This is just in from a contemporary of my father who also recalls volunteering at the church welfare bean farm. I remember as a 2nd-grader playing with his children, since their home was two doors down from us on 55th NE in Laurelhurst, on Lake Washington in Seattle. Don has some interesting recollections about the cannery, where children aren't part of the volunteer work force.
This is an prime example of how 2 eye-witnesses can provide different perspectives on the same topic. I'll bet if you and your siblings discussed growing up in the "XYZ household" your views would have much in common, but there would be some interesting additional highlights brought forth by listening to the stories of others. This is why we must look for all available evidence on each ancestor, in order to gain a greater understanding of his life and times.
From: Don C. Wood, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org
DearMYRTLE, Thank you for the copy of your column titled "Picking green beans yesterday" See: <http://www.dearmyrtle.com/05/0429.htm>. It really did bring back memories of the bean farm, and also the church welfare cannery. Did you ever get to go over there? I think it was in Bellevue [WA] but my memory often has ragged spots or holes so that might be erroneous.
I distinctly remember one night when we were processing and canning strawberry jam We did not raise the berries but purchased them. My assignment was to stir the huge half-hemisphere shaped copper bottomed kettle where the berries, sugar and pectin were boiled up prior to being canned. I had a large wooden paddle to stir with.
They put in about 100 Pounds of berries, a 100 pound sack of sugar and a couple of cups of pectin, and I stirred until it was boiling hard. It was heavy, hot work but we all enjoyed our jobs and we all enjoyed the thought that someone would benefit from the fruits of our labors. On this one batch someone put the pectin in at least twice and it got gelled so rapidly that we had a hard time getting it into the cans before it set up. One of the other fellows opened a can of it a couple of days later at his home and said that he had to get the jam out with an axe.
That sounds a bit far fetched but I also got a can of it and he was not far off the truth. It was very hard to get out of the can. Ahhh – memories of old times. They are good to muse over now and then to make us appreciate the times and places we have come from as well as where we are now and the great technological advancements we have to make our lives easier.