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Kemper Campbell Ranch
Mrs. Kemper Campbell Interview
Litta Belle Campbell, who wrote under her married name Mrs. Kemper Campbell, was an attorney in Los Angeles, and owner of the Kemper Campbell Ranch (Verde Ranch) in Victorville, California. She was the author of several books: Here I Raise Mine Ebenezer, Whom God Hath Joined Assunder, Marching Without Banners, and Words to the Unwise.
Interviewed by Ruth Smith, December 8, 1970.
RS: This is the eighth of December, 1970, and I'm visiting with Mrs. Kemper Campbell in her home on the Kemper Campbell Ranch in Victorville, California. Mrs. Campbell, I'm going to just start our conversation out by asking you to tell me a little bit about yourself and about your family. Your immediate family first.
LC: Well, of course, my immediate family were raised in Victorville, so they're pretty well known. I have one daughter, that's Jean De Blasis, and she and her husband and two children, David and Celeste, live on the ranch. And then Joe Campbell, Joseph Campbell, he's my son -- I think he's been mayor of Victorville for seven or eight years. And he and his three sons live on the ranch, and the oldest one is in college in Arizona, the other two are in high school.
RS: You had [two?] children, Mrs. Campbell?
LC: Well, I had three. I lost my oldest in the Second World War.
RS: I see. And you and your husband came to the desert in what year?
LC: We bought the ranch in 1924. Of course, we were practicing law in Los Angeles until 1948, but we spent long summer vacations up here and we moved the children up. I think it was 1932 that the children came up here to go to school. We would come up Friday afternoon and leave early Monday morning.
RS: And the children stayed here on the ranch alone through the week?
LC: There was always, of course, somebody with them. I had a maid that was with me for nine years, and then my father was here a good deal of the time. And then if he wasn't here, I'd have a cousin or a, some ex-school teacher or somebody here.
RS: When we talk about the ranch, Mrs. Campbell, it was already an established guest ranch when you bought it?
LC: Oh no, we didn't begin taking guests until the middle 30s. No, it was a cattle ranch.
RS: Oh, I see. Tell me about that.
LC: Of course, we weren't at that time -- we didn't raise many cattle, but it had been one of the largest cattle ranches there was, at one time. There was -- the owner had five thousand head of cattle, I think. And he had all the pasture rights from the foot of the hill, mountain, over in Lucerne valley clear to Palmdale. And when we bought the ranch, there were three water holes that came with it. One up in the mountains, near Big Pines, one out in Apple Valley, and one over at the foot of the Cushenbury grade. They ran cattle all the way from Lucerne, to Palmdale, from the ranch.
RS: From this ranch? They're just real recently getting into quite a study on early cattle raising in California. And so, no doubt, this ranch would be a historical...
LC: Well, it was one of the largest cattle ranches.
RS: What name did it go by in those days?
LC: It went by the name of Verde Ranch then, V-E-R-D-E, Verde Ranch.
RS: Did the land actually stretch that far, as far as Cushenbury and all?
LC: The Verde Ranch didn't own the land, they owned the pasture rights. But they owned the water holes in fee, the water holes belonged to them.
RS: That's interesting because, really, Cushenbury, we figure that as quite a distance away. But water would be such an important part of...
LC: Oh yes, it must've been, they must've run cattle for about over 60 miles.
RS: I wish I were more of a cattleman to where I'd know a little bit further how to go on in that...
LC: I don't know too much about that. By the time we purchased the ranch, there were only a few hundred head of cattle. Maybe 400 or something like that.
RS: It was diminishing then.
LC: Yes, and I don't know just why they gave up, I guess cattle didn't pay, maybe. But they gave up the big herds of cattle. Of course, in those days you had to move the cattle very quickly, up into the hills for the summer and down on the mesa for the winter, and it was quite an operation. And I suppose it didn't pay, finally.
RS: The mesa would be where, in relation to...
