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Arthur Rothstein/Library of Congress

Squatters' shacks along the Willamette River in Portland, Ore., July 1936.

Profiles: Martha Rutherford

Saturday, December 24th, 2011 

Born 1935
Portland, Ore. 

Her mother and grandfather both kept gardens, cultivating both their yards and vacant lots in the neighborhood. 

He grew a lot. He really had a big garden over there, and everything was canned or dried, preserved in some way, salted, whatever. 

Peas, beans, corn, squash, tomatoes. I can remember all my grandfather’s corn. I used to run down the cornrows. And then we picked. We didn’t have fruit trees, but we went out and picked, and then my mom would stand me on a stool and I could help skin the peaches when she brought them out of the water, and pit the cherries. 

There’s a pretty renowned college in Portland, called Reed College, and we were at the southern end of that neighborhood where Reed College is. There are some very big houses in that neighborhood, but we were in a small house. On part of the grounds of Reed College there was a big cherry orchard, and we went over, and my dad would put me at the bottom of the tree. They had ladders in the orchard, and they were pie cherries, and he would climb the ladder with a bucket on a rope, and when he’d fill the bucket he’d hand it down to me and I’d put in it the big peach basket. We’d pick pie cherries, and my mother would can pie cherries. 

Interview by Kat Aaron

This profile was produced with help from sources in the Public Insight Network from American Public Media.

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The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

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