Tag: Highway 99

Workin’ at the Cannery

By Pat Edwards

I lived and went to school in Lebanon, Oregon in the 1950s and early 1960s. It was not located on the Highway 99 corridor but, being a neighbor to Albany, my family frequently ventured over that way. We used Highway 99 for our northbound trips to Salem and Portland and south to Eugene, where my grandparents lived, quite often.

In 1960, I graduated from Lebanon Union High School and immediately put in my application at the Flav-R-Pac cannery in Albany for summer work. I had enrolled at Linfield College in McMinnville and needed to supplement my tuition savings. My family had owned and operated a bean and strawberry farm in Lebanon during my high school years and we had connections at the cannery, so I wasn’t surprised when they called and told me to report for work the next night. Night?.. Yep!… I was being hired for the graveyard shift. Not only wasn’t I prepared to work through the night, I had an appointment in Salem the next morning to take my SATs for college!

Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity of the job, however, I agreed to report in a little before midnight. I have always been a hard worker, but I was used to working outside in the sunshine and, occasionally, rain. So, the experience of spending the night under bright fluorescent lights, standing at a dripping-wet conveyor belt and trying to focus in on the endless parade of green beans that slid past me was a new and traumatic experience. My job was to pick out any debris or problem beans from the millions that went by me every hour. I took an occasional break and ate my hand-packed lunch in the break room. I was always rather shy, so I ate alone. I was definitely not enjoying myself.

While working, I was dressed in a heavy rubber apron and rubber galoshes and wore a hair net, but at the end of the shift, my shoes were soaked, my clothes were damp and my hair was flattened into a not-so-becoming style.

When the time finally came to stamp my time-card and walk out to my car where my mother was waiting to drive me to Salem, the sun was up, but my feet were dragging. I was not only tired, but my brain was trying to focus on the upcoming and very important test that awaited me in less than two hours. I didn’t even have time to go home to change or shower.

By the time I entered the assigned classroom where I was supposed to take the SAT, I felt like I was dragging a heavy weight on my feet and all of my senses seemed dulled. It took all of my resources to focus on each question and somehow, I was able to finish all but a few problems that had me stumped, and I slowly made my way out to my car. My sweet mother drove me home and although I don’t remember, I’m sure I slept all the way home.

I reported back for work at midnight again that night, and was scheduled to be off the next night. But, after much soul-searching, I made the painful decision to quit the job at the cannery. I knew I could get work on one of the local farms, hoeing or “bean-bossing.” The pay wouldn’t be as good, I knew, but if I ended up sweaty and wet from my toils in the sun, it was a much better feeling than being eternally wet, standing in one place in front of a drippy conveyor belt all night long.

A couple of weeks later, I was notified of my SAT score and, although it was “good enough,” I retook the test later that summer and was able to enter Linfield with my head held a bit higher than it would have been otherwise.

Included in OREGON’S MAIN STREET: U.S. Highway 99 “The Stories” by Jo-Brew (2014)

Sweet Lorane Community News – January 19, 2017

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
January 19, 2017
By Pat Edwards

WooHoo! The snow and ice are gone and – I thought I’d never say this in January – our rain is back! So far, it doesn’t look like there is much flooding in this area, if any. Hopefully, now I can find something to talk about besides weather this week

One bit of Lorane news connected to the weather, however… Magdalina Ware, one of Lorane’s long-time residents, was helping a neighbor last week during the icy conditions and fell and broke her leg. When her granddaughter alerted us via the Facebook page, an outpouring of meals and love were sent Mag’s way and Jerol, who is not known for his cooking skills, apparently, is now able to heat up a variety of dishes to get them through until Mag is able to be up and around again. I’m sure that Mag is champing at the bit to be able to get down to Seven Feathers to play a game of bingo again. I know that I’ve earned somewhat of a reputation as a bingo fan, but Mag has me beat. Jerol… not so much. He tags along with her and plays the slots, but he almost always has a Zane Grey or other western novel on hand to immerse himself in while she is playing, if need be. Get well soon, Mag!

Speaking of bingo, the Lorane and Crow granges are resuming their dinner and bingo nights. Lorane’s will be on Saturday, January 28… the 4th Saturday of the month. Crow’s started theirs again last Saturday and will continue until summer on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays. They are both fun events for the whole family and help to support the individual granges.

Dinner will begin at the Lorane event at 5:30 p.m. and bingo for the whole family starts at 6:30 p.m. At Crow, dinner starts at 6:00 p.m. and bingo is at 7:00 p.m. Both are fun, raucous times and I hope to see big crowds there this spring. For Lorane, contact Lil Thompson (541-942-5701 for information; for Crow, the contact person is Connie Suing. I don’t have Connie’s contact information, but she can be reach via Facebook and or the newly activated Crow Community Facebook page.

Members of the Lorane Christian Church invites the community to join them on January 21st for the film, “Miracle From Heaven” that they will be showing at 5:30 p.m.

Jo-Brew and I have some talks lined up this month and next on the history of Pacific Highway/U.S. Highway 99 through Oregon. This month it will be Albany; next month, Junction City and Willamalane in Springfield. I’ve decided to do my introductory portion as a PowerPoint presentation so I can show vintage photos while I talk. Jo is the storyteller of our duo and loves to relate some of the stories told to her in the course of her extensive research of “Oregon’s Main Street.” We’d love to give some more local talks if any of the service clubs are looking for program speakers.

In addition, Jennifer Chambers and I have put together a talk on self-publishing if any of the writing groups in the area are interested. The one we gave to the Willamette Writers turned out really well. We’ve learned quite a few ins and outs about self-publishing over the years and we’d love to share our experiences. We don’t charge for either talk.

I’m in the process of preparing for two cataract surgeries in the coming weeks. I always thought I would be nervous if I ever had to have any type of eye surgery, but I’ve heard so many stories of how easy the surgery is, that I’m really looking forward to being able to see without eyestrain and blurry vision. It’s a bummer when reading comprises a good portion of your life. I’m not going to opt for the correction of my astigmatism at the same time, so I’ll continue to wear glasses. Besides, when the DMV insisted that I have my drivers’ license photo taken without my glasses, it gives me a shock now whenever I have to show ID… I look at that and say to myself… “Who IS that person?” I’ve worn glasses for the past 35 years and the out-of-pocket cost is more than I want to pay for what I understand would be a rather short term correction since I’d end up wearing reading and computer glasses most of the time, anyway.

Enjoy the rain!