Farley & Loetscher, 1962, Caradco, 1962 to 1964
I remember going down to apply for the job. I would’ve been—what?—nineteen years old I guess. I went up to the personnel manager’s office in Farley & Loetscher’s main building. The personnel manager was a nice guy—dressed real nice. He asked me a couple questions then he pulled out a tape measure and pointed to a measurement on it and asked, “Can you read that?” I said, “It’s five and three sixteenths,” or whatever it was and he said, “You’re hired.”
I took away from the cutoff saw down in the basement of the main building the first couple months, then they offered me a job up in the cut stock warehouse. I remember my supervisor in cut stock, his name was Spike Nehls. His last name was Nehls so, of course, his nickname was Spike. Spike Nehls. Very nice guy. He sent me a birthday card on my birthday. Of course, he laid me off a few weeks later, but that wasn’t his doing. I think Farley & Loetscher was in the process of closing down even when I started there. In fact, I kind of wondered how long it would last because my clock-in number was thirteen-thirteen.
The next year, 1962, I went to work at Caradco and I worked on what they called the bull gang. They unloaded boxcars. There’s a loading dock that runs along the east side of the Caradco building where the Food Co-op is now. We unloaded right on the north end of that, where Brazen Restaurant is. When the boxcars came in it was like pick-up sticks. You’d get the door open and all these different sizes of wood were scattered around. It all came form the west coast and the bundles would come apart from bouncing around. I worked with two older guys there, the car checkers: Oley Maiden was one and Frankie Stoffel was the other. They were both good old guys that had been there forever, you know.
After the bull gang I was a helper on a brand new piece of machinery I think they called the end glue machine. It was supposed to make big pieces of wood out of small pieces. For instance, your were supposed to be able to take two twelve-inch boards and join them together to make a twenty-four-inch inch board. The operator and I worked on that for the six months before I quit and we never did make a good piece of wood. Nothing ever went right. You’d finally get the pieces to fit together just perfect, and then the glue wouldn’t hold. Nobody showed us what to do; nobody come around; nobody said anything, like, “You’re doing good,” or, “You’re doing bad.” They just put us on the machine and we were supposed to learn it. It was funny—well, it wasn’t really funny, it was kind of frustrating. I can still picture the operator, he’d get so mad.
Caradco was an experience. It was hot and sweaty—a good place to get out of. I quit in May of ‘64 and went to the police department.