momentarily. It got late and it got later and it got to be ten o'clock at night, but in the meantime, these cowboys in Burns, you know, are friendly, and there was a cow buyer and a local rancher, felt sorry for me in my predicament and took me to supper.


JL: Who were they?

GC: Walt Cooley was the rancher and Chet Carter was the buyer. And later, John knew them well, because they'd been here a long time, and I got to know them well, too. And they took me to supper, which was a life savor, I didn't have very much money with me to spend for anything like that. And I finally was met about 10:30 that night. And the people who came after me were Culver and Violet Marshall and their kids, and they had been to the Pendleton Round-Up and had stayed to see the last show, and had to drive from Pendleton, which was no little task.

JL: Had they forgotten you?

GC: No, no, but they should have left work that they would wouldn't be in until very late, you see, but they didn't. We went home, out to their ranch, down 01:00:00through the swamp, we went [unintelligible] and hout through [unintelligible], the lake was dry, and cattails higher than our car on both sides. [Unintelligible] track going out through the [unintelligible] and I thought I had come to the ends of the world. I just couldn't believe where I had ended up. But they had a nice little home and I had a bedroom of my own.

JL: And this is where?

GC: At Voltage, that is where our home was for thirty years. We bought the hou-e next year.

JL: You got there and what did they show you?

GC: Well, the next day we went over and kind of cleaned the school house. It had been cleaned some, it was a one room school.

JL: There was a school there?

GC: Oh, yes, out two miles from where they lived, out south, and they'd had a big old pot bellied stove with a water tank on the top, just to make steam in the room, you know. There were quite a few books, and all the new books had to be unpacked. All the different classes.

JL: That you had brought.

GC: No, I just brought my register and some information to make it a little easier for me to plan my schedules. And one thing I noticed right off was there wasn't a decent blackboard, and I asked about it, and I tried for weeks and weeks to even get a paintbrush and some paint so I could paint that blackboard. It was just full of white pock marks and you couldn't write on it very good. I finally bought the brush and paint myself. School boards 01:01:00didn't have any money in those days. I got, oh dear, I didn't get paid by check, when I got my wages I got just a slip of paper that said that the district owed me so much, and I only got $75 a month. $25 they took out for board and room.

JL: Where did you board and room?

GC: With Culver and Violet Marshall. And they took $25 of it. And they gave me this voucher, and if I took the voucher to the bank to get my money I had to pay 5% to the bank to cash it, but if I took it to the J. C. Pennys store, they would cash it at face value, so I always cashed my vouchers there.

JL: Pennys at Burns? How did you get to Burns?

GC: Well, Culver would bring me sometimes, Culver and Violet. And I met some boys that would bring me up to dances. Later, after I met John, he was my chauffer.

JL: Before we continue on with that, I want to hear, you came in September of 1936 and you cleaned the school house and then what happened?

GC: Well, I found out how many little kids I would have, I had 2 first graders, I had a preschooler that I soon sent home for keeps because she went to sleep on me and was quite a nuisance, and I found out I was only being a baby sitter, and she was five and very immature. And I had two Marshall boys, they were in 5th 01:02:00and 6th grades I think at the time. That was all I had for the first, and that little preschooler, and I think I put up with her for about a month, and then I told her mother, no, no more. And then a little later in the fall, I think October, another family came down from Frenchglen and they ran cattle out on the lake. And I had a boy in the 7th grade, no a girl in the 7th grade, a boy in the 6th grade, a second grader and a third grader, so it made my school up to nine, and they had to bring their books from Frenchglen because Voltage couldn't' 01:03:00afford to buy books for those kids for just half a term. They stayed until Christmas, you see, then their pasture with the government ran out and they had to go back to Frenchglen to their home.

JL: I don't understand. Explain that.

GC: Well, because they moved their cattle to the refuge for pasture

JL: The wildlife refuge?

