WOMEN AND TIMBER
The Pacific Northwest Logging Community, 1920 - 1998
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| Women and Timber
Oral History narrator: Carol Smith
Date of interview: October 15, 1998
Indexed/partial transcription by D. Sutphen, 12-4-98
Notes: Interviewer Debra Sutphen. Interviewer's questions are bolded. Indicated quotes are not always precisely quoted here.
005--How are you connected to the logging industry? Her husband, father, grandfathers on both mom and dad's side logged, all her kids at tone time logged and two still logging. She is 57 years old. Husband is 58. He logged all his life, but got out of it a year ago in July. Now works for a company in Fife that builds gas stations. "A big change for him" and also for her "because it was a big change of lifestyle for him that effects me too."
016--She owns her own beauty salon, employs 8 people--has done that for more than 20 years. Started a salon there in Eatonville, then built one in Spanoway--too much--so sold one in Eatonville and kept one in Spanoway and has been there about 15 years.
023--Has the fact that her father logged shaped her life? "Oh yes. My father was a gyppo logger for Weyerhaeuser--logged this area close to Eatonville and areas close by. Gyppo logger at that time had to put in lots of hours and he didn't have the top grade equipment as most of them didn't, so Sat. and Sun. also spent on the job repairing the equipment, or cleaning up the landing, or yarding something in, so weekends Mom always fixed a picnic or something and if the weather was decent we went with Dad to work, so we would do something--either run the cat or my older brother and I did, and helped him yard in logs or whatever needed to be done." You did that ever since you were pretty small? "Yeah. I lost my Dad when he was 36--I was in high school at the time--it wasn't a logging accident, he drowned. But I have lost quite a few members of my family to logging. My older brother was killed when he was 28, and I also have an uncle who was killed when he was 28. All cutters--everybody including my husband were cutters." I have four boys and one girl--two of 'em are still in logging, and both of them are self-employed. My oldest boy does high-lead logging, skidder logging, he also has a sawmill and does milling, where you go into a lot of the people now, homeowners who have a little acreage--they don't have enough treees to send off for a load so he goes in with a portable mill and mills it up for them sometimes they pay him for doing it or they exchange part of the lumber for him. He's so busy he can hardly keep up with it. Then my middle boy has a Haun harvester--he contracts that to a local logger here or various loggers--goes in with his machine and runs it." "I've been around logging a lot."
055--How do you deal with knowing that members of your family have been killed? Have your husband or sons been hurt? "Yes. My son's never have been, I consider that very fortunate, especially since my oldest boy has been world champion tree-topper for two times. He plays the game too as well as works it. But my husband had a knee taken out--a log rolled over him and got him, he was out of work for about a year and a half over it. Losing my brother was very, very hard on me because he and I were very, very close. He was two years older than I, and that was a very difficult loss for me. He was 28--he left four young little boys. And then it was kind of ironic because it was a group of guys that all worked together--all cutters--and it wasn't even a couple years later, another member of that small group was killed too. There's been quite a few that've been killed that were cutters around here."
072--"Cutting is the most dangerous--definitely--especially during that time--I don't think so much anymore, because the timber is so much smaller, a lot of it now is harvested with machinery which cuts down that and they have so many more safety factors now than they did then. Then it was push--it was to get the timber down--so it was a totally thing than what we have now. And there were a lot of cutters then, there's not too many that do it any more. Even though Den was still cutting up to the time he retired-which is very, very old for a cutter-you don't find cutters fifty-six years old still working, doing that, alive."
082--Brian Heersink said that your husband is one of the toughest loggers he's ever known. "Yeah, he's a good man." Boy, what a transition though. "He didn't think he was ever gonna be able to change because logging is not just a job, it's a lifestyle. The farmers, the fishermen, or whatever, its not just 'go get another job'--it's not that way at all--it's a way of living--it has different ideals than other areas of work. For example--Den has worked for many, many different employers in the woods and he's never once filled out an application. He didn't know how to fill out an application for a job when he went to apply for this work." So he'd get jobs just by word of mouth? "Yeah. They know who works and who doesn't work, and anyone who doesn't work is not going to be in the woods that long, because anyone who's late for work, anyone who doesn't show up for work, is not going to be there very long. So if anybody's worked in the job for a number of years everyone knows it, and they know what kind of a worker he is so they don't have to apply for work. They just go see whether there's an opening." "Cutting--guys work by themselves or they have a partner. Used to be they always had to work with a partner. Now they what they call 'single jack'--they can work by themselves out there, which is not a good idea--it's not safe at all, but they do do it."
