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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Memories of Lloyd Alvero Read, part 6


1 Introducing Ancestors

2 Childhood and Youth

3 Responsibilities

4 Shifting Fortunes

5 I Retired and Retired and Retired . . .

6 The Ending

6 The Ending

Lloyd Read continued to preach guest sermons for various Christian churches in Marion County, and he continued to sing solos until an advanced age. I heard him sing “The Holy City” at a church dinner I attended in the 1970s, and everybody was amazed at the power of his voice in his mid-80s.

He continued to work in his garden until he was in his 90s.

When I moved to Oregon after graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in English, he asked me if I would write his biography, and we started these interviews in the spring of 1980. We worked on the project through the spring and into the summer, and when we were finished with the interviews, he gave me some of his diaries to read and to make notes. But soon I had to find a job and get some money coming in to pay my bills, and when I went back to school to get advanced degrees, this project got put aside.

I took this picture of Lillie and Lloyd in 1986
I stayed with Grammy and Grandpa many weekends when I could get away from University of Oregon the year I was there working on a Ph.D. degree. We had good times those weekends, but we never somehow focused on this project again. Grandpa was active until very late in his life, and he was as sharp and clear in his mind as always. But he was increasingly feeble. One weekend Grammy had me cut his toenails because nobody else could do it anymore; his nails were very thick and yellow with fungus.

About a year after I left University of Oregon in June 1986, he had to go to a nursing home at Sublimity to live. Grammy couldn’t take care of him anymore. He had been staying in bed all day, sleeping more and more, eating very little, complaining that nothing tasted good enough anymore. Grammy made him go to the home when he refused to get up at all and stopped eating. He came home for visits, but that stopped after a while.

Back during those weekends I spent with them, he had talked with me a couple of times about why the Lord would make him keep living when he felt he ought to be going on; he was tired and he wanted to go. He asked me if I thought that the Lord was making him stay to pay for the things he had done wrong in his life. I remember my answer— that it didn’t matter whether he made the payment here or in the hereafter, but that I believed that he had to pay for the wrongs he had told me about. He did not answer directly. But his eyes filled up with tears and he left the room in a hurry. He did have a dark side; I have chosen not to talk more about it than this paragraph. He made choices and took actions that I told him had been wrong, and when he tried to justify his choices, I was able to convince him he was absolutely wrong. I don't know why he took that from me, but perhaps it had to do with the fact that he had asked me to write his story, the story of a Christian gentleman, but I could not write it the way he had wanted it; it needed that crucial conversation and a sign of some kind that he had acted like a Christian in acknowledging his need for repentance, for forgiveness. I do not know whether he will ever get forgiveness from some of his kin. But at least I know that in the end, he had come to the realization he needed it. I believe in the hereafter; I believe in the power of Jesus Christ to wipe away the sins of those who truly repent. I believe my grandfather will experience a sore repentance, with many bitter tears and much, much sorrow, for the things he did were quite serious and consequential. I believe he had taken the first steps on that difficult road, and I hope he paid his debts in the end, to whatever extent justice and mercy both demand. May God heal all the hearts broken so far.

I visited him in Sublimity each time I returned to Oregon; he passed away on April 29, 1989, at the age of 98 years and almost 9 months.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Memoirs of Lloyd Read, part 5


1 Introducing Ancestors

2 Childhood and Youth

3 Responsibilities

4 Shifting Fortunes

5 I Retired and Retired and Retired . . .

After Port Orford
Lloyd’s Last Word on Politics
Association of Retired Federal Employees: Traveling Read Style
Further Travels for A.R.F.E.
Lloyd’s Last Word on Church Service

6 The Ending

5 I Retired and Retired and Retired . . .

Lloyd Read, age 92
When I think about retirement, I have to say I retired and retired and retired, and so on!

After Port Orford

I gave the building supply business to Alice and Claude to run. January 1, 1960 I turned it over to Earl Dinman on a contract. He owned a saw mill near Pacific High School and this would be an outlet for his finished lumber. He hired a nondescript to operate it and that man ran it into debt. Then the building was wrecked in the October 1962 storm. The insurance gave us a total loss and this gave us money for the bills. We reconstructed, replenished, and then turned it over to Alice and Claude under contract in 1963.

Dan Andrews in front of the Mill Creek house in Turner that Lloyd built
Meanwhile, we built a house on Mill Creek three miles east of Turner in 1961. After the Big Wind on October 12, 1962, we had to recondition it because part of the garage roof was ruined by a tree that had come down on it. We also had to recondition the house in Port Orford.

We sold the Mill Creek house and the Port Orford house within a few days of each other in March 1963 and bought a house in Portland at 626 SE Spokane St., near the east end of Sellwood Bridge, also near Sellwood City Park and the Oaks Amusement Park. There was an old pioneer church just down on the river front, built in 1857. It stood in Milwaukie until public-minded citizens bought it and moved it down to the river front. Anybody can rent it for weddings, funerals, receptions, museum displays, etc. It’s on Spokane St. three blocks toward the river from us. Below us was the old Oregon City and Estacada electric railway line Gulf Junction. It was still used for freight (diesel now) and was used for passengers. I advocated a highway across there twenty years ago and I see now they’re going to do it. I made traffic surveys on Sellwood Bridge and told the city engineers that a two-lane bridge can’t accommodate the traffic that needs to cross there.

In Sellwood we worked with the Sellwood Christian Church where George Springer was minister. Later, when George left Sellwood Church, we went to Milwaukie Church where I became minister of visitation for nearly two years while my son Herbert was the minister.

Lloyd’s Last Word on Politics

I voted for John F. Kennedy in 1960. On November 22, 1963 when I heard of his assassination over the television that night, I couldn’t believe it. What would have happened if the man could have finished? He was innovative in his ideas, like Roosevelt. He proposed legislation with dependent children and retired people in mind. The nation was set back due to his assassination.

I favored Lyndon B. Johnson in the election of 1964; I voted for him. There were some in our family who were in opposition to him. Letha’s son and wife, James and Eldora, were among them. They sent a vicious attack on Johnson, and I put them in their place. The Republican party has a superiority attitude that has to be fought all along the line. The Democratic party is not all angels either. Both parties have human beings in them with frailties. Neither has the moral or legal right to attack the other.

Richard Nixon was the victim of a very crooked political situation. The Democratic crooks crucified him. He was ambitious to be sure; he left no stone unturned to attain the presidency and to achieve his fortune. But I don’t believe he was responsible for Watergate, as it existed as a means to an end long before him. It began in the Eisenhower administration, this subtlety and deviousness in winning the election. There was a price placed on the presidency, all who sought that office had to subscribe to the machinations that produced Watergate.

And we still have it today. An honest man cannot attain the presidency of this country; it has to be bought. A Watergate type deal has to be struck, as if all is fair in love and war, or elections. What each party considered fair was considered unfair by the other. The Republicans were caught; the Democrats went free. Yes, Nixon should have resigned as he did because of his involvement, but there were crooks on the Democrat side who went free because they weren’t caught. I wonder what they had that was so valuable? Nixon was smart; I admired him for that, but not for what he did with his intelligence.

Association of Retired Federal Employees: Traveling Read Style

While I was on Spokane St. I was active in the Portland chapter of the Retired Federal Employees. I was president of the chapter from 1967–1968. After retiring from the Railway Mail Service I became secretary of the Retired Railway Mail Service Clerks of Portland for ten years.

In 1950 I collaborated with Alvin Chase Baker to organize Portland Chapter #29 of the Retired Federal Employees Association. February 13, 1950 was our charter date. I helped organize it and was one of 17 members at the organization meeting. Most of us who signed the roll that day were retired Railway Mail Service clerks. We held the meeting at the home of Charles Rhodes. Alvin Chase Baker was the president, Lloyd Read was the secretary. Charles Rhodes was the vice president. We were all mail clerks. We carried the load of this organization for a number of years. We had not much trouble enlisting other departments. The national organization furnished us with the names of members in the outer area and we canvassed the area ourselves. Baker and I helped organize the chapters in Milwaukie, Gresham, Hillsboro, and Vancouver. There are 4,000 members in Oregon now.

Baker and Rhodes would first send a penny postcard or make a phone call to contact the prospective member and then would visit. In the first six months we got 150 members. We got our national charter on June 30, 1950 and then closed our original charter.

I’ve done a lot to promote that organization. It was my “baby”—I put in a lot of the hard work. Alvin Baker and I would finance those who couldn’t pay their second year dues. Only two of us original 150 members are left, me and a lady in LaCenter, Washington. At a meeting a year ago we sat together and had a picture taken.

In 1952 I was a delegate to the national meeting in Washington D.C. We left Portland June 7 or 8 and took Barbara with us. I had been an elected delegate and had paid my way to this convention, but once there they gave us each $100. On our way we visited Marjorie and her family in Ohio and left Lillie and Barbara there. When I got to Washington D.C. I met a lot of officers and interesting folks. Senator Olin Johnson of North Carolina sat next to me at the banquet table. I had written to advise them that I was an ordained Christian minister and a soloist. I got no word back, but there I heard my name being announced as the one to give the invocation! I went up there and met Elmer Johnson, the president, and the vice president was across the table from me. They knew my name! I gave the invocation and felt I was inspired. The U.S. Senator from Maryland afterward shook my hand and told me that that was one of the finest invocations or prayers he’d ever heard. It was a highlight of my life, a mountaintop experience for me. I was inspired! Amen.

Elmer, he was a dear old man! I’ve never met a man that caliber since. To me he outshines them all. He was soft spoken, kind, gentle, would put an arm around the shoulders to express a thought and persuade. He had a gentle wife. I met a lot of people on the convention floor and had a wonderful experience there overall.

Back in Ohio Marjorie cashed that check for us and we visited the Andrews family over the 4th of July for four or five days. They had a big celebration. We had a ball game, and I played ball with them. It was hot out there too! Marjorie had three boys at that time. It was the first time I’d seen them. We all went to Detroit one Sunday to visit Woodward Ave., and another time to Toledo and to the shores of Lake Erie. Detroit impressed us as being an older city. It has a lot of brick buildings, some 100 years old. Some have lost their edges and the bricks are rounded. They appeared very old to me.

We went to Cleveland. We got lost there and went east along the shore of Lake Erie. We had engine trouble along there and thought the motor had failed. I shoved the starter in and broke things. Ooops. We got something to eat while it was being fixed. We went to see Buffalo, New York, and Niagara Falls. Beautiful! The sightseer boats go up the river and under the falls. They give you a slicker and a hat and still you get wet. We didn’t go because we didn’t have enough money, but we walked around and saw all this. One of the boats was called Queen of the Mist, another was called Queen of the Falls. We stayed the night there and then drove through Rochester and Albany, going north at Albany and over the Hudson into Massachusetts, where we stayed the night in Worcester.

