WOMEN AND TIMBER
The Pacific Northwest Logging Community, 1920 - 1998
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| Women and Timber
Oral History narrator: Linda Vanderpool
Date of interview: October 16, 1998
Indexed/partial transcription by D. Sutphen, 12-7-98
Notes: Interviewer Debra Sutphen. Interviewer's questions are bolded. Indicated quotes are not always precisely quoted here.
004--You and your husband owned a logging business for 18 years. They do not now. They closed and went out of business in April of 1990. Started in April of 1973. They close it because of economic reasons. "There was quite a bunch of things. We'd bought some equipment that we were having trouble with that became very costly and about ate us alive, then of course there was the spotted owl mess, and there was just a combination--the state had lifted the lid on liability insurance and one year it went from $1100 to $11,000. And they lifted the lid on trucking, and it went from being a quarter of the gross to being a third of the gross. Just like I said there was quite a complication--you couldn't get money to cover the rate that things were going up. And because everybody had to pay so much for timber--the timber went sky high, and so of course they didn't want to pay you any more to log it, and so it just wasn't feasible--there just wasn't enough pieces of the pie. So, eventually you just said, 'that's it, I'm done.'" "In just a matter of a couple three years things got really, really changed. Just terribly bad."
027--Were you involved with the logging industry before you met your husband? "No, I met my husband when I was seventeen, and he was a logger, and we have just always been into that. We both went to school up here--in Randall. I moved up here in '60, and graduated in '65. His sister was in my class too and we were friends--and things just happen." Was he a logger when you met him? "Actually, when I first started going out with him it was in the winter and the woods was shut down and he was working at a filling station. He was a year older than me, so he was out of school working during the winter, but as soon as spring came he went back to the woods."
039--Since you hadn't been around logging before how was that? "It was scary. It was scary. I was scared to death of it, but . . you adjust. Like I said, it's a dangerous occupation, you know that and you realize that and still it's scary. We have lost friends in the business and it's just how it is. You learn after a while . . you get a certain . . you accept . . you know that's where they're the happiest at and so if something's going to happen you'd just as soon that it be there, then someplace that they hate, and didn't like. I got a little more understanding of the woods, for a while in our business we were also responsible for the brush cleanup after the logging, and my mother-in-law and I did that for a couple of years for the guys." That's pretty hard work? "Yeah, it's hard work but it was nice that we had our little power saw, you know, had a Stihl 20 . . there's a certain peace out there in the woods that you'll find no place else. And we worked in the snow and we worked in the rain and it was no big deal. There's something about the peace and solitude out there and just that it really grows on you--you get really used to it . .and you think, 'oh, ok, this is why. I just always used to think that he had pitch and fir needles for blood." "but there's a really just a different pace out there--everything's slower--you go at your own pace. It's peaceful . . . ." She started doing the brush removal in about 1980 to about 1982. Talked about the job they got where she did that.
068--So they got together in 1965, and he started the business in 1973. He had cut timber before that, and another guy and him went into partnership. Get a little cat, and do a little logging--thinning--then they needed a skidder, and got that, then his father came into. They didn't hire anyone but did it all themselves for a couple years. Then in 1976 they decided they needed a yarder, so went into it with the whole crew. They eventually employed, when they quit, they had contractors doing all the trucking, and contract cutters, so they were responsible for 16 hands.