LC: Down where we are now.
RS: And this would be where they'd winter.
LC: They wintered down here and in Apple Valley, and between here and Palmdale.
RS: Would the market be Los Angeles? Is that where you would ship the cattle to?
LC: I don't remember much about that but, of course, I would think it would be. Well, there were a lot of them on the ranch, too. Of course then the ranch was so well watered in those days and the grass was abundant, and also along the river, cattle will live on the -- what's called -- the guatamofy [?] bushes. And so they brought a lot of them down here, and I've an idea that they sold off in the spring.
That's all guess work, as far as I'm concerned. I've seen the water lines that they had. They brought the water over from the place near Big Pines. They brought it over down near Phelan, for watering the cattle. I've an idea that the greatest problem in those days was keeping them within walking distance of water.
RS: You mentioned the grass that was so abundant in those times. We've noticed a real change on the face of the desert in recent years, haven't we? Since the 20s and the 30s and progressively?
LC: You mean that there's not so much vegetation?
RS: Right. It seems the river isn't as abundant now as it first was.
LC: I can't notice much difference in the river. Yes there are people using the water. [comment in background from unidentified person] I don't know what has caused a change in the desert. We never did have an abundant rainfall, and as far as the desert vegetation is concerned, it's still abundant, you know. But, of course, where you have subdividers who come in and just take everything, just strip the land, then you start a desert like the Sahara Desert. And that's always been my fear.
There was a time when they ran sheep across the desert and that did a lot of damage. But there was so much protest, protests against that, that I don't think they run them any more. The cattle really aren't a menace to the desert. But the sheep will dig down into the roots, and they will ruin the desert.
RS: Do you remember, Mrs. Campbell, in your time, when there were range wars, and this type of thing? Have you always lived in the populated city areas, where...
LC: There have never been range wars since we bought the ranch, but shortly before that there were wars over the water. They would cut the water lines that belonged to the ranch. And once there was even a murder, out near Big Pines, where one of the cowboys from the Verde Ranch was murdered. The rest of them went up there and got the man, and so there were two of them killed. There was a few [feud?], then. But that was before my time. People have been very civilized since then.
[Comment in background] Yes, the ‘38 flood, wiped out 30, 38 acres, the same as the year of the flood, of alfalfa. But it wiped out, I would say, two or three hundred acres of river pasture. [Voice in background asks, "And it actually changed the course of the river, didn't it?] Well, the river's changed a time or two since I've been here. You can't depend upon the course of the river, it's very notional.
RS: That was what I had heard, too, and I was wondering in my initial question if the abundance of the growth that you would notice here, if it would be due to a river change, but it hasn't been that drastic of a change, possibly.
LC: We've always had an abundance of water. And we've always had underground irrigation; for instance, the place where Boise Cascade now is a lake, we always called that the "wet meadow." And, my, it would feed a great many cattle. I don't mean, by that, hundreds, but it would probably feed eight or ten cattle to the acre, whereas it would take four or five acres to feed one cow on the desert. And it was a beautiful wet meadow, always called it the wet meadow.
RS: We've just welcomed into our conversation Donna Campbell, who is Joseph Campbell's wife, and that would be Mrs. Kemper Campbell's daughter-in-law. Donna, thank you for joining us. [RS resumes the interview with Mrs. Kemper Campbell] Mrs. Campbell, what is your first name?
LC: I have two names, Litta Belle, L-I-T-T-A, capital B-E-double L-E. This is the first name. I don't know that I need to emphasize the middle name, but I was always called by the two names.
RS: I'd never heard your given name, we've always...
LC: I tried to get rid of it when I was married. [laughter by DC] My husband was in politics, well, not really, but I mean he was interested in politics. He never ran for any office, but he was a well-known attorney in Los Angeles, and I decided that the thing to do was to use the same name, because I was practicing law, too, in his office.
