—– BAKERY STORIES —–
Here’s the short version of Dad (Charles Clock) & Uncle Art (Collins, my mother Ellen Clock’s brother) driving to Tonopah, NV. Heard it several times. If he & Art were together they added many more flourishes to this story.
Art & Dad were both driving thru Nevada near Tonopah. (Why would anyone EVER drive to Tonopah, you ask?). It was the era when every sizable town in America had it’s own commercial bakery (1930’s?). Before some baking genius hit on the idea to add about a half pound of water & some preservatives to the dough ….and presto, you had a loaf of “bread” that could be shipped a million miles and sit on the shelf for 10 days AND still taste the same …terrible. (That was the end of all the small town commercial bakeries.)
Anyway it was July, hot and the middle of the night. Dad & Art were driving along gaining elevation going up the grade to Tonopah, when a few small white things flew at the windshield. Then more ….then lots and lots. Snowing in the middle of July in Nevada!! Its a blizzard! “And Tonopah sits at at about 25,000 ft elevation”, Dad would add to Uncle Art’s story with a smile. Unbelievable. Snowing like crazy! Art says, lets pull over. They do. Stop and step outside on the shoulder of the highway. No, it’s not snow at all! It’s tiny white moths …..millions and millions of em! (Truly unbelievable, because everyone knows …..NOTHING lives around Tonopah, except for sagebrush, miners and Joshua trees!!!)
And then there was the time Dad was down South and meeting up with the president of a small chain of bakeries. Long time ago. New Orleans I think. The guy drove a Cadillac …had lots of $$$$. So Dad got all dressed up to meet the guy. He climbs in the car …and in the back seat is a full size pig!! Total mess. Dad asks what’s up with that? It’s the presidents pet, takes it everywhere he goes ….to work most days and even into his office. I think Dad had a version of the story where he had to climb in the back seat of the car with the pig, because the front seat was full with the owner and his driver, so it was the only place for Dad to sit. Anyway …it might have happened like that. But when you got Dad & Uncle Art together and got them started on bakery stories ….you just never knew. And it really doesn’t matter anyway. Funnier than heck!!!!
I remember Dad saying to me one time, “Folks out here in the Northwest don’t really know how to tell stories”. And that the best story tellers were all from the Midwest ….Oklahoma especially, and how it was kind of an art form down there. Bud Wilson (our neighbor about a mile down Ladd Hill from our place) was living proof. Claimed he grew up in Tailhole, Oklahoma!! That was the day Dad said it to me, about the story tellers from OK, when we were driving back up the hill from Bud’s place. After listening to about 5 or 50 of his stories!! Dad also added, “What a talker!” (Don’t know if that comment was in admiration or not!)
PHOTO: Charles “on the horn” at work for AMF in Richmond, CA. Before setting up Clock Associates, he worked all week in the Bay Area and flew back home on weekends. Ellen ran the farm on Ladd Hill and her 4 sons.
In 1953 he started Clock Associates, in Portland, OR, which provided equipment for the wholesale baking industry along with equipment for other food processers. Clock Associates specializes in English muffin lines and related equipment. It supplies equipment for baking companies throughout the world. His youngest son, Ken, still operates the business today.
Below is my father’s business card.
PHOTO: The second shop location in Portland, OR ….2112 SE 8th. The first shop was on SE Clay Street, but the land was needed to build the Interstate 5 freeway bridge crossing the Willamette River. The original shop was approximately where OMSI is now located, on the bank of the river. The 3rd shop is now located on SE 11th, not far from the old one (in this photo). Clock Associates designed & sold the equipment and Machine Products built it. Dad ran C/A and his neighbor and good friend on Ladd Hill, Al Self, ran MP. Both businesses, together, employed 6-8 people. Pat, Ken & Barry worked there for varying periods of time. Al & Dad employed a number of our friends and neighbors throughout the years. Today both businesses have been combined into one. Ken and his son, Grant operate it.
NAME TAG INSIDE DAD’s US NAVY HAT DURING WWII (reverse side). He used one of his old bakery equipment business cards.
DAD IN HIS TYPICAL WORK CLOTHES AT HIS BUSINESS. (1961)