You know, you get a certain job and it fits like a glove

Mr. LaBatte talks about his jobs and interests.

Audio Chapters

DL: You majored in German, what was your occupation? You mentioned living in the Cities for 20 years.

WL: As soon as I graduated, I went to work for Burlington Northern and I worked in downtown St. Paul. Shortly after that, I got promoted to supervisor where I taught a computer system. I worked all over the system but I got tired of traveling so I quit in ’73 or ’74, something like that. Then I moved home and got into construction. My folks were as disappointed as maybe I was. “What the &%#@ are you doing?” But it [construction work] fit like a glove. You know, you get a certain job and it fits like a glove. I came home from a hard day’s work and I didn’t have to think about the job. When I was doing the white collar job it seemed like you were on 24 hours. I often wondered if there was some kind of genetic thing there because my dad was… I swore I would never do what my dad did because he worked highline and he was telling us how cold it was. I said, “I’m never going to do that. That’s too cold. I’m going to college and getting an inside job.” I ended up doing exactly what my dad did, construction. So I did that. I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life. Shortly after that I got into the union and all the benefits of the union and I was able to retire at 52 but I worked another year and a half. So I retired when I was 53. It turned out to be okay in that respect. I do a lot of artwork now and I was able to have the time to do that.

DL: What’s your medium?

WL: Well I make drums and then I paint on them. I make my own buckskin. I tan my own hides and then I do beadwork. I’m a woodworker too, on furniture. So I do all kinds of things.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Walter LaBatte Interviewer Deborah Locke made in Granite Falls, Upper Sioux Community, MN | Thursday, April 28, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. You know, you get a certain job and it fits like a glove July 26, 2021.

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