RS: Tell me about this, Mrs. Campbell. You were already an established attorney when you married your husband?
LC: Yes, I was.
RS: And then, I wanted to ask you too, Donna had told me about this and the question came to my mind, did you find it really difficult for women to be in the profession that you were, and what year was that?
LC: No, no I didn't. I think men are quit willing to accept women, if they're willing to do what the men want them to do. [laughter by DC and LC]
RS: Things haven't changed too much, have they, I see. And you had your own practice, and what year was that, Mrs. Campbell?
LC: I was in the District Attorney's Office when I was married. I was married in 1916.
LC: I was in charge of the Juvenile Department. I wasn't 30 yet, and I was head of the Juvenile Department. The District Attorney's Office -- I look back at those days, I wonder that I didn't make more mistakes than I did. [laughter by DC]
RS: You know, this brings up a question too. We think of the type of work that you did, I hadn't realized that it was with juveniles, but in the comparison of then and now, what significant changes do you see in our young people? Are there basic changes, are they really...
LC: I suppose that you are covered [colored?] by the side of society which you see. When I was in the District Attorney's Office, of course, I saw juvenile delinquents and I never felt that all young people were to be regarded as delinquents and avoided. Personally, I can't really say that I think that the young people today are, by and large, any worse than they were in my day. I think it's been a bad five years for young people.
I might say I like to garden, and some years when I go out to look at my garden in the spring, I find that its mostly weeds, you know. And I don't become discouraged because I realize that it's because of the rains have come at the wrong time, and the sun hasn't been out when it should be, and we've had cloudy days or too much sun, or something. And so I find that I have a lot of ragweed and a lot of Russian thistles, and I just have to go at it again and find my flowers. Well now, I think that one of the main reasons is this has been a bad time for children to grow up, especially boys, because of the Vietnam War.
I don't think one boy in ten believes in the war. And when you ask a boy to risk his life for something he doesn't believe in, you make a rebel. And so, I do think that we do have more rebellion, and rightly so, among young people, than we had in my day, for that reason. I don't approve of some of the methods by which they protest, but I approve of the protest.
And when you think of the destruction in our colleges, I remember that back -- oh really I can't remember, I was only told about it. One of my heroes was Lincoln Steffens, who led the, you wouldn't know about it, but he led the Muckrakers during Roosevelt's administration -- when they cleaned up a lot of corruption, the kind of corruption we don't have anymore. But when he was in his first year at Berkeley, they nominated a president of whom the students disapproved. They got a long ladder and they shoved it through the window of the professor's front room, and they just worked that ladder around 'til they broke everything breakable in that front room. And he resigned. Now, that was about 1898. That's as violent as anything that's happening today. Of course they didn't catch him, or any of them.
I don't approve of that, and I don't hold it up as being the kind of a thing that a great man does in his youth. I think that he should have been summarily expelled. And I think the same thing about violence in colleges today. I only mention that because it happened long ago.
RS: The heart of a rebel is nothing new.
LC: No, and they really have something to rebel about, now. When a young man can't plan his life, from the time he's 18 until he's 30, we really have everything to apologize for.
DC: I think also, too, it's all magnified, these things, you know. Our news media provides more coverage and we have television, and we can see these things that can happen. I suppose violence is always there.
LC: But we didn't hear so much about it. We didn't, wasn't emphasized. I thought, I feel like Rip Van Winkle, you see. I was very active in politics until I was about 32 years old, until my oldest son was born. I wore out many a pair of shoes trying to elect the the candidates I believed in. A great deal was accomplished in those days, and we don't have the kind of corruption that we had then. But when I came out again, into politics, in a very limited way, I've been out of it for 30, 30-some years. I don't know how long Rip Van Winkle was asleep [DC and LC both laugh], but I think I was that way. I found the problems were altogether different than what they were when I started to devote my entire time to raising a family. And I think the problems are really difficult today. But they're not the problems that we had then, and we talk about violence.
