Caradco, 1970 to 1973
I worked at Caradco the summer before I went into the service. I graduated in ‘66 and worked that summer, then when I got out of the service in July of ’70, they took me back. My dad was in the framing department. He started at Caradco right after he got out of the service in ’45 or ’46, I would think. He was in the tank core in World War II.
I worked in a department where we packaged finished products. We’d build a frame around the finished windows and make sure everything was all right, then we’d put cardboard on it and load it up. I really wanted to get in the drafting department and they said they would take me, but they only offered me five thousand dollars a year. At that time I was making between eight and ten thousand with overtime and everything, so I said, “No, you can keep it.” During my last year, there were a lot of slow times and I wasn’t making much at all. So I finally quit in December of ’73 and got a job in the drafting department at John Deere for eight thousand a year. It was a good thing I did, because Caradco closed down here a year or so later.
I think my dad liked it a lot here at Caradco. It was like anything else, he would get mad at them now and then about the way they treated employees sometimes. But, no, he liked it. He had to like it because he stayed here that long. My dad worked at Caradco until they closed, and then he worked five years at Jeld-Wen after that. But do you know what my dad made for a pension? For his thirty some years of working at Caradco he got fifty-one dollars and sixty-nine cents a month. From Jeld-Wen he made a hundred and something for a pension—and he only worked there five years. But from Caradco that’s all he got: fifty-one dollars and sixty-nine cents.