July 12 and 19, 2002 and September 13, 2002
Hanson: This is an oral history interview with Charlotte Vaughn for the San Bernardino Oral History Project. July 12, 2002, tape 1, side 1. Good morning Charlotte.
VAUGHN: Good morning Joyce, how are you doing?
Hanson: I'm doing fine I think. I want to start out talking about your family background a little bit so we get an idea of where your family came from and how they came to be in California. So, why don't we start with grandparents and work our way up.
VAUGHN: I can go back further than that if you want me to.
Hanson: Oh, absolutely, as far back as you can go.
VAUGHN: Okay, on my mother's side they came from Scotland and Ireland, Northern Ireland early, in the 1700's. And then one boy came to Maryland before 1700 as a bound servant. He was 17 years old and he served for seven years. Then he was given land for 99 years and then it was to go back to the estate of the person who gave it to him. He had a number of children and that family had as many as 16 in one family. My grandmother, my mother's mother, was one of his descendants and she was the sixth child of 13. Her other side of the family goes back to Kentucky to about 1800, and I don't know where they came from. Their name was Graham and they must have come from Scotland or Ireland. My father's family, his father, the Tee side of our family came from London, England in 1745 as an apprentice to the Surveyor General of Pennsylvania. He was only 14 years old and they sent him to school to learn higher mathematics. He took trigonometry, calculus, and geometry and things of that sort. Then he did work as a Secretary to the Surveyor General of Pennsylvania for a number of years until he was old enough to marry. He was in his late 20's when he married. He married a woman who had three children and then they had six, including two sets of twins. I descend from the oldest boy in the family; that's where my father came from. They lived in Pennsylvania for about four more generations before they started moving. They moved north and west and eventually came to Oklahoma and that's where my family, well my mother and father were born in Okalahoma and so was I.
My father's mother's side of the family, they were French and they came to Kentucky and came into Indiana from there. Her, the other side of the family came from North Carolina on her family and they all, some way they got together in Illinois and Arkansas and that's as far back as I've got them. They stayed in Oklahoma. They weren't sooners but they took land in the last opening of the Cherokee strip; the last opening of Indian land in Oklahoma. The one family lived in Kansas and the other one right south of Wichita a little ways. But to go back a little bit, one side of my father's family married into the Boone family.
Hanson: The Daniel Boone family?
VAUGHN: Not his family. They came from England in about 1710-1714 and then there were three generations before the Tee families tied into them. But they were part of the Boone family. A boone female married a Tee, but my great grandfather named one of his sons with the name of Boone in it, Raymond Boone, so that's how we found the connection.
I'm trying to think of where we all came from. The Tee family, the Patterson family and the Darnell family were neighbors in Oklahoma. They all lived in Major and Blaine County, Oklahoma. My father and mother were born in Indian Territory, what they called Indian Territory in Oklahoma before the turn of the century. Do you want birth dates?
Hanson: I have some birth dates here. I have your father, Richard? Charles Richard.
VAUGHN: That's my grandfather.
Hanson: Oh your grandfather. Oh, I'm sorry, Paul is your father.
VAUGHN: Paul is my father.
Hanson: And he was born in 1895.
Hanson: In Indian Territory.
Hanson: And your mother in 1898 in Indian Territory.
VAUGHN: Yes. And she was a Patterson. The Tee family in Pennsylvania had quite a bit of property because he was with the Surveyor General, and he was able to take property, buy property and acquire property in Shook Hill, Burkes County and, well in the Western Part of Pennsylvania. Not at Pittsburgh, but near Pittsburgh. And so he had lots of property to give to his children. But then they had so many children that it got divided too many times.
Hanson: That's a problem.
VAUGHN: So they started moving west. But I did have four great grandfathers that served in the Union Armies in the Civil War.
Hanson: Oh really? That's interesting.
VAUGHN: The Tee family, the early ones, were considered patriots because they furnished materials and food for the revolutionary war.
Hanson: You also had family in the Civil War and they were on the Union side.
VAUGHN: They were on the Union side, four great grandfathers.
Hanson: So obviously you're into genealogy.
VAUGHN: Oh yes. Well I knew about that for a long time before I did genealogy. My grandfather and grandmother the Patterson side of the family and the Tee side of the family lived in Oklahoma and they were farmers. My grandfather Patterson was a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. He was a blacksmith, he could make shoes, he could just do about anything there was and he always called himself a socialist. After he died, we went through papers and things and found that he had belonged to the socialist party and had been in one of the elections early in Oklahoma as a County, oh; I don't know what you call them. Anyway one of the County officers from the Major County. He didn't get elected, but he ran on the Socialist ticket.
Hanson: He ran as a socialist.
VAUGHN: And he always called himself the old socialist.
Hanson: Oh, that's interesting.
VAUGHN: But the other grandfather, he just strictly stayed at home and farmed and raised a large family.
My dad was the second of eight children, and mother was the second of seven children. My dad didn't work very long as a farmer after they were married. He had gone through the eighth grade of school, and then he went to what they called normal school, and he could be a teacher in the rural schools in one of the little one-room schoolhouses. He never worked at it very much, he did substitute teaching until he was 18, or I guess he must have been about 20 when he quit doing that. Then after he farmed a few years he went to the oil fields and was a carpenter building oil derricks, the wooden oil derricks for about three years. Then mother contracted tuberculosis and they started to Arizona with her and he couldn't find work in Arizona so they came on the California because she had relatives here. And this is where we stayed.
Hanson: So that's how you got to California.
VAUGHN: That's how we got to California.
Hanson: I was going to ask you how your family got from Oklahoma to California.
VAUGHN: In a Model T Ford, camping by the side of the road every night.
Hanson: This is what 1920's then?
Hanson: 1923. Now I was going to ask you if you were part of that exodus out of Oklahoma.
VAUGHN: No, not in the Grapes of Wrath era. Before that.
Hanson: Before that yes, but I mean there was even before the Grapes of Wrath era, there was kind of an exodus out when they had the dust storms.
VAUGHN: Well they came because mother had tuberculosis.
Hanson: That was the other reason most people came was health.
VAUGHN: Yes, because there were lots of tuberculosis sanitariums here. We didn't know where they were, but we had heard about them. We can't document them. But, mother was treated by a doctor here, and her tuberculosis was arrested and she lived to be 83 years old.
Hanson: Well, I guess the climate was good for her. It was a good move.
VAUGHN: My dad worked for at first, a roofing contractor, and then he worked for Hayward Lumber Company in San Bernardino for a number of years. Then they moved to Seal Beach and he worked for a lumberyard there and then my mother got sick again. So they moved to Las Vegas and he worked for a lumber company there until World War II started. He moved back to San Bernardino and they both worked at the Air Depot, which is Norton Air Force Base.
Then after the war they moved back to Oklahoma and started a business of their own back there. And they lived there until about two years before my dad died. They moved to California and dad died within a short time after that. But mother lived by herself in Riverside for a while and then lived in San Bernardino for about three or four years before she died. Everybody in the family had heart trouble. It just goes in our family. They all, even my great grandmother has had what they call dropsy, which was a heart disease. And my mother and dad both died of heart attacks.
Hanson: It's genetic?
VAUGHN: Yes. And my brother had heart problems. He had bypasses and he died of heart problems. There were just two of us, my brother Garth Tee and myself, and I was born the 30th of October 1917 and he was born the 8th of November in 1919. And that's the only children. Then, after mother's tuberculosis was arrested and we got to be junior high school age, she stared working at the packing houses in Highland packing oranges and my dad was still working at the lumberyard. I got so that I could cook at the age of 12. I did a lot of the cooking.
She let me iron when I was about, oh, maybe eight years old, with a sadiron that you heated on top of the stove. I learned to iron with that and I had to stand on a pail to wash dishes at the sink. So I got to do that, which was a privilege you know?
Hanson: Of course.
VAUGHN: Everybody at that time had chickens. We had a pet rabbit and had a good time. My dad liked to play baseball and then we grew up with baseball players and, not professional, but sandlot and that was one of the entertainments. My dad was a musician and he played the organ, the piano, any kind of instrument he could pick up and play it. He could read music too. He played just about anything. So we got interested in playing, I played the piano and my brother played the violin. We had quite a musical family. Then when I married, my husband played the guitar, which he only knew three cords and I taught him to play any cord that he wanted to play.
Hanson: You could have gone on the road. The Tee family.
VAUGHN: Not really, we weren't that good of singers. But we enjoyed it. So we did play, well that comes later. Mother was a good cook and she loved to sew. She didn't have many other hobbies. Early they had a little club that my dad played the organ and harmonica. Another fella played the fiddle and they had square dances, what they called quadrilles, and schottisches and polkas and things like that sort. They had those for several years and then dad bought a player piano and we would have people at our house and they would dance to the music of the player piano.
Hanson: There were a lot of things to do before television weren't there?
VAUGHN: Oh yes, there were. We didn't even have a radio.
Hanson: You didn't need one.
VAUGHN: But we did have an old fashioned wind-up phonograph. A phonograph, and we had some records. I can remember one of them was an Uncle Josh record. Now you don't remember those.
Hanson: No, I don't.
VAUGHN: Oh, but they were fantastic. He told all kinds of things about where he went as a child when they first got a Model T Ford. I've still got some of the disk records, the circular records.
VAUGHN: And a circular machine to play them on. They had lots of those. I have Hawaiian music that was played at that time. And it's just fantastic the things that was available in those days without having a television.
Hanson: Do you think people had more talents back then or more musical inclination, things like that because they didn't have television or radio?
VAUGHN: I don't know really. My family were singers. Mother couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, but she sang all the time. But I had a pretty good voice when I was a kid, when I was younger, and my brother could sing. My dad could sing pretty well, he was quite a low baritone singer. At my grandfather Patterson's 100th birthday celebration in Oklahoma grandpa sang a song for us and it was pretty good.
Hanson: So longevity is part of your family too?
VAUGHN: Yes, well he was the oldest one. But his family were long lived. One of his brothers died young, well two of them died young. The rest of them, the sisters and the other brothers lived to their 80's. But grandpa lived the longest. And his mother was long-lived. She was about 90 when she died. So it's quite a bit.
Hanson: That explains why you are so with it.
VAUGHN: Well, I try to be. But my brother's been dead for 12 years now.
Hanson: Well, men don't live that long. Men tend to live a little less long than we do.
VAUGHN: Well he was a smoker and that didn't help him any.
Hanson: Yes, lifestyle makes a difference.
VAUGHN: So, we always celebrated all the holidays. In San Bernardino we had Halloween parades. Different parades at different times of the year, and they always furnished a flatbed truck to have a float on. So I got to ride in the truck.
Hanson: Were you the queen?
VAUGHN: No, I was in the cab, just riding in the cab. I didn't ride on the floats, but at least we were in the parade. I didn't know anything about trick-or-treating, nothing; we didn't do trick-or-treating until after I was married.
A little girl came to my house and she said trick-or-treat and I thought what's that? The only thing I had was a slice of pie and I made her come in and eat it and then she went on her way. Oh I've had lots of fun in my life. Mother had an aunt that lived at the beach and we always went down to Newport Beach. Well we camped down there too with friends. We'd go down for two weeks at a time and the women would go longer than that and the men would come over the weekends. Then when they'd have their vacation they'd be there for a week. So we had lots of fun. We had just rocks with a grill over it to cook on. They always cooked for the children and got them out of the way. Then one of the men was cooking his breakfast and one of the kids ran through there and kicked dirt, sand in his food. It was terrible. It wasn't his child, so he couldn't do anything about it.
And then another time a bunch of us, there was 16 children in the whole bunch, including a baby. I wasn't the oldest, I was in the middle, and we borrowed "quote" a rowboat and that was before Newport Harbor was dredged out. It was cattail islands out in the middle of it when the tide was low. So we borrowed this boat and16 of the kids got in that boat and rowed out to one of those islands and walked around on it for a while. And when our families saw us we got the devil. But there's lots of things I remember in San Bernardino. I used to play here in the park, what they call Pioneer Park where the library is, as a child. They didn't have playgrounds here or anything like that, but we would come here and play, just run around and play here. I had cousins that lived not far from here, so we played back and forth. Then we would go to Sylvan Park in Redlands and Fairmont Park in Riverside for picnics. They had playground equipment.
Some of the time then, well what they called Lytle Creek Park, was "K" Street Park, didn't have much playground, but we played in Meadow Brook Park here in San Bernardino.
Hanson: Where was Meadow Brook?
VAUGHN: Well it's still there. It's between Rialto and Third Street between Sierra Way and Allen Street. They've got apartment houses in there now and different things like that too, but there's still a park there.
Hanson: What kind of games would you play if you were, say at the park here where they didn't have playground equipment, with your cousins?
VAUGHN: Oh we played tag and we played kick the can and we played, oh what else did we play? We jumped rope a lot, we had jacks, because they had sidewalks, we'd sit on the sidewalks and play jacks. And when we did get to go to a park we played baseball and rode the slides and everything like that. But we were just, just kids.
My dad was not a fisherman, but I remember going to Newport and there used to be a man there that went out every morning real early, about four o'clock in the morning; he'd go out in a rowboat, and he would catch a great big fish. It was a great big black sea bass. He called it a Jew fish. It was a humongous thing though. It was as big as a shark, great big things. And I guess it weighed probably oh in the neighborhood of 200 pounds.
And he would get, row back then, and someone in his family would meet him at the shore and they'd put a horse onto that fish and boat and drag it back up on the sand and then he would have a table there that he cut the fish up and he sold it. And I remember about that, watching him cut that fish up.
VAUGHN: Maybe that's why I don't like fish.
Hanson: Yes, I think that would do it. Fish cleaning is not fun to watch, especially those big ones.
VAUGHN: Well he didn't really clean it. It was so big that he just cut steaks off of it all the time you know. But I didn't stay around that long to watch him. I was too busy doing other things.
But, hop scotch, we played a lot of hop scotch. We played as a youngster in Highland; I lived in Highland. One of the neighborhood boys built a wooden airplane. He could get in and ride in it. So the rest of us got to push it.
Hanson: Did it ever get off the ground?
