Yorba Linda History

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close this bookRichard M. Nixon Oral History Project
View the documentReverend Charles Ball
Interviewed by Mitch Haddad, December 22, 1969
View the documentWilliam H. Barton
Interviewed by Richard D. Curtiss, February 10, 1970
View the documentOllie O. Burdg
Interviewed by Richard Curtiss, February 16, 1970
View the documentHoyt Corbit
Interviewed by Tom Peters, April 30, May 6, 10, 17, 20, 1968
View the documentHoyt Corbit
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, May 15, 1970
View the documentVirginia Shaw Critchfield
Interviewed by Jeff Jones, May 2 & 9, 1970
View the documentDavid W. Cromwell
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, May 25, 1976
View the documentDr. Buel F. Enyeart
Interviewed by Dan Hoppy, December 2, 1968
View the documentMr. and Mrs. Richard "Jack" Gauldin
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, May 8, 1970
View the documentYoneko Dobashi Iwatsuru
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, April 30, 1970
View the documentGeorge Kellogg & R. Fay Young
Interviewed by Daniel L. Hoppy, John Tugwell, November 14, 1968, January 8, 1969, April 26, 1972
View the documentRalph Navarro
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, June 4, 1970
View the documentCecil E. Pickering
Interviewed by Steven Guttman, June 30, 1970
View the documentMary Elizabeth Rez
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, April 21, 1970
View the documentPaul Ryan
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, May 15, 1970
View the documentGerald Shaw
Interviewed by Jeff Jones, June 3, 1970
View the documentRalph C. Shook Sr.
Interviewed by Richard Curtiss, February 10, 1970
View the documentMary G. Skidmore
Interviewed by Greg Brolin
View the documentFelix Stein
Interviewed by Greg Brolin, October 13, 1970
View the documentCatherine Travaglia
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, May 21, 1970
View the documentHerb Warren
Interviewed by Greg Brolin, October 1, 1970
View the documentMerle West
Interviewed by Robert Davis

Virginia Shaw Critchfield

Interviewed by Jeff Jones, May 2 & 9, 1970   Open this page in a new window

This is a slightly edited transcription of an interview conducted for the Oral History Program, sponsored by California State University, Fullerton. The reader should be aware that an oral history document portrays information as recalled by the interviewee. Because of the spontaneous nature of this kind of document, it may contain statements and impressions which are not factual.

Scholars are welcome to utilize short excerpts from any of the transcriptions without obtaining permission as long as proper credit is given to the interviewee, the interviewer, and the University. Scholars must, however, obtain permission from California State University, Fullerton before making more extensive use of the transcription and related materials. None of these materials may be duplicated or reproduced by any party without permission from the Oral History Program, California State University, Fullerton, California, 92634.

Copyright © 1977

The Oral History Program

California State University, Fullerton



Richard M. Nixon Project

Richard Nixon's Early Years

O.H. 840




Jeff Jones


May 2 & 9, 1970



Richard M. Nixon Project



SUBJECT:Richard Nixon's early years

Date: May 2, 1970

J:This is an interview for the California State College, Fullerton, Richard M. Nixon Oral History Project. Jeff Jones is interviewing Virginia Shaw Critchfield at her home on May 2, 1970.

I'd like to know about your early life, if I may.

V:We came to Yorba Linda when I was seven; I believe it was between my first and second grade. I couldn't go to school for a while because I had been ill, but they let me start second grade without ever having gone to first. I was eight when I started second. We lived on this little street and our neighbors were the Nixons. There was a little red bridge that divided their place from ours which covered the Anaheim ditch. Actually, this little bridge was one of our favorite playing places. When I started school, Richard Nixon was not yet in kindergarten. He hadn't started school yet, as he's three or four years younger than I am. His older brother, Harold, was a grade ahead of me. When we'd go to school on rainy days, it would be so slushy and muddy down this little road. It was red clay mud. So, we would put our shoes and socks in a paper bag and walk to school. Sometimes we'd go almost half-way up our legs in mud, which we delighted in. None of us could [1] afford rubber boots or anything of that sort in those days. Then we'd go to school and you'd have to climb up a little path because there was no road going to the school unless you went clear down past the depot. When we'd get to school there was an outside drinking faucet by the school. The school wasn't then where it is now; it was clear across town. You passed a little bank and then you got to the school. But we'd go out back. At this drinking fountain that also had faucets, we'd stick one leg up and wash it, and then stand around and let it dry and then stick the other one up and wash it. Then we'd hurry into the schoolroom and sit by a big stove in th<_. center of the room, kind of an old potbelly stove. We would sit around and dry our legs and then put our shoes and stockings on. Now what other things would you like to know?

J: How many different grades were there in school?

C:Eight. Two grades in a room, usually the kindergarten was separate. First and second, third and fourth, fifth and sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Mrs. Mabel Paine was the principal all the time I was there. Something else interesting, the world war [World War I] was on and every noon at twelve o'clock Mrs. Paine would come out and line all the children up in grades. She'd ring the bell and everybody all over the town would pray for peace. As a young kid, I thought that's what brought it on, but I thought that was kind of touching, actually, and it meant a lot to all of us. Another thing: when we entered the school building, I played the piano. They had a piano in the hallway and I would play a march. You lined up as they rang an old bell in front that was on a big long rope. The principal pulled that bell; I can see her to this day. She'd ring the bell and then everyone got just dead quiet; no one said a word. I'd start playing the piano and they'd all march into their classroom.

Now, would you like to know some of the things I recall about hearing of Richard? They never called him Dick, he was always Richard. I wouldn't think of calling him Dick; it would still be Richard. When I was in the third grade, Richard came in from the kindergarten and [2] recited some'long verse or some long poem. It seemed like it was something about on the bridge. I don't remember the name of the poem, but he recited it to our class. It was so amazing that a kindergartener could learn that vast amount of poetry or whatever it was. I don't recall the poem, but it was long. I remember all of us were very, very envious that this little five year old could come in and recite this long poem. There is another incident I do remember about him. We were on the playground. My favorite teacher, her name was Miss Kroger, and Harold Nixon were in the same classroom. She was talking to two other teachers and one was his kindergarten or first grade teacher. I remember I was sort of envious and jealous because I had the feeling of a personal thing, as if he were my brother. I mean, we all played together so much that I considered he and his other brothers were sort of on the order of just a brother relationship. So, anything about them I would listen. One of these teachers said that he was one of the smartest children she had ever had in school. And she said, "I feel sure sometime he's going to really do something." How true it was. I don't know whether it was Mrs. Anderson that said it or Miss Anderson who later became Dr. Cochran's wife, or whether it was Miss Coke, that I don't recall. But I recall Miss Kroger was in on the conversation and I was rather envious. There was another thing that might be interesting that someone might have forgotten about him. They used to have, in those days, a kind of recitation time--I don't know what it was called, it was a special name--where they got together in an evening and children would recite poems. Now, I know when I taught in Ventura they were still doing it. It wasn't a forensic sort of thing; it was kind of a reading of poetry for delivery and something of that sort. I've tried several times to think what the name of that was, someone might know. But, anyway, we all learned poems. Harold learned one, and I learned one, and my brother Gerald learned one, and Richard, of course, was in on it. It was held in the Friends church where most meetings were held that were public. I don't recall what the church looked like particularly. But there was a little platform area. We'd get up on that and say these pieces. Of course, Harold and I were confident [3] we were going to win. A Mildred Dorsey was in it and her older sister was in it. Richard won it and we were so jealous. We just really thought it was because he was so cute and little and had such a long piece that we were really quite disappointed that he won.

J: How old was he at the time?

C: He was probably in the first grade because I was in the fourth grade. We left there when I completed fifth grade, so I judge everything from that era. Something interesting, these blackboards were cloakrooms. They just went right up into the ceiling and every room had a picture up in the front of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, every room.

J: How big were the rooms?

C:Quite large, actually. You can see right there is the heater, the stove. The ones that sat around there got pretty hot. I am sitting over there. A Jean Kinsman lives in Laguna Beach, and Helen Johnson is Joe Johnson's sister. Have you ever talked to him in Fullerton?

J: No, I haven't.

C:They were real close friends. I remember their mother died before we got there. Mrs. Nixon was a great friend of hers. I guess she promised Mrs. Johnson before she died that when the children were little she would always remember their birthdays for them. I remember she used to always get some little present for them on their birthday.

The Nixons had some relatives across town. Now on this, you go to school over in here, somewhere. There was another road that would be this road, that went like this, straight out. The school was probably over about in here. There was a bank and you took this road out and then you turned left and went down. The Herberts and the Milhouses lived along there. There was Jessie Milhous and Sam Milhous. I don't know if they're still around. [4]

J: I'm not sure.

C:One boy was Samuel and one was Jessie. Sam was in my room at school and Jessie was in between Richard and me in age. I remember walking out with Mrs. Nixon. They were really wonderful to me. Whenever she'd take a walk or something she'd let me go along. First they had this baby that delighted me. I remember when Arthur was born. I would usually get to wheel the buggy. I used to take care of Arthur because I was so fond of babies at that time. I would say it was a two mile walk. Also/ she used to take me over with her to the Marshburns They were relatives of the Nixons. A Josephine Pike, I believe, was also a relative of theirs. The Pikes lived along here somewhere. I don't know about the Pikes, whether they're related to the Marshburns.

J: I'm not too sure; I know the Marshburns are related to the Nixons.

C:Yes, I know they are and the Marshburns are Friends or Quakers, too. Mr. Marshburn was retired at that time and they had quite a big family. I'm pretty sure Josephine Pike was a cousin of his, too. I know now, the Milhous boys, their mother died and their father took care of them. That's why she used to walk out there every once in a while to take them cookies or something. I stayed outside and played with the kids and she went in to talk to the father.

J: How old were the children when the wife died?

C: That I don't know. I think she died before we got to Yorba Linda. So, it must have been when the boys were little. Then, of course, Arthur died, I mean the Nixon baby died, later when they moved to Whittier about 1923.

J: What kind of family was the Nixon family?

C: As a child, I looked up to Mrs. Nixon. All my life I've looked up to her as sort of an ideal person because she was so cultured and kind. She was wonderful to me. I just can't say enough of how wonderful she was to me. She might have been cross at her household at times in [5] correcting the children. In fact, I saw her once when she was cross and it was a terrible shock to me. I went over to take some snapshots my parents had received from an older brother in the East. I wanted to go and show her a picture of the new baby. I was so thrilled about it.

