November 7, 2002
Hanson: This is an interview with Nedra Weismeyer and we are at her home in Loma Linda and today is November 7, 2002. Mrs. Weismeyer, tell me about where you were born in San Bernardino.
WEISMEYER: I was born on East Fourth Street, that was when we weren't born in the hospital. And the doctor would come to the house. That was cattycorner across the street from Seccombes home. And now you've heard of the Seccombes?
Hanson: I've heard of the Seccombes.
WEISMEYER: And you've heard a little more in there about the lake on property that my grandfather owned for several years. He owned ten acres there and that is where the lake has formed; there was a creek that went through and then it changed when they changed it and made it into a lake.
Hanson: How did they do that?
WEISMEYER: Well, they stopped it from going on down into Meadowbrook Park. That's how they did it. It was a creek, as I can remember the little fish going down.
Hanson: Tell me some more about it. Tell me some more about what San Bernardino looked like when you were growing up.
WEISMEYER: Well, I remember where Harris Company used to be. On E Street between D and E on the south side of the street, and I can remember that every time I went with my mother, Mr. Harris - this one was special, I don't know whether there were more that was around in the store, but he always spoke nicely to us, and so we just felt related to the Harris Company. You'll have to ask me some questions.
Hanson: Tell me what kinds of things they sold at the Harris Company? What did you go there to get.
WEISMEYER: Everything, except food. Yes, my mother did all of her shopping there, buying her dresses, and things like that. And material, because she always shopped for my sister and me.
Hanson: Now, the Harris Company had special departments and they had people in charge of special departments. Do you remember any of those people?
WEISMEYER: No, no.
Hanson: Tell me about going to school. Where did you go to school in San Bernardino?
WEISMEYER: Well, I started in Kindergarten on east Fourth Street, that was the Fourth Street school. Then when we moved up - it was Pearl Street but it isn't Pearl Street now, it's - they changed the name, it is between Mountain View and Arrowhead - and it was in the 700 block. And B Street school was on Mountain View, but it was B Street school and I went there in first and second grade, and then E - Howard Avenue for a short time to school. We moved and moved and moved. My father must have loved to do it. He worked for the telephone company and I think I wrote that he was the first one, he helped build the first mine up to the mountains.
Hanson: When you were kids, what did you do for fun?
WEISMEYER: Say that again?
Hanson: What did you do for fun when you were little kids.
WEISMEYER: I played with all the neighbor kids, I remember that. We were always friends with the kids. And nothing special remains in my mind.
Hanson: Any kind of games that you played that kind of stand out?
Hanson: Did you go to any special parks?
WEISMEYER: Well, Meadowbrook Park - you know where that it.
Hanson: Where is it, I don't know.
WEISMEYER: Oh you don't?
Hanson: No, I'm new here.
WEISMEYER: Oh. That's on Third Street between Mountain View and Arrowhead, anyway it was in there and then the creek that ran through my Grandfather's place ran down into Meadowbrook Park.
But that was the main park at that time. Then of course they had this park between E and F on 7th Street, by the California Hotel. There was a park there, but the main park that I can remember was Meadowbrook.
Hanson: Was that a place where families went and had picnics?
WEISMEYER: Oh yes, oh yes. Oh yes.
Hanson: Can you remember anything about High School? I know you went to High School with Mr. Powers.
WEISMEYER: Yes, well I'll tell you what, my father wanted to be a farmer so we moved to Delano, that is 30 miles north of Bakersfield. He wanted to farm. Well, he didn't know how, so he got a job at the Food company and I went the fourth, fifth grades up through the third year of high school - I made high school in three years, so we came back from Delano to San Bernardino and that is when I was a senior and I graduated and Mr. Momyer was the principal. M-O-M-Y-E-R is how I think it was.
Hanson: Do you remember anything about him.
WEISMEYER: No, except that he was well liked. And respected. You ask me now.
Hanson: My turn to ask. After you graduated from High School, what did you do?
WEISMEYER: A little bit of everything. I worked at Woolworth's - $12.00 a week, and if you were sixteen you could get $16.00 a week. But I only got $12.00. But of course I enjoyed working there. I loved to work. Then for some reason or other I got a job down at a delicatessen at 3rd and D Street, that was Berk's. Berk's Market Spot owned by Bill Berk.
Norman Weismeyer was the manager of the grocery department and later on he was manager of the whole store. And Mayfair Markets bought them out, and he still was manager of the grocery and later on he was manager of the store and he was transferred to Riverside, he was manager there, and then down to Sun City - Mayfair bought them out - he was the manager of the store down there on the highway down there at Sun City. And he drove back and forth. That's at the time -- we had moved to Reche Canyon. I had gotten married and uh, so he enjoyed that until then Mayfair evidently sold out to - (asks question of someone "do you remember who bought them out?") Well, he retired from Mayfair in Sun City, but he had worked a while in Riverside. So I'm not very talkative. Well, I can talk but this is what I can say.
Hanson: You are doing fine. You are telling me a lots of good things.
WEISMEYER: Well I hope.