084--Did you do the bookkeeping for that all those years? "Oh, yes, oh yes." They have two kids--a son and daughter. Son born in 1967 and daughter in 1969. So when your husband was logging she was at home "going crazy." What were you doing daily? "Just the usual stuff--the kids played sports and this and that,"--told a story about her husband volunteering to coach the "Little Pee-Wees and how he tried to get back but told her if he couldn't she should start practice. How long were your days? "Very long. People give me a bad time now at my office because, especially during tax season, because I'm there most times 4:30-5-5:30 in the morning and even now in my off season it's 6:30-7. . . I have turned into a very morning person. When the kids were really little the only time I could get bookwork done was between the time that George left in the morning and they woke up. My kids never slept past 6 o'clock in the morning. So if he left at 3:30 in the summertime--hoot owling--I hit the books and I was there until they got up. so consequently it has worked out that that has made me a morning person from the years of doing that and I think best in the morning. If I have a real difficult tax return now, by 2:30-3 in the afternoon you don't want what I'm going to deliver, and I always review it the next morning, but my real difficult ones I will do first thing in the morning because that's when I think the best. You just get used to it." So you were doing that from the beginning then? "Yes." She is 51 and George is almost 53. They married very young--but it hasn't been a problem--they've been married almost 33 years. Got married in August and then the day after Thanksgiving he got his notice and left for the Army Dec. 6. He didn't go to Vietnam, ended up in Germany and their son born there. Did his two years, and then came home, then he went to work doing road construction in the woods (same thing he's done when he got drafted). Then he ended up in the woods, logging. She was pregnant with her daughter when he started cutting timber, which he did for three years--cutting contract. "That (cutting) I think is the hardest work in the woods, and the most dangerous. I think it demand more out of their body than it's got to give. He did that for three years, and it's still his favorite--of everything in the woods he loves that the most. He did get a knee hurt--wrecked a knee real bad--and his knees can't take it to do it anymore. But he still loves to cut here and there." It was harder back then when the trees were larger. "Oh yeah, for three years all he packed was a Stihl 90 saw, well, an O-90 saw is humungous--I don't even know if you can get one anymore. I mean my little Stihl 20 that I had for cutting brush, my bar and chain and motor was only the size of the motor of his saw. And he had a chain that went up to 62 inches--bar and chain. And he was very good at it from what I understand, and the guys that he worked for were very particular and when they got into a patch of old growth he always got to cut the old growth because he could lay 'em out and not smash 'em and wreck 'em and destroy 'em. And he really, I think, loved gutting the big ones--it was a real challenge to lay it just so without breaking it up."--
159--It takes a long time to just prepare to cut a tree like that. "Oh yeah, it would be something with the great big trees--I have pictures where he'd cut (trees) that would be twelve feet on the stump. And in a whole day's time he might cut three of them, or six. It was an all day thing. And that's one thing I never did like to do was watch him cut timber."
165--Did you ever go out and watch? "Yeah, a lot of the other stuff I'm ok with, but I did not like watching him fall trees." But you've done that? Watched him fall trees? "Yeah, yeah. But I don't really lie it (laughs nervously). Once in a while I'd ride out with one of the logging trucks to the job, and I didn't like it when the lines come tight on the yarder--just the humming and the singing that they do. That bothered me, I didn't like that, because I just kept waiting for it to go '(she made a noise here resembling a ripping, crash)' and just . . (bust), that bothered me. But as far as the equipment and so that didn't--we had a skidder burn when it was about 9 months old--a brand new skidder burnt--and it was a crazy mess." She talked about the loaner they got from the insurance company, and then meeting with the adjuster--etc. Talked about how she had to help load the old skidder on the tow truck--she had to use the new one to push the old one onto the truck, and told the guy steering the old one, "you're a brave soul," and laughed. And she did it, got back and got it loaded. And then went home, and George came home and said to her, 'did the new skidder come?' and she replied, 'yeah, it's (unintelligible)--I already drove it!' (laughed).
193--"We met some really, really remarkable, fine people. I mean there's a lot of people yet that we are still really close friends with, or lot of equipment places we dealt with for different things I can run into those people and just talk forever. We had a really good . . lot of really, really nice people. Of course there's a few you'd like to . . .but in general most people were very nice and are still very nice, and are still just very enjoyable to run into here and there and you never know when you're going to run into 'em. And I think that's the only thing that I really miss about the business is a lot of the people."