101--"It used to be that they would work with a partner out in the woods, and they had to rely on each other, and they didn't--because they kind of worked by themselves, even though they had the partner there--there was never any politics or working in a close quarters with people. So for him to change from logging into something else where he is around people all the time, and putting up with people's little idiosyncracies, he was not used to. And he was flabbergasted--I think in the whole first month that he worked on the job, how people act. Because a lot of times, in the woods, guys say things the way they are, they take care of it on the spot, there's no backstabbing, no lying, cheating, it's pretty much out in the open. If you've got something to say you say it. There's no revenge--it's done and over. If you don't do your job you're going to get told and that's it. But where he got into an office situation (laughs)--totally different, totally different. Sometimes I think he just can't believe it. But I think he was probably just kind of a nice little light in there because I think he's changed the whole atmosphere. Because he says things right out--so if somebody's kind of pussyfooting around there or talking behind he just says it out and it's out in the open in front of everybody. Takes care of it."
122--How did you two meet? "In school--I was probably about 13 years old, here in Eatonville--we didn't get married until we were out of high school. We went together--I can't hardly remember being without him, if you want to know the truth--it's been that many years. It's been a long time."
128--Were you interested in loggers or was that even in your mind? "No, no. Most of the kids that were in school when I was in school had something to do with logging. Pert near all the kids their parents were into something either in mills or logging or something to do with logging. In Eatonville at the time also had a grade school that was up toward the mountain called Corbett Crest, up by Ashford, and most all the kids there were from logging families, and when they went into the 9th grade they had to come to Eatonville to school. So, we were all put to high school together, and he lived at Elbe, and came back down here to go to high school. (Eatonville the biggest town in the area--actual city limits about 1200--but surrounding district is very large--goes from Longmeyer clear down to Johnson's Corner--used to take in Lacamas). Now there's so many people moved into our area that it's changed the whole atmosphere of the area."
147--"I think it's quite a shame that the town has never done anything about the logging end of it because it is a logging town that the way it was founded and that's the way it's always been in the whole area but yet there's never been anything dedicated to preserving any of the logging theme. And I think it's of interest to a lot of people because most people really don't know what logging is about."--159
162--Logging is a whole different lifestyle--"Yeah, from when I was first married, I was barely 18, Den was 20, and during those times there we had five kids in seven years, actually I had all five kids by the time I was 25 years old, and surviving during those years was tough, because at that time logging was different than it is now. Logging is in the low lands now. During those years logging was in the high lands--it was in the mountains. In winter you were without work because of the snow--see that very rarely happens now for logging. The reason it's moved is because the logging was done--they'd logged everything so they had to come--everything was ready to be logged in the low lands. As soon as they have pert near everything logged in the low land and replanted they're going to have to go up and log what's been replanted in the mountains, so it'll switch again. But during those years they were out of work sometimes three months in the winter. And, in fact, there's been times that Den was out of work before Christmas and wouldn't get back to work until the middle of April, so it was hard getting through the winters then, so you had to do some planning. Like when you had as many kids as we had, my main goal then was food. Planning food and heat for the winter." Did he hunt? "Yes, I think pretty much everyone did at that time because that was part of trying to feed you in the wintertime--I was raised on venison, on fish and venison and wild birds--that's what we had a lot of. There was times, even after we moved in here, when we had to poach a deer or two, but the game warden that was here in town was a really swell guy, and he knew families here that were taking deer that needed it for their own use, and those that abused, so he kind of--you know, we only took what we had to have to make it through the winter, and that alright, you didn't go around boasting about it you just did you thing, and kept you mouth shut about it, you know. But it made it through the winter, you know."
200--Did you all have to go on unemployment? "Yeah. You had unemployment but it's not like your unemployment is today. Then unemployment was not much. Now half the time you get unemployment it's more than you get for wages for some people. At that time unemployment was very little--it could not feed us and pay for our rent at the time. It helped a little bit, but pretty much you had to let your bills go through the winter months, and most of the people that you dealt with that were local understood that. You know, you paid when spring came, or you made your interest payments on your big payments and put the principle on the end. But my goal most the time was in the summer I planted a big garden and I canned everything. I canned everything. I put up about 1500 jars a year of stuff, yeah, I did. I canned fish, I canned everything--I canned our soups, I canned the venison, I canned everything that I could get my hands on and we had a large, large garden, and I always felt good after getting eveything canned up because I knew that I was never going to have to worry about at least us eating through the winter. And then we had a farm so we had everything was pretty much provided for us on the farm. Of course this was before I got into doing hair, because I was home, but at that time, we had jersey cows, and we milked so we had our own milk and cream and stuff, so I made my own butter, baked our own bread, made our own ice cream even for the kids. Pretty much was self-sustaining other that just the flour and sugar and stuff like that. So that got us through a lot of our winters."
