When Lucille and Maynard White talk about life in and around Bates circa 1940, the term "communal living" comes to mind.
Not to be confused with communes but enjoying many of the positive social attributes of working together for common
"It was a real team effort," says Maynard adding, "the Oregon Lumber Company took care of all the employees' needs, so life
seemed free and easy."
Make no mistake though, the work was rugged. Logging, skidding and bulldozing in waist-high snows out of Elkhorn Springs and
Knuteville. Looking back, maybe that was easier than his work in Idaho in the 30's. "No tractors back then, you know. Just
horses and sleds. When you needed a new trail, the men would have to walk it first. Next we would lead horses over it and
finally we would be able to wedge the sled in and out. That was how we did it," remembers Maynard.
He met Lucille in a little Idaho log camp in 1932. She was working in the cook tent serving meals, and they started going together.
They married in 1934 and began their family soon after. Their first child was a girl, Rosita, born in 1937; son Ronald was born a year
later and another boy, James, in 1941.
The last labor and delivery was in a hospital instead of a home, and it caught Maynard by surprise. He dropped Lucille off in Prairie
City for her regularly scheduled doctor's appointment and then went fishing. When he came back for her she had given birth to James!
While working in Bates Maynard taught himself how to work and fix the heavy machinery, and he also loaded logs on to the Sumpter Valley
Railroad before it stopped running in 1947.
The White's left Bates in 1953 - before Hines bought out OLC and the exodus out of Bates began. During the next 28 years, Maynard posted 20
with Western States CAT: he repaired their machinery. "I remember working on lots of John Deere tractors. Sometimes we would get what we called
a basket case. Folks would bring the tractor in literally in pieces. It got where I could almost do it in the dark.
Interspersed between the years at Western States, Maynard worked for the county as a mechanic. In 1952 he was in charge of the road crew building
new roads. "Back then we built roads as we needed 'em. Nowadays, you've gotta build highways. And all the machinery has changed; hydraulics,
and computers and fuel injection. Again, times were freer back then .... and easier," says Maynard.
Lucille has pursued painting as a hobby and has enjoyed earning blue ribbons and a sweepstakes award at Fair time for her efforts. Maynard collects
rocks and is an avid photographer. He has an 8mm film of the hustle and bustle of a day in Bates camp many years ago. "I lent it out once and before
I got it back many copies had been made. One fella came up to me and said, 'hey - you've got to see this tape - I don't know who made it,
but it's good.' I've had it transferred to VHS since," says Maynard.
Maynard served on the Board of Directors for the Grant County Federal Credit Union and was on the Sheriff's posse for many years. He is a member
of the Elks and did a stint with the volunteer fire department. He has been a devoted husband to Lucille throughout her extended convalescence.
"You know, 40 used to seem old, but now 80 doesn't seem old at all," Maynard says adding, "This week we will celebrate our 61st wedding anniversary."
Now that's an undeniable definition of "communal living."
©1998 Roxann Gess Smith
All Rights Reserved
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