203--After you married and had your kids and etc. did you do everything around the house? "Oh yeah. Sometimes it was better than others, but yeah, oh yeah. With having our own business George did very, very little around the house because he was never there--because the weekends the crew didn't work but he did because he had the oil to change in all the equipment, the landings to build, anything like that, monkey wrenching all the equipment. And from the time our son was probably five years old he went with him out on the weekends. And so my daughter and I would go out on the town and go shopping. We got very much into shopping--we still love to shop together. Our son was crazy about logging from the time he was twenty. I tried everything under the sun--I talked college, and college, college, and I talked trade school, anything. And he loved logging, and he still to this day does. And he had ended up running logging companies from a very, very young age, and he's been very good at it." Tells about how knowledgeable her son George is about logging machinery, about logging--he reads logging all the time. Mystee's husband is their son. Talked about how new salesmen would react to Little George talking equipment with them. "He has the respect of a lot of much, much older guys. He was a very intelligent kid, he managed to con us into getting out of high school a half year early--he was an honor student but hated school. She signed for him to get out early but made him go back in the spring for graduation. He got out in January and went to work the following Monday with them. Then his grandfather had a heart attack and wasn't able to work so George Jr. went right into it. He had worked in the summers. He still thinks that high school a waste of his time--school was so easy for him. Daughter graduated valedictorian in her class--had scholarships to PLU, didn't want it. Opened her own day care now. She has a little 3 year old, and wanted to be able to stay home with him.
291--When you were raising your kids did you have a group of women friends that you stayed in contact with that were in logging? "Oh yeah, some of 'em were and some of 'em weren't. I bowled for years one morning a week. Such sociable." Did you talk about logging "Yeah, our talk of logging usually went into whether they were working or shut down or off."
305--How was that through the years when they were off? "You plan your whole life around that. Most people in a structured life there's payday every two weeks and that's that. Well with logging you never know, and even working for someone else in logging you never know--because the snow could shut 'em down tonight. And do remember back when the kids were little and unemployment was $42 a week. Oh yeah. So you got used to it, but in the summertime there was good money, so you got used to if you bought something you didn't go out and buy a whole house full of furniture at once and get it on as small payments as you can because I figured in the summertime a twenty was like a one, you threw it--you know, you did whatever with it. But in the wintertime a five would get you milk and bread for the week. So you learned to, when things tightened up you tightened up immediately. You don't float on through to the next month and think I'll worry about it then, you don't, you do it now. And it's just--like I said you learn not to overextend yourself because you knew that's how it was gonna be, and you also got tin the habit of if you had a new pickup or a new car in the summertime you tried to get a couple three payments ahead of it. So you didn't have to worry about it--if you had a good winter and got to work eleven months, hey, that was great. But if you only got to work seven then you were still ok, you know. Like I said, you learned. In the summertime, when we were in our twenties and thirties, our friends and a bunch of us would go out to dinner, go out partying, go out whatever. In the wintertime we played pinochle. When they were off work you played pinochle and ate popcorn and called it good (laughs)." Was that hard to get used to for you? "No, uh-huh."
341--Did George hunt to help you all get through that? Yes, he hunted for years, but as he got older he got more into trophy hunting, but before that he'd always get an elk or deer.
346--What about the danger? What about George getting hurt? "He never got hurt really, really seriously. He wrecked his knee--George is a good size guy. He's like 6'2" and 230 pounds. He's a big guy and he was cutting timber at the time when he hurt his knee. He was working with Albert who ended up being his partner--if it was really soaking wet Albert might have weighed 130 pounds--a little tiny guy." He didn't know how to get George out of there--so he grabbed his saw and cut a trail through the brush, then the boss came along--Jack--6'5" or 6'7"--and he just picked George up and threw him on his back piggyback--started walking across the logs because they had timber down everywhere. All George kept thinking was that if Jack fell his leg was really going to be hurt. How did you find out? "Oh, they pulled into the house on the way to the doctor, and George told me (and she tells this feigning George's nonchalance) . . . and I was painting the kitchen or something . . ."why don't you run up to Docs in a little bit and come get me, I kind of wrecked my knee. And I said, 'oh, your bad knee?' and he said, 'oh no, my good knee,' and I said, 'oh, good show. Now you've got two bum knees. (laughs). Jack looked at me like, 'oh, you're nice,' and I said, ' well, when, right now?' and he said, 'yeah, I think you can put the lid on your paint can.' In the end we had to take him up to Tacoma, because he'd done it up pretty good." He was off work for six weeks with that