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Daughter Likens Strawberries to "Demanding Mistress"

Moving from the Southern California suburbs in 1946 to 23 acres east of Sutherlin, Ore., was an experience Doris Price never forgot. It started when her father saw an opportunity to make money and planted three acres in ever-bearing strawberries.

Doris soon learned the meaning of “stoop labor” from long early mornings picking berries.  When it was  
cold her mother put a pan of hot water out to warm numb frozen fingers.
Doris called strawberries narcissistic because of the care they needed. She later wrote, “Like a homely, demanding mistress they wouldn’t let you off the hook.” Runners had to be cut off and weeds pulled. As the last row was hoed, it was time to start over again on the first row.
Then there were the insects. Root weevils devoured the plants from the bottom, spittle bugs from the top. Slugs, earwigs, ants and birds took their share of the crop.
The large, luscious berries became forbidden fruit reserved for buyers, leaving the family only the half-eaten berries the bugs and critters left behind.
Doris was thankful when her Dad took a job in a saw mill.
Source: Hubbard, Doris W. Widow Makers and Rhododendrons: Loggers--The Unsung Heroes of World War II. Central Point: Hellgate Press, 2000. 17-27. Print.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.