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This conversation with LORA BRACKETT ALBRIGHT took place at her home on PotlatchRiver below Juliaetta, Idaho, on June 23, 1976. The interviewer is SAM SCHRAGER.
SAM SCHRAGER: — know how it is that you knew that you were Republican? Andgot involved in politics?
LORA ALBRIGHT: Okay. The reason that I'm a Republican is because my family: it'sa family tradition and a family philosophy, because in the old days, it seems that the Republican Party was the party who faced up to money is sues. Now, I inherited it, and when I was old enough to — and of course, in those days you had to be twenty-one, you couldn't do it at eighteen, you had to be twenty-one before you could register. So, I was married— I was married when I was twenty and before I could vote. I got married and I had to face up to some things. I think I voted as a family trad ition, at first, but when my children were born and we lost our first baby, a little boy that was tragic, as far as I was concerned. Then our youngsters came along quickly, and in about six years I was faced with getting my children into school. And, when you're on a homestead or a farm and across the river and the railroad, and a few other things, and the schools, one at Arrow and one at Pilot Rock . ... Pilot Rock's where I taught, you see, ancl thought that I would send him there. You can't send a six year old youngster, walking these miles, you've got to do something about getting him to school. So, I commenced to think about the school system. And, Sam, it was either break up my home and go to Lewiston or get decent schools out here. And when I say decent schools, I was looking to the future, because the one-room schools, I didn't have anything against them if we got good teachers. The only thing that ever limited a district school, a one-room district school was the calibre of your citizens who were on the school board and your teacher. And, usually it was the quality of the teacher that you hired, and in those days, we got all of sixty dollars a month. (Chuckles)
And there weren't many, naturally, theother teachers, I was one that was raising my certificate, t he grade of my certificate, and— but, anyway, - So, in order to have consol idation of schools, you got to have roads. And in order to get roads you had to have taxes. And when you get taxes— so I made it my busin ess to find out all I could about school and school taxes. And, the person that I went to— this may be interesting to you— I spent my second year in high school in Lewiston, working for my board, and my superintendent was Joe Jennifer, a wonderful old superintendent-teacher Joe Jennifer. And he was elected to the legislature about that time, because he, too, was yelling about taxes for school, for education. And he sat down several times with me in Lewiston and he said, "Now your open door is consolidation.' And in order to do this,"— and then he laid it out. And so, I said, okay, "What do I get to learn about taxes? I know who pays them, but I don't know the extent,"be- cause that was about the time the income tax came in, y ou see. And so I studied on that. I took to the road, and as it happened I was appointed to the board when the State of Idaho decided that they needed to consolidate schools, and I consolidated a 11 those schools.
SS: When did this happen?
LA: It started in 1947, you know and through '51.
SS: Why did you feel prior to that that consolidation was a necessity?What made you decide that you had to consolidate?
LA: I had to consolidate schools in this area or break up my familyand go to Lewiston. I couldn't take my husband there, because o f his health, he had a health problem and he was the very first mechanic in Moscow, Idaho. If you talk up there you'll find that he worked when he was going to school for his uncle, who had a bicycle shop up there. Well, about that time the automobile came and Dr. Gritman was too old to fight the weather and to do the driving and so Raleigh used to drive for him. And he fell on a railroad gate out here and dislocated two vertebrae in his back that affected his kidneys. And we've had this illness to contend with all our lives. And, Raleigh could not go to town and be a mechanic, and that is what he was trained :, so we proved up on this homestead over here, you see, and went to market gar dening, because Raleigh turned out to be a pretty good salesman. And that's another story, anyway. When my folks found out that I was going to marry Raleigh—
SS: They weren't too happy about it at first. A vegetable peddler. Butyour kids, weren't they through school by the end of the Second World War, when consolidation finally came around?
LA: Yes, but consolidation had been going on.
SS: Prior to that?
LA: Yes. I mean, prior to that I thought that Juliaetta would be the placeto consolidate and we ran into a lot of opposition on the ridges, be cause those kids would have to come into Juliaetta and it was never thought of to provide buses in those days, you see. This was a later thing. And then, commenced to consolidate and Culdesac com menced to bring in some extra, things. And when I finally was appointed to the legislature; I was appointed in 1949, and that was two years after the 1947 legislature finally decided that consolidation should go into the state law. And, I'd been on the school board for fortyone years, and I should know something about the laws and all this thing-, ,°and having a gift of gab. (Chuckles)
SS: Made you a natural.
LA: So my husband says, "Well, honey," 'cause I had to go-- be gone, I wasout at the home a good deal, and in the summertime, of course, we always had housekeepers, because after all, the family had to .be the field people, and poor Raleigh was left lots of times, because there was night work and what have you.
SS: Was he supportive of the idea of your being involved in these activities?
LA: Yes. That's what he said, "Well, Honey, you've got the gift of gab,and you want to do it, so why don't you go do it, and I'll stay home and keep the home fires burning?" Bless his heart. People wonder why I go down and take care of him as well as I do. He's in the nursing home. And, so, we got consolidation.
SS: One of the things that I have heard from some of those that came fromthis area was that, Juliaetta was reluctant to consolidate down here partly because they didn't want a lot of Indian kids going to school there.
SS: And that, in fact, in doing so, they lost a lot of the tax advantagesthat this area had, because the railroad taxes. Is that true?
LA: Yeah. It is true. I learned about Indians when I ceme down here toClarence teach. Mox Mox was in the second grade and he was thirteen years old. And, at that time, they didn't realize that he was retarded. They thought that he was just a slothful little Indian kid, and he wasn't so little; big, fat youngster. And when I came in to teach there, I had two other Indians youngsters that were just as sharp as they could be. Nice kids. And I had two other white youngsters that were retar ded, and that's when I realized that Clarence was protecting himself because they do this. Another part of my history is that my youngest brother was born with— retarded, because I had lived-- course he was just a youngster when I was married, in fact, he died the year that I was married. But, they protect themselves by keeping you away. They want to be just like everybody else, and when they realize that it's hard for them to read, to take-in sometimes, to even hear, or to assimulate and use what they do hear.
SS: What do they do? How do they protect themselves?
LA: Well, two ways. One is, they act the clown, and the other one wasthey and make you believe that they know all about it.
SS: Do they sulk?
LA: Not sulk exactly, no,
SS: was the one you—---
LA: And so, anyway, that a euphuism. So, I had, in self-protection;Clarence would make believe that he had his lessons and he knew all about it. And he couldn't read worth a hoot, you know, and of course, I knew that as a teacher I was supposed to teach that kid some thing. And I worked like everything to teach him, and I don't think I ever taught him a thing except I did teach him some manners. But he wanted to learn. And so, it was difficult. But if I hadn't"had this background on retardation, I never would have realized what Clarence was doing.
SS: When you say you taught him manners, what kind of manners was that?
LA: Oh, when he came in he would wipe his feet before coming into theschoolhouse. And he would put his lunch bucket, which sometimes he didn't have a thing in that, but terrible things, but he would put his lunch bucket under the hook where he hung his clothes in the coatroom. And when he came in he would say, "Good morning." And you see, when I played the organ I had to turn the organ around to watch these young sters or play with my back to my youngsters. Well, that isn't good either you know. And so, he used to sit there this way, — so I caught him after school. He couldn't read the— you see that was early, I didn't realize that he couldn't read the words to' AMERICA, for instance, and learn them by rote and so on. And I realized he couldn't because he was only in the second grade, and ayoungster that size . only in'the second grade, there's something wrong. And then I realized in just two days that he was retarded, and then Ihad to start working on the other angle. And he did. He responded to me when he realized- that Iwasn't forcing him to do something that he couldn't do. And Iwasn't maligning him. Now, this is a good sixty-four dollar word — And when he did do something, I praised him, and I said, "Good, Clar ence, that's the first time you've done this." Or something like this. Of course, the other kids sometimes would titter, and I'd have to spank them. And then, I had two white youngsters there that were retarded that came from West Virginia background. And, I had to be very careful because they were a little bit- Imean, they wouldn't be put into the same class with Indians. So, we couldn't consolidate with JULIAETTA. They were in Latah County, so I came over in Nez Perce County.
SS: When your children went to school, was there any consolidation whenyour own children were in school?
SS: Where did they go?
LA: Well, we sent them to Lewiston because Lapwai was in the middle of aterrible fight that started in the Grange. And it held ov er to the school, and our youngsters, when consolidation finally came, see some times our youngsters went to Arrow adn sometimes to Pilot Rock. Well, at Arrow and Nez Perce ,and Pilot Rock— the others. And so I didn't want them to go to Lapwai and be involved In that. And so we had to buy acar for them to go anyway, so we sent them to Lewiston. And our youngsters all graduated from Lewiston.
SS: From the high school?
LA: Yes, the high school.
They switched to Lewiston when they started in high school?
Yes, because in the eighth grade they were in the rural schools tilthe eighth grade because I was on the school board.
Could they have gone to Kendrick-Juliaetta if they'd wanted to?
No. I mean, yeah, we probably could have sent them if we had wanted to.But, as long as we had to get the car, we decided that we would send them, and James, my son James, about that time was a husky youngster and they wanted him to play football in Lewiston, naturally. And we didn't want him to play football, because there was so manyinjured for life in football, and so he had amusic sense. frr youngsters all except our oldest daughter had been very musical. So we suggested that instead of doing the football thing, that he join the orchestra. Well, he tried singing, but he was abig youngster and at fourteen his voice was changing and he didn't take to the singing, so he got a—
LA: No, not aviolin, not a mandolin, but the big one, the big bow- whatis it?
SS: Bass fiddle.
LA: Slapped the bass. And he slapped the bass, and after he got out ofhigh school he even joined the union and did it commercially. That was his avocation. And so, that turned out real nice.
SS: What was the conflict at Lapwai?
LA: Idon't know. It was something- Ijust heard about it and people werebutit was something that started in the Grange and then came into the school system. And Ijust said to Raleigh, "As long as we have to buy"
SS: Do you know if they were divided along the lines of the Indians andwhites?
LA: I don't know what it was. I really don't know. It was something whenthey were building that schoolhouse, the new schoolhouse there, and I don't know what it was. And when they really consolidated, they came into - are you familiar with? They had to appoint a local com mittee, you know, for consolidation. And they took over all the assets of the school and whatever they decided to do with it, that's what hap pened. And, oh, why, they sold stuff that the school could use. Why would they sell it? And,I don't want to go into it, because— some wanted to buy cheap and some on the committee made it possible for them to do it. And this—
SS: Buy what? The supplies?
LA: Oh, like there was trucks; there were chairs, there were desk$; therewere little stuff like this. There was, I think there was some equip ment that they used— maintenance equipment— I don't know.
SS: Sold away from the district?
LA: Yes. Yes.
SS: So they lost things that they uuld in consolidating the school?
LA: Yes. Yes. Like a lawnmower and things like that. They just went beyondthe intent of the law. So, I decided—
SS: Wouldn't be a very good school without a lot of that stuff.
LA: I didn't want to be involved in it and I didn't want my children involved in it. The Lapwai School has come a long way, way down the line after my kids were all out. And then I'd been on that school board -so long, Governor Jordan knew some of the things that me on that. And Culdesac had just built their new school, and they were so afraid that they were going to lose that. And so they sent me. "Well, no. Goodness sakes, you can keep your own high school if you can meet the requirements. But, you'd be silly to send your kids up to the eighth grade, up to junior high school down there. Keep your ?"
SS: Keep your, what?
LA: "Keep your school here. Keep your elementary school right there. Andkeep your schoolhouse and the equipment for your town center. And that was another thing; when you lose your school, you lose your city center.
SS: They had it through high school, didn't they?
LA: They had it through high school. But now, you see, those kids all comedown to Lapwai.
SS: They do?
LA: Yeah. Well, there's a lot of them do because it is a larger andbetter high school than Culdesac. But, anyhow it was these sort of., things. Lenore had a new school— and you know, Sam, it was an amazing thing; After all of this— and I made it possible for them to keep them— I say I, because I'm talking— I worked with the committee, and we made it possible for them to keep them. Then, a lot of the families around and said, for instance in the Gifford Area— "We want to send our little kids where our big kids go." So then they started busing. And then my homework on the tax situation came in real handy. (Chuckles) Because you can't have buses without roads and you can't get roads without taxes, and you can't get taxes without people voting it. So therel It's just as simple as that.
SS: The way it happened was that they tended to consolidate the high schoolpupils first?
LA: Yes. Yes they did. Because some of those little youngsters would havehad to ride an hour on a bus in chose days because the roads were bad because the high school centers were far away. And it wasn't too bad and some of the kids, for instance, Irode horseback three miles; six miles aday and thought nothing of it. Ime. Iwas very happy, do. because when the big kids, who would be able to stand the storms have to walk four or five miles or else their mothers and fathers take them. You see what I'm talking about.
But for the parents to want far away to schoolby bus, wasn't that pretty much the same thing as a dagger to the community? I mean, would they be losing their--?
No, they did, Sam. But about this time, people commenced to get cars,so you can't imagine atime when everybody didn't have acar. But I was eighteen years old before I ever had my first car ride, you see, this is the difference in our ages ande tlm And, as people cars, it wasn't abig hardship to go to school that way, or to even go to Lewiston or to go where they needed to. And this had agreat bearing on it, because now they have their schools, frfed- and they have- and the people are using it likef Spalding schoolhousethe women's groups; the men's groups the Granges, the places to vote, and all of this and gatherings, because they still have their elementary and the elementary youngsters- it seems like along time, but you see, they could get on that bus and get to school warm, safe, not like having to walk. Some of the youngsters that came to school to me had to walk three miles going and coming, and through storm and what have you.
Give me alittle idea of how you went about raising the tax money toimprove the roads to make it possible for the schools to be consolidated What was it you had to do? Idon't understand the legislation that made this possible or anything.
LA: Well, the legislation— I didn't have so much to do with that, Idid vote on some of the others, but the first thing you had to convince the parents that that's what they wanted for their children. And I made it my business, Sam, to have every possible approach of what those kids could get in school when a larger group came together, and had a larger community from which to choose. PTA. I talked PTA, and then they got— through the years, they got fed up .vith-PTA, and they are now PTOs. You know what the difference is, don't you? Well, a PTA is the national organization that you belong to. The PTO is just a little organization of local people. And it's alright, I don't yell about it because my children are out. I have grandchildren. And now, Sam, I have six great grandchildren, going right to school from ouf old road out here, to Lapwai.
SS: So you...
LA: So, I commenced to talk about the possible programs. And one of themwas home economics; and I'll never forget, the said, "Home Economics? Well, our girls are learning to cook and to sw, what do they need home economics for?" So then, I would say, "Well, did you know about the problems of canning? In Home Economics they will learn the newest thing. You get a teacher that has earned her degree or his, it can be either a man or a woman,"— and then I would talk to them, I would say, "Well, your boys can get carpentry. They can get farm skills, andthink about in the judging." Of course, part of this was 4-H, and I would talk about 4-H, because this depends entirely on local leadership. And I said, "Who in your community now is well enough versed to teach your kids?" I said, "I understand that you're teaching them everything you know, but wouldn't you like them to know something else?" And about that time the automobile was coming in, and I said, — and I would say frankly, "My youngsters are going to Lewiston, and we did this be cause of the organization and the programs in the school. And there is no reason why you can't have it, because in the State of Idaho, educa tion has a high priority, if you're willing to pay for it." And, I said, "Why don't you try among you to see if you can't get some volun teers to take your youngsters to school. Just try it and see what it
SS: You mean to drive them in to school?
LA: Yeah. The families. And some of them did. And they c ommenced to realize - so then one of the men said, "Well, are you sharing yours?" And, I said, "Yes, there are six girls that are riding to Lewiston to the Normal School with our kids." And they said, "How much are they paying?" I says, "All we ask them to do is to get their own insurance, because the car goes anyway, and we have to furnish the gas to get our own youngsters there and those youngsters and they can't go if they don't." And there's about twenty-six people in this community that got degrees there.
SS: In the Normal College?
LA: Yeah. And some of it was special— And we just talked it and theycould see it, see it coming. And I think too, that about this time that the roads were getting better, and people were getting cars. Peo ple were getting cars. It never would have been possible, I am sure it never would have been possible, because you just don't hitch up a horse and get into an open rig and go places. Especially if your youngsters are in debate— and that was another thing I tried— "Now," I said, "there's music; therejs debate; there is horseshoeing; there is animal husbandry; what do you want on your local?" And then I would take the new brochure of the state and some of those old fellows never looked at that. They didn't know that that was that they could hire teachers that had these, skills. Readin' and writin'
Why do you think that they were cameto consolidation? What was the real basis?
The real basis of that the grandpas and the grandmas that had already paid to have their youngsters. And they very often owned the land, you see, the farms. And the young people were farming; it's true, and they had to be convinced, and sometimes the larger farms were then being formed. Iremember down in the Lewiston Orchards between that old Lindsey Creek Road- those big farms were out there. Well, those people couldn't have cared less! And they had to be outvoted. And Isaid, "You get in there and do your voting if you're interested in your children, you get in there and do your voting. Because these big people that own all these big farms are not going to vote child ren's education." What else did I say? Goodness knows, It so long ago.
It all sounds very persuasive to me. Now, let's say that there wasmore or less agreement in the community. Most of the people came to favor consolidation, then what was the next step to get it? What would they have to do to actually get consolidated, once they believed in it? Trial and error, but there was really no overall consolidation until it waS passed by the legislature. Until the legislature voted, and as I remember, Ithink that bill passed in 1947. Ithink it was introduced first in you see, it's a two year odd thing. And Ididn't pay too much attention to it because Albright had solved theirs. Imean, we had to buy the car And I was no longer on the board, on the school board up here because after my youngsters got through the eighth grade, I said, "Look, I have no business on here."
SS: I've had the idea that it did have effect on the small communities.And I'm wondering what you think about that, because it did, seems to me end or really strike a blow at the real little communities, which had been centered around these small kind of schools in the communities.
LA: Sam, this is true, and yet, about this time the thing that was set upthat helped it was the voting; places to vote. And at first, we thought that we, for instance would be going into Lapwai to vote. But in those days they didn't have the electronic— and you had to have two sets of elections. Those that were voting the people and those that were coun ting, and if you had more than six hundred and seventy-five votes, that's all you could count in one day, and in order to get people to work on the election boards they had to have different . So, alot of these small schoolhouses were the voting precincts. You know at Leland right now and Gifford, it's at the schoolhouse. And so, it just fell into place, because cars came in. These people could get there. And it was a different ballgame entirely.
SS: The way you described to me the role of the teacher in a community,small community— seems like that would have changed, because -heAwas not there any more. She was in a larger community.
LA: Oh, no, no, that's not true. Because the larger community is— I'dlike to go back to the Lapwai-Culdesac-Gifford-Lenore areas; they had what they called their elementary attendance. Lenore still has school up there, you know. And so does Gifford and so does all of these— and so, they simply used the public because people won't go ten miles to vote. They just won't go. And now, of course, with the electronics that we have, they could have larger precincts. Now even in Spaldh ing, there's a line of voters there, and we have a large precinct, that's true, and some of the precincts are larger. But it's still in the small communities, you'll find that this followed, and so, I don't think there was much of a rupture there. Can't remember ever thinking of it. Your kids— And now, we have local grocery stores, but how many people will go to Lewiston to buy this that and the other. And they used to have to buy your overalls right across the counter, and your groceries. But, it's a different era, naturally. Now, our youngsters are even flying. I won't say that, because there's no use putting it on there. But I have a grandson that's just home from Phoenix, he's taking a— and will fly back this next week.