injury. How did they make it? "That was probably the roughest time we ever had. Because at that time state industrial was less than unemployment. He did not get his first state industrial check until he was back at work. Which now they are much speedier at that. And the thing was he had just been off for three months, through the winter. He did this in April--he'd been back to work three days when he wrecked his knee. When there's something like that up here in this small community people ban together and we had lots of offers of help if we needed it, and that was the first thing his boss, Jack and Bob, and Bob's wife asked about his new pickup--what are you going to do about the new pickup? And I says, 'I'm fine until August.' She said, 'you're kidding me,' and I said, 'no, I've got payments made until August.' Like I said, you had to be half-way prepared for anything like that that could happen." This was before he started logging on his own. "And when our son was fifteen, my father-in-law got hurt real bad and my son was standing there--he was like five feet from him when it happened. And to me, I felt so bad at the time that my son had to be there and see this, but I think it was one of the biggest awakenings that he could possibly have had. Because I know that night they had to fly my father-in-law out in a helicopter, and coming home that night after we got back from the hospital . . . George told me, 'I never, ever figured that Dad or Poppie could get hurt, because they'd always been so careful,' and I said, 'well, now you know.' I says 'it doesn't matter what you do, everything can be fine and dandy one minute and the next minute all hell breaks loose.' What he'd done is he'd fallen a tree, and the tree hit a chunk laying on the ground, way out in front of it, and the tree shot the chunk back and it went through here (points to his eye) and it destroyed the back side of his eye. And he had to throw his arm up and he broke his arm all up, right down to there were slivers on the lining of his brain. Most people don't get hit like that and live. It even bent in his tin hat--the whole bill of it. And I says, 'well, now you know.' I says, 'you've got to realize that being careful is not enough. You still have to be prepared because you never know. And I think it's made him from being a kid and thinking that nothing can ever happen to you to seeing how quickly it can."
444--Over the years, how has the logging industry shaped your life, your personality? "I don't really know, other than you don't take anything for granted. Like I said, a lot of people payday's every two weeks, with this life everyone says, 'yeah, we never knew (laughs).' And it just--I think you appreciate each other a whole lot more, and it seems like when things would get tough and the tougher they would get the closer we would get." Mystee (her daughter-in-law) said it made her more independent. "Yeah, I was a senior in high school when George and I started going together, and I already planned I wanted to go onto business college, and we got engaged in May. And everybody said, 'why? why are you going to business college?' and I said, 'hey, I may not ever, ever use it but if I need it I have something I can fall back on. This is something I have to do for me. For one thing, I was real interested in key punch . . . that's what I wanted to do. And everybody just could not believe it. And I did, even though I never used it, and I just wanted to know how it works. And it was a security thing for me for several years, before I got into doing books and the other fun things in life that I had something need be that I could fall back on."
487--Is that still a worry for you--the security? "Oh yeah. Yeah, like I said you know at any time they can be gone. And you just got to figure on that--ok, what kind of plan of attack do I have should this happen." That's a tough way to live. "But like I said, it makes you appreciate more the time that you do have, which most people don't even think about anything ever happening, I mean it's just not there. Most people, say somebody that works at Boeing, the only real thing that they have is that they may get in a car wreck on the way to work or back (laughs), or get hung up in traffic forever. But they don't really think of anything because everything is based around that every-other-week payday. Then when they lay off a bunch of people they panic, they go into such shock, because what do you do? You do whatever, you just manage." So you just sort of learned that, from the time you got married. "Yeah, like I said we were married three and a half months when he got drafted, and that was a whole different ballgame. From him back at $3.25 an hour from making $1100 or $1200 dollars a month, which was a lot of money at that time, to making $1,080 I think he did in his first year in the military." Talks about how much allotment she got, more about the military, scrimping, trying to pay bills on military pay, etc.
535--"So like I said, we got used to right off not counting on a big . . . "
540--What made you decide to open your business? "Well, actually my girlfriend made me do it." Talked about how she worked for years in her friend's office--her friend helped her understand things, then she started proofreading for her--worked for her for 17-18 years--it was very nice, because it was extra money during tax season, and the it ends . . ."I used to leave for Reno on the 15th." Talked more about Reno. "She started having health problems" . . . .had to close her business and told Linda to open her own office. Then it went from income tax to payroll and monthly stuff. So she essentially works all the time. She really enjoys doing the taxes--talked more about it. Takes tax seminars, etc. to keep current.