Hanson: Tell me about what you used to do when you went on a date?
WEISMEYER: Well, we used to go to the movies.
Hanson: What movies did you go to?
WEISMEYER: Was it the California Theater?
Hanson: What movies did you see? Do you remember any of those movies?
Hanson: They were silent movies?
WEISMEYER: Oh, yes.
Hanson: Let's talk about after you got married, when you were a young wife.
WEISMEYER: I went to work for the Edison Company, that was before I married Norman. I worked there five years, and there were five girls that worked at that time and we were all engaged to get married and they told us that after we got married, we had to quit. And, all five of us had to leave. Now that was unusual. They wanted to give some other girl a job. But I worked there for five years. Let's see, I was married just a few months before I had to leave. And I don't remember working until I was - what do you call it, the people paid me for their tuition, I was the bookkeeper. I did that for several years. I got a job in Loma Linda and I worked at the school there as the cashier at the Academy. I worked there five years. Then I went to work at the Library - the Loma Linda, what do they call it now, anyway, the main library and worked there.
I keep thinking about Ray Powers.
Hanson: Well, tell me about him.
WEISMEYER: I don't remember any thing about him, I just knew he was related to some relative of mine and that is all I remember.
Hanson: When you were young and you wanted to go from one place to another around San Bernardino, how did you get there?
WEISMEYER: When I was younger? Well, I couldn't go anywhere unless I went with my father and mother. No. To the high school I rode the streetcar.
Hanson: Where did the streetcar go to? Did it go all around or did it just go to certain places.
WEISMEYER: Oh, it came through Highland down Sierra Way, it was A Street then, I'd catch that at D, see that was 18th street and the school was over a block.
Hanson: How much did it cost to ride the streetcar?
WEISMEYER: I don't remember, not more than five cents or ten cents. Because my mother never said a word about what it cost. Maybe it was only a nickel.
Hanson: So your mother would have said something if she thought it was too expensive?
WEISMEYER: She would have told me to be very, very careful I didn't lose anything. But I know one time I didn't have my nickel and do you know the girl that was collecting money in the streetcar she must have gathered it from the look on my face or something, because she never asked me for that nickel. That was unusual for me.
Hanson: Tell me about - let's see, if you went to buy groceries, where did you go.
WEISMEYER: Well, it had to be Market Spot.
Hanson: Where was that? Oh, Berk's Market Spot.
WEISMEYER: That's where our groceries came from for years and years.
Hanson: When you went to get your groceries did they make you pay for your groceries?
WEISMEYER: Oh yes.
Hanson: - or did they have accounts that you could -
WEISMEYER: No, no.
Hanson: You had to pay right then and there. What about growing up in the 1930's in San Bernardino? How were things in San Bernardino in 1930. Roosevelt was president.
WEISMEYER: For some reason I can't think of what the '30s were.
Helen Weismeyer (daughter): What year were you married?
Hanson: When you were first married did you have lots of money to get what you need to have or did you have to work really hard.
WEISMEYER: No I didn't have to, I always wanted to work, it was just my nature of wanting to work. Did anyone mention to you about the creek that ran over and flooded down on East 4th Street and flooded across the street from Seccombes and washed the house out across the street?
WEISMEYER: That was about 1915 I would think. Because I was born there and I know that I was a little past - around 5 years old when we moved down on Pearl Street but it washed that house out. And I have a picture of it in the water and everything. And then evidently let my sister have it and now she had all the pictures of the family and then when she died her son had all the stuff and they were way back east then and I never saw them again.
Hanson: Oh. That's too bad. So that was a flood then, or the creek just flooded.
WEISMEYER: It overflowed and went on down to Meadowbrook Park.
Hanson: Do you remember the big flood in 1938?
WEISMEYER: Well -
Hanson: That was the year Helen was born.
WEISMEYER: You were born in Loma Linda, in the old hospital. No, I don't remember much about that flood.
Hanson: Some people remember it and some people don't. It depends on what you were doing. You were busy having a baby so you didn't have to remember it. Were there a lot of cars in San Bernardino when you grew up?
Hanson: Lots of Fords or just a few?
WEISMEYER: Not a lot, no. We had one of those Fords that had the side curtains on that when it rained or got cold --
Hanson: Did it have a Rumble seat?
WEISMEYER: No. Can you think of something? (Laughter)
Hanson: When you worked at the library, what did you do? What was your job when you worked at Loma Linda at the library?
WEISMEYER: I know I helped the students find the magazines they needed, in the periodical department and I can remember when the management wrote an article and put it in the paper and put how well the students liked to come to me to find what they wanted.
Hanson: Oh, how nice!
WEISMEYER: I thought that was really a nice thing. But I enjoyed the work.
Hanson: I see you have written down here something about a San Bernardino earthquake.
WEISMEYER: Oh yes, that was the year my brother was born. He was born April 19, 1918. What do I have there (referring to notes given to Hanson).
Hanson: I don't have his date of birth here. I have a sister born in 1908. Then I have a brother Jack, but no date.
Hanson: That's ok.
