Interview With Gordon D. Trafton

From the interview With Gordon D. Trafton conducted by Oran DeBois at the Fort Worden History Center on June 16, 2005.  Mr. Trafton worked at Fort Worden from 1960 to 1971, first as a custodian and then as a carpenter.  He was the foreman on the carpenter crew for seven years.  Mr. Trafton died in 2007 at the age of 87.  Here he discusses some of the residents of the Juvenile Diagnostic and Treatment Center that he encountered:

“Some of the kids didn’t work out well in the academic program.  They didn’t want anything to do with schooling.  They’d send these guys over to me and I’d put them with a carpenter or painter, or maybe put two or three guys riding on the garbage truck with the driver.  They would work out well there.  I had one kid working with Keith Baldwin, who was a carpenter.  Keith was watching after this boy, who said he was going to take off and run away.  Keith knew that the kid was just trying to get to him, so he said ‘Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do.  I’ll give you a package of cigarettes and a five dollar bill and get you out of the farm as far as the main gate if you’re ready—anytime.’ That shut the kid up and he didn’t say anymore.  Another kid ran and came back after a couple of days.  He said, ’Did you miss me?’  ‘Were you gone?’ we asked.  He never ran again.  Another kid put a billiard ball in a sock and clobbered the man who was on night duty, knocked him out cold.”

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