SS: When it was on a voluntary basis, before the legislature passed the--law, what kind of consolidation was possible?
LA: Through voting.
SS: If they wanted to go in a district.
LA: They could vote to join or vote to enlarge or whatever. But, on theother hand, they would consider how to get the kids so much farther. You see in the first place, why you either rode a ho rse or you walked to get to school. Well, we went through that. And then as people set tled in— we're going through a sort of a thing like this now. This canyon is being divided up into small five acre lots wherever they can because people want to retire from the prairief and yet they could like to have their chickens and their pig and their cow, you know, this sort of thing. This is a new era. And if you want to get somewhere in a hurry, like my kids come home from Phoenix, their people have to—
SS: Talking about progress.
LA: Yes, it was progress.
SS: And, I'm wondering looking back on it then- this is something I'vebeen thinking about alot lately looking back on the early days, how people felt about progress. You said, to me for instance, Mrs. Wybark was really strong on getting abetter life, and having things improved. Do you think that was the general feeling that most people had, that they were real receptive to the idea of progress, or was it real divided? Not adivision, but everybody didn't see eye to eye, Sam. It's just like any new thing that comes in. As Isay, the grandpas and grandmas that owned the farms, says, "Well, we got along. We got along alright. And why do the kids need art and dramatics and all of this sort of thing?" Even music, now some of them were very happy to a teacher could teach English and music, you know, this sort of thing and get in schools, and most of the people were anxious for their- and Iused the word anxious, rather than eager- because when it's your children and your grandchildren's future, sometimes you're anxious.as well as eager. And, most people wanted to do the best they can for their child ren. And most people looked ahead and realized. We didn't have tele phones. For years and years the Albrights were the only ones that had atelephone around here. And illness or accidents, you were the center- you know they'd gravitate to the nearest one, and so, everything brought it's own step forward. Idon't know how else to say it. And as you assimulate each new step forward in progress then you're open for what comes afterwards. I don't know how else to say it. Did people feel that educating your children is one thing, but how about their attitude towards more modern homes and telephone service and all that. Were they eager for that?
LA: Yes. The telephone went through early. And we that we could geta telephone from Lewiston out, we'd have to pay— pay for having the line built and then give it to the company. And this was hard for us, because it was about twelve hundred a mile or something like that. And in those days it was difficult for us with out children and so on. But they want those. They those good things, just like the farmers wanted this new machinery. They didn't want to have to have horses all the time, you know, as soon as they could mechanize. So, I think as soon as they — they wanted it as soon as they could get it. And, one of the things that they were slow about was medical services. We lost a lot of hours to illness that might have been prevented if we had had an overall medical service. And, we still don't have that today. We just don't have that. You know how scarce doctors a"re now. Sometimes I wonder what's going to happen to people. We have insurance and we have all of this things, but it's the opening of a new era and - some of these days I'm supposing that there'll be an overall medical program. an overall educational program, because everyone will benefit from that.
And, I'm looking forward tothat. I don't know if I'll live long enough, but I'm looking forward to it. That's the next thing that I think we need to work on. I was thinking about when you were first married and whether you looked at the homestead living that you did— when you look back on it— we talked about it some. Was it more of a hardship than a pleasure? Or did you find it great deal of fun as well or at the time was it just plain hard work?
It was hard work, of course, but there was of accomplishmentthere, Sam. Raleigh and I didn't have the best of the land be cause a lot of the homesteads had been taken before that. And, so— but we did take what we thought would enter into our own family use, and took the hundred and sixty acres across the river that spans both sides, and then proved up on that, because, at the time my father-inlaw was in the sheep business, and this would have been perfect sheep business. And then, just having the land gives you a feeling of perman ence. Nobody could come along and kick you off your home, because, af ter all you did own it. And the old homestead shack— yes, was difficult. I had to carry water half way up that hill for washing. Raleighi helped me. Had to bring our drinking water from the folks over there along the hillside, and I killed my first rattlesnake and I was scared to death of 'em over there. And I was all alone when I did it. And yoi've heard that story.
SS: No, no, hat is that story?
LA: Well, — I'll have to take you sometime and show you the— You know wherethe Johnson house is?
LA: Well, that was the Albright place, you see. And we had to go along thathillside— our homestead was in one of these draws up here and that hill is ours.
SS: Across the river?
LA: Yeah. And so, I was coming home— Raleigh was working with the folksin this market gardening business, because that was our bread and butter. We were living on the homestead in a forteen by sixteen foot shack, and dug into the corner back here was four feet in the bank and there was eight feet pole up under that to keep the porch up. And, I had to go down about twenty feet and then go along that hillside, and there was a bunch of rocks right by that hillside, and I was coming along here, hurrying, trying to get supper before Raleigh came home and I had this bottle of water— quart bottle of drinking water— and it was uphill and it was hot and I was sweating and when I got there, I thought ah, that's good the old ram didn't put me up a stump and the rattlesnakes haven't done anything about me and I turned around and I looked across the the gully and I thought I made it when, Bam, zip, zip, right down here, and there was that rattlesnake between me and my porch. And the first thing I did was to throw the bottle of water, and I broke the bot tle of water and all he did was just duck under a rock and keep riglit on a zippin! And I thought, "I've got to kill that snake!" And, I'd heard that they jumped at you and all that sort of thing, which isn't true, so I thought, "Well, what can I do?" And he got in the rocks and there he was, and what could you do? So, I went by the porch and there was a fourteen foot pole that kept my clothesline up, so I took that pole and I went there and I gingerly took the rocks off until I got down to the poor little snake— he was a little one— he was only two feet long, and he only had ten rattles, but I got him out there and I belabored him and I killed him; and I really killed him, because I had to prove to my husband that I killed my first rattlesnake on my own]! (Chuckles) Then after you've killed one, you learn to live with it, just like you learn to live with anything that you have to.
Around here, there's rattlesnakesall over here. And I've been looking at the grass out here the youngsters, but we teach them. I made it my business to find out about it, and the best— I told you this— the best kit was the Forestry kit. And so, I went to the Forestry people in Lewiston, and I said, "I need a rattlesnake kit. And I want to know how to use it." This tournquet business you know, I didn't know tournaquet and the slicing into the bite. And they even suggested that you suck it. Well, I couldn't possibly have done it. I just couldn't have done it, unless it had been maybe one of my children or something. And so the Forestry has a suction cup, because lots of times those fellows might have been bitten where they couldn't get to it themselves, and so, I got the kit. And I learned to use it. I never had to use it, thank God. But, I learned to use it because I had to for the safety of my children and for my own peace of mind.
SS: Do you know whether people believed that when one snake was killedthat it's mate would come to that plce? That's something that I've heard. That you have to watch for another rattlesnake. I don't know, maybe it's just another tale.
LA: Many times they go in pairs, you find one that's what they toldme— where you find one, you're liable to find two. Only in my lifetime have I found - well, two times— where there were two snakes together. I wouldn't be quoted as an expert at all, because, rattlesnakes around here is where you find them. Big ones, little ones, in different ones.. The only thing that I have stressed on children; a little one can poison you just as much as a big one. And you don't want to take any chances. And now with our telephones andthe quick— and with the vaccine, this is another thing, with the serum, I should say, it isn't as dangerous — it's dangerous, don't mistake me, I'm not talking it down, and you don't go out and invite a rattlesnake bite, you just watch your P's and Q's, but if you were bitten with the quick telephone, with the car service, and with the hospitals as close as they are, and I think, I know that the Lewiston hospitals do have the serum in rat tlesnake country.
SS: When your kids were in the woods, how did they take precautions? Didthey look before stepping or anything like that?
LA: Well, I don't think so. They— up in our high woods, you don't haverattlesnakes, you see. I grew up in the area and it's just around here and we don't. We keep the hoes and the shovels handy, because that's what we kill them with. And we do kill 'em. Really, that is the only thing that we kill really. Because, I've never found any way at all that rattlesnakes and people can just live in the same place at the same time without some risk. We don't kill them on the hillsides, we don't kill a rattlesnake on a hillside, when it's out in the pasture because they're wonderful policemen. The mice and the gophers that eat up the range— this is the main food for a rattlesnake. They'll go down in the holes and the rattlesnake will go down in those— course, they eat a fetf bunnies, too, but then it's one of those things. So you don't kill a rattle snake if you're smart out on the hillsides. When we were on the haying, we sometimes would run into them and get them up by mistake but you'd just take the fork and them off and" then you would kill those because, well, it was just natural get them on the load and you'd kill them.
SS: That's interesting. There's one thing about the homestead that I wantto ask you. Was there romance to it, as well as hard work?
LA: No, no, I don't think so. There was a satisfaction, Sam, I think. Andthen, Raleigh particularly used to say, "Well, we've done such and such." We'd set our mark for ten thousand dollars, we were going to make ten thousand dollars this year, because we wanted to buy a home that was on the road, there's no road over, there, we had to cross the river in a boat to get— and when the river's high you couldn't cross the river. You didn't get any mail or anything. And if you had a doctor, or if you had an emergency, why, you're stuck there, that's all there was to it. That's when I learned about old pioneering medicine and this sort of thing.
SS: What kind of boat did you use?
LA: Oh, just a little rowboat. That's all there was. That's all we had.
SS: Did you stay over there for days at a time?
LA: Oh, yeah. Oh, yes, sure, and in the wintertime, why, Raleigh, wouldsometimes go over and get the mail and I just wouldn't be out ofthere for a long time. What we did for entertainment might be interesting for you. One reason that I sentimental about the Saturday Evening Post- we got a Saturday Evening Post every week, and Raleigh would be tired and so he would ly on the bed, see we had the bed and the little cookstove and everything we had and the old chair in a twelve by sixteen— so I would sit there and read, and Ral eigh would oh, maybe I should tell you this— in order to prove up on our homestead, we had to plow up anyplace that was-j- that we c ould plow. So the top of that hill had a place of about three acres that we could plow. So Raleigh borrowed the horses from his people and we took the horses up there and plowed that and planted it to beans. Because, you know the pioneers lived and grew up on beans. And Boston Baked Beans was the heritage that I brought to the family, because Ma Albright just had beans that she would bake or boil, like bean soup with a ham hock, she didn't know about the Boston Baked Beans, but I did, and so when I came into the family, why, I would bake Boston Baked Beans. And this was a very popular thing.
SS: Was this the kind of beans you grew up on the ?
LA: And so, we planted beans up there. Well, when they were ready to harvest, Raleigh went up and took some gunny sacks and flayed them out with a pitchfork on a canvas. And then, he put those beans in half gunny sacks, because we had to get them down off that mountain. And he took the old mare and built a stoneboat— now a stoneboat is a long wooden thing with a singletree and the horse doesn't have anyway of holding it back, because iust the tugs— and so you teach her to go on sideways and then you turn around this way and go a little bit lower and lower and Raleigh had the gunnysacks of these beans, and as I remember, there were eight half gunny sacks of those beans that he'd flailed out up there and so he tied them with some wire, I think it was clothesline wire, on this stoneboat, and then he took old Fly up there and hitched her onto the stoneboat to come down with the banks.
Well, when he gothalf way down there is arockslide, which is like the rocks, you've seen 'em, and the trail went across that. Well the horse walked in the trail, but the stoneboat was too wide and when that hit it, it slid over and turned upside down and spilled the beans, and they rolled clear down that hill and spilled beans all over creation!! Well, Raleigh felt pretty badly about it and it was dark, so he came on home and then that night it rained. So the next day, why, what do we do— and he said, "Well, we've got to go get 'em. After all of this work. Come and you lead the horse and I'll get the beans." So we went up there and picked up as many beans- part of the sacks had been torn and some of them were half empty and all this other thing, but we picked up the beans that we had. And, I suppose that we had, oh, a hundred and twentyfive pounds, maybe of beans. And we brought them down to the shack. Well, what do you do with them? Where in the world could we dry those beans? And, we talked of putting them under the house, because, you see there was a big place under the house, but this was about the fif teenth of October- my husband's birthday's the fourteenth of October— and I remember it was his birthday when he went up and got those beans.
And, when I looked at them, got them down, they were wet even to beingwrinkly, and you know that's just real damp for beans. So the only place that there was- they had to be in the house- and I said, "Well, Honey, I don't know what in the world you would do with them." Because, here was this little cookstove and it was the only heat we had, and Raleigh had it on a wooden base, because I was a tall girl, and so, how could we— I had a little old steamer trunk that we used for a davenport— so, the only place was under the bed. So Raleigh brought some six inch boards and put them down under the bed and we poured our beans under there so that we could stir them every day. And we dried those beans under the bed. Well, after;-we got them dried— there were some of them that were mouldy— and so Raleigh said, "Well, since I did it—" And so he sat there evening after evening sorting those beans on the the only light we had was a— and I sat over here and read the Saturday Evening Post!
SS: Read outloud to him?
LA: Read outloud. And Raleigh would say, "After all, Honey, I don'tread as well as you do. Read me the story and I'll sort the beans." And so, we spent the winter!! (Chuckles) I mean, entertainment, you sea . And, I've always loved the Saturday Evening Post. And that's really all we could afford, Sam. Every week, we got the Saturday Evening Post. And now, it only comes once in a while, you don't have it every week like you used to.
SS: Were most of the beans still in the sack?
LA: Yeah, The ones that were scattered up and down the hill, I told Raleigh,"Don't bother, if you can get even a half a sack, whatever you can get." And, we took the horse up there with the saddle, I had my saddle in those days, and we brought them down on the saddle, you see. We didn't try to pick them—
SS: Digitally. Were you able to sell any of them? Or did you ?
LA: No, no, no. We just had them to eat. We couldn't. But, I think of theentertainment all of those years that we were over there. We had three years over there. Raleigh had filed on the homestead earlier. But we had to cultivate that little field up there every year and finally we put it to alfalfa. We put it to wheat one year, because it had to be something that contributed to our welfare, you see. And so, we had cows and that time we took it over the other way on the other side, which there was a way that we could get down a little bit easier, and we put it to wheat. Threshed out the wheat and brought it down, and then we planted it to alfalfa and used it for pasture and the cattle ate it off.
SS: The Saturday Evening Post was really the one entertainer?
LA: Yes, it was. Because— We had parties Albright's and the familyparties and so on, and school- we still had school up there.
SS: I was asking you a little bit before about opportunities for women?It occurred to me that— it seems that very rarely could women continue to teach after they were married. I'm wondering why that was?
LA: No, I don't think it was that, Sam, as much as it was that when a womangot married she was so busy with her life and her family that it usually was old maids or widows that taught. And if they were good teachers, I don't think they had so much trouble, Sam, I can't remember.
SS: They could continue teaching if they wanted to?
LA: Yes, if they— and if they were good teachers, I don't think so, becausesome of the best teachers that we had were Mrs. Porter down here, for instance, whose husband was drowned here in the Clearwater, you know, and she was one of the best teachers we had. And she taught both at our Pilot Rock and— We enjoyed the older women teachers for two reasons: One was that if they were still teaching at that time they liked to teach. I like to teach. It's wonderful to teach. When my daughter in- law was teaching at Lapwai, I was her substitute and I didn'think that they'd let me substitute because mine was just an old fashioned elementary (certificate) and this was high school stuff. But Mr. Wilson said, "Oh, yes, Mrs. Albright, fine. That'll be fine." And I had the time of my life over there with those high school kids. It's wonderful to teach. That gleam of recognition. And I got the idea of - that comes into a kid's eyes when he's finally caught it. Nothing will ever surpass that for a real teacher, who really likes to teach.
SS: This Mrs. Porter's husband? How did he drown in the river?
LA: They were taking some cattle across and he got caught into a lasso andwas dragged down the river before they could get him out. And, in those days, you see, they didn't have the big roads, what we call the South Highway over there, you know, it wasn't there at all, you see, they had to across the Clearwater River in a boat. Right opposite Arrow down there.
SS: Going across the Potlatch here, did that make people pause? I meandid you have to be real careful about that?
LA: Yes, uh-huh. When that river's high, you don't— I used to sit up withthat river because our shack on the Indian— we rented some Indian land up there and that's where we really made the money to buy the land around here and to finally build our house down here, because, there"s ten pareels of land: in this holding here, and we had to get across that river. And you couldn't get across with a car at all. You'd have to take the horses and down, and we built sort of a ford, because a horse, toowhen the current is high cannot negotiate rocks, they've got to have confidence to put their feet down or else they're not going to do it. And there was only once that it came up to the edge of the porch, the back porch there. We never were floaded out. The only flood we ever had was down here when the railroad went out. But you had to live with it, you had to negotiate. And that was one reason why Raleigh usually tried to do the plowing in the fall because you couldn't get over there in time to do it in the spring, and then we would put— we never put the melons over there because that would have been impossible, but we put corn or potatoes or something that you harvested later, you see. So, you work with your situation. And as far as opportunity for women— the women themselves were their own limiting. As far as I know, Idaho was the very first state— Sam did you know this?— to grant women the vote. Did you know that?
SS: I knew it was early, I didn't know it was the first.
LA: Yeah, it was the first state, and the reason they did it was becausethey needed those votes for population count. (Chuckles) I think that's wonderful! I have a favorite— well, I've told you this— I have a fav orite talk I used to give in the church work and what have you. That first chapter of Proverbs. Better turn that off.
"Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.The heart of her husband does safely abide in her, that he hath no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She arri eth while it is yet night and giveth food to her household and a portion to her maidens." Meaning a portion of work. "She worketh willingly with her hands and she holds the distaffin her hands." And then it goes on to say— I don't want to do this on this tape— And your food and shelter are two things. And your food starts in pion eering, or even today, in a garden, and your animals and your grains, particularly. Carla Emery is doing a good job, she's got my hominy recipe in her book. And then you start with the nice things you want to do, like extra jam and pickles and you can everything that you have. We couldn't get sugar in 1918 and I had to can my apricots without sugar— and did you ever eat canned aprocots without sugar? And I didn t know what to do with them so that's when we learned to drink 'em. And I'd put 'em through the sieve and drink it with ice in ~ , just like a cold drink, you know.
Was that rough, the rationing during the. First World War? Was it hardon people?
Yeah. It was difficult because- it was fair it would have been muchmore difficult if they hadn't given each of us a ration, because the rich people who could afford it, would have had all of the flour and all of the sugar and all of whatever we had to ration. But as it was, our stamps, you see, in our families and we could get our share of the sugar and the flour and then whatever we didT That's when you learned to make biscuits out of whole wheat homegrown flour instead of the nice fluffy stuff that you were used to. And you used the native fruits that were naturally sweet in connection with those were not so sweet. I mean, you learned. And now they're talking about fruit. Well, we learned about that a long time ago, because we dried them iir the sun. All we had to do was to be able to get some mosquito bar to keep the yellow jackets from eating them up before we could get 'em.
SS: So you did lots of drying.
LA: Yes. Drying.
SS: I wanted to ask you some about the vegetable— truck gardening operationsitself. Was it? — It sounded from the way you described to me, driv ing around as you did with Raleigh there, the Albright family already had a pretty good sized truck gardening.
