You asked me about working in the Farm Advisor’s office.
After I graduated from high school and briefly attended UC and then Heald’s Business College, I received a call from a former HMB High School Business teacher, Mrs. Marie Colwell, asking me if I cared to take a job in HMB. Because of family circumstances, one was my father had recently died in a truck accident, I accepted the job in the fall of 1949. The organization was a Federal agricultural agency, called Triple A, and was housed on Kelly Ave., across from the alley way, behind Cunha’s store. We were on the ground floor with the Farm Advisors office, Patricia Dutra was their office employee and Mr. MacNamara was the Advisor. Upstairs was the living quarters of the Rathborne family.
Eventually, the Farm Advisors staff, which by then included R. H. Sciaroni as the 2nd Farm Advisor, moved to Main Street in the building formerly the office of Dr. Borley, next to the Odd Fellows Hall; our staff, now called Production and Marketing Assoc., moved to a new, block bldg, on Main Street, near the HMB Bakery. Our Agricultural staff joined in with another organization, Soil Conservation Service.
After about five years, I left PMA and worked in Redwood City for the County of San Mateo, and then was asked by Pat Dutra if I wanted to work in her office; so I joined the staff as a part time employee, it was much better than having to commute to Redwood City, especially as I was now married. As Mr. MacNamara had passed away, another gentlemen joined the staff at the Farm Advisors, Bryan Sandlin and later Robert Ward.
The Farm Advisors spent a lot of time out in the field, visiting farmers and flower growers, even those on the Peninsula, as at that time there were various flower nurseries in Redwood City and Palo Alto, When they were in the office, along with phone calls, there were office visitors to see the Advisors. Also, often there were staff people from the UC Extension Office in Berkeley. These fellows either visited the advisors or went out in the field with them, to assist in problems the farmers were having with plant diseases, etc.
The office staff, Pat and I, were also busy with calls, either setting up appointments and/or answering generic questions from the callers. There were lots of pamphlets, available from the UC Extension Service, they were the ones employing the Farm Advisors, the office staff was under the County of San Mateo. Many of the calls were regarding the pamphlets, as they included home advice, regarding: canning, gardening, freezing food, etc. Pat was responsible for more duties than I. Pat had taken a short hand course and was often busy taking dictation from the three advisors. As I worked only about three days a week, I was mostly on the phone, running the mimeograph machine or duplex machine, typing letters and dealing with the public. There were many flyers sent out to the public or farmers, and it entailed sending out hundreds of these flyers to our mailing lists.
We also had office duties related to the 4-H organization as they were under the Extension Service. Robert Ward worked with the various groups in the County.
I worked approximately two years in the office, and left to have my first child in 1956. Pat Dutra and Hank Sciaroni worked until their retirement and Bryan Scandlin and Robert Ward both passed away while they were employed in the office.