VAUGHN: No. Oh another game that we played was hoops. We took a round ring off of a nail keg, it's a metal band around the nail keg or a big one off of a big keg. And we made a t-square then and pushed that around the streets. That was one of the entertainments we had. We always had firecrackers at Fourth of July. We were never allowed to have the big ones, but my mother's youngest brother lived with us and he could get the four inch ones you know and then put them under a can and shoot the can way up high in the air. We weren't allowed to play with those, but… We would get what they call lady fingers, they were a little tiny pack of firecrackers. They were maybe a quarter of an inch long or three-eights of an inch and they were all hooked together. We would just light one end of it and let them pop all over. We didn't have much money, but we did enjoy that.
And of course we flew kites. I don't know what other games that we played really. We played kick the can, and oh red rover was a game that we played and we played kick the can and hide and seek together at night. But we really enjoyed the games. We were poor as church mice, but we didn't know it. We had fun. I can remember dad and mother had money in a savings account and a checking account at one of the banks in town and the manager or the president of it or something absconded with the money and so they lost their money in that. And we had been trading at one store for years and do you know that man wouldn't let us have credit for a month until dad could get another check for groceries.
Hanson: This was during the 30's?
VAUGHN: Yes. It was about 1931. It was before the bank crash, the big bank crash. But anyway, they got a little bit of money back out it, but not very much because it wasn't guaranteed. There was no guarantee on any of it.
Then I remember another time when my brother wanted a bicycle. Well they couldn't afford one so there was a market here in town on Sixth and "E" I believe it was, across the street called Burk's Market Spot. And they had a contest of who could bring in the most grocery customers and buy the most groceries. They got credit for it you know if they could bring patrons in. So my brother worked hard. He had a tremendous amount of groceries that people had bought there. And my dad overheard a man talking to the manager one day, or the owner of it one day, and he said that he would, no matter how much the other children brought in he would buy enough groceries for his son to win that bicycle. And my dad blew a fuse and the man didn't get to buy the groceries. My dad threatened to go to the police.
So my brother did win the bicycle because he had really worked at it. But my only jobs were babysitting. I babysat a lot. My brother mowed lawns, and that was the way we earned a little bit of money, but we didn't earn very much. I got fifty cents for three or four hours of work babysitting.
Hanson: Easy money, right?
VAUGHN: I can remember bread was ten cents a loaf when you bought it at the store. It was unsliced. Milk was ten cents a gallon if you went and got it with your own container. And we would go on Saturday evenings to town all the time. Everybody visited in town, downtown San Bernardino. Then afterward we'd go up on "E" Street just below Highland Avenue to the Big Bear Creamery and get a big milk shake apiece for ten cents each. It was one that was, oh it must have been over a quart, a big milkshake for ten cents apiece.
I was here when McDonalds first started, but before McDonalds we had what we called Ruby's Drive-In, and that's where a lot of the teenagers hung out. And it later became part of the McDonald Corporation. It didn't belong to the McDonalds, it belonged to Ray Crock, and he went into that, and Ruby's moved in up on Highland Avenue. But he bought that place out and started his business there.
And oh I, there's just so many things that I remember about San Bernardino.
Hanson: You're doing great, keep talking about them.
VAUGHN: Mother bought yardage and different things at McInerny's Department Store. She bought dresses for herself at Penny's and at Markell's and when Cresses and Woolworth's came in, that was a big deal, but the first dime store type thing that we had was the Red Front, and it wasn't really a dime store, but it was sort of like Cresses or something like that. And then we had The Dollar Store. And of course Montgomery Ward came later and so did Sears, but Penny's was here early. In fact, we were in Penny's store in 1933 buying me a pair of shoes because the next day we were going to go to a radio station with some friends to see the show. It was Stewart Hamlin and his gang, and that evening, as we were buying shoes, the 1933 earthquake struck in Long Beach and we felt it out here. And people started running from the store and my dad started screaming, 'Don't run, get back here under the mezzanine. Don't run out front, the bricks will fall off on your head.' So everybody came back in and got under the mezzanine with him. It lasted quite a while, enough for them to get almost to the front and then come back.
Hanson: That's a long earthquake.
VAUGHN: But it didn't do much. It did some damage a little bit, but not much around here.
Another earthquake I remember, the 1923 earthquake that struck here, and it did some damage to the courthouse. This is not in chronological order.
Hanson: That doesn't matter.
VAUGHN: But, it did damaged to the courthouse and a number of buildings in town and it was at night. I don't know what time, but I remember the house shaking and almost knocking us out of bed. And we were scared spitless because we'd never felt an earthquake before. We were little; I was not quite six and then the next we walked uptown to see what damage was done, and the bricks fell off the courthouse and some of the other buildings had some bricks that fell off of them too. But it was one of the strong ones. I don't know how strong it was. Am I going on too long?
Hanson: [End of side 1]
Hanson: Tape 2, side 2. Okay, we were talking about the earthquakes.
VAUGHN: The smudging that went on in the valley. We had lots of oranges you know, and the fact that we'd get up in the mornings, well we'd go out during the day and our noses would be black all around and it was hard to breathe. Mother packed oranges, but then she never was involved in smudging; neither was my dad.
Hanson: Explain a little bit what smudging is because I'm from the east coast, so I have no idea.
VAUGHN: Okay. Well, we had what they call smudge pots. They were round containers with oil in them. And then they had a big long stove pipe connected to them and the men would go in the orange grove; they were set every so often in an orange grove and the men would go out when it got cold, if it got down to 27 degrees it would freeze the oranges.
But they 'd go out before that and light those smudge pots. The fire would come out the top of them they'd be so hot, and keep it hot, warm in there.
Now there were some orange groves in Highland that they had hot water, and they ran the hot water to make the steam come up and keep the groves. And then later they put wind machines out there. They could no longer use the smudge pots because it polluted the air so badly. And they used wind machines. They would have these big towers with propellers, they're like the wind machines they have now for generating electricity. But the smudge was very bad, and I remember one year; it snowed several times here in this valley since I've lived here. Once it snowed enough that we made snowmen on the lawn. Then later, after I was married it snowed. Well the winter after I was married, we were building a little house to live in and we moved into Cary's grandmother's house and at my house, I had clothes just on hangers stuck on a nail and wrapped in a sheet and it started to get real cold and so they started smudging. Well when they got through smudging, we moved into our house I took those clothes down and the wall was white behind the clothes, but the rest of it was black. We had to clean the rest of it.
Hanson: That's really bad.
VAUGHN: And another time when my children were little, well they weren't so little, but it snowed and it snowed for a week and it would snow about four or five inches during the day and the evening. Then about midnight they started to smudge and it would be black when you go up in the morning.
It was terrible. They couldn't work. Even though my husband was working, he was let off to go and help the orange growers, but it didn't stay, the fruit, I think they saved about 10% of the fruit, something like that. It just didn't save it. It didn't damage the trees, but it got down to 17 that year. It was cold, uh huh. That's the coldest I've ever seen it here and I've lived here since 1923.
I did graduate. I attended elementary schools in Highland. And then in the sixth grade we moved to San Bernardino, so I attended Roosevelt School for the sixth grade. Then I went to Sturges Junior High School for three years and then I graduated from San Bernardino High School in '36. And I had a good time in high school. I did lots of sports. I was in the Indian Study Club, I belonged to the G.A.A., and did lots of sports. I was an art student for four years in junior high school and high school both. I did the usual things that kids do, all the football games and things of that sort I could go to, I could manage to.
Hanson: So you were really active in sports and student activities. What's the Indian Study Group?
VAUGHN: Well the principal had it and we were called the Sobobans. We would go to the Southwest Museum and we went to a place down off of Salton Sea to see the petrogliffs down there. We studied about the early Indians here and things like that, so it was quite interesting. We only met I think once a month, but we got to go on bus trips to different places.
Hanson: That's pretty nice.
VAUGHN: It was nice, so. I enjoyed that very much.
Hanson: Actually that's kind of ahead of its time, studying about Indian culture.
VAUGHN: Well he was very interested in it, so that's why he had it started; he was very interested in it.
Hanson: That's really interesting. And G.A.A. is the Girls Athletic Association?
VAUGHN: Girls Athletic Association, and I was very active in that. My teachers, I could remember some of my favorite teachers; I had a Mrs. Patton in fifth grade in Highland, Ruth Patton was her name, and I liked her very well. And then my junior high school teachers, let me see, who would it be. Oh, Mrs. Van Voorhees, Miss Bogust, Mrs. Ryan. I had a Mr. Brown, but we all made fun of him.
Hanson: I notice you had a lot of female teachers. I was going to say did you have any male teachers?
VAUGHN: I had a couple. In junior high school I had a couple of male teachers. And then after I left Sturges I went to San Bernardino High School and Mr. Brown was up there too.
Hanson: What did Mr. Brown teach?
VAUGHN: Social studies I guess is what you'd call it.
Hanson: Everybody makes fun of the social studies teachers.
VAUGHN: No, he liked the girls.
Hanson: Oh, okay. So we go back even that far.
VAUGHN: Yes. I was trying to think of the teachers that I really enjoyed more than anything else. In high school one of the teachers I really enjoyed, but she wasn't a very good teacher. What was her name? Forget it, I can't remember her name now.
But she was just a little bit of a woman and she couldn't control her class, but she was interesting too because she was a history teacher and she was interesting to listen to. I think I took world history from her. And then one that we had a lot of fun in his class was Mr. Schiller, who was our French teacher. We had a lot of fun in his class. We didn't learn anything, but we had a lot of fun.
We had a gym teacher, Mrs. Poss, and I really enjoyed her. She was the head of the girls athletic thing and she was, Winifred Poss, she was really a good teacher. She didn't put up with any nonsense or anything like that, but she did things for us and with us.
Hanson: Those gym teaches don't put up with any nonsense.
VAUGHN: No, but and then we had a Miss, oh now think what her name is… it'll come to me in a minute. For health, she was a health teacher. She was a nurse and was a health teacher and I enjoyed her classes too. And then I had a Mr. Griffin for chemistry and I liked his class. I enjoyed chemistry. I didn't like solid geometry, but I liked chemistry. I couldn't do geometry. Forget it! I liked math, but not geometry. I said why do I have to prove something that's already been proven?
Hanson: I'm with you. I don't think you should have to prove anything you already know.
VAUGHN: Oh hairstyles. My hair was short when I was young. My grandmother cut it. My mother kept it cut in a little Dutch bob for years. Then about the fourth grade I wanted to let it grow out, so we started letting it grow out, and my hair is very curly, and it was hard to comb, but mother put up with it. She made me long curls on her finger and then we had to have a barrette to hold them because they'd just flop all over. But it didn't get too long because my hair was so curly. And then in high school I had it cut, like it's cut now, in a boyish, what they call a boyish bob, it was shingled and combed straight back; and that's the way it was all through high school. But another time after that I let it grow out, but not for very long. I didn't like long hair, no way. I couldn't braid it so I just didn't like it.
Hanson: Well when it's curly it has a mind of it's own.
VAUGHN: Yes. It definitely did. But, that's about all the things in high school. After I graduated high school, in the Spring I got married in September Highland at the Methodist Church to my husband and we've been married since 1936, which makes it what?
Hanson: A long time.
VAUGHN: Sixty-six years. We were married the fourth of September 1936. I think this will be 66 years.
Hanson: I think you're right, if my math is any good.
VAUGHN: Then we had two children. My daughter's name was Betty Carolyn; my son's name is Paul Edward. And they both married local people around here. They went to Highland Elementary School and Highland Junior High School. We lived in Highland all that time. And then they went to Pacific High School, and graduated from Pacific High School. My daughter married a fella from Blue Jay and my son married a girl from Rialto. My daughter has lived around here all the time, all of her life, and my son has traveled. He got a job after he got out of the Navy he went to work at Norton and then they had a big rift at Norton and he was transferred to Hill Field up in Utah. And they were up there through several years and the birth of five children.
Hanson: That would be at least five years.
VAUGHN: Well they had one child before they left here. And then they had another one that was, where was he born? Was he born in Cheyenne. Yes, he was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming. And then when he was two months old, no a month old, we went to Cheyenne and they were ready to come back to Utah and we helped bring, move them back to Utah then. But then they had two more children… one, two, three, four more children. They had six children altogether. One was born in Georgia when they moved to Georgia. They moved from Georgia to Battle Creek, Michigan and then to Seattle. He had been in Whioby Island up in Washington in the Navy and he was trying to get back there, so all the time he was moving he was working to get back to Seattle.
Hanson: He took the long route.
VAUGHN: And he's lived there every since. He still lives around Seattle. He had the six children, two died young, but they raised four. And my daughter just had two children, a girl and a boy. And the girl lives up in Port Angeles, Washington and is a nurse. She graduated from Riverside City College as a nurse and then after she was a nurse for several years her mother went to Riverside City College and she's a nurse now. So she didn't work when she was younger, but she's a nurse now. And my son graduated from Weaver State in Utah. I didn't go to college, neither did my husband. He didn't graduate high school, but I didn't go to college and I said I got my education from the University of hard knocks. So, we've enjoyed life. We became square dancers and really, really worked at that for a long time. Worked at it I mean, but enjoyed it thoroughly along with playing music for square dances. I played the piano, my husband played the guitar and we had a fiddle player, and we played for square dances.
We played for the first national square dance that they had in Riverside, California in 1948, seems like it was about '48 or '49 maybe. I can't remember just exactly. But anyway it was in Riverside. They blocked off the streets, they had street dances, they had all of the auditoriums there filled with square dancers; it was really quite a success. And I didn't play there, but he did. He played guitar for one of the callers over there. And we knew a number of the callers and we used to have square dances at our house and we had musicians come in. We had fiddle players, accordion players, piano players, guitar players. My husband played banjo and mandolin too, so they, everything went into it, but we had music at our house. And after we moved from where we lived when that was going on I talked to some of the neighbors and they said, 'oh we would lay in bed at night,' I said well we always tried to knock it off by 11:00 o'clock anyway. They said, 'but we'd go to bed and lay in bed and open our window so we could hear your music.'
Hanson: So at least they were enjoying it.