We bypassed Boston and drove up to Portland, Maine. We bought view postcards and sent them to everybody we knew. We spent a day there. Portland is old, but they are keeping it up well. It’s a fishing port. Then we came back south and went through Boston. We couldn’t find a direction sign to Providence, Rhode Island and pulled up to the curb to ask a man. The man said, “You’re a stranger. Don’t go into any of these buildings around here. They’re fronts.” He gave me directions to get out of there! We came into Providence almost to the coast and then turned right opposite Sandyhook.

We drove on to New Haven, Connecticut, where we stopped to see Clarence and Myra at Yale. They had Beverly then. We weren’t able to visit long because they had classes. On Sunday we went to a Congregational Christian Church and I was recognized as a minister there. We went on up to Hartford and drove right past the Winchester Gun Company.

Monday morning we went down to Boston again and stayed the afternoon. We got in a traffic circle and got stuck. We’d see Faneuil Hall and the sights of midtown, go around once, miss the turn, go around again, and then stuck behind a woman whose car wouldn’t go. We pushed her and decided not to sight-see any more. We drove to Lexington through a thunderstorm with lightning and rain. We followed a streetcar, looking for a motel. We stopped to get directions from a fellow working to get statuary under cover. It wasn’t 6:00 yet. He gave me directions back over to Concord and I helped him get his artifacts under cover. That storm was in the paper the next morning; it had demolished houses in Worcester.

After our sightseeing experiences around Boston, we went down to New York City and stayed on the outer edges, on the east bank of the Hudson River. There was a ferry over to the New Jersey shore at Yonkers. We drove past Palisades Park and down to Fort Lee, where we got a motel. The George Washington Bridge crosses the river just two blocks away. We decided to walk across it, and we caught a bus into New York City. It landed us at 175th St., where we caught a 5th Ave. bus. We got down to Central Park on its south end at 60th St. You detour there off Broadway onto 5th Ave. We were talking to the bus driver and to people who wanted to help us see things. We had said something about the Empire State Building, so the driver had us get off at the right spot and told us to cross the street. We went up the elevators, and at the top there is a cage where there’s a lookout place. You can see all of New York City. You feel a little dizziness at first and then sit down. Automobiles look like toys. That was something! Visibility was 25 miles, the sign said that day. But it was a beautiful day and I guess you could see 100 miles. We identified all the buildings. The Empire State Building was the tallest at that time. We got ice cream up there, up there on that building in the sky. That’s a lot of town to see!
New York skyline, 1950s

We walked back down Broadway past Times Square. Central Park is really something. An oasis in the desert, a place to rest in a place where there isn’t much place to rest. We noticed the tenement houses facing the park, 40 feet wide and three or four stories high. Old-type buildings. On the south side is the Hudson River. Manhattan is where we were. We went through a predominantly Jewish neighborhood where even Safeway had all Hebrew lettering. We also went through an Italian neighborhood and a German quarter too. We took some bus back to 175th, got a bus across the bridge. We didn’t know which one, we just waited in a sophisticated manner like we knew what we were doing, and we stayed the night in Fort Lee.

I didn’t want to go to Philadelphia. All towns look alike to me, so we detoured north to Portland, Pennsylvania. Just beyond there the Delaware River goes through Pennsylvania. We went through the Delaware Water Gap and turned around due to poor roads. We went to Harrisburg, a beautiful place. We got onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike, 125 miles for $1.10. It goes through seven tunnels through the Appalachian mountains. One tunnel is a mile long. There are no twin tunnels, and the noise of the trucks is deafening. You have to use your own lights too. The tunnels were originally built by a railroad, the B. & O., but the railroads relocated their tracks.

Every so often we came to a rest stop occupied by a Howard Johnson’s. We got through the turnpike and went off to Pittsburgh during rush hour. We saw the Golden Triangle at the confluence of rivers. You get into Ohio before running off the turnpike onto country roads. We came to Akron, Ohio, where Goodyear and Goodrich companies are. We drove through out to a motel northeast on the highway to stay overnight. They brought in a roll-away bed for Barbara, $5. We thought we’d get to Ottawa but it was dark and late. The next day we went to Ottawa and to Marj and Fred’s. That was July 2nd.

We left there about July 5th or 6th. Lillie was affected by the heat and we almost put her on the plane home, but she wanted to visit Little Rock. We got down to Cincinnati about noon, and we drove to Covington on the Ohio River. We went through the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky that afternoon. It’s limestone country, and the stalactites and stalagmites are something. Oh it’s pretty, all those different colors. You go in on a tour every half hour. They turn lights on and off at different points as you go through to show you how dark it can become. It cost $1.50 apiece and the tour took an hour.

We went past Fort Knox but didn’t stop. We went past Lincoln’s birthplace but didn’t stop. We drove out of Kentucky and into Tennessee where we stopped at a motel in a little bitty town above Memphis. A little Southern girl waited on us in the restaurant, and her southern accent was something. In Memphis we drove right through the town. The highway didn’t connect with the bridge; it was two blocks over. They had a booth in the middle with a traffic officer. He told me I was going the wrong way on a one-way grid, and he directed me aright. Good thing it was early morning. We found the bridge and crossed the Mississippi to West Memphis, Arkansas. There’s nothing there.

We got to Little Rock in the afternoon. Lillie’s sister lived near Boyle Park. I used to go pitch horseshoes over there. We visited all Annie’s children and Annie herself too. We stayed there eight days.
Little Rock, Arkansas

From there we drove to Texarkana, Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. A 7,500 mile trip. [Some of this was later crossed out—a different trip, but I put it in here anyway.] We went from Eureka Springs to Tulsa and stayed overnight east of Tulsa. We drove through Oklahoma City to Wichita, Kansas; from there we visited Leland Friesen, an old friend and a professor at the Christian Bible College. He was a minister from the Stafford Church; I think he married Marjorie and Fred. Okeene is where we stayed the night. We stayed two nights there. On Sunday they had a men’s meeting at the Baptist Church at Okeene and I gave a half hour extemporaneous talk there.

We drove to Dodge City, Kansas, where there are a lot of tourist attractions based on Old West themes. It’s worth the trip down there. About 75 miles out of Dodge City we could see we were headed straight into a thunderstorm. We hit the freeway going into Dodge City, got our gas and didn’t have the sense to stop. We ran into that storm with thunder, lightning, wind, and rain. We kept going; the trees were blowing. We ran out of that storm and into sunlight. In Garden City we got a motel.

We headed toward Denver from Pueblo, going through Colorado Springs and then to Pike’s Peak. From Denver we drove up to Cheyenne and headed west through Rawlins and Rock Springs, and then northwest to Kemmerer and Montpelier, Idaho. We drove across Idaho through Pocatello, Twin Falls, and Boise. We drove into Oregon at Baker and turned off Highway 30 at Ontario and came across the desert through Burns and Bend. Claude and Alice lived in Burns at that time and we stopped to visit them. We used our last coupon for Mobile gasoline at Burns. We spent our last money but 75¢ to eat at Silverton. We got home mid-afternoon.

Further Travels for A.R.F.E.

After the convention, I was looking for business and for chances to preach too (I had been ordained to the ministry in April 1952). I severed ties with Chapter 29 in Portland when I went down to Port Orford. There were no opportunities to preach at that time. I attended a number of the national conventions for the Retirees. I attended the 1960 convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1962 we delegates met in Des Moines, Iowa.

When we moved back to Portland in 1963, I rejoined the Chapter and resumed my activity. I became the chaplain to the chapter for ten years. I was chairman of the Sunshine Committee, which visited members in their homes, nursing homes, and hospitals. I was on the Membership Committee. I could go in anytime since I was a minister. I never stayed more than 10 minutes though. My services were in demand for visitation, so I was quite busy. Some were confined to home and they needed to be visited. I thought a lot of that work. I always closed my visits with a prayer, except when I visited my former chief clerk who’d rather not. It was a very rewarding experience. I wouldn’t take anything for that gratitude. I was never able to plan or budget time doing this—this all was extemporaneous. There’s no greater joy than to serve other people.

My friend Everett Cain was elected president in 1962 but he had bad health and declined it. In the latter part of 1966 he was the chair of the nominating committee and was trying to find a candidate, sifting the ashes and so forth. He couldn’t get anybody to take the presidential nomination. He asked me, “Would you take it, Lloyd? You’re capable and willing, aren’t you?” I said to wait and find somebody else out of the thousand people we had available. He came back to me, “I cannot find anybody. Lloyd, would you take it?” I said, “I’ll take it, reluctantly, but I know I can do it.” I was nominated and subsequently elected president for the 1967–1968 terms. I conducted the presidency in a relaxed manner. I profited by other fellows’ mistakes and would devise plans to avoid that. My presidency, everybody said, was the turning point in the growth of the organization. In January 1967 we had 1000 members. In December 1968 we had 1200 members. The organization was financially stabilized. We had been using a mimeograph machine; in mid 1968 we bought an offset printing machine.

We attended the 1968 national convention in San Francisco, and while in that area we visited the Andrews family. Fifteen of us delegates went down to that convention. We had missed the 1964 convention in Buffalo and the 1966 convention in Jacksonville; they were too far to go.

Today [1980] there are 2,400 members. That’s my baby. I can get anything I want down there now. A former assistant secretary and I are going to write a history of the chapter.

Lloyd’s and Lillie’s home in Turner on Chicago St.
During the State Convention of 1969, we decided to make application to the Turner Memorial Christian Home. We moved to the Home in August 1969. We very much enjoy the Christian atmosphere of the Home.

I went back to the Sunshine Committee of the Association of Retired Federal Employees after my presidency expired. All this time I had been on the Membership Committee. We were not signing up anyone new, but we would visit members who were delinquent on their dues. I made gas money by contacting these delinquents as I got a dollar for each one. The same members wouldn’t be delinquent two months’ running, so I met a lot of people.

The 1970 convention was in Seattle, but we didn’t go. In 1972, twelve of our delegates went to Ft. Worth. I went with Floyd Powell in his Impala. He was a member from Roseburg. Three of us men went in his car.

The 1974 convention was in Portland due to Floyd’s influence. New Orleans had wanted it, but we got it first. We organized a hosting committee. Clarence Johnson came; he was the vice president of the national committee, and he appointed a chairman. I was on the committee, as was Clifford [his brother]. We noticed mistakes and provided solutions. It was the smoothest convention ever attended. If they said, We want a salmon feed!; we’d say, OK you’ll get it! We gave them scenery, salmon, and everything. The national organization had the recommendations of the Time and Place Committees, but Floyd and I and my vice president worked hard and got the credit.

