Boyhood Jobs: Medford 1940s
Monday August 1, 2005
By Dawna Curler
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
Getting a job is a right of passage for teens today as well as in the past. Nothing spells independence more than having spending cash in the pocket. In his reminiscences about growing up in Medford, Oregon, during the 1930s and '40s, retired truck driver Kenn Lantz recalled several jobs he had as a youth.
Lantz first sold magazines door-to-door then progressed at age eleven to a paper route. About his job in a neighborhood grocery store, Lantz said, "This was NOT a self-service store; we retrieved each article the customer wanted. I remember my dad and another man mentioning that they never made thirty-five cents per hour when they were my age."
Additional employment included digging potatoes and pitching hay, but perhaps the best was delivering movie popcorn. The corn was popped at one theater and taken by bicycle to two others. Lantz explained, "My duty required me to be in the first seat in the loges and watch movies until a delivery was ready. With metal cans…on each handlebar, I was off to another theater. Definitely not easy riding with knees banging against the containers, but it sure did smell good…and free movies [too]."
Lantz had landed a job with benefits.
Today's episode of As It Was was written by Dawna Curler, the program engineer is Raymond Scully. I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org
Lantz, Kenn, "Life in Medford in 1940-," unpublished manuscript, Southern Oregon Historical Society