My mother had told me I could go over and show her. It was in the summer. I went to the door. They had a screen door. Richard was practicing the piano and she was sitting on the piano bench with a switch in her hand while he was practicing. I imagine she was stern without being like they are nowadays. I think she was very consistent; I don't think there was "yes" now and "no" later, and "no" now and "yes" later. As a child we all grew up that way. You didn't have a second chance, if your parents said "no" that was no. Mr. Nixon was very strict and as a child I was a little afraid of him. I felt he was, as children do, too stern. I never saw him actually punish one of the children, but I heard him yell out the front door at them. I know one time, I think it was Donald,but I've always been confused about this, and Richard himself might know which it was, whether it was Richard or Donald. They had this old—it was new then—Model T Ford. It was a touring car with open sides, side curtains for rainy days that snapped onto hooks. It was his transportation. He had it parked up on an embankment on a hill. One of those playing in the car was Richard or Donald. It might have been Richard because Donald would have been pretty young. He let the brakes loose and rolled it downhill into this gully. I remember Mr. Nixon just running and tearing out of the house and Mrs. Nixon following. We kids, at the time, were over here on our side of the bridge. Harold and I were playing. We ran as fast as we could thinking he'd be killed or it would turn over, but it didn't turn over, it just rolled itself down and stopped. And then Mr. Nixon brought it back up.

J: How did he get it back up?

C: He just drove it back up.

J: Back up or was he in back of it? [6]

C:He cranked. 'It was a crank-up Ford, you know. My parents had no car at that time. Everyone didn't have cars. Mr. Nixon worked in the oil fields, I don't know whether he was a driller or what he was, maybe you know, but he was, I believe, an oil driller. Actually, I don't think his education was equivalent to hers at all. I think she was considered, in Yorba Linda, a cultured, refined, educated person from a rather superior family in comparison to Mr. Nixon, and yet he used good English. Of course, my father never went more than the eighth grade and I don't think Mr. Nixon did. In those days, even though he only went through the eighth grade, your parents were refined and nice and spoke properly and had good home training manners. That's the way they were. I mean, they were strict on manners and politeness. My brother was hurt in a football game in high school when he was a sophomore and injured his knee. It was in a game with Long Beach and he was in terrible pain. So, the coach had him run around the track once; he thought it was just a sprain. They used to do that when you had a sprain. But apparently, the bone was broken up around his knee and infection set in. So, Mr. Nixon took him to the hospital with my dad because we had no car. The only hospital was in Anaheim and there were no doctors then for that sort of thing. Later, Dr. Cochran came, but not at that time. There was no doctor at all. So they took him to the Anaheim sanitarium. Dr. Johnson and Dr. Wickett, who was C. C. Chapman's son-in-law, operated on him. Mr. Nixon used to take my parents; it was the only transportation my father had. He would come home from work and take my dad and mother into the hospital most every night. My brother was there for four months. So about halfway through this hospital experience we got a car, but up until that time Mr. Nixon used to take them in. So, he really was very kind, although stern. But Mrs. Nixon, I just adored her and I always will. She, to me, could control things. For example, one time my mother called me and I just dropped everything and ran. The next time I saw her she said, "You must love your mother very much because as soon as she called, you went immediately." Well, you see, she was doing that for a purpose, that's the modern way of controlling children now. And, you know, it's guided me all through my teaching, in that I [7] use praise for control. I always remember how it affected me. So, of course, I wanted to think I was the way she wanted me. She would do the same thing when I would take care of her little boy, Arthur. She would say, "Oh, you're such a wonderful little mother. You are going to be a really wonderful mother when you grow up because you're so kind to the baby and you help me so much." That's her way to make me want to do things. I thought it was a pretty'good way. I mean in controlling the children, that's why I feel she must have used that in her household. When they said "no," that was it.

J: What kind of children were the Nixon children?

C: Harold was sort of an extrovert and popular and real nice looking. Richard was very shy, very quiet. I hardly knew him actually though I lived right near him. He didn't play with us like Donald and Harold and even the baby because he read and practiced the piano most of the time. He was usually in the house. I don't know what he read, I never saw him reading, but occasionally he'd come out. I remember one time we got in a rock fight across the bank. The Nixon kids were against the Shaw kids across the bank. There were only two of us to three of them. None of us got hurt; I don't know who stopped it or anything. We were angry about something and, of course, this was during the war. [World War I] One thing that might be interesting was that we had no toys at all. The Nixons had no more money than we did. My dad was manager of the Mutual Orange Distributors packinghouse. But with a brother in the hospital for four months and needing to have round-the-clock nurses, we had absolutely no spare cash at all. The Nixons had four children and not much more money. Our fathers probably earned an equal amount, but you didn't spend money on any frivolity in that time. We had no toys. This bank, in this picture, had little paths that went along there. For cars, Richard and Harold and all of us would take little blocks of wood scraps that my dad, working at the packinghouse would bring home—packing boxes or little ends. We used orange crates and orange boxes for little cars that we'd get down and sit in. We'd use tiny little blocks of wood or a little stone we'd find. They would be cars to us. Then we'd take [8] these little lathes and make an airplane. The Nixon kids hetd them and we did, too. Airplanes were just starting then. Orange boxes were divided into two sections. They used to pack oranges in those days, don't think they do anymore.

J: They still do.

C: Do they wrap them with tissue paper?

J: Yes.

C:Well, my dad would bring some of the broken pieces home. We'd make airplanes out of those and then put propellers on them. Actually, those were our only toys. The Nixons might have had a wagon, but I doubt it. I don't know if they did, but we didn't. We had no bicycles, either one of us, no wagons, no tricycles. They had a baby buggy. I recall as Arthur got older, once in a while, we'd ride in it just for the fun of it. We didn't even have a phonograph. Neither did the Nixons that I knew of. I never heard of it. Your entertainment was reading, playing the piano, maybe singing around the piano, something of that sort. Another thing was playing in the boat. This boat was our favorite thing. I keep talking about a boat, but actually we had the most fun there with nothing but these old packing boxes. We'd find a big stick which was an oar that went down and dipped into the water. One would be a captain and the rest of us would be the crew.1 Up here on the bridge a lot of others would play. We'd sit on the railing and then we'd play back and forth on the bridge. That was the only means of getting across there to the Nixons. Then this bank went down and once we made a sled out of wood—where we got the wood I don't know. You didn't just go out and buy lumber in those days. I think my dad had made a barn for the cow, a cow shed down here. There must have been some scraps left. We made a little sled and then we'd stand at the top of this bank. I don't know whether Richard would remember this or not because he was pretty little. He was about in the first [9] or second grade then. We'd dip down and get a bucket of water out of the Anaheim ditch. The hill went down pretty steep. We cleared the weeds away and then we'd pour this water. We would sit on the sled and go scooting down. Then you'd have to walk all the way back up. My parents were a little frightened when we did it. There were bees down in this hollow, too. Harold and Rusty and Carmen West and several of us made what we called a scary path along this ditch. We'd make it so you had to take a big step that was just out along the edge. It went up to about the bend of the ditch. There was just a wooden plank along here. My parents didn't like me to swim in there for fear I'd get drowned or something. So we weren't supposed to go in. I'd sit on this and then I'd accidentally fall off. Richard's brother, Harold, taught me to swim in the Anaheim ditch, not known to my mother. We'd swim with all our clothes on and then we'd come out.

J: You dried off?

C: Dried off. But this little place down here was our favorite place. There were boards that kind of slanted out like this that gave the feeling of a boat and it left a little space. I can't really describe it, but we had boxes in there and things. If we had a flag it was one we made out of an old sheet. We stuck it up to be our flag and we'd get on a box and just use a piece of wood to pretend we had a telescope or something.

J: Did you make your own furniture, did your parents make their own furniture?

C: No, no, we brought ours from the East and the Nixon's was commercial furniture, too. It wasn't that primitive! We had come from Illinois and hadn't been here too long until we moved to Yorba Linda. Oh, another thing, Mr. Nixon's sister came to live with them, Mrs. Wildermuth, after her husband died. I remember hearing about it and they felt so bad because this brother-in-law died. The next thing I knew, the Wildermuths came with the two boys. There was Merrill and Floyd. Floyd was Harold's age; they were a year older than I. Merrill was high school age and they lived with the Nixons, how long I don't know, but my dad gave Mrs. Wildermuth a job packing oranges. They graded them, I think she was a [10] grader. You worked your way up to packing and made more money. She worked in the packinghouse while they were there. Then they moved to Fullerton. I don't know whether they moved first or we did, but we moved on Jacaranda Street and Mrs. Wildermuth also lived on Jacaranda. We were second from the end, right here. Bert Harris, who lives in Fullerton and is a druggist, lived eater-corner about there. Melba Housely, who is Mrs. Bob Hazmalhalch, lived here. Mrs. Wildermuth lived here. So it was four houses down. Richard lived with them when he was in high school. I think he'd go home weekends and then they'd bring him up Sunday night.

J:Were his parents still living in Yorba Linda then?

C:They lived in Whittier. For some reason, I think I know but I'm not saying, they preferred to have him go to Fullerton High School.

J:What kind of town was Yorba Linda when you were living there?

C:I don't know how many families there were, but it was very small and everybody knew everyone else. There was just practically no family that lived in Yorba Linda that didn't know each other. There was a very close bond, quite a loyalty. To this day I still feel this close bond toward anyone of those early families. I could just name most of the families that lived there. They had their peculiar sort of peculiarities but they also had a great loyalty toward each other. There was a Yorba Linda Women's Club; of course, I was too young, I was just a kid. My mother didn't belong, mainly because she had my brother who was so ill. But Mrs. Nixon, I understand, was in it and also the leader of it at one time. I don't know whether she was. As I grew older, I used to go back and play the piano for them. Another funny thing, I mean it's a matter of the reversal of things, when I was in the eighth grade, I used to play on KHJ radio on a children's hour. It was called "Uncle John's Children's Hour." Mrs. Nixon used to think it was just so wonderful and she was so proud of me. A Mrs. West, whose daughter is really famous now, Jessamyn West, used to think it was so [11] wonderful, and yet, now it's so funny, in comparison to the reversal. Richard was so, sort of quiet, that I neglected wanting to be with him and talk to him or play with him. I was three or four years older and I got to the age where a boy was just out, you know.

J: What kind of a person was Donald Nixon?

C: I don't remember too much; he was still younger than Richard. As a kid I liked him because he was just a little boy and kind of a happy child. Richard was quiet and serious; I actually never can recall him laughing and having fun, too much, except hooping it up when we were playing boats or playing cars, but never that giggling fun. He was never that way at all, he definitely wasn't. The older brother, Harold, was, he was just full of fun. Mrs. Nixon was a very serious person, too.

J: So Richard probably took after his mother?

C: I would say he's more like his mother. He looks like her. His dad was blonde. Harold looked more like his dad. I don't know, 1 think Harold went back East to school. They sent him to a boy's school. It's somewhere in Pennsylvania, I believe. He wrote to me and sent me this picture. It's just a shame I cut that off, but I used to have these tucked in my mirror all through high school. I do notice the word "wood" so it must have been in Pennsylvania. Do you especially want to know about Yorba Linda?

J: Well, Fullerton, too.

C: Or a little later, I mean when I used to visit them at the grocery store?

J: Yes.