226--Did your husband help you do those things? "No, because he was working when I had to do those things, he was out of work in the wintertime, so I did all of that." Did the kids help? "Oh, you bet. They learned to work from the time that they could pull a little wagon. Yeah, canning time because everything had to be done within a six to eight period--you're canning that much, it's a 16-18 hour a day job, and with the kids I had to have the help from them so I'd always put them up to the table in an assembly line and give 'em each a little chore to do or they'd have to go to the garden with the wagons and pull all the carrots up and lay 'em out on the grass, and wash em all off and get them ready for canning or the beets or whatever had to be done--I'd try and make it fun. 'Course, they didn't always think it was fun (chuckles)." "Well, because Michelle River runs behind us and they always liked going to the river so it was a little bribe--well, if we get this done we can go to the river and have a picnic or something, so that was always a treat."
243--You had five little kids plus taking care of the house and farm. What was your day like, the length of your day must have been incredible. "The length of the day was long--I'm not much of a sleeper, even to today I don't sleep a whole lot so I probably sleep about 6 hours a night, so I never got to bed until way late, and I was always up early 'cause I always got up to get Den's lunch and get him breakfast before he went to work. If they were hoot owling in the summertime when there was so much heat then they were hootowling most every summer then we had to get up at 2 in the morning to get to work but most of the time it was around, or, depending on the time of the year because they couldn't work before daylight so summertime they got up earlier and as it got to winter of course it got later and later because they'd have to depend on how light it was in the morning. But most of the time it was around 4--something like that. So yeah, it was a long day--I worked hard. But you know I was used to working and I was young, thank God, I could never do it now (chuckles). And when we moved into this place here, we've been here about 30 years, there was blackberry vines right up to the door and brush and stuff that had to be cleared out but I knew how to run a power saw so even during the day I cleared a lot of the land and burned it, because Den--even though cutting they worked six hours--six hours of work of cutting is probably like twelve hours of work at another job, it's so physical. So when they come home from work he would still work here on the place a lot of time because we had to do a lot of work on the place because the siding wasn't on it and it was in the process of being remodeled, it didn't have a floor in it, and it REALLY had to have a lot of work done on it, and we would work until late at night even every night, and I don't know how he did it--he'd get up and go to work and work all day cutting and come here and work another shift on the place so I tried to make it as easy for him as possible. But, yeah, it was hard work but I don't regret it at all--it was rewarding work." For yourself? "Yes. I always liked it when I could go to my fruitroom and see all the stuff I canned and out up there--that may sound funny, but it's a sense of pride, it felt secure and comforting to now that I had it all done up for winter, and I enjoyed it--I still enjoy it. It's time consuming, but I don't mind doing it at all."
290--What an accomplishment--it sounds like you ran a busy household. "Yes, it was a busy household--always has been, still is (chuckles). I still have the kids home a lot. We're a very close family--my kids are real close with each other. That's something I always tried to stress with them from the time that they were very young--to stay close and help each other, and they have. They're very, very close."
298--When did you decide to go into your business? "My youngest one was in about the third grade--I think it was about '79 that I went into the business." What made you decide to do that? "Well, the kids were getting older, and I knew that I wanted to stress college to them and I knew that we weren't going to have enough money to send them to college. And we also were caught in the middle of any of the help there--we made too much to have financial aid but not enough to pay for the college, so we were one of those caught right in the middle. So I decided that I needed to help--to have a second income to help out the kids through college. So that's what prompted me to do it, although I think for years that I didn't understand that I had a restlessness in myself--well, I know that I didn't understand it--I didn't understand that until years later that I'm a very creative person, and I always had a restlessness that I never could quite accomplish everything that I wanted. And not realizing that I needed a creative outlet at the time, although I'd taught myself to do a lot of crafty things like knitting and crocheting and things like that, because it was the only thing that I could afford to do at the time--it was inexpensive things to do. But when I got into hairdressing I realized that it was something that I really loved, and still not realizing why I loved it, but I just knew I really liked it. But now I understand it because it's an art form, it's a creative form, and now I know I have a need for that, and that's why I think I've been so involved in it for so many years, and still love it. But that wasn't my purpose of going into it. The real reason was that I was going to pick up some extra money, and I could have a salon close so I could be with the kids because I hated leaving the kids, and I could just work that time they're in college and get them through college. Well, naturally it hasn't turned out to be quite that way. But it has helped, and now financially it's turned, and now I'm the supporter, and Den's the lesser supporter, because now his job--and that's another thing that's changed entirely in the woods. It used to be when Den was cutting when we were young he had the highest pay of most people. He worked for St. Regis--he was bushing for St. Regis, and my gosh our wages was great--we had total coverage for everything for all our children, never had to pay a dime for nothin'. That was dentist and medical, everything--in fact he planned on retiring there--he worked for them for eleven years, and then they sold. So that changed the whole outlook of that. But now, the wages are very low in logging--if you're an owner or you have equipment, yes, you can still make a decent wage, or a decent living, but you're never going to make the money in logging--I don't feel--now, that you could thirty, forty years ago. It's just not there."