VAUGHN: One night they were there at our house and it was, I guess it was about, oh it was after midnight, and someone says, 'I'm hungry.' And I said, 'I don't have enough to feed this whole crowd food.' Another man piped up, he said I know where I can get some chickens. So he went to his mother in laws, and they brought live chickens back and we killed them, dressed them and I cooked them. And he brought his mother-in-law and father-in-law back with him and we must have had 20 people there. And here at three o'clock in the morning I was cooking chicken. Its just stupid things that we did I guess, but we had fun. We enjoyed it.
Hanson: That's all that counts then.
VAUGHN: That's the way life should be is to enjoy it. And I was a Campfire Girl leader. I was president of the Highland P.T.A. I was a Cub Scout leader, and then I was a chauffeur for my children for several years.
Hanson: That happens to all of us.
VAUGHN: So, after the kids married and moved away, I got interested in lots of other things. I got interested in genealogy then. But we did go back to Oklahoma almost every two years for family get-togethers, because we were a close-knit family; my mother's family and my dad's family, and so we visited a lot. None of them came out here, well some of them did, but not very often did they come out here. But we went back at least every two years to Oklahoma. Three times we went out on the train, a number of times we drove. Nobody ever flew until my son was married. And he was married the same year that my grandfather was 100 years old, so my mother and dad wanted to come out to his wedding. So they had to fly in order to get out here. And mother had always vowed that if she could keep one foot on the ground she would fly. So my husband said we had to meet them in Los Angeles because they flew from Oklahoma City, and he said I've got a notion to take an extra pair of underpants for your mother.
VAUGHN: But she enjoyed it. And she flew a number of times after that. She said oh, that's the only way to go. And then since Cary and I have been married we've been back to Oklahoma and different places. We've always gone to Oklahoma to family get-togethers, because his family was from there and he has lots of cousins back there, uncles and aunts. And his father, oh his, well he can tell you that I guess in his interview if you want to interview him about his family. But we've been back to all the reunions and enjoyed them and worked at them and one year we went to one of his family reunions and I said to him, I said, 'let's make the green salad.' We were having sloppy joes. Some of the cousins would bring the makings for sloppy joes and so I said okay, we'll make the salad. So I think I bought a dozen heads of lettuce and all the tomatoes and salad dressing and everything like that. We had 200 people there.
Hanson: That's one big salad.
VAUGHN: If you think I wasn't chopping lettuce for a long time. I think we had to go get more lettuce, it wasn't enough, but with the sloppy joes. Then one of the cousins would make cookies and freeze them. She'd make them all winter and then she'd freeze them you know, and keep them in the freezer 'til it was time to come to the reunion. And I think she made 60 dozen cookies one time.
Hanson: Oh that's work.
VAUGHN: They had the sloppy joes on Friday night and then Saturday morning the men would get up and they would cook breakfast. They would scramble eggs and make, they'd have sweet rolls or toast or something like that to go with it. And then they had cereal and milk too, but they always scrambled eggs and they cooked the bacon and crunched it, crisped it you know, made it real crispy and they put it in the eggs when they cooked them. So, it was enjoyable, the whole thing. The one year my husband and I took watermelons. Back in Oklahoma you could buy watermelons that were, oh they weighed anywhere from 60 to 100 pounds and we bought several watermelons and took them to the event. But we couldn't take things from here.
So we'd do what we could from back there. We had an auction and we always took things for the auction. I made Afghans. I made pillows. My husband made cutting boards. One year I made a quilt for the auction. We always took something. We'd take something back with us for the auction. And then one year I bought a lot of toys because we had quite a few children then coming in. And I bought children's toys because the kids liked to buy things too. So I said, 'Now keep it down so they can afford them. Start at a nickel, don't start at $50 like you start for us.'
Hanson: So everybody just bought whatever anyone else made, so it's kind of a way to keep family things
VAUGHN: And they always liked to run the things up on me because I bid on lots of things. And I love pecans, so one of the cousins brought a three-gallon can of pecans and I wanted those. I think I paid $30 for it. But they weren't cracked you know, they were whole, so there wasn't that many.
Hanson: For what? Two pounds of pecans when it came down to it.
VAUGHN: Oh, one year I made jelly and jam and I took them back in half pint glasses and they went like hotcakes. Some people paid $7 for a jar of jelly. But we had fun with it.
Hanson: Well that's all that counts you know. You're with your family, you're having a good time. That's what you need to do.
VAUGHN: Now my family, the Tee side of the family, they always wanted to have a family reunion, but they wanted everybody to have potluck dinner. Well the Vaughn family, we had it catered, the food, except for the breakfast and the Friday night. But the other meals we had catered. But it was just ridiculous, we couldn't take anything like that when we went back, so we'd have to buy something and furnish it you know. But we always took things for the auctions there too and they had a lot of fun. One family took some straw hats one year, women's straw hats and they made the men get up and model them. Then we had to vote on who was the prettiest.
Hanson: That must have been fun.
VAUGHN: But it's always been lots of fun. The Tee family though, their reunions were only one day for a long time and then they finally got them so they were two days, and that was fine. But the Patterson's, they always just had a picnic in the park and we'd go back for them. There was a big family of them too; cousins and all, but there was always a picnic in the park.
Well one of Cary's cousins has a, has she got 10 children. And that was the most that anybody had. And they did a wonderful job when they were just wonderful children and they all, they had a routine. He bathed them, she dried them and put their clothes on for bed. He made shelves in the kitchen so that all the kids had a special plate and they had their service and the adults would wash the dishes and the kids dried them and had to put them all away where they belonged. And that went on with everything.
Hanson: That's a system.
VAUGHN: They sorted their own clothes and they knew which clothes were theirs and they had four girls right boom, boom, boom. And then they had a couple of boys. But they were all raised that way. And after they retired, she says I'm so tired of cooking for a big family. He says that's all right, he says I'll do the cooking and you do the cleanup. So, they've lived like that ever since they retired.
Hanson: Whatever works.
VAUGHN: Whatever works. But this whole family, they've always been close. Well they weren't close at first when my husband's family came to California. He didn't even know his grandparents anymore or know where they died or anything like that. He was only five and his father was killed by lightening, struck by lightening plowing a field on a plow. So, his mother raised him packing oranges so I guess it's all right. They did a good job. So I can't think of anything more that I'm ready to tell you.
Hanson: Okay, well, we can stop for now and I'll go back over the tape and come up with some questions and then we'll get together again and then we'll come back and talk about some other things that are on the list.
VAUGHN: That's fine. I just can't, other than just what we did here in San Bernardino and we really enjoyed all the holidays and things like that. And we always had a lot of friends. The folks had a lot of friends. So did my husband and I, we had lots of friends. They're all dead now, but we had lots of friends. We've outlived them. We had one woman died last, a week ago Wednesday that was a friend of ours. She was a lot older than we were, but we'd been friends for a long time, so. A lot of my classmates in school are not alive anymore. Okay, you want to stop the tape?
Hanson: Sure. [End of side two].
Hanson: Charlotte Vaughn interview with Joyce Hanson for the San Bernardino Oral History Project, July 19, 2002. Tape 2, side 1. We're going to pick up from when you got married, and we did talk about the square dancing and some of the dancing and music and things that went on. So let's pick it up from there and see where we go.
VAUGHN: My husband went to work, well he worked at Hayward Lumber Company when we first got married and then when World War II came along; we had two children by that time and he went to work for Kaiser Steel. He was the first carpenter on the job for Kaiser Steel. There had been other carpenters there, but he was the first one hired for Kaiser Steel. And the boss said, 'what do you know about reading blueprints?" and he said well he could read blueprints, but he didn't mean engineer's blueprints, he meant house plans you know. So the man handed him a set of blueprints and told him to build a railroad bridge. They had a spur coming in and they needed a bridge across a little creek out there.
Hanson: That's what you call jumping into the deep end of the pool.
VAUGHN: And he never, all he'd done had just been odd jobs you know, things like that, but he thought he could do it. Well he could do it, but he worked there for two years and they built the forms, they worked in the carpenter shop then and they built the forms for all of the big footings for the big blast furnaces and the rolling mills and different things like that. At the end of two years though they had already done all their building, so they put him on maintenance and he and another man were working under a coal conveyor. They brought the coal down on this belt and the dust fell down on them and they wouldn't give them breathing masks, so they quit. And about that time Uncle Sam says, "I want you!" And he went in the Navy then and was in the Navy for 11 months and then they ended the war and he was discharged because he had family. He was assigned to a little ship that, it was an LCR, which can be carried on another ship. It was Landing Craft Rockets, and they could be carried on another ship, the big LST's. And so they were all prepared for a landing in Japan and the war was over in August before they got to go over there, but they were in the Philippines until the next February. And they were just different places and nothing to do because everything was bombed out, you know, no place to go. But he was in for just 11 months and then he was discharged from the Navy.
Then he went to work for a contractor here in San Bernardino that he worked for over 35 years. He built half of San Bernardino, the north end of San Bernardino; they built half the houses up there. But he worked on the office building at the Community Hospital out on Highland Avenue and he did some tilt up buildings down in the south part of San Bernardino and they did some buildings in Riverside that he worked on. He was a superintendent on them, the whole thing was interesting.
I was a volunteer. I never worked for wages, I said I worked all the time, but didn't work for wage. I still don't. I was a Campfire Girl leader and then a Cub Scout leader and I was in the PTA in Highland and the district officers in all of them. So, I managed and then I was a chauffeur for my children until they could learn to drive.
Hanson: Yes, of course.
VAUGHN: But, it was all very interesting, everything that I did. I've always done lots of arts and crafts. Just general being around the city and doing things I guess. And I can remember so much of how San Bernardino has changed.
Hanson: Yes, why don't we talk about that, tell me about those things.
VAUGHN: Okay. Well, the buildings in downtown, up until just a few years ago when they started the mall, were almost all the same. They hadn't been destroyed, from the early ones. Of course I don't remember it when it was a tent city.
I do remember the Orange Show being in a tent and one year it blew down and so then they started building the buildings. They moved it then and started building the buildings.
Hanson: What year was that, roughly.
VAUGHN: I don't know exactly, around 1928 or something like that '27 or '28. But the first couple of years that we were here we went and it was in tents. And then they moved it from uptown down to the place where it is now down on five points. But, I can remember when Harry's skating rink was put in down in the south part of San Bernardino before it was the mall and the Irbeda Springs, only when we went there it was called Pickering Park because people named Pickering owned it. And it was Irbeda Springs and the lake, that was Irbeda Springs and it was, my parents father and uncle and friends used to go down in the swamps down by there and get frogs and they had frog leg dinners then afterward.
And the south part of San Bernardino, down well about where Central Street is or Orange Show Road is, from there on down, that was all swamp. It was sub-irrigated. The water was right close to the ground. Most of the time if it rained it stayed on top of the ground for quite a while. They'd take animals down there to graze or something like that. That was about all that was down there. But, when we first came, there was not much above Baseline. There was a few ranches and things like that up there, but then gradually people started building houses up in the north end and they started selling property. Mother was sick and she would go every morning and take a walk to Baseline and back and then she walked to Highland Avenue and back, her tuberculoses was arrested then, she was able to work a little later. After we moved to Highland she got working the packinghouses out there and my dad worked for Hayward Lumber Company in San Bernardino. And then, I don't remember when the high school was built, but I went to Sturges Junior High School, and it was a nice school. Of course all that remains of it now is an auditorium. Everything else has been torn down. In fact, San Bernardino High School, I think the only thing that remains of that is the gymnasium. It may be gone now, I don't know. But there isn't much left of the original buildings. They didn't fall down in the earthquakes, but they just were not safe I guess. And I remember I spent quite a few hours at the old Carnegie library down on 4th and "D" Street and finally the flooring all fell in and things like that and the building was condemned, so they moved it twice after that. It was in the old Community Hospital or Ramona Hospital on 4th and Arrowhead for a while and then they built this building and it was moved over here. I remember when Woolworth's moved from downtown to 5th and "E" Street in that building, and I remember when Montgomery Ward came to town and Sears Roebuck and I remember when the Fuller Building was built. Oh, there are so many buildings.
Hanson: About what year are we talking about, in the 30's?
VAUGHN: Yes, in the early 30's or late 20's, early 30's. I know there was a McInerny's Department Store, it was on Third Street between "D" and "E" on the north side, and mother traded there; she did yard goods and things of that sort because she sewed all the time. And then there was Barnhard Flag down there and they bought stationery and things like that from them. And the two town drug stores, one on "D" and then the one that was put on "E" and Third. I remember when the one on "E" and Third, I remember when it went in, because it was the new town Alison Drug Store. And then there was a Fushay Furniture place on "F" and Third and the folks bought some furniture there. And Markell's Department Store was on the same side of the street that Penny's was on, on the north side of Third Street between "E' and "F". And I remember the old Pacific Electric Depot. That was there for a long time. I used to ride the bus in from Highland and Patton and it always went there, that's where the terminal was. And it was quite a nice building.
We never did go to the Harvey House down at the Santa Fe Depot to eat, but we took the train out of there several times going different places.
Hanson: Explain what Harvey House is.
VAUGHN: Harvey House was the restaurant that Santa Fe had all over the United States on their line for their passengers, and they would have about half an hour to get off and eat, or get a sandwich or something like that and that was when the Harvey girls with their big fluffy sleeves and all were there. But I never saw the Harvey girls, I never really saw them, because when we went on the train we took a lunch. We couldn't afford to go to Harvey House, but the trains changed, the way the train's style was from the old steam, coal steam locomotives to the diesels and I've ridden on all of them. I've ridden on a lot of the airplanes, not early ones, but the jets, the big jets, I've ridden on all of those, the big ones. They were commercial, going different places. I love to travel. I've been in all but seven states of the United States and Canada and Mexico and Australia and New Zealand and in Russia.
Hanson: I know you've traveled a lot.
VAUGHN: Yes, I've traveled. My husband hasn't gone with me very much. He did go in the United States. We would take a trailer. We had a little trailer and we traveled all over the United States after he retired. He would play golf and I would do genealogy.
Hanson: So you got to visit all the public libraries.
VAUGHN: And all the cart houses. But it's fun; we've always gone to family reunions. But, back in Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado and wherever they happened to have them, we can't get anybody to come out here though.