C:When they first went to Whittier they had a service station. I mean they moved from Yorba Linda to Whittier and they had this little tiny service station. Their house was along the side of it. They added selling pop and eggs to people that would come to buy gas. Then from that they added on one little room, I believe, and [12] started selling just a few supplies, groceries, and kept adding on. Arthur died while they still had the small store. It's when we were in Fullerton. I remember when it happened. I don't remember what he had, it seems like it was leukemia, but I'm not sure. I'd go to visit and Mrs. Nixon would be so glad to see me. But she would be so busy in the grocery that she would have to go ahead and wait on customers. She'd talk to us a few minutes. I'd take my mother to see her. Once we went to visit when I was out of college. I believe it was before I was married or just then; I went to see them and she was in bed ill. She thought she had gall stones, but I guess she was expecting Edward. It wasn't gall stones apparently. Anyway, I said, "What's Richard doing?" She said, "He's going to college." And I said, "What's his major and what's he interested in?" She said, "Well, he wants to be a lawyer; he said he wants to be an honest one that no one can bribe." I really think that's what he really wanted to do and be. I think he tried very hard to do that. I have actually never seen Richard since. Another thing she'd tell me, that while he was going to college, he would get up in the morning and fix the vegetables for her—apparently he'd go into Los Angeles to the vegetable market. Now that part didn't impress me much at the time, but now I know it must have been a tremendous job. He'd go in and get the vegetables. She said he'd get up at four o'clock in the morning and would go in and get the vegetables and come home and set them up on the racks for her. Mr. Nixon had arthritis so badly that he couldn't help in the store so she worked always in the store. Richard would get the vegetables ready and go to school. Then after school he'd come back and relieve her a little in the store so she could start dinner or something. Donald ran the butcher part. Donald was more or less a sacrifice for Richard's education, in a way. That's why I've never liked any criticism of Donald because actually he stayed there so they could keep the family business going while Richard went ahead and got the education. I think that they saw that he was the one that would be outstanding. For years they had this tremendous expense with Harold who was in a sanitarium. He was in Prescott for a long time. He'd write to me and then I'd write back. Mrs. Nixon would go and stay [13] and take care of him to save having a nurse. Later/ they moved him to La Crescenta and he died when I was in junior college. We had a little riff there between Harold and I, so I didn't go and see them for a while. But later, I'm sure it was all ... I mean, they didn't hold that against either one of us. So, that's all.

J: You talked about your music lessons when you were younger, how often did you have your music lessons?

C: Maybe once a month, because Mr. Milhous wouldn't come out all the time. In those days I was thrilled to get the music lessons. Actually, I was just so thrilled to have it. He would come on Saturday afternoon, probably to see Mrs. Nixon, and this would kind of pay for his transportation out. Now, whether she paid him or not, I don't know. My mother paid him fifty cents for a lesson. Probably that's like five dollars would be nowadays.

J: It was a piano lesson, wasn't it?

C: Piano; and Richard took one, too. We would practice in between and he did the same at that time. I learned to play better then, but later I'm sure he learned to play better than I did because everything he did he was quite consistent in, you know. However, being a girl, I think, I took more of an interest in it than he did. I didn't take too many lessons from Mr. Milhous because I think he stopped coming. It was only once a month and my mother wanted me to take from a Mrs. Seamans who lived out in Yorba Linda.

J:Was there any characteristic of Richard Nixon that made him stand out in a crowd?

C:Yes, yes, sort of embarrassment, his quietness. I know one time when he was on the football team they played in San Diego. I was a senior then; the thing I can't recall is why I was a senior when he was on the B football team, or why he was at the banquet at the Grant Hotel. I'm sure he was three years behind me; he was a sophomore when I was a senior. So, we were at this banquet. As I passed by and saw the football players— [14] as I said once before, I felt as if he were close enough to be as a brother—I saw how ill at ease he was, sitting there with the others. We never had any money to eat out when we were little kids so none of us had the feeling of ease at eating with a group of people or at a banquet. I remember walking by. No one knew I knew him because I had passed the era of Yorba Linda and I was in Fullerton. I remember sort of hurting inside for him because he sat there so ill at ease at the table, kind of with his head ducked down. I felt sorry that he was feeling ill at ease. The understanding was real deep with me because I used to feel ill at ease when I was with a group because of our background of never having the opportunity to eat out. I don't ever remember eating in a restaurant until I was in the sixth grade, actually. I don't think I ever did eat in a restaurant and I'm sure he didn't either.

J: What kind of food did your family have when you were living in Yorba Linda?

C: Plain. There was no refrigeration, of course, and you grew your own vegetables. The Nixons had a peach tree and we had a peach tree. You shared things if you had too much of one thing. I remember my mother would send me over with a pan or container of apricots or peaches. We had quinces that you used to make jelly. We had a quince tree. You'd take quinces to her and she would give us peaches. My dad had oranges because of the packinghouse and they had oranges or their orange tree; everyone had an orange tree. We didn't have an orange tree but we had the packinghouse to our use. You grew your own vegetables. They had a little store in Yorba Linda, only one grocery store at that time. It was part of what was later Stein and Straus in Fullerton. I can't remember the name. The man was a German and at the time I remember the ... it was during the war and there was a little hard feeling toward him because of the Germans, but he was successful. It used to be Stein, Straus and something else, and this something else was the one that was in Yorba Linda as a grocer. There was just the one grocery store. You'd go over there to buy sugar or flour or strawberries when they came into season. There was one Japanese family, the Dobashis, who lived [15] in Yorba Linda. They were ranchers. They'd bring strawberries in occasionally. But you bought very little.

J:What kind of vegetables did your family grow?

C:Carrots, beets-~you ate the tops as greens.

J:What did you do, cook them or did you just ...

C:Yes, you cooked the tops like you would cook spinach nowadays. In fact, they're real good, if I had new beets I would like that. In those days you creamed your vegetables. They weren't cooked with a little water like they are now. You put them on and boiled them with a lot of water. Neither one of us raised our own beef or anything like that. Meat was an expensive item for a family and you had only cheaper cuts and that sort of thing. You had it on Sunday night — I couldn't stand it now — but you had bread and milk to eat for Sunday night's supper. For breakfast you had bacon and eggs. You all had your own hens; everybody had their own hens and your own eggs. My parents had a cow. I don't know where the Nixons got their milk, whether they got them from my parents or not. But I remember sometimes we'd have too much cream and I'd take over a whole quart for them. They could use it for whipping or dessert; we had to with no refrigeration. T3iey had better storage than we did; they had this little place they could put things down called a summerhouse. If you got ice, it had to come from Anaheim. It was too expensive. None of us had iceboxes, so you only had enough for what you could eat for the meal.

J:So you had just the exact amount so you didn't waste any?

C:And you had potatoes, you usually started with potatoes; I can remember you never started the meal without peeling potatoes first. We had jello for dessert; that was really something in those days. It wasn't too cold. It wouldn't be hard, like it is now; it wouldn't be firm, just plain gelatin. They'd put it out on the back porch to cool. The next day it would set. I believe we made it with Knox gelatin, it wasn't jello, and you'd [16] put flavoring in it. My dad had bees and we used to honey. We had potatoes and usually . . .

J: Did you already grow your own potatoes?

C:That I don't remember, they probably did whether we did or not.

J: Did you grow any grain of any kind?

C: No, no grain or anything of that sort. We bought our flour and sugar. I don't think the Nixons were farmers at all. Now all the neighbors, like the Marshburns and everywhere around—if you had too much of something, or if you had a good crop of something—you'd take it over and just give it to someone and they'd do the same to you.

J: It was a mutual sharing?

C:Yes, it wasn't that you were trying to be nice or anything It was just that in those days, you shared somewhat.

J: What were the Marshburns like?

C: Very, very religious. The Nixons were, too, but not to the extreme that the Marshburns were. I think the Marshburns were almost on the old Quaker side. The Nixons didn't wear Quaker clothes or anything, and I don't think the Marshburns did, but as I recall, Mr. Marshburn wore a beard and Mr. Nixon was clean shaven. There was another family up there, the Grists, who were friends of theirs, too. He had been a pastor—I believe the Friends call them pastors, rather than ministers, don't they? Anyway, they called him a pastor. He had a beard all over and wore dark clothes always, but I don't recall that Mr. Marshburn was that way.

J: What kind of clothes did you people wear?

C:Hand-me-downs, mostly from the older brother or sister. You had very few clothes. I played in these coveralls. I had a bathing suit, but it was my older brother's. This sounds awful now, but you just took a safety pin [17] and pinned it up tighter like this. Men in those days wore long bathing suits that covered you; they didn't have sleeves but they had armpits, came down like this. I had this brother in high school and he had a bathing suit, the only one in the family I think that did. So if I went swimming down to the beach or something, I'd wear his. I'd be real embarrassed, but I'd go swimming anyway. Now, the boys had those overalls with those straps across the back. Shirts for boys were most always made by mothers; you couldn't afford to buy a ready-made shirt. You'd have school clothes and play clothes, and you'd come home and the first thing you did was change into play clothes. I know they were the same way. They were clean and the Nixon children dressed well because of Mrs. Nixon's background, I think. I don't know, but you had a feeling that she came from a family that was a little better in culture and money.

J: You mean that they were a little more upper level?

C:Upper level, and I don't know, you always had that feeling about her. Her children were always dressed with nice clean shirts and trousers and one passed down from another. Now, my clothes were usually made from my sister's clothes. I'm sure Richard wore Harold's clothes. I doubt whether he had new clothes. Probably his good clothes were Harold's hand-me-downs, and Donald in turn got his. They did that and no one seemed to think too much about it.

J: That was done in those days.

C: And for laundry everything had to be children didn't wear as many clothes important not to make too much work, any cleaners in those days.

J: Did they have a pan in the house?

C: You had two big tubs. When we were in Illinois I remember my mother had an old-fashioned washing machine that you'd pull something and a little cog went around. But when we came to Yorba Linda, we didn't have any. We had been under different circumstances in the East. My dad had [18] a store and* we lived in a big house where we had help. All the work was done for us. So, to my mother, it was just killing to move to Yorba Linda and do her own work. In fact, my mother had never cooked until we moved to Yorba Linda, so she wasn't a very good cook.

J: Sounds like my mother.

C: I always said I learned to cook in self-defense. I think Mrs. Nixon was a little the same way about cooking; I think she was so busy in the store that she never had time to prepare a meal. As the children were little, a woman spent a lot of time washing and ironing and taking care of babies and all. Having to do everything by hand was a full day's work. It took one day to wash. Their house had electricity and so did ours, but no electric irons yet.

J: We had the heating kind ...

