"They used to call me the flying Frenchman. I went flying three times... Then I lost two fingers. I was cutting some insulation...at Edwards Mill in Augusta. These two [accidents] never bothered me; this one bothered me. I tried to get some money for, they never want to pay....I was putting a roof and cutting insulation. Somebody hollered, “Hey lunch!” The fingers feel off. They used to save them and put them together but they asked me , “Where is your fingers?” I says, “I don’t know.” I went back. I was out of there a couple of days later. I went there and one of the guys told me he threw it to the seagulls."
Robert Hamel grew up in Lewiston during the Depression and worked in a variety of occupations, including a very brief stint in the Bates Mill, a session in a Jewish-owned shoe shop and finally 37 years and Hahnel Brothers as a roofer. Hamel discusses working conditions and ethnic relations in the workplace.
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