Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Little More History

Before the war daddy went to work at Limoniera Ranch just outside Santa Paula, California. As I recall his duties were irrigation and setting out and lighting smudge pots when the temperature dropped into the 30's. Limoniera was mostly lemon groves and if the temperature dropped below freezing it would ruin the crop of lemons. Wind machines had not been invented yet, so the only way to keep the fruit from freezing was to set out these metal pots with things on top like chimneys and round bottoms filled with coal oil. When those things were burning through the wee hours of the morning, you would wake up with black soot in your nose and ears. Pretty gross! During some of that time, momma worked in the packing house, sorting, wrapping and packing lemons. Yes, they used to be individually wrapped. We lived in a little house on the ranch that I think was part of daddy's compensation for his work. A mexican family lived next door to us and introduced our family to tortillas. We haven't quit eating them yet. I remember my brother Charley trying to wrap momma's oakie beans up in them the way he had seen the mexican's wrap their refried beans in them. He had a terrible time trying to eat it that way. You could tell he hadn't been long off the farm.

When the war began in 1941 Daddy got a job at the Port Hueneme Navy Base, so we moved into town. I still remember the address, 133 Davis Street, Santa Paula, CA. The house was a big two story house with three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. The downstairs consisted of a large entry, french doors off the entry into the living room, next was the dining room, to the left of the dining room was the kitchen and a small eating area and a very large walk-in pantry, actually a small room, lined with shelves and room for the icebox. On past the dining room was a small bedroom with an outside entrance that led to the driveway. Beyond that room was large bedroom and a bathroom. In the very front of the house there was a sunporch that ran from the front porch all the way across the front. When you came up on the front porch, you could enter the house through the main door or go to the left and enter through the sunporch and through more french doors into the living room. We lived in that house for four years, longer than any other house until I married. There was another room on that house that was not accessable from inside the house. It was just a small room with a private entrance. Momma rented that room out to a man that worked with daddy at the base. She also rented out one of the bedrooms upstairs. There were so many people who had left family at home and come to where they could get work. The depression really wasn't over for most people until the war began and many people think that is all that brought our economy back. One thing is for sure, when the war started, if you wanted to work, you could find a job.

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