C: You heated it on top of the stove. I don't know what kind of stove. I never recall being in their house to look around as to what they had. If I went in, I never remember looking at things. They didn't have sofas and things like that in those days. We had hardback chairs to sit in like rockers. They weren't cushioned, nothing was cushioned. The Nixon's furniture was very much the same. My parents had a chair that was a high-backed rocker. It didn't have cushions either, just wood. Most of the furniture that you sat on was wooden. I remember later my parents sold it and got a sofa. I thought it was the most wonderful thing . . . we were in Fullerton then. But the Nixon's furniture was just chairs you sat on. If company came in, you brought chairs from the kitchen and dining room. You didn't stay up late at night like they do now; you'd go to bed early.

J: What time did you go to bed?

C: Usually by nine o'clock everyone was in bed.

J: But you usually got up earlier in the morning, didn't you, too? [19]

C:I don't know, I don't recall. We got up when it was light. When my dad got up to go to work, I'd get up Mr. Nixon had to get up quite early to go because he to drive. He probably worked at Long Beach or Brea-Olinda where the oil fields were.

Something else, I have always admired in Mr. Nixon— I went to visit them once in Whittier. Mrs. Nixon was so busy in the store. She'd want to stop and talk to me but customers would come and she'd have to give them first attention. Then she'd go like this, "Wait, wait." And then I'd wait. And she'd talk a little more. She said, "Go in and see Mr. Nixon and say hello to him." She showed me in and he was sitting in the kitchen. He was in a chair. I don't think it was a wheelchair. I think it was just a chair. He had a kitchen table that was brought up and he was sitting sort of up to the table. His legs were under it and he was making little pies to sell. They'd sell for a nickle. He couldn't stand to work in the grocery then because of his arthritis or something. I think it was arthritis, I don't really know. In those days you didn't mention if a person was incapacitated, you didn't comment on it, you just accepted it. I mean you talked around it, you didn't say anything. So, he would sit and make little tiny pies that sold for a nickle.

J:What kind of pies were they?

C:Apple, I really don't remember. I just remember seeing them. They had in Fullerton, later, another grocery store and did the same thing. You'd buy them for a nickle apiece. You paid a deposit on the tin, and then you'd take the tin back and get the deposit. But they were good little pies and there would be just enough for one person. I imagine salaries in those days were around one hundred dollars a month. I do know later my dad went to Fullerton and he got more money. He was manager of the house. When he was in Yorba Linda, he was foreman. Then his salary was raised. Later when I was in high school he had gone back to Yorba Linda again, they wanted him back as manager because Mr. Gillman left to go someplace else. He earned three hundred dollars a month, which was good money, except for the brother I had who was ill all the time. Wildermuth worked for my dad when we were in Fullerton in the packinghouse. [20]

J:What kind of a wage did she make a month?

C: I just wouldn't know. I have no idea. As a kid, that didn't impress me. I do know that salaries were probably in the hundred dollar area when I was in Yorba Linda. I have no idea, because my parents never told a child whether they were—you didn't know whether you were wealthy, poor or what. . There wasn't such a thing as being poor or well-to-do. You accepted what your family was, you accepted what your neighbor was; there was no envy of anyone's having better circumstances at all. Now, the Nixons might have made more money than we. I don't know, we might have made more than they.

J: You can't tell.

C:You can't tell, but all over Yorba Linda everybody had similar things. You never considered one person better than another in any way, except everybody liked people that were nice. There was no one in Yorba Linda at that time, I recall, that was on the fringe except one person. I remember our principal's husband used to drink a little. Where he got it, I don't know, because it was during Prohibition. It was just something terrible, you know, she was the principal. He never earned money. That's the only thing I ever hear.

Once a tramp came to Yorba Linda and walked down the railroad tracks. I can remember my mother sitting down watching to see which way he went; you see, the railroad track was fairly close to our house.

J:It was just across the street or down beyond?

C: No, it was just down, I mean, you know this road where we walked . . .

J: Yes.

C:Barefooted to school? It was just down there then across, then up and the railroad was up. When we went to school you had, oh, by that I mean, probably up to the top of where the doorway is and that height up. [21]

J: So, it was a little bit raised?

C: Raised from where we were, but then there was this gully and then another road was raised a little.

J:What kind of business did the railroad do, delivery or picking up goods?

C: It had to come there to pick up the packinghouse stuff. There were two packinghouses then. There were refrigerated cars in that they had big cakes of ice down at either end. They filled them with ice. They would bring out cars and there was a streetcar that took you to Los Angeles.

J: How much did it cost to go on a streetcar into Los Angeles?

C: I would say probably about twenty-five or thirty cents. I have no idea, but I know it wasn't a dollar. I know my parents would never have gone because you didn't spend a dollar frivolously. One other thing you might be interested in, we never bought anything like pop, or what's now Coke. Then I don't think it was called Coke or Coca-Cola, it was called pop. It would be a strawberry that would have carbonated water or a cherry drink. I used to envy people who could buy it. I think the most frivolous thing you would buy would be an icecream cone, which was five cents for a single scoop and eight cents for a double scoop.

J: You can almost do that nowadays.

C:Yes. When the first Armistice was signed, there was a man who ran the drugstore who was an Armenian. He was so thrilled that the war was over that he let every child in town come and have a free ice-cream cone. It was a false peace treaty, the first one, I think it lasted a few days or week, I don't recall that part. Then they had the big one and Mr. Nixon took all of us in to Los Angeles in his car that night in the old Ford. We all piled in, all the Shaws and all the Nixons, and we drove into Los Angeles when the Armistice was signed. They really took me lots of places. Yet, even sitting [22] right next to Richard, I couldn't really tell you what he was like because he was so withdrawn.

J: He was introverted?

C: Yes, he was thinking all the time and I wasn't interested in him. I was more interested in playing with the brother and taking care of the baby. He was nothing to me because he was quiet. I was more of a person that liked to visit and talk along with other kids.

J: How long did it take you to get to Los Angeles in the car?

C: You probably drove twenty miles an hour. I don't have the slightest idea how long it would take you. You'd start out early. If you were going to Los Angeles you'd start out at eight o'clock in the morning and you'd get in there in the middle of the morning. Then to come home you'd start in the middle of the afternoon to get home.

J: How fast was the streetcar; was it a little bit faster?

C: No, it was a little bit slower because it stopped at every town. I know it stopped at Brea and Olinda. It seems that from there it went straight into Los Angeles. It might have stopped at La Habra along the way and maybe Whittier.

J: It went like that instead of going like this?

C: Yes, possibly, I don't recall that. But when we'd go on the streetcar it would be dark when we got home at night. We'd start out at seven o'clock in the morning; you see, it would only leave at one time and come home one time. Then you'd walk from the depot to wherever you wanted to go in Los Angeles to go shopping.

J: What was the depot like in Los Angeles?

C: I don't recall. I just remember getting off and being panicky of missing that streetcar if we didn't walk and get back in time. You went so seldom that it was kind of scary to me to make a trip to the city. [23]

J: What was Los Angeles like in those days?

C: Bullock's is still where it is now. Bullock's and Robinson's were the nicest stores. You got in no traffic at all; you could go two ways, this is the amazing part. If you went the Santa Fe Springs way, that would be Seventh, wouldn't it? And if you went the Whittier way, that would be Ninth going in on Nine. Go through Montebello. We usually went from Fullerton. You'd go to Buena Park, I can just almost see it, you'd come down, straight down, turn at Buena Park and then go this way and then get on this road that would go out through La Mirada. There was the McNally Ranch and an olive ranch. There was a depot there that said McNally Ranch. And one of my best friend's father, Mary McGill's, was manager of the McNally olive ranch. You'd pass that and then you'd come along. I don't recall anything else, but you'd get on some other road, you finally got on to the road that was later Seventh. You'd go clear along here; there was nothing but fields, you could see from Seventh clear over to Ninth. And over on Ninth would be a big tower somewhere. Then there was this road down here, maybe you'll know this area. I haven't been that way for probably thirty years. But say this was Ninth and it went up and down hills and the streetcar went this way. It must have, so the streetcar did go the Whittier way. There was a cemetery, I guess.

J: I think so, yes.

C: At that time there was a service station there and once we ran out of gas about here. My sister was driving us into Los Angeles. We had a Buick and I was in the fifth grade. We ran out of gas and we walked here; nobody passed us, no cars. We never saw a car. Walked clear down here to get gas at this gas station, got our gas, walked clear back and clear down here. You could see clear over to here and there was a big tower. It had a big "J" on it for Janss Investment. We didn't know what it meant, but it was Janss Investment. I remember driving down there and my brother said, "I bet some day this will all be built up in here." And we just laughed at him, we thought it was awfully funny. The streetcar ran up and down in here. That was real scary driving. [24]

In those days, brakes didn't hold like they do now and wherever a streetcar stopped, you had to stop to let the passengers off. They always stopped at the top of the hill. I would be so scared when we'd have to stop because the car might stop. To start the car up again, the car would roll backwards a little bit. It couldn't hold like they do now. Sometimes you'd have to get out and crank them up again.

J:That was the stickshift, wasn't it?

C:Yes, the stickshift, but the Nixons had pedals. I remember seeing three, were there three?

J:I think so, yes.

C:In an emergency, you just put on everything, no matter what. You had an emergency brake. I just remember this big old open Ford. I know we went with them in their car the night Armistice was signed.

J: What was Richard Nixon like when the Armistice was signed? What was his reaction?

C:I don't remember. You see he was pretty young. I was probably in the fourth grade, so he was in the first. I'm sure he went along that night because no one could afford baby-sitters in those days. If one went, everybody in the family went.

I was intrigued in here that his topic was transportation. Airplanes, when they would fly over, was a real exploration. Really, because he's temendously interested in space and all. I was sort of irritated when people would say he went overboard. Knowing him as I did, I can almost feel inside him the way I feel that he feels deeply, it isn't a put-on act.

J: I am sure it isn't.

C: Even as a kid he felt deeply everything like that. This space bit, when I see him on television, this sounds real silly, but I cry every time when there's a big thing like that because I can almost feel how he's [25] feeling. When the astronauts on the Apollo XII came back and he was out on the boat and was so thrilled. He really was. Because that's him and he's really sincere. Not just because I'm a Republican, but I just know him enough and know the family enough and know the hardships he went through. He's really very devout, very quietly religious like he is with everything else. His family was the same way. Their religion was a quiet thing to them; it wasn't a bragging thing. I don't ever remember Mrs. Nixon ever talking about it to me. I used to go over to their Sunday school, because I, as a child, just wanted to go to a Sunday school. Like the Christmas program, all the families would go because it would be something to do.

J: It was a social activity?

C: Yes, it was. The church was the only social thing that you had. In those days, schools didn't have open house and that sort of thing, so everything was church.

J: What kind of education did they have, what did they stress the most in teaching, what subjects?

C: Reading and arithmetic, writing and learning verses. Everybody, every grade, every year you learned certain poems. It was a matter of mental training apparently, that you had to memorize something.

J: Did they use the McGuffy readers?

C: I don't think so, I think it was the Eldon readers. It was a yellow book. You see, I didn't go to first grade ever. And when I started in second grade, it was this sort of a light yellowish-orange cover. That's all I remember. It was public schools. One other thing that is interesting: once a month we got a writing tablet and a new pencil. That was all the paper you had ever. In my first grade, every day I would just reach up, take paper and pass it out. The kids would have five and six dittos or writing papers to do every day. [26]

J: Thank you very much for this interview. I would like to interview you again in the future if I could.


J: This is the second interview of Virginia Shaw Critchfield for the California State College, Fullerton, Richard M. Nixon Oral History Project by Jeff Jones. The interview takes place on May 9, 1970.

I would like to ask you about the anti-German feeling during the war.

C:It was very strong, really. To call someone German or a Hun was just about the worst thing you could call them. If children got mad at each other you would call them a Hun. I know this grocer that was over here was a German. I think his name was Stein but that I am not sure. He was part of Stein and Strauss and, no, it was another name . . . someone who lived in Yorba Linda. They later sold their ranch. They lived out near Mrs. Seamans but I know he was a German. I remember Harold Nixon telling me one time that they made him bend down on his knees and kiss the American flag because he said something, but I don't believe that now. I think that was kid talk but we were all pretty patriotic, so that was really something. However, everyone went to the grocery. That didn't keep them from going to the grocery.

J: Was there any physical violence ever administered to anybody for being German?

C: No, no, not at all. I think the German feeling was just for Germany. The Kaiser was another awful thing you could say. The Kaiser and the crown prince, in those days, were sort of a word you didn't use.

J: Was there any conflict between the Yorba Lindans and the Anaheim people? Is this the German issue?

C: No, no, I don't think so.

J: Would you know why Mrs. Nixon couldn't cook?

C: I think she could cook. I think I must have misphrased that. I meant that when she was in the grocery she was so busy. I don't think she took time to do much cooking. Sort of like my mother, I mean there was a lot of children and a lot of sickness in the family. You don't do as much. They didn't in those days, I think they just cooked plainly. I know we had lots of meatloaf and I know the Nixons did, too. But you didn't have things like hamburgers. We hadn't heard of those yet. We had hot dogs, but it was more or less considered not especially good food. So, my parents very seldom ever bought wienies because they were considered inferior meat. [28]

J:What was the name of the packinghouse where your father worked?

C: Mutual Orange Distributors.

J: How many people worked at the packinghouse?

C:I don't know. They had graders. They had men that made the boxes. I think they had one or two men and then they had someone that was down in what they called the smoke room. That's what I called it. I don't know what it was but they would bring the lemons in and let them ripen in kind of a cool place. There wasn11 refrigeration but it was cool way down under. I imagine the packinghouse had this floor dug out down under the top floor and they had, when the lemons were in or oranges were in, quite a group working. There was someone always working and making boxes. They had kind of a little machine and you put two boards at the end, you know, those end boxes, then laid up two other boards and then they pulled down something to hold it. They pounded nails and then they flipped it over and the machine kind of anchored it and held it. Then they pounded two or three boards. They made the boxes as they needed them along there right on the same floor that they had the packing and the grading going on. As a child, I remember seeing at least fifteen people grading them off the graders. They'd have a man dumping the oranges in to wash them, they would go out along a belt to be graded. Then Then they had ten packers, I don't know. I really have no idea how many. But packing oranges was considered a little better job than the grading.

J: How long did your father work at the packinghouse?

C: From the time we moved there, four years. We were there when I was in the second, through the fifth grade—four years. Then he went to Fullerton and later he returned to Yorba Linda to the same packinghouse.

J:When did your family get your car?

C:I just can't recall that. I really can't remember.

J:Was it after you moved to Fullerton?

C:No, it was in Yorba Linda still. We got it when we in Yorba Linda but I really can't remember, it was an old Buick and that's all I remember

J: What kind of a family were the Nixons religiously? Did the parents seem to show a different spirit to them? [29]

C: No, they were very much like we were. They were quiet-mannered and I don't believe I ever heard her talk about religion. You felt that they were a very moral family but you didn't feel like now when you have religions, that when you are around someone they try to inflict it on you or come to your door and try to talk you into it. They were very quiet-mannered. You knew they went to the Friends church but that was all. She never tried to get me to go. She just took me if I wanted to. It was something to do in those days, to go to church.

J: Did she seem more religious than him?

C: I really don't know. I didn't know him as well because he was always at work. To me he was like most fathers in those days, rather stern, and kids didn't go talk with them very much. Now, I talked with her but I really don't ever recall visiting with him. So I really can't judge him except I was a little frightened of his manner but I think I was of any child's father in that era.

J: Did he have arthritis when he was living in Yorba Linda?

C: Not that I know of. I don't believe so.

J: How did Mr. Nixon stay out of the war? I know he wasn't in the military service.

C:No, he wasn't. He was very patriotic. I think everyone in Yorba Linda, nearly, that I knew of our acquaintances were all very patriotic. I remember once a bond buying truck came out with entertainers—something that never hardly happened to Yorba Linda. I remember this platform they put up to encourage people to buy . . . they called them Liberty Bonds and saving stamps. It seems like savings stamps were a quarter a piece and you could buy bonds for twenty-five or one hundred dollars and they were trying to ... oh, they'd have some singing or something. I don't even recall who the entertainers were or who the people were. They would try to sell bonds and the townspeople would buy a two hundred dollar bond or something like that. I can remember as a child being real thrilled that they were going up over their mark.

J: You said that the people in Yorba Linda were patriotic in those days. What do you mean by patriotic? What would they do for their country?

C: Many of them had boys in the service. Now my parents had my oldest brother in the Navy at the time. In those days nearly everybody was patriotic. I remember once a group, they were called IWW's [International Workers of the World], [30] came out. On this packinghouse right here they painted all over the side "IWW" and we always said it meant "I won't work," Now, I don't know what it meant.

J: International Workers of the World.

C:Oh, but everybody, just as a nickname, called it, "I won't work." The town was pretty upset with these people coming out there and who they were. How long they stayed, I don't recall. All I remember was the next day the buzz and hum about these letters being painted on the packinghouse. But you asked about patriotism. I don't know—you just felt it and you felt loyal. It seems like every program, even when the war was over, had something with some kid dressed up like Uncle Sam or something of the sort. I believe I told you about always saluting the flag out in front of the school. During the war the thing that really impress me was ringing the bell, you know. The whole town stopped to offer a prayer for peace and the end of the war, not peace exactly, but to have the war over.

J: Where was the bell located?

C:This is the front of the school right here and there was a little sort of an alcove. I'll get that picture out and show you again.

J:In school, you had two grades together. How did that work out? How was it taught?

C:I taught two grades together in the' last twenty years but I imagine that worked the same way. She'd work with one grade and put them to studying and then give the other grade something. I just remember the grade ahead of us was smarter and older. When we were talking last time about not having paper, we used the blackboards a lot. I mean, for an assignment in arithmetic, she would just take the whole third grade or whole second grade up and you'd work the problem. She'd give out a problem for each one and you'd work it on the board. You'd wait until she would come around and correct it.

J: On the desks, did they have ink wells?

C: Yes, ink wells. The kids stuck the person's hair in them.

J: Pigtails? Were the desks just flat top tables or were they lift up tops?

C:They didn't open. No, not lift up, flat top slanted a little I think. They had kind of a grillwork on the side in front. There was [31] a pencil ledge in there and then up in front you could see books. You can see the vast amount of blackboard space they had all over the place. There was just as much across the front. The windows were over here but everything practically was done at the blackboard, which we never use now. I don't in school because it's not slate like this was. Most of them are painted boards now.

J: There was only one teacher per room wasn't there?

C:Yes, one teacher. And I don't know but there must have been thirty-five or thirty-six children in a room. But it seems like there were around thirty-eight children in every room. This was just fifth grade alone. No, this must have been third and fourth, too. I was in the fourth grade here. I was in the third grade here. It's the same teacher. I had her two years.

J:How was the teaching quality in those days? Were the teachers pretty good teachers or were they . . .?

C:Well, I would say they were very good. I don't really have any way to compare. I know I was just so in love with this teacher, Miss Croger. Marie Murray, who was Marie Vernon at that time, was the first and second grade teacher- I know Harold had her, too. She was a member of the Friends church, too. But I'd say they were pretty good. I felt I got a pretty good background at that time.

J:What were the qualifications for becoming a teacher in those days?

C:That I don't know. I think normal school, three years of college. I know later, in Fullerton, I had several teachers that went to UCLA [University of California at Los Angeles] when it was a normal school over on Vermont, wasn't it? I know when I first went out it was the second year on the campus that it was at Westwood. So, I'm pretty sure three years. Some went to a school in Pasadena. I think you could go two years but it was just a kindergarten training school.

J:What was the big difference between a normal school and the other kind?

C:Just nothing but teacher training. For kindergarten, I think you had to have ten children to start. They didn't have a kindergarten for a while. Then Miss Jebson started it and I am sure she didn't have college training or much. She might have gone to a normal school. That I don't know. But she was the kindergarten teacher when they [32] first had it. They didn't have it on the Yorba Linda School grounds. They had it somewhere near the library. Now where, I don't recall . . . for one year and then they got over to the school. They put up a building back here for the kindergarten. The building was in there somewhere.

J: The school was named the Yorba Linda Elementary School, wasn't it?

C: Yes, with all eight grades.

J: Who was the principal at the school, at the time?

C: Mable Paine. All the time I was there. One year she left and a Mr. . . .1 can't remember his name but Mrs. Paine was there for years. She left for a year and then came back.

J: She was a pretty good principal, wasn't she?

C: Yes, she was a very strong disciplinarian. If she said, "Jump/1 you didn't ask how far or where, you just jumped.

J: Did she seem to influence the teachers that were teaching under her?

C: That I don't know. I know she was very strict. I think you just expected kids in those days to mind in class. Your parents, when you went to school, well, just told you to behave—and you did. I don't even recall having kids get in trouble until I got to Fullerton. Once in a while they had big fusses with the teachers but up until that time I never recall anyone even talking back to a teacher or arguing. You just sat there and listened.

J: How long was the school day for the students?

C: I really don't know. It seemed like school started at nine and you had an hour lunch from twelve to one. I usually walked home. Most of us did. I know the Nixon kids did, too. You took your lunch on a rainy day or your parents brought it to you or something. I don't remember when we got out. I have no recollection of it. Primary probably got out at two o'clock, but that I don't know. I really don't remember.

J:Did they have any physical education at the school?

C:No, none at all.

J:So any athletics would be done during the recess?

C: Yes. We did a lot of jumping rope at recess and noontime. [33]

They had a basketball court or something out in there where you threw a basketball up into a net. But I don't ever xemember seeing them play a game of it. The • older ones might have. I have no recollection of any real big playground or anything. I don't recall that. You just walked around. They had these two maple things. The biggest entertainment was throwing the ball across the bus bar. That was right about around in here.

