Biography of Owen R. Cusick

CCCMan, Enrollee, Unknown Company, Bunker, Missouri

   Owen R. Cusick, jack hammer operator (award winning) helped build the spillway at Bunker, Missouri.

   He was the oldest child and had quit school to help his dad farm. He was the dependable worker, very strong. I asked him how his father felt about him leaving home, and he said, "Aw, he was happy, get that money." Dad said that $15 was sent home to the family (9 people) and each worker got $5 each month. When I asked how his mother felt, he said he didn't know. My Mom said that she told her it "about killed her. She was still in bed with the youngest baby."

   Times were very hard. Dad lied about his age to get in; he was older and he stayed as long as he could, two years to support the family and have some fun times himself.

   Dad said one of the fellas in Dallas County had a car (!!very rare) and when the boss found out about it he fired the guy. (You couldn't own a car and work in the CCC, he said). Dad thought the boss got the car for very little when the fella couldn't make the payments. He thought the boss got several cars as he traveled from camp to camp.

   After he left the CCCs, Owen Cusick worked farming. His cousin Buck Hatfield (married to the sister of Owen's future wife) got Owen a job in Jackson County. He lived on the farm in a hired hands house and did all farm work for a Kansas City, Mo. lawyer.

   The farm was near Lee's Summit. He milked cows, took care of horses and all other work such as haying. Daughters of the attorney came out and rode the horses and the family came occasionally.

   He worked other jobs, a garage-had an aptitude for mechanics. His job at the garage was is jeopardy when he was injured in a car accident; his cousin Buck Hatfield drove to Dallas County to get Owen's brother Claude to hold the job for him. This was a long trip in those days. Claude had had a disagreement with his father(!) so Buck had to continue to Springfield, Mo.,where Claude was staying with another cousin. Claude returned and held the job for Owen till he could work!! Family was very important.

   Owen got a job with General Motors, Chevy line (factory), but was laid off after a few months. He looked for work, couldn't find anything and was about to accept the WPA work offer which would have taken him away from his wife,when GM called him back. He worked there 30 years. Most people of that time including Owen and Claude were glad of any work they could get.

   I thought it interesting that Owen and his wife knew each other several years (and I saw a picture of them, him hugging her from early in their acqauntance) before they married,--at least six years.

   Owen and his brother and sister (grown and working away from home) also had been asked by their mother to help support her and their three sisters and young brother when she felt the pressure to leave her Ozark farmer husband in the stressful '30's.

----- joju AT fidnet DOT com


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