Hanson: Why not? Why is that? I have the same problem with our families. They want us to all go back east, but no one wants to come here.
VAUGHN: Yes. I said well the road runs both ways you know. We have to come back there and then they have to go home. But they, no.
Hanson: I think they think California is a different continent.
VAUGHN: I had a cousin and his wife, they're both my cousins on both sides of the family, but anyway they brought his mother out to see my mother when she was here; and they were going to go on to Hawaii, but while they were here they had the big earthquake that shook Calexico down. And we were having dinner at my house in the afternoon and all of a sudden I heard the rumble that came, you know that precedes it. I said there's an earthquake, and I said if it isn't a local one it's a big one someplace. And oh she got scared. She says I'm never coming back to California anymore. So every time she would hear of an earthquake in California she'd say, "Well are you ready to move back?' So then one day about 40 miles from where they lived they had an earthquake and I said no, you got them back there too. But it's just fun things that go on and we've always enjoyed life, or at least I have. I still do. I love people. For someone that was so shy that they wouldn't even open the door to a door-to-door salesman when they were young, I do a pretty good job of it.
Hanson: You sure do. You were in high school in the 1930's right? You graduated in 1936.
VAUGHN: '36, uh huh.
Hanson: Okay. Did you notice anything, I know you said you were really poor and there was a depression.
VAUGHN: We didn't know it.
Hanson: Yes, you didn't know it, but there was a depression going on.
VAUGHN: Well that was the end of it.
Hanson: Yes, by '36 it was winding down, but did you, were there any WPA projects here in San Bernardino or any kind of government sponsored programs that were here?
VAUGHN: Yes, there was PWA and WPA, and they built fire trails in the mountains and they built along the Rim of the World Highway, they built the big red rock walls that are up there and a lot of that. I wasn't really aware of what they did here in San Bernardino City, but I think they went through some of the records and things like that to collect them and that they did all over the United States, they did that.
VAUGHN: I don't know whether any of them worked at the library or not. I really don't know. I wasn't involved in it because dad had a job and it didn't pay much, but we always had a job, we always had plenty to eat. He had a pair of dress shoes and he had them half soled about three times and then he wore paper in his shoes for a long time too when they got holes in them. But we kids always had shoes. We never had to go to school barefoot. A lot of the kids had to go to school barefoot. We never had to have the free lunches that they gave the kids. When I was junior high school they had a program of free lunches for the children that couldn't afford it and they had a little bag lunch and I know I was in the office helping and we'd dole those out to the kids that came in for lunches. But, I did, when I had a free period I worked in the office at Sturges quite a bit, in the attendance office.
Hanson: Okay and now was that part of a program.
VAUGHN: No, it's just something that you could do.
VAUGHN: But high school was nice. I got to go to most of the games, football games and things like that. They didn't stress basketball especially for spectators, but baseball and football and we attended church several different places, but we're not regular churchgoers and we don't go to church anymore. But, I remember when the Ritz Theater was opened in San Bernardino and the West Coast Theater was open, the Fox and the California Theater and then the Studio Theater up on Baseline, all of those. And the Fox Theater I thought was fantastic. It had red velvet drapes and curtains you know, and when they quit using it, but they still kept the California Theater, I thought well you're stupid! Keep the other one, it's a better theater.
Hanson: I was watching a California Gold series, the Hill-Houser Series, and he had one segment on the Fox Theater in San Francisco.
VAUGHN: I saw that.
Hanson: You saw that? That was similar to what was here then. They said that Fox did a lot of those grand theaters.
VAUGHN: They had a beautiful marquis out in front. It had neon lights on it you know and things like that. Although, of course, the California Theater did too and they both had loges where you could, nice chairs, good soft comfortable chairs. But the West Coast Theater and the old Temple and Isis Theater that was in San Bernardino, I remember going there once in a while when we were kids to the silent movies, when we were quite young. Then when the talkies came in and the other theaters opened, we went to the matinees at the West Coast Theater more than anything else. You get in for a dime.
Hanson: Remember any of the movies you saw?
VAUGHN: No, oh, not anymore. Some with, some that I had seen as actors in the silent films that were no longer actors in the talkies because they had squeaky voices.
Hanson: That happened to a lot of actors.
VAUGHN: If a man had a high-pitched voice, they didn't use him.
VAUGHN: But, oh yes I do remember. I saw the musicals, and the one that I liked the most was The Desert Song, and it was a fantastic thing, the singers were good. And then I saw Al Jolson movies, and I liked that, the way he sang and Nelson Eddie and Jeanette McDonald, they were singers and that's the kind of movies I liked to go to.
Hanson: So you're not the Errol Flynn type?
VAUGHN: Oh I saw some of his movies too.
Hanson: But preferred the musicals.
VAUGHN: Yes, the action pictures I didn't care too much about. But if they were on the same bill you know, you saw them no matter what. But as I said, we used to play here where this building is now, where the library is now, we used to play here in the park because had cousins that lived just a couple of blocks from here and so we'd get together. They were my age and we'd get together and play and walk around town and just hang out.
Hanson: You said the park was called Pioneer Park?
VAUGHN: Uh huh.
Hanson: Why is everything around here pioneer?
VAUGHN: I don't know.
Hanson: I've been dying to ask someone that because it just doesn't…
VAUGHN: It's the Pioneer Society, the Pioneer Cemetery and the Pioneer Park.
Hanson: Right, why Pioneer? It probably has something to do with that old west mentality.
VAUGHN: And the old Pioneer Log Cabin was here. I remember when it burned, we used to square dance at the Pioneer Log Cabin.
Hanson: Where was that?
VAUGHN: It was on the west side of the building where the library is now, north side of Church Street which is the little alley that goes through and it was there for, well let's see. We were still square dancing in the early 50's and it was in the early 50's when it burned the last time, somewhere in there. But they never replaced it then. But we knew a lot of the callers; we had a cabin in the mountains and we invited callers and musicians and we'd go up there and have parties. And they'd put their amplifiers out on the porch and it amplified every… call square dances.
Hanson: So it could reverberate in the valley, and those echoes.
VAUGHN: It echoed a lot too.
Hanson: I'll bet.
VAUGHN: I finally told them you've got to stop this. Then when we played at my house I had a piano and we had people, well I played the piano, another friend played the piano and my husband played the guitar, a mandolin and banjo and tried to play the fiddle but he couldn't do very good on that. And we had other people that played different instruments and we'd get together at our house and play at night. I told you about the chickens.
Hanson: Yes, the chickens, I love that story.
VAUGHN: But that's, I just don't know too many more things that I've seen, but… oh my husband remodeled the building that's on 7th and "E" Street. It was the Pioneer Title Building for a long time and like a bank. And then it became another bank. I don't know. But they had to go in and remodel the insides of that. It's a four-story building. They did a lot of things, they put the vault in, and they did other things. And then he worked on another building that was on Court and "E" and they worked on that building down there. But he built a lot of buildings. They worked on a lot of buildings. Vern Miller was a pretty good contractor and did a lot of contracting work. He had a good reputation with the FHA, one of the best in California as far as the buildings were concerned. They never had to go back and restructure them or anything. The only time was, one time they were building houses in a track and they built a house on the wrong lot. But he worked that over because there was a vacant lot next to her so they just traded lots.
Hanson: Well these things happen.
VAUGHN: But I do remember that. I used to make homemade ice cream, a gallon of it and take it to the places where the, well more than a gallon, where the men were working and give it to them for their lunch. They only had half an hour to eat, but the always got, well not very often, but once in awhile they'd get a bowl of ice cream afterward.
Hanson: That must have taken a lot of work; there weren't any electric ice cream makers.
VAUGHN: Yes, we had one.
Hanson: You did?
VAUGHN: Uh huh. But we've always made homemade ice cream. And something else I have to tell you; there's a skeleton in the closet. My folks made home brew during the prohibition.
Hanson: A lot of people did. But that wasn't illegal. You could make alcohol at home.
VAUGHN: You couldn't sell it.
Hanson: You couldn't sell it, but you could make it.
VAUGHN: Yes. Mother was in the County hospital one time for about a week with a bladder/kidney infection and the doctors told her that if she could drink beer it would help her kidneys.
VAUGHN: So, they brought her some home brew from home and the doctors saw it so they had to have some too.
Hanson: See, no one wanted prohibition.
VAUGHN: Only the churchwomen.
VAUGHN: Goodie two-shoes I guess you'd call them. I've had a lot of fun all my life. But my children are grown, they both married here. My daughter married in Lake Arrowhead at the church up there. She married a fella from Blue Jay and then my son married a girl from Rialto and they were married in a church in Rialto. And they're both divorced. My son's been married three times. He has, he had six children, two died as babies, so four of them grew to adulthood. My daughter had two children, a girl and a boy. They're both married. They boy has five children. The girl doesn't have any; she has four stepchildren. And my son only has one child that's married. He lives in North Carolina and he has one child and I haven't heard whether the other one, it was due the 11th of July, but I don't know whether it's here yet.
Hanson: It better be.
VAUGHN: But they've been all over. His two boys served in, one in the Marines and one in the Navy and then my daughter's son was in the Marine Reserves all the time. He was into that for six years and then in the Army Reserves for a while. But they're all good kids. Only one granddaughter, well my daughter and my granddaughter both graduated from Riverside City College as nurses. And my son graduated from Weaver State College in Ogden, Utah with an Associate Degree in Math/Science and a Bachelor's degree in Communications. And his kids have all attended college. Only one graduated from a four- year college. The others graduated from a two- year college. But they're all working. One works for United Airlines as a reservations person, and the oldest grandson works for Microsoft in their, where they call in and get references to people, you know tell them how… The boy that lives in North Carolina is a computer mechanic I guess you'd call him. Anyway, he does repair and he builds websites and things like that too. And his wife works, but I don't know what for. But they're the ones with the children and we still go places and do things, trips.
Hanson: Tell me about your, talking about your trips, tell me about your trips to Russia, New Zealand and…
Hanson: Why all those exotic places.
VAUGHN: Well, I got itchy feet. That's the only way I can say it. I like to go places and see things, but my oldest granddaughter was a nurse and she got a chance to go to USSR then as a nurse with a tour and to see their medical facilities over there. So she went one year and she said she had a marvelous time. And they visited five different cities in USSR from Moscow to Baccou. They were there close to Chernobal before the blow up, and they were over on the Caspian Sea, down on the Black Sea, they were in, well there was five different places they went to, and she said it was wonderful. So when she came home I told her I said now if you ever get a chance to go to Australia I'll go to Australia with you. So that was in September and in January she came to me and she says, "Grandma get your passport, we're going to Australia. She had saved enough money so she could pay for her trip. And so then the next, that went on, I got my passport and everything and, no we went to USSR first. She said we'll go back over there. She said that's the cheapest place we can go. We could go over there and it was less than $1,000. We had to pay our own plane fare from here to New York and back; which was $750 both ways at that time. But from then on from New York we flew to Finland on Fin Air and then from Finland Helsinki we flew down to Moscow on a Moscow Air flight and we flew around different places. We only went to three cities. We went to Moscow and down to Soshi in the Black Sea and then back up to Leningrad or St. Petersburg and then home. But we, I enjoyed it. I got to see people and there was lots of people that could speak English so we could talk to them. We learned a few words in Russian, how to say thank you and please and that was about it. And the fact that, and to order tea, we ordered tea and that's chi, c-h-i in Russian. And, but we saw a lot of the country.
[End of side 1]
Hanson: Tape 2, side 2.
VAUGHN: In Soshi, that was their resort area where they have what they call their unions of different trades, and they would take a week or two weeks and be able to go down there and they could go to the, what they call the sanitariums, but they weren't. They were more like bathhouses and where you would get treatments like that; chiropractor treatments and things of that sort. But they did have places where we had a cocktail party every afternoon and then we had dinner and we had shows at night where we would see their programs. We saw lots of ballet that they have and we got to go to one place down in Soshi that was up on the foothills and it was called a Tea House and it was all open, no screens or anything like that on it. And they served honey and tea with all kinds of different breads and the bees were thick.
Hanson: I imagine so.
VAUGHN: But they had a tea plantation, they grew tea there.
Hanson: Oh okay.
VAUGHN: And then I must tell you about the toilets. At that place it was an outdoor toilet and all it was, was a hole in the floor of this building and you squatted over it.
Hanson: That's primitive.
VAUGHN: There was no running water or anything up there in this place. But all the hotels we stayed in though were nice; except we stayed in one right on the Black Sea in Soshi and it was called the Pacific Pearl. I don't know the name in Russia, but that was the name in English. And the floor that we stayed on had a beautiful red carpet in the hall, but there was lumpy places in it where the cement floor wasn't good. And if you drug a cart of anything along there it bumped all the way down, and sometimes you'd step in one of those holes and almost fall down. And we got on the elevator one time and it said limitation of so many pounds on it. And here came three, four humongous - we were on there first, of course we were over 200 pounds, and when these four great big Russians I guess, but they must have weighed 200 pounds apiece. And when they got on the elevator wouldn't go. So we got off to let them go down. We didn't want to cause a feud or fight.
But they had a place there in Soshi where our astronauts had visited, and our astronauts took magnolia trees from here so they could plant them over there. They had, oh I guess maybe two dozen of those magnolia trees planted on each side of a nice walkway down through there and a beautiful garden in there of all kinds of flowers. And then we visited another place where they had trees from all over the world. And they had just every kind of trees in there that they had accumulated from all over the world. It was fascinating the places there. And when we had free time we got to walk around the town. Oh, and one of the things I saw, there were no bed sheets as bed sheets. There was a sheet on the bottom of the bed, on the mattress on the bed, but the top sheet had a hole in it. It was two thicknesses and it had a hole in the middle of it. We couldn't figure out what it was for. And we saw them hanging out on the railing of a hotel or apartment house and we asked what it was for. They said well in the wintertime they put their blankets inside of that so they don't slip off the bed.
Hanson: That's cleaver.