J: Was it a baseball or basketball?

C: It was a basketball.

J: Did you ever take notice of what kind of athletics Richard Nixon liked when he was younger?

C: I really don't know.

J: What kind of sports did he like around in your neighborhood ?

C: I don't know. Whatever we played, like tag, hide-and-go-seek, or shinny where you hit a stone with a stick or a tin can. They didn't have too many tin cans at that time, so it either was a clod or a rock or something we poked at. I told you the other time about rolling in the tire occasionally. We didn't have swings that I recall. If you did, it was a tire tied onto a rope.

J: Did you have ropes in trees? Did you climb ropes?

C:Yes, but the trees weren't too big so there really wasn't much chance to.

J: What kind of trees were there in the area?

C: Citrus, mostly. I think you could see in that one picture I showed you that they had started a palm tree. There was a palm and I believe this is a citrus tree. Now, when my sister owned the house there was a great big huge tree there. What it was, I don't know. Whether they had planted it and that is the beginning of it I don't know, but I don't know what that mound is there.

J: Another palm tree.

C: Yes, another little palm started. I know my parents had a quince tree right about there and some sort of a saucer peach tree. I know the Nixons had a peach tree. What else they had, I don't know.

J: Was most of the area like this in dirt? [34]

C:Yes. I don't recall any blacktop roads except Yorba Linda Boulevard. I think even the main street in town was dirt. ,;But you can see this isn't actually what we would call a street. There was a bank up here. You can't see it because it leveled off when it got down here. Over here, you see, it went down because this goes down there. My folks had a cow down in there.

J: Did most of the people in the area have cows?

C: I don't think so. I think very few. My dad just did because, as a boy, he had had one. Then all of the of his life they'd lived in town, so to him this was just a wonderful thing to be out where . . .

J: So most of the people didn't have cows?

C: No, and we didn't too long. It was people had hens and chickens. That was another source of meat; most everyone had fried or roast chicken on Sunday.

J: Did they use them for eggs, too?

C: It was a source of meat and eggs.

J: You mentioned most of the people had chickens. They raised their own chickens for the eggs and the meat so that if somebody didn't have chickens they would trade something else for the eggs or chickens, right?

C: Well, I don't think so. People would buy anything they would need at one of the groceries. This was the largest grocery over here. They even had shoes and clothing in there. It was sort of a very small department store. It looked big to me, but I know it must have been very small This was a small grocery. Here was the biggest grocery in right here where they had clothing. Most people made their own clothes. You had very few dresses and things like that. Men's work shirts, children's clothing were almost entirely handmade.

J: They got the cloth at the stores, didn't they?

C: Yes, they might have material there.

J:What kind of material did they use for the clothing, especially work clothes?

C:I don't know. It was like Levis—that kind of stuff, I mean it . . .

J: So it was heavy duty? [35]

C: Yes, for trousers. I don't know, but shirts were just made out of cotton. Men bought their shirts, I know. My mother never made my dad a shirt, but for little kids they made shirts. I don't know about the Nixon boys' clothes, whether they were made. 1 thought that they probably were. You would find a seamstress or someone to make things for you. They might have done that. I don't know or they may have been ready-made.

J: Was it very expensive to have somebody to make clothing for you?

C: I don't think so. I imagine you'd pay them a dollar and a half a day. Something like that, I really don't know. I wasn't tuned in on that. Most boys, I notice, have long sleeves. Do you notice that? (looking at photograph)

J: Yes.

C: This one doesn't. There is Harold Nixon. They were always neatly dressed. Everybody was related to nearly someone else out there it seemed. We weren't.

J: Did you know a Mrs. Burness, who helped deliver Richard Nixon?

C: No, I didn't know. She lives up in Big Bear, doesn't she?

J: I think so.

C: She's the next door neighbor to my sister up at Big Bear. They had just brought her back when we were visiting there in the summer. She was telling that they had brought her back and had taken her down for that . . .

J: How far did the Wests live from the Nixons?

C: Oh, you could see their house from where we lived. They lived up in here. This road came around. See, there was nothing in here. Our cow was down probably. The elderly Walkers lived here, Grandpa Walker. Their property came along like this and they raised corn and all sorts of things. Our property was around in there. I think the Wests were next door or they were in along here somewhere. But you walked down through their backyard over to here. You had to cross the bridge there or else you walked down that way.

J: How many children did the Wests have?

C: They had four. Myron died later in Long Beach and then Jessamyn and Carmen who was one of my good friends. She was four years older than I but she was a friend of Sally [36] Kinsman who lived over here. Jean was my pal. I was with Carmen more. Rusty was my brother's age, Gerald's age.

J: Who was Mrs. Kinsman?

C: She was on the schoolboard at the time. They lived in Yorba Linda. Her daughter was my best friend and still is. We're still pals. They live in Laguna now and I still go down to see her. They were one of the original Yorba Linda families and they built their house. Now, my husband said he thinks Mr. Nixon built their own house. That I don't know, but he's pretty sure he did build it. I know Mr. Kinsman had theirs built and they came in 1911. They probably started it before then and it was considered one of the nicest houses in Yorba Linda. They were people who were real refined and nice.

J: What kind of work did Mr. Kinsman do?

C:He was a retired railroad man. It was amazing. Some of the big railroad presidents—who now would be considered someone historical—used to come out and call on him. He was a telegrapher for the Wabash, I believe. He was with them for years and then retired and came out to Yorba Linda. He was quite elderly. This is his third wife. He had children by all of them. They were one of the original families. Then all these people along here had come early, too—the Walkers and they're not living. The Janeways lived down here on the corner. They were very much friends. The town was sort of a little bit divided. We weren' t members of this church. My parents didn't necessarily believe in that type of religion. In fact, as a child, it was a little bit frightening to me because it was pretty hell fire in those days. I went just because I wanted to go.

J: What function did the church provide for the area?

C: Sunday service, of course, morning and night. Then they usually had something in the afternoon for kids to come to. I don't know what it was. I remember going here and I remember going over at the other one when it was on a Sunday afternoon. They would have programs occasionally before Christmas or before something and the whole family would come. Santa Claus would come at Christmas in the Ford. You'd hear everyone get excited. I'm surprised now that the Friends had something like that but I remember it very clearly. Then the kids would sing songs and the parents would come to listen. I wish I could think of the name of that kind of an organization where they had these little speak-offs or read poems or some sort of oratorical [37] kind of a thing. When I was first teaching in Ventura, right out of college, they were still doing that. I remember taking a boy from my room over to Oxnard. I know there was something called the LTL, the Loyal Temperance Legion, that used to meet at the Friends church every once in a while. It was to get people not to drink and smoke and whatnot. I didn't ever go to anything like that but I can remember hearing about it. I don't know what the point was because nobody out there hardly, that I knew of, did that. They might have smoked.

J:Did the Women's Christian Temperance Union have a very big role in Yorba Linda? I know there is a branch out there.

C:I don't know. That was the only thing I knew of—the LTL, for Loyal Temperance Legion—and that might be the same thing. There was the Yorba Linda Women's Club, but I don't know what connection there was with this other.

J:Was Mrs. Nixon or any of the Nixon family involved in the LTL?

C:That I don't know. I would feel they would have been very sympathetic towards it, but they didn't urge it on anyone or anything.

J: The Nixon family didn't drink at all, did they?

C:Not that I ever knew of. I'm sure they didn't. I'm sure that Mrs. Nixon never would have thought of it. I know he wouldn't have either. My parents didn't either. I mean, no one did in those days. You just were a little on the questionable side if you did. Times have changed.

J:Were the people of the town in favor of the Prohibition after it had gone into effect?

C:I really don't know. I know my mother was and that is all I know. I don't even remember when it went in. I remember when it went out. It was my first year of teaching.

J: There wasn't any bootlegging in the area was there?

C:Not that I know of. There could have been. One time they had a party at the Walkers for the school or for something, I don't know what it was. The principal kept following her husband around all the time. I remember different ones saying they thought he was drinking or something. I was awfully shocked. Now he may not have been. That I don't know. But I can just remember being horrified at the thought. [38]

J:You said there was the drugstore in the city. That's where you got the ice cream. How often did you go to the drugstore to get the ice cream?

C:Oh, goodness, I don't know. I had to go when I first came to Yorba Linda because I had had walking typhoid. I wasn't allowed to eat much solid food, so I had to go have a dish of ice cream. I was the only one in the family that had it. After I got over this I got into school. I never went to first grade. It would be an occasion of, probably, once a month you'd get one or maybe if you went over with your father to the grocery he might stop by and get you one. I think they often would buy a quart of ice cream and walk home with it. Then the family would sit around and have ice cream. Might do that once or twice a month—just a special treat.

J: Did you ever make ice cream?

C: Yes, we did that quite often if we could get ice. Now,I don't think we did it when I was in Yorba Linda. Now, the Kinsmans had a freezer and an icebox. They'd ice from the ice man when he'd come out. I think he'd come out once a week or something like that, once a month. I really don't remember how often. I know that part of the time they would have ice and part of the time they wouldn't. They made ice cream quite often on a special occasion like for a birthday or something.

J: The ice cream that was made was usually vanilla, wasn't it?

C: Not always if you had fruit, especially apricot or fresh peach. My dad had the cow; if we would give the Kinsmans the cream/ then they would have ice cream. I don't know about the Nixons whether they had an ice-cream freezer or not. I really wouldn't know that.

J: But it was a real treat when you had ice cream?

C:Yes, and you ate till you couldn't stand it. There was no way to keep it on hand afterwards, aside from in the melted ice, so everybody always ate it. They'd have it for church functions occasionally where they would have it as a special thing. I remember once the Masonic Hall had it. I don't know whether it was a town party or school party or what. I remember Harold Nixon found a rat, a live rat and picked it up. It was right in back in there. I've still got the scar. I was trying to be brave so he said, "I bet you wouldn't dare hold this." And I said, "Yes, I would." I took it and that rat flipped up and just tore my skin. I didn't do anything about it. I didn't have any shots. They didn't do anything. I [39] probably just stuck a handkerchief on it or something. Nothing ever happened to it. That day we had that meeting, I remember they had a movie there, a silent movie. It was A Man Without a Country. Everybody town nearly was there. It was a pot luck sort of a thing where they had a lot of food. We had homemade ice cream.

J: Where did they show the movies?

C: At the Masonic Hall.

J: They had a screen there, too?

C:I don't know. I really don't know. As a kid, I can't remember. No one hardly ever got to go to a movie, so when they had something like that in Yorba Linda, that was really something. They had a movie in Fullerton, the Rialto Theater, that you could drive into. I think it was ten cents to go to. But out here they had nothing like that. So, this was really a big thing and everybody turned out for it. Do you mean in the town?

J: Yes.