613--Was your business and the money you made from it a supplement to your family income? "It was more or less just extra money--I'd go to Reno, or buy something for the house, but now it more or less in either logging or road construction like he's doing now, that's pretty much his downtime and that's my income time so it works out well, so we don't end up with this real skimpy area in the year anymore, we're pretty much even throughout. (It's nice except for one thing) . . .his busy time of the year is my slack time, so it's really hard to get away and go someplace. Normally I love to go to Hawaii in January, January I can't go anyplace, or Feb., or March, or April. By the time I can go it's May, and he's just going back into work really busy again. We tried going last time to Hawaii the first week of December and that was disastrous--"I'll never do that again . . .(too busy a time)." "So it's really hard. We have opposite seasons. 'Course it's very nice if he's off during tax season because if he's off work he'll make dinner for me and have it ready when I come home and it's really good that way so that helps a lot, especially when I get really deep into March. That helps tremendously."
638--When he was working and logging and you were working at home and at tax stuff, did you still make breakfast and dinner? They don't usually eat breakfast--George isn't a big eater, doesn't eat breakfast and doesn't take a lunch. He eats a good dinner, and he is a very good cook. They have a good breakfast on the weekends--he'll cook. He learned to cook during hunting trips. That's what he worked for all year, was to take a trip during elk season. When she was pregnant she was "ridiculously sick"--all the time. She couldn't cook something and couldn't even hear it cook--so he did the cooking. Talked more about her pregnancy sickness-"that's why we had only two children."
669--What's the best thing about being married to a logger and having a logging son? "I'd say the people, the outdoors . . . when we had the business we were both always going crazy, and something would break down and I'd ride to him out to Chehalis or somewhere to get parts, and somebody said once, 'you're always so close, you're always together.' And I said, 'that's the only time we get to visit or talk, is if I'm riding with him to get parts.(laughs). Because at home it was a madhouse at night--your house is not your castle--when we quit business . . . he had always wanted to go to Alaska, and I said, 'why don't you do it?' I said, 'get rid of the business,' and he said 'what about the house?' and I said, 'I don't need the house, the kids are gone, I'm doing nothing but throwing more crap in their bedrooms. I said sell the house. And he said, 'you're kidding!' We'd lived in the house 19 years--and he says, 'you're kidding,' and I said 'no.' I said let's just do what we want to do for a while. We have been tied to all the people we felt responsible for and the business and everything, and I said let's just sell it. So we did." They moved to the motel in Randle (her nephew owns it) and he went to Alaska for a while. They may both go to Alaska. He doesn't think that she'll like it because she's so used to getting in her car and going, and her grandkids are there--George and Mystee has four, and their daughter is close.
721--What's been the worst part about being married to a logger and having a logger for a son? "Just the worry about them. I have a scanner, and so many people say, 'how can you stand that?' Well, our guys, our crew, was the first bunch to go in and log after Mt. ST. Helen's blew, and it was still shimmering and shakin' and stuff, and they required them, they had red cards and they had to be checked in every morning and checked out at night, and they were required to have a scanner on the job so they could notify them if it was really getting . . yeah . . .and they'd better get out of there. And so I've had a scanner ever since, and I knew right off--it was really nice to know when there was an accident, or a logging accident, that you knew when it wasn't your bunch or your crew or your guys. They'd say it's here or there and it wasn't your job. So I think that gave me kind of a peace . . . I know when my son was in high school all he wanted to do was get rid of my scanner--he absolutely hated it--because he knew if he did anything before he could concoct any story or tale or before he'd get home with any explanations I would know (laughs) because they'd say names and license numbers and stuff . . .and that used to be all he wanted, to get rid of that scanner." "But it was nice to know when it wasn't any of your bunch, because otherwise the sirens--you'd hear a siren and there was just this panic in your heart, thinking where is it going? Is it a car accident or is it a logging accident? Like I said, this Bob and Jack that George cut timber for for three years, George had to bring their dad's body out when he was killed and I was pregnant with my daughter, and he was late, which George wasn't or usually if he was going to be late he'd call and let me know. And he was late, and he was late, and my parents had what was Randall One Stop . . . (a small gas station/store) . . . my mother heard at the station that there'd been a logging accident and somebody had been killed . . . and she called me and she said (nonchalantly), 'oh hi, what're you doing,' well, this is the busy time of the day was for them, all the crews coming in and filling up and getting your stuff for the next day, and I says, 'nothing, why,' and she said, 'oh, is George home?' and I says, 'no, he's really late, why? Is something going on?' and she said, 'oh, nothing, I think I'll come over and visit.' And I thought, I says, 'why,' . . .'oh, nothing, I just, you know . . . ' and she come over, and was there until he got home, but I mean she knew, she hadn't seen him go by or anything either, and she'd heard it was a cutter."
