|Yorba Linda History|
|Home | Donations | Digital Collections | Map of Yorba Linda Historical Sites | Reproduction Policy | Timeline | Links to local historical societies | Yorba Linda Star index|
My Life in Yorba Lindaby Lorna Ryan,
Between Times September 2005 page 3-4
I was born in Ritzville, Washington, to Samuel and Leonore Van Gilder on May 23, 1915. When I was two years old, we moved to Tacoma and when I was eight, we moved to Bell, California. My father was a jeweler and watchmaker and, with my mother's help, they owned and operated a jewelry store in Bell for nearly 24 years.
I had completed grammar and high school in Bell and then worked part time as an apprentice milliner. Then I met Robert Warren Brown in 1931. We married on May 24, 1934, had a son, Dee on May 31, 1935, and divorced in 1939. In 1941, during World War n, I worked as secretary to the stores superintendent and met Viola Patterson Schulte. Her family was friends of Paul Ryan's family. He was divorced from his wife and was raising a two and a half-year-old son. It seemed inevitable that we met, dated and married on March 31,1945.
Paul managed a sixteen acre orange and lemon grove for Blattner Ranch Corporation in Yorba Linda. He and his son, Stewart, lived in a small house on Van Buren Street. My son, Dee Warren Brown, was living with my parents in Olympia, Washington, so in June we drove to Washington and brought him to his new home in Yorba Linda.
There were only about 900 people living in Yorba Linda at that time. Paul always had a big garden of corn, lima beans, tomatoes, string beans, apricots and peaches. We entertained as all that fresh produce was a treat for "city folk." It was an ideal place to raise two boys. They went to Yorba Linda and Fullerton schools on the bus. Paul was always home on the Ranch.
The packing houses would have banquets. Viola "Topsy" Page was a great cook and with help, prepared the dinners served at the Yorba Linda Women's Club House.
The Ryan family had moved to Yorba Linda from Indiana. They were Quakers and were among the families who moved here, including the Wests, Nixons, and others that had lived in Butlerville, Indiana. They arrived in 1914—Ebon and Myrtle Ryan and their children, George, Gladys, Paul, Mary, Kenneth and Robert.
Eldo West (father of Jessamyn) was manager of the Water Company and gave Ebon a job. The Ryan family stayed with them until they found suitable housing. Ebon Ryan died at an early age from cancer. Paul remembered and appreciated all  the flowers and expressions of sympathy at the service. Robert Ryan, the youngest, had diabetes at an early age and was not expected to live long. He never married but lived with his Mother. He owned and operated a dump truck and found plenty of work in a fast growing community.
In 1945, I remember Main Street. (Imperial Highway had not been built.) Barton's had a gas station on an island at the end of Main Street. Mr. Anderson owned and operated the hardware store. Jim Connors, Larry Swenson, John and Virginia Parker were names of the grocers, even Paul and Frances Gibbs. Other shops were Q's Dress Shop, Zimmerman's Gift Shop, Fay and Fanny Young's Restaurant, Slim Worshams's Barber Shop, and Yarn Box, which at one time was operated by Jean Mathew's oldest sister. Jean was secretary of the Yorba Linda Water Company. She owned acreage on Lakeview and as a widow raised John, Randy and Penny. "Doc" Cannon was the pharmacist. There was a soda fountain in the pharmacy.
The housing tract at the south end of Main Street was our first tract and the second one was Garden Place. Many of the original owners still live there.
I worked part time for T&T Oil Company in their bungalow office on Lakeview. Then I went to work in their Santa Fe Springs office. I heard of an opening in the escrow department of Fullerton Savings and Loan in their small office on Amerige in Fullerton. There were only five employees in the office. R.M. Gregory was President and Hilton Dalessi was Secretary. That was in January of 1954. I retired in 1980 at the age of 65.
Paul and I had discussed my retiring at the age of 60 and taking a cruise or two. I was 59 when he died of a sudden heart attack. It was a shock and continuing with my job was the best thing for me. Mr. Dalissi is now 92 and still lives in his Fullerton home.
After I retired, I became quite active with the Senior Citizens' Club. They had just started in August, 1974. Barney and Louise Blankmeyer and I were Senior Representatives and advisors on the Building Committee for the Museum. When Rob Cromwell was trying to find a site for the Museum, we attended their meetings. It took nearly eight years and determination of Jo Lyons to finally have the city provide our present Susanna Bixby Bryant Ranch Museum.
Now that I've reached the age of 90,1 hope to still be an active member of the Senior Citizens' Club, Susanna Bixby Bryant Ranch Museum, and the Library's Book Comer. I'm proud to be a "Yorba Lindan." 
Top of page