GC: Yes. And so they lived in an old house there at Voltage. And they just camped there and the kids went to school to me for the first half of that school year. And so the Frenchglen District let them bring their books with them so that Voltage wouldn't have to support the books for all those different grades, because times were really rough, and we didn't' have any students in those grades that those kids were in.

JL: What was at Voltage at the time when you came in '36?


GC: A school and an old shed, but we stored grain in, and this old house. And a well, we had a well at the school house and a well at the house.

JL: What was the population of Voltage?

GC: Zero. There was nobody living at voltage until the Millers came down there. And there were five kids and a mother and a dad.

JL: Well, I don't understand why you were hired by the Voltage school board.

GC: Well, you see, the Voltage district encompassed a big area, and the schoolhouse was there out in the brush, way away from everywhere that people lived, and there was a little girl coming from the refuge you see.

JL: How did she get to school?

GC: Her folks brought her in the car, evidently, I don't remember just exactly but they must have, because she was away too small to walk from the refuge. And there wasn't anywhere else for them to live, I can't remember that there was anywhere for them to have lived.

JL: That refuge had just come into being just recently?

GC: They were just beginning to landscape the houses and were hauling rocks and building there when I came.

JL: Describe what this one room school house was like. What did you have?

GC: Well, I didn't have really anything. We had a pot bellied stove and wood, and nobody split the wood, I had to split my own wood and carry my own coal, they brought me out a load of slab wood from town out there, and finally the pieces I didn't naive any wedge or sledge or anything, I just had an old dull axe, and I finally got it cut up to where I couldn't do much more, and after I 01:05:00met John he brought a sledge over there one afternoon and we cut up the big hunks that I couldn't get in the stove. And we had coal to hold the fire overnight. And we had those poor blackboards and I finally painted them. We had desks that two kids had to sit together in, you know, those old , old fashioned kind, and the two Wilier boys they were as large as I was, and they had to sit together, so they fought about their paper and pencils and they'd get right down to blows every once in awhile and I'd open the door and tell them to go out and fight, and I wanted to see a good one. That was the only way I could control them. I could scold all I wanted to and it didn't have any effect, and if I sent them out and make them fight, and sometimes one would come in in tears and sometimes the other one, but they'd be good for a week or two.

JL: You had wood desks.

GC: Yes.

JL: How many were there?

GC: Well, there were enough to seat these nine kids; there were no extra, as I recall. And some didn't fit the kids too well. And I had a big desk and a chair of my own, and that was about the limit of what there was there.

JL: How did you teach all eight grades?

GC: Well, you combined some at reading time, sometimes we'd say now we'll read, and I'd make them read aloud, and sometimes at arithmetic I'd have them at the board and I'd watch two or three different grade levels at a time, and when we 01:06:00got it so we could make marks and see them, why we did that. And then I went around from desk to desk, and I'd take them up in a corner, away from the others, and give them special attention. You just worked it out. It wasn't easy for me.

JL: You were saying these older boys couldn't read?

GC: No, they couldn't read a lot, and they didn't know what they had read. It is kind of like today, they had had an aunt for a teacher and every time they came to a word they didn't know she'd tell them. I discovered that, and boy, I made them read their history and their geography and everything else right out loud, otherwise they didn't know what was going on, they couldn't figure it out. So I had more reading classes then a little bit, and when I had gone to 01:07:00school, I had taken a remedial reading class myself and I had all those materials, so this 6th grade kid, he and his folks were pretty upset with me, but I made him to go back to reading primers and things, and putting him through the same bunch offsets that they had put us kids at school, when we came in if we couldn't read so fast, then they taught us how to gain our span on stuff. And I made those kids do that with my things I had brought with me. And it improved him no end, but he was sure chagrined that he had to go back to first grade and even before first grade to get books so that I could do that. I sent to the state library and had them send me a sack of books. You could do that then, they don't appreciate that sort of thing now, but they sent big 01:08:00[unintelligible] of books at a very minimum of cost, they'd come to Burns and some-body that was going in would pick them up, they'd go to the superintendent's office, and we'd pass them out just like a small library around the neighborhood and everybody would read what they wanted and then we'd send them back and get some more.

JL: How were the children dressed?

GC: Oh, country, just about ordinary, the little girls, much to my dissatisfaction wore dresses, and this was an extremely cold winter, and I had two little girls that had to walk a mile to school, and they dressed them in overalls at home, but when they sent them to school they put a type of wool leggings on them to keep their legs dry, or try to, and sent them across the 01:09:00fields through the snow. And this winter that I came here it went to 30 and 40, below, Jennifer, and it didn't come up to zero until Valentine's Day in February. We never saw a zero day until then from the 1st of January on. And I worried about those kids, they wore overalls at home and long stockings and then they sent them to school in dresses, and I complained, to the parents and the parents promptly told me they would send their children in what they prefer. And I was wearing overalls to school because I had to either walk or ride, and I didn't bring a skirt to change to.

JL: Ride on a horse?

GC: Yes. Because when I had been here just a little while I promptly found out that skirts were not very handy for what I had to do, and why change clothes 01:10:00when I got to school? But the Miller kids, of course, they were more the rugged type of family and they came in their pants during that cold weather. Sometimes the little girls, later on, if it got more pleasant days I'd see them in skirts and things, but not in that real cold weather.

JL: Did you teach five days a week?

GC: Yes, Monday through Friday, except for one little short period of time we went to school even on Saturdays because we lost a lot of days. It finally got so cold and my stove got plugged up and I couldn't get anybody to help me take the pipe down to clean it, and it would all it would do is smoke, I couldn't get a fire. So I had to close school, and it seems to me we had ten days we had to make up. So every so many, we didn't take anymore holidays then, and every once in awhile I went to school on a Saturday.

JL: How did you communicate with the ranching families around?


GC: By notes in mail sacks or sending notes home with their kids. But they all agreed that was the way we could make it up. And when we, I finally tried by asking to get somebody, see there were about [unintelligible] they went full length across the school house [unintelligible] across here, and I couldn't take it down by myself. And so I finally asked John, I didn't know know him hardly at all, he was living across the fence from where I was boarding, and I finally asked him if I could get Culver to go, would he help me take that pipe down. So one morning I got up and I wouldn't go to school. And Culver said, why 01:12:00aren't you going to school? I said, I'm not going to have classes any more until you fix that pipe because all we can do is play outdoors in the sun. It smokes so bad that we don't get classes until noon, and you have known that for a week. It has to be cleaned, you know, we couldn't even run a broom stick down that stove pipe.

JL: Had there been a teacher there before?

GC: Oh yes, but they didn't, we burned coal, and coal soot's things up, and if its a long, I took a five gallon bucket of ashes and soot out of the chimney.

JL: How were teachers regarded by the ranchers around?

GC: You were rather special, everybody tried to help you just as much as possible, with the exception of money. If you asked for something, just like 01:13:00me and my blackboard paint, I couldn't persuade anybody to get it, they just didn't have any money to spend. These schools were very, very bad off.

JL: You were respected, then.

GC: Oh, very much so.

JL: Did you ever get together with other teachers in the county?

GC: At times. Now, I was handicapped, I couldn't drive.

JL: You didn't know how to?

GC: No, I didn't know how, even. But the teacher at [unintelligible], Edna Hanks, she used to gather her kids up and bring them over, and we'd have a few games and a picnic lunch, and walk up the canyon in the rim there and see if we could find an arrowhead, which we quite often could. We'd take a Friday afternoon and do those things. She'd bring the kids about noontime. That was 01:14:00lots of fun and gave us a little diversion. And of course around the neighborhood we'd have card parties at the refuge building sometimes, and sometimes pot luck at the different homes around. There was always plenty of ways to get together.

JL: Did you feel like you were being watched, since you were a single woman?

GC: Oh, yes,

JL: Threat or whatever?

GC: No, no threats or whatever, but she wouldn't do some things you might in the larger places, of course, because once you did anything it just buzzed right around the neighborhood, everybody knew where you'd been and who you'd been with, and every little detail.