LA: Yes, they had to, Sam, because my father-in-law was a painter in Moscow.He painted all those original university buildings. He was one of the head painters up there and he became lead poisoned because— youremember in the old time paint— And Pa Albright was dying with lead poisoning, and he could no longer paint up there. So they decided that they would move onto a farm where they could raise— because at that time they still had the four children. They had the four boys. So Pa Albright— I don't know how he found it down here, but he bought the Knowles ex emption for the homestead, where that white house is, where that John son house is now, and they moved down there. Well, then they had to make a living, you see.
And because ofPa's- he grew up in Moscow as ayoung man, he came from Spokane Falls down there, and Raleigh and all of the boys were born there and Iguess the last boy was born here, but anyway, he decided that the market gar dening- because there were little places along the river that were rich soil, so they started raising these vegetables and selling them. Taking them to Moscow and it gradually grew because people loved that nonirrigated, deep, rich vegetables. And so, the first thing that we always did- and Raleigh and Ifell heir to it was always radishes and lettuce were the first ones, and then onion sets- we found out-we could seed onions- but you see they didn't mature until fall, but we discovered onion sets and then we could have the green ones. But the thing that really helped us was the melons; Pa and Ma discovered that they could raise these beautiful melons down there without irrigation, and you've heard of the Juliaetta watermelons? And the Juliaetta water melons just took apremium all over because they were particularly deliciously sweet. They were jiot an irrigated watermelons, a white core in it and is never as sweet. It'll have water and it'll ripen, but it just doesn't have that special flavor. So, in order to have your system all summer long, you start with the first things, your radishes and your leaf lettuce, not your head lettuce, but the leaf lettuce, and spinach, especially spinach, was new then and kids were just learning to eat spinach. And spinach in this country with our rich soil will just grow up and have that beautiful nice, great big, crinckly leaves. I didn't know that spinach had little old thin leaves until after we left the ranch. Ours were always big, thick, crinckly ones. And, then the other thing that made it real good for us was because, Raleigh being a good salesman went to the PFI camps at Bovill and they were so thrilled to get this right fresh from the farm. So we had special days to go up there and special days that Raleigh went to Pullman, Moscow, Troy and Deary and all these little towns and sold our vegetables. And they were always fresh. We picked 'em one day and took them early the next morning, because we would take that five ton load and go out and Raleigh would sell them where ever he could. And then other people commenced it too. The Cochranes you know raised watermelons and other people were raising the watermelons and now the ibbs have taken over some of it. I don't think they're doing as good a job as we did because they didn't keep their own seed. And they ir rigate. They have to irrigate, or they think they have to irrigate
SS: You kept your own seed?
LA: Yes, we kept our own seed, because we found particularly I rememberthe muskmelons were about like this, and one year there was a muskmelon that looked like a pumpkin. It had kind of ridges i n it and it was about that long and oh, possibly this big around— biggest one I ever saw. And I said to Raleigh, "We ought to save that seed." It had thick meat, like this, and oh, it would just melt in your mouth. Better than ice cream. And Raleigh looked at it and he said, "Well, I don't know, Honey, I'm not sure that we can pile 'em up." You see, you pile 'em up— the cantaloupes in crates and the watermelons you just pile one on top of the other. Well, we raised some, and sure enough, you couldn't pile those things, they'd even collapse of their own weight because they were too big. So, we'd put 'em in a special place on the load and Ral- Picxh'd unlnad 'pm first.— Brines back a lot of things that we did! But this is the way that you did. And we did save our own seed because it was expensive.
The corn was always good. Com was hard, because Raleighwould not pick the sweet corn while it was hot, and so the morning that we left we always had to get up while it was still dark and go into the didn't have any refrigerators in those days, all we had was iceboxes, you see. And we did have an ice house where we would cut the ice and put the blocks of ice in on the sawdust, but you couldn't put it on aload of melons, you wasn't feasible. So you had to learn as you went along. And savLd the melons that were the firmest and the hardest and Iremember when we first got the ones that had the thicker- nowdays, you get acertain melon like the New ~ Yorker and it has ahard, yellow thing- you don't get it clear down to the green rind, you see, there's alittle place like this-- well, I remember when we first ran across those that Raleigh said, "Oh, Iwon't sell those. People can't eat that hard stuff." You couldn't, gut it did protect what you And so, then, we had to just not sell by weight anymore, we sold 'em by the piece, because, after all, you can't expect people to pay an awful high price for- sometimes they did later because they particularly wanted some special ones, hut it's a constant change, you have to work with it.
Were there many people growing truck gardens when the Albrights startedhere?
When we were'making it, why then, they commenced to.Were you pretty much the first then in your area, do you think? Raleigh's people were; Raleigh's father and mother.
SS: When they started did they have any examples to follow, when theyfirst started in?
LA: No. I don't think so. I don't know really. I never thought about it,but they were well in it when I came along and we fell into it because it was one of the things Raleigh could do when he found that he couldn't keep up with his mechanic thing. He was slated to take over the garage, the Albright Garage there, you see, but it didn't turn out that way, and I thought that would be wonderful because we could just have the kids at home and get their education right there in town. Just didn't turn out that way. But it's okay. And you talked about romance; and I don't think there was romance exactly, except any romance that would come from having your own home— I like to talk about the satisfaction of accomplishment rather than romance. It's bound to be romantic because I can remember when Raleigh made his first thousand dollars, that fir-st year. He couldn't wait to come home and tell me. He put the money in the bank up there. You see, that wasngood he could put the money in up there and then he wouldn't have to bring it home, unless it was after banking hours. And he just had to call me and say, "Well, I put a thou sand dollars in the bank today!" And so, that's romance, in a way. But still, it's satisfaction of accomplishment. A man and a woman starting together to found a family and to build a home; I don't know of anything that's more romantic, really. You set yourself— I've still got this Jlst chapter of Proverbs— And there were times when Raleigh and I would be tired, maybe snap Aoff y°u know, and I'd think, "Well, gee, that's kind of tough, you know." And the first time, I was pretty close to tears, because I thought, you know, — then I thought, "Poor guy." "Kind of half sick." So, I thought, "Well,—" And I can't remember what I did, but it was something that I fixed for supper that he liked—
Oh, yes, it was, I remember now, it was green pea soup. So I fixed thesoup and it was hotter than all hades, you know, and he said, "Well, what did you make soup for?" I said, "because I thought you were so tired and so wornimt, Honey, that you'd lost your equilibrium and your goodnature and you'd better have some soup." And then he'd start laughing and he'd come over and he'd spank me and he'd say and then he'd kiss me and he'd say, "That's the way!" So, we made our romance as we went along. And then when we lost the baby— Raleigh didn't want to have any children. And I just realized, course I was twenty when I was married and it was the third year and I thought, "Well, gee, if we're gonna have children, we better have it before we're too old." Raleigh is eight years older than I am— and Raleigh wasn't very well and so, I talked him into — "Let's have a babyT ' So we embarked on the baby and of course I was walking over there and when I came into labor it was because of shock— I liked to think it was a shock— but we found out the baby was a blue baby— he was wound up in the cord and my labor pains started in the middle of the night and Raleigh got so excited that he ran off and(eft me over there and went over to get his father with the lantern— there was that boat and things, see I had to get along and I had to walk this half a mile on the trail and Raleigh thought I was gonna drop that baby right now, you know— one of those things. And so Pa came over and Pa was more excited than Raleigh, he said, "Good hell, girl, didn't you know you were going to have this not so soon." baby?" And I said, "No, I didn't, A So, they got me over there and the baby was—
SS: That's the one that you lost?
LA: Yes. And I'm'telling you this because I wasn't sure— the baby was bornand he was a beautiful boy, but the heart never— he was strangled, he was a blue baby. And I had uremic poisoning, and if I had been home she didn't have any daughters of her own, and she didn't realize. And I just thought— I got big and fat and bloated, but I didn't realize that I had this uremic poisoning. And so, when the baby came, why Dr. Rortell worked awful— oh, how he worked— I'll never forget, because the sweat just poured off of him. But the baby, after that first 1ittie squeal and he had a little bowel movement, but he never was conscious, and the doctor, as I say, there wasn't anything left undone that he could have done that he didn't do. And finally, in despair, after two hours of working with the baby, he just says— I was there, of course, on the bed and they were working right there in the bedroom— and Ma Albright was running for cold water and hot water and all this sort of thing, you know, and Pa and Raleigh were in the living room theft— Ra leigh was in and out of the room, but he couldn't bear to see— he'd never had any experience with birth'., you know, and of course, the pains are pretty bad and they didn't know how to alleviate it much in those days, and you just toughed it out. And so, anyway, after the baby was declared dead everybody went out and it was about morning then, so they decided that they would have breakfast then and I laid there and Raleigh didn't come to me. And, I thought, "Oh, gee, I just wonder—" what he thought, I just didn't know. And I was laying there looking at the win dow machine turned off for a while— It had something to do with his kidneys. The vertebrae was dislocated, he jumped over a railroad fence, a gate, and landed sideways and it was one of those things, that he could no longer lay on the concrete— now they don't lay on the con crete anymore when they are doing this mechanical work, they have these boards on the wheels and things— but in those days, they didn't. But Raleigh was passed up anyway, and we went to Troy and worked that summer then after the baby — after we lost the baby, we went up there and stayed one summer and he worked in the garage there to get our winter sup plies and then after that we were on our—
SS: Did that bother when he was working here?
LA: Yes. Lots of times he would work himself down and go to bed with something that acted a lot like flu, but it was the kidney thing that he had and he'd be in bed oh, two or three weeks maybe, until he rested up and got better. So, we had to work with it all our lives together, but he'll be eighty-four this fall and he's still going.
SS: Did you become more and more involved in the vegetable business? DidRaleigh's folks naturally retire, is that what happened and you took over?
LA: We took over because— I mean Raleigh was a good salesman and the otherboys were not interested. Clay, the boy next to him, went to the ser vice, went back into the navy, during the war, you see, they needed steam experts in the Coral Islands; way off over there. And so, he never was a farmer anyway, and Fred went to the service and Marv was the younger boy, and married and was kind of farming with the But, Raleigh used to go to bed real ill, but my children were growing Up— we finally had the four; two girls and two boys, and God was kind to me and gave me the ones I wanted.
SS: You mentioned to me that the kids helped quite a bit in the businessand I want to ask you about that.
LA: We worked as a family. The children went with us and worked right alongwith us. We couldn't put them into the field as long, you know, and so— we'd moved down here on our tenth wedding anniversary, and this is when we really went into the bigger business because we were buying the fields that were close here, and we developed those fields over there, they were just little patches, and we knew we had to get our kids through college. So that's when we went into the turkey business. We'll stay on the market garden business right now. And we did very well. We didn't need the extra money until the kids got into high school and out, well then, when my son James graduated from high school, he got out just in time to go to war, they took him. And he was in the Air Force, but he was in Personnel. You'll have to talk to him sometime about how he got along in France. He couldn't talk French and it was UP to him- that's another story. And then, Rolland, he was our young est, and he came to us and he wanted to volunteer, this was in 1917. And, I said, "Well, why? Why do you want to?" He says, "I want to join the navy." And again, Isaid, "Why?" He says, "Mother, Ihear these terrible stories." We lost quite afew of the young men that were in the first of that war around Lewiston, and they tied in bloody foxholes Idon't think Icould take it, having to face up to the possible deatt in a bloody, muddy. " Raleigh looked at me and Ilooked at him and Isaid, "Let's listen."
Because we didn'twant him to run away or desert or anything like this. So we let him volunteer. And so, he went through the war in the navy, and was happy and fortunate. He went through the battles but was very fortunate. The oldest daughter had been teaching school when that came along and she and her young man decided they wouldn't get married; that's her hus band now, George, and George had come into the Lewiston area as aspec ial mechanic down here in the glass business. So, they didn't get mar ried. They weren't going to have any children and get married until after the war. But the younger- we started up to hoe early one morn ing, and the'kids had had some friends out- that's one thing, the house was always open, because we never knew- I'd come down from the field and find anywhere from ten to fifteen twenty-five people there for supper or dinner or breakfast or whatever. And I had forgotten-
SS: The kids did?
LA: Yeah, and others too. So, anyway, Ihad forgotten my file and Icameback to get the file and our youngest daughter and her young man were crying and holding hands and just weeping and Marjorie was just sobbing, the younger girl. After Ibusted in on 'em you can't just turn around and walk off, you know, so Iwent up and Iput my hand on their shoulders and Isays, "Well, dears, what's the trouble? Can you tell me?" I've never encroached on the kids; after all, they have their own lives. Marjorie says, "Bob is acandidate for special officer's training and he has to go to war and Ihave to go to go to school and we want to get to married and Iknow you won't let us." So we fooled 'em and 1et 'em. And they were just kids. Robert was just barely nineteen, Marjorie wasn't yet eighteen. We let 'em get married. IChuckles) And she -_ followed her husband all over the world. He was sent- his was the sec urity- meaning the information, you know, the security part. And he was sent all over from Germany. She earned her singing- she gradua ted with voice in Germany because they were over there, and they had achance. These are our two kids that never had any children. And Jean and George were different because they took George in the battle of all those Coral Islands and the Atolls and everything over there and kept him for five years. And when he came to rest at Honolulu, if she'd have been married to him, she could have gone, but she wasn't married to him.
SS: Let me ask you this about the kids- when you were raising thenu didyou feel that you gave them alot of leeway, that you had to be less strict with them?
LA: No. Raleigh was much more lenient. We worked as a family and we treatedthem as the special members and as I have often said to the youngsters, I have often said, "You know, you're my jewels, honey, you are the par ticular reason of my life. Raleigh and I getting married and we wanted the children." We got James and Peggy Jean and we were so thrilled with them that we dedided that we'd have two more and God was kind and we got another little girl and I ordered her just like her father and she got everything except his curly hair. And wasn't it nice that, we could send her down and have her hair curled; and we used to make fun of it like this. And then when Rolland came along, I worked him to death the summer before he was born, and he was a big baby but he was weaker than the others because the kids had— I didn't realize what I was doing at the time, but the kids had whooping cough. I told them not to play with the kids across the street because they had whooping cough, so they used to invite them over to the yard, and I said, "Don't invite them over " So they met on the railroad track and my kicls got whooping cough anyway. So I was up half the night with kids vomit ing and I had to get up at three and four o'clock and go and dig potat oes and what have you. We just had to. And so the youngsters fell into this family pattern, because they wanted to. Raleigh, very often took me at my word and I'd say, "The time to teach a youngster something is when he wants to learn." Well, sometimes kids want to learn before they really are able, like driving the trucks, Now, h e let that young daughter of ours drive a ton and a half truck form here up to the t op of that field at five years old when she couldn't even sit, and he said, "Well, she wants to." And so, he showed her and she did it! And so, the children have always been a part of the family. And anotherthing that Raleigh did that got him into trouble with some parents; when the children went to school— see they were going to high school— in Lewiston.
SS: Did you tell me that he gave them a checking account, that they hadtheir own money?
LA: Yeah. And the children had the privilege from the time that they wereten years old to write checks when it was necessary. And they didn't often abuse it, because when those checks came back every month, we went through it as a family. And so, they just grew up by osmossis, I guess, I don't know. I used to tell them that "Honesty is the best policy" and all this sort of thing, you know. Sometimes I could point out where others had made a mistake by not being honest, that they got into it. I said, "Well, you remember that we've always said that this is a family policy." And they just grew up in Cne family. Sometimesgetting back to the leniency, when James, this is our oldest son, wasmaybe I told you this too, started to date, why, he was going around— with musicians and, oh, gosh, he got girls from Lord knows where— and he'd take the school Chevrolet— we were Chevrolet people because we could afford that— and two or three times I'd get up at three and four o'clock in the morning and he wasn't even home. Well, where was he? What was he doing out there? And, I would debate, should I question him, or should I not? And finally, I talked it over with Raleigh and I said, "Raleigh, what do you think?" And he says, "Well, let me handle this." He says, "I'll handle it."
So, I didn't know for a long timewhat he did about it, and I found out afterwards that he looked at the car, and, gee, sometimes it was all spattered up with mud, and sometimes it was— the tank was pretty near empty, there wasn't any gasoline in it, and there was- supposed to be enough to take ifm a week's schooling. And so, Raleigh did a lot of this and I never asked, I didn't ask. But then, sometimes when James would say, "Well, I'm going to go up to get Coralie, well, this meant up almost to Grangeville, and in those days that was a far piece for a high school kid to go, and I'd say, "Well, have you checked with Daddy?" And sometimes he'd say, "Not yet." Or, "I will." and it was the only car we had and this sort of thing, you know. So I don't know, when my youngest daughter, when she got overseas— she fol lowed this husband all around and she was thrown into an awful lot of things, and she was horrified at some of the things that went on. And, finally, her defense, as Robert says, he was my first son-in-law, and he always calls me his favorite mother-in-law!I It's the only one he's ever had. So, he told me this story: Some of the people were talking and she said, "We're just not that kind of peoplei" And so, that's one of those things. And besides, kids are smart. They pick up— I re member one incident— When I talked to James or to the girls, I could talk right straight from the shoulder, but when Rolland came along, he couldn't bear like the sex education. Raleigh left that up to me en tirely, - They would ask him questions especially maybe the boys would ask him questions, and Raleigh would— he was supposed to be very much the boy about town at Moscow, and so, he could speak with the voice of authority, but Rolland couldn't talk to me like we are, so we wrote notes to each other. I told him one time when he was about eight y ears old Have you done your job? (to Sam)
SS: Well, no. Do you want me to go?
LA: No. I was just going to say, it's half past twelve, would you like tohave some lunch?
SS: Oh, I don't know that I should. Are you getting hungry yourself?
SS: Well, maybe we could just finish up and I should probably then getgoing, because I've got some—
SS: But, I was going to ask you about what happened during the Depression.If that became a difficult time for you and your business?
LA: Yes, it was. But Raleigh— we had quit"the market gardening, then andwe were in the turkey business. And, the turkey business gave us more money, cash, because we had to get our kids through— that was the first depression, we've had several— and we managed. The grains were not as expensive, the farmers were not doing as well, because, after all, it was depressed, and when the grain was— the price was depressed, that was good for us, because it made our feed more logical do this. And I was geneticist, and we saved our own— we developed— I put eighteen years of my life into developing our own broad breasted bronze, and they were wonderful turkeys— I've told you about this.
SS: We haven't got any of this on tape and I would like to know how you wentabout developing this strain.
LA: Well, I had in mind what I wanted and the— and because we belonged tothis Idaho Poultry Association, I had the University of Idaho— they didn't have a turkey flock and they wished to establish that Polorum vaccine. And so, Moore was at the head of the poultry department at the time, and when he found out that I was eager to learn, he was eager to teach. And so, he told me that I would have bone troubles get ting those heavy birds on a spraddled foot, you know, bone trouble. But didn't, because Raleigh was the feedman you know, he mixed all the feed and went through those formulas. That wasn't my baby. Mine was the geneticist, the physical turkey that I wanted, and instead of a high one like this with the breastbone, I wanted a low one that was broad, this way. And we ran into a couple, but because Moore was there, and then finally Mr. Lantman, who is now retired, too, you see. We went through all that rigamarole there.
SS: At the University?