358--Was that true when you were a kid, too, growing up? "It was just starting to come when my dad died, because Weyerhaeuser was letting timber out to the gyppos, and this and that, but the real big rush of it, the ones who really made the money, would come just right after that. And it was through those years that guys who had their own companies and stuff, they're the guys that are sitting on the millions now." Told story about her uncle who is a self-made millionaire who started out in logging-said it was from being smart and having his own company, and making the right investments, etc.--377
377--I told her about talking to Brian and Diane Heersink and how hard times were for them--married after 1976. She said that the hardest thing for her was worrying about the job security. "I would say that that probably is the hardest thing as a wife. I would probably say that that is the hardest thing for me too. It's the insecurity of it, because you never knew how long --when Den was working for big companies--when he worked for Weyerhaeuser, when he worked for St. Regis, they pretty consistently worked, I mean you didn't have that feeling. They covered your insurance for at least three months when you were out of work so you didn't lose that so you had the security of that, and you knew the job was there waiting as soon as it opened up they got back in because they wanted the timber and stuff, BUT, when those companies--the work wasn't there anymore, St. Regis sold out, after that time--then a lot of the logging went to smaller outfits, which had to contract jobs from the larger companies. So you had to go from one job to the next, so most of the time that did not come consecutively one after the other, there was always periods in between that you didn't have work, so you never knew exactly how long the job was going to last and when the next one was gonna be there. So that's what Diane's talking about, see. And Den went through that for years, especially the last part of his logging. It wasn't so much that way in the beginning, then it was just the weather that kept you out. Then it changed, then it was harder and harder to get work because of the bigger companies dissolving or policies different, and then you had the environmentalists come in and that screwed it up, and lot of things like that that changed it."
417--Logging has shaped the way you are, right? "Yeah, I would say to a certain extent because I'm also very outspoken, I don't play games, I'm pretty much what you see is what you get, and I like that in other people, too. (At this point in the interview Carol was looking me directly in the eye--I felt as though she really wanted me to hear that.) I have a little hard time socializing in a group of women--put it that way--that I don't have something in common with because I'm not a very good chit chatter, I mean I'm to the point or it's a waste of my time, you know. So a lot of times I'm a loner I would say, even though that's a complete contradiction of the work that I do. But when I'm at work I'm entirely different than when I'm away, at home."
439--Did you have close women friends and if you did were they other logger's wives, mothers, etc? "Not a whole lot, no, because I didn;t have time. I pretty much worked here on the farm, and didn;t have time. When we did go out it usually was with other logger's wives but it usually was my family members . . . " "So yeah, it was all logging. I really didn't have hardly anybody outside of logging." Is that still true? "No, no--I still have people in logging . . . not so much anymore, because there are so many of them that aren't in it anymore."
455--Talked about Diane Heersink being in school now, and how she has close friends that are all logging wives, and they are the ones she related to. She had a hard time relating to other people who aren't in logging. "That's probably true. I don't talk logging, even to my clients, unless they're loggers, because they don't understand any part of it. They don't know what I'm talking about even. Loggers have a language of their own, anyhow. And if I find myself going in talking about logging I find myself talking about logging I find myself talking logging language--and they ask, 'what's that?' Yeah, most people don't understand logging at all. Unless they go out and see it they don't understand logging at all."
