by Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
In the small town of Corning, rumors spread easily. When word got out that Gene Lauducci was retiring (he’s not), he found out that people were “lining up” to take his place. He even heard rumors on who was replacing him during a visit to the local lumber yard.
“I laughed when I heard that so-and-so was replacing me,” says Lauducci, 64. “It’s a small town, and word gets out in a way that’s hilarious.”
People who know Lauducci say the journeyman carpenter, maintenance man and all-around fix-it guy at Corning High School is irreplaceable. They love his easy laugh, wry sense of humor and hands-on ability. The self-described “alternative person” is a devotee of yoga and vegetarianism, which in rural Corning makes him a “character,” says Judy Rhoda, president of the Corning High School Cal-ESP chapter he belongs to.
The former Bay Area contractor moved to the Tehama County town of Corning 12 years ago. His grown children joked that he moved there so they’d never move back home. But he likes the slower pace just fine and enjoys being on a crew that keeps the high school, built at the turn of the century, looking spiffy.
In Gene’s words:
A typical school day?
There’s no such thing. Sometimes I rush from emergency to emergency to emergency. Sometimes we’re replacing siding on aging portables, running wiring and hanging mounts for overhead projectors, digging up plumbing for the sprinkler systems and putting in new lines, fixing toilets, setting up the bleachers for sporting events. If there’s time, I’ll make cabinets in the woodshop. We keep the school in good shape and have gotten lots of compliments from people who work at other schools.
The best part of the job…
is that it’s so diverse. I can work with my hands. The school owns a farm here that was donated from someone who passed away, so we’re always fixing it up and building irrigation systems. I like the kids. By the time they’re seniors, you get to know them and they are comfortable talking to you. Some get jobs working with us in the summer. I like the teachers. But my favorite thing is running the backhoe. I love that thing. It’s my toy.
A funny thing that happened on the job…
was getting locked in a storage room. In one of the storage rooms, you can’t open it from the inside, and when the wind catches the door just right, it slams shut. But it’s not just me; other people have gotten locked in, too.
Being a union member is a good thing…
because if we get into a controversy or struggle, we have some security and a support system in place to work it out and solve the problem. Being in a union helps you earn a living wage. I’m glad to be a member.
Back to Main Page