CLOSE
Oregonencyclopedia.org
Oregonencyclopedia.org

Who Are Harry and David?

Oregonencyclopedia.org
Oregonencyclopedia.org

If you’ve ever been enrolled in the Fruit-of-the-Month Club or gotten a Tower of Treats as a gift, you’re probably familiar with the names Harry and David, but don’t know much about them. Are they real people? Do they have last names?

Harry and David Holmes were indeed real people, and the story of their fruit business starts with their father, Samuel Rosenberg. Sam was a successful hotelier in Washington state with a passion for agriculture. In 1910, he sold his Hotel Sorrento in Seattle and purchased 240 acres of pear orchards along the Bear Creek in Oregon’s Rogue River Valley. When Sam died in 1914, his sons, who both had his green thumb and graduated from Cornell University’s school of agriculture, took over the Bear Creek Orchards. 

The brothers marketed their Comice pears, which they dubbed "Royal Riviera,” as luxury items on the East Coast and in Europe throughout the 1920s, but struggled when fruit prices plummeted during the Great Depression. Desperate to find new buyers, the brothers went on two promotional trips to New York and San Francisco to court would-be corporate clients. No one was biting in New York City, and the 15 boxes of unripened pears they had brought with them sat untouched in their hotel room for a week. Not wanting the fruit to go to waste, they took a suggestion from an advertising executive that they’d met and had the pears delivered, along with a hand-written letter on their hotel stationery, as free samples to business tycoons and captains of industry around town. 

Orders soon came rolling in. Businesses wanted to do what the brothers had done, and send gift boxes of Royal Rivieras and other fruits to their own clients and important customers. Mail-order fruits and other gift packages soon became a big part of their business. 

Bear Creek boomed, and expanded as the brothers bought up land from other struggling growers through the 1930s. In the next decade, World War II was a hurdle and a boon. The brothers had to change their last name to Holmes to counter anti-Semitic boycotts of their products in Germany and Nazi-controlled countries, but overcame the war-time labor shortage by using German POWs at a nearby army camp to harvest their crops. 

David died in 1950 and Harry in 1959. They passed the business on to their sons, who kept it a private, family-owned company until 1976. In early 2011 the company, struggling with debt and decreasing sales, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and emerged from that protection later that year.

Primary image via Oregon Encyclopedia.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images
arrow
Big Questions
What Are Curlers Yelling About?
WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images
WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

Curling is a sport that prides itself on civility—in fact, one of its key tenets is known as the “Spirit of Curling,” a term that illustrates the respect that the athletes have for both their own teammates and their opponents. But if you’re one of the millions of people who get absorbed by the sport once every four years, you probably noticed one quirk that is decidedly uncivilized: the yelling.

Watch any curling match and you’ll hear skips—or captains—on both sides barking and shouting as the 42-pound stone rumbles down the ice. This isn’t trash talk; it’s strategy. And, of course, curlers have their own jargon, so while their screams won’t make a whole lot of sense to the uninitiated, they could decide whether or not a team will have a spot on the podium once these Olympics are over.

For instance, when you hear a skip shouting “Whoa!” it means he or she needs their teammates to stop sweeping. Shouting “Hard!” means the others need to start sweeping faster. If that’s still not getting the job done, yelling “Hurry hard!” will likely drive the point home: pick up the intensity and sweep with downward pressure. A "Clean!" yell means put a brush on the ice but apply no pressure. This will clear the ice so the stone can glide more easily.

There's no regulation for the shouts, though—curler Erika Brown says she shouts “Right off!” and “Whoa!” to get her teammates to stop sweeping. And when it's time for the team to start sweeping, you might hear "Yes!" or "Sweep!" or "Get on it!" The actual terminology isn't as important as how the phrase is shouted. Curling is a sport predicated on feel, and it’s often the volume and urgency in the skip’s voice (and what shade of red they’re turning) that’s the most important aspect of the shouting.

If you need any more reason to make curling your favorite winter sport, once all that yelling is over and a winner is declared, it's not uncommon for both teams to go out for a round of drinks afterwards (with the winners picking up the tab, obviously). Find out how you can pick up a brush and learn the ins and outs of curling with our beginner's guide.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
travel
Why You Should Never Take Your Shoes Off On an Airplane
iStock
iStock

What should be worn during takeoff?

Tony Luna:

If you are a frequent flyer, you may often notice that some passengers like to kick off their shoes the moment they've settled down into their seats.

As an ex-flight attendant, I'm here to tell you that it is a dangerous thing to do. Why?

Besides stinking up the whole cabin, footwear is essential during an airplane emergency, even though it is not part of the flight safety information.

During an emergency, all sorts of debris and unpleasant ground surfaces will block your way toward the exit, as well as outside the aircraft. If your feet aren't properly covered, you'll have a hard time making your way to safety.

Imagine destroying your bare feet as you run down the aisle covered with broken glass, fires, and metal shards. Kind of like John McClane in Die Hard, but worse. Ouch!

Bruce Willis stars in 'Die Hard' (1988)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

A mere couple of seconds delay during an emergency evacuation can be a matter of life and death, especially in an enclosed environment. Not to mention the entire aircraft will likely be engulfed in panic and chaos.

So, the next time you go on a plane trip, please keep your shoes on during takeoff, even if it is uncomfortable.

You can slip on a pair of bathroom slippers if you really need to let your toes breathe. They're pretty useless in a real emergency evacuation, but at least they're better than going barefoot.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios