Franco-American Collection

Robert Hamel

"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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