In 1976 we went to Salt Lake City and met Karen Andrews. John McLeland was elected president of the national organization. There were lots of tours associated with that convention. They took us up to Snowbird on the bus, 28 busloads [a ski resort up Little Cottonwood Canyon]. We had a buffalo-meat dinner, which tasted a good deal like venison. It was very tasty and well served. They served the dinner over a counter, and you could either find yourself a rock to sit on outside there or sit at a table. We got a table. We didn’t go on all the tours. The convention was in the Salt Palace. Karen Andrews came down and had us paged so we could go out to dinner with her. “Oh! your granddaughter!” they said. “Yes, she attends BYU.” Sunday morning we went to Temple Square to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performance. Our motel was on 300 West.

Once we went out to get some exercise, thinking we were going to walk two blocks down and back. We found out how big the blocks were—we weren’t sure we were going to make it back to our motel! [The blocks are five to a mile. This was the time Lloyd got so sick that Lillie arranged for them to leave early and go home on the bus. Their daughter Marj met them in Portland and said he looked like death warmed over; he had developed pneumonia.]

Lillie, Lloyd, and granddaughter Marci in Salt Lake City
[They went through Salt Lake City again in July 1978, on their way home from Arkansas with Viola driving them. The temperatures were near 100° F. Marci was there that summer, and she met them downtown for a tour of Temple Square and nearby historic places. They all went to dinner together and took these pictures.]
Lloyd and Marci

I was appointed a delegate to the New Orleans convention in 1978. I got $100 to help me get there. I went by Banff Airlines both ways. Lillie was appointed too but she didn’t go. That was the first time I was ever at a convention alone. It was a big thing to me. At the convention I was recognized as being among the oldest members.

I stayed in a hotel on Canal St., the LaSalle Hotel. There were no special tours, but I did a lot of walking around. You could walk your legs off. I visited the French quarter. It’s so different from any place else I’ve been. Much was old, but there are also new high-rise buildings. Canal St. runs north and south through town. It’s 170 feet wide from building to building. It used to be a canal from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartraine. Freight would go down the canal from the Lake, eleven miles down to docks in the business area. They would be trucked by hand or horse to the ocean. There were little tugs and boats in the canal that bought rice, soybeans, or other export goods from southern Louisiana down to the docks. With the advent of horse-drawn drays, they filled in the canal. There are two traffic lights to cross this street now! Between lanes of traffic in the median there used to be streetcars operating. Now the buses operate there. The bus zones are plainly marked. Bus numbers are plainly printed too. There are taxicabs, but not so many as we saw in Washington D.C. or New York City. There are lots of automobiles, but public transportation is relied upon heavily too. Lights are synchronized so you leisurely walk across the first 55 to 57 feet of the street to the next light, and then it will change and allow you to walk across the second 55 to 57 foot unit. They say a quarter of the population of Louisiana is colored, but to judge by appearance it’s two thirds. You have to be careful of the teenagers and kids or they’ll get to running and run you over. One little fellow ran into me and said, “Oh, excuse me!” I said, “That’s all right, you have fun.”

Once I was going to a restaurant for breakfast. I was going by a window washer who had stools. I asked him, “Would you tie my shoes? I’ll pay you for it.” He said, “I’ll tie but you’ll not pay me.” I said, “God bless you, sir.” Someday I may have to pay somebody to tie my shoes all the time.

When I arrived in New Orleans it was about 3:00 p.m. I hadn’t inquired about transportation from the airport to town. I asked an airport attendant about bus service and he told me, “You have to take a cab.” I got in a cab with another passenger. We went 28 miles into the west part of the city. He took me to the Lafayette Hotel; I had to redirect him to the LaSalle Hotel. A 35 minute trip took one and a half hours. I learned that you go down to the airport an hour early so that you can get a reservation. When I got my return ticket, I found out the limousine service was only $4. The day I arrived I went to an all-night drugstore place to eat. I had a roast beef sandwich and a cup of coffee. I couldn’t get a second cup; a second cup cost 35¢. It should have been free. The convention hotel breakfast cost $5.00 and something. I bunched these three things together and wrote to the new committee working on the convention for Albuquerque. The day we left Muhammed Ali was at the new coliseum training for a fight with the Sphinx. It was $3.50 to watch him train.

On the trip back we left at 3:30 p.m. and got to Ft. Worth about 4:30 or 5:00. We left there before dark. We got home to Portland just as people were coming home from work. That was my first round-trip airplane ride.

We made an application for the Albuquerque convention this year, September 14–18, 1980. Only the most affluent members can go to the conventions anymore. It’s not democratic. Abe Zigler said in our newsletter that this isn’t right. How many of our members can afford such expenses? The purpose of the Association is to hire lobbyists for retired people’s rights and privileges. It’s a pressure group. In local chapters the social side of things is stressed. We also write in regard to upcoming legislation to our local congressmen.

Lloyd’s Last Word on Church Service

In all of the church organizations we’ve been members, I’ve served in various capacities. We’ve been members of Kern Park Church three different times as we moved in and out of that area. We were charter members of the Multnomah Church and helped build their building. We were instrumental in organizing the original Milwaukie Church, and we later actively helped in the organization of the present church under the leadership of Mary Harding and Alger Fitch. I was one of the organizers of the Men’s Ninety and Nine and was active in the nearly sixteen years of its existence, serving on the state executive board during most of that time. I served as President of the Northwest district for two separate terms. During this time the Men’s Ninety and Nine were successful in establishing new churches at Parkrose, Southeast (new Midway), Willamina, Lake Grove, Southgate, Willamette, and Winston, besides helping in other places where help was needed. I’ve served as substitute minister, Sunday school Superintendent, choir leader and singer as well as soloist, leader of adult classes—mostly men—and also as janitor. We were members of Aumsville, Kern Park, Portland Central (original), Milwaukie, Multnomah, Oregon City, Canby, McMinnville, Port Orford Community, Port Orford Christian, Sellwood, and Turner churches.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Memoirs of Lloyd Alvero Read, part 4


1 Introducing Ancestors

2 Childhood and Youth

3 Responsibilities

4 Shifting Fortunes

The Railway Mail Service
Politics of the Depression and World War II
Weddings of the Children
After the Railway Mail Service

5 I Retired and Retired and Retired . . .

6 The Ending

Shifting Fortunes

The Railway Mail Service

Lloyd A. Read
In March 1927 I was appointed to the Railway Mail Service. This solved our financial difficulties and helped us clean up. I worked there until I retired in December 1944. But I no longer had much spare time. I worked irregular hours and was on call 24 hours a day. I worked overtime and never knew exactly when I would be home. I could be going to work any hour of the 24, any day of the week. Mostly I went to work at night and worked twelve hours or to the end of the line.

My duties were to sort mail, which came directly from the post office or from a connecting line. Say there was mail for Salem, Woodburn, Albany, and Eugene all in one mail pouch for the Southern Pacific line. I would route it and separate it. The letters would go in a separate box for each city. The highest number of separations was 110 cities. I never looked at the label; I memorized the case. Generally I had 78 separations and worked it down to the carrier route. I’d learn the systems of the different cities on my line. I had a record once, 38 letters a minute for 25 minutes with one mistake, because a pigeonhole was too low. They used a stop watch to time me; it was like a survey.

As long as we cleaned up, we could go our own pace. I prided myself on my experience and knowledge. But I couldn’t take the examination. There was a periodic examination, every one to three years on any one different distribution, say the Baker line to Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and east of there. I was up on the distributions for Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and of course Portland City. We were supposed to pass with a 90% or better. We were also examined on postal laws and regulations. I did all right on those. I practiced with a set of cards and a case. Some used a map. I memorized everything without using a map though. Somehow I got through those examinations, but I never did well on that eastern line through Idaho and all.

Diary excerpt, May 21, 1940: “Drove to town. Took Black Book exam, at Baker’s office. Passed 100%. Got 25 merits on all exams.”

A typical mail run went something like this excerpt from my diary:
“January 28, 1940: Lillie, Carl, Alice, Marjorie, and I left home about 3 P.M., for Portland. Got to my folks’ place before 4, stayed more than an hour. . . . Folks took me to the depot. Out to the car at 6:40. Changed clothes. Hung sacks, and labelled the rack. Mail very light all evening. Did not do half an hour’s work before 9 P.M. Cleaned up everything near Bonneville. Train on time all night. Still much snow at Hood River. Some snow all the way. Mail light at Pendleton. Napped most of the way. Felt better by daylight. In Baker on time. Heavy frost; but, clear sky. Ate breakfast at Walt’s. To bed about 8:30.
“Monday, January 29, 40. Got up about 1 P.M. Shaved. Answered some correspondence. Walked up town. Bowled two games with Mr. Baer. Was away off. Lost both games 136-108 and 138-78. Got razor blades and pencils at 15¢ store. Back to Walt’s, to eat soon after 4. Up to the room. Put a fire in the stove, as there is now a chill in the air. Wrote in this book, for more than an hour. Finished to here, just as Tr. 44 came in, a few minutes late. Dow Phillips and Chet Lewis were the crew. Chet’s father, nearly 76, is no better. He will likely not last long. Down to Jess Smith’s to get ice cream and a writing tablet. Back to the room, to write a letter to Ross. Over to the depot, to change clothes at 7:20. Our train came at 8 o’clock. I worked Washington and No. 1 & 2 Oregon papers, finishing near Gibbon; then, helped Davis on City letters to Boardman. Rested a little to Arlington. Got lunch there. Bitz was helper. Finished City mail as we got to The Dalles. Robbed the box there. Cleaned everything up, just below Hood River; and rested to Portland. On time there. Helped put the mail out. Took the registers to Northern train. Changed clothes. Walked up to Post Office to leave a letter at the Chief Clerk’s office. Then up to the bus depot.
“Tuesday, Jan. 30, 1940. Got coffee and donuts at Lewis Cafe. Bo’t a round-trip ticket to McMinnville. Left for home on 7:30 bus. Got to Mc. at 8:40. Bus now takes the direct route. I got off at 5th & Baker. Walked two blocks to home. Breakfast. Took a nap. Stamped slips and labels after supper. To bed early.”

The chief clerk was critical about my attitude on smoking. His name was Fred Tuey, and of course he was a smoker. The colonel was the medical examiner at the Veteran’s Administration and he declared me to have a total disability. I had headaches, nausea, respiratory problems, and it was because of the smokers. I retired in December 1944 and was then on the U.S. Civil Servant Retirement Board. I got $240 a month as my highest salary, which translated into $1000 a year retirement, or about $83 a month.

Politics of the Depression and World War II

In 1929 the financial troubles of the Great Depression had no repercussions on us. A few in the church felt it, but not us. Pert near everybody had to retrench a little. Our wages at the R.M.S. were guaranteed. Throughout the Depression we did well; in fact, along about 1931–32 we began buying new cars instead of used cars.