VAUGHN: I thought it was very clever. But it was nice in Moscow. When we were in Moscow we stayed in a hotel there that they had built for the Olympics when it was there, and then we got to see all of the buildings that they had, their exhibits for the Olympics. We could walk to that, it was only a couple of blocks from the hotel. On all the street corners in town you'd see little venders. I know we went by a man that was on the street corner one time, we were on a bus and here was chickens plucked, but the heads and feet were all on them and they were hanging from racks and he had them for sale. And then another place we saw that had been imported from Cuba were bananas that were sold on the street corner. And when you'd go through the end of the stores, we never went into many stores because they were all empty. They had things in the windows, but you couldn't buy anything in the stores. There was nothing there to buy. But if you'd see a line, you'd see a woman with a little knit bag or a crocheted bag or some little mesh bag and a man with a briefcase, and they would stand in line. You might be able to buy two eggs, you might be able to buy a loaf of bread, you might be able to buy a pat of butter or something like that. And all their food and things were wrapped in newspapers, newsprint; that was the way their things were wrapped. You might see something with fish, and we called those the 'just in case bags.'
Hanson: Oh, okay.
VAUGHN: Just in case they saw something they could buy, they could buy it. And the women would come out and they maybe had a few eggs in it and a vegetable or two or some potatoes or something like that. They ate lots of potatoes and cabbage. You could smell cabbage at noon in all the buildings where people cooked cabbage for their noon meal, that was the big meal of the day. And then you could smell borsch, and you could smell their fish soup that they had. But most of the places were good, we had good meals. The hotels furnished meals, but we took peanut butter with us, and they had never seen peanut butter. So our guide, the guides that we had, had never tasted it, so we gave them a taste. Well, they wanted to pass it around to other people you know. So they took the jar into the cooks and they all tasted it too, and they had never seen peanut butter before. They grew peanuts, but they didn't know what peanut butter was. And on the little kiosks on the streets in the towns they would have drinks and the glasses were on the top of the little kiosk thing that had the drinks in it, and everybody drank out of the same glass and you'd put it under the spigot and got what you wanted. We never tried that. But we did buy Coca-Cola there. They had real small bottles, they were only about five ounces I guess of Coca-Cola, and it tasted a little different than our Coke does, but we brought a bottle home, but my daughter's boyfriend drank it. We were going to give everybody a taste, but he drank it. And going over there, we had heard that people were fascinated by American words and things like that, so I took a collegiate dictionary with me. We took pencils with different manufacturer's logos on them, and took stickers. We took a lot of little things that we could just hand out to people when we met them. Oh, and on every floor of the hotel they had what they call a key lady and you would go to her and give her your card and she'd know that you were out, and then when you came back you got your card from her. So several of them had children and we gave them things for their children. And one of the interest guides that we had was an older woman and she was fascinated by our words. Every time she would hear us say something, an ideogram that we had or something that we had, like I said something we were nomads one time and she didn't know what nomads meant. So we gave her our dictionary. She would take out her little notebook and little tiny dictionary that she had and look it up and she'd write down the words and I gave her the dictionary that we had. And then she gave us, when we got back to Leningrad then, in every airport that we were in they had a little special store where we could buy things, and she went in there and bought us two little things that were special from Russia, and my granddaughter has the memento from there. So we thought that was nice of her.
Oh, and they didn't have pantyhose, but they had knee length stockings and you'd see women with dresses that were up to their knees, but their knee length stockings were where the knees showed below them. And they told us when we went over there, don't ever look at people's shoes. Their shoes were horrible. We went into a gum department store in Leningrad I guess it was, and all we could find in there in the shoes parts were they were made of old tires, and they were strapped just like our little sandals that we have. We went into a bookstore then and we bought some books to bring back with us. The whole group bought books for our interest guides as a gift. But it was fun.
When we came back from there then I guess it was three years later, my granddaughter says grandma, we're going to Australia. She saved more money. I said okay. So we went to the consulate in Los Angeles and got information there of how we should go and what we needed. We had to have a visa to go to Australia, but we did not need to have one to go to New Zealand. So this was in, she was going to go in January, she was going to go to Hawaii with a friend of hers and stay a week and then I would meet her there and we would go on to Australia. We didn't go to Fiji, which is the usual tour; we made up our own tour of the way we wanted to go. So we flew from Hawaii to Carnes, which is spelled C-a-r-n-e-s, in the northern part of Australia and it's a nice place. It's just a resort town more or less and then we stayed there for several days and did what they call the tour to the Kawanda Gorge and to the dividing range. They have, like our Rockies, Rocky Mountains here, they have a great dividing range there. The mountains aren't as tall, but it divides the continent, and, it was interesting. The thing that we noticed more than anything else were the birds we saw in the wild; the great big white cockatiels and parrots and we saw a butterfly there that's a humongous thing and they call it the electric blue. And you can see it flying in the trees. And then that was a train trip up to the top of the gorge, which was pretty. And then we were on a bus and we went to the Great Dividing Range. And all over the flat country up there, in the flat area, we could see these humongous piles of red, looked like red mud, and they were termite hills. You couldn't have knocked them over with an ax or a big mallet they were so strong. And then the only native trees to Australia are the gum trees, the eucalyptus, and there's 200 different varieties. And I'd always heard the Waltzing Matilda song about the Coolabah trees and I wanted to know what that tree was. Well, it's a, it's eucalyptus, but it has lots of branches that branch out and it makes quite a bit of shade, so that was the Coolabah tree. And then we went to, that was in Cannes, then we went to Sydney and when we were in Sydney, no, we went someplace else before that, Tooalma, and we saw a sheep ranch there and got to watch them sheer sheep and all different things that they had there. Then we went to Sydney and we took a tour from Sydney to the wine country where they grow bananas, the have lots of grapes, we had noon meal at a winery there, and they had steak and salad and they had damper. Now you don't know what damper is?
VAUGHN: It's biscuit dough like we make for scones or biscuit dough, and they make it like sheepherder bread in a round loaf and bake it in an oven. Usually if they are out in the country they bake it in a Dutch oven over a campfire. But then they had great big slices of it, and it's similarly to our sheepherder-, it's a little different texture than our sheepherder bread. But we had that with a steak that covered a big dinner plate and salad. And then we tasted all of the wine that we wanted to taste. Well I don't drink wine and, well my granddaughter tasted a little bit and I tasted a couple. Some I just took a sip of it, and some tasted pretty good, but they make quite a big of wine and export it. Then we saw some horse farms where they have thoroughbred horses. Oh, and on the bus trip the bus driver says now in the United States you've always heard of lean-tos; you know what a lean-to is? Well, in the United States it's a building that's hooked onto another house, it's just got a slanted roof on it. Okay? But there they had a lean-to, and it was a building that was just about ready to fall down, and it was leaning too.
And everyday on our bus trips we would stop between noon for potty stops and we could get a drink or a sandwich if we wanted it or some fresh fruit or vegetables or whatever we wanted there, have a little snack. And then we had a noon meal that was fairly good, and then we had another potty stop in the afternoon if we were gone all day. But that was interesting, the whole thing was fascinating. And then in Sydney we saw the last remnant of the prison camp that they had there. After the United States became the United States and England could no longer send prisoners to the United States and Captain Cook had discovered Australia, they sent prisoners there, and there was quite a prison place in Sydney. The only thing that's left of the buildings or anything like that is a windmill. It's built similar to a Dutch windmill, but it more or less was a supply tank on the top of it for water, and the fins were all gone. That was the only thing that we saw there.
Then we saw the big opera house, we didn't get to go in, it wasn't open right then. But we did tour the zoo where we fed kangaroos and we saw the Tasmanian devils and we saw a platypus and other animals that were native to Australia; they're not native anyplace else in the world.
Then we went to a big art museum there and it was fantastic. When we got into Sydney though we went by train everyplace because we thought we'd see some of the countryside, so we traveled by day in the trains. But when we got into Sydney they had booked us at a hotel that was a whorehouse. We were met on the train by a driver from the Australian tour services, and they took us then to where we wanted to go, and this one driver says, 'You don't really want to get out of this car. You don't want to stay here.' So he got a telephone and called and then they put us in a different hotel. That was on the south side of the river, in the harbor, and where we stayed was on the north side. We went in for breakfast, they served breakfast there, and we're sitting there on a kind of little balcony and all of a sudden here came a great big flock of parrots. Oh they were the prettiest things you ever saw. But they were parrots; they weren't the big macaws, they were parrots, and the squawked and squawked and squawked until the manger came out and brought a plate of fruit out for them cut up. Then they ate their fruit and flew away.
From there we went to Brisbane, the capital, and it's built a lot like Washington, D.C. In fact it was designed by the same designer that designed Washington, D.C. But they've got a big lake in the middle of town, but it's designed on a circle with spokes that radiate. They radiate from the lake. And we saw all the embassys, I said, "well I'd like to get a souvenir from a golf course and our driver said, 'oh I'll take us to one.' So he took me there and I went in and bought a golf ball for my husband there. I didn't get to play golf, but anyway, we did all their buildings and things like that. And then there they have a big tower that's like our space needles in different places and they call it the Telecom Tower, well it has a restaurant on it and a big turnaround thing that you go up and sightsee and that. They had the war memorial building from all the wars that they've been in and that was like a museum; it was nice. Then, while we were there we got to see cricket games.
The little area where we were in they didn't serve Sunday there, you couldn't get anything in the hotel there for dinner, so we walked to a little store that was close and got something to eat there. But we didn't really see any big markets anyplace. They never took us where there was any big markets where they bought food or anything like that or the downtown areas, they just didn't. There in Brisbane they're all, everyone of the spokes that went out, those angles, were places out in the edge of town where the people lived, and they were all named different things all the way around. So that's where the hotels and things were. Everything else was to do with the embassies and the lake that's down right in the middle of town. Then we went from there down to Melbourne, and at Melbourne we got to go to what they call Phillips Island and watch the Penguins come in at night. When they come in from fishing they have, in the cliffs there they have burrows, and the babies were in those burrows, and the penguins come in and walk up a ramp where they get out of the water and go up where they babies are and then regurgitate the food for them. Then we my granddaughter and I, visited a clock shop and everyone of the clocks in that place was ticking and they were chiming. It was fascinating. But we got to see a lot of different things there. And then we went from there on a ferry, they called it a ferry, but it was a big ship, and we went from there to Tasmania, the island that's on the south side of Australia. And the ride there, and then went by bus down from there down to Hobart. We got to see the whole area of different things there. And they do have quite high mountains there that are snowcapped a lot of the time. But we went to Hobart, and Hobart is built on the side of a mountain. There is quite a harbor there and our hotel was up on the side of the mountain, so in order to, we didn't have taxis, and when our driver dropped us off we thought how are we going to get to town? We weren't about to walk down there and walk back, so we just stayed there and we ate. They had a restaurant there.
Then the next day we went on a bus trip. They came and got us and we went across the harbor and down the coast to a place that had been a prison camp down there. And on the way we got to stop at a museum and they had collected all of the ball and chains. They had all different things that they had collected over the years; they were antique things and they were all in this house and we got to see pelicans down there and they were humongous birds. But we couldn't get close to them. We'd walk and they'd back off and we'd walk and they'd back off. And then after we got down to where the prison was, there's one island that was used as a cemetery for children. Now they had children down there who were prisoners. They may have stolen a loaf of bread or something like that in England and they sent them down there. Then we saw, they used the prisoners to clear the land, and we saw the way they chopped the trees and how they did their things like that, and that was interesting, the whole prison, it's still there. There are still buildings there, but they don't use it anymore. And then from there we flew to New Zealand, and when we landed in the South Island at Christ Church in New Zealand, we went on a bus trip then. It took us four days I guess it was on the bus trip down there, and we got to see the big glaciers down there. I wanted to go on the airplane up there, but they weren't running, so I didn't get to climb the glaciers. I'd been on the glaciers in Canada.
We got to go through a big sheep ranch down there, and the fascinating thing to me was a man that was a sheepherder and he had a whistle that wouldn't stop. He trained the dogs to his whistles and he whistled differently for everything that they did. We were in a big building and he had some sheep in there and then he brought the dogs in and they ran up across the backs of the sheep, and some of them laid down on the backs of the sheep, and different things that he told them what to do. Then they had an exhibit of what sheep were, what kinds they were, and what they were used for. And then we went outside and he had a little fox terrier dog that he used to herd sheep with and the dog would lie down until he whistled a certain way. The dog would get up and perk his ears and then he whistled again, and the dog would go out and round up the sheep and move them. Then he'd whistle again and the dog would come back. And, to me it was just fascinating, the whole thing. But we got to buy some; I bought some socks there to bring home from the wool.
Then we went from there down to where the glaciers were and then we went on down to what they call a fiord anyway, and went through a tunnel on a bus and there was just room for the bus to go through this tunnel and down to the coast. Oh, I can't remember the name of it now, but we went down to the coast and we got to ride on a ship out in this fiord to the ocean. Of course a fiord, there was the rise and fall of the tide, but there was no waves in there.
VAUGHN: But when we got out, the waves didn't break as they came into this thing, it just simply made it rise. But the boat had to go over those big humps you know. And after that we went out and turned around and came back. And there's all kinds of waterfalls from the glaciers on that and they're beautiful when the things come down, and you can see, there's not a shoreline, but there's a ledge along there and you could see seals and things like that along those. And that was the first place that we saw any trees other than eucalyptus, and they were beach trees down there. There were beach trees down there, whether they were planted down there or not, I don't know, but that was what the forest was, was beach trees.
And then we went to Queens, well another place anyway, I'll think of it in a minute and we stayed there in a hotel and we were able to walk around the town and they had a big lake there and they had an old coal burning steamship there that they took people out on this lake on, it's a big lake and took people out around on a tour on that and smoke and you know, black smoke coming from it all over, like a smudge pot in the orange groves.
Hanson: Right, yes, I remember those.
VAUGHN: But then we had time and we walked a lot. We walked a lot! I lost 15 pounds. But we went to an old cemetery down there that was dated 1839. So that was some of the early people that had settled there. And then we went to another place where there was a tram that went up to a restaurant up on the hill, but the restaurant wasn't open. But we got to ride the tram up and we walked around up there and fed the deer and things like that that we could do. In the hotels, every time we went to a new hotel, they either had a kiwi or a piece of chocolate on the pillow for us. But we didn't get to see too many of the birds except in a zoo because the kiwi's there are birds as well as a fruit.
