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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

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