480--Have you gone out and watched your husband work? "Oh yeah. In every phase of it. I've been out when my husband's been cutting, which is the hardest one to go see because you're trying to stay out of the way. But I've also been where--like with my dad gyppo logging, I've been with my son out with his Haun harvester, I've been with my other son and his high lead logging, I've been there pretty much--Den ran a shovel for years, and I was out seeing him work that, that was on a high lead job. Yeah, I would say that I've seen pretty much all of it. I know when they talk about this or that or when they're setting up a logging show or something when he's talking to the boys about it I pretty much know what they're talking about, or I have a good general idea of what they're saying. But unless you go see it there's no way you're going to understand it. And even then, you've got to be around it--you've got to feel it--I don't know how to explain that--just like it being a way of life. It's a way of thinking and it's just who they are, and it makes me who I am because I'm around it. I take pride in their logging accomplishments. I get after my husband because sometimes he'll say, 'oh, I'm just a dumb logger.' I'll say, 'don't say that.' Because a lot of people think that. But let me tell you something--it takes a lot of brains to figure out some of the engineering feats that they have to figure out to do a high lead job or to get timber out without tearing down other trees--it's an engineering mind that figures that out--it's not a dumb logger. They just have that attitude, and I don't think they ever realize how much they really know." Is that something that you think has come about in the last twenty years or so because of the news media? "Oh, absolutely. He never had that before--they took great pride in what they did." How about your dad--did he ever day that? "Oh, no, no, never. They took great pride in it. In fact when Den was cutting when he was young somebody would ask, 'yeah, he's a cutter,' no problem. When he got older and he was cutting, somebody in the last few years would ask him what he did he wouldn't even say. 'Cause he'd say that the minute you'd say you were a logger somebody would say, 'oh, you kill trees, huh?' So, he just wouldn't say. Yeah , different attitude toward them." That must be hard, for you, to see that change in him. "Yeah, really. Yeah, it is because they're men that take great pride in themselves and what they do and to see that, and it's been brought about by people who know nothing about it. That's the devastating part of it--they don't understand it, they don't bother to find out about it. But I'm sure that's happened in other areas too, with farmers, with fishermen, with those kind of lifestyles that are kind of dying away."
557--Do you think that the logging industry will die away? "I don't think so completely, because I think there's always going to be a demand for some wood, and because we replant--everybody replants now--you're always going to have to have a harvest. And those replanted trees have to be harvested sooner than your old growth did--they stayed there forever--but timber that's planted if you leave it it'll just rot, so it has to be harvested. So all the acreage that's planted now it's a must that it be harvested. And so you're always going to have a certain amount of logging--I think it's going to continue to change--it's very mechanized now and I'm real interested to see, and I've talked with my sons about this too--how it's going to change when they have to go back to the mountains to log again. I'm sure they're not going to go back to the old style high lead logging and this sort of thing that they've used in the past--it's going to have to be more mechanized. So I'm just really curious what all these manufacturers are going to come up with as machines to do all these things." She talked a bit about helicopter logging, and taking her grandkids out to see a nearby helicopter operation, and talked about the Japanese doing balloon logging up by Forks. She took the kids up there to see that--described that a bit.
613--continued to talk about balloon logging.
618--What's been the best part of being part of the logging tradition in the Northwest for you personally. "Gosh, I don't know what would be the best part of it. I just like being around people who are open and honest and the atmosphere, the attitude--I like that. And I like being around men whom are men--I don't like a man particularly soft (chuckles). You know--I like a little callous on the hand, probably because I've been brought up around that too, that's just something I fit into. I know one of the questions in there that you asked that I thought was interesting was had I ever thought about being a logger? I looked at that and many times I've said this to my husband even, if I was a man I know I'd be a logger. I like being out in the woods--when I go out on the landing or when I go out and watch them log I love the smell, I like the smell of fresh cut wood, I like being out in the woods, I like nature, and I think that's a big attraction for them too--they like that part of being there, even though sometimes I don't know how they work out in the snow or sleet or rain and everything else they do and eat their soggy sandwiches, but I can understand why, what the attraction is there, because they're very close with nature, and I feel that when I go out there. And I don't know if it's the smells--it's great."
645--Do you know any women that log? "When Den worked for, I believe St. Regis, there was this big push that they either had to have a woman or a black person come out to cut. Well, they tried both, but neither one worked. It didn't last very long--it was kind of a joke either way. The lifestyle is too different, and the energy that is needed, the strength that's needed, it takes a certain type of person that wants to work that hard, and if you don't you're not going to last very long, especially cutting. But I have know of--didn't know personally--but I have known of women who were log truck drivers, that have done it for some time and been fairly successful in that area. I think I only know of two that did that for a period of time, but even that can be a tough game for a woman. They have to get out--it's their responsibility to bind their own trucks, and throwing them chains up, it's still a certain amount of strength and stamina that it takes for that and guts--it takes guts to drive them long trucks off some of them mountains, I'll tell you. I've rode in logging trucks before, long ago, and let me tell you--just riding in them would scare you half to death." Now they don't get up into that sort of hills like they did then--then you had to have guts to come up some of them hills."
668--Do you think you're mother would have said the same thing as you about being a logger if she were a man? "I doubt it. My mom was raised on a farm, and even though her dad was a logger, at Mosiers they didn't go log and come home every night, they stayed in logging camps. So she wasn't exposed to the logging like I was where my dad went and came home every day, and we went to his logging--my mom never went to where her dad logged, and so her logging--even though she was from a logging family--didn't have the same exposure that I did. Even though she did when she was married to my dad, my dad died when he was 36--so she didn't have that many years when she was exposed to it."
