By Louie Dewey. Second Generation Owner, Cave Springs Resort. Dunsmuir, CA.
Before all is said and done, one fact about CAVE SPRINGS stands out above all others. It was built on the backs of the women associated with it. This should come as no surprise since the lodging industry from the biggest hotel chain down to the smallest bed and breakfast house traditionally, and to this day, exclusively relies on women to provide its most important products - a bed with clean, crisp sheets and a sanitized bath- room! In thirty-seven years of close association with motels and hotels, I have never seen a male maid. This could change as the culture changes, but until then, the female's traditional role of homemaker continues to provide the training and mental conditioning which make a top-quality maid. When a good homemaker decides to go into a family-run motel business, she may not realize it, but she has just chosen a career as a professional maid. Cave Springs was no exception to this rule. This is not such a bad situation for a child of the depression and a war bride to boot - like my mom.
Being a professional maid with executive privileges right after World War II was a dubious honor. Most of the time was spent cleaning toilets and making beds and the fringe benefits were the abilities to watch four kids all day at the same time and be a desk clerk half the night. In fact, over 98% of the work was menial labor. When it came to the two percent of executive decision, Mom would consult with Dad, and they would make the decision together. Today, this sounds a little less than idyllic. However, at the time, it was a great way to make a living at what most other middle- class women were doing for free. Further- more, when my mom and dad, Bob and Lois Dewey, got into the motel business with their partners, Johnny and Joalice Richards, they were going to make a small fortune in a few years and then sellout. The average length of ownership of a motel is right around five years. That was four decades ago, and the second generation is now running the same motel. The only difference is that this generation of women is college educated and very much aware of the traditional division of labor. That means, as you have probably guessed, that this man cleans toilets and makes beds! But now I am way ahead of myself. Back when the history of this motel began, division of labor was a term used only by Henry Ford and the Marxists of the ghettos and coffee houses in central and Eastern Europe. Automobiles were still a novelty and the steam engine was pressing into every frontier.