Franklin Roosevelt was elected in 1932 on the New Deal platform. He initiated the Parcel Post system, which gave us a more solid body of business. There were more clerks hired. He put the Federal Reserve into effect, and he held a firm whip over the Congress. I went along with Roosevelt. I liked what he was doing. But Uncle Henry Porter said to me in 1936, “Do you think Mr. Roosevelt will be elected a second time?” I said, “Yes, I do.” He said, “Oh, I fear for the safety of the country.” Uncle Henry Porter was a better religionist than Republican anyway. The New Deal was so innovative; something new was passed every Congressional session. It was radical, but it was for the good of the common people. The common people are still reaping the benefits of the New Deal. When the news came over the radio in April 1945 of Roosevelt’s passing, they said, “The Old Warrior is gone.” I was very much saddened at his passing.

Along in 1939 when World War II was starting, we had had warnings of what was going on. Hitler had signaled what he was going to do, but the world waited until he struck. It redoubled my hatred of the German people, for them wanting world domination and for believing in the superiority of the Teutonic race. Chamberlain was an apostle of peace, not necessarily wanting peace at any price either. He was ready to negotiate, but the Germans put him in a position where he couldn’t negotiate any more. The German forces struck and Chamberlain’s idealism was crushed.

Diary, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 1940: “This is registration day for all men ages 21 to 35 for military service. First time that this country has ever had peace-time conscription. We hope our boys do not have to fight. Perhaps the show of strength will be sufficient.”

On December 7, 1941 we were surprised! We were in church, and afterward John and Viola came to visit and told us about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. We were stupefied. We were dealing with a heathen nation there. You look what goes on elsewhere—you can’t Christianize Mohammedans any more than you can Jews. They do everything they can to persecute Christians. “Treachery!” was the only thing we could say on that day. Roosevelt got on the radio and said, “This day will live long in infamy!” because they had struck under cover of diplomatic negotiation.

It was not the time for the Millennium to begin, but people thought of that at the time. Some of them were so silly, they went out on the hills, made Ascension robes and wore them out there, thinking they were going to meet Jesus Christ at his second coming and be bodily carried up to meet him.

The war rationing affected us. We had to have stamps for groceries, and gas was allowed only so much a week. We found we couldn’t go in to Oregon City to church every week, so we put our membership in to Stafford Baptist Church for a year or so. There were higher prices during the war; there was profiteering going on that was not necessary but present due to greed. We had to put up with inflation.

The emotional impact we felt was in what our sons-in-law encountered. Herb was too old and was not called up, but John Crawford, George Jones, Carl, Clarence, and Claude were. George served in the South Pacific and went to New Zealand and back up through the South China Sea up to Okinawa. He was among the first to set foot on Japanese soil; he landed at Hokkaido and went up to Tokyo from there.

John went from New York to North Africa and fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. He was with the occupation army in Italy. He was ferried across the Mediterranean and was under fire all the way up to the French border where the Germans made their last stand. They came near wiping out the Allied army, but they turned their flank and barely won through. John was among the first to be mustered out.

Carl and Clarence went just to training camps; they didn’t have to fight. Carl went to New York City and to the area of West Point, training with the Army. Clarence went to bombardier school in Roswell, New Mexico with the Air Force.

We were living at Stafford most of the time. Loretta was with us for almost a year while George was away. Rodney was born while she was with us. Alice was also with us for a little over a year, but not at the same time. Claude was in the Navy out in the Pacific. His family had lived just behind us over the hill in Stafford.

Truman was responsible for the bomb, the atomic bomb that they dropped on Japan. I agreed with it, but I had no inkling of what it meant until afterward. But the end justified the means, though Christ said, “Those that live by the sword shall perish by the sword.” Ours was not a war of aggression, it was a war of defense. Your motivation for fighting a war puts you either on the side of the aggressor or the victim. And then you have to accept the consequences.

In 1952 when the Korean War started, I voted for Eisenhower on account of his war record. I felt we were justified in going into Korea; we had to prevent the spread of communism. The aggressors were aided and abetted by the Chinese communists.

It was the same for the Vietnam war. We bombed Hanoi when the Pueblo was seized. We had to go in there and bring the Pueblo out!

Diary, Spring 1945:
“Have neglected this for more than a year.
“Much has happened. My run was arbitrarily changed again. . . . I had to go on the night train again; and, have to work City mail again. Have no alternative, due to seniority rules. Have to work on a four-day schedule, too. Assigned to work with Roomed at Crabill Hotel at Baker. Poor place to stay. Have decided to apply for retirement as soon as I begin to feel bad again. Made my trip on March 27th. Felt my trouble coming back again; and, rather than risk being disabled, I laid off until July 6th. I drew full pay until May 12th. I was on personal leave until I went back to work again. I started building a house for Carl on our place. On May 12th I fell off a ladder and hurt my knee and right arm, and bruised my nose. Was laid up for several weeks and felt the effects of the fall for almost a year. I drew $147.00 disability, from the Federal Employees group insurance. When I went back to work, I was placed on the Arlington helper run on Trs. 26 & 25. It was the worst assignment I ever worked.
“I had to work every other day. Had more time at Arlington than at home. I laid off for most of the month I was on the run. Went back on Trs. 18 & 17. My application for retirement was still pending. I was ordered up for a physical exam on Aug. 18th (1944). I was up at Veteran’s Hospital nearly all day. Had to hurry to get to my work on time.
“Soon got a letter from the Civil Service retirement Commission asking if I still wished to have my retirement considered. They said my superior officers had said I wished to withdraw my application. It did not take me long to tell them that at the least they had been mis-informed. About October 12th I got a letter from my Chief Clerk’s office, stating that due to my work on my farm, I was neglecting my work on the road. I did not reply. About that time, I also received a proposal for demerits for defaulting the Washington examination, from that contemptible Hicks, a misfit in the Examiner’s office. About October 18th, came notice of my application approval. Chief Clerk Twohy received it on Sunday, two days after it came to me. He was so dumbfounded that he called me on Sunday. He asked me what was wrong with me. I told him that they would not tell me.
“I made arrangements to finish my work on the road with the trip out of Portland on Nov. 14th. I came in on my last trip on Tr. 17 on the morning of Nov. 16. Due to accumulated leave, I received full pay for November.
“Certainly enjoyed several months of working around home. My first annuity check came on Jan. 10th, 1945. Since then, they have arrived regularly on the 5th of each month.
“Loretta and Donnie are still with us. George is now in The Philippines. He was wounded on March 31st, their wedding anniversary. Their second boy was born on January 20, 1945, at Hahnneman Hospital. They named him Rodney George. George and John were both here on furlough about Nov. 15th, 1944.”

Weddings of the Children

Herbert was the first to get married. In Vancouver, Washington at that time, there were professional marrying parsons at the courthouse and young people went up there often to get married in a hurry. Thelma’s family lived at Lake Grove and attended the local Presbyterian Church. Her sister Eleanor went with them to Vancouver; we took them up there in our car. They didn’t want a big wedding or reception. Her family couldn’t afford it and we didn’t care to. We were not in favor of their getting married right then, but it was the same situation as we had experienced ourselves to some degree. We liked Thelma; she was one of the family. She had good common sense. We took to her.

Viola was next. We lived in Condon, and both Viola and John went to high school there. They married the 3rd of June at our home in McMinnville, with the Rev. Jimmy Osborne officiating. Everybody was there except Charlotte, who lived at Grande Ronde then. When it was time for the wedding to start, we all just gathered around, in our street clothes, nothing fancy. Loretta and George were next. They went to Vancouver by themselves; they didn’t tell us. George lived next door to us in McMinnville. George’s father worked for Lillie’s father on his farm.
George and Retta on their wedding trip

Ernie Redding and Charlotte, 1939
Charlotte and Ernie also met in McMinnville. He was also a close neighbor of ours, like George. They got married in Vancouver by the Marrying Preacher. We took them.

Diary, October 6, 1940: “Ate dinner about 1 p.m. Clarence was the only one of the family not there. He had to take care of the store. Of course, this was our wedding anniversary dinner. There are now 18 of us—quite a tribe. The two new ‘daddies’ Ernie and John ‘cut quite the figure,’ walking down the street, trundling baby buggies.”

In 1941 after he was mustered out, Carl worked for Boeing in Seattle and met Dorothy. She was a member of the Sunnyside Brethren Church. They were married there in early 1943 and Lillie went, but I didn’t because I was working. Clarence,Alice, and Marjorie went too, with Holly Davenport. Dorothy’s parents lived there in Sunnyside.

In 1945, Alice married Bud, Thelma’s brother, in Vancouver. We knew it wouldn’t last. He was too jealous. We gave it a couple months, and that’s what happened. She got an annulment. Now Claude had been in the Navy and his family had lived on the hill behind us in Stafford. The kids used to pick strawberries together. When Claude got out of the Navy and came to see Alice, she said, “Tell him I’m not here!” But she soon changed her mind. They went to Bothel, Washington to get married.

Marjorie met Fred at a dance. You never know who you’re going to meet at a place like that! They got married April 2nd in Stafford Church. It was a nice church wedding.

Diary excerpt, Friday, April 2, 1948: “Well, well! Here it is three weeks later; and, how I have neglected my little diary in that time. We had just all gotten assembled at the church, for Marjorie’s wedding. Loretta was matron of honor. She certainly looked pretty; but, was she scared! Her hands shook so much she could hardly hold her bouquet. Myra and Virginia were bridesmaids. Patty DeNeui and Margaret Walters lighted the candles. Lucille sang so beautifully: ‘God gave me you’; ‘Because’; and ‘The Lord’s Prayer.’ My part was to give away the bride—our baby. Lillie looked so cute that I almost kissed her. Seriously, it was a beautiful wedding. Leland Friesen gave his usual impressive ceremony, with humorous quips interspersed, so as to relieve the tension of the bridal party. Cake, punch, and coffee were served in the basement afterward. Thelma served punch, and Viola cut the cake. Mrs. Walters and Mrs. Elligsen with some of the girls, served in the kitchen. Some of the boys put up a road block; and, otherwise interfered with the ‘get-away’ car; but, all had a nice time. Relatives (ours) present were: my mother, Aunt Pauline, Aunt Lena, Roy and Mildred, Guy and Edith, Clifford and Harriet, Thelma and Beth; Loretta and George and two boys: Donald and Rodney; Clarence and Myra; Agnes, Edwin and Thelma and two children; Mildred Gehring and two children; Charles and Nell Munro, and Aunt Ada.”

Myra and Clarence wedding, August 1948
Clarence met Myra in college—Northwest Christian College in Eugene. They were married 21 August 1948 in St. John’s Christian Church just outside of Portland. Lillie and Loretta and Viola were all there, and Carl and Dorothy and Herbert and Thelma; my mother and my aunts; Lillie’s sisters; and some cousins. Marjorie couldn’t be there; she and Fred had moved back east. Charlotte couldn’t come; she was in Canada. There were a number of our friends from Kern Park Church. I was working out of Oregon City. Maybe Alice and Claude were there too—no, no, he couldn’t leave his job right then. Myra’s parents got there two days later. Their ship from the Congo had been delayed. But it was a beautiful wedding.