WEISMEYER: What were we talking about?
Hanson: The earthquake.
WEISMEYER: Oh. He was born on Friday, April 19, 1918 - he is six years younger than I am, and since that is when the mothers had to stay in bed so we were sent to Grandma's down on East Fifth street and oh, it shook like everything. We ran outside and the chimney, the things coming off the top of the chimney, and my aunt fainted, and my sister and I ran home to see how things were there. But oh, my mother said the house just went like this.
Hanson: Shaking back and forth, back and forth.
WEISMEYER: The house is still there.
Hanson: Good construction
WEISMEYER: But I can't think of the name of the street - I can almost, it seems like it was Prospect but it couldn't be. It was between 7th and 8th and Mountain View and Arrowhead, so all of those streets were renamed.
Hanson: Do you know why they were renamed?
WEISMEYER: No. No.
Hanson: You also say here your father was a singer?
WEISMEYER: Oh yes, he sang. He sang a lot, he sang out in public a lot, and then I didn't write about him playing the Orange leaf because people wouldn't understand what I was talking about. Now like, you'd have a leaf, but he changed it from the orange leaf later to the avocado leaf, because an avocado leaf was a little stronger. You'd take it like this and blow over the top and it made music as good as a violin.
Hanson: Oh, my.
WEISMEYER: I can remember he played at the Orange Show, I remember that real well. And he was well liked.
Hanson: So he played at the Orange Show, where else would he play?
WEISMEYER: Everywhere that asked him.
Hanson: Clubs and dances and things?
WEISMEYER: I couldn't tell you whereabouts, I was younger and it didn't mean that much to me.
Hanson: Now you also have written her your aunt was a singer. So you come from a musical family then.
WEISMEYER: She was on the California theater group - anyway she worked for them, sang for them when she was supposed to at the shows. She got paid of course.
Hanson: Well, that is good. A lot of people didn't get paid.
WEISMEYER: I don't have much in the way of good stories. I don't know whether it is going to help you.
Hanson: You are telling me about things that I didn't hear about before. I didn't know there was an earthquake in 1918. No one told me that.
WEISMEYER: Well, in 1918 and I was eight years old, that is a pretty long time ago!
Hanson: Than must have been pretty scary for a little eight year old.
WEISMEYER: Well it was.
Hanson: I was pretty scared when I felt my first earthquake here and I was a lot older than eight.
WEISMEYER: You felt one in San Bernardino?
Hanson: Yes, not a big one like that but an earthquake. But I'm from back east.
WEISMEYER: Any earthquakes are bad. Let's see if there is anything on this note; I doubt it.
Hanson: Let's see what we have here.
WEISMEYER: I don't think you can read it. A lot could be the same thing as before.
Hanson: We talked about the lake. You have a note here about the Mormon Trail.
WEISMEYER: Oh, we used to take the streetcar up to the Hotel, that's where the streetcar would stop, that's so people could go to the hotel. We'd get off there and have family picnics.
Hanson: Why was the Mormon trail important?
WEISMEYER: Because you know there aren't many Mormon trails or any other kind of trails.
Hanson: No one ever told me just because it is important because there are not a lot of them. No one has ever said that. That is an honest answer. (Much laughing).
WEISMEYER: Well, I think that's it.
Hanson: That's it? We're all done?
Helen Weismeyer: Remember the grape vineyards that San Bernardino used to have, the those grape vineyards? When we lived on G Street?
>WEISMEYER: What about them, honey?
Helen Weismeyer: Don't you remember we could look out across the way -
WEISMEYER: Oh yes. Grape vineyards. Oh yes. But you don't see those now.
Hanson: Were there lots of orange groves? Did you see lots of orange trees and things?
WEISMEYER: Oh yes, there lots of them. Yes.
Hanson: So San Bernardino had a lot of agriculture then, a lot of oranges and grapes and growing things?
Hanson: I didn't know about the peaches.
WEISMEYER: I don't know anything.
Helen Weismeyer: Remember the air raid back in World War II? The air raids? Are your hearing aids working?
WEISMEYER: Yes, well, I hope so. (Laughter)
Helen Weismeyer: Remember the air raids during World War II when we would have to turn off the lights and they had little lights with grey on the top so people in the air couldn't see the city street lights?
WEISMEYER: No, I don't remember.
Helen Weismeyer: Turn off the lights in the house and turn on the Philco radio and listen to the reports of what was happening.
Hanson: You did a great job.
WEISMEYER: Well thank you very much.
Hanson: You gave me lots of interesting things that I didn't know about before. This is great.
WEISMEYER: I didn't finish telling you where all I went to school.
Hanson: Oh, tell me more.
WEISMEYER: I know E street school is where Mountain View is now, it was A, B, C, D, E. and stayed F, G. H. but the rest of it was all changed. I went to school at 9th and F for a while, and well then I moved to Delano at that time and there is all that time in there. That is kind of an important time. Well, that is it. Thank you for being so nice.
Hanson: Oh, I've enjoyed it. You're a very nice lady and you know so many things.