C: Oh, I don't think during the week anything except some fellows and men used to hang out around the drugstore. You'd see them in front and you'd go. I don't think anything happened during the week that I know of. I think the Masonic Lodge probably did. My dad was a Mason but he was a Shriner, too, so I don't think he ever went to the . . . maybe he did once.

J: On the weekends were there activities?

C:I don't recall, very few. If there were I don't even remember weekends being any different than any other time.

J:Would you consider the living conditions and life in those days restrictive?

C: What do you mean by living?

J:I mean the life that everybody lived, would you consider that restrictive for that time?

C: Out in Yorba Linda?

J: Yes.

C:It was more like old-time country living. Now, Fullerton was a little more modern and so was Anaheim. When my sister and brother were in high school they used to go [40] into Fullerton, Irvine Park—it was then called Orange County Park—or someplace like that if they wanted to go out. It was a favorite place to go. Picnicing at Orange County Park was one of the main things.

J: How did people get to Irvine or Orange County Park?

C: There was only one road out this way. If you went over here you had to come back and get onto Yorba Linda Boulevard. You came out and you could turn over to go to Atwood. Do you know where that would be?

J: I think so.

C: There was one road here and I think it was called Atwood. There used to be a little teeny depot there that the train would stop to go East. But, anyway, you would turn and go there and head out toward Olive. There were no bridges that crossed the Santa Ana River so where that bridge was—oh, it was scary—you had to drive through the water. Of course, cars, I think, were much higher then. But it was just crossing a lot of water sometimes or else you would just stroke across sand to get across it. Then you headed up what we now call the back way. It's still the same road. You got out through Olive and out where that brick plant is. Then you head out in the direction of . . .do you know where Villa Park is?

J: Yes, I used to go to school there.

C: Did you? Oh, did you know Betty Park who taught there?

J: I think so.

C: She taught kindergarten there for years. She lived on the old Orange County Road. She still does. But we used to go up there and turn right by the Catholic cemetery or something. Then you get out on the main road and there was another road later that you could go out through Orange and on up the hill.

J: That was Chapman.

C:Yes, but you used to come up this back way and it joined that other. That was one of the main things—to go to Orange County Park.

J: That must have taken a long time, didn't it?

C:I don't remember. Time wasn't too important to me in those days.

J: What were the roads like when you were going to the park? [41]

C: Dirt, I imagine. Once in a while, when there was a big rain, the Nixons took me out. Half of the Santa Ana Canyon Road .was washed out. He drove out just to see where the river had cut the road out. I was so scared, I was just panic stricken to see all that water rushing and all.

J: What did Mr. Nixon use his car for most of the time? Was it for work?

C: For work mostly. Families, in those days, if you had a car, went riding Sunday afternoon--not during the week—but Sunday afternoon. Parents took naps a lot on Sunday afternoon. I know my parents did and the Nixons did. Kids played quietly outside while their parents were sleeping in.

J: Did the younger children take naps at the same time their parents did?

C: We were supposed to lie down and rest. Sunday, in those days, was a time that you didn't do any special rigorous activity. You didn't play games. The games you played in the week you wouldn't play on Sunday. You could play with a doll or you could read or you could play the piano if it was quiet music. But it was a long time before I felt free, even as I got older, to play cards on Sunday just because that thing wasn't done. And you never went to a show on Sunday or to a dance on Sunday— ever. In those days, a public dance was not the place to go. When I was in high school, kids went to Balboa. When I was in junior college, we went to the dance, it was loads of fun and everybody went.

J: Was that to the pavillion?

C:Yes, it was right along the bay there. That was the thing to do. I guess it burned down several times, don't know.

J: It is burned down now.

C: Is it? But that used to be about the best place in the world to go, as far as I was concerned. But I still wouldn't have gone on Sunday when I was was in college, I remember once, I went out on a date. It was the first time and I was at this dance in Santa Monica someplace. I went with this fellow and all of a sudden it dawned on me it was Sunday night. I had a real funny feeling but I got over it fast. It's funny how those things stay with you. Now it doesn't bother me a bit. I mean, I can go to a show easily. I don't mainly [42] because I usually prefer to watch television than to get in a car and go to a show. I wouldn't have any qualms about it, but I certainly did in those days. I don't think anyone in Yorba Linda in those days would ever go to a show on Sunday.

J: That was keeping the Sabbath holy?

C: Yes. No groceries were open on Sunday; nothing was open. You bought everything through the week.

J: On Sunday did the people work at all or did they just usually rest?

C: I don't know of anybody that worked on Sunday. Now, I don't know whether in the oil well . . . that I don't recall whether Mr. Nixon ever had to work or not. He must have worked because I know he worked in the oil fields. I know one Sunday we walked with the Nixons out to where Mrs. Seamans lived. Everybody walked; we didn't drive out. We walked from here down Yorba Linda Boulevard and up around—no, we went down this road and up. They were trying an oil well in Yorba Linda. We watched them. The whole town was practically out there on a Sunday afternoon. You'd go out to watch them starting to drill. He wasn't working on that well. He went out with us.

J: He worked six days a week then?

C: I really don't know. I'm sure he did.

J: Did you ever notice what time he left in the morning?

C: No, I have no recollection of that. I don't know what time he got home, I remember seeing him come home but it could have been in the summertime when it was light, that I remember, but I wouldn't know whether it was four or five or three or ... because it didn't impress me enough.

J: What kind of clothes did he wear for the oil fields? Was it coveralls?

C: Overalls. I never remember that he looked dirty. He probably came home with them dirty but I don't ever recall anything like that. I think of the Nixons as being a spotlessly clean family. I mean morally, too. Even though we kids played in the dirt, they'd look clean.

J: Did Richard Nixon, when he was younger, have any special ambitions about what he wanted to do when he was older? [43]

C:He never talked about it. He might have to his family but not to the kids. Of course, I wasn't interested in him as much so I wouldn't have asked him. There is quite a difference in a three and a half year old and a six year old, you know.

J:In his relationship with his mother, did she seem to favor him over the other children?

C:Not at all. If you remember reading those letters I showed you, every letter I ever had from her she always mentioned what the other children and grandchildren were doing and accomplishing. It was one of the things I liked about her. Most every letter I ever had talked about their accomplishments as equivalent or equal to . . . not equal but comparable in her mind, I believe.

J:Did his father seem to have any special child he singled out?

C:Not that I know of. When we were little, Arthur—he was the baby then—was kind of well-liked by all of us because he was the baby. We thought he was so cute. I would say that from what I have in letters Mrs. Nixon felt very fond of the youngest son, Edward. I think you notice how she mentioned he was in school and he was here or there. I think often the last one stays with you the longest; you have a little closer bond. But I think families weren't affectionate with each other in those days. They liked each other, they respected each other. There was a deep bond between brothers and sisters and all but there wasn't a lot of hugging and kissing and that sort of thing. Parents weren't that way with their children nor were children that way with their parents.

J:Was there a rivalry or conflict between Arthur and Harold when you were living with them?

C:Not that I knew of. They were too far apart in age. Arthur was born when I was in Yorba Linda. So I think Harold was probably nine years older than he was. I think he sort of chose him as a baby to be very fond of him in the family. He had curls, little bitty curls all over his head. We were all fond of him because he was the baby.

J:What effects did the deaths of Arthur and Harold have upon Richard Nixon or could you tell that?

C: I couldn't tell that. I wouldn't know about it. [44]

J: Which one of these brothers did he take more after? Was it Arthur or Harold?

C: Arthur, I think, died when he was either five or seven— within that. He died after they moved to Whittier. So I don't remember. I don't know what effect but I imagine a deep effect. Now, Mrs. Nixon must have done every thing for Harold; it must have been terribly expensive. He was in a sanitarium for at least a year in Prescott, Arizona. She would go over and stay with him there. He was in the sanitarium in La Crescenta for probably a year and half or a year anyway. Then he came home and died there, I believe.

J: Who took care of the family when she was in Arizona?

C: That I don't know. See I lived in Fullerton then and they lived in Whittier. I imagine Mr. Nixon took care of them—there was just Donald and Richard at home then. Arthur wasn't living, he died first. I imagine Harold was nineteen or twenty when he died, twenty, I believe.

J:You were the closest in age to Harold. What kind of person did he seem to be?

C: He was more like Mr. Nixon, very outgoing and friendly and warm and popular, real popular in school. He was a leader but not a serious kind of a person. He liked to play and rough house and do things like that. I admired Richard. I liked him but I didn't know him enough to feel warm towards Richard like I did toward Harold. Harold was like a brother. Richard was, too. I can't describe the feeling Yorba Linda people had for Yorba Linda people, mainly because there were so few families. The fact that we were the only ones on that street and though we never ate together in our homes . . . people didn't entertain then like they do now. It was a rare occasion. The Kinsmans would once in a while entertain. Maybe the Walkers entertained once in a while but I don't remember.

J: Who were the boys in the Nixon family? I know there , was Harold but who were the others?

C: Harold, Richard, Donald, Arthur, and now Edward, but I didn't . . . I've never seen him.

J: What were things like in Fullerton when you moved into Fullerton?

C: Nice. It was a very small town. I imagine it was about seven thousand. Anaheim was about eight thousand then. [45] Anaheim was always larger. Fullerton was not where Bastanchury Ranch is. It was called Spadra, the main part of town. There were two main streets—Spadra and Commonwealth and then Chapman over here. Spadra went through and on up to Brea and then Hillcrest, where the high school and junior college are. It was just beginning to open up a little and that was sort of a new part. Where we lived was new, too. We lived on Jacaranda When we first moved there, oh, for six months, the roads were all dirt. They later put in what we called a paving. I guess it was blacktop. I don't know. Later, Brookhurst was added. Jacaranda was the last street along there. Then Brookhurst was added and then the Bastanchury Ranch belonged to the Bastanchury s. Then once in a while you would ride up in that area but there were no homes up there at all. On Commonwealth where Nicholas is, the Laptons had a service station. That was practically the end of town out there. The it went on up where the Golden Hills School is now. It went on up. It wasn't called Nicholas then, I don't think. But I just remember this was way out on Commonwealth. Then the Trapps had a place that C. R. Allan later bought. I was in Yorba Linda when Mr. Trapp was murdered. He had fired a Negro who was working on his little ranch there and he came in in the middle of the night with a pickax and killed him. That was just about the most terrible thing that had ever happened. And to this day, when I pass that house I still feel funny. Then Fullerton out this way—the Craigers, Marguerite is one of my very best friends. But the Craiger Ranch was out here on Chapman, the Yorba Linda Road, the road you went to Yorba Linda, went out this way and then you went this way to go to Placentia. Do you know where I am now?

J: Yes.