JL: Was it common for a teacher to board with a family?

GC: That's the only way, unless you happened to be married and sometimes there 01:15:00was a little room. Edna taught at the Sod House and they had a little trailer that she lived in. I don't know if it was hers, I think it was her own trailer home, she and [unintelligible] I think when they first started out lived in a trailer, but, and at Diamond they had a little place for a married teacher to live.

JL: Was it difficult boarding with the Marshall family? You had your own room.

GC: I had my own room.

JL: Were you expected to help cook? And do the chores?

GC: Oh, no, but I usually did because being me, I just liked those things, and I participated. And then I got myself in lots of problems, Culver and his wife fought all winter, and finally he sent her to California with his parents and he 01:16:00brought another woman in the house, [unintelligible], and she borrowed my clothes without permission while I was away at Christmastime, and I learned to do a lot of things rather hastily over that bit because when I came back and it got cold she was supposed to cook for me and the kids and for Culver.

JL: She was a housekeeper, or?

GC: Well, his girlfriend, but she was supposed to provide the meals for us when we got home from school, and she didn't, she fooled around with him instead. And we'd come home and it would oftentimes even be cold in the house and we'd have to go out and get the wood and all, and I'd have to cook and fix the kids a snack when they came in from school because they would have fooled around all day and not have done anything like that.

JL: Didn't he have fields or a ranch to watch?

GC: Oh, yeah, but he went out and did that and I guess took her along, and then 01:17:00they'd come in and they didn't do any of the household things and we'd come home to no wood, and it was that cold, cold weather, you see, and so one night I decided I'd fix them. And on the way home I told the kids I said, "When we get in tonight get a sandwich a piece and we'll sit behind the stove in the front room. It'll be warm behind that stove." We burned sagebrush, you see, and it holds heat a long time. I said, "We won't go out and get any wood, and we won't cook supper. If your dad and Margaret haven't done it, we are just going to sit behind the stove and read. I'll read to you, and you can read your own, 01:18:00too." So when we came in, they helped me make sandwiches, an after school snack, and we had some little boxes that we sat in a circle in the corner, it was like the stove was about out to here and we could sit in the corner. And we just didn't say anything to anybody and went and sat down and right away we were asked, well, aren't you going to get the wood, and no, we aren't going to get any wood, we are just going to read. Pretty quick it got late and started to get dark, because it would be almost dark tone we got home from school in the winter like that. And pretty soon Margaret said, aren't you going to get supper, and I said, I am not, we've had a sandwich, we'll be all right.

So Culver got up and went out and cut wood just like a house afire. He brought it in and started throwing it practically on us behind the stove, because that's where the wood was usually stacked. And so we just moved over a little bit. 01:19:00And she got up and got supper. But that was the last time that we had to do anything when we came home from school. It was always ready. But that weekend, the mail was late because of all the storm and cold and everything. We got a telegram, they'd come into Burns but because no phones they would mail them out, you see, but the mail had been a little late, and we didn't get it the day we should have, and her mother was sick with pneumonia at Pendleton, and in the hospital, and when we got the mail on Saturday she wanted to go but she didn't see how she could and Culver said I can't take you, and I said, oh yes you can, I've got dinner ready. You set down and eat and you and Margaret are 01:20:00going to leave right after we eat. I never fed cows in my life but if these boys and I can't, we'll find somebody that can help us. That team's gentle and I know how to harness them. And I'll pack your suitcase for you while you eat your lunch and Margaret can pack hers as soon as she eats, and you're going to Pendleton. So I had them all ready to load and they were getting in the car and fortunate for me, Carl Jones showed up, he was a neighbor, and he was willing to stay and feed the cows. So I didn't have to go out. But I had quit school by that time because it was too cold to ask the kids to go, because we hadn't cleaned the stovepipe yet.

JL: Wasn't that looked down upon for someone to go in and live with a rancher like that while his wife was away?