VAUGHN: And they're flightless, they can't fly. And then they have a red fox that's native to that area. But that's about the only native animal, then we went along the coast. We went to Daneden, which is a little Scottish type village on the south coast of the South Island, and walked around there and saw that town. Anyway, it was just a town, it wasn't anything spectacular, and it was kind of cool, but coming back up the West Coast of the South Island we stopped along the beach and we saw humongous balls, some of them were 3 ft. or 4 ft. in diameter. They were concretions, and some of them had been broken and there was things like minerals inside of them, and they washed up or came out of the sand there. They don't know what they formed or anything like that; there was no knowledge of them. I've seen concretions here and they're little ones, little things. In fact, the Indians used concretions as paint pots lots of times for their paintings.
Then we got back up to Christ Church and we were able to see the flower arboretums there and things of that sort and a nice park. And we walked, and we walked, and we walked. We went to a park and it was on a Sunday afternoon and there were people there, bagpipe players, we heard them, we heard the different things that were going on and saw different things. And we went to eat and I said well I saw a Kentucky Colonel basket sitting someplace; well we'll go get some chicken. We got the chicken all right, but it was the greasiest things that you ever ate in your life; we could hardly eat it. We just had to peel it all off you know and try to eat a little bit of it. So we didn't go back to that one. But, it's a beautiful island and we went to one little place and…
[End of tape]
Hanson: Charlotte Vaughn interview for the San Bernardino Oral History Project. Tape 3, side 1, July 19, 2002.
VAUGHN: I was going to tell you about my milkshakes. On the ship, going over to Tasmania, I wanted a milkshake. So I went to the little sandwich shop they had there and wanted a milkshake. And he said 'what's a milkshake?' I said, 'I don't want a malt; I want a milkshake', because I didn't want the malt flavor. So he took milk and poured it again and put it on the milkshake thing; that was a milkshake.
Hanson: Well, technically yes, it's milk shaking.
VAUGHN: A hotel that we stayed in we went for a little walk in the evening and we came across a little place that had drinks and things like that. And they had milkshakes or malts, so we asked for a milkshake and I said now I want ice cream in mine; I don't want just a milkshake. And she said, 'oh you mean a thick one.' I said, 'yes, but don't put any malt in it, I don't want that'. So she made us some nice thick milkshakes and we had a good milkshake there. But, oh in, let's get back to Melbourne.
VAUGHN: We had been looking for something different than their food that they had there, so we were walking through Melbourne one day, on the streets, and the streets were cobblestone and the sidewalks had bricks that were made, they weren't bricks, they were just cement and they had grooves in them. And we saw these women with high heel shoes, spike heel shoes you know when they wore those, walking down those things and their heels/ankles would bend. But anyway we were walking by this little building and there was a little restaurant there, but it wasn't open. It said it was a Mexican restaurant. So the next day we went back there (that was in the evening), the next day we went back for lunch.
Hanson: Un huh.
VAUGHN: And we went into this little place and we went upstairs and they had Mexican food, but they gave us the menu and we took down and wrote down all the things that were on their menu. A taco was a tarco, a burrito; oh I can't remember what that was. But they had all kinds of different names. They were different names than what we; they didn't even pronounce them like we do. But anyway we had some Mexican food. That's the first time we had anything like that. And then, after we left for South Island of New Zealand, then we flew to Wellington on the North Island, which is on the South side and when we got there we wanted to go out for dinner and we walked around town and it's on the side of a hill again. So we found a little Italian Restaurant in the telephone book; because we wanted to find where it was. And it was upstairs again. And just a little hole in the wall and it was the first Italian food and it was good. But we got different-, we thought well, we'll get some different food than the ethnic food that they had there in Australia, which is lots of boiled dinners like the English have you know.
VAUGHN: And that was good, and then we walked back to our hotel and then the next day we took a trip, a bus trip up the west side of the North Island and came through some hills and things, no really mountains there, and passed an active volcano. There are a number of active volcanoes there. The South Island was a piece of Antarctica they figured that came off, but the North Island is built by volcanoes. And we got to see the different things and we stayed at a tourist trap and got to go through what they call the glow worm caves. It's a cavern and it's got water that goes through it. And you get in it and it's black, oh it's black, there's no light in that place at all. You don't talk, you don't hardly breathe, and you float down this water and the glow worms hang on strings, like a spider web and at the end of them there'd be this little worm and the light, it has a little light in it's tail and so that's the glow worm part.
Then we went to, we were there several days and got to go to a, like a luau. And in the geysers that they have there, they're just hot pools, and they cooked muscles, they cooked sweet potatoes, they cooked all kinds of vegetables there, they put them in big, like a lobster pot and put them down in these things and they're all wrapped in like gunny sacks, the food is, but it's all steamed in there. And then they had, they did dances and things like that; they're native dances and things of that sort, and we got to go to one of the long houses where they, because the Mowery's are there and that was fascinating, all of it.
The next morning some other people that we had met on the trip were going to go to someplace special so I went in the lobby and was waiting for them and I was just sitting in the lobby there. So all of a sudden I looked up and here's this man, a humongous guy, and he comes walking down through there with quite a rolling walk; and it was Robert Mitchum in a blue, light blue suit, I didn't know 'til later, I found out in the newspaper that he was there to go fishing in one of the streams that's there. But I didn't say anything to him, I said he's on a vacation, he's down here, why bother him you know with somebody's fool like me. So I just sat there and watched him with that, you know how Robert Mitchum walked.
VAUGHN: But that was quite interesting. And my granddaughter got to go to something that was like a waterslide, and one of the bus drivers took her on that. And then we did a lot of things around there. And from there we went up to Auckland, and that was nice. And we were there the day that the tall ships came in the harbor and we saw them anchored and then we were still there when they left three days later. And we got, oh that harbor was just covered with every little rowboat, every little body that had a motor on the back of it you know, all out there watching these tall ships go out the harbor. And we went to a couple of museums there. We got to see shops and things like that there; there was quite a few shops and things like that to see. It was quite a nice town. We had to go back to Sydney and then catch the plane for home. So we had quite a tour.
Hanson: That is, that's quite an adventure.
VAUGHN: I'd go back to New Zealand anytime. I liked the South Island better than I did the North Island. But it was, it's a colder temperature of course, but it's, it was, and we saw trees there. They called them trees. Really, the North Island doesn't have any trees to amount to anything. But they had what they call cabbage trees. Now the trees, we have them in our yards here, lots of yards. They look like a yucca plant.
But they're not, they're more like a Joshua tree you know with a… and then it had that same kind of blossoms that the yuccas do. But they grow, oh on a small stem and grow up quite tall. But that's the only trees they had there. And then they had flax, wild flax, the flax grows there real good, and that's what the natives made their clothes out of for a long time.
But that was our trips and we, we'd stay three days in Hawaii and then come home. And I walked, and I walked, and I walked some more. I got to see a lot of different - I got to see Hilo Hattie. I got to see, they had a lot of school children there on a Sunday afternoon we were there coming into Hilo Hattie's, well it's out in the open, but they did hula dances and they sang and different things like that. And no seats to sit in; I stood up for three hours watching those kids.
Hanson: Oh, that's exhausting.
VAUGHN: But it was fun. And that's the first place that we had run into Mrs., what's her names cookies that she had? They have one down here now.
VAUGHN: Mrs. Fields Cookie place. That's the first place we went. So we got macadamia nut cookies.
Hanson: Oh, of course. What other kind are there in Hawaii.
VAUGHN: So, but it was interesting. My granddaughter had the flu, so she didn't get to go very much. She'd been there a week before that anyway, but she didn't get to-, so I walked, I didn't try to take the buses or anything like that or go anyplace, I just walked around Honolulu it seemed like miles.
VAUGHN: But it was fun. So that's my life.
Hanson: Well that's part of it.
VAUGHN: Yes, Yes, I've been places and seen things. I've been through the Midwest and seen tornadoes, but never was right close to one. Lots of thunderstorms and hail storms, where hail was as big as golf balls, but they all say, 'oh come back to Oklahoma you know, just live here.' I said 'no way!' I'll take earthquake any day. We don't have earthquakes everyday. Well we do, but not that we feel.
Hanson: Well we don't really feel them.
VAUGHN: But I said I'll take and earthquake any day.
Hanson: Yes, I think earthquakes are less scary than tornadoes.
VAUGHN: To me they are, but this cousin of mine was really oh, she was uptight about that. But anyway, that's all I can remember about San Bernardino and the area and what we've done and not done and.
Hanson: All right. Thanks Charlotte, I'm going to turn off the tape now.
[End of Interview]
Hanson: Okay, this is an interview with Charlotte Vaughn on September 13, 2002, for the San Bernardino Oral History Project. This is Joyce Hanson, and we're in the California Room in the Feldhiem Library. Okay Charlotte, let's talk about the 1940's in San Bernardino and what went on here during the war. [Tape 4, side 1]
VAUGHN: In 1940 we knew there was something coming and that President Roosevelt was trying to get us into war. But things had happened here in San Bernardino; Kaiser started their plant in Fontana and my husband was working in the lumber yard and so in 1941, in oh January or February, he decided to join the Carpenter's Union and see if he could get a job working in the industries. This was, he didn't get a job until 1942, but he was working at the lumberyard and he was doing things like that. My parents lived in Las Vegas, so we had a son that was born at the 12th of April in 1941. Then that fall my parents came down for an outing; we went up to Big Bear and had a weekend or so up there. And then the war started in December. So, in March of '42, no April '42, I went through Las Vegas to see my parents, and everything went fine going out there and it was cold, oh it was cold out there. So mother went to the door and she had a, they were living in a trailer house and she went to the door and threw some water out and it was ice before it hit the ground, so that gives you an idea how cold it was.
But, while I was there, my son had his first birthday and my husband called and said that he had got a job at Kaiser, so he went to work at Kaisers in April of '42. When I came home from there I came on a troop train that was coming to the West Coast, and it was at night and I had two kids with me. So one young man took the baby and went in another chair, in the seat and leaned back and put him to sleep and held him the whole time on the way home from Las Vegas. And a couple of other men, young kids, young boys gathered around me and my daughter and they talked to her and they talked to me, but they especially talked to her all the way home. So we didn't get any sleep. But we got home and everything went fine. My husband was working at Kaisers. He was the first man on the job at Kaisers, for Kaiser. There had been other construction companies there, but he was there, there was the superintendent and he put into work first, the first thing he did was to block the roads that were going into the area that Kaiser had bought. And then he was put to work with a set of blueprints to build a railroad bridge, and he had never done anything like that before in his life. He'd done a lot of carpentry work, but nothing like that. So he said well he got along fine. So the man kept him on and then eventually he went to work in what they call their carpenter shop over there. And they built forms for all kinds of things, down in the holes for the blast furnaces and things like that. And they worked, they worked 16 hours a day most of the time. He worked there until 1944, beginning in March of '44, and then they were putting on a conveyor belt where the coal was running out underneath it and he had to work down there and he said he refused to do it. They wouldn't give him a respirator, so he quit. And then he went to work for a contractor here in San Bernardino and they were building things out at Norton Air Force Base. But all of a sudden Uncle Sam Says, 'I want you!' So he was in the service and he went in the Navy and he was in there until, that was in '44 and he came back in just a year, just about 11 months. And he served in the Philippines on a little flat bottom LCR and then of course he came home, but during the time that he was gone, Norton was being built during the time he was working. Lots of people were stationed there.
I remember one thing that happened, we had a very famous street in San Bernardino called "D" Street, and that was where the ladies of the night hung out, had little houses. And Norton, when they came in they said, 'this will be no more.' So they scattered them all over town. My folks lived on the east side of San Bernardino, not in the city, but on the east side of San Bernardino, right at the edge of it. And three or four girls moved in across the street from them. So we had traffic all night. I didn't live there then, but they had traffic all night. And my parents had come back to San Bernardino into their home and they were both working at the air base; my dad as a fire inspector and mother as a, what they call a packer. It was Air Material Command. They brought things here and then packed them to ship them overseas. And different things, I remember going to the USO and I helped out down there. It was in the YMCA building and I helped out in the kitchen serving and things like that several times. I didn't go very often because I couldn't get away from my two kids.
But we had, we went to the USO on Thanksgiving and picked up some (my parents did), we picked up several boys in uniform and brought them out for Thanksgiving dinner. So just things like that.
Hanson: Did a lot of families do that? Did they, they brought people in?
VAUGHN: I think so, uh huh. The thing that I remember that really struck me and I remembered it all these years. One of the boys, I didn't know what his first name was, but his last name was Strikeweather and that really got me.
Hanson: That's a distinctive name.
VAUGHN: So of course I've been in geneology since then and no names shock me anymore. But I didn't get out very much because we had no gas stamps. I think I got three or four gallons a month, so I didn't go very far on that much. I made that do to take the kids to the doctor or something like that. And then I rode the bus a lot. I would come to San Bernardino on the bus and pay my bills and bring the two kids with me, drag them along.
But I didn't really know too much about what was going on. My brother was in the Navy and he was home on leave once, and then he was on the Chicago when it was sunk. But I just wasn't involved in too many things around San Bernardino.
Hanson: Well, you know, having two small children wasn't easy when you were alone.
VAUGHN: No I'd have to ride the bus and, well I wasn't alone until the end of the war.
But it was just doing things that had to be done. I did get enough when my husband went in the Navy. I did get enough stamps to take the car and go to San Diego. And through the USO or something I contacted a woman down there that would get servicemen's wives a place to stay if they did housework for these people. So I took my two kids and went down there and did housework for about, well I guess it was two months, 'til my husband was shipped out, and then I came home.
Hanson: I didn't know about that.
VAUGHN: So there were other people that did the same thing, there was lots of people down there. And this woman and her husband, her husband had been injured in some accident down there and had his fingers cut off, so he was at home part of the time. He was in and out all the time. But she worked and so I took care of her three kids and mine two.
Hanson: Well you were busy then.
VAUGHN: It wasn't bad. And then we would go to the staging place where my husband was, 'til they started shipping out, and certain days, and we could see him there, in the car, we just sat in the car and talked because that's the only way. He couldn't get off the base and that's the only way we could get together until he was shipped out, and then when he was gone, about a week later I came back to San Bernardino or Highland.