C:I imagine this is still Placentia Boulevard. This was the only way you used to be able to go to Yorba Linda. You could go out Chapman. You had to go out Chapman; if you came from Anaheim,you came down this way. But you went out and around, made a curve and went around that way and on out. Then you curved this way and went down that way where my friends, the Beards, live now. They were the Wagners. All the Wagners owned all that property. Fullerton ended practically now where the college is. We almost bought some of that property at one time in there. We could have had one of those ranches. It was on just about the area where the college is, a little farther down. Joe and I, we went out and looked at it. I wish I could remember the price of it. We could have had it for five thousand down and I think it was something like fifteen or twenty thousand dollars [46] for the house and the five acres. We've kicked ourselves ever since. There were other people that had some ranches in there, too, but everything was orange groves in there. The Craigers lived on a big orange grove and the Hiltschers lived farther up toward town on a big orange grove. The Hales lived out here on a big orange grove. They were about the only Fullerton families that lived out in that direction. I mean of the old-timers.

J: It was mainly orange groves, wasn't it?

C:Yes, practically all orange groves.

J:Were there any businesses or packinghouses?


J:No fancy houses or anything?

C: No, not then. There were no stores along Chapman at all in those days. Holston had a little teeny grocery store out past Berkeley. My folks later moved to Berkeley Street.

J: Near the college?

C: Near the junior college, yes. There was one little teeny grocery store and that was all that was there then.

J: What was Fullerton High School like when you went there?

C: I thought it was pretty nice. I think we had about a thousand students. Maybe our class didn't have that many They couldn't have had that many because when our class graduated from high school there were a hundred and forty-four. That I do remember. Oh, a funny thing—the song leaders, they wanted to do just a little bit more with their arms and whatnot and they wouldn't allow them. All they could do was like this. You can see how they were dressed. This is "Mutt" Dauser who was on that same football team with Richard Nixon.

J: Was the B football team?

C: Yes, I was going to bring my magnifying glass today to see some more of that team.

J: When you were going to high school, did you know very many of the football players?

C: Which ones? [47]

J: On the A football team?

C: Most of them.

J: Like Hessmahalls?

C: Hessmahalls. They were in my grade. There were a group of us that went all through grammar school together. I came in the sixth grade. This Willard Hirschberger, he was a ballplayer. He was a professional ballplayer and leader. I think he died. Here is Mr. Cellar and Mac'kelharmy's husband. Tom Afeckelhanny was student body president.

J: Do you know whether these people are alive now?

C:Well, he died. He had a heart attack. I'll show you the A football team it I can. Sal Del Giorgio died. Here they are. This Davis, I think was his name, and his dad was fire chief in Fullerton for years. Bill Davis, I think that was his name. I can't see who those were. This is Bill McGee because it says so right here. I don't remember this. That is Tom Kissner, I think. Was he on that team? Looks like Tom Kissner. I think it is. There is Dauser, Vincent Dauser. Jimmy Grieves . . . this is Bob Williams, the one that used to have a sporting goods store in Anaheim. His son and my son are in business together now. I mean they both have trucks and this person . . . Charles Wade, he just died a few months ago. Ira Hoover. I don't know who that is. This was Donnie Weeks, who just died.

J: Could you give the first names of these people here?

C:Vincent Dauser. Arky Vaughn, but he died, too; he was the ballplayer. Arky Vaughn drowned, big Shell Oil Company man. His brother is a big Shell Oil Company man.

J: Did he and his brother go to Fullerton High School?

C:Arky and his brother, too, yes. His brother, I think is vice-president of some big oil company. Hatfield, I don't know which one this is. Baston, I don't know, I really don't know his first name. Jimmy Grieves and Ira Hoover and I don't know who that is.

J:Robert Figures.

C:Bob Williams and Harold Hammner. His wife just died. He's quite active in Fullerton.

J:Oh, does he live in Fullerton? [48]

C:He did. They lived there for years and he was quite a Lion. I know my husband was in the Lions' Club in and I know he was.

J: His first name is Harold?

C: Harold Hammner. He had a brother. The brother was later student body president at Fullerton High School.

J: Was his name Cleo?

C: No, I don't know. I can't remember about his brother. It could have been. Charlie Wiggs, the one that just died, and Donald Kissner. It wasn't Denver Kissner. Denver is the one that is my sister's age. This is Donald Kissner. He was in Fullerton for years; they had iron works. Dean Burney and Bill Wood were policemen in Anaheim for years and his older brother and Goodwin were on the A team. I think it was Melvin Goodchild. I don't know Tag's real name. But it's Al's brother. Dick Hef-fern lives in Anaheim and his wife is a Shoemacher, one of the Shoemacher family. Paul Herbert . . . and Clarene Stall. I know he still lives in Fullerton. His son was a player on the cow team at Berkeley. I think his name was Larry. And Jack Ringer.

J: Did you actually go and see the B football team's games?

C:Not too much. I was more interested in the A. One year though, they played at Rigley Field. My brother just a substitute. He wasn't on the team.

J:Did you know the football players pretty well, most of the A players?

C:Mostly the A, but I knew a lot of these B's. The B's were Jimmy Grieves who was in our gang. There's Willard Hirschberger. I went with him.

J:Who were the members of your group, anyway? Were they mostly high school people?

C:We had this gang that was called the eight A's when we were in Fullerton. They used to divide up into a,b,c,d, in Fullerton grammar school. Mrs. Thatcher was our sixth grade teacher. She was our principal but in the year we were in the eighth grade she was our math teacher and principal, too. We had this gang. In it was Tom Mackelhaney, the Hessmalhalls, the Del Georgio boys. They came from Orangethorpe school. They didn't come from Fullerton school. When we went into high school most of them were the officers all the way through. Miss Miller, who was our class adviser, stayed with us all four years. But in practically all of these pictures you'll see this gang. [49] We went to Hawaii, a bunch of us together, two years ago.

J:So they were just mostly high school students or people you knew in school?

C:Yes, from freshman in high school or from grammar school. Some of them started in first grade and kindergarten, like Jimmy Grieves and Bob Finch. He's not here anymore; he lives in the East.

J:So the group is still pretty active, isn't it?

C: Most of them still teach in Fullerton.

J:Do they teach at the high school?

C:Vera Ferraris teaches there; she was Vera Stall, that is Clarence Stall's cousin. This is Litchie who was the dean of women and dean of girls in high school and then dean of women when I went to junior college. That is Heber Holloway who was the principal in Whittier--superintendent of Whittier High School. This Bonny Irwin died when we were first married. She had two little girls.

J:What were things like at Fullerton High School when you went there? Were they pretty good?

C: Yes.

J: What kind of classes did they offer?

C:We were all hoping to go to college. None of us felt we could afford it. But in those days, we still took the requirements, hoping we could go anyway. I didn't even dream I could ever go because I didn't feel I could afford it. It was right at the height of the Depression. So, we all took the required college courses and everyone in my gang—the girls, not the fellows as much because they horsed around a little and then couldn't get into college. As a junior from junior college, they lost too many units but it was only because they hadn't taken what they should have. You had to take three years of a language, three years of math, three years of English, as a sophomore you took world history, and then when you were a junior you took civics. You also had so many electives. I can't recall everything I took and then I went from there to junior college. But we had the same teachers practically because when I went to junior college it was on the high school campus.

J:What were the activities like at high school? What kind of stuff did you have? [50]

C: We had plays. That was always a big deal—the dramas. Before a game, we would have what we called the "Vaudeville." Now they call it variety show, I imagine. They were just lots of fun. They would have a fiesta in the spring. No dances were allowed then at all on campus. That was before you were allowed to dance in high school. We had assemblies once a week and they were required attendance. But they were lots of fun. We all enjoyed them. They had speakers once in a while. Sometimes they had outside performers come. They had kids do things like play a xylophone or somebody had a singing group or a dance activity or something. When the gym opened they would have a big program. Swimming was quite important. Sports were just about the most important thing when I went to school.

J: Did you know Richard Nixon very well in high school?

C: No, only as a passing hello when I saw him. He lived across the street from me, but remember I was a senior and he was a sophomore. In those days, age meant a big difference whether you associated with them. He was so very quiet that he wouldn't stop and chitchat with you for anything in the world. He would just say hello to me and I would say hello to him. I was real proud of him when he was in forensics and debating. I felt a great deal of pride in that mainly for the same sort of old brotherly/sisterly feeling I had with him.

J: What other activities was he involved in other than forensics?

C: He was in the high school orchestra. I was talking to Marcia Ruiz, who was also in that group, and she says she hardly remembers him. You see, that's the way it is with everybody. In high school, he was so quiet and you spoke to him because you knew him. He wasn't in my groups so anyone who wasn't at that time in my group was just out. I don't know whether they're that way anymore. I hope they're not to some extent.

J:Did he seem to have any political ambitions in those days?

C:Not that I know of.

J:I mean on campus type political activities, for office.

C:No, none at all. He never ran for an office that of in Fullerton. Now, he might have in Whittier. I guess he did go out more for it but in those days I think all he did was study and go out for forensics. [51]

J: He was still working in the family store, wasn't he?

C: I believe so~ He might have on weekends, because he stayed over with the Wildermuths. How he got back and forth, I don't remember.

J: What kind of job did Mr. Wildermuth have?

C: He wasn't living.


J: What kind of thing did the Wildermuths do for a living?

C: She worked in the packinghouse and she worked in the packinghouse there in Fullerton, too.

J: Fullerton?

C: My dad moved from Yorba Linda to Fullerton and she worked for my dad in Yorba Linda and then later she worked in the packinghouse there in Fullerton, too. What else she did after that, I don't really know.

J: She lived with the Nixons for a little while, didn't she?

C: Out in Yorba Linda?

J: Yes, in Yorba Linda.

C: I remember when they first came and then we moved on Jacaranda. Then they just happened, to move on the same street. It was just a new area starting then and it was the end of Fullerton almost, at that time.

J:That was the western end, right?


J:What was Mrs. Wildermuth's name?

C: I don't know. She had been a Nixon, of course, but I don't know what her first name was. [52]

J: You went also?

C: Girls went just to go and lend support. Also they hoped they looked in your direction. Swimming and tennis— surprising as it may seem—were quite the sports . . . We used to go out and watch them play tennis. Sports/ I think, were the most outstanding interest for kids in those days, in high school, anyway. Then, when I got to junior college, football was very important and baseball, too, and swimming, too; all the sports were. Then, when I was in junior college they used to go to the Catholic hall for dances after a game and that was fun. That was sponsored not by the school but they couldn't keep us from going after, you know. As for shows, that theater that is in Fullerton now was built by Stanley Chapman. It was really something when it was first built. We just thought that was out of this world. Before that you went to Anaheim to the show. They had two, one that is now the Mexican theater, I think, and one downtown; it's still there.

J: Was the Fullerton theater the Rialto?

C: Yes, originally. Chapman built the other. Then the Rialto sort of went out . . . the Willburns owned the Rialto theater. Mr. Stanley Chapman married the Willburn girl.

J: Thank you very much, Mrs. Critchfield, on behalf of the Richard M. Nixon Oral History Project at California State College, Fullerton, for this interview.


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