Guest speaker Steve Schreiner
Visitors and Guests are welcome.
Steve Schreiner, co-owner of the famous Schreiner's Iris Gardens in Oregon will be our gueat speaker.
Steve Schreiner is one of the co-owners of Schreiner’s Gardens, along with his brother Ray and sister Liz. Working in the family business is practically all Steve has done in his 71 years. Siblings and cousins were all made to work full summers starting at about age 11.
Steve’s Dad, Gus, was in charge of the outside crew. There was definitely no favoritism bestowed on his kids. We all had to do the lowest jobs, until we didn’t mind it. We learned to work. Hustle and accuracy were the watchwords. You weren’t worth a damn if you only had one.
Steve was fired twice. The first time when he was 11 or 12. He wasn’t old enough to dig retail orders. He was just carrying the dug plants to the end of the row, and stacking them in piles. Well, he daydreamed in that job and mixed up Cahokia, a nice blue, with Moonlight Sonata, a popular yellow.
He was fired loudly in the morning, and was serenaded with his failing all throughout lunch. After supper he was re-hired and told to hoe tall grass for an hour and a half.
The second time he was fired was for talking too much. At the gardens excessive talk interferes with concentration.
Now Steve’s duties include photography, writing catalog descriptions, PR, HR, supervising the Retail Pulling and setting up the Flower Show, shipping, etc.
Steve was married when he was 48. Not because he was careful, but because he was slow, and shy. Since then he lives in Portland with his wife Sarah. He has a stepson Finian, who lives in Portland.
A question he gets is ‘how long is he going to work?’ ‘Are you going to retire?’
“I’ll work,” he says, “probably as long as I’m able because I like it, I think I contribute and I can’t afford to retire.”
Sarah sometimes asks why, at work, we do such and such. “We’ve always done it that way,” I reply. She gets a big kick out of that.
One day I couldn’t wait to tell her I overheard 2 women chatting in the garden and didn’t quite hear the first woman but her friend answered, “I don’t know. I guess they’ve always done it that way.”
I’ve learned from experience to not be presumptuous. I asked a bloom season visitor, who was from out of state, if they came all that way just to see our place. With a look of astonishment he said, “Of course not! We’re here for a graduation.”
Pete Tragitt a retired Soil Conservation man from Roundup, MT, and ex-Harvard, worked for us for 25 years. He was a curmudgeon. After Dad died, Pete seamlessly replaced him in telling me how full of ____ I was. For example”
Flower Show. Customer Service window. Man approaches Pete and asks “are you the owner?”
Pete: “Hell no! See that long-armed ape (pointing at me) down at the end of the building? I’d stay away from him if I were you.”
Man: “Thanks for the advice.”
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