681--Did she teach you the things like the canning and those sorts of things? "Some of it, mainly I taught a lot myself. Just do it and fail and do it until i got it right. I'm a determined person, and I'll just keep at it until I get it right." Gives example of trying to make round cheese--used recipe, tried it, never quite got it right--spent two weeks working on this cheese after a considerable amount of milk, etc. The cheese squeaked--it was like eating a rubber band--tasted all right though. Tried it again--followed the recipe--talked to people who'd made cheese--went to the library--tried it again and it still squeaked. Finally gave up on it.
707--What's the worst thing about being part of the logging occupation/tradition. "Oh, no doubt the insecurity. Yeah--it was really hard if I would have had to depend on Den's income alone it would have been very difficult to purchase too much or anything because you never know when your money is going to be there. The money situation is probably the most difficult. Twenty years ago Den was making more cutting than he was the last year that he quit--considerable more. Probably 40% more--that's how it changed. And I think that's another reason how the guys feel about themselves--they were making good money then, they felt good about it, now--I mean--some of them aren't making much more than the people working at McDonalds--and it's degrading. But they love the work so they hang in there, but the work they do they should be getting ten times more money. And that's something too that people don't understand about cutting: they put their life on the line every single day that they go to work. People say, 'oh, their job's dangerous.' They have no idea. Every day they go to work something happens that is life threatening--almost every day. Now I'm talking about when Den was working, cutting, when there was production. And sometimes two, three times a day--now what's that worth, you know? Now, I'm sure it's not quite that bad, but it's still very dangerous, and they should be getting paid more. But the price of the timber, by the time the contractor puts their bid in, the contractor bids so low on 'em, and they pay their help and then they pay their help and it gets down there where there's just not enough money to go around. And machines have taken a lot of that because the machinery like my son's Haun harvester, he can go into a logging show--runs the trees through there and cuts them into lengths and limbs them and everything else, which a guy would be doing on the landing, it takes the place of I don't know how many guys, because he can saw it down and cut it in lengths and limb it in no length of time. (Eliminates) probably three jobs right there. And his machine is almost outdated, they have better than that now that can go in and do even more and on steeper ground, cause he has to have fairly decent level of ground to work on. But they have a lot of other machines now that they can do it on even steeper ground." Things have really changed a lot. "Oh yeah, it really has, and it's kind of sad. I hate to see it really--it's kind of sad. And it's kind of nice that you're trying to preserve some of that because I think it's going to be gone, and there's not going to be much history about it, nobody to speak for that."
757--"(Logging) supported our schools, supported our state. I'm sure Oregon too. I mean this is the biggest money producing thing, and it supported our state."--761
769--"I don't think that people realize how much the state depended on that."
775--"(Den's) era of the logger will never be again. And my sons will never be the logger that their dad is, because the era is different. The type of logging is not available for them to do the things that he did--the size of the logs, I remember when he was doing some cutting down by Raymond, they were doing some big spruce down there, I mean sometimes they'd work for two days on one tree--they'd have to make a bed for it so they'd make sure they didn't waste any part of it or break it anyway, I mean they worked a long time to get one tree so it would come down full length so they didn't bust it--it had to be jacked, it had to be--my boys will never see that."
Do they know about that? "Oh yeah, my oldest boy is living out of there era that he should be--he should have been here about 75 years ago because he's actually a mountain man (chuckles). He has a genius mind." He should have been an engineer but told his mom not to waste the money because he couldn't sit at a desk--he loves being out doors. "He LOVES logging. He loves old time logging--the traditions he loves--he loves talking with the old timers about everything--he has all the books in his library from old time logging and that sort of thing--he loves that. And even in his competition that he does--he's been competing for years in logging shows, and they have on their climbing--that's his main event--they have moved up technology, instead of the old boot and spur, the traditional thing, they have what they call toe spurs, and they actually climb, the spurs are to the toe--it adds speed for competition. He refuses to change any of the traditions--he will not change his saw, they have a raker, he still uses another tooth, they have changed the saws, and he won't do it. He's very much a traditionalist . . . so he still competes with those so it always sticks in the other guys craw when he beats them with these traditional things." He's world champion--he's been allover the world competing. It's really been a very nice thing for him--he like the camaraderie--wherever he goes he has friends--he can spend a whole day just bs-ing with loggers. And my other kids are like that too."