Barbara married Walt in our Mill Creek home. Earl Lyda married them. She had met Walt while picking beans. His folks would come over every night. We enjoyed them. At their wedding Myra and Clarence and Loretta were there.

After the Railway Mail Service

After I retired from the Railway Mail Service, I had to get another job. Charlie Munroe [a cousin of Lillie’s] had a carpentry concern in Oregon City and we had built 11 of our own houses by then, as well as helping build churches and other houses. I liked house building, from the foundation to the roof. We even did the finishing carpentry. He didn’t use union men. He paid us cash, $1 an hour and no deductions. We were out in the weather though, so it was largely seasonal. We were living then at Stafford, early spring of 1945. Charlie worked steadily year round.

We had a bunch of chickens. Once a week we’d take the eggs into town and peddle them. We had a regular egg route. I drove the school bus for West Linn High School until after Marjorie graduated. That was $5 an hour. When I quit I went back to carpentry.

In 1950 I went to work for the Clackamas County Assessor, Rufus Wood, as a real estate appraiser. I appraised houses for county tax purposes. I’d take pictures, measure, inspect basements, look at the construction details such as the joists, centers, etc. I gave a conservative value and depreciated older homes. I was earning $240 a month and got a 7¢ a mile allowance for using my own car. My boss lost his job in the next election in 1952, so, so did I. He was a member of the Oregon City Christian Church. He was not too hard to get along with, although we quarreled occasionally.

I went back to Charlie Munroe and found that he was looking for a business. John Crawford and I went down the coast looking at motels. Nothing looked good. He contacted two guys who were contractors at Port Orford, Webber and Scribner. They wanted a little money to establish a building supply at Port Orford so they could get supplies. Somebody came up here to buy a truck, for $8,000. It was a GMC diesel truck. We contributed $2,500 cash each. John was not in on that part of the deal, but he came in later.

Webber’s son drove the truck for $8 a day. I stayed up here and met with the son and went to wholesale houses and picked up stuff with him. We rented an old building with double doors down at Port Orford. A wind storm blew the door off and ruined our stock. The owner charged us with negligence and we won. They called me and I went down in January 1953 for several weeks. While down there I had to deal with Les and told him, You’re fired! So then Scribner drove the truck. I had to make my headquarters down there, so I left Lillie and Barbara and I moved down just before school ended. I hired a carpenter to be the third man with Scribner and me when Webber quit from our partnership. I told John that Webber wanted out. John dealt with him, paid him $800. Scribner then wanted the truck in a certain warm locality with its back broken, so I bought Scribner out; John gave him $500. So I had a business of my own.
Beach at Port Orford

In July 1953 we moved Lillie and Barbara down. We rented one end of a duplex at first. Then we started running our Mom and Pop business, which we ran for eight years. I hired whomever I could get to drive, log truck drivers or whomever. After Lillie was down there, I’d go along to do the buying. Claude and Alice came down in September 1953. Claude drove the truck through the winter and I’d come along. In spring ’54 he put in a body and fender shop. We hired Tom, Dick, or Harry to drive truck for a year. In the spring of 1955 I tried to drive, but it had a bum shift and I would kill the engine.

Once I hired a driver to make the trip named Einer Holmquist. He thought we ought to drive at night. We left in the afternoon and got to Lincoln City, where he lost control. He had booze in his jacket pocket and was sipping it with a straw as he drove! We left the truck in a yard and he went to the hotel. I told him, “You show up in better shape!” I went to Retta’s to stay over night. Next morning before 7 I went to the yard to start the truck and warm up the motor. Then I went to a restaurant to get breakfast. I said to the staff, “If Einer comes in . . .” and they interrupted me, “Your driver was here and left a note.” It said, “Mr. Read, I’m not in shape this morning to drive.” I started and drove out, I was so mad! I had a dozen calls to make to pick up the whole load. After I was done I went back to the truck terminal. The driver had been in once. If he doesn’t meet me, I thought, he’ll get left! I got out and went home. I got home at midnight. His wife came in and I gave her $5 for groceries. Alice saw her later drunk outside of Orford’s.

So we didn’t hire any more drivers. I made the trip myself two or three times. Then a customer came in who was working with a lot of plywood. He sold cars and trucks and knew of a guy in Newport who would trade us a truck for our truck, which had 16 shifts per mile and was five years old. This other truck was brand new and had a gasoline engine. The fellow who wanted our truck was working on gravel beds and our truck would be better for that. So we took the bed off our truck and swapped it for the bed on the other one and traded straight across. Everybody was happy. It was a 12 ton haul. It weighed 5 ton and the gross load was 17 ton. We could put more on, but then it would lug on the hills. An 8–10 ton load made us good pay.

Lillie made us a lot of business. She was very friendly and visited with everyone who came in in such a way that they always came back. Sometimes these old bachelors would come in about 5:30 and keep her visiting until long after 6, our usual closing time. We were the main representatives for accommodation for that entire area. We’d have to open after church to take care of phone-in orders, and to go get stuff. We made one mistake, and that was in allowing unlimited credit at first. We learned you have to make a limit. Only a couple of contractors ever cheated us; we lost about $1600. One store owner paid us and his contractor disappeared with the goods.

While in Port Orford we were actively engaged in the work at the Port Orford Community Church, where mostly Christian church preachers were hired. In 1959, we withdrew from the Community Church and helped organize Port Orford Christian Church. Albert Kribs was called as pastor. This church didn’t survive, however, as so many moved away.

Most of our building supply customers were young people just married who had never lived anywhere else. They’d come in with a picture of a large, ranch-style house. I’d ask them, “Do you have a lot?” [A piece of land.] Sometimes. Paying on it. “If you have a place, how much do you have?” They’d tell me they had anywhere between $0 and $500–600. I’d tell them they were asking me to pay for it. I’d say it has to be paid for. They’d go home to think and then come back with a more realistic picture.

We’d start with a concrete foundation. You can’t build on stilts! Blocks and later concrete. We’d pick out #3 or #4 lumber. There was some waste and some economy. I’d show them how to use it. We’d cull the lumber. I’d tell them one load of lumber was $20 and if they had to have it delivered, it was $35. I’d show them how to do the framing, show them how to do their own work. All the guys from the mill would come and pitch in to help them put up the frame and roof in a day.

Now, with the frame up, I’d tell them to get in there and start nailing. The woman could nail just as well as the man. I’d tell them, do all you can do by yourself. Keep it paid for as you go along. By the 10th of the next month, pay for the month before. I’d do the work they would have had to have hired done. If nobody was there to supervise, I’d supervise. I’d deal stuff out as they could pay, especially the finishings. Some we insulated, with tar-felt paper mostly. When “our kids” would get into their houses, they’d come out and say, “Oh, Mr. Read! We’re glad you didn’t let us run a big bill!” Our kids.

There was a lumber mill across from Pacific High School, and we sold to him in 1960. He wanted a place to sell his plain lumber. I liked to buy from a smaller mill rather than from Bandon’s. The yard man at Bandon had run us into bankruptcy in one year.
Columbus day storm 1962, uprooted tree in Port Orford
After the windstorm of 1962 we were $10,000 in debt and wrecked. We didn’t prosecute. He deeded the place back to us. We took it back, repaired the building, and restocked it. We sent in a claim to the insurance company. The adjuster gave us a total loss and paid all the bills. We sold it to Alice and Claude with no down payment necessary. The neighbors from all around came to help repair the building. They brought a log truck to pull the building back down onto its foundation. The wind had taken the north side off the building.

This all was very hard on Lillie, who besides trying to run the business was taking care of Barbara, whom we had adopted as a little six-year-old back in 1951. But all in all, we enjoyed our time in Port Orford.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Memoirs of Lloyd Alvero Read, part 3


1 Introducing Ancestors

2 Childhood and Youth

3 Responsibilities

After High School—I Need a Job!
Courtship and Marriage
Supporting the Family
World War I and Politics
A Growing Family
Serving in Church
Cars We Have Owned

4 Shifting Fortunes

5 I Retired and Retired and Retired . . .

6 The Ending


My father hated farming and his mother protected him somewhat. Even though the younger brothers also hated farming, they couldn’t get out of it like he could. The younger ones didn’t really want the farm either. They mortgaged the farm later on and bought George a Model T Ford. George had no business on the road. When he couldn’t make payments on the mortgage his “friends” foreclosed on it and that’s how he lost his land.

My father had that store and he was not a businessman in any way, shape, or form. He needed to have a supervisor; that’s why he did well in the Railway Mail Service. But I had trouble with supervisors. In 1947 I developed a psychological disability due to other workers and supervisors, and I’m quite bitter about it.

I’m resentful when people want to smoke in my house—not in this house! I think that smokers’ rights end right here [pointing to the tip of his nose]. The best people don’t have to do that, use tobacco or drink liquor. Those are just a crutch to lean on. They ought to have a personality to lean on.

I study motive a lot, psychology. I see a guy coming, I can tell what he’s up to. Once at the Building Supply in Port Orford, a fellow drove up. “Like to sell this place?” he asked me. A Texas real estate rep, he was. I said I was not interested. “I’d like to list your place,” he insisted. Nope. “I’ll charge you only $250 to list the name.” Not only did I not want to list, I didn’t want to give a stranger $250. He said he’d give me his Board of Trade and C of C credentials, firm credentials. Nope. “Take your credentials and get out of here or else!” I said. Don’t trust a stranger. Can’t trust a lot of people, you know! When I was young I was entirely honest and thought everybody else was too.

After High School—I Need a Job!

Lloyd Alvero Read
I should have gone to college. My dad cut me adrift though. I wasn’t 17 yet when I graduated from high school, and he told me he had four more to put through high school. A general academic course in college didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Now, that Linda is college material, but I don’t know whether she’ll go or not [he was talking about his granddaughter Linda McGinnis—she had been there that day].

Young college graduate: “All right world, here I come! I’ve got my A.B.!”
World: “Ok young feller, come on out and we’ll teach you the rest of the alphabet.”
While I was in high school I had different kinds of jobs. I did job work for neighbors, as I said before. I worked cutting lawns, hedges, weeding, cutting out stumps, brush, and hazel brush for 15¢ an hour or 20¢ an hour. I used the money to buy my own books and clothes. I also had a paper route in the Richmond area (around SE Division). I had 75 customers and collected $1.50 a week for the Journal. In grade school I had had a paper route, an evening paper route delivering the Evening Telegram to 100 customers. I collected $1.25 a week for that. I had to go collecting every week. If I collected $10, the paper would pay my streetcar fare. Otherwise I’d have to pay it myself. I bought very little candy with the money. What I bought, I bought for the whole family. During high school I started going to shows. I got a job singing in a theatre that showed still pictures. I had an organ or piano accompaniment. My folks didn’t approve and made me quit because I had to sing on Sundays. That was in 1908 or 1909.