768--So when that happens, like that fellow was killed, do you go to his family's? "Oh, yeah . . . and of course the ambulance at that time had to come from Morton (no emergency services in Randall, Packwood, Glenoma), well it got halfways up to the job and it knocked a whole in its gas tank, so they had to wait for another one, so in the meantime they decided it ws best, and George had his pickup there and it didn't have toolboxes and all the junk in back, so they put him in the back of George's pickup so George brought him out to meet the second ambulance. It's rough." "And then we've had friends, one of 'em got both his legs broke when a tree kicked back on him---there's a closeness that I think average people don't have, because everybody knows how bad it can be, and they're used to helping each other and being around each other and supporting each other."
784--Do you wish that your husband had done something else? "I really don't know what . . I really don't know what it would be. Now, I'm so used to being up here--when I was young I thought Tacoma was where I'd like to be. Well now, if I go to Tacoma by 1 o'clock in the afternoon . . .I gotta get out of there. You get used to a more laid-back way of life."
794--Do you feel like because of your long connection with logging it is a unique lifestyle? "It is a different lifestyle, but the thing is everybody else that's in it . . . i9t's normal to us. It's everyday stuff to us." Would you feel connected to a logger's wife that you didn't know at all? "Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah. We had a group that's called Washington Women in Timber, and I was in that too, and we had meetings in Seattle once a year with these other wives, and there was always a group that went back to Washington DC with the legislation to help with different things, yeah, I think there's a certain comradeship that you all have because you all know the dangers, you all have been there, and the good times and the hard times. And its stuff that other people can't totally understand who haven't been there, that have lived a structured life, and that have been used to having 50 weeks of work a year knowing its going to be there knowing that every other Friday is payday and this and that and don't think past that. They group their bills and what they buy by that. Well, we really didn't have that option or that luxury. It was, well, can I get this paid for before the snow hits (laughs)--kind of get situated with this if something happens and he's laid up for six months or hurt or busted up, you know. How's that going to work? I think it's just a different outlook on different things."--826
826--I talk about how little historical information there is out there about the kinds of things that logging women go through. What a different lifestyle it is. "Like I said, we are normal in that we're sociable--a bunch of us used to have a cookie party at Christmastime--all us wives would get together and we each brought two dozen cookies and your recipe and we all swapped cookies and recipes and we'd go out to lunch like anybody else and we'd go bowling, or these different social things, and yet we're always there if the other one needs us. I think actually we're probably a little more sociable than the women in the cities that don't mix. Like I said, we got used to it in the wintertime, when they were off work, playing pinochle, you know you could do it during the daytime, because they weren't working. (laughs) You could do it in the daytime or the evening (laughs again), it didn't matter. Everybody was poor at the same time--everybody had to tighten up and watch it at the same time, and basically at the same time in the summertime we all had extra money so we'd say hey, let's go to the beach, or . . . "
857--People have this idea that loggers are wild, crazy rednecks. "Some are, but I'm sure there are some bankers that are too. You know? People don't realize because all you ever hear are about the wild drunken loggers. I know way back when my kids were in grade school, in the fourth grade, my son had a teacher, and she was really anti-logging, and I thought, 'what are you doing up here honey? You're in the wrong land. And she would make little comments about it and how they were all drunks and just sat on barstools . . .well, it got to the point that one time she said something to the effect, she was giving homework but, none of them could get any help from their parents anyway because they were too illiterate. And I went to a school board meeting--and I usually wasn't one to run to the school, but of course they had to tell me to be quiet during the meeting, that I couldn't say that during the meeting, that it had to be in closed session or whatever. I says, 'no, I will tell you right now that I will not have a teacher putting down my son's father's profession to him, or my child will not go to school there. She took a leave of absence before my daughter got there. She didn't come back. I said I will not tolerate a teacher, an adult of any kind, putting down to children their father's profession, because they don't understand it, and they don't know it. I said, 'I won't tolerate it. George talked about how she'd have this fit about this and that, and I'd tell him, 'go back and ask her what she knows about sustained yield. You know? And then how they were all so careless and just burn the woods down, and i said, 'hey this is our livelihood. It's the idiot campers from the city that come light the fires! These guys are not going to burn up the woods. This is their livelihood, this is their life. People don't realize that loggers are a lot of time loggers are more environmental than the environmentalists. They just don't understand that they not gonna just destroy it and not put it back--it's just a crop, just like any other crop, like wheat or anything else. it needs to be harvested, it needs to be replanted, it needs to be treated as a crop. I don't know, it's really funny."
