Carr, Adams & Collier/Caradco, 1945 to 1960, Saw Operator
I started out working nights, unloading lumber for the saws. In the cutting room there were four big band saws and each band saw had a door saw and a sash saw. So, after awhile I graduated into working a door saw—I cut lumber for doors. The band saws were the best jobs and the older guys kind of … well, they owned them, I guess. I was probably one of the youngest guys in the department at that time. In fact, there’s only one guy I can think of that worked in that cutting room that’s still alive—and I’m not sure about him.
Caradco was a good place to work except they didn’t pay a hell of a lot. Of course, we didn’t have cars then—or I didn’t, anyway. I lived up on Hill Street and I’d walk down. It was about a mile or so. But after I went on days—after I got married—there was a bus I could catch at ten minutes to seven. We caught the bus on Hill Street and the bus driver brought us right down. And I was never late.
In the busy times we worked fifty-five hours a week—ten on weekdays and five on Saturday. But then sometimes, when it was real slow, you only worked four days a week. You know, for four years I worked nights part-time down at the Pack. I worked here days then I would go down there and work four or five hours a night. That was just during their busy season, which was from late August ‘til right around Christmas time. I would get home at nine, get to bed at ten, then up at six—so you could still get seven or eight hours of sleep. I know a guy who did that for sixteen years.
After fourteen years I was only making a dollar ninety-eight an hour. So, I went to Deere’s. A lot of younger guys went to either the Pack or Deere’s. I went out to Deere’s in 1960 and after about a year-and-a-half I got laid off. I sat around ‘til spring—I was nervous as hell—so I knew Jack O’Neill, and he said, “I got a job for you, but if you take it you have to promise not to go back to Deere’s if they call you.” So I said, “Sure.” Two weeks after I started for Jack O’Neill, I got called back to Deere’s. But I didn’t go. I often wonder what would’ve happened if I’d broke my promise to Jack O’Neill and went back to Deere’s.