The summer after I graduated from high school I got a job in the Hazelwild Lumber Company about six blocks from home. A block from us lived D. Brooks Hogan and his parents. He and I got jobs at the lumber yard from his father, who was the foreman. He hired us to work $2 a day for eight hours. Brooks graduated from Arleta School with Letha; they were the first graduating class and there were just four in their class. We had this job just for the summer. There was a railroad spur off the streetcar line where we’d pick up the lumber. That summer my folks sold their house to the principal of the brand-new Franklin High School and the family moved just before the lumber job ended. At school time Brooks went back to school. My folks lived then at Sunnyside so I’d ride the streetcar to my job until it ended.

Then I got a job at the Sunnyside Market three blocks away, driving the horse-drawn delivery wagon. Theodore Godel and James E. Stockdale were the partners in the firm. Godel was a German and very stern. He had no smiles for his help or even for his family! But Stockdale always had a story to keep us in good humor. They had another market over town that Godel managed. In the evenings Godel would drive his horse and wagon with a veal or a hog for the butchers to cut. “Lloyd,” he’d call. “Go out and bring in the veal!” I could sling 150 pounds of veal over my shoulder at that time. There was one other butcher there besides Stockdale, another German, a fine guy to get along with. His accent and script were German though, and a little hard to understand at times.

Another store in that area, Ford Brothers (the brothers were named Olin & Burgess), handled clothing, shoes, and general merchandise. Their father, B.F. Ford, was a Methodist minister at Sunnyside Methodist Church. One reason I quit was to go to work for Christian men. Burgess Ford got me to go sing in the Sunnyside Methodist Church men’s chorus. There were 30–40 of us in the chorus. While I was in the chorus I asked for a job and they offered for me to come work for them. I talked to Stockdale about it. He said, “Those boys are Christians and so are you. I don’t want to lose you, but if you’d rather, go ahead. We appreciate what you’ve done for us.”
1909 Rose Festival
The Ford Brothers had a dray and a big black team to pull it; the horses weighed 1600 to 1700 pounds! There were several drivers. One was Frank MacKay, the only married man. Finally it fell to me to drive it. We decorated up that dray for the Rose Parade in June and had the girls throw roses from it. It had a cab that could be opened in summer and I wore no cap so my long hair would be just a-waving in the wind! I worked there until 1909.

Then I worked for Shreve Produce Company driving the delivery wagon. They sold chickens, veal, hogs, and produce wholesale to grocery markets. I’d get orders from grocery stores and deliver the goods to them. I had a friend there who went to Central Christian Church. It was while I was there that I saw an ad in the paper for the Boston Packing Company. But more about that later.

Courtship and Marriage

The courting or dating customs of that time I suppose started with a mutual attraction. One girl, Eva, she was a piano player and lived with her brother and mother who was a widow, and her grandfather lived with them. We’d sing together after church. When I was 16 I got up the courage to ask her to go to a symphony at the Portland Auditorium downtown, 25¢ apiece. She thoroughly enjoyed it. We went to two other musical events, but the attraction didn’t last very long.

I sang in the choir and was attracted to another girl who was also in the choir, Edith Reissinger, who was four years younger. I talked to her parents and they said there was too much difference in our ages, so that was that. Edith just passed away last fall. I didn’t attend the funeral. Her first marriage ended in divorce, but all her children were by him. Second she married a doctor’s assistant, and he died. Her third husband survived her.

Then there was another girl in the choir—Cora Sprague. I would’ve married her but Lillie came along. I used to take Cora all kinds of places. We’d go on the streetcar in the afternoons. I never took her to a show. She had a sister 17 months older who went along with us. I don’t think I ever had her to myself. That may have helped Lillie fit into the picture! Most of the chaperones I had experience with told people they trusted me.

In February 1910 I got a temporary appointment with the Railway Mail Service to weigh mail. They had a period of time every two years that they’d weigh the mail to see how much they were handling. I got compensation for two years for that job. I worked on the milk train from Portland to Yacolt, Washington and back; it went along the south slope of Mt. St. Helens. There were nine or ten post offices—it was no job at all. The weigher gave me the figures at Portland and I could do all the work in a half hour on a scale. I’d weigh each bundle of mail. We’d leave Portland in the afternoon, stay overnight in Yacolt, and come back in the morning.

I’d gotten acquainted with Paul and May Rieboldt and I’d stay with them and their little girl. We’d go to the Electric Light and Moving Picture Show, and I’d sing for them. May said to me, “You’ll want to meet my sister.” At this time Lillie was working for Meier & Frank’s in Portland. One time May came down to get her and they were on the train when I was working. I wondered who that cute little thing was May had with her, so I found out who she was and where she lived, and she soon became the center of attraction for me. I visited her a lot. What first attracted me to her was that she was little and cute. A little cutie! She was so friendly, and she had such a loving disposition that I was hooked. She soon found out that she could also trust me. I never tried to make a pass, I would never have taken advantage of her when we were alone, taking a walk or anything. There was something much greater than physical attraction there. She had gotten cut from Meier and Frank’s sometime after we met, and she started working as an attendant at a small hotel owned by friends of the family. She lived in the hotel. She was working downtown and I was working there in the produce area where there were chickens, vegetables, veal, and so forth. I’d go to see her every night. I was living in the Kern Park area with a widow Douglas, renting a room from her. I got in with a group that put on skits, a whole evening’s entertainment. It was acting and musical, and there were about twenty of us. This was just after I got acquainted with Lillie and we were in a skit together. In the skit I proposed to her. She said, “I’ll have to think it over!” I said, “Don’t think, say yes!”

Portland Rose Festival, 1910
In June 1910 we went together to see the illuminated parade of streetcars, etc., done up for the Portland Rose Festival. The cars were always highly decorated, and it made a pretty show at night to watch it. After we got home the Big Event occurred. I got a lot of encouragement from her. I got up the courage to ask a question. She said yes! She didn’t play hard to get. She said we should wait a few months, at least until I was 20 years old. As it was, I had to get written permission to get married because of my age. She was going to be 18 in September. I went to talk to her father, and he said, “Yes, I’ve been telling Lil she ought to get married. And it looks like she made a good choice.”

My parents were largely negative. Mother wanted me to marry Cora. I wasn’t surprised at her reaction. They had lots of reservations and reactions to signing for me to get married. They didn’t like losing their “little boy” and were very cool toward Lillie for a number of years. Wouldn’t recognize her. Two or three things changed their minds. For one, the babies came. For another, our reaction was to keep from seeing them or communicating with them, even though they lived close. We felt they had to make overtures, and finally they did.

Her family welcomed it. Her father told me, “I’ve been watching you; I told Lil the best thing was to get married, and that meant you.” He didn’t think there was any competition between me and any of her other suitors. He was always good to me. He’d come up, “Well boy, how are you getting along?” He’d deliver flour and potatoes to us, give me a $20 gold piece! He was full of advice too, and I didn’t like that, but he was a nice man. Her sisters, Jessie and Dora, maybe they were hoping, maybe they’d have designs on me themselves if Lillie didn’t take me! May and Agnes were already married and they were happy about Lillie marrying me. John had corresponded. When we first met, he embraced me as a brother. We felt we knew each other already. I said, “Oh! John, bless your heart!”

We waited until three weeks after her birthday to get married. I wore my only suit, my dark blue Sunday suit. Lillie wore a light blue satin dress; she had hired a dressmaker to make it. We were the only ones at our wedding. We went to the Rev. Frank L. Cook’s house [795 East Salmon St. in Portland]. The ceremony was a form, but no “love, honor, and obey”—she is not obliged to obey me! His wife and daughter signed our wedding certificate; they were our only witnesses. [On the marriage license Lloyd reported his address as 111 East 34th St. and his occupation as clerk. Lillie reported her address as 247½ Fifth St., City and her occupation as chamber maid.]

We didn’t want to make a fuss or to attract attention on this occasion, so there were no invitations. After the wedding we went out to dinner at the Portland Restaurant and then we went to a moving picture show afterwards. Next day we took off work and went to a baseball game, Portland vs. Tacoma. Portland won.

Supporting the Family

At first Lillie worked at the hotel and I rode my bike to the produce place. We did this for four or five months. Then we rented a house on Taylor St. in Sunnyside and I drove a laundry wagon for National Laundry. May and Paul and little Pauline stayed upstairs there. He was out of work until he got another job. We also had my cousin Elmer Lee (Aunt Rhoda’s boy) come and stay while he was out of work for a while. We moved out to get away because we couldn’t afford it. Elmer moved in with Aunt Pauline and Lena and my mother on Tacoma St. [in the 1940s], but he didn’t pay them rent either. I went over after a couple weeks and told him to pay board and room to them.

Back in June 1907 I had done lumber handling all summer. Then I moved to Sunnyside and had worked in the grocery and meat market three blocks away. After several years I had gotten a job for another grocery as a delivery man and store clerk. I’d go get orders, put them up, then deliver them. At the third store, Ford Brothers, we had sold general merchandise, furniture, carpets, etc. Then my dad pulled strings and got me that job weighing mail on the train to Yacolt. That job was 105 days in 1910, from February. I also weighed mail in 1907 or 1908 [and 1909, as he met Lillie in early spring 1909 on the train; we have a courtship letter he wrote to her in May 1909]. I sold Victor recordings while at Ford Brothers. They’d take the orders and I’d go down to the wholesale house and they turned that over to me. I got the commission. I’d go out at night and demonstrate them at demonstration parties; I sold six or eight a night.

In September 1910 I worked delivery for the produce place downtown, the Boston Packing Co. I was the order clerk and bookkeeper; it was a wholesale meat packing plant. They furnished meat to ships, restaurants, and the like. We started work at 5:45 a.m. At 8:00 I’d go have breakfast with Lillie at the hotel. I worked 10 hours a day. Got off at 6 p.m. I lost that job because I wouldn’t drink beer with the head bookkeeper. He said my voice was too gruff over the phone. The president of the company, John Driscoll, said he’d look into it. He said no, that’s all right. He gave me a recommendation and in January or February 1911 I got the laundry wagon job, driving the delivery wagon for National Laundry. I lost that job in the spring of 1914. The vice president took a dislike to me because I criticized him for keeping another woman besides his wife. We had built a house at SE 82nd, and when I couldn’t get work, we sold the house to Aunt Lena Anrys [This was his mother’s sister] and moved to Aumsville.
Lloyd and the National Laundry wagon in front of his parents’ house;
his mother, May Read, is standing in the yard

Uncle George met our train at the Shaff Station in Aumsville with his hack, or cart. He loaded all our stuff into it and we went to Grandma Read’s for a few days. She gave us some furniture and things. In Aumsville we rented an old house for $5 and I worked 16 hours a day for Sherm Swank at his flour mill and electric plant. I’d helped put the electricity in. We used a flume on the creek, and the water wheel sat in 8 feet of water. We cut down trees and used a draw knife to peel the bark, and then we put creosote on them to use them for electric poles. We hauled them with a wagon and team, using tent-hooks to get them on the wagon. We’d dig holes, erect poles, put up wires, and attach goose-neck streetlights. We strung wires to the houses and businesses too. The generator prop was by the water wheel that ran the flour mill in the daytime. On Wednesdays we ran electricity so the women could do their ironing. We had the first one in the area. I was the king pin, the pioneer with the know-how on that job. We made some mistakes of course. At any rate, I worked for Sherm for two years.