GC: Of course it was, it was the talk of the town, you might say, at the time.


JL: Didn't that affect this couple?

GC: Of course it did, she left him eventually and married another fellow, she married Carl Jones, and they are living to gather yet, and Culver married two other girls at different times, not the one that he had there.

JL: Boy. Didn't you attract a lot of attention being a single woman, didn't a lot of buckaroos come around?

GC: Oh, lots of people came around and tried to be my bosom friend and all, but I was a little choosey and didn't take up with quite a lot of them that came around. Pretty soon, you see, after I met John I don't know why exactly but it just seemed natural just to stay with him, and I didn't go with anyone else 01:22:00after he asked me. I was snowed in and I had gone out with several different fellows around, but I didn't have any particular boyfriend, and then John was living across the fence there, and the two weeks that I stayed home and cooked for Carl and the Marshall boys while they fed the cattle, it was too cold like I say to go to school anymore with that smokey stove, and those little girls walking across the field in dresses, I just couldn't have it, so I said no more school until it got warmer. And they got the stove fixed. And so John was riding fence with the government, and my word he'd come home and his horse'd be just white and he'd be so cold he could hardly unfold to get off, and it was everybody always took in everyone, you know. In those days around here. And 01:23:00we'd watch, the boys and I, when John would come down across the field we'd stoke up the stoves and get the coffee hot and get him to come in and drink coffee and stand behind the stove so he could go home and put his horse up and build his own fire. All he had was a little cheon (?) stove that the fire went out right away as soon as he left, and it was so cold, and we'd visit, and it just, I don't know, it was a comfortable feeling, and he asked me if I'd like to go to town with him, he had to go get groceries, and we hadn't been anywhere, none of us had, we were getting out of everything. Culver had come back from Pendleton by then and gave me a big list, we went to town we went to the show, and brought back a whole big carload of groceries to get by on.

JL: What did the people around there think of you and John going together?


GC: They seemed to appreciate the fact that he had found somebody that he liked a lot and John was quite a booze hound, and quit. He drank far too much.

JL: That didn't bother you?

GC: Yeah, at first, but as quick as I started going with him, he didn't drink at all. And so I didn't worry about it. Of course, at first I never gave it a thought. I didn't think I'd take up with him for very long, I figured he was just another one of the fellows around that was being good to me because everybody was good to the strangers and all. But like I say he kept suggesting 01:25:00that maybe we'd better do this and better do that, and in six weeks I had agreed to do it forevermore.

JL: Now I want to hear about this. You met him in February 1936?

GC: I think oh in January I met him because it was in January that it was so very, very cold.

JL: And you went with him and did things with him

GC: Just a way to go, really, I hadn't given it any thought to be close to him at all.

JL: And then he asked you to marry him, or you asked him-

GC: He says I asked him, but I don't think there was aver any asking in either direction.

JL: So 42 years ago today you got married. I want to hear your story about that marriage and how your parents felt about it, and everything.

GC: Well, I got the hottest letter a girl could have gotten from my mother. But at the end of that letter, she just scolded and scolded all through, when I wrote home and told her I was married. But at the end she said be sure to come home as soon as you can. And we went home in June, and my father had packed all my things, so all we had to do was load them, so I wouldn't have to worry about it. He had found some real heavy cardboard cartons and packed all my stuff up for me.

JL: He wasn't angry?

GC: Oh, no, he wasn't angry at all. He was all for being good and helping us out, and just like always, he had done nice things, and had found these big, heavy cartons so we wouldn't have to worry about getting my stuff together.

JL: Tell me about March 26, 1936.

GC: It starts just a little bit before that, because you had to get your 01:26:00license, some called it the sobering up period. We went to town on the 23rd and we had to wait 3 days. We got our license, but there was a period of time, I don't know whether you have to do that now or not, but John called it the sobering up period.

JL: What do they make you do?

GC: Well, you apply for your license and they give you a license, but you have to wait 3 days before it would be valid.

JL: Why?

