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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Hopyard Hobo - Part 6 (Written by my late father)

Part 1 of my father's short journal told about the depression and his experiences in California. Part 2 narrated a satisfying 5 weeks living off the fat of the land on a self sufficient farm in Southern Oregon. Befriended by a Hop grower in Part 3, he was hired as a chauffeur and then offered a job in the hop fields. Dad described his first impression of life on in a Hop Yard in Part 4. His high hopes of continuing the easy chauffeur type duties were doused by a hard dose of manual labor. The teasing by his fellow crew members and the young Russian beauties are not mentioned again. I think this says much about his discretion; Dad didn't kiss and tell. Part 5 describes a Hop Yard in the 1930's with detail - just in case you wonder where your beer has its earthy beginnings. Dad became the nozzle man on the spraying crew and a raise in pay. In episode six dad gets a little too involved with the bosses daughter’s romantic scheme.

(Part 6)

Picture from OREGON HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION
SALEM PUBLIC LIBRARY


By this time, I was well acquainted with the Boss's family. I liked them all and seemed to be liked equally well by them. Winston and Nora were both college debaters and almost every evening they brought some subject to discuss. We had some lively arguments on finance, politics, religion, psychology, and sociology. They accused me of being a college graduate, but I convinced them I had only a grade school education, but "polished" by experience gained by thirteen years of bubble chasing and a great deal of general reading.


I admired Nora very much and dated her a time or two. I learned that she was in love with a young man whom her parents disliked. The younger daughter, Beth, was interested chiefly in outdoor sports. She especially liked swimming and almost every day we went bathing in the
Luckimute River.

On the Fourth of July, our Russian foreman gave a barbecue. Work was forgotten and everybody celebrated. I enjoyed the best barbecued meat I have ever eaten. We ended the day in royal fashion with an ice cream supper and fireworks.

Wondering what it was like to keep company with a Russian girl, I asked Grace, the older of the two girls, for a date. She said yes. I went out with her several times afterward but she suddenly dropped me like a hot potato. I seem to be extremely unlucky in my romantic adventures.

By this time, all of the work, except patrolling the wires, was done until picking time. The hops were a solid wall of green vines hanging full of cream colored, fluffy, cone-shaped fruit called hop berries. The weight, which the trellis supported, was enormous. Winston, Fritz, and myself were kept busy every day repairing wires or replacing broken poles.

It was the sixteenth of June. Nora had a long talk with me and confided that she was in a dilemma. She had told her sweetheart to apply for a marriage license four days before. Now she had decided to quit him, late in the game as it was. She wanted my advice as to what to do.

"Why quit Charlie"? I asked. How could I know how to advise?

But, the next day when Charlie came, Nora's father ordered him away before she could do so herself. This made her angry. Perhaps after all she really loved the boy. She had said his only fault was his lack of education.

In the evening when I came home from work, I asked Nora how she had solved her problem.

She answered, "Al, I am going to elope with Charlie tonight. I want you to help me, but promise not to tell anyone about it."

I promised.

Somehow, she had contrived to tell Charlie to meet her at
eleven o’clock that night at a certain corner on the highway. Everything worked in her favor, for all were asleep by ten.

The upper floor of the house consisted of three rooms. The girls were in one, the boys another, while I occupied the third. At ten or a few minutes after, I went to the door of the girls' room and barely whispered. Nora was already dressed in pajamas for speedy travel in making her escape. She carried a small bundle of some kind.

I calmly walked down the stairway. Nora followed as silently as a shadow. I opened the door and she scooted away in the darkness.

To a certain extent, Charlie was my rival, and I was helping my own adversary. But, instead of thinking about that, I was wondering about the storm in the morning when Nora's absence was discovered.

The next morning I was waiting for breakfast when the mother called for Nora to wake up and come down. About this time, Beth came in with the note which Nora had left, telling of her elopement. Mr.Putman took it calmly, but Mrs. Putman burst into violent weeping.

Believe me, I kept my mouth shut and was innocent as could be. I could have been getting myself into a lot of trouble. Mrs. Putman thought I must have heard her leave as she passed my door but I kept a poker face and told nothing.

In order to quiet the turmoil, Mr. Putman suggested a week's trip to the coast. They left Fritz and me in charge of the hop yard. They returned from the coast in better spirits.

Later on, Nora and Charlie were forgiven and amiable relations existed again. Nora did not tell of my help so I was safe. But, I shall be careful never again to give Dan Cupid a lift.

20 comments:

Peter said...

by experience gained by thirteen years of bubble chasing.
Hi Pamela, you just know I'm going to use that line somewhere!!!!!!

Sally Lomax said...

Funny! Nora was a typical teenager. Had her parent said that she should marry Charlie, she would ahve dug her heels in and not run away. It's only because they threw him out that she ended up eloping!

Marti said...

What a great story! Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a wonderful day!

Jeanette said...

Hi Pamela.
Wow a Wonderful story on your dads life, thank you for sharing this story.

Heather said...

Delightful read and fun story.

Holly Schwendiman said...

What a fun tribute to your dad and his legacy. I love those that took time to record their life experiences and am grateful to others who share them. I have a deep fasinaction with history and would love little more than being able to travel the world over and see times in their prime.

Hugs,
Holly

Karmyn R said...

I wonder if Nora and Charlies' marriage was a happy one.

ChrisB said...

I enjoyed reading your dad's story it's lovely to get a glimpse of life back then.

C said...

How interesting to have this information. It's simple but let's you into his world in an honest and pure way.

Mert said...

I really love your dad's writing style, so easy going and warm.

This chapter brought a smile to my face and heart. :)

My word verification: iwnua...

I just bought a lottery ticket yesterday, so I take that as "I win you a..."

So, if I win, what would you like?;)

DesLily said...

I'd give anything if my dad had a journal like this.. I never knew him and I'd love to know what his life was like.

Susie Q said...

What a wonderful writing style and what a precious legacy to leave. Thank you for sharing this with us...I feel blessed!

I have been enjoying a bit of *catch up* this morning and having such fun here with you! I always leave with a real smile!

Have a sweet Wednesday!

I finally got around to updating my blog links...I added your is that is okkee doke with you!

Hugs,
Sue

Kila said...

Oh, how I enjoyed reading this. Your Dad was wonderful.

How did Nora and Charlie's marriage work out?

Beckie said...

I just read all six parts this morning. I loved it! Just like any good story - I want to know more, more, more.

Thanks for sharing it.

Willowtree said...

I love this stuff!

rose said...

Pamela Thank you for putting this in here about your father and his writings. I enjoyed it very much He sounds like a wonderful person Rose

Debs said...

Love the stories you share with us. :)

The quote you put on my blog by T.E.F. about watermelons, I am going to chart it, and then stitch it and hang it with my watermelons on my wall. That was just too perfect! :) TY!!

Robin said...

Shoot...you write one of these while I'm out of town???? (well, transcribe one of these...)

Can't really read now...at breakfast and it's NOISY, but I can't wait to read this latest in the series :).

Pray for us...the long ride home begins about 8 tonight, and to be honest, I'm scared of our driver....there have been a few "incidents" and I'm afraid we have reason to be a little unnerved :/.

BarnGoddess said...

I was just wondering about reading more of your father's stories!!

how interesting.

You are so very lucky he journaled and we are even luckier you are sharing w/ us.

omg, he helped Nora!! what a good guy.....

Mama Drama Jenny said...

Love, love, love this.