Yeah, the University. They gave me a liberal education and I was getting broad bones and beautiful things, but Iwas getting apinhead, and Ididn't have sense enough, Ididn't know about it. And Prenn Moore came down and he looked at these turkey hens and he said, "Oh, Lora, that'll never do. Because you're developing your big, beautiful struc ture at the expense of your energy. And that life energy is what you've got to keep." Isaid, "What do Ido?" And he said, "Well, -" And he went through the flock and he looked alittle bit, and he said, "Here, this is one of the best heads I've had." And it was around, full head. And he said, "Do you see the difference in the color?" And Icould see that that hen had full blood up there, and these pipsqueak ones, while they were broad, they wouldn't have laid the egg- and the eggs would not have had the vitality. Ihad to learn these things. And because we be longed to the association and because Iwas trying to do something that was- that he enjoyed, he was an old man at the time, and so, everytime he had achance he'd drop by and see how Iwas getting along, and then they brought their people and some of them were teachers and some of them were special class people down to work in our selection, because they were learning on our flock. And then by cooperating this way I had the background of this university, and Idid a real good job with their help.
What made you decide to develop your own breed rather than going withwhat was already on the market?
The long, lanky, high- let me digress at the moment and say that theywere big birds, but an ordinary woman's oven - course we were selling to the hotels- that could manage ahen, but some of those turkeys were that high, and they're too close, they were burning. And besides, they weighed heavy, but they didn't look pretty. And we were in ahighly the Wriehts were raising turkeys down there on the Snake River. They started with some of ours and then they got poults from the East and I don't know what all— they went into it— they didn't make as well as we did, because they had to hire an awful lot of help. But, I decided that I wanted to do this and I worked on it. I studied. I went to the conferences and we took— gee, I wonder what I did with that— we took them to the fairs and put them up against the— and we used to get a lot of these purple ribbons, you know, and one thing and another. I wonder what happened to all of those. I'll betcha they're in the attic over at the old house.
SS: So was it a continuous process of crossbreeding that you were involved
LA: Yes. And we developed our own tt$ms. And a breeding system — a turkeyis difficult, the bigger they are the more trouble you have because the toms— have you ever seen a torn breed? They just dance on the poor old hens and scratch them with their claws, so we put saddles on 'em. I was the first one to make a saddle. I says, "Raleigh, we've got to do something about this." So, we made turkey saddles out of canvas. Put the wings on 'em, you know, so that not to tear those hens. Their backs are all torn up.
SS: Saddles on the hens?
LA: On the hens, uh-huh.
SS: What were they like, the saddles?Well, they got used to it, let's say. They didn't like it at first, but I made them, kinda like this and then the holes, you see for the wings to go through. We tried to tie them on at first, well this would cut into their wings, you see, and a poultry skin is a delicate skin whether you believe it or not. But those toms, - and there's no way— a torn just doesn't do any breeding without treading— well, after he slips off of a hen's back two or three times with those claws, he's got her ripped open and you can't expect her to eat and feel good and lay eggs.
SS: Were they made out of leather?
LA: No, I made them out of canvas, for two reasons. The toms had to be ableto— and I put ridges on them— they had to be able to find security there while 4heu treading these hens, and the poor hens are laid out there, stretched out with their necks and the toms are having a terrible time too, and then to actually come into contact, they have to be stand- ing ahold of the feathers on the hen's neck in order to get the two together, in order to fertilize. Well, it's quite a procedure. So, I would make about three hundred and eighty-five new saddles every year, because they just wore them out. But it protected the hens and then we could sell them. You couldn't sell— I mean they would just be slithered and torn. And as I said to Raleigh, "Heav ans, you can't expect those hens to lay eggs when they're sick and they're worn and torn like that."
SS: So what was the size and scope of the operation when you built it up?How many did you have?
LA: We tried for twenty thousand. I had the old incubators. I hatched themmyself in the basement there, because we found that when we bought the poults, you never knew what you were getting, you just didn't know what you were.getting. And, as I said, these big, heavy ones— an ordinary farm wife couldn't get the toms in her oven. She could get hens, but the hens were, of course, more expensive than the toms. So I evolved the wide breast, the low breast bone, but put the meat out here and on the drumsticks; big drumsticks. Cur drumsticks were big, like this. And then, the feet were - we had very little— Prenn Moore helped me with this— when I got the vitality message, I didn't have any more bone trouble. And so, we got along very well. And then I went to the legislature. And it was about this time that the kids had come home from the war, and we were just through— Rolland could have used some more money to go to school, but, because the war ended and he had been an officer, you see, those GI benefits helped. And so h e went to school on GI benefits. But about that time the price broke, and the farmers' grain came back into being and the last two years we just made expenses. We didn't make any profit, And it isn't fun to do all of that hard work you see unless you can make a profit. And so, when I was in the Legislature; I was appointed in 1949, and I enjoyed it, it was fun. It's quite a story behind that, too. And while I was down there the boys sold my— we kept five hundred hens as a seed flock, and they had a chance to sell those beautiful big hens and they sold 'em all off, all but nineteen. And, oh, it really gave me quite a start because I had put eighteen years of my life into them. And I says, "Well, kids, that's it. There won't be any more turkeys." Andthey had just come home from the war and I thought they were through with the ranch, but they would like to continue it, but they .sure weren't happy without any profits, and they didn't want to go through all of that, so that was that. And I would hatch twenty thousand and then we'd usually raise anywhere from ten to fifteen thousand.
SS: A year?
LA: 'And we'd start selling them as soon as they were frying size. And thiswould give us— usually those hens would start laying oh, real early in March crydApril. Well, it takes four weeks to hatch them, you know, and then it would take from three to four months to get them up to four or five pounds frying size. But that was a nice one. And so it brought in some money. But when the price of feed went up and the farmers got back in, it wasn't much fun. So anyway in 1949 and the kids sold my hens, I said, "Well, that's it!" So they bought poults for a couple of years after that. The people that had had standing orders, we had people that we'd been selling turkeys to for twenty years, you know, just on standing orders, and they just knew when Thanksgiving time came they could always get whatever they wanted here, so they'd just send me a postcard and say, "We want such and such," and that was it. So when we sold out they had to get them some place else. But it had served it's purpose. And Raleigh was ill. He got to the place where he couldn't mix the feed because of the dust that was there. And I had never oper ated it and the kids hadn't either. And I would have stayed if the child ren had been interested in it at all. But, you see, they had come up in their late teen years when everything was just going great guns, fine. Well, then when the problems commenced to develop, well that wasn't fun, so they just simply sold my hens out. And I said, "Okay, that's it." SS During the years when it was going fine, did it require a full day's__ work just to take care of them?
LA: Oh, my, yes, we had housekeepers all the time. The children took careof their own bedrooms, the girls, and then we all helped with—oh the general housework, the laundry and this, but we had a housekeeper. We had to have a housekeeper because I couldn't be in the basement taking care of all those eggs in that hatchery. And then when the poults were first put out, you see, you have to be real careful with them. And there's many problems there that was funny, for instance: The eggs, we got an electric one, Raleigh thought an electric incubator was the thing, so we had a twelve hundred electric incubator that we put in down there. And I thought, "Oh, boy, this is wonderful." Becauseof bringing the trays out, you just turn them off and you could cool them and then they were on a big swinging drum in there, well, you just turned it, you know turn the whole twelve hundred all at once! Why, gee, life was not like this. But, they didn't hatch, they didn't hatch like they should. There 7 was cripples. There was other things like drowning, they didn't evapr orate off like they should, or if you shut that off, they would get too dry and stick, and they— there were cripples, and I knew that cripples was lack o turning.
So finally I evolved a system, and I would putthem into the electric incubator for the first two weeks. That's before the chick actually is starting very much, the yolk has not been absorbed and that sort of thing. And then I would take them out of there and put them into the wide, four egg trays, and you take them out every morning and then you just roll them with your hands and there was some thing about the actual rolling of the hands, because, it wasn't the same one all the time. It's more like the hen would do it, and then they had the aerators and the moisture pans there, and I had better luck by hatching them in these, and so it was more work but— and the thing that I found— this is one of the things that always kind of amazed me and tickled me— naturally you're talking when you're doing this, and those chicks in those eggs— came to my voice. I would put them out in the brooder house and I'd be talking and they'd all rush over and pile up — and a turkey can commit suicide more ways in the corners— and I thought, "well, what's the matter with them? I know a turkey's crazy, but not as crazy as that." And this old— Mr. Lan man was the new poultryman down there, and so I said, "Come on down and see." I really there was something the matter with those poults, because we had the three big brooder houses there and they were acting the same in every brooderhouse. So, he came down and he went around with me and finally, I'll never forget, he said,— he slapped the post and he commenced to laugh, and he said, "They're coming to you're voice. You keep your mouth shut, and see." And, by golly, that was it! When I would talk out there, they were so used to— in the egg, it never occ ured to me that this was it. In the egg, itself, be cause I would be talking, you know, and rolling this egg, just think of it, you know. And yet, there I was right talking to them, and they— and so you learn.
SS: Are turkeys really dumb animals?
LA: No, but they are— I was going to say tradition ridden, but I'm thinkingof— what would you say? The nature of a turkey; they're very clever but it's like any wild animal, I guess, I learned this about the chicks anyway, you see that voice was the mother voice, and so, of course when they were in that strange house, why if I was speaking, I — they were' over there trying to get to Mother!! (Chuckles)
A turkey does whata turkey is supposed to do inspite of heck and high water. I've seen them swim a slough. And oh, we'd take them on the range and we'd— for instance a crossover— those big trees over there— we'd want them to drink out of the creek eventually, they'd have to drink out of the creek, so we would have the water and we would put them over there with first a roost— they would learn to go to roost here before we" put them over there and then to stay by the feeders, because on the ends of these runs that we had out here, well, here was the feeders and the water things. So, they were taught to stay by the feeders. Well, this was fine, but when you wanted to put 'em to roost, you had to teach 'em to go to roost, so I'd go over and sit on those roosts and make a noise like a turkey hen and get 'em to come up and in about a week then they'd go. They were supposed to go to roost. And they liked to roost. And then maybe I'd leave a little bit too early before it was real plum dark and I'd come across the river and the first thing Id heard— sssssss! they were all flying after me and had fallen into the river and going down the river.
SS: What did you do about that?
LA: Well, I— the first time or two we lost some— I mean, some of themwould get up on the bank - they can swim, they can just swim almost like a duck, but after they'd fall in and two or three fall on top of 'em, and they'd get their feathers wet, you know, and then they'd sink. So we lost some, naturally, then the golden eagles came down into— after them. We'd have the children out look for them, and those golden eagles would come down. Great big birds that would stand that tall, you know, and land out there and get after our poor turkeys, and then they'd all flush into the brush and pile up and break their legs and wings flying into the trees and stuff in panic. And I could write a book, not about Me and the Egg, but Me and Turkeys! (Chuckles) I thought I would once, and then I thought, "Oh, to heck with it!'" Tape was turned off for a while
SS: I understand that, but how did— I'm curious about Nez Perce Christianity.And I understand that in a way, it's their own form. It's not exactly like
LA: No, that isn't true. No. The Methodists over here was an offshootI first became aware of it, because we had a South Methodist Sunday School down here at Arrow, and that's where we went to church. Because we had to work, and for a long time I had a real guilt complex because I had been taught; I had been raised in this Methodist home, and you just don't work on Sunday; plan to work,on Sunday. And we had to work on Sunday, always had to work on Sunday getting these loads ready to go out early Monday morning. And so, I would compromise with Dear Old God and the Lord Jesus Christ and a few others, because we'd go up and do all this work and then we'd rush home and we'd have breakfast and I made it a point to always take the youngsters to Sunday School. knew that this was the way it was, and he would stay home and pack those cantaloupes, and we had 'em by the tons and there'd be maybe as many as two hundred or two hundred and fifty crates of cantaloupes. Well, you don't pack those just- and Inever- didn't have the eye to do it. Raleigh had this mechanical eye and he could just look: "This is the thirty-sixes, the twenty-seven." And he had two or three crates going you know, and this was aforty-eight, and he'd pick up acantaloupe and it would just fit right in there.
SS: Was the size in inches?
LA: Yeah. No. Yeah. So many to the crate. So many to the crate. Atwenty-seven was about this big around and a thirty-six would be about this big and then they'd go down to this big. And he could tell by just looking at the darn things and Ihad to pick 'em up and try to fit 'em in there. I didn't have that mechanical thing .
SS: And you went to Sunday School with the kids?
LA: And so I'd take the kids and go toSunday School and Raleigh would bepacking those cantaloupe in the shade. That was the only good thing. We'd have our breakfast and then we'd come home and Jeannie had this same thing from her father. She could pack, and she would pack, and then I would take the younger youngsters and go up— we would have these watermelons picked early and piled by the road, because we had to load some of the crates of cantaloupes to make a corral to put the watermelons in, see. and then we had to put some of the watermelons in before we could get up there and get the rest of the rest along there. And we worked all day Sunday. And, so, the Gibbses were the retired minister in the South Methodist Church, and he waS/,down here at Arrow, ana during that time the Mission to the Methodist Church in Lapwai had fallen by the wayside and Mrs. Gibbs was supposed to be that lay missionary over there. Well, she was just so old and so weak and so tired that she couldn't do it. So, I sort of fell into that. I never had any training for a missionary or anything like that.
SS: Well, what was the lay missionary work like?
LA: I would go over there- they had their meeting in he afternoon becausethere were a lot of those Indians that came from far away; I played the piano. I led the singing. I taught whoever was in the choir, was in the adult class, and so I had a very fine mixture. A lot of Pres byterians were not going to the Presbyterian Church because they had a lady minister. And my Methodist Southwest Methodist group helped me buy the materials, like song books, study materials, quarterlies and then we organized a womens' group. A womens' organization. And I taught them quilting - and they were real clever with their hands any way. And they taught me beadwork and we had these sales that would help to tCwork. And because it was aSouth Methodist outfit we weren't in connection with the North Methodist group and the South Methodists were not as active in this neighborhood as they had been in the earlier, years. And so, Ijust did what anybody would do in Sunday School. I — And we had two preachers; two local preachers. One was .-Stephen Reuben, an old fellow and the other was Maxwell and Maxwell was a man that had been converted to the Catholic Church and had started to be a priest and got waylaid as a young man because, and Stephen Reuben too, because they took to drinking. And a drop of alcohol in an Indian just doesn't work. Just doesn't work. They can't handle alcohol at all. And Stephen Reuben, before I came on, had been suspended by the South - well, the Presbyterian Church it was, and he could no longer preach in the Presbyterian Church, and he was just way up there. And because of his basic conversion— You said it was maybe not as deep, or that they had converted it to theirnature worship and so on; Great Spirit worshipbut this wasn't true. Stephen Reuben was truly converted to Christian ity, and the first time that I saw him in a conference was at Troy, Idaho, and he was asking, petitioning, to be a lay preacher, meaning that he didn't go to school and have a theological be, what do you call it? Whatever it is, you know.
LA: Yes. And, but he was licensed by the Pacific Northwest Conference atthese Methodist meetings could do that. I could have had a lic ense if I'd a wanted to because I had the gift of gab, but I didn't want to. But, Stephen wanted that, and there stood that old Indian man and he was up there giving his side of the versions and he had been hurt and I don't know what all, and he drank and he got drunk and all of this thing and that's why his license had been suspended, you see.
SS: He was giving his side of the story?
LA: And he was asking, it was his petition to get to be licensed again, andwe would all vote whether we should license him or not.
SS: This would be as a Methodist?
LA: Yes, South Methodist. He was petitioning in the South Methodist Churchbecause the Presbyterians, you see, - he was too proud to ask them. I think they would have taken him back. And this J. Maxwell had gone to a priest school—
SS: Did he get back in? Was he reordained?
LA: Yeah. He wasn't ordained, but he was licensed, and he could preach inthe Methodist Church and was recognized- especially— he could have preached in that church over there if he'd a wanted to anyway, but he couldn't be connectional, you see.
SS: Had he stopped drinking then?
LA: Oh, yes. And I thought, "Well, gee-" I felt like crying, too, poor oldfellow. There he was and his heart was so broken. And then, when I went to— when Mrs. Gibbs died and no longer could do it, they didn't have anybody. And so, Charley White: Now Charley White was an old base ball player.
SS: I've heard of him. A darn good one.
LA: Yeah. And he played with Raleigh's brother, Fred, and through them,Charley White knew that I played the piano and sang, and might come over and help them with their Sunday School. So, they came and asked me and I said, "Well, yes, I can. And, Charley, I'll tell you what— I don't play the piano very well. I can't play that good, but I can play the hymns, if you'll come and lead the singing, because I can't lead the singing very well with my back to the audience." So, he says, "Okay, by golly, I'll do it." So, we did it, and there for about four teen, fifteen years, I went over every afternoon and if I got home be-, fore dark, Raleigh'd say, "What's the matter?" Because I was there, we had the Sunday School and then we had the church every Sunday, and thnn in the morning, why, I'd take my kids and we'd go down to the Arrow, or wherever it was that they had it. I fell into it that way. And then because I was District Director of the Methodist Women, why, they knew I was doing that and they would send us aid. They'd even come_and buy some of the things. We started the dinner— the Indians loved to eat— and we'd have all these people and at Christmas !! Oh, gosh, the only Christmas that some of those people had was at that church. And they'd always bring thi$ beautiful tree in there, and just squander— I just thought it was terrible— squander dollars.
SS: Decorating it?
LA: Yeah, and the things that — the big dinner, and they'd invite all oftheir relatives to come over to the house— that white house that is close to the church is the parish house. It isn't where the minister lives but it would be like the social rooms of an ordinary church, was that house. And they had some strict ideas. You didn't cavort and sing and raise the devil in the church. You were very circumspect there. That was the Lord's place. And,they used to meet »e at the door some- times and they had little And when I'd see dear old Brother Star Stephen Reuben and later, J. Maxwell waiting for me to come to take me in oQtqfthose rooms to lay the problems on my shoulders. And I'll never forget one of the times that Stephen Reuben- it was in the summer time and our women's meeting was at Leland, that was a South Methodist Church, too. So, Iwas off up there and had taken a couple, well, when our Indians die they are not embalmed or anything, you know, and they get them into the ground, they have to, just as fast as they can. has been the people that has taken care of them because— oh, there's a long story behind that- but anyway this is one of the things— and so they call them and the1 will rush up there and get that body and take it down and funeral people at Lewiston.
And dress the body and cleanit up and get it all ready, and then put it in cold storage until they get their funeral arrangements made to take care of it. And sometimes if there's people that have to come from far away it may be aweek be fore they would have the funeral, but otherwise they do it just as quick ly as they can, because in the old days they didn't have any embalming and you had to hurry up and get it under cover. Well, this time Iwas up to Leland and a funeral came and dear old Brother Stephen had to have the funeral services and he had to have somebody play the piano, and he didn't know where; see Mrs. Albright was gone and they always have a big dinner- a funeral always is a big dinner, always. This is one thing that the Indians do. And it is a feast. And, I have seen the clothes— it depends on— I don't think they would do it any more now, but this has been forty, fifty years ago, well, about forty years ago, and they would bring all the belongings, maybe, and put them out in the home, and they would all go and pick out a shirt, or they would pick out a pin or something to remember them by, and then come over and have this dinner and this social and then talk about the deceased, how good he was or how bad he was or however he was, whatever. This was part of it. And sometimes they have a wake. It depends on the family and so on. Well, I wasn't there and I wasn't available. So the next Sunday when I got ready— after I got home I found out that they'd had to have this funeral services and Stephen Reuben had worked up and found some singers and somebody to play the piano and had had the fun eral services and buried them— the youngster— it was a young nineteen year old somebody or other, a relative of of the families. Well, when I came home he met me at the door and I came in and so he didn't say anything, he just met me at the door and took me into the little room and I said, "Well, what is it Stephen? What's bothering you? What's your problem?"