GC: Well, I guess so you could change your mind.

JL: What did you do during those three days?

GC: I came back and taught school. And then Friday afternoon, the 26th was a Friday and I took my clothes to school, and John met me after school there and I had changed my clothes by the time we got there. We went to town and we went to his father's cabin and he changed his clothes. He had a suit up there, then we went to the Lutheran church. We thought we only had to have one witness, and we had him, we asked him to meet us at the church.

JL: Had you invited other people to go to your wedding?

GC: No. It was all a spur of the moment affair, we just took off. And we'd asked Hubert Wendell to be a witness, but that wasn't enough, and so Hubert knew 01:27:00another fellow who lived just a door or two away from the church, I knew hardly anyone at all, so they went and got the other fellow, it was a Caman fellow, It was Ed Caman's brother, Edwin. And, or Edgar, and he had a respiratory problem always and he had to live in a cellar in the wintertime to keep from getting pneumonia, and but he came and witnessed for us. The Reverend Wildermar was the fellow at the Lutheran church. The clock on the mantle struck six as we finished the ceremony, and I went in the office to get the marriage certificate, 01:28:00and John went, too, and he was still in there, but I heard a noise out the front door, and I looked out and I said, oh gosh, somebody is tearing up the car. And

JL: Oh, people had heard you were getting married, huh?

GC: The Sheriff, no less, had planned to kidnap me and separate me from John, and they were going to do it at the church as we came out. They were going to fix it so we couldn't get away with the car. But because the roads were so terrible John had the coil on the carburetor and all the ignition parts covered with oil cloth and tied on with wire, so that things wouldn't get wet and the only thing the guy could do was pull the coil wire out of the coil, and John is a mechanic enough that he saw that right away and he shoved it back up in and it 01:29:00made contact, and we got away. They weren't very smart, they thought we would come for gas, but Old Yellowstone garage, up on the corner, where Copeland is now. And instead, we went down to the Chewy garage and went out this road down here at Whiskey [unintelligible] Lane, they call it, riverside drive country. And they should have put up their barricade out here at the river bridge, and then they'd have had us, but they didn't think about that. Everybody waited at the Yellowstone Garage and we didn't come, and they got suspicious and took after us, but the road was so bad that they got stuck out there in canyon lane. We had

JL: And you were heading towards

GC: Voltage. We went back because I had to teach school the next Monday and there wasn't anywhere for us to go at short notice, and John had his job, and 01:30:00there was no money really, he was only getting $75 a month, and I was just getting $75 less the $25. So we just, we went, let's see

JL: You were going to Voltage.

GC: Oh, we went out to Voltage and there were people suspicious out there, and they went around from neighbor to neighbor and got everybody together, and Saturday we hauled off all the trash around the cabin and just cleaned it up and we went around from neighbor to neighbor, and Saturday night the whole community came in there, and like Johnny told you one other time, we had gallon jars of macaroni and other things sitting up around the walls, and they started beating on that cabin and we had to let them in sooner than we wanted to, we wanted to give them a bad time, but we couldn't because those jars were going to drop off and break.

JL: What do they call this process?

GC: A shiveree, and we went to the Mills and danced until the daylight hours. We had brought some wine, candy and cigars to pass out, and there was a store at the Mills, we bought lunch goods and sat it out just kind of catch as catch can deal, and I think somebody made a pot of coffee down at the store and brought cups up. It was a real short notice affair, but everybody had a good time.

JL: None of your family came?

GC: Oh, no, we didn't know anything

JL: Wasn't that an independent thing for you to do?

GC: Well, I had asked John if he would go home with me first, and he said no. 01:31:00He said I won't go home with you first. So I said all right. And I knew what the consequences would be, I'd hurt my folks, but I also knew that if I fooled around and tried to get him to go it would be hard on him and cause us problems, too, and I couldn't see, I was well past my 21st birthday, I was 23 years old, so I figured it was plenty all right for me to do what I figured would work out. And I would say it has, because this is 42 years.