Farley & Loetscher, 1957 to 1959
I come in here to the Eagle’s Club every morning, Monday through Friday. I do the check in, the bookwork, and all that stuff every morning. I’ve been coming out here since 1970. I was talking to a guy out front yesterday and we were trying to remember people from Farley & Loetscher that are still around. There’s not many.
I started at Farley & Loetscher later on in ‘57. At that time it was one of the only places around here that was hiring, because they didn’t pay nothing. There were about fifteen of us from up around Colesburg and Edgewood that came down and worked at Farley & Loetscher. I think there’s only three of us still alive—the rest are dead. Most of them was older people at that time, and some had worked there for quite a while, but … they’re all gone now.
My main job was on the solid core line—we made them solid core doors. I stood all day on one leg runnin’ that trip saw. I run the belt, so people up above placed these two-by-fours on the belt and when they come down I would hit a peddle with my foot that would stop it and automatically saw the boards. I’d do that all day long … All day long.
That line was down in the basement. We worked right down by where they had a big safe. It was probably six-foot by six-foot and it had a huge door on it. Well, this guy we knew had figured out how to open up that safe. He worked with a buddy of mine across the street assembling windows. I don’t know how he figured it out or if he stole anything from it, but … Well, he was borrowing money from people all the time. One night he asked us to go out with him, but we couldn’t go and I’m glad we didn’t. This guy come into work the next morning paying everyone back their money and passing out cigars, and about ten o’clock the cops come in and nailed him. He’d robbed the Melody Mill the night before! Check the police records for that in late ‘58.
There were bars all up and down Central Ave. We always went to one right there across from the courthouse to the north. Then down south on Central—it’d be on the south side—there was a restaurant and a bar where we used to go and eat. Then across the street there was another one. … and then the Diamond Café. We used to eat in all of them. Well, we stayed in an apartment upstairs on White Street, on the next block across from the courthouse. There was five of us. We roomed upstairs there. I don’t know what the hell we paid, but it wouldn’t have been very much because we didn’t make very much.
In the first part of ‘59 when Deere’s was hiring, and that’s when we got the hell out of there. Deere’s was paying 50¢ to a dollar more an hour, depending on what kind of job you got. Four of us went out to Deere’s and they cut us off right in the middle. Two of us got in and the other two didn’t. The two who didn’t, they said, “Piss on it,” and went and joined the Navy the next day. Yeah, we all roomed together. We were all from up around Edgewood.