He says, "Where were you last Thursday?" And I said,—and I kind of opened my mouth, and he said, "Where were you when I need ed you?" And then it dawned on me, and I said, "Stephen, you know where I was. I was at Leland. And you had the funeral services, didn't you for the Mc Cormick baby?" And he said, "Yes." And he said, "And where were you when I needed you?" And, I said, "I was doing the Lord's business with the Methodist women at Leland. Don't you know that I had two of our women that were there. Two of our singers. Who did you get to sing? 1 Who played the piano." He says, "We no play the piano, we sing Indian style." Wasn't anybody to play the piano so they sang Indian style. And, he said, "I just want you to know that you're supposed to be here when I need you." And I said, "I know that Stephen. If you had called at Leland, maybe—" And he said, "I didn't know where to call. Any- be on the ball.
Bless his heart. They put many words in the Nez Perce language thatdefinitely is based in the Christian religion. And some of them, of course, - they can't stand liquor and some of them would when they'd come into church — they would come up in our church, we has this nice big carpet, it's a parlor rug, you know— and we don't have— when we're in church we have the altars, but for Sunday School it's just a table for the superintendent there and the secretary and the treasurer— so when they have personal witness and they really, when they give their witness, they really give a witness— I mean it's so heartfelt that you just ought to experience sometime— I just wonder if they still do. And they would come up and stand on the edge of this rug. And pretty soon, why, Stephen Reuben was he head of the Sunday School and the church at the time, pretty soon Stephen would look up and he'd say, "Well, Brother Charley- or whoever- what's troubling you?" And then they will confess whatever it is they have on their soul, or make a witness or whatever it is. And if old Brother Reuben thinks that it's acceptable, he will walk over and shake hands with this "person that is standing on the rug here before God and the congregation, and then turn around and go back and sit in one of the pews. And then Stephen would get up and he'd say, "Are there any Others that would like to come forward?"
And, he didn't say, confess, but make a statement, is whathe would say. Well, maybe some of them would, and maybe it would be a young girl, and she would come up and say, "Well, I was over to so-andso's and I got mad and I broke her doll." Or whatever it was, you know. And so then he'd go over and put his hand on her shoulder and shake her hand and if it was some of his own relatives, he might kiss her on the forehead, and then send her back. And then no one else would come, so everybody would go back and sit down and then Stephen Rueben would say, "Anybody have asong?" And everybody had afavorite hymn, and they weren't abit backward about talking about it. And if it was asong in the Methodist Hymnal, why then Iwould be playing and Charley would be standing there and be singing; the choir would be singing. And ~- would be fifteen or twenty of the ::icest, younger Indians and siting, and then these people back here- it was amost interesting thing, they would stand up where they were and maybe two or three would stand up and talk at the same ttae; which bothered me at first, until Ilearned that they weren't concerned about these other people. They were just concerned about talking to God and telling Him that they had done thus ar.d ao; they were sorry that they had done thus and so or they had been hurt or what have you. And asking for prayer. They could pray themselves, they could ask Stephen to pray, they could ask me to pray, they could ask any of the older Christians to pray. And we had three that were there that had been converted under the leadership of the last missionary that came to the Presbyterian group, you see some of them had defected into the South Methodist group. And then, the Waters- you remember that Waters and South Methodists went to Kamiah and had that wonderful thing long, long years ago? Long before I. Well, some of those- their grandmothers were converted under that Waters outfit.
SS: At Kamiah?
LA: Yeah, Kamiah. Long years ago.
SS: What did you hear about the one at Kamiah? Was it just for ashortperiod of time? A revival?
LA: Yeah, it was just arevival. And our Indians would have arevivalover the Christmas-New Year's for three solid weeks. We'd just go over there and they were having aregular emotional upheaval. But, Ilearned at first, as I said, two or three people talking at the same time- - SS: During the hymns? During the singing?
LA: Uh-huh. Or right afterwards, if they were busy singing. It depended—if they were singing in the Nez Perce, they would be apt to get up and talk any time. But, usually, they wanted the minister that was presid ing to hear them. Imean, the vindication, because they expected that human touch, and unless the person up there heard what they said, you just don't respond. It's one of those things. And so two or three of them might be talking at the same time and I often wondered how Star J. Maxwell, who was hard of hearing, and since I'm getting a little hard of hearing, I've often thought, "I wonder if he really heard as much as he thought he did?" (Chuckles)
You know, one of those things.But very sincere. Very dedicated. And the young people used to follow Charley because of the ball playing, you know, but I don't know what happened there. Then after I was there, we had two trained missionaries, but it wasn't the same. The younger girls— they were trained as missionaries, but I don't know what happened. They looked down their — didn't look down their noses, exactly, but, I would sit there sometimes and I would look at Miss Cara and Mrs. Smith was an older woman and she was the best one that they had, but the others would just get so bored. Of course, after you sit there for three hours you're liable to get bored anyway. But, they don't have the revivals anymore, I don't know.
SS: It sounds, perhaps, that they didn't know the people well enough, or—
LA: The Methodists gave that church— well, they didn't give it— they askedHenry Sugden, who is now a retired Presbyterian minister that owns a home down there and he was raising a bunch of youngsters— and the Pres byterian Indian Church has their own ministers there, Dave Miles does a little preaching. He works at the Park Service there. And— but they haven't had a revival meeting for a long, long time.
SS: What were the revivals Like? You said that they ran a long time andthey were emotional. I wonder what they were like when they had them. It sounds like quite an experience.
LA: Yes. They would come into the church every — over the Christmas holidays, you see, they would have preaching every night. Every night for two weeks, and sometimes they would go down in the Pendleton, Oregon area because their closest— see, our Nez Perces, a lot of our Nez Perces, Bill Williams and some of those were raised down in Dayton, on the River and so on, down in there, and so close to those Indians. And they would exchange pulpits maybe, and our Indians would go down there, then when we'd have our revival they'd come up here. And I belonged to a Soroptomist Club, which is a service club for women, you know, sup-, posed to be policy making women, and as co-owner of Albright Farms they invited me and I've enjoyed it because I enjoy the quality of the women belong to it. They're all policy making women, usually in their own businesses or in offices of professional men, or so on. Well, any way, for Christmas they'd say, "Well, Lora, gee"— the Mothers' Club, for when instance,my kids were in high school I was asked to join the Maribdjl Mothers' Club down there— "What can we do?" I said, "I've got a dandy thing, why don't you come on out to the— and maybe you'd like to fur nish some of the treats for our Indian Christmas. You don't have to come out Christmas Day, but come on out during the holidays. They'll be having some out there all the time in the winter there." So they picked it right up.
And the Mothers' Club said, "Oh, we'll make thepopcorn balls. Would they like that?" And, I said, "They would love it." "How many do we need?" I said, "Well, because that's the only Christ mas that many of those Indians families have, the church is always full and there's about five hundred people that come in there for Christmas Eve, so we would need three or four or five hundred." So, we got to thinking, "Well, gee, that's about-" They figured they could get about a hundred into a clothes basket, you know, - ""do we need to put strings on 'em?" And, I said, "No, you don't need to, because, some of you come on out and just stand there and hand it to them as they leave after the service, if you'd like to bring them for the real Christmas. If you like to enjoy the music, then come, because those Indian voices, they can just sing like nobody's business." I tell you, when the will get up and sing Just As I Am, you know, that good old one, boy he really meant everyone, because he says, "I know I am simple, but just as I am.! My Lord and God is willing to accept and so on!"
So theywould come out and for oh, ten years almost, the Mothers' Club got so that it was too much for them, they got older and after all, we did ~- get older, so the Soroptomists kind of took it up and they decided then that it was too much of an effort for their own, and so they would give a birthday party, a big birthday party in the summertime. And they al ways go up to Talmux over the Fourth of July— By the way, I'm the only woman who has ever addressed a patriotic discourse to Talmux on the Fourth of July. So they came up there and instead of popcorn balls, why they made peanut nuggets, you know, candy. A whole lot of candy stuff. So, through the years, why, the Indians have had a lot of help. When the Methodists went together, the North and South Methodists, they took over that mission, but it sure fell by the wayside. And finally, they put it under the management of.: which is too bad, Henry Sudaen, and the Hendrys resigned from the whole darn outfit. Presbyterians, Methodists and everything because he didn't want to be— you know, mini sters have to go where you're appointed. And he had his home there and the children were there. So, I ask my people when I see them, I says, "Well, are you having services?" "Oh, yes, we meet." "And do you have Sunday School?" "Well, we don't have classes any more, we just have the lesson and everybody does it." Well, you know what that is. The children get restless and the young folks aren't interested particular ly. But you know it is an amazing thing now, Charley White's son, Roy, is now a grandfather, and he grew up in that church, you know, and then his kids grew up, but they had a falling away because there wasn't- I don't know what happened, I just don't know. I thought maybe it was a drinking problem, but I don't know. I didn't ask Roy because I thought it was embarrassing to him.
SS: Well, the revivals now, you said they were emotional. What was it liketo those people? The revivals as an emotional experience?
LA: Usually a weeping spell, I mean, they were willing— this is the thingto me— I don't know of any white— in fact, I have been going to the Methodist Church up here at Kendrick since, well, it's been about twe lve, fifteen years now, and only once in all that time has everybody given what we call a testimonial meeting. White people just don't confess their sins. They don't recognoze them, they cover them up. And they would never think of standing up in church and really confes sing out loud what they even .considered in their own minds, that they consider— 'cause you know very well if you've cheated anybody you know whether you have lost your temper, you knowyou've sworn— and the Indians would bring this up with weeping and lots of times I've seen them, those grown men put their hands up over and cry, just actually cry because they felt that they had let God down. Well, now, white people just— if they felt it, they still wouldn't make any— I learned a lot from them in facing up to what's expected of you, let's say.
LA: It's real interesting.
SS: That they really talked to you.
LA: And I would like to go back, in fact, I thought that maybe I would begoing back, and then I talked to my daughter and she says, "Mother, I think you'd be foolish if you did, because you'd get involved again, and there wouldn't be any more church mergers to save you this time." And, I said, "Well, what do you mean, save me?" And she said, "Well, remember, Mother, " my driving had been restricted to daylight only- "you can't drive after night any more. And it would be just a matter of going to church." And I said, "Well, I know that. But I could at least enjoy being with them over there maybe, and join in the worship service and what have you." And she said, "Well, " And I said, "As far as you're concerned, I'll bet you're afraid that you're going to be roped in on it. I won't ask you to." She's a good Presbyterian
SS: Do you know much about the history of the Methodist congregation therebefore you became involved, and when that church became the Methodist Church, and who the early Methodist were then?
LA: No, but this is true. And as long as anyone wants to talk they arecourteous enough to listen.
LA: I had hens— it depends on the - when you want to sell 'em and the firstis always Thanksgiving Day. And so they have to be six or seven months old and at six and seven months I had hens that weighed twenty-five pounds; averaged twenty-five pounds. Some of them would go up to al most twenty-nine, but sometimes those larger, heavier hens was not as good a physical form as the little plumper ones. But the turkeys would be between oh, thirty-nine and forty-seven pounds at thirty-four weeks of age. And that grows pretty fast, you see.
LA: That's live weight. They would be pretty heavy. And then we weretaking them to Spokane for a long time .and then after the kids got home from the war, they set up Albright's Poultry, that you've heard me mention. And that building up there is still Albright's Poultry, but it's not kept up anymore, but it's there where the old Eighteenth Street bridge used to come across Lewiston. And we thought that our own kids maybe could get the profit that Spokane was getting when we took the liveweight up there. We killed a lot here and dry picked for special orders, but a family can only do so much, and with al 1 the other feed ing that we had to do, we could not possibly kill the five or six thou sand that we would have to sell for Thanksgiving. The others went for Christmas and then the hens that had laid the eggs for my hatchery, then I always sold after the first of the year because they would have to go - they were not first grade birds, you see, I mean, they were no longer those first thirty-eight weeks, because they'd been a year in the laying pens. And yet, here they were just one year old and the hens were nice big hens and good hens. So then, we would be killing turkeys probably until February, March and what have you, because we wanted to get rid of them, because then by that time I was starting the new cy cle. I would have — you can't sell your hens until you get the eggs that you want, you see, and get them hatched. And so, it was really quite some thing. And after they get through the laying season some of them would be scarred and some of them would be hurt and what have you. And they wouldn't be as fat as young ones, you know. So you have to take second grade price, and sometimes they would grade up and we got so we could tell. But after the boys came home from the war they estab lished Albright's Poultry Farm to get that profit, then I didn't have to do any killing out here, you see, we just them all down anyway, and they didn't want it, and so, we just, as I say— when I was away they sold my hens and I said, "Okay, kids, that's it." That's how we got out of the business.
SS: Talking about the Indians and religion; I was wondering if you couldtell me a little more of what Stephen Reuben was like. I've heard of him previously, and have the feeling that he was rather a wellknown fig ure around in the country.
LA: A very dedicated old man. Very God-fearing old man. And one time Iwas in a conference which— I don't know whether I should tell you this or not, because it was a T'Thite conference, I mean a Methodist Confer ence, and so the Indians were up there— and Stephen Reuben was with me and he was an old man and he couldn't drive and so I had driven him. It was Troy, Idaho. And I can't remember— I do remember this incident because Stephen Reuben had been talking and some of them said, "Well, Mrs. Albright can you add anything to that?" And I said, "No, Stephen has done very well. This is it. We are there." And, I said, "The only thing I could mention has been mentioned that the women meet once a month for a study and a worship. Of course, we meet every week to work up the things in the house, to keep it clean and we have these public dinners." Oh, land, everybody comes in, you know and eats and if they feel like it they bring something and if they don't they come and eat anyway. We fed three hundred and twenty-five people over there, you know, and you have to wash dishes all the time.
SS: Just for one public dinner? How often would these be held?
LA: Well, every quarter, you know, every time— you have Easter and. you haveFourth of July, and you have Christmas and you have Thanksgiving, a nd you have,- you name it. And I can't remember just how i t came about, but, anyway I said, "Well, this is fine. We'll be here and we'd like to have you come .back again and we're glad that you came." And all of this. And so they turned it back to Stephen Reuben and this is what he said— I mean, the White person had made an aside, let's say, saying, "Well, when you get to Heaven you'll have a star in your crown.!: -'cr the work that I was doing over there with the Indians, you know. And I don't know whether Stephen heard her or just what, but he got up and he made this remark, he said, "We thank God for .: Mrs. Albright. You know she is young woman"- his English, he'd leave off his—"she is young woman, but someday she die. But probably I die first, and I will b e up there in Heaven, and when she comes to the pearly gate, I will say,to St. Peter, "You let her in, she's a good woman!""
And sat down. Well,there I sat with my thumb .in my mouth practically, you know through all this, and those White people just roared, and I was so embarrassed, because of the idea. And so, everybody looked at me, you know, and T' thought, "Oh, Lord, help me." And so I got up and I walked up there, and while I was walking, I thought, "Now what can I say?" And the Lord gave me this idea, so I said, when I got up there, "Well, thank you, I appreciate this because I do appreciate your remarks." And then I turned to the audience and I said, "As far as I'm concerned, having worked with Stephen for about five years now, if Stephen Reuben will do this for me when I get to Heaven, I'll be very happy to have him sponsor me when I get there." And I meant it, I really meant it. Because he was just as sincere as he could be, and when I get up there I hope he's there.
Was he in fact the minister of the church during that time?
No. He was a Presbyterian minister and then because of—Right. But that was he?
No. Star J. Maxwell was a different sort. He worked at the agency, andhe was very intelligent and while I think he was a dedicated person, he didn't have that- Iwas going to say that total dedication that dear old Stephen Reuben had- but that's not true either. Because Star J. Maxwell could have gone ahead and been aCatholic Priest, but he had a vision that he used to tell about, and it said that that wa snot for him. It said that he was to work where he was working that he could be more help, and so he
Originally this was not to be transcribed, but Sam agreed that it might be worthwhile to do so.
LORA ALBRIGHT: Sophie Corbett was one of the older women, and she was the onethat could spank the children and get away with it. Indians don't spank their children, as a rule. They're special. They're very special. Their children just mean everything to them, or they did in those days, I don't know how it is now. And, when they were noisy , especially in the church, why she would scold them. And then, if they didn't be good, why she would go up there and grab hold of them and slap them! She wasn't above slapping them. She was going to have order in that church or know why. And I had to laugh two or three times, because I overheard some eleven year olds; ten, eleven year olds, talking outside on the— this is dur ing summer school, you know when you have Bible School and that. We were having this vacation Bible School over there, and one of them said, "You better be careful,'cause Sophia's here today and she'll slap you if you don't behave!" (Chuckles) I never let on I heard at all. I don't know what going to happen over there. I wanted to go back, but my own kids didn't want me to and so I didn't.
SS: Was there a great deal of difference, real differences, between the Methodist and the Presbyterian congregations?
LA: I don't think so. The Indian churches have evolved— you see they havethe Catholic Church, too, and some of the Indians— I didn't know any Catholics only just, as I said, like Star J. Maxwell, that had come in — he decided he didn't want to be a priest, so he wasn't, but he had taken some of the instructions. And Dave Miles does some of the preaching there, he works at the park now, too. And we could have had Dave as a Methodist minister now, but I couldn't get those— I have gone past the time when I had— was doing the heavy work there. And when I came iilto ask them for the thousand dollars— that's a lot of money for a bunch Indians— church women to guarantee. And that's what he needed to go to the— cause he wanted to go to school, you see and really earn his ordination. So, the Presbyterians finally, through the Presbyterian Indian Presbyterian Church, because they were connectional, and had a longer history; they arranged for him to go to one of their colleges; and I don't know how they arranged the scholarship, but he got a schol arship, they didn't give him any money, but they just arranged for it. And so, that's why he's Presbyterian instead of Methodist, you see. I couldn't do it.
SS: Is there a strong difference between Indians who are Christian and thosewho still follow their Indian faith? The old Faith.
LA: There aren't too many that follow the old religion. There aren't toomany now. They are either Christian members of the Christian communit ies, and there are several churches; now the Church of God over there has some, and the Presbyterian Church has— I don't know what their mem bership is. Ours was about three hundred and twenty-five at the time I was there, which is quite a while ago. And I don't know how many are there. As I say, when I got kind of concerned about going back, it was like I told my Kendrick outfit, I said, "I'd like to go back and hear a real good witness service once again." And they couldn't imagine it. And, I don't know who the younger leaders are now, because they're al most grandparents themselves, you see, and it's too bad that that's the way.
SS: In the earlier days, did you— were you awar.e of discrimination againstthe Indians, or mixed feelings? I understand the Indians were welcome some places and other places they weren't. There were places in Lewiston where they weren't welcome to come in to eat or anything. There was that division of opinion.
LA: There's Indians and then there's Indians, just like there's Whites andthere's Whites. But because they are in a White culture, and if they don't knuckle down and take on the White culture traditions, they're looked askance. It's just one of those things. I think most of them that are— for instance, the Soroptomist Club and some of us have scholarships for Lewis - Clark Normal and for the University, and two of those are supposed to be Indians, and one is in nursing, because we have some wonderful Indian nurses. We have some that work where Ral eigh is now, and they're dedicated and they are rery fine nurses. And this is also true of whatever they do, if they want to. Well, these kids go to school up here under the Johnson-O'Malley Fund you know, and they are lazy little scamps, they don't get up and get to class and they don't study and they— oh, there's a lot of things that go on up there. And somebody has to go up and prod them to do it.
