Ashland Resident Since: 1935
Occupation: Retired/Canner (Collects cans and bottles for cash)
Date of Interview: 10.28.06
Location: Near Daniel Meyer Tennis Courts
I am Gerald Mayfield, and I was born and raised here in Ashland, Oregon since 1935. I am now 71 and have seen Ashland grow to where it is today: a beautiful town.
I’m retired but keep busy by canning and working at the Presbyterian church. This keeps me very busy. I also have a nice dog that goes with me most of the time when
I’m out collecting cans.
I also have a little motor home that I go camping in so I can keep doing stuff.
I grew up down on Nevada street, where all the new homes went in. My dad had a ranch down there, Mayfield Gardens. Then I got married and went to California for awhile; after awhile I came back to Ashland.
When I was young I enjoyed going fishing in the canals up above Ashland, in Ashland Creek and Bear Creek… when they had fish. There aren’t any fish anymore.
My grandparents lived up in Greensprings back when I was in junior high. I would go up to visit and stay with them. We would come down off of the mountain on the Soda Springs Bus. They don’t call it that anymore. The junior high was located where Safeway is today.
My folks then moved up to the Greensprings for awhile and gardened up there. It was nice.
There are no fish up there either, by the way (laughing). There are no fish anywhere.
It was interesting. My mom and dad raised produce from the garden. I still have a lot of relations here ? the Picketts, the Firestones; however, we don’t get together that much.
I started canning way back in the 40s when they had milk bottles and little, stubby beer bottles.
I was only a kid ? 8, 9, 10 years old ? and that’s what got me interested in canning.
In the last 30 years, I’ve been canning right here in Ashland. Canning means picking up bottles, plastics and cans and I do it every day, seven days a week and in the same area. Everybody saves me cans, all the local businesses.
I can make about $300 a month. It keeps me very busy and it’s like a job; you have to keep doing it. It’s like a paper route. You got to do it every day, because people depend on you to pick up what they put out. So, I would like to tell people to try to recycle their stuff… and that’s about it.