prune picker

This is the blog of a prune picker. (Native born Californian) Retired oilfield. I am an old man. (91) I blog a lot about my body and getting old. As I approach death life gets more interesting. More interesting is not good. I still drive. I attend sports, music, and civic events. I am writing my memoirs. I attend swim class three times a week. Some of my blogs might be interesting. A lot of my blogs are silly and trivial. None are very long.

Friday, October 16, 2015

(Youth Bay Area 6) My career at the Doughnut Corp. of America.

I was doing good washing dishes at the U and I Restaurant on West Second Street in Pomona. So good that I bought a car. I paid $35 for a 1930 Model A Sedan. I did not know how to drive so I asked a friend to drive the car to the backyard of the rooming house I lived in. I drove back and forth in the yard, then up and down the alley, and then around the block. I was a driver!

Where to go?  Why to Aunt Marjories in Berkeley.

I drove north up Highway 99 about 300 miles and then west toward Berkeley. About an hour from my destination I was pulled over by a policeman. I was cited for following too close. Oh-oh! I also did not have a drivers license. I could not continue my journey. I had to call and have some Knowlton uncles come and drive my car and I to Aunt Marjories.

I soon went before a judge for my ticket. What was my sentence for driving without a drivers license? The judge sentenced me to several nights in a night school class on driving to help me pass the test for a drivers license. How appropriate. You have a boy before you who does not have a drivers license---so you sentence him to driving license preparation class!

What would possess a boy of 16  to drive away from his home town, drive some 400 miles north, to a strange large city? It was wartime. I must have been lonely and seeking excitement. Even with many siblings in the Pomona area I spent much time alone.

I went to the State of California Employment Office in Oakland and applied for a job. They sent me to Emeryville to the Doughnut Corporation of America. The Corporation hired me and I joined the Warehousemens Union and went to work in the Donut Industry. I unloaded freight cars of flour and other items. I loaded bins with ingredients such as powdered egg white. (It felt strange to run your hands through powdered egg white.) I helped  put bake good mixes into gunny sacks and wooden barrels. Much of these items were for the armed forces. Much was donut mix.

I remember seeing large coffee shops in San Francisco and Oakland that sold Mayflower Donuts and Maxwell House Coffee. Mayflower Donuts was a trademark of the Doughnut Corporation of America.

I heard about high wages in shipyards in Portland, Oregon. I drove there (500 plus miles) and stayed a week in a rooming house. I was impressed by the large number of bridges in Portland. I did not get a job.

I drove back to the Bay Area and got my old job back in Emeryville. This time I did not stay at Aunt Marjories in Berkeley. I moved into a board and room house in Oakland. The house was a huge house in a swank neighborhood. It was about a block from Lake Merritt. I understand that the area is not so swank now. I had a bed in a large room with ten other men, We sat at tables in a large dining room for our meals and were waited on. Fancy dining room.

Eventually I ended up back in Pomona. This was my last pre Army stay in the Bay Area. So much for my career in donuts. The Corporation had a lab which baked test donuts. We often got to take some donuts home at night. Yeah!

Incidentally on the way home I sold my Model A for ten bucks in Fresno. The timing gear failed.

1 comment:

  1. The five years I worked in Oakland at 1999 Harrison Street I was across the street from Lake Merit. It is a very nice neighborhood all around the Lake even still.


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