SS: Which school is this?
LA: The University. And my grandson, Raleigh Stedman, he's named after myRaleigh, Raleigh Darrel Stedman taking a business course, but he got through high school, he took a year off. He'd go into his father's business, which was a glass business down there, you know, but anyway he didn't. Finally, when he heard that there was difficulty up there and that the Johnson-O'Malley Funds were about to be cut off because the kids weren't doing it and the few people that were up there that were interested like Lola Clyde and some of these, you know. But you couldn't expect Lola to go in there, she's my age, to go in there and get those crazy, lazy kids up, you know, and because there was no body putting the thumb on 'em they weren't doing it. And this came from the government and the government took their land and it kind of owes 'em a living, this sort of thing. And Raleigh Darrel said, "Boy, I wish I had that opportunity. Darn Indian kids, anyway, they don't do it." And he was swearing and his mother took him up and she says, "That's fine, I'm glad to hear you say that because your father is just willing any time to send you to college, when you make up your mind where you want to go." So dear old Raleigh Darrel had to go to college. So he's at Whitworth, he didn't go to the University, he went to Whitworth, and is taking his special . The reason he went was because his brother, Mark Stedman is a teacher, and he went to Whitworth and they enjoyed the same one. That's a holdover from the Indian thing to the Whites getting it back in the second and third generation.
SS: I wanted to ask you about spiritualists in Juliaetta. Do you know anything about that? I heard that the Sniders, you know the first settlers there was a real— I've heard so little about spiritualism, I guess it doesn't hardly exist anymore, but in those days it did.
LA: I don't know too much about it either, Sam, because I know what it is,and I know that two or three people have had, what I call an incident perhaps, of revelation, prophecy, you know, this ESP business. And they get that mixed up with spiritualism, because there is a tradition that sometimes, you know, they say it's the Holy Ghost and God that's giving them this when maybe it's the Devil, it's one of those things. And there is a certain, oh, pull and haul, I call it. I've made my peace with my maker and it doesn't bother me any more, you know, it's one of these things, but after you've had three, four, five, six hundred answers to prayer when you really prayed believing, it does something to you that doesn't leave you wishy-washy. You know where this is coming from. And, as I said too many times, I have been caught, like I didn't know what to say, and I'd say, "Well, Lord, you'd better tell me." And he's never failed me yet!! And, I'm not saying either way or the o ther.
SS: What I had heard was that this group in Juliaetta, and this is a long,long time ago, this dates back, that there was an idea by digging that there would be valuable coal found around the town. This is an historic al thing that I'm interested in.
LA: I don't know too much about it. I heard it, too, but I'm surprised ifit's being revived.
SS: I don't think that it's being revived, but just the fact about some ofthe real early days around there, (subject change)
LA: The Mormons came in, you know, and started meetings there on Sunday,because the Seventh Day Adventists and the Seventh Day Baptists and all these took some of our people from the Methodist. And, they had quite a little bit to say about it. And I said, "Well, Juliaetta is an old, old town and they have seen a great deal of change. When the Fosters, you know who Dr. Foster is, when they were there, why, he had a great deal to say— I thought this is what you were going to t alk about— about the healing spirits. And as far as I am concerned, it just went in one ear and out the other because I wasn't interested in it, but when the Mormons started chere, they took — Oh, Dr. Christenson and some of these are Mormons, and they took them out of our congregation. And, I thought, well— I had to learn about Mormons, Sam, when I went to the legislature. A-L-B-R-I-G-H-T so when they ca lied the role, you couldn't punch an electric button, they called the role, and you had to stand up and vote "Aye" or "Nay". And you could explain your vote, but it never got into the records. I mean, you could explain it on the floor, but there it was down in black and white. You could pass if you wanted to, but I decided that I was there to work and I didn't pass. There was only one thing that I ever passed on, and that was on the development of a freight business that needed a government license on the Columbia River. Well, it was so far away and I didn't know a thing about it, and I passed then, and I explained tha the reason I passed was because I had no knowledge upon which to base a vote.
SS: But A-L-B-R-I-G-H-T was right in the beginning of the alphabet? Oneof the first ones—
LA: Yeah. I was the first one that always had to vote. And what made memad was, I put on my glasses that time because I couldn't afford to stay at the hotel where there was good light. I could have had good light. And I stayed at a private home, Ruth Cummins, I was only about five blocks from the State House, and that was a hard, hard winter and I had to wade snow to get down there and be there at eight o'clock - morning. And gosh, I thought everybody read all those state reports and everything how do they know what's going on in the state if they didn't read it? And that's when I put my glasses on, because I was reading into the night and many, many hours, laying on a bed and this sort of thing. And then Howard Hechner and Harry Wall and some more of them— those were the two last ones— and they get to legislation about education, for instance, and they'll say, "Oh, I'm waiting to see how Albright votes. When I see how she votes, then that's the way I'll vote." And so I was doing the reading for the whole— Imean— and I thought, "To heck with them." All those men had been there long years before I had been there.
SS: This was on educational kind of issues?
LA: Education and also on welfare.
SS: Was there much difference, do you think, between the interests of NorthIdaho and South Idaho on issues like these?
LA: in a way. Now the big mining interests down there like,oh,the gypsumand the phosphate and all that, was a lot like PFI up here, I mean, it is big business. And I didn't have any experience with big business, mine was all little business and farming and education. I went down there, as I said, as an expert on the laws governing the schools of the state because I had my background here. And yet, the big phosphate miners and the PFI people and the Washington Water Power and all of these big companies, especially any of them that had lots of land, you know, with the taxes and what have you— Oh, I was so glad I knew a thing or two about taxes—
SS: They had a lot of land, and what?
LA: Then they would vote against anything that they thought was frills, either in education or welfare or in medical— One of the things that— in the medical business that I remember; they were making an an assessment of all the state programs that had to do with medicine, and this meant a lot of the welfare, particularly, because, you get people on w elfare, you know, and they— you can't let 'em die, and they have to pay - and there was doctors that wasn't above getting some good, old gouges inand there was even hospitals that would charge, if they were there til after breakfast they would charge a whole day. I mean little things like this, and it didn't seem exactly fair, and yet, who was a little housewife, farm housewife out here to go up against, say, the Shriner's Hospital? And all I could do was— which I did— would get my facts and then instead of taking it to the floor or something, I would take it to them, and I would say, "This is what— I am on this committee and this is the facts that I've dug up and this is what I'm going to say. What have you got to say about it?" Well, it kind of p ulled their teeth a little bit, because they didn't know what to do with that woman. This sort of thing. But I had to learn that first. I'd go to the floor and then gee, out in the screaming headlines of the newspapers: "Mrs. Albright—ack"
SS: Did you stand up? Did you find yourself standing up to the corporateinterests?
LA: Yeah. I did in several instances. One was - I'll never f orget that—I don't know as I should tell you— is that turned off?
SS: No, let's leave it on, if it's about the Legislature. It's the public'sbusiness in it's own way, and besides it's long gone, it's thirty years.
LA: Yeah, it's years ago. Well, one of the things was how much shouldwe allow the people on welfare for social spending? Meaning to go down and get an ice cream cone or a glass of beer or what have you. And a lot of these people were for cutting that right off. "They didn't need that!" And, I sat there listening to it, that they were going to cut down their welfare checks to this amount. And they felt that they could do some research and they'd find out how much is being spent on liquor and maybe a motion picture show or what have you. Things that they really didn't need. And then I realized that these people have the rightthat if they have the right to life at all, they had a right to a certain - to be able to spend a couple of cents. And so I thought, "Well, I'm going to do some work on this."
And so, I did. And one of the thingsthat I came up with finally, was that the people that they were talking about were the people in poverty, on welfare, people are in poverty, or they wouldn't be there. And, because they were there sometimes it was because they had been injured, it was because they had reverses, some reason they were on welfare and in the poverty line. And so, going down to the beer parlor and buying a glass of beer, or whatever it is, and spending the time with them, was like a club— was their club—. And so, I felt that as far as I was concerned, I wouldn't mind kicking with a few more taxes, and goodness knows we had plenty of taxes, to allow these people to have a little extra of the satsifactions in life of being with the people that they figured were friends to exchange ideas and to have a little socializing. And if the members of the leg islature felt that they wanted to limit this, fine. And then I hesitated a little bit, and I said, "But you know the urge to socialize, and the urge for companionship is going to be so strong that they're going to starve their bodies in order to squeeze out a dollar or so for this socializing." So, I said, "Why should we cut it? Is anyone actually suf fering— I mean, have we had any tax based bankruptcies?" And, of course they hadn't. And then I just quit. And, so they went back into committee and they left it, they didn't take it off.
SS: Sounds like a humanitarian decision to me.
LA: Yes, but it was also sensible. It was sensible. The welfare, in thefirst place is to help these people over a rough spot, and still you want to regulate them. And, of course, this is human nature, Sam; whoever has the money wants the power to regulate now. You know that this will just go on and on and on. It just never will stop. And so, I just got up and said my piece and then I sat down, that's all there was to it. Nothing was said for a long time, and finally the presiding officer, of course, got up and he said, "Well, what's your pleasure?" See, he could n't initiate anything, it has to come from the floor, has to be a motion or what have you. So one of the South Idaho legislators got up and says, "I move we leave it as it is." Somebody hurried up and seconded it, and they put it to a vote and that was that.
SS: What happened on this hospital business? This hospitalization, was thatever an issue actually on the floor? On the question of medical costs, and squeezing a little extra money out of the welfare?
LA: It was left like it was, you see, because they decided not to— I wasreading in the paper— Two places,- I was very fortunate, Sam. I came in by appointment under Dr. Robbins, who was the governor then, and was a Republican Governor that had taken over from a Democratic— you see it swung back and forth— and I don't know just how— Oh, yes, I do too My Republican Womens' group called me one day and said, "Lora, we would like you to be our Republican delegate. Would you a ccept?" And I said, "Oh, gosh, I don't know." This was tough, because I was working in the field and I was busy, and I didn't know how much time it might take. And so, I said, "Well, let me just take a— like I'm doing now, I'll help in the daytime, I'm precinct committeeman, I can't drive after dark, so I won't be able to go to any meetings unless somebody comes by and picks me up, but I can work in the daytime, and I will be distributing litera ture and I will be interviewing this one and that one and the other one. And I went up and met the little candidate and so on. So, because of this, I could call anybody in my— and I kept it to my county- that I knew had some of the answers, and I'd say, "Hey, I sure need help." And Russ Randall and some of the very fine attorneys that we have down here— I'll always be so grateful to them— because he spent three hours one day talking over a bill for welfare.
SS: In Boise?
LA: Yeah. He was down there on some other things and I needed-
SS: From up here?
LA: Yeah. He's from Lewiston. And I never asked anybody for help that Ididn't get it. And when they were talking about homesteads— now they were going to limit the people who could file on a homestead. Well, that was sheer , except the rich ones that were getting poor ones to file on those homesteads for a certain five hundred dollars or whatever, and then they would take over whatever was left. And this happened to be down in the South, and \m weren't doing this up here, but it came out that I had proved up on a homestead and a lot of those people didn't know what the procedure was, you see, and so I got to tell about that and how they did it and so on and so forth. I said if they go according to law they've got to live on it, and they've got to work it and they've got to do a lot of things.
SS: This would have prevented poor people from doing it, more or less. Wellthere had been strong tendencies in that direction because they desired to have that desert land and to irrigate it, and it takes a lot of money.
LA: And, not only that, but the rich, rich minerals there and if they can getit on a homestead— You see, there's a mining act that you can lay a mining claim— what is that called? A mineral claim. But it has to be proven first that it's there. Well, you don't spend a lot of money to prove it and then have somebody else grab it up, you know, and if you don't have ownership to it, well, why should you? I mean it's a round robin. I know.
SS: You said that you stayed up late at night and you didn't have good light.You really worked hard down there?
LA: Yeah, I worked hard because I wanted to. I was appointed. I was a woman, and then besides I wanted to - there were six of us and the other Republican was our very famous Edith Miller Kline, and she was a fresh man that year. And she was an attorney. She always— after we worked together, she said, "Lora, if you had my experience and I had your gift of gab no one could stop us!" And you see, Edith Miller Kline has been State Senator for a long time down there.
SS: When you say that there were six of us, you mean six women?
LA: Yeah, there were six women. And Steen, what was her first name? Steenwas the ranking Democrat, and I sure appreciated her. She was real nice. She was a Biemocrat, but we had a lot in common.
SS: Did she spend time with you? Did she help you?
LA: Yeah. We spent time together because on all of those committees, Sam,the usually put so many Republicans and so many Democrats, you see. And on women's things particularly, the six of us landed on every wo men's— and then after I was down there, Sam, I served on state commis sions under three governors: Governor Robbins, Governor Jordan and Governor Smylie. They appointed me and I accepted it. Raleigh was wil ling that I should do it and it gave me a chance to get away from the— because we'd never had money to throw away, you know, I couldn't just say, "Well, I'm going to Boise." But when I would take these and i felt that I must give- earn- my money, because they let me f ly. I went a couple of times on the bus, but I usually flew down and stayed at a hotel. And all I had to do was to hand in my expenses and they were paid. I was reimbursed, you see.
SS: Well, during the legislature and you didn't have good light to work withwasit because—?
LA: Oh, no, the poor light that I had to work with was where I stayed, yousee, at Ruth Cummins. And I could have had bigger b ulbs than that, but I didn't think about it. You see, we didn't have electricity at the time. I didn't know. And she had just one little bulb over my bed, and so that's why I was laying on the bed, you see, and if I'd had any sense at all, Sam, I would have got a big bulb and had more light.
SS: Didn't it hurt your eyes?
LA: Well, it might have hurt my eyes. Either that or the six or eighthours a day that I was reading and really studying, because I was trying to absorb a lifetime's education in about— well, while I was on the floor, really. And I was down there two sessions, because they had a call session in '50, and then I was defeated in '51. And I missed be cause Lewiston is a Democratic stronghold down here. And so I didn't get elected back. And the women were so upset about it, th ey just that Lora would just walk right through it just because I had made a good impression down there. But you see, when it came to counting the votes, why that was something else again. But then, that's when they started appointing me to these state commissions.
SS: How many commissions ?
LA: Oh, Health— what are some of the commissions? Oh, yes, the Board ofhealth. I'm going to show you a formula for inspection for restaurants that weren't complying with the food and health people, you know. And school lunch places. And, oh, I was on the State Institutions Committee and that's everything from the penitentiary to the bughouse up here. And, I had some real interesting experiences. The penitentiary really grips you when you get down there. And you know, the women of the state have never been housed in Idaho. You knew that. They've never had a women's prison. They take them to Nevada or Colorado or whereever. Even today, they don't keep the women, it's just the men down there. And I kind of questioned that, because when they're out of state, you don't know-who are they reporting to? Who is checking up on them? And, you know, this sort of thing. And, I also found - and this is for your good, if you want to use it— You can justWx\j\ more people by asking questions than you can by making statements. Now, you think of that a little bit. Asking questions. If you can ask the right questions, you've got 'em on the hook. They've got to either answer you correctly or pass it up or say, "I don't know." - or- "To hell with it!" Side G They considered me twice and Marguerite Campbell—
SS: The Board of Education?
LA: Yeah. The Board of Education, because you wouldn't appoint somebodyto a Board of Education that didn't have a degree. See all I had was just a teaching—
SS: I might appoint someone who didn't have a degree!!
LA: Well, they considered me, but when they found out I didn't have a degreewhy, that would have been just the wrong thing, and I knew that. So, I landed on - like the Board of Health, and these that j ust plain citi zens could fill, that didn't have to have thee 2H"- qualifications. But I tried to always do my homework, because, as I said, after all, you're sitting up there the target of all people and I had my— Went down to the legislature one time, and I was early, I had gone down early because I had a chance to ride, and when I got down there, they were hav ing a meeting of— well, gosh, I don't know who those people were— who were they? Can't remember. And so, I made the mistake of get ting up and saying— they asked me an opinion, and I said, "Well, you know so many people just get up and give lipservice and then that's the end of it. They give a little lipservice and then they give a pronoun cement or two, and then that's the end of it. They never do anything more about it." Oh, boy, that got back to the Legislature, and the next morning, here in the newspaper, "Albright says—" Oh, yes, it was, it was Welfare.
SS: You were serving in the Legislature at that time?
LA: Yeah. I got down the next morning and boy, Hamer Budge— Hamer Budgerun into me and he says, "Hey, kid, you sure got the hairshirt on this morning!" And, I said, "Oh, I have?" I said, "Why, what did I do now?" "Oh," he says,"Come on in ." They always had all these newspapers around— there it was, "Albright," and they quoted me exactly, and then I had done the same thing because they'd asked me something that was out of my sphere and I had just given a second hand one and j ust tossed it off and didn't do anything on it. Caught in my own—
SS: Following your own rules?
LA: Yeah. (Laughter)
SS: You mentioned the fact that there were six women in the legislature atthat time. Did you think of yourselves as kind of a group, at that time? Sounds like you helped each other some. You associated with each other.
LA: Yes. This Edith Miller Kline was an attorney and she had been a Boisetraffic judge. And, she was a drinking person, and of course, the liquor flows real freely down there. In fact, when I took Allen Newman's place who was a Democrat of Nez Perce County, and so I went over to Allen, I've known him all my life, you know, and I said, "Allen, I'm being ap pointed in your place when you resign. Gosh, is there anything that I should know down there? Can you give me any pointers?" He says, "Lora, the only thing that I'm uncertain about, how do you handle your alcohol?" "Oh,"I says, "that's easy." I says, "Alcohol is no problem to me." He says, "What do you mean?" And, I said, "I don't use the stuff." "Well," he says, "when you get down there, you're going to have a problem." I says, "No, I won't, I don't drink the stuff. No, I won't." He says, "Let me tell you something." And so he sat down and gave me the facts of life. "You will be invited to these dinners. You will be invited to receptions, you will be invited to specials teas, you will be invited, and liquor will be served, and you will be expect to imbibe." And, I said, "Well, why? Isn't there a choice? Can't I have tea if I want to?"
And he said, "Oh, yeah. You can have tea. But I can see those fellowstht you'll be working with," And he paid me the compliment of saying "with a person of your experience and your background, and so on and so forth," and he meant intelligence as well, "will— you will be working probably with some of the legal minds and they will all — they all have these cocktails." And, I said, "I don't think it'll be any trouble. I think I can handle it." And he said, "Well," And I said, "Well, shouldn't I go to the dinners then?" "Oh," he says," you got to go to the dinners,'kid, because that's where the lobby is and that's where the people get a chance— they couldn't possibly take time to instruct everyone of you, and so, go by all means. They'll be hurt if you don't. Go, you don't owe them a thing. And if you want to vote for 'em alright, and if you don't, why, that's up to you, too. But they at least have had a chance to have a captive audience to give their side." So, I said, "Thanks, that's all I need to know." And so, I didn't have any trouble with them because I let it be known early that I did not drink liquor, and what did they use as a- 'cause I asked at home, how do you make a cocktail? You have a mixer, you know, and it's usually something that is not alcoholic and they put the alcohol in it. So, I said, "Why can't I just order the mixer then? And if it's Seven-Up-" and now you have the soft drinks, you can get whatever you want. And in those days I thought I might have to buy my own bottle and take it with me! I didn't know just how, but then I figured that I would work with it some way.