I remember when Germany surrendered and then not until the following August did Japan surrender. Of course I read the newspapers and things like that, but I don't know too much about what was going on in San Bernardino at that time. But then my husband came back and he went to work for the same contractor that he was working for just before he was drafted, and he worked with him for, oh gosh, up think until about 1972. So he worked a long time and he built houses all over San Bernardino. He built buildings and things like that tilt up buildings down in the South part of San Bernardino. He built some buildings over in Riverside and houses in Redlands and houses in San Bernardino and he was the general superintendent for this contractor.
Hanson: So there was a lot of construction activity right after the war, housing?
VAUGHN: Oh yes, uh huh, Yes. His boss would buy property and then build houses and sell them. He had a real estate and contracting business and so they did that. They didn't have to just wait for somebody to buy a lot and, they didn't depend upon that. They built track houses.
Hanson: So there was much more demand than there was …
VAUGHN: Oh yes, uh huh, uh huh. Yes, his houses were sold before they were ever built. But ah…
Hanson: Now is that, I know over on Kendall there's a lot of little houses out there. Is that part of that Post WWII boom, those little tiny houses that are out there?
VAUGHN: Yes, uh huh, uh huh. But my husband, the houses they built were between Waterman and "E" Street and usually north of Marshall Boulevard. They built a lot up in around the golf course and up in that area. And then they started building out in Rialto. They built half of the north of Rialto off above, well even below Baseline. But they did a lot of things out there. And then they had homaramas in San Bernardino.
Hanson: What was the difference?
VAUGHN: Well, they were, it was Rialto and San Bernardino and the contractors got together and each one of them, they had a piece of property and each one of them built a house on the lot and then they opened it to the public. There was one, there was two or three in Rialto and then there was a couple up in the north part of San Bernardino too where they had these houses and built them. And then of course they sold them, but they had the decorators come in and decorate them and different things like that and so they had them open to the public for about, I guess they were open about a week, and that was called a homarama. I think they had one in Redlands one time, but I don't remember whether they built a house over there or not.
Hanson: So more like a model home?
VAUGHN: Uh huh.
Hanson: That they would put up and then people would come in and see it and then order a house.
VAUGHN: They were not track houses. Those houses were individual. There was an architect that worked the contractor and he designed a lot of the houses and he would design a special house within a certain price limit.
Hanson: So it was more of a custom built house, it wasn't just one size fits all?
VAUGHN: But the other houses that he built were track houses. They'd have, oh they'd have maybe five or six different house plans and they'd build those so they didn't all look alike.
VAUGHN: And other people did the same thing, and then the last job for Miller that he worked on, they went up to Silverwood Lake in the mountains and built the dock, the toilets and things like that of the different things up in there, so they worked up there. And then Cary retired. His legs were hurting him so bad he couldn't hardly walk, so he retired and that was, our kids grew up and we lived in Highland for 16 years and then we moved to, well the address is San Bernardino, but it's the county. We still don't live in the City; we live in the County.
And our children graduated from Pacific High School. One of the things that's kind of interesting, I graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1936, my daughter graduated from Pacific in 1956, and her daughter graduated from Pacific in 1976. But ah, her husband worked for the, well he worked for my husband for a while in the building part and then he got work for a lumberyard and worked there in San Bernardino and then he worked for one up in the mountains for a long time and then he got on the San Bernardino City Fire Department, so he worked there. I don't know how long he worked, because they got divorced and so we didn't have much more contact with him. We did with his family, but not with him. But they were good friends of ours. My daughter's two kids, she had two children and they grew up in San Bernardino and both of them attended Pacific and graduated from there.
And my son, just before graduating from Pacific he decided he was smarter than mother and dad, so he wanted to go to Harvey Mudd down in Pomona, and I said okay. But he'd been rejected for Annapolis, and that's what he wanted to do, but he'd been rejected for it because of a heart murmur. So I said okay, his grades dropped way down, and I said you've got to go one year to Valley College and then I'll send you to Harvey Mudd, because it was expensive and I didn't want to have to send him with low grades and all that. So he said okay. So about, just as soon as he was 18, he joined the Navy. Well he had to finish his school year out see? And we said we were going to, we'd been planning a trip to Oklahoma and we were getting ready to go. And he said, 'I can't go.' I said what do you mean you can't go? He said I've got to report to the Navy on this certain date.
Hanson: And you had no idea of the date?
VAUGHN: No, I had no idea that he joined.
Hanson: Oh, what year was that?
VAUGHN: That was in 19, let me see. 1959 I guess it was. I think it was 1959. So anyway I said well, we've already got this trip planned and we're going to go and you'll just have to find your own way down there. So he had to take the bus down.
But he did, and he stayed in the Navy for his enlistment and then came out and worked at Norton Air Force Base for a while and then got married and then they had a big rift at Norton and he was sent to Hillfield up in Utah. He and his wife had a baby before they left to go up there, and they went up there and they were there through the birth of five children. And he attended Weaver State College in Ogden and got his degree. He got an A.S. degree in Math/Science and he got his B.S. Degree in Communications. But he was working for the government all the time, he had to work to support his family and go to school too. So it was nice. They gave him swing shift jobs so he could go to school in the daytime and still work at night. It was pretty rough. Then he transferred to Georgia and from there, we visited back and forth a lots of times and from there he was transferred to Battle Creek, Michigan. All the time, trying to get back to Seattle; that's where he wanted to be.
Hanson: So he went the long route.
VAUGHN: He went all the way around the United States and back here. And then he went to work for the government at Boeing, doing inspection, aircraft inspections there. And that's what he'd been doing all the time he was in, well when he first went to Hillfield he was doing, he worked in computers and he was doing an upgrade of the missile silos that were up in the Midwest you know, northern part of the United States and Nebraska and Wyoming and all up in that area. And he worked up in there I think for about, nearly three years doing that, and then they transferred to Georgia. And so it's just been interesting all the way, whatever he did, from working computers and then as an inspector. And when he got that job then he went back to Seattle and he did that then until he retired in 1979, no '89 I guess it was. And within three weeks he was back doing the same thing for Boeing. He says 'Oh I'm going to take some time off, I got my retirement from the government. I'm going to take some time off.' Well, in three weeks he was back at work. So then he worked there until he retired again. He retired again about, he's been retired now about, oh I guess about seven years, something like that. But he was married three times, he had six children, two died as babies in Utah, and they're all grown. The youngest one's the only one that really finished college, four years of college; she has a B.S. Degree in Geology. And the other ones attended two years colleges and the oldest one works for Microsoft and the next boy, the next oldest is in North Carolina and for a long time he had a business of his own and then he's been working with computers. He works with computers and things like that. And then the next girl works for United Airlines, she a reservations person. And then the youngest one, she's not working in Geology, she's working for University of Washington in the Science, something to do with Natural Science. I don't know what it is. It's beyond me sometimes. But my daughter's oldest daughter became a nurse and she has an A.S. Degree and then she worked at Doctor's Hospital in Montclair for a long time and then now she's, she moved to Redding and she got married up there and then she and her husband moved up to, well they went all over the United States doing contract nursing for a long time. And then they went up to Washington and got a job in Tacoma at the hospital up there. And while they were there they did a lot of traveling around. And they found some hospital up at Port Angeles and they loved it up there. So that's where they've been now for about, I guess nearly six years, something like that. And they like it up there; they bought a house and really enjoy it.
My daughter's son lives in Highland. He went to Cal Poly, but he didn't graduate. He had about half, about a semester to do the goal and he was getting low on money and he got a job with the State Highway Department. And since then he's gotten, I don't know if he got his degree or not, but anyway he's gotten up in the State Highway Department. He did survey work for a long time and now he works in the office down here in the State Building. So he's had several promotions and he went to school and did some more schooling. So I don't know what's going on. My oldest granddaughter has four stepchildren. Her brother had five children, and then our, my son's second son is the only one of his kids that are married, and he has two children. So we're well supplied with grandchildren and great grandchildren. I tell them I've raised three different sets of children; my own, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren.
Hanson: There you go, and you're still a young woman and you have great grandchildren.
VAUGHN: I should have brought, we had our 66th wedding anniversary on the 4th of September and we've made lots of trips. Did I tell you about the trips I took to USSR?
VAUGHN: And I'd like to go again. My granddaughter that works for the airline is going to Paris in about a month and then on to London. And I said to my husband, 'I'd sure like to go, can I go, may I go?' He says I don't think you need to travel around anymore. Of course it would mean getting another passport.
Hanson: Itchy feet Charlotte, itchy feet.
VAUGHN: He didn't want me to get the other one renewed, and I want to renew it because I'd like to go again, but he's not much to travel. But we've been all over the United States, including going on the Alcan Highway to Alaska. And it's, it's been wonderful. I've had a good life.
Hanson: Yes, you have.
VAUGHN: But I've enjoyed. I've never worked for a salary. I've always worked as a volunteer.
Hanson: But that's important work.
VAUGHN: I had Campfire Girls, Cub Scouts and I worked in the PTA and then after, oh we square danced for a long time and enjoyed that. I played piano and my husband played guitar and messed with a couple of other instruments that he can play. Because he plays by ear, he didn't play by notes. And we used to have groups come to our house. We had two different fiddle players, a piano player, more guitars and we'd play 'til, I cut them off at 10:00 o'clock at night. And then one night we played and we were playing and it was Saturday night, so I figured well we'd play a little later, but we didn't have much music, but we were playing and messing around and talking. And someone says, 'I'm hungry, haven't you got anything to eat in this house?' I said 'I haven't got very much to fix a meal for a big bunch like this.' He said 'I want fried chicken'. I said 'what, I don't have any chickens'. He said 'I know where I can get some.' So he went to his mother-in-laws and got his mother-in-law and father-in-law to bed, they went out and got some chicken; they brought I think four or five chickens back to my house alive and we were killing chickens and dressing chickens and frying chickens at 3:00 o'clock in the morning. Of course this all started you know at midnight.
Hanson: Right. That's fresh, not like the Colonel.
VAUGHN: No, the Colonel wasn't around then.
Then, while we were square dancing; we belonged to different groups of square dancing, and we met a, there was a group of us, about 8 or10 couples that we'd go places all the time. And we'd go, after a square dance, if someone didn't show up at the square dance we'd go to their house and wake them up. They've done that to all of us, we all got it. And then we had to give them refreshments and then they'd go home. But we did that a lot. We were kind of stupid, even though we were 45 years old.
Hanson: No, that's not stupid, that's just fun.
VAUGHN: But we enjoyed life.
Hanson: Great. And that's what it's about isn't it?
VAUGHN: Uh huh. But all of our family and everything like that, my family have been here, one side of it, from 1745 and then he married into a family that might have been here since 1693. So they've been here a long time. Gifford's from London. And then the other sides of my family though, that's just one side, and then I'm related to the Boone family through marriage. And then my mother's side of the family and her father's side of the family; her mother's side of the family came, the first one was a bound servant in Maryland before 1700, but we don't know just what time. But he was 17 years old when he came. And then her father's side though, I can only get them to North Carolina just before 1800; I just don't know what's, there's too many people with that name.
VAUGHN: So I haven't really worked on it too much. And then, there's several different parts of the family came from North Carolina. We don't have anyone that I know of that came in through Massachusetts or anything. The early ones came in through Philadelphia and Pennsylvania and Maryland. And then my husband's side of the family, I've got one side of his family back to France during the reign of Louis the XIII. And then when Louis the XIV came in he was going to kill everybody that wasn't Catholic, so they left.
VAUGHN: And then his other side of the family were Welch, and they came into London and that's the only thing that I know. I don't know much about them. His grandmother's side of the family, his mother's side, came from Germany and I know when they came, I know the ship they came on and what the ship's manifest says. So we're all here for a long time. I know lots of people that don't know their grandfathers or grandmothers, but I know quite a bit about ours.
Hanson: Yes, you do. I have a question to ask you about San Bernardino, but I want to flip the tape before we do, because we're almost out of tape, so let's do that first. [End of Tape 4, side 1]
[Beginning of Tape 4, side 2]
Hanson: All right, this is my question about San Bernardino. Someone said that they remember coming to Pioneer Park when they were very young, but also remembers water and playing near a pond in this area. Do you remember a pond down this way or a lake or?
VAUGHN: No, not here on this Pioneer Park. I remember the old log cabin that was here, and we did play here in this park. But we also played at Meadow Brook Park too, that was down between Third and Rialto Avenue or Third and Second, down in that area and off of the end of Sierra Way.
VAUGHN: And there was a creek that ran through there, but the only place that there would be, I've read that there was a plunge in San Bernardino, a swimming plunge you know over off of Arrowhead at one time, but that was before my time. I don't' remember anything about that.
Hanson: Now this would have been in the early 1940's, late '30's.
Hanson: No, okay.
VAUGHN: Because the Municipal Auditorium was here at the time. The only, when I was young, oh from about 12 to 15, the only swimming place that they had here was either at Highland or Harlan Springs in an indoor pool there, or go to Colton. Colton had what they called the Colton Plunge. And, that's where we went swimming. There was a lake over in Riverside called Fairmont Park, and we went on picnics over there a lot. And to Sylvan Park in Redlands is where we were in Highland at this elementary school they had their picnics and things over there. There were no parks here to; Meadow Brook Park was let run down, and Pioneer Park wasn't big enough to have anything like that because it was around the Municipal Auditorium. So there really wasn't much, but there was no pool or pond or anything like that other than Secombe Lake over there, and it wasn't much. It was, well they had just a little pond, and then they did dredge it out a little bit and put more water in it and people fish in it, but that was after World War II when they did that. And they made a little park around that then. But, and then they made Perris Hill Park, which was a nice park. I can remember when that was made. And then with the reservoir up on top of the mountain, up on top of the hill. Someone told me that that reservoir was up there a long time, but it wasn't cemented and it didn't have a roof on it. I remember when they put the roof on it. And before they put the roof on it there was a time when someone in a little two wing airplane flew down almost into that and, of course they didn't get into it, but they came real close. And that was quite a thing; they shouldn't have been doing that. And then they made the Perris Hill Bowl when they made the park, just after they made the park. And they took the park, they took some of the big cement tables from Cajon Park they had up there in Cajon Pass after the '38 flood and put them down here at Perris Hill Park. But some of them went here and some of them went over to the "K" Street Park, Lytle Creek Park. And then Colton decided that they liked those tables, so they made forms and made tables for one of their parks over there. Now that, those are just things that I can remember.