899--How has it been for you with the changes in the logging industry and the environmental issues, etc. "It's really sad, it's ridiculous. It is, it's really sad and ridiculous to see the timber that's just going to waste, rotting or being blown down in a windstorm and it has to lay there for the squirrels to walk on, well, excuse me, squirrels walked a long time before everything had to be left for them. And its just gotten so out of hand and its so ridiculous. You can't use any rock out of that rock pit now because they found a very rare and strange lizard. And I thought, 'that lizard's always been there! (laughs) You know, you just never saw him before. It's stuff like that. Our whole national forest is shut down--there hasn't been a timber sale or anything . . the last five years my husband spent driving between 2-2 1/2 hours each way to the logging jobs they had. And it's ridiculous. And now he's doing road construction which is not building roads to go logging it's ripping roads out. Oh yeah--it's taking the roads out and (with sarcasm in her voice) putting it back to its natural state. Well, when a fire rips through here--we were very, very lucky this summer that there wasn't a big fire. But how are they going to get up there to fight them fires when now they're taking the roads out to get to them?"
923--Told her about Carol Smith's husband saying about himself that he's "just a stupid logger," and how perceptions of loggers have changed and had a bad impact on the logger. "I think that's it--I think a lot of 'em take a lot of pride in what they do and how they do it. I mean, just like I said, George being able to fall the old growth. The perception is that they're just a bunch of drunken, illiterate bums, and that's sad, it really is, because they just don't realize that's not . . . like I said there's engineers out there in the woods--that have their degree--that try to tell them how to build a road and they don't have a clue. They've never done it in their life. They don't know that you can't do this and you need to do that before you do that. 'But the book says . . .,' (you need a landing to accommodate a forty foot log) and George says that they don't realize that all the logs that they have that come out are not forty feet--that some are shorter, some are logger . . . and that the landing has to compensate and allow for that. And he says it's really funny, he said some of them are, I'm sure, very intelligent people, but they don't have a clue because all they know is what they've read in a book. It didn't give 'em all the variables that there is out there." People like that talk to George--they realize that he doesn't put them down, and he's gentle with them, and most of them are agreeable to his advice.--963
964--Do you think that women like you deserve historical recognition for having helped sustain the timber community? "I don't know--I don't think we've done anything special--I mean really, we're just normal people like anybody else. You know. I mean, if you married an airline pilot, you'd be very supportive of airline pilots and understand what they go through each time they take that plane up or bring it down, and you would have your worries . . . and this and that, yet that doesn't make you a historical person . . . " But the timber industry has shaped the Pacific Northwest--used to define it. There's so much history connected with the timber industry. Not a lot of people understand it. "Yeah, it's a different world." I don't know many women that have the worries that you have everyday. "Yeah, but they have their worries--somebody shooting them on the freeway."
991--Any last words about your life? "It's not a bad life--there's been high points, and there's been low points, and there's been really rough times, but most of them just bring you closer together. 'Cause you got to lean on each other to get through it."
1000--end of tape