And, if I couldn't, there was no reason— for instanceyou come into a banquet, and boy, you got three glasses with two different kinds of wine and a what have you, besides a glass of water, and a cup of tea or coffee, or whatever, and so I thought, "Well, so what." And at the teas and at the receptions, you walk around with it in your hand, so I would just take it and wouldn't say anything about it and I didn't have to drink it. As long as you've got something in your hand, nobody does a thing, but if I made the mistake of going by going by and - getting rid of some of it, well then when it got down, "Let me fill your glass." Well, I learned the hard way,you just keep it full and you can talk and so on and so forth. And so, I didn't have any trouble with alcohol at all. But, it's things like this that kind of throws you sometimes. And, I had to drive— I did the driving that winter for Edith Miller Kline because she drank, and after she had two cocktails, you know, she says, "Lora, you don't have any car, let me come and get you, because I want you to drive me home." And I said, "Well, gosh, kid, I can't do it"— I was living four blocks up this way and she had her own home there, you know. I says, "I can't do that, kid, 'cause I'd have to, you know," and she said, "Well, how would you get home, anyway?" And, I said, "Well, I'd get a taxi." She says, "Fine, I'll pay half your taxi. You drive me." And I said, "Well why?"
Because we were the only two Republican women in the House, thiswas, you know, - they had some in the Senate. And she says, "Lora, I have been a judge here and I've had to hand out some pretty stiff sentences, and if anything ever happened, and Ihad alcohol on my breath, and had to go into court, they would just nail me right up the wall. And it would be a lot better, and you would be doing me a favor." So, I drove her all that winter. But, you know, it lowered her in my estima tion, because I was so puritanical in those days, I think that now I probably wouldn't have, but I was just fifty; I was fifty-two when I went into there, and while I'd been around a lot, you know, I thought, "Well, just think, a girl as educated as she is, and then coming up with a statement like that." And, I thought, "Well, gee whiz, Edith." And she's done a real good job in the legislature down there and the Senate and what have you. But, I'll never forget, of course, you have to grow up, even if you're fifty years old.
SS: One thing I'm curious about the Legislature, that I wanted to ask youabout- do you feel that the legislators in general were in really good touch with the needs of the common people?
LA: Yeah, I think so. I think so. At that time I was very interested inwho was a legislator, because, I was appointed right out of a clear sky. It never occurred to me in the world that I ever— why, I never even thought it. And when the Republican women called me and said, "Would' you accept a nomination?" I said, "Well, gosh, I don't know." You know. " I just don't know. What goes?" And they said— You see Joe Rosencranfhad been killed, he was the one that was elected on the Demo cratic ticket, and Joe Rosencrariihad gone to school I got that kid through the eighth grade, because he couldn't even get through the eighth grade.
SS: Where was he going to school?
LA: At Lookout. :t "this little Lookout, »one-room school up there.And, as I said, when I was teaching up there I got that kid through. Then he came to Lewiston and just made money hand over tin cups, you know, it was just one of those things. And he was lost, and they never f ound him to this day, they haven't found the airplane, they never did find Joe RosencranlA He was lost up on the Continental Divide someplace. They've never found him to this day. And so, when we had Governor Robbins, you seewas a Republican governor, so when they had to appoint somebody to take his place, it was a Republican. Well, there wasn't any Republican mn that gave a hoot about it. They didn't want to go down there for three months and what have you. And because, Lora'd been around and what have you, then they called me out of a clear sky and said, "Would you accept it?" Well, gee, I didn't know. And Raleigh wasn't home, and jfsays, "Can I call you back tonight?" And Raleigh says, "You can if you want to. It's alright with me." And he says, "How much are your wages? How much is it going to cost us?" And, I said, "Well, Honey, it'll cost us something, I'm sure. I don't know what the wages are, I don't know I'll have to find out." And he says, "Well, it's Okay," He didn't care one way or the other, bless his heart. So, I called back an d I said, "Yes, if I get the appointment." And, I said, "How come that there isn't some of the Republican men?" 'Cause I knew some of them, but they were businessmen, and a business man that has to run his business, Sam, can't go down there for three months, you just can't get away unless you ve got it made and got a manager and so on. So, the longshot of it was, I was appointed. And that was the year that we got the new Hudson. And I wanted to go East to see my people. I was born in Minnesota and my father was born in Maine and my kids had been in France, and they were just home and they were going to make a life for themselves back here, and Robert, this is Robert and Marjiorie, my kids that were there, and he wanted — he was eligible to go to school, and so he thought he'd like to go to Yale or Harvard and get some special training in this secret service CIAwhatever it was that he was involved in— so I wanted to go E ast and my brother lives in Cos Cob, Connecticut, so I thought "Well, good, and I'd get to see Maine where my father came from, and so on." And so I went, and when I came home had just seven days from the time I got my appointment til I had to appear in the legislature. Well, gee whiz,I didn't have time to do any reading or anything. So, I went! (Chuckles) I survived! But, oh, joy!
SS: You found that the people down there were«?«
LA: Yes, Howard Hechner was the Democrat on the inside of the aisle. Youknow when you go into the legislature, you know how the Republicans all sit on one side and the Democrats on the other, and the ex-governor was the head of the— was the Executive Secretary of the Legislature. And I thought that Harry Wahl and maybe Howard Hechner would g ive me some pointers. But, because they were older members they didn't happen to fall on any of the committees that I did, so I was on my own. And I wouldn't go and ask 'em. I thought if they— they could have saved me some money and things by telling me how to go. I was talking to Howard Hechner and he says, .'ell, he usually went down in a car.' And, I said, "Well, I think I'll fly,"And so, that's the way it was set tled. And so, Wall was in the Senate. I didn't know Harry Wall; I knew who he was, but I didn't have any close connection. And I didn't — The only committee that I had any connection with Howard Hechner at all, was in the bills— what do they call it? tfausekeeping? Anyhow, meaning the administration of the thing, and I don't know how we both got on there, except that I was on there as a woman, and a Republican, and he was on there as an experienced Democrat, and an older member, because he's been down there before, and so that was the only contact I had. But, Howard could have helped me several ways. Maybe if I'd have asked— and he was loath to hand it out to this woman.
SS: Do you feel that you had to prove yourself, particularly because youwere a woman?
SS: That more eyes were upon you.
LA: Yeah. And I was an older woman. I mean, I was fifty. I wasn't in thegirlish stage at all. Edith Miller Kline was only thirty, she was an up and coming young attorney, and she'd had this experience as judge. Now the other women, there was two older women there that had been there for years and years and years, and their constituents had such faith in them, they had been there so long, they knew the work so well, that if people at home had a problem, they'd just say, "Well, Ellen'll handle it, or Olga'll handle it." Or what have you. And it was like that, and I thought, "Oh, gosh, if my people at home do this up a stump, I'll have to find out." And that's when I commenced to read the department, because I wanted to knowwho to go to to begin with. I didn't even know who to go to begin with. I didn't even know who the people were on the state commissions. I didn't know very much of anything. And I had to learn the hard way. But I did. And, I wouldn't take anything for the experience, and I went through two sessions. And one of the things that they did, was this sex killing that they had, the first one, "That beast," and that little, old Democratic woman would talk about those terrible beasts, you know. And I thought, "Gee, if they expect me to do that, they're gonna be a long way off." Because I've always taken the feeling that you don't get anything by tearing down, you gain by giving a con structive program— instead of it, that's more attractive than and you have to work on that one. And I did. I studied hard, and I worked hard. I didn't miss any meetings. I couldn't stay at the hotel because I couldn't afford it, when I was down there. I found out that if I could have stayed at the hotel, I might have found a very congenial group, but it would have been beyond my social status, shall I say— not better than I am, or even more civic minded than I am, but more ex perienced, let me put it this way; because some of those women like Oh, Steen, Helen Steen, she had been in there for eight sessions, you know, she'd been there a long, long time. Then, I thought, "No, she learned and I'll learn."
SS: They stayed at the hotel, many of these people?
LA: Yeah. Course, Edith Miller Kline lived there, and so she didn't haveto. And she had just been married and she married a Jew. And, oh, that's a tale in itself, too. That was just real fun.
SS: What's the story on that?
LA: Oh, just— I don't know hardly how to say this— she was a freshman, shewas a young woman and a freshman. 'Course, I was a freshman, too, but you see, I happened to be an expert in the school situation, the education situation. And we were all on this institution administration com- mittee, and I had already done some work on— and by the way, when Gov ernor Jordan was there, he was the one that was talking about cut ting the budget back, so they closed the normal school. And then, Albion had been closed, too, but they opened that right away because there wasn't a university cxose but you see, this was within thirty-five miles and they kept saying down there that they had the same curriculum up here that they had at the Normal but they didn't. Because the Normal was dedicated solely to teaching teachers to teach, and up here you could be education and a whole lot of— and if you wanted to teach, okay, and if you didn't you could go into salesmanship or whatever you wanted. And so— I mean there was a lot of things like that, that when you stopped to really think about it— you usually can come up with at least a credit able answer.
SS: Did Edith Kline get any flack for being married to a Jewish man, downthere?
LA: There was a Jewish lobby— we don't think of Idaho as having a greatmany Jews, and we really don't, I mean, most of our large corporation people -Jews, but there are Jews there. And, because she was mar ried to a Jew, these people collected- or contacted her, rather than me. That was the thing. It wasn't flack, exactly, itas pressure, and she was an attorney, and this appeals to the Jewish people. People that know the law. And where I came in, she was newly married, and by the way, her husband was a very nice, presentable person. I enjoyed him. Long years afterwards if I'd go down there if I didn't have a way— he drove a— not a taxi, but a— he was in the hotel management business, and they sold hotel equipment, like beds and dishes and all this sort of thing. And so, many times he was meeting people at the plane, and he'd say, "Mow, Lora, if I'm there, don't get a taxi, and I'll bring you home." This sort of thing. And so then when I'd get in, why, he was a nice person, and so he'd say, "Well, meet Mr. so and so, etc.." And so this isn't flack, but then it's one of those things, you know. There's one of the things that I enjoyed, and really benefitted. I was in New York City after my kids went there, and this was, well, '65, and a funny look ing little pudge came up and he put his arms around me, and he couldn't reach me up here, so he put his arms around here and he said, "Well, hello, Dear, how are you?" And, I thought, "Holy Moses, I sure don't— I didn't remember who he was from Adam, and it was one of the men that had come in to Boise, and I had ridden down with the Klines when they had come up there to meet him, and he was there because the Boise Hotel was being redone and he was in there to sell—.
SS: Okay, one more question I have about the legislature and that's all—and that is, when you were down there did you think that they understood the problems of North Idaho, being that it was mostly a South Idaho group? Do you think that they could understand?
LA: No, this isn't true exactly. The only thing that I understood was theNorth Idaho counties were only a third as many as there is that was in the southern: what we call the desert states— the desert counties down there, and another thing I had to learn, was to trade votes. Now, when I went down there, why, if you'd a told me that I'd have been trading votes, I'd have been horrified!! But, Sam, this is the way it works. I didn't trade votes— for instance, I would never have voted for liquor- I told you that- but, I did, because, why should the State of Idaho's taxes be going to Colorado? I had to vote yes, that when they were sel ling liquor drinks on the trains, by jinks, the tax should come into Idaho. And so every time from Boise til it left Idaho,— and so this is situation ethics, they tell me, but anyway—
SS: Situation ethics?
LA: Yeah. Bending your ethics to meet the situation.
SS: Would you trade votes with Southern Idaho for legislation you wanted uphere? That kind of thing?
LA: Yeah. And one of the things that we wanted up here at the time we weretalking about Dworshak Dame That was long before it was ever in the cards, and in order to get that, you hve to get the Engineer Corp, and to do that you have to have some leverage or something to show, and so, I voted— I traded a vote on this tax business, on the liquor situation, and when it came out it looked as if Lora had been voting with the liquor people; which I was. But it was to keep that tax money in Idaho. And I had a lot of explaining to do when I got back. And t here was another time when some of my good friends down there met me and said, "Well, kid you sure got your name in the paper."
SS: Then somebody else voted for the Dworshak Dam idea?
LA: Yes, because I would vote for — to keep the tax money at home. Votefor the liquor people. And education. I wanted to do some special work on consolidation. And this is purely personal, I knew Id have to break up my home and go to where ever we could get i t, unless we got it, and this happened to be a transportation tax, a road tax, let's face it, and I voted for it, and there was the large landowners, PFI was one of them down here that was against it because, after all, they couldn't have cared less whether they had school roads or not, you know, it's one of those things— but they were interested in the income tax— what do they call it when you— shelter; tax shelter things, you know, that they were doing. And one of the things that they were doing, was establishing roadside rest areas as a tax shelter. Well, I voted for that. I voted for that because I needed some of the votes on mine, and it wasn't against my principals. I'd just as soon that they had roadside shelters; why not? It's one of those things. And so, if I could in all conscience vote for it, I did. I probably would have voted for it anyway, but when they contacted me, I said, "Okay, I'll vote for yours if you'll vote for mine." And they didn't care, so they'd vote for mine, too.
SS: Now, let me change the subject; I heard that, I don't know if this istrue or not— did you know Lou Easter King?
LA: Yes, you bet I do. She worked for me this summer and saved my life.
SS: Did she? What's that story? I've heard a lot about the Wells family,up around Deary. All kinds of things. They were one of the most w ellknown families in the country.
LA: Lou Easter King. I needed a housekeeper. Now let me tell you this; Ineeded a housekeeper and they said that Mrs. Wells, Lou Easter King's mother-
LA: Yeah. Was a Negro, but that she was a real thorough worker and a goodworker, and so I went up to see her, to see if I could get her to"come down, and I was paying all of six dollars a day! At that time was good! But, you see, she had her own little washings, she was doing washing for some families and also for some men in the woods, and s he had two or three other things up there that she felt she couldn't leave for the whole summer.
SS: She was doing some home cleaning, too.
LA: Yeah, anyway, she worked out. And so, she felt she couldn't do this,and I could see this because she could do this all the time, and if she came down here, you see, for just four or five months, why then it would break this up and somebody else would be getting the business. But she said, "I've got a high school daughter." And, I said, "Well, would she come? The work is hard. I expect her to do the cooking." And, I said, We are a large family, and we have about two people that we hire, and the washings— I could help with the washings, but she would have wash ing to do, and I would expect her to keep the downstairs, she wouldn't have to do anything about the bedrooms, because we each keep our own bed room, but the downstai she would have to keep orderly; swept and what have you." And she said, "Oh, I think she could do that; she's a strong girl." I hadn't seen Lou Easter then. And I said, "Well, can I see her?" And so, I left my name, and some references, because after all, she was a high school youngster. Aftdi I said, "Now, I'll come back up, or I'll call you. Can I call you?" And she said, "Yes, we have a telephone." And I said, "Fine, I'll call you day after tomorrow. Will Lou Easter be back?" And she said, "Yes." And I was calling her Lou Esther. "No," she said, "It's Easter." And it is Easter. She was born on Easter Sun day, so she is Lou Easter. So I did, I called back, and she said that Lou Easter would like to see you, "Would you come up?" And I said, "Yes." So, I went back up there and she was a little Negro girl, black as the ace of spades, you know. You've seen her, haven't you?
SS: No, no, I haven't.
LA: But she was as bright as a button. And I said, "Honey, would you liketo come and work for me? The work is hard." And she said, "Well, just what would I have to do?"
I knew maybe the answer. I said, "I can help you with the cooking, likemaking up the menus, if you want to. We do have a garden, and we have the cows and we have milk and we have cream and our own butter. And we probably would have to churn. And it probably would be hard. You would have your ownjbedroom, however. You wouldn't have to sleep with any of us." Because sometimes they were shunted off into all kinds of places, you know, and then, I said, "Now what wages would you 1 ike to have?" And she said, "Well, I'd like a dollar a day." And, I said, "Honey, I wouldn't hire you for a dollar a day. The least I would pay you would be two dollars a day,7and why don't you come down and see how hard it is." Well, she was so thrilled at the two dollars a day, because, even though it sounded hard, it was more than she could make up there, you see. It'd been something like thirty, thirty-five dollars a month, that she could have gotten. So, she decided and she had her bag all packed and I just brought her home with me. And she just started right in and s he was a happy-go-lucky youngster and she worked like the dickens and w e just got along fine, and still friends, you know. This last year I met her at Moscow.
Here she is, she's a representative, in fact she wentto Pullman and earned her own hotel management, and then she and her hus band went down to California and they just went great guns down there. And now, she is the United States National President of all of the main tenance people in the— let's see, how do they say it? It's in the dorm itories, you know, Dormitory Administration, you know. A big high sound ing thing. And it started out because she was first elected president in California. That's where she is. And then, after she was married, she married the fellow at— who is the father of her children at Moscow. What is that Negro',family? Lola Clyde knows her I know. We went out to Lola Clyde's and we had a beautiful day together, and we had so much fun. And her youngsters are grown now, of course, and she is now the head maintence person in— on the Berkeley campus, and from there— but you know she earned her— what'11 I say?— her traditions at Pullman, because she had to work her way through that university in hotel manage ment. And so, she took on the job of the maintenance superintendent of the University. And I said, "Lou Easter- she wrote me a little Christ- I said, "Lou Easter, how do you get along with bosmas note, you know sing those White men? Do you have any trouble?" She wrote back, and she says, "I know what you're thinking, because we talked about this many times." And, she says, "No, I don't have any trouble, because the Lord gave me sense."
SS: That's what I wanted to ask you about, is what her attitudes being BlackbeingNegro were? Because I've heard all kinds of things in Deary about the Wells family, and that they were very accepted.
LA: Very accepted. And they took the name, you see, of the people theyWestwith.
SS: I also heard that the children and grandchildren had to face more prejudice than the old ones.
LA: Yeah, they did. Because they were out of their element. If they'dhave stayed where their people had been known, it wouldn't have happened. You take black and they are black, when you take them into the White culture in any big city, or what have you, where there is liable to beand there is a feeling, I found this all the time in the school systems, because when kids go to school together, they're liable to have develop personal relationships, meaning dating things, and most people do not want their children mixed up with Negroes. They do not want their children to marry Indians. Many of them do, and the Indians marry out and then they'll go back and Indians will marry Indians and Whites will marry Whites. But the blood is always mixed, I mean it can come out the third and fourth generations. And that sickle disease, you know, too, white people have developed that in the third g eneration from their Negro ancestors way back there.
SS: What was Lou Easter like then as a girl growing up? What was her attitude about prejudice?
