Thanks to four OHS class of ‘56 classmates for sharing some great reminiscences of the 1950s and environs in and around Ontario:
--- Roland Whitsell talks about his mother’s ties to The Argus-Observer and the beginnings of Ore-Ida Foods.
--- Shari Smith Schoenleber remembers dancing lessons at our house.
--- Loren Cox recalls Don Lynch as the only person in town not a pastor who wore a tie.
--- And, after some urging, Ray Dickerson tells us briefly about the book he and a friend wrote based on Ray’s youthful years in Warner Valley.
Note: We’ve added a link on our page to Delores Miyamoto Goto’s personal blog, The Goto Company. Go there to read some of her thoughts on life, as well as what is happening with her and husband Sam.
Roland Whitsell writes:
I don't remember the exact year but at about this time Bridgford built a frozen food processing plant in Ontario. Bridgford didn't make it. The plant was purchased by Grigg Brothers and Butler. (I believe that Delma [Delma Grigg Saunders] was the daughter of one of them.) They were trying to develop a successful frozen potato product.
My mother wrote for the Argus at that time and was on the taste panel for their potato products.
They were eventually successful and Or-Ida Tater Tots became one of the first if not the first successful frozen potato product sold in grocery stores.
Bridgford froze peas and sweet corn and may have sold some other items as well. I don't know what products were being developed when the firm was bought out. We raised peas for them for several years and sweet corn once or twice.
My mother wrote a neighborhood news item. She wrote the local news for Lincoln Heights for a good many years. We got our paper free in exchange for her writing the local news.
My mother belonged to a women's club called "The Patch and Chat Club". The entire club would go in and evaluate the new developments in the frozen food attempts. It was a big social event for them and having twenty or so farm ladies who did their own cooking evaluating your products was positive for everyone.
Shari Smith Schoenleber writes:
I remember (the Lynch) house in Ontario and the basement where a group of us learned to dance! I may have mentioned this to you at the reunion last year. It was around the time that you're focusing on. Your mom (Agnes Lynch) got us all set up with a partner. Music was 45's on a phonograph and we all "danced" moving two steps forward and one back in a circle around the room!
Your mom had made sure that the boys put their right arm around the girls waist and the girls put their left arm on the boys shoulder! As I recall that was MY introduction to dancing before we entered high school. I'm trying to remember the town kids who were there, Dick Beem, Kenny Osborn, Sue (Hills) Manion....probably a dozen in all. Must have been a highlight to me!
I remember Ontario with many more trees growing around the downtown area. If I were living there now, I'd be on a community tree planting campaign!
Loren Cox writes:
My memories are spotty and dim, but I do remember your father (Don Lynch), who seemed to me at the time to be a powerful and enormously energetic guy. He may have been the first (non-farmer) person I recall who seemed to be in perpetual motion--a revelation to a before-dawn to after-dark chores life. He must have been a powerful influence on life in Ontario, lifting eyes beyond Malheur County while covering news there with wit, compassion and intelligence.
Sports loomed large there, perhaps disproportionately, in part because of our relative isolation, and in part because it was a bonding mechanism for the farm and non-farm student population.
I think your father understood that. I also remember him as the only person not a pastor who wore a tie, at least a couple of times when I saw him.
My work with MIT still continues--I have been to Europe seven times already this year, three more planned and possibly a trip to China squeezed in before the year is out. I plan to work through next year at least, and likely longer than that.This rumination does recall Ed Aspitarte as JV coach, and other such glimmers. As time and recollection permit, I will try again.
Ray Dickerson writes:
My book is maybe one-half about me and my experience living in Warner Valley, Oregon, during the summers of 1949 thru 1954, and one-half about the Indian Artifacts I collected in Warner Valley. I co-authored the book with Dr. Tyler, a neighbor and friend of mine who was born here in Ontario about 80 years ago and has written a number of books. My half of the book is only twenty some pages.
Dr. Tyler had an Indian skull I had found carbon dated and wrote his half describing the skull and his contrary view of how America might have been populated. We only had a couple hundred copies printed and they mostly sold out on Amazon.
I am out of town starting tomorrow for a week and then will be back for a week and then gone again. Inge and I are playing Bridge in some regional tournaments. It is our way of getting away from our land lording duties and responsibilities for short periods of time.