Lon Speer ran a general merchandise store and I worked for him until December 1917. While we were in Aumsville, we joined the Aumsville Christian Church and I taught the adult class. Twice a year I delivered telephone books. I’d done it before. It was an extra $100 to pay up the bills. The last time I was doing that, I got word that I could get a job in the Ford Motor Co. because Leatha’s husband [John Williams] had pulled some strings for me. It was contingent on us moving, and we did, fast.

First we moved in with Aunt Pauline Stephens [his mother’s sister] and then we moved into a house in a Catholic neighborhood near her. In June 1918 they discontinued the plant. They offered me a job in Tacoma, but we would have had to pay all our own moving expenses and we couldn’t do it.

I got a job driving the wagon for the Palace Laundry route. There were few motor cars at that time, but they replaced the wagon with a Model T Ford, so I learned to drive. We rented a house in the Woodstock area, moving from the Catholic neighborhood near Aunt Pauline.

During the wartime [World War I] I had a job with a wholesale plumbing outfit, supplying plumbing supplies to ships. I was still there when the Armistice was signed, November 11, 1919. The shipyards closed up after the war was over, and that job ended.

From there I went to the Oregon Laundry, but I got sick and was replaced. John Munroe got me a job with him in the shipyard at Vancouver. I worked in the plate shop, then painted cabins and spars. They phased us out. John drove his car 25 miles, a Hupmobile, to help me move back to Portland.

I worked longshoreing and grain handling, then I finally went down to the Portland Flour Mill and got a job handling wheat, unloading wheat. I did that for a year, and then I worked on the other end, on the flour packing machine. It filled the sack, you weighed it and put it on a belt that went to the sewer (sewing machine operator). If something was wrong with the sewing machine, it had to be sewed by hand. While I was packing feed one time, I stitched my hand with a long sack needle, eight stitches. Cut the needle out with a knife! I lost that job in 1922 through the subterfuge of the assistant foreman, who also was instrumental in getting the foreman fired. So this assistant foreman was now the foreman. I went out to see Grandma Read and the car broke down [she died August 27, 1922, so he must have been trying to see her before she passed away, or attending her funeral]. I called in to work and the next day I was canned. The foreman said, “I didn’t like your attitude, not showing up to work.” So all my friends quit too. We stood picket line and not a man went down there. In six weeks the mill folded and never reopened. [This is not all true, but he liked to tell stories that ended in his triumphing over times when he was down.]

The former foreman, the one who liked me, sent for me from the Port of Portland Terminal Warehouse #1. He hired me to drive a dock tractor, unloading general merchandise and general freight. At Terminal #4 I handled wheat for the Dock Commission Wheat Handler’s Hall. The union I had belonged to before, the Longshoreman’s, their contract didn’t cover wheat, so I joined the Grain Handlers’ Union.

Slack times came again. I did electrical work, carpentry, anything I could get. I’d harvest fields in the summertime.

In 1923 I went to work for a carpentry contractor. The foreman was a man named Nickerson. We built a house in Lents. We also built a three-story apartment building on a downtown block. We set stakes, graded the lot, put in forms, mixed concrete, poured the concrete, put up the frames, put on the roof. The other carpentry work was done by finishers. I got plumbing experience next. I helped old Nick with three jobs like that. On Saturday paydays, Nick would get him a bottle and that would be the last you’d see of him until Monday morning.

While I was still working with Nick on those three jobs, I took a day off in 1924 to go take the Civil Service Exam. Nick didn’t like that, even though I had picked him up to take him to work and then had gone to get him and take him home afterward. He didn’t let me work on any more jobs for him.

But there was another plumber in the Kern Park area who went to the Kern Park Church with us, and he was no good at figuring. So I went to work for him, doing his books. He couldn’t figure any better than that dog [pointing at Toby-Two, Retta’s dog, who was lying at our feet that day]. We got a lot of jobs and worked hard. His name was Jim Looney. I helped him outbid other plumbers. He was well liked, conscientious about his work. I did that until March 1927.

World War I and Politics

When the first World War started, I was disgusted with the German Kaiser’s attempt to conquer the world. When the Germans sank the Lusitania, it shocked the whole world. It certainly shocked me. I formed a dislike for the Germans and never got over it.

The first time I voted for a president was in 1912. I liked Theodore Roosevelt—he’d bolted from the Republican party and ran as an Independent. I liked his maverick stance. He was a nonconformist. But he split the Republican party in that election, so Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat, was elected, beating Taft. It didn’t concern me too much; I was willing to go along with the majority. After all, the majority rules in a democracy. Wilson was president from 1912 to 1916 when the war came along. He was reelected on a platform of keeping us out of the war, but soon after that the National Manufacturer Association got us into the war. [The National Association of Manufacturers was formed in 1895 and spent its first 40 years stridently attacking labor unions. What its role might have been with regard to U.S. involvement in WWI is not clear.]

When Germany attacked us (by sinking the Lusitania) I was in favor of going in. I felt we had to get rid of the mad-dog menace represented by the Kaiser and his cronies. But I was so disgusted by the actions of the National Manufacturer Association that I joined the Socialist Party, which now I think was treasonable. However, outside of my membership, I did nothing else about it. The party was suppressed by law during the wartime. If I had joined in with their antiwar demonstrations, I probably would have been gunned down! I don’t regret joining, though I dropped it in 1917 when we moved back to Portland. It gave me good experience.

I didn’t vote for Harding nor Coolidge nor Hoover for president in the elections of 1920, 1924, and 1928. I had registered and voted as a Democrat. I was disappointed at my candidates’ defeats, but I was not rebellious about them. These experiences were good lessons for me in conforming to the will of the majority.

I was glad when Lillie got to vote in 1920. It was a good thing in my mind for women to have the vote.

A Growing Family

In our family life we tried to resolve differences of opinion, and we did that fairly easily. We had no real clashes. Neither of us expected too much of the other. I realized that I had married a human being, and I was not an angel myself.

Our budget was demoralizing! At first we had no such thing. We bought what we needed and paid cash, and otherwise did without. Later we ran a bill at the grocery store. It took everything we could make to pay the bills. There was no surplus at any time. We kept careful track of where the money went. We had little notebooks, and we wrote down every penny. The word “budget” was not used in those days though. Money was just something to be used to pay the bills. Everybody was in the same boat. Everybody was broke after the bills were paid.

Grandpa Munroe would come over though, and ask, “Well, boy, how are you getting along?” I’d answer, “Oh, okay.” He’d say, “Well, you’re almost out of potatoes and flour. Here’s a $20 gold piece.” Lillie or I would exclaim, “Now Dad, we’re going to pay that back!” He’d just wave his hand and say, “All right if you did, all right if you didn’t.” When May, Paul, and little Pauline stayed with us that year, they paid their own way. We all helped one another.

When we got married, I made no new discoveries about Lillie. We grew up together after we got married. We did no planning, but we both wanted a family. She regretted not being pregnant right away and was very happy when finally Viola was on the way. We didn’t have a one we didn’t want. We did try to keep them spaced about two years apart. The only one we lost was little Earl; he died when he was about 20 days old. All the births were at home except Marjorie. She was the only one born in a hospital.

Nowadays breast feeding is getting a lot of attention, a lot of advocates. Back then it was the only way. It established a close relationship between mother and child. Marjorie though, she was bottle-fed after a while. I don’t know why. We didn’t have a doctor all the time like women do now when they’re pregnant. Lillie would go to the doctor when she felt motion, to be sure everything was all right.

To prepare for Viola’s birth, we were given lots of things. In my family, this was to be the first grandchild and great-grandchild. Viola was born March 20, 1912 in my parents’ home with my mother taking care of Lillie. The house was on Sunnyside and 34th Ave. and it’s still there. Dr. Pettit attended, and we paid him $25. I was there, talking to Lillie. My mother felt it was all very serious business, and for her, it had been. She had had a hard time with childbirth and was told not to have any more. She even had a hysterectomy. But Lillie didn’t have problems. Her labor was not too long and there were no complications. We were both healthy parents with no bad habits.
Four generations of Reads: Viola, the eldest child of Lloyd Read;
Lloyd, eldest child of Virgil Henry Read;
Virgil, eldest child of Clifton Kitredge Read Jr.;
Kitredge, eldest child of Clifton Kitredge Read

When Earl was born, January 20, 1914 in Portland, he got diphtheria or scarlet fever and we were unable to control it. The doctor came and couldn’t do anything. That hurt. We buried him in Multnomah Park Cemetery in Portland; there’s a little slab with his name engraved on it. We had no service. He was named Lester Earl after his Grandpa Munroe. That was our first rough experience facing the facts of life. It made us realize we had been neglecting our church life up to that time in our marriage, and we needed that to help time heal the wounds.

When Herbert was born July 15, 1915, his birth also helped us get over the loss of little Earl. We paid the doctor $25 for Herbert’s birth too. He was named Herbert Raymond, after Guy’s middle name, and Herbert for my friend in high school, Walter Herbert. By that time we were right in the church, and Lillie was teaching in the Sunday School too.

Next came Walter Carl on November 11, 1917. He was also named for my friend Walter Herbert. Also, there was a banker in Aumsville, the manager of the Aumsville State Bank, whose name was Walter Carl Anderson, so his name also had something to do with Carl’s name. I liked that guy.

Ruth Loretta was born in Portland and the doctor cost $25, just the same as for the others. I suggested the name “Loretta” and Lillie liked it. I liked the rolling effect of Ls and Rs in names. It’s a musical quality I think. Loretta was born July 10, 1919 at 12:30 a.m. because that was the first year nationwide daylight saving time had been mandated by law; if it hadn’t been, she would have been born 11:30 p.m. on July 9th instead.

Our sixth child was Charlotte May, named for Mother and for Aunt Pauline, whose middle name was Charlotte [It was great-aunt Pauline Hill whose middle name was Charlotte; Aunt Pauline Robertson’s middle name was Jane]. She was born September 12, 1921 in Portland.

In about 1923 Lillie had a miscarriage in the summer when she was about 4½ months along. She was not sick, but the doctor came to attend her. Next Clarence was born, and we named his middle name Austin after a popular car of the day. Mother had an uncle named Clarence, but we didn’t know him very well [Henry Clarence Crooks Robertson; Daniel’s youngest half brother]. We just liked the name, with those Ls and Rs. He was born June 7, 1925 in Portland.