826--What do you think about the various criticisms of logging now? Do you feel caught in the middle of those? "To a certain extent, yeah, because I'm very much in tune with nature, and I think we have raped our earth tremendously in many ways, but I think, as a lot of things do, the pendulum swings too far, and things have just gotten out of hand with it. And I think that a lot of times environmentalists don't understand logging-they don't understand the woods, how the natural things work. I think they read it out of books but they don't go out and live it. I think that it's totally different things sometimes. I think one of the examples of that is they complained about clear cutting--that you needed to leave trees for the animals, and that clear-cutting is so bad for the animals. Well, all my people are hunters, and you know the first place you go to hunt is a clear-cut, because that's where all the animals are, because that's where all the new plants are regenerating . . . there's more feed in a clear cut for animals than there is anywhere in a forested area, and I always thought when I would hear that from the environmentalists do they ever go out and look? Do they ever go out and see where the animals are or what they eat or they need to go take a look at things--instead of just reading it in a book or taking someone's word for it? But I think there still needs to be a certain amount of control, especially of the old growth. I think we have taken way, way too much of that. But then again there used to be nothing but old growth, so a certain amount of it has to go, and then the one mistake that we made at that time is that we didn't replant, but of course now that's all been corrected, and things are replanted and you have a crop. It's a renewable resource. But as far as the animals go and hurting the animals, I can't see that because there's more feed and stuff out there, because if you have old growth timber, and if you've ever been out in the woods, and you go underneath that, nothing grows--it's dark. You're lucky if you have a piece of moss under there. Now what are the animals supposed to live on under there--it has to have some opening, it has to have some clearing in order for the sun to get through to regenerate something for them. As far as the owl thing--to me, I don't know the habits of the owl that much to say, but I do know that when one of my boys was cutting, they said when they were cutting timber down around the owl, and it disturbed their nesting and they didn't reproduce, and all this stuff, that was one of the problems with it--he was cutting in this strip, and there was a nest of the spotted owls there, and he said that the owl was so curious as to what he was doing that they never flew off once, and they kept flying around where he was at--just curiosity, and they were a pair that was there, and he said after he was all done they were still there. Now if it's a great disturbance, I think they would have left the very first thing. I don't know, but I just think that the pendulum has gone too far. They need to get out there and walk the walk. We need controls, there's no question about it that we need controls because there's getting to be too many people and we're just going to deplete this whole earth of our bare necessities. A good example of this is that our farmland is being covered up with asphalt. It makes me sick when I go down in the valley and that beautiful soil is being covered up with asphalt, acres and acres and acres of it. What do we think we're going to feed ourselves with someday? Are we going to make our food out of synthetic something? We need to have a certain amount of farmland to feed ourselves."--898
903--She talked about their very nice, large garden. She and her husband both tend that.
910--Do you think that women deserve recognition as an essential, integral part of the logging industry? "Oh, absolutely. The women that were the wives, and mothers of loggers--thirty, forty years ago, were completely different than now. But during that time it was a very expected--it was expected and you were considered a lesser person and wife if you did not attend to your husband, as far as you got up in the morning and you started the fire . . .. and they made a big breakfast and a big lunch, and they got their husband off to work. That was done every morning. You didn't lay in bed, they didn't make their own lunch, and when they came home, dinner was ready." What was dinner and breakfast too? "I'm talking about pancakes, eggs, bacon . . .these cutters put out a tremendous amount of energy, and they ate a lot. My husband was skin and bones then . . .and I would fix him a big breakfast like that, and in his lunch I would fix him at least three sandwiches, and I always had something baked and he got one or two pieces, and he worked with my brother-in-law a lot so I always stuck in an extra piece for him, of cake or cookies or whatever went in, a thermos of hot soup, plus a thermos of hot coffee, I always put candy or something in there for energy, a piece of fruit, whatever. His lunch would not fit in a lunch box--a regular tin lunch box--they had a backpack that they carried at the time, because when they're out cutting they have to carry everything with them. In their nosegay I put the lunch, and I could put a lot of lunch in there, and he'd eat it all, every day. Dinner was always meat, potatoes, gravy, at least a couple vegetables, you had a salad and a dessert. It was a considerable amount of cooking, but that was expected of the woman to do that. I wouldn't have thought of to do anything less. I wouldn't have even thought of not having that done, and dinner was ready when he got home because he was home at the same time every day, it was cooked and ready to put on the table when he came in. Because he was hungry. Because they start early in the morning and their lunch was 10:30 or 11 o'clock"
960--You took care of any problems that happened during the day in the house? "Oh yeah, but I don't do any of it any more, though, no, I don't want to do any of it any more now, that's for him to do (chuckles)." Now my days are too long--the roles are reversed. Now I have the long days. I'm usually up around 6-6:30 and I don't get home until 7 at night. And then one night I don't get home until about 9:30-10 at night. He's home a lot earlier than me, so he tends to a lot of stuff now--he helps me a lot."
