Chapter 7 Yes Mother I do Remember
War, Husband in Army; First House
Work Hard, Play Hard & Go to Church!
High School is 15 miles away in a Big Town of Bakersfield with Over 20,000 People
In grammar school, we had all of our classes in the same room with the same teacher except for art and sewing. It was entirely different in high school.
We had a different room and a different teacher for every class. We had five minutes to get across campus to our next classes and had one hour in study hall to do our studying and homework so I never had any homework to take home. My first classes were Algebra, Social Studies, typing, biology, English, business training and P.E.. We are going along quiet well until we are instructed to bisect a frog in biology, I say whoops, this is not for me and switch to ag-botany and still love plants and gardening. I have settled down now and really enjoying high school and have been initiated into the G.A.A. (girl’s athletics association) and have been voted in to be a cheerleader for the school games.
December 7, 1941 the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor and war has been declared by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I was thirteen years old and felt like the world was ending. I thought the Japanese would be dropping bombs on us any minute. Everyone blacked out their windows and I was listening for the airplanes to come and destroy everything. Gradually everyone relaxes and things seem to be a little more normal. Things haven't been rationed yet.
Church Was the Center of All Activities
Movie houses and skating rinks had not come to Lamont or Weedpatch, so our source of entertainment was still the Pentecostal Church, some called it the Holy-Roller Church. If you wanted to see or meet new or old friends, church was the place to go. If you wanted to see or meet new or old friends, church was the place to go. The times of depression and struggling for livelihood brought caring families closer together. Togetherness and standing shoulder to shoulder made us able to stand when it would have been easy to give up. We stuck together, went to church together, and when one of us needed a boost we all together rallied and helped. It wasn't easy, neither my sibling or myself took abuse lightly. The road was rough, but we were tough, after while we had enough. We were all determined to make life better; everyone worked hard and we have all done well. We've overcome the obstacles, put them behind us. Life was great.
My New and First Boyfriend, Who I Married, So I would Not Go to Hell (I got Pregnant)
My dear old friend, Melba Campbell introduced George Thompson and Connie Gray to me. They were skinny cotton-picking kids of seventeen years of age. Melba must have been fourteen and I was red headed thirteen. He kept trying to go with me and the braggart that he was, told everyone that little redhead was the girl he was going to marry. Little did I know what lay ahead of me. He was always at the church standing outside looking through the window at me and trying to get me to come outside. He got to driving by the house. I was very flattered that someone was this persistent. He finally stopped and was invited in the house and introduces himself as George. Mom finally consented to let me go with him to church if my sister Evalee went with us. George would bring his brother Dewey along to go with Evalee.
There was a theater in Arvin, about nine miles away. George would get permission from Mom to take Evalee and I to the movie and would tell Evalee and Dewey to go ahead and we would be in soon. Most of the time we never saw all of the movie and I constantly had a fight on my hands trying to stay a virgin. He was a very jealous and possessive person. I felt very flattered getting all this attention and thought this was the way it was when someone really cared. I had never seen any manifestations of caring and loving, I thought this was it. In my family, there was never a display of affection or words of love. We all worked.
First Baby, Dallas (me, writing this) Was Born When I was 15 Years Old
Dallas was another new experience for me and fascinating just to watch. He was my first baby, born November 16, 1944. I was fifteen when he was born. His father, George was in the Army. He was a very active baby and was always hungry. He got fatter and I got thinner, he weighed eighteen and a half pounds when he was two and a half months old. I nursed him until he was almost eight months old and he just decided he had rather eat than nurse. He never crawled on his hands and knees, he always used his hands and feet and didn't do that very long until he begin to walk at eight and a-half months. I took him to a beauty contest at seven and a-half month and he won on beauty and health. He began to walk before he was nine months old. From then on he was a busy little toddler and curious about everything in sight and very observant....and still is today.
Lived with My Husband's Parents
It is the summer of 1945 and I am sixteen, we spend many of our evenings at his parents. His excuse, I want to keep an eye on my dad so that he will not lose too much money playing poker with the other men in the camp. Eventually, my husband, George started gambling too and his dad is after him to stop playing poker so he just starts going to the gambling halls in Lamont and loses his money. When cotton is ready to pick in September, I get my cotton sack and Dallas, get on my bike, and go pick cotton with George’s parents. We have an argument about me keeping my cotton-picking money. He says he is the man of the house that I don't have anything to say about where the money goes. His mother comes to my rescue. I keep the money to buy food; He was making good money at Richfield Oil Company, but gambled most of it away. Dallas seemed to enjoy going to the cotton fields. I would put him on my sack until I got it too full and then I would put him in front of me to play in the dirt.
Married: First House Paid $600 with $300 down, $20 per Month On a "Handshake"
My husband is now making good money as a foreman at Richfield Oil Company. We bought our first house for $600 with $300 down and $20 per month for a two-room house with no inside plumbing or electricity. It was two blocks from my mother’s house. We used a lamp for lights and dug a hole for a “outhouse” in the back yard. It was our toilet. I had a three-burner kerosene stove. The stove had to be perfectly level, or it would smoke.
Work in the Field Six Days Per Week
Now, I am picking potatoes with a heavy belt around my waist with two hooks in front and I would hook a burlap bag on the hooks, pull it between my legs until the bag was almost full, and set it upright with the top pulled to the side. You did this as fast as you could from sun up to sunset, six days a week. I get to keep my money.
When the potato season is over, I go back to work in the packing sheds.
To see my mother as she is today:
My Mother's 600 Mile Ocean Trip in My Cabin Cruiser: