Loraine (Dolan) Bettencourt, 1941

Crater Lake National Park Centennial Oral Histories

Loraine (Dolan) Bettencourt, 1941

Since working at Crater Lake Park in 1941, I have become worth a little money: I have silver in my hair, gold in my teeth, stones in my kidneys, lead in my feet and gas in my stomach.

I have become a frivolous old gal! I am seeing five gentlemen every day. As soon as I wake up, Will Power helps me out of bed. Then I go see John. Next Charlie Horse comes along and when he is here he takes a lot of my time and attention. When he leaves Arthur Rites shows up and stays the rest of the day. He doesn’t like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint. After such a busy, I am really tired and glad to go to bed with Ben Gay. What a Life!

I think about the HERE AFTER a lot. No matter where I am, in the parlor, in the kitchen, upstairs, or down in the basement, I ask myself, NOW WHAT AM I HERE AFTER????

Loraine-Bettencourt-first-trip
First remembered trip to Crater Lake 1933, Kathleen O’Connor Moran, Bette Dolan Phillips, Coral E. Dolan, Rose Marie Dolan Blind, Loraine Dolan Bettencourt, and James Ward Dolan

The summer of 1933 was my first remembered trip to Crater Lake with my folks and two sisters. Mother cooked all day the day before our trip frying chicken, making salads, sandwiches, cakes and cookies for the picnic. We left early the next morning. It was a steep climb to the lake on a so called road! As we reached the final climb to the lake the car decided it needed a rest so started puffing and steam rose from the radiator. While we waited for the car to cool down we marveled at the pinnacles along the canyon wall by the road. Minutes later Dad filled the radiator with water and we were on our way. I will never forget what a breathtaking sight the lake and surroundings were. It was truly awesome! We have always made at least one trip a year to the lake and still do, always stopping to visit “Lady of the Woods”. I picture her as a sweet, shy young girl with a broken heart for a love that will never return to her forest.

Loraine-Bettencourt-parking-area

June, 1941, I reported to work as a ‘Salad Queen’ making salads in the lodge. July and August I made salads in the cafeteria during the week and lodge on weekends. It was common to work 10 ½ hours for $.29/hour.

My biggest thrill that summer was meeting Fred McMurray when he visited the lake.

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A number of college girls and boys plus adult supervisors and Chinese cooks were employed at the park. The employees were not allowed to leave the park nor ride in any vehicle except a park vehicle. There six girls to a room and we all had to do our own laundry and ironing. Every girl wore a smock which had to be ironed. Girls jobs consisted of maids, laundry (all sheets, table cloths, etc….) had to be ironed as well. Gift shops, cafeteria, lodge waitresses and hostesses. Boys jobs were dishwashing, greeting guests, and carrying luggage, gather and cut wood, garbage detail, repair trails, and work at the boat dock. The fishing was good, and fish were good sized. If guests so desired, the Chinese cooks would prepare their catch for their evening meal along with my special salad. A full course meal at the lodge cost $1.50. Every Thursday an Ice Truck arrived from Portland with Salmon or Sturgeon for Fridays meal.

On our days off, since the park bus made daily runs to Medford, my girlfriend, Barbara, and I would give the driver money to bring us doughnuts. On his return we made a dash to the furnace room, hid behind the huge furnace and ate our doughnuts.

For recreation we hiked on various trails, walked down to visit “Lady of the Woods”, at park headquarters, sun bathe in the woods, hitch a ride to the garbage dump to see the many bears, and there were many. Hike down to the boat dock and take a boat ride around the lake, seeing Wizard Island, Phantom Ship, a floating log and special formations along the walls of the lake up close. It was a most interesting trip. Feeding chipmunks peanuts was also popular. The special treat was having our families come for the day with a picnic lunch!

Evenings were spent if desired, attending lectures and watching slides of animals, birds and special interest spots around the park. There were many different kinds of animals, birds,

 

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plants and trees in the park. The lectures were given by Park Rangers in the lodge in front of the beautiful massive rock fireplace.

There were dances, games, and picture shows in the Recreation building for employees. Sometimes after bed check we climbed out the window of our room and met fellows for moonlight strolls. Crater Lake under a full moon is a spectacular sight.

Nearly every time I stepped out the back door to empty my garbage, I would meet a bear nose to nose. I don’t know who was more startled, the bear or me! Several times in the evenings on my way to the lodge from the cafeteria after work, I would have some pastries and bears would follow me all the way. One bear hung around under the window of our room. We just HAPPENED to have some After Dinner Mints from the lodge dining room! The color of blue changes shades with each blink of an eye. It is still awesome even when snow covers all the surroundings and buildings. I have skied at the lake may times.

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