974--If you were writing the history of women in logging what would you want people to know more than anything? "I think one of the main things, the women stood behind their men very strongly. The men were out there every day putting their life on the line, but the women were the strength in the family, I think a lot. Yeah, they kept it together. Because years ago, it even goes on today, loggers are known for working hard but they also play hard. I think without the strength of the woman at home, and the things that she put up with or went through to keep the family together, I think that you wouldn't have seen the family stay together like they did, because it wasn't easy." Do you think that's the rule with most logging families? "During those years, yeah, I do. That was pretty common, pretty common. I think it has a lot to do with the job they did, too, you know. It was dangerous, it was hard, and I think they had the attitude that they deserved more than just that. They had to play hard too. I even see it today going on, but even my kids--I think its the type of person they are too, 'cause I see it in my kids, they all kind of like to live on the edge. The things they like to do are not safe little things." Your daughter too? "Yeah, I would say probably. She, they're all very athletic, very physical. Shelly has a farm, and she's married to a school teacher, who was not raised on a farm, by the way, so he's getting broke in. But she had a scholarship to college in basketball, so she's a very aggressive athlete, and yeah, I would say so." Talked about her playing basketball for Centralia, talked about Jenny Ruff (WSU women's basketball star), women's scholarships in athletics, etc.
1039--So, back to the subject--what would you want people to know about women in logging? "That I think that the women are the strength of the family, and that they, I think they took a lot in life, it used to be more so in my mother's era, and probably mine, but even in ours we did a certain amount to, but now that attitude has changed. So times have changed too, you know. The way of thinking then. Women were more obedient during those years . . . . I think most of the women take pride in the fact that they're involved with logging, that I know of--they don't hang their head on that or anything. And even though it has its drawbacks it's been good--yeah, it has been good."
1061--Has the life you led connected with logging made you more independent? "Yeah. I would have probably been independent no matter what, that's just my personality. I'm kind of determined, a perfectionist in some areas, and have a need for creativity and that sort of thing so I'm going to push for that. I'm always going to have a need for learning, so I'm an avid reader, and I've been a teacher in my industry, I've traveled with a company that I worked for for twelve years teaching licensed hairdressers at hair shows and stuff. No, probably I would have done it regardless whether I'd been in logging or not. I think that my husband has been great to support me and stand behind me in everything I've wanted to do and I think that's been a big help." Is that typical? "No, not of loggers of that era--maybe now--he's always, from the time our kids were very young, always encouraged me to do things for myself--to seek things if I wanted to do them, because I was always trying to learn something--go to school for this or go to school for that. I went down to PLU for an adult (education) program when I was in my forties--I had two kids in college at the time and three in high school, and I had two businesses and I was going half time to PLU. I couldn't finish though--I was stretched a little too thin. I had about a year and a half, though, and I could have gotten my degree. But I backed off of it. But he's never said, ever, I don't think you should do that. Never. He's always said, 'hey, if you want to do it do it." So he's not threatened by your creativity? "No. Not at all. NO, he's been really good about that. I worried about that, especially when I started making more money than him. How that was going to be with him, but he's really laid back and easy, and that's not been a problem at all. In fact, he teases about it now, keeping him in the lifestyle that he was accustomed to."
1120--Any last things you want to say--want people to know? "It's been a great life being involved in the logging. It's been good for my kids to see, its taught them a lot of things, they've all started out in logging with their father, and he's taught them lifetime habits that I'm very grateful about and I think a lot of it's to do with what he's learned in logging, on their responsibilities to their employer, and their jobs, my kids can get work anywhere because of their work habits--they're all workaholics. Den has never been--you could count on one hand the times that he's ever been late for work, for one thing if you were late and you didn't hit the crummy you had to go home. You had no way of getting there. So you learned that you had to be on time for work, you're responsible, you give more than what's asked, and you just work your butt off. And the kids have all learned those lessons and I think it's all really helped them in what they do now. And I don't know of many loggers that don't have those kind of values. And I like that. So I think in raising my kids even its been a good lifestyle for them, and they'll all say that it's been great, they just love it. It's just that I have one of em that's a meat cutter and one that's a carpenter, and my daughter works in a prison, she's a art teachers aid in a minors prison, but they all will tell you that they'd still be in it if it wasn't that times have changed and there isn't a future in it, so they have to be looking for other ways to do it. I just have a couple of diehards who love it too much to get out of it. I don't think my oldest one will ever be out of it. He'll always be connected with it because he has a love affair with wood that he's never going to get over." He's carrying on a really amazing tradition. He built a house for himself and logged the logs, milled them, built the place. He collected different types of wood from all over and put them into the house. He's artistic, and the house it. He loves wood. For the whole family their biggest treat is to go camping in the woods.
1191--end of tape