I know that we went to the mountains a lot. I don't remember if I told you about going up on the truck or not. My dad got a truck from the, he worked at the lumberyard. He got a truck, I guess I was, well we were living in San Bernardino at the time. He borrowed the truck from the lumberyard. We had a three-day holiday, so we went up to Angeles Oaks, but it was Camp Angeles then, with another family. And my dad and this other man rode in the truck and we put mattresses in the back of the truck because it was a flatbed and tied ropes on them you know, and then the rest of us all, there was six of us back there on the back and we didn't have a tent, we just had a canvas, but we went up there and camped for the weekend. And I remember that a couple places on the old road up there, you had to, in order to get that long truck around the switchback you had to back it up and then start again a couple of times. And that man was scared spitless. He didn't know what was going on. Here we were on the back of the truck, hanging out over the… you know, nobody was hurt, but he was scared spitless. We never did go on a picnic like that again. We went to the beach, but we never did go up there. We had lots of experiences like that.
Mother took us, with a neighbor lady and we went to Doheny Beach and we went down through Lake Elsinore and that way, up over mountain and down to San Juan Capistrano and then to Doheny Beach. And, all that winding road down through there with four kids and two women in the car and tents and things like that that we had. We got down there and we unpacked everything, got the tents put up and everything was going good. Mother went to turn the car around and it wouldn't turn. She couldn't steer it. Some way just as she got there that thing broke; the steering gear in it broke. She could turn it one way, but she couldn't turn it the other way. They had to fix that before we could go home.
So dad and the other man, they came down. But that was on a Friday afternoon or something like that, and they came down and stayed 'til Sunday. Because they had to fix our car before we could come home.
Hanson: Your mother was independent wasn't she?
VAUGHN: Oh yes. And then one time we were just small, and we had the Model T Ford and she'd learned to drive it. So we went to Yucaipa to get cherries and we got up there and picked our cherries and everything like that. We were coming down this, there's a long hill that comes down out of Yucaipa before you get on that flat place down where the high school is. And coming down that hill, there goes one of our wheels ahead of us. But she got it to the bottom. We got off and we put it back on and away we went.
Hanson: That was very unusual for a woman at that time to be out driving with the young children. That was unheard of.
VAUGHN: Oh she went everyplace. Once she learned to drive that Model T Ford, we went everyplace no matter what.
Hanson: Well now we know where you get it from.
VAUGHN: Oh Yes. Well her mother was like that too. She didn't learn to drive a car, but she was very independent. She'd take a team of horses and hook them up and go to town in a hurry. But, oh there's so many things that happen in your life that you, you really get to thinking about them and you, well one thing brings on another one and then you think about something else, but we've enjoyed all of it.
All the family reunions we've had. No one was out here, well my mother had an aunt and uncle that lived here in San Bernardino, her uncle had died, but the aunt still lived here and she had three children. One was a year older; the girl was a year older than I was, so we played together a lot. And then the two boys were quite a bit older, but they lived just west of here on Spruce Street, just west of the library on Spruce Street. And for years we lived there. And then she had an aunt that lived in Riverside. She had no children, but we would visit her a lot and she came over to see us. And it was a good life. I can't say anything bad about it. We were poor, but we didn't know it. So…
Hanson: A lot of people were.
VAUGHN: We were really poor a lot of times. I remember my dad had a pair of dress shoes and they got a hole in the bottom and he couldn't afford to have them half-soled, he did his work shoes and we kids always had our shoes half-soled, but he wore cardboards in the bottom of those shoes. And, I just can't think of too much more.
Hanson: Let me ask you a question.
Hanson: When I was looking through these Shades of San Bernardino Project I saw a picture of you in there.
VAUGHN: In my formal.
Hanson: In a long dress, yes.
VAUGHN: That was my first one, when I was 16.
Hanson: Was it a school formal?
VAUGHN: No, no, no, it was just that I wanted a formal. And we went to dances on Saturday nights; the family did quite a bit. And I wanted a long dress. So I had pneumonia and I was just getting over pneumonia and mother bought me the dress to wear. And so I enjoyed that dress, it was yellow organdy.
Hanson: Yes, it's a black and white picture so you can't tell, but quite spiffy.
VAUGHN: I was really proud of that. But oh I can remember as we came to California, I don't think I told you about that. We stopped in Arizona because my dad, to find work, that's where they were taking mother because she had tuberculosis. And stopping in from Arizona and they couldn't find work, so they started on from Phoenix, Phoenix wasn't much then. They started on West, and they got out to where the big Sirarra Cactus are and dad saw a burro by the side of the two track road that was there and it had a halter on so he thought well maybe he could catch that, so he went over and caught it. And they put my brother and I up on top of it and took our pictures.
Hanson: I saw that picture.
VAUGHN: Oh did you?
Hanson: Yes. I was wondering where that burro came from. I didn't think that was a San Bernardino burro.
VAUGHN: No, but we camped along the side of the road and had my uncle's Model T sedan, I guess you'd call it a sedan. It had side curtains on it when it rained. And they had a side thing on the running board. And they had a tent and whatever utensils they used in that and we camped along the side of the road, because there was no motels. There was a hotel or two once in a while when we'd get into a town, but we sometimes didn't stay there. We couldn't afford it.
Hanson: No, I understand.
VAUGHN: And then when dad got out here, the first place he got a job back in where mother really needed to go, was back down at Indio. But we stayed here, and then the job played out as soon as they got what they were doing. They were roofing houses, so when they got that done then he got a job here at the Lumberyard here in San Bernardino and that's where he stayed then for the rest of the time here.
Hanson: That other picture that's in there, is that a picture of your mother, with the big hat?
VAUGHN: Uh huh.
Hanson: Where was that taken?
VAUGHN: Up at Lake Arrowhead. They were making, getting ready to make the second dam at Lake Arrowhead. It was called Little Bear.
And they were getting ready to make the dam that's there now, that you can drive across. The other one was lower, and they just let the water run over top of it. But they were, one of our neighbors was ah, had County prisoners that he worked and they had the prisoners up there doing the log cutting; cutting the trees out of the lake where they were going to fill it up to. And his wife went up to cook for the prisoners, so mother went up to help her; that's where that was taken was up there.
Hanson: Was that common to get prisoners to do that kind of work?
VAUGHN: Well they still do.
Hanson: They still do?
VAUGHN: Prisoners clean up at the side of the freeways; they're all around now.
Hanson: Oh yes. I know they do that.
VAUGHN: We had some that came out to our house in the last flood that we had up there and cleaned our yard for us, along with the Boy Scouts.
Hanson: Well there's an interesting combination; boy scouts and prisoners.
VAUGHN: Well they weren't there the same day.
Hanson: I would hope not.
VAUGHN: But the prisoners were the ones that can work during the week and then they have to spend their weekends in prison; so that's what we had working for us out there. But, no there are so many things that happened and I can't remember all of them.
What were you going to ask me about the other day? What was I talking about? Do you remember?
Hanson: We were talking about Perris Hill Park, and bringing down the tables for the park. Someone told me, here's another thing I want to ask you, if you can verify this. Because someone else told me about the Prisoner of War Camp that was here. I did an interview Wednesday with someone who talked about that.
VAUGHN: I don't know too much about it, except that it was there and I know that they had formed a little band and they would play for dances and they would bring them to San Bernardino and just a group, they were Italian, and other Italian people around would get them and take them to different places and do different things; and they even let them work in some of their grape vineyards and things too. So, I knew that happened, but I thought there were some German prisoners here too, but they say, I heard later that I don't think there was, just my memory was kind of… but I thought at the time that there were some German prisoners here too. There might have been for a little while and then they put them someplace else.
Hanson: Yes, yes, because another interview I did she was telling me that she remembers the prisoners just being very free, being able to walk around town and it wasn't really…
VAUGHN: Yes, they were happy to be here. Really they were. They liked it; and lots of them stayed, they didn't go back. Lots of them stayed.
Hanson: I suppose being in America was better than being in Italy at the time.
VAUGHN: Oh yes. Well there were lots of Italians here, early there had been Italians came over when they first started the grape vineyards out west of Cucamonga and out that way. And they came over and worked in the Grape Vineyards there. In fact, there's lots of the names of the people that are really Italian, and that was quite an Italian settlement.
Hanson: I wasn't aware of that. See all the things I'm learning here.
VAUGHN: Oh sure. You learn lots of things if you just listen.
Hanson: Absolutely, I love to listen to all of you.
VAUGHN: My husband had a Holland Dutchman that he worked for. He had a few acres of ground out in Highland and he raised horses and things like that and he spoke very brokenly and he says to Cary one day, he says, "You know, you learn a lot of you hust listen, you keep your highs and ears open and hust listen."
Hanson: He was right.
VAUGHN: So, I think my husband learned a lot from that old Dutchman, he really did. He was a marvelous old man, he really was. I didn't know him until he was quite old. And his wife was German, and she was a wonderful woman. She put up with more with that old man. She was a good cook, and the old man, he didn't want any vegetables. He wanted meat and potatoes and that was it. She cooked vegetables, but he wouldn't eat them. He wouldn't eat tomatoes, he wouldn't eat… no, those are poison.
But he was a good old man. He was a horse trader. And he always got, if he traded a horse he always got something to boot; a sack of onions. But, oh for a long time in the last, oh 15 or 20 years there's been a group of us that grew up in Highland (women), that got together for lunch three or four times a year. And there's only four of us left. And there was I think 17 at one time and there's four of us left. But we haven't had a luncheon for a long time, just four of us.
But I enjoy the school reunions. I didn't go for a long time because I couldn't afford to, but we've been going and they've been having them every 2-1/2 years now so. After you get to your 65th reunion, well…
Hanson: That's a long time.
VAUGHN: Uh huh. Ever since the 40th one, we had one at 45, 50, and then 55, and then they started having them 2-1/2 years and we had our 65th one last year. In fact, they combined two classes last year so that we'd, because we didn't have enough people in either class. So we've really enjoyed life. Any more questions you want to ask me?
Hanson: Ah I think that's it for now, so we are going to end, but what I'm going to do is we are going to transcribe all the tapes and then I might have a list of questions that will come up that I forgot to ask or whatever, and then we'll get together. I'll call you and we'll make an appointment to get together and I'll give you a list of the questions, then we'll go through and kind of fill in some gaps. Because I know there are things I'm missing.
VAUGHN: Well there are things I probably haven't told you about too so.
Hanson: Well that's fine, but you know usually there's some follow-up questions I miss. So we'll do that and then when I get that all put together then I'll get in touch with you and we'll also give you, after everything's edited, or transcribed, I'll give it to you and you can read it and edit it and you can take out things if you want or add, tell me there's more you want to add to this and then we'll tape it. And then when that's all done I'll give you a copy of the transcript to have for yourself. We'll bind it and give it to you.
VAUGHN: Do you want to read my aunt's story that I've been working on?
Hanson: Yes, I do.
VAUGHN: Sue is proofing it for me right now. And I'm going to enter it into a contest. And I found a lot of things in there that she tells about that since I've been doing research I find that she didn't know different people, different dates and things like that. But she did remember a lot of things. And then at the back, in the addendum, I put my mother's recollections that she told about. She remembered a lot more than what's in there. But then I put in a map of the township where they lived with all the different family's names that she talks about. And her two grandfathers that were in this war, I put their discharge papers in there. And then her father's family's sheet I put in back, so it gives a little bit more. People can see who she talks about. Because she doesn't name names lots of times. Of her own family, she tells that there were people that lived around her, but not her own family. So that's…
Hanson: As soon as she gets it done let me know. I really want to read that.
VAUGHN: Okay. I'm working on stories for my husband. I've got quite a story started for that, but I haven't got it finished, because I can't get cooperation from other people to tell me their stories you know, the things they remember. And that's what I want to put in there; all of our memories, not just mine.
Hanson: We also want to interview Cary for this. We have to get that organized too.
VAUGHN: Okay. Well, he's kind of depressed right now.
Hanson: Yes, well when he's ready.
VAUGHN: He had cancer surgery on the ear and behind his ear again, and then his prostate cancer. He's just not feeling too good.
Hanson: Yes, no, whenever he's ready.
VAUGHN: But I'll call you and let you know when he's ready.
Hanson: No Rush. I'm willing to wait for everyone.
VAUGHN: Okay. And then I did tell you about Yvonne Wood.
Hanson: Yes, I have Yvonne's name and number, and there was another person from the Historical Society that you gave me, I can't remember her name at the moment. But I have that information.
VAUGHN: Oh, that was the other night. Oh, the woman from Colton.
VAUGHN: Yes, yes.
Hanson: And I have that.
VAUGHN: She has pictures in there.
Hanson: So I have her name and number and I'll call her too. And we just moved into a new building and things are a mess but, as you know.
VAUGHN: Did you get moved?
Hanson: We got moved, but it's a mess. I don't have a desk; I don't have a computer that works, so you know. It's just little things like that. But next week things should be better and I'm going to start making those phone calls and getting in touch with people. So we'll get a lot of people.
VAUGHN: Well do you have other people to interview these people too, or do you do it all?
Hanson: No, I can't do it all. I want to do you ladies here, because you're my friends.
VAUGHN: Thank you.
Hanson: But a lot of these interviews I'll have graduate students like Suzie [Earp] do them, and some seniors who are very good.
VAUGHN: Well, you want to be sure that you get Suzie's interview with Janet Miles.
Hanson: Yes, yes.
VAUGHN: Because we have Janet Miles book. If you haven't read it you should.
Hanson: Yes, it's up in our library, so I'm going to read that.
VAUGHN: It is very interesting. In fact I've got a print of it if you want to take it and just.
Hanson: Oh I would love to yes, because that will save me. Thanks Charlotte.
[End of Interview]
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