LA: I don't think she had any. I really don't think so. The family waswell accepted because the Wells that they came West w ith were well accepted. And Lou Easter, only once, when she came into Moscow one time— because she is black, let's face it- she is black, but she's hap py-go-lucky; she's just as intelligent as she can be. And she's smart, in that she does not push her blackness. She's just good in her job and shedoes it and she's outgoing and she's willing to help everybody, and then lets the chips fall where they may. And she doesn't take um brage- this is a good sixty-four dollar word—when p eople slight her/o r apt to look askance at her. She just lets it roll off her back and says, "Oh, well, they just don't know me." Or, "They just don't know what it's all about." Or something, and there it is. She's a wonder fully well adjusted person. And the very fact that she has been, Sam, is because she's gone as far as she has. And, when I wrote to her, as I said, because, you see, there were White people on that campus, that had to take direction from Lou Easter. And this was a ticklish situation. But she realized that. And one of the things that she that I thought was real smart« She instituted a small executive board o f all of the officers that was on that campus. And there are representatives from every house— what is it? I don't know all the rigamarole. Any way. And then she went in and said, "What shall we do about this?" She was working her way through college, you see, and yet she got this job, and she handled it so beautifully they never had an incident there. Oh, a couple of times, oh, some of the Whites that were kind of funny, and I guess a couple of Negroes said, "Huh,how does she swing all this? How do you knuckle down— how do you swing all this?" And could honestly say, "We don't, we voted it. We're a group and we vote on all of these things, and they are voted as a whole." Some twenty-six people, I don't know what it was. But, anyway, this Lou Easter is—
SS: I'd really like to meet her. I wish I had met her when she came herethe last time, because I should have. I didn't know she was here until she was gone.
LA: You might get in touch with Deary— I never met him at al 1. Mary andLou Easter and the brother are the only ones that - and the b rother was just a youngster when Lou Easter worked for us.
SS: Is he still around? Do you know?
LA: I think maybe around Moscow. I don't know. I really don't know. It haven't had touch with them.
SS: I didn't know this either, but what was Mary like? The way you remember her.
LA: Very fine. I can just remember; very gentle, nice person. Mary waswonderful and she, you see, was a slave. I mean, she was owned when she came. She came with the family that owned her family back there. And, I never talked about it, because I didn't know whether she was sensitive about it or not. But I don't think so. I think the uncle— I used to hear some deragatory remarks about him, because, when he would be put upon, well, he bristled. And why shouldn't he? I mean, after all, anybody that would take advantage of it, I'd bristle, too. Wouldn't you? (Chuckles)
SS: That summer, you say, she saved your life? Is that because she workedso hard at the place? Is that it? The summer she was working t here?
LA: Well, I don't know. She just took over and we just had a wonderfulball, and the kids loved her. We just forgot she was black, goodness sakes. They all went swimming, never thought about it. And we'd go down to Lewiston, and then when we'd come back it was fun to stop in and get some ice cream, you know, at some of the places. And she'd say, "I'm not sure that I can go in there." And, I'll never forget. Raleigh says, "Why can't you go in there?" "Well, after all, I am a Negro, you know, and they don't serve Negroes." "Well," he says, "if they won't serve you, then they won't serve us either." And so, we went in and no body ever said a thing as long as she was with the Albrights, why that's all that it was. And she just laughed, she says, "Well," she says, "for just poor old country folks, you really get around!" (Laughter) Surely rate and get around. You haven't met Lou Easter. If you ever meet her—
SS: I'm hoping I will.
LA: When you meet her, of course, she's mellowing now, but she still is alot of fun. When we get together, we have a ball, because we have so much in common.
SS: About when was it that she was working for you?
LA: Oh, gosh, let's see.
SS: Was it before the Second World War?
LA: Oh, yeah.
SS: In the '30's?
LA: Yes, it must have been. It must have been in the '30's. I was tryingto think of the ages of my kids. My girls were; I think Marjorie was ten years old, and Peggy Jean twelve to fourteen, somewhere al ong in there. And so, that's just about it. I'd have to back and look.
SS: Okay, I was just curious. Okay. Now, one more thing I want to ask youis what you do remember about Foster and the Foster School
LA: All I have is hearsay. I was not here, they were gone before I came.You'd have to ask the people up there in Juliaetta, would remember more about it. My mother-in-law, for instance and my father, they were in the same church with Dr. Foster.
SS: He was a Methodist, wasn't he?
LA: No a Presbyterian, evidently. I believe it was the Presbyterian Church.And Raleigh— the Fosters were such good friends of those older A Ibrights at that time, that they registered Raleigh to study with Foster and learn to be a chiropractor, that's what he was and a ' along with it. And, Raleigh started, and then was repulsed by some of the things that went on there. And I never followed it up too - and I fioid;. "Well, what do you mean repulsive? A chiropractor works on the back, and what have you." And, he said, "Yes, but," he said, "there was a lot of things that went on under the covers." And I didn't peruse it any more. Anyway, he quit. He resigned. He wouldn't take it. And that's when he started his mechanics thing, you see.
SS: Do you think that by that he meant that they were stealing money?
LA: No, I think that it was the actual manipulation. I think that— I h adheard this later— well, I shouldn't say this because I don't know— but, anyway, Raleigh felt that Dr. Foster was doing too much petting and handling of his patients, that was not necessary. And when you give an adjustment it's a difficult manipulation, you know, and he was doing an awful lot of petting and so on. And, Raleigh in his youthful— what'11 I say— puritanism, he just about wasn't going to develop this. And he wasn't going to have anything to do with it. And so, for him, it just wasn't his dish of tea, and he said, "I'm not going to be part of it at all. Since then, I have a friend Laura Anderson, of Lewiston who is a chiropractor and also a naturopidist. She has the natural food store down there, you know. And she is a very strong p erson. When she works on me, she just about breaks my back, because I do have a dif ficulty, too. And- (break in the recording)
As long as he was there, as long as he was around. But, Raleigh-
SS: I also heard that j had a drinking problem.
LA: Yeah, after while he did. I guess so, I don't know.
SS: That's what I heard.
LA: And it was too bad, because Juliaetta— yeah, you were there- you heard-
SS: Heard people talk about how important that was to the town.
LA: And, another thing that they had there that no one mentioned was, thecannery. The Mayhf cannery. We took tomatoes up there. They mentioned that. They did kind of offhand. But you know Katherine Mayhan, was the daughter of that family, and she's a Soroptomist. She's one of my good friends down there. I was District Director of the M ethodist Womens' Christian Society. And I had come into work at Arrow, and when the Gibbs died, which was the Southern ones, then they took that Methodist group and tried to put it into the Methodist Group at Julia etta. And the membership was there, and then that church decided they wanted to be a community church, and they severed their connection with the Methodist. So then, I went to Kendrick, because the Schmitts, who used to be the Indian people at Lapwai, was the pastors at Kendrick.
SS: The Schmitts weren't Indian, were they?
No. they're White. And that's how I started out there.So you also belonged up here at the same time you were going down there? Yes. Yes and no. I didn't start going up there as long as I was involved in any way in the church down here. After my kids got big enough for Sunday School, through Sunday School, and I am talking about when they got into high school, they were no longer interested in the— Is that
SS: No. I just turned it off.
LA: And, I don't think it's changed much. Now, money means power. Wealthwill mean power in a certain degree. But unless the person that has this wealth is of good character and good intelligence, he's not going to earn or rate the respect that he hopes he earns by his wealth. And, I really mean this; I'm thinking real fast now about the hierarchy of where I've been and what have you. And, sometimes they will say, "Oh, yes, Albert is so and such. Yes, he has lots of money. Beautiful cars, he has a lovely car. But, nice girls don't go out with him after dark!" Oh, you know, or things like this. And his rating as a human being isn't very high. And then othersho will plod along and have used their intelligence and their humanism, as you spoke about it, to help other people. "Let me live beside the road, and help be a friend to man." He'll be way up yonder. He doesn't have any money, and he doesn't have any car, maybe, and he doesn't have this and he doesn't have that, and yet, where did people go when they need help? That's where they go, because he's willing to share the last bit of food he has shelter; what have you.
No one ever asks these people for help that they don't get some. And usuallyyou find that this is founded in a firm conviction that o ur Christian Civilization is the best we've ever had. Because every individual is judged on his own individual characteristics, and the things that he does and thinks and says. And usually the things that he says and thinks is reflected in what he does. And so, Sam, I would say, that with a certain amount of people, I suppose, that it could be that people are fawned upon because they have wealth. I don't know. It could be. I've never been wealthy and so I don't know. I don't do any fawning because I have too often found— in two different situations in which I found myself— but the rich people are the poor in spirit people, because they've so afraid that somebody's going to take advantage of them. And, the ones like the Rockefellers or some of these that have made foundations and the Carnegies that have established libraries and these people that have gone out and done this, they're the ones who have the respect. And think of the countless millions that they have helped, just through edu cation. Of course, the Rockefller Foundation is medically based, I mean they do this research, and I take off my hat to these people that have these large fortunes and have really shared them with the research that goes on. And, I would say that the status quo, the social— what'11 I say?- elevation that you're talking about; the social station of any body in any community depends on their willingness to share themselves and to share what they have, whether it's intelligence, money, ability or what have you. And the less money you have, why the more talent you— (Chuckles) have.
SS: Do you think it's similar now to the way it was then? Do you think thatthere is no more pursuit of prosperity now than there used t o be?
LA: No, I wouldn't say that. Because, it's just as important now for peopleto earn and have their own homes and to have a car and now an airplane, to be able to take vacations- no, I don't think so. I think this is imperative, and yet, I think, too, that a great many people are finding a deep satisfaction in helping their fellow men. For instance like belonging to a service club. Now, with the scholarships— just think of the people that are getting an education through those scholarships, that are given by Ford, the railroad, you know, all of these. Soroptomist Clubs, the Altrucians, you name it, that are doing these things. And I think it's a healthy thing.
SS: During the Depression did you know people who were really in need?
LA: Yes. Yes, oh, yes. We had what we called bums. We were living in ahalf finished house here, and the bums were riding the railroads, and they would be in the jungles at Arrow, you see, because there was the railros that come down both ways. And, I never refused to feed anybody that came to my door and asked. And Raleigh, sometimes felt that if they were young and healthy that they should do something to help earn it. And there was always things on the ranch from chopping wood to hoeing that they could do. And one day there was a family, a young man, I sup pose he was in his middle thirties, because there was four children that were walking, and the wife was carrying a baby, which would be five chil dren, and they had to get to Troy, Idaho. And they had come up through Southern Idaho, just catching ridesAanyway that they could. And they had no money when they got here, and that man was carrying what clothes they had. He must have had two hundred pounds on his back. I was ag hast; and they were trying to get to Troy to her uncle's, as I understood it, and they had lost a business down in the middle part of the state there. Well, what could you do but bring them in? And so, when Raleigr. found out about it, we were getting ready for a load to take it up there, and we brought them in, and the man hadn't been shaved for a long t ime: he'd had to throw his razor out. I mean, a razor was something that he could throw out because they had to have clothes for the baby and they had to have the children's clothes and shoes and the things, and they had to have a little food along. And the father and mother, I about it afterwards, were not eating, and the father carrying a hundred and fifty pounds on his back without sufficient food in order tor the children to live. I mean this sort of thing. So, we kept them all night and fed them. I even— this was a little squeamish— I let him use Raleigh's razor! (Chuckles)
I have another story that I like totell, because it taught me a thing. There was an old bum that came— maybe I told you this— and I couldn't let him in. He was dirty and I was afraid he was diseased and my little daughter was three years old, this little Marjorie, was three years old. And so, I said, "Yes, I'll give you something. Would you like to sit down on the back steps in the sunshine?" And I was right working in the kitchen, and I said, "Now, I'll have it for you in just a little bit. Would you like some milk?" And he said, "No. No milk," he says, "just water. Or do you have coffee?" And, I said, "I'm sorry, we're not coffee drinkers, but I'll heat some water and make some tea. Would that be alright?" And he said, "Yeah, that'll be fine." So, he sat there resting with his pack, and I fixed some sandwiches on a plate and got the water hot. I didn't have electricity in those days, and so I had to start a fire and I made this cup of hot tea. And I thought that's fine, and I put the sugar bowl and , cream, we had the cows, on a little plate and I had a little footstool out there, so I put the footstool out there. And I said, "Would you like to wash?" And he said, "Nooco." He didn't care whether he washed or not. His hands were cruddy and dirty and it looked like he'd been chewing tobacco. And, I thought, "Well, if he doesn't want to, it's alright, you know." That was none of my business. So he started eating and I went back, and I thought I'd go out and see if he needed some more tea.
And there sat my three year old d aughter bythis old bum and he was taking a bite of his sandwich and then he was giving it to the baby and she was— and I almost had kittens!! The Lord just taught me so many things!! And so then, I went out and I said, "Oh, goodness sakes, why didn't you tell me that she was asking for some of your food?" He says, "Oh, madam, she didn't ask, but she's such a sweet baby that I just had to share with her." So, then, ag ain, I thought, "Uh-huh, you're learning something else." He wanted to share. I was generous to give him these things and he hadn't eaten, bu» you see, the baby earned his attention and his respect and he wanted to share what he had with her. And so, I prayed that God would see that she didn't catch anything, and she didn't! But, you know, these things— and this is what I mean when you play it by ear and you go ahead and do— and you keep your own relationship with God . This ha s come to me so many times, you know. Just one of these things and it is a reward in itself. It gives you a feeling of assurance. It gives you a feeling of not being abandoned. And I feel, particularly since I have the pacer; I've had the second pacer battery in it, that God was willing that I should do this. He's still got something for me to do and I'm not sure just what it is, but it's one of these things. And we never turned anyone away when we fed them. I always figured anyone that comes to my door that is hungry can share anything that I have. WE have shared clothes, we have given— two fellows came that were walking with their bare feet, they had worn their shoes through and they were trying to get up to the Moscow area for the harvest season. And one outfit came by with a whole hack i-jill of children; a mother and a father with two old bony horses, and they were trying to get to Ferdinand, which is up by Grangeville, and I don't think those old horses ever would do it but Raleigh took the horses in and gave them some water— I mean kept ' them, we kept them all night.
And I didn't have any place to put them,because we had hired help and there wasn't room, but they had beds, they had a tent and beds. They had come from I don't know where, down some where over there, and they had been visiting somebody up in the Linnville area. Well, that's just out of Moscow, you know, somewhere, so it was natural for them to come this way. But we have done a lot and Raleigh was apt to say, well, they had to work for what they got. And I said, "No, Honey, they don't. I want to feed 'em and get 'em on the road just as fast as I can." Oh, the family that I talked about-
SS: That used his razor?
LA: Yeah. We kept them all night and then Raleigh put 'em on the load andtook 'em to Troy the next day, and they went on from there. All these little things, because I don't think that you have a right to deny any human being— I'm saying this and thinking about some people that might chisel you, and take advantage of you. And I have had to settle to my own mind— Should I resent or should I judge, or should I just be an easy mark and let 'em get by with it? And this again, is situation ethics. I play it by ear, and if I think that they're being too demand ing because, I am sure in the old days that some of those bums made— left some kind of a mark out here, that we were easy marks. Because we had many and they never passed us up, they all stopped. They always did. But I never turned them down either, because we had— the Lord was good to us, and we always had milk and we always had bread and we always had vegetables.
SS: I was just wondering whether you found it a struggle during the Depression.
LA: Yes, we did. And yet, we always had shelter. We always had food. Wealways had medical attention. I have always said- maybe this is not correct— and I might stand corrected in my older years— but through the years, I've always said that if you honestly put forth an effort you're not going to be slapped down entirely. That you may not get as much as you had hopes on, but effort is always repaid, or— what'11 I say?— acknowledged. Is always rewarded. Let's put it that way. And I have seen it so many times. We've been very fortunate in neighbors and in people here. It's true that we've had some that have taken ad vantage of us; this is true, but I wouldn't let my family harbor a grudge. There is nothing that will corrode you like harboring a grudge. And, we just write it off as one of those things. And the blessings that we have had, are just untold. Two or three times in our lives we have had letters that we couldn't remmeber who wrote for sure.(Chuckles) Because there was a lot of the people walked that railroad; they rode the cars and they'd get off the car, the boxcars, freight cars, you know, at Arrow, and they stayed there all night, and then they'd either go to Lewiston or up this way, depending on which way they wanted to go. And if they walked past our door they were very apt to ask.
And the oldman that was sick— I guess I told you about that—. Raleigh came up from the turkey place one time and he says, "There's an old man down there that's been out in the rain all night. And his bed is wet and he is ill and he's hungry." And, he says, "Can you give him something to eat?" And, I said, "Well, I can, but," I said, "you better bring him up here, hadn't you?" And he said, "No, I asked him to come, and he's afraid he'll be turned over to the authorities." And, I said, "Well," that sounded like that might be illegal or criminal or what have you- "No," he says, "Honey, he's an old, old man and he's sick and could you fix him something hot?" And, I said, "I sure can." So, I fixed some thing and Raleigh took it down there and he ate it, and seemed to feel better. And then, finally, Raleigh came back and I said, "Well, I feel that as long as he's spent the time on our turkey range down there, that gee, if he died down there, why, what would we do?" We'd have to get in touch with the authorities. So, we did. And the authorities came up and finally took him down to the Summerville Home, which is our county home down there. And he wasn't illegal or anything about it. He was just an old fellow that was getting from hither to yon because he felt that his family— he was a burden on his family and they weren't happy with him, and they let him know that he was a burden, and so, he just took off. And it got into the papers— and this is what I started to tell you, I told you about that— and we have letters, we had four letters from Tennessee, from Arkansas and from Missouri, never heard of before and they said, "That old man that was in your— that you helped out there was our uncle. What did you do with his mining claim? And his mining deeds? Did you take his— the reason he w as walking was because of people like you that took his ticket and what have yoC "
SS: That was for helping him Did you take care of him for a while?
LA: No, we— I just gave him that breakfast and then we called the authorities and they took him down to the Summerville Home.
SS: During the Depression, too?
LA: Yeah, but it got into the papers that the Albrights— way back there,and I was kind of nonplussed; but when I got the one from Missouri, I thought, "That's just pretty darn -Vuvy" And so I wrote to them.
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Segment Synopsis: Married women might teach if they wanted to. Desirability of older teachers. A drowning at Arrow. Crossing the Potlatch could be tricky; they arranged work on the other side with the river in mind. Women got right to vote in Idaho before anywhere else because their votes were needed for the population count.
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Segment Synopsis: She had to work on the garden on Sunday despite her religious convictions. Her lay missionary work with the Nez Perce at the South Methodist Church at Lapwai. Stephen Reuben had been thrown out of the Presbyterian Church ministry because he had been drinking; he petitioned and was accepted by the Methodist Church. She played the organ for Sunday school.
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Segment Synopsis: Indian funerals - Stephen Reuben was mad at her for missing one. "Making statements" before the congregation and Steven Reuben. Heartfelt testimonies. Speaking during prayer. Club activities to help Christmas celebrations for the Nez Perce. Decline of church activities. Indian confession of sins, which whites would keep to themselves. Courtesy in listening to congregates.
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Segment Synopsis: Work in the State Legislature. She was the first to vote in the roll call, and some followed her lead in education and welfare. Opposition of large corporate interests to public spending. She went to a hospital with her criticisms. Her defense of some social spending by people on welfare.
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Segment Synopsis: She was appointed to the legislature after Joe Rosencrantz disappeared in a plane. Little help from more experienced local legislators. As a woman she had to prove herself. Her belief in a constructive program. She couldn't afford to stay at the hotel where some of the legislators did. Support of the school at Lewiston. Jews in Boise. Friendship with Edith Miller Klein.
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Segment Synopsis: Extremity of "bums" during the depression. They walked up the tracks from Arrow. She always fed those who stopped. A destitute family. A bum who shared the food with her daughter. Guidance from the Lord. Sharing clothes and shelter. Attitude towards being used. Effort is always rewarded. Harboring a grudge is corrosive. A derelict old man and his long lost relatives.