Jo Ann Schilling-Armstrong, 1970

Crater Lake National Park Centennial Oral Histories

 Jo Ann Schilling-Armstrong, 1970

I was employed by the Peyton’s for the summer, to work in the Lodge Formal Dining room and transferred to work at the snack bar where I was able to meet many more guests of the Park. Since I had been trained to work the dining room I got the better of two worlds as the relief waitress when someone was unable to carry their shift. The Chinese cooks in the Dining Room loved to play tricks on me by having me taste their ethnic food, i.e., grass pudding, octopus, and an array of other culinary items I shudder to remember.

Most mornings it was my job to open the snack bar before the visitors would begin to arrive. I walked down the MIDDLE of the road to the gift shop where the snack bar was located, with bears dumpster-diving in each of the waste cans on either side of the road. They would look up to see who was approaching then continue their junk-food breakfast. They were a colorful group wandering free around the grounds.

That summer included meeting people from every conceivable state and country. It was great fun trying to communicate with all the visitors who were not proficient in English. Somehow, we managed to answer all their questions and represented the Americans as friendly, polite, and happy people during that tumultuous time of the Vietnam conflict.

The Peyton’s provided excellent programs, barbeques, dances, employee pageants, Christmas in July, and other entertainment for their employees. As a result, we became a very close-knit group. In addition to their programs, those of us who enjoyed performing were selected to entertain the Lodge’s guests each night with various types of music by the beautiful stone fireplace.

The employee quarters on the fourth floor of the lodge were more like a dormitory atmosphere with awards of a bedspread for your bed if you kept your room clean and very strict guidelines to ensure that no boys would ever be found in the girls’ side or vice versa. Of course, we never let that stop us. The fourth floor was not heated. Needless to say, we spent many nights huddled in our bunks with the rugs from the floor piled upon us in an attempt to stay warm while the windows glazed over with ice.

Nothing could spoil our summer there. One couple who were two years older than I had been working each summer at the Lake for several years. That summer they rode into K. Falls and tied the knot. We held a creative reception for them by using items we could find around the Rim, i.e. coffee filters as ruffles, linens from the dining room to add more formality to the occasion, toilet paper streamers, for decorations.

There are two employees from that summer that I would love to find, Dave Bertucci, and Bill Mohr. On the night of the wedding Dave loaned his car to the happy couple. Dave and I went to Diamond Lake for a party at a private home and proceeded to end up in the hospital at K. Falls that night on our way back to the lodge after the motorcycle that he had borrowed met with loose gravel and the ground. We ended up with a few scrapes and stitches, but were back at our jobs the next day. I told the doctors that my father had heart trouble and would be compromised greatly if they called him in the middle of the night and informed him of the accident, but Mrs. Payton insisted I call him the next morning. My aunt told me after my father’s passing just how mad he was (and he used to barrel jump his Indian motorcycle in his younger days…nothing like a double standard). Dave’s hometown was Roseburg. I lost track of him when he joined the Navy. Bill attended college in Ashland, was the supervisor of the Snack Bar. He kept fit by running from the lower camp to the Rim every day. At that altitude that was a big accomplishment. Should either of them respond to your reunion, please let them know that I would like to hear from them.

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