On April 8th, 1927 we had Florence Alice, again named with the idea of Ls and Rs in the name. Lillie had a sister named Florence who died as a baby, and my aunt Ethel’s middle name was Florence. My mother’s sister was called Alice, and Leatha’s middle name was Alice. Ours was born in Portland, and her birth was routine with no problems. But the older children jumped in with trying to call her “Flossie” and we said, “Oh no! Not Flossie! We’ll call her Alice.” In 1928 Lillie again had a miscarriage about 4½ months along. The doctor came.

Last but not least Marjorie Lorraine was born February 24, 1930 in Portland, the only one in the hospital. She cost $40, more than any of the others. It was a battle. There was a lot of bleeding, a delay in the delivery, and my mother was very much worried. She paced and paced the hospital floor. From this time on Lillie and Mother got along very, very well, as members of a family should.

I don’t believe in abortion. If you don’t want children, don’t get married! Too many marriages are ending in divorce nowadays. Marriages are not made in heaven. How a marriage turns out depends on a person’s motive for getting married. You can’t be selfish.

Lillie generally stayed in bed four to seven days with the new baby. She stayed in bed three weeks with Marjorie, and a neighbor girl was hired to take care of the others. That girl stole some jewelry from Lillie. Our family generally came to help. Aunt Pauline came and took care of things in the years until the older children were old enough to help out on their own when a new baby came or when we went anywhere on trips.

Each of our children welcomed the newcomers. Viola lost her first brother. When Herbert came she thought it was Earl again, but she soon got it straight. Then we had three straight boys, and Viola wondered, are there no baby sisters? When Loretta was born, Viola helped take care of her. She wanted to mother the little one and was shown how to help out. I did not diaper. Diapering was Lillie’s job and prerogative.

The boys were also interested in their little sisters. The world is give and take, we tried to teach them, and the selfish child was reminded how to behave. Viola spoiled Carl. She would fuss with him and give him attention. The boys didn’t fuss with their siblings. They also pretty much were given to doing what their sisters wanted them to do. When Clarence was born, the older boys were very glad to get another brother.

The idea of marriage I grew up with was that it involved parenthood. I enjoyed children. I like the little ones. I gravitated into it. It wasn’t a responsibility so much for me as a privilege to have children. There was not a one we didn’t want.

Once we went to a bakery on the east side to get a sack of 20 loaves for a dollar. The German lady who ran the bakery knew that our family was about to increase. I told her, “Our youngster came yesterday.” The lady said to me, “Haven’t you noticed that when another comes, a loaf of bread does too?”

If you have a successful conclusion, if you have a successful culmination, then the end justifies the means. God is not going to wipe this nation off the face of the earth. The conditions people impose are the things to be changed. The conditions God has placed here are immovable.

Note from his diary, October 5, 1934: “This is Lillie’s wedding anniversary, and it is mine, too. We have finished 24 years together—wonderful years, they have been, but this whole thing is surely a big mystery to me, and I have ceased to try to fathom it. I will only say that I get a ‘big kick’ out of life, and hope I can keep up my optimistic spirit to the end. Sufficient to know that God has been with us and blessed us, as long as we kept ourselves in the proper relationship with him.”

Serving in Church

Aumsville Christian Church
In 1914 we moved to Aumsville and for a short time we didn’t go anywhere to church. Then we went to the Aumsville Church. My great-grandparents, the Porters, had brought their Bible with them when they came to Oregon across the plains, and they were instrumental in establishing the Mill Creek Christian Church, which was second only to the Amity Church as to the date when organized. The Porter family was instrumental in the growth of this congregation, which later was moved into the town of Aumsville and became the Aumsville Christian Church. My early recollections are of sitting in this church with Grandma and hearing her sing the old songs of the faith. Grandma was always associated in my mind with church and gospel songs. I have a faint memory of Grandma leading me out the door of the Turner Tabernacle when I was about three years of age when I had to be taken to the little boy’s room.
Turner Memorial Tabernacle

While we were going to the Aumsville Church, the pastor, Ralph Putnam, married my cousin Edith Von Behren. Her mother was my grandmother’s half-sister [Mary Jane Porter, half-sister to Elizabeth Nancy Porter Read, married Henry C. Von Behren in 1890; Edith was born a year later].

I’d had training in teaching so I substituted in the adult class. Most were older than I was. I was variously a substitute, an assistant teacher, choir leader, soloist, song leader, and janitor. As the janitor it was my job to build the fire Sunday mornings, ring the bell, and clean the church in my spare time. I did that for three and a half years.

Kern Park Christian Church
In December 1917 we moved back to Portland and attended Kern Park Christian Church. I sang in the choir, was a soloist, and was the song leader for the Sunday School. I also was a substitute teacher.

I did that until we moved to Condon, Oregon when I was appointed to the R.M.S. and my first regular run was between Arlington and Condon at night. It was 36 miles long; we’d pick up the mail and return the next morning. That line served central Oregon. In Condon we attended the Congregational Church. The minister was a former member of the Christian Church, a Mr. George Williams. I was the high school choir conductor for that church pert near the whole year. I had 20 to 25 youngsters in the choir. We had a piano for accompaniment. The church was similar to the Presbyterians. The frequency of communion was only once a month, same as the Baptists. They didn’t immerse. I offered to put a baptistry in if he’d stay as our minister, but his wife got sick and they didn’t stay there.

In July 1931 we moved back to Portland and I was on the U.P. main line. It was right after school let out. We went back to Kern Park and stayed there for two years. We organized a church down at Milwaukie out of the Kern Park congregation. There was a need for a church down there, but it folded up after a year. They had financial problems and couldn’t pay the preacher.

From the number of men in the area, we created an organization called 90 and 9 Men. Its purpose was to organize Sunday schools and new churches in the local NW district area. It’s still flourishing. I was one of the first chairmen; I served two terms ten years apart as the NW district chairman. I was on the district board for ten years and then on the state board for ten years too. We organized twenty different churches, raised the money, did the work, everything. All the ones we organized are still flourishing too. We did a great work. The modern movement has changed its name to Christian Men’s Fellowship and it’s a national organization. The organization around here lost its motivation and evangelism; it just withered on the vine. There have been only three new churches organized in the Willamette Valley in the years since our organization was absorbed into the national one.

Through these experiences I was getting training as a leader and teacher in church. I was able to practice occasionally on some of the churches. Never tried to teach the primary grades; not enough patience. I once had a class of boys. I sent the minister’s son out: “When you can get ready to listen to me and not try to run the show, you can come back in,” I told him. I didn’t have enough patience with those boys.

Lloyd Read being ordained to the ministry in 1952 by
Pastor Howard Hutchins, Elders Elmer Smith, Dr. John
Meyers and Jay Mulkey; Oregon City Church of Christ
In 1952 I had an experience, an inner experience that led me to the ministry, a ministry to music. It came out of my study in preparing to teach those adult classes at McMinnville. We had come back from Condon, tried the church at Milwaukie, and found that the preacher was a graduate of Northwest Christian College, Sam Kimball, but they couldn’t pay him. To try to keep him at Multnomah in the NW hills of Portland, the boys and I bought a lot and built a church. Claude O’Brien was the preacher there. We got that church on its feet, and I was the part time leader of the adult class. I also sang in the choir. Lillie and the older girls sang there too. We were there for three years and then moved to McMinnville. The preacher there was Jimmy Osburn. You could often find him in a tavern, talking to the patrons and trying to convert them. I was his assistant minister, unofficially, and I preached several times. I was a soloist and the choir leader. I taught the men’s class, with 50 men, and I’ll tell you a teacher had to have a high-powered ability— those people knew more about the Bible than I did.

They had no building program. We financed our share of local expenses and the rest of the tithing went into the 90 and 9 program. The 90 and 9 and bought and erected the church at Willamina. I was on the board of trustees at that time and helped in that effort.

Then we moved to Canby, traded the farm for the place there. I was a member of the choir and a soloist and the leader of the adult class there, with 50 men and women mixed. It was a lot of challenge; I had to do some studying to do that. I taught out of the American S.S. Association standard lessons of the Christian Board of Publication. It was a private concern, but it had the sanction of our churches around the country. It was published in Indianapolis.

There is no central organization to our church, but everything is standardized. They say they don’t have a doctrine, but belonging implies conversion. You confess your faith, undergo baptism, attend regular meetings, observe the Lord’s supper. There’s no catechism. You listen to the preacher’s word, you study it out, and you read the Bible. They used to use deathbed stories and persuasion, but there’s no more coercion anymore about converting. Our creed is the credo of our founders: “No name but Christ and no book but the Bible.” But not just anybody can read and interpret any old way—that would be lacking instruction of people who confess Christ. The doctrine of the Trinity is taught but not stressed. It’s a fact, but not to discuss. It’s a mystery—one of those things that is not understandable. As for the book of Revelation, there are many opinions on that subject. You can deduce from some of it what will happen. Revelation in general is something for the future. It doesn’t mean it’s being revealed now; it’s all unrolling like a reel or a scroll.

My faith has been basic to my life. Watch some of these fellows who try to define life in terms of the material. I’m glad I don’t have to do that. Nothing of compassion, nothing of sympathy in it; it’s entirely egocentric. I don’t like to be put into competition with that kind of people. They put you on the spot. There is a basic insecurity in them. But they’re too stubborn to change.

The way to teach children faith is by practicing it in our own lives. We didn’t send our children to Sunday school; we took them. I’m proud of the fact that most of my family are not only church members but church workers. Children need to be guided during the years they can be guided. Then at a certain age, they’re on their own. They don’t always go the way I’d have had them go, but God forbid that my children be a carbon copy of me. My dad told me, “Your children are always your concern, but not always your responsibility.” You teach them and then you let them go.

Cars We Have Owned

This might be a good place to interject a note about cars we have owned, which pretty much cover the history of the automobile. The first car we bought was in 1918, just after we moved back to Portland. It was a 1915 Studebaker with side curtains. The second car was a 1918 Maxwell, which later became Chrysler. The third car was a 1922 model Chalmers. I never did own a Model T Ford. Our fourth car was a Buick, a 1923 model. In 1927 we got a Model A Ford. These were all secondhand cars. Then we were able to afford more expensive, firsthand cars. We bought a 1928 Chevrolet model 490, and while Clifford was driving it, someone ran into him and that was the end of that car. Clifford was all right. [The Chevrolet 490 was discontinued in 1922, so this car was probably the last of their second-hand cars, not the first new car.] We bought Chryslers, four or five Plymouths, a DeSoto in 1952, then we bought Ramblers, made by American Motors. We never owned a foreign car. We’ve owned 60 different cars and 15 trucks!

1915 Studebaker

1918 Maxwell

1922 Chalmers

1923 Buick

1927 Model A Ford
The Chrysler 490, 1922 model

Post Cards from Lloyd to Lillie