I'll tell you another story and this I remember. There was man by the name of Grove Johnson. He was the father of Hiram Johnson, whom I knew very well; he was the reform governor of California. I knew him so well that he moved my admission to [appear before?] the Supreme Court of the United States. And Grove Johnson was one of the first reformers in California.
The Southern Pacific owned California then. We had no direct primary, and they nominated all the judges, all the people who ran for legislature, and the governor, and they were elected. Well Grove Johnson was a reformer, and he decided that he was going to take California away from the Southern Pacific. I've seen the time, I think Southern Pacific now is reformed and I've seen the time when I'd have been glad to have given it back to the southern Pacific with some of the governors we've had. But anyway, they were meeting in what we used to call caucus. That is, they were meeting in Sacramento to decide whom to nominate for senator. In those days you didn't vote for the senator, he was appointed by the legislature. The legislature was appointed by Southern Pacific.
Grove Johnson knew where they were meeting. He took his two sons, Albert, who died young, and Hiram, who became the governor, and then went to the senate. He gave them each a loaded revolver, and he walked into that basement room with Albert with a revolver on one side, and Hiram with a revolver on the other side, and said to them, "I'll get you fellas and put you out of business some day." That's violence. You can't imagine that happening in a campaign today. And that was the sort of thing that used to happen when I was first in politics.
RS: What was the end of the story?
LC: They didn't have to shoot. Hiram Johnson walked out, and they went on and appointed their, I think I know who the man was but I think I probably shouldn't say it, he's dead, But anyway, they appointed their senator. Well, Grove Johnson kept on until there were many small groups called "good government" groups, established all over. And then they undertook to prosecute the mayor and the aldermen of San Francisco for graft. Now Lincoln Steffens had started in St. Louis, and he blew the top off St. Louis. Then he went to Minneapolis. Then he went to Pittsburgh. Then he went to Philadelphia, and he found that people in Philadelphia liked corruption and they didn't want to be interfered with. [LC and DC laugh]
They'd been through it and they were satisfied. And then finally, they got around to, it didn't take long, you see. McClure's magazine was publishing all these articles, and they weren't afraid of libel because he had started in New York, but he hadn't published articles about New York. But anyway, it didn't take him very long and they finally got around to San Francisco, and Heenie, Francis J. Heenie, a wonderful man and a wonderful friend, and Hiram Johnson, were prosecuting Abe Ruef and the grafters in San Francisco. And somebody shot Heenie in the courtroom, one of the grafters, so that put him out of business, or he would've been the next governor.
And then everybody got together, they convicted Ruef and everybody got together, including my husband, Marshall Simpson, and, oh, so many people that I could not name, E. T. Earl. And the whole group of them got together, as reformers, and they had the same kind of reform government, I mean, they had the same society for reform platform, and they defeated the governor and appointed Hiram Johnson. That was the end of Southern Pacific in California.
And then right after that we got, the, oh, what do you call them? Not the referendum, initiative and referendum, but the direct primary. So with those two weapons they had no more trouble in California with corruption. We've always had, I think, an honest government in California, and that's when we got the direct primary.There was one judge, and I liked him very much, we had many a laugh together, but he was the last of the judges appointed by the Southern Pacific. And the last thing I tried to do in politics, until recent years, was when Jean was less than a year old. I used to put her in the back of the Twin Six Packard, and I went around all over Los Angeles County trying to defeat that man. His name was Monroe. Personally, I liked him, but he had been appointed by the Southern Pacific. In more that 60 cases before him, the railroad had always won. He had never allowed judgments against the railroad to stand. And he had some of the most ridiculous decisions.
He was elected by just a few votes, but he behaved himself after that. You know, you can reform a man that way sometimes. We published the fact that he had decided for the railroad 60 times, and he didn't do it again. [DC laughs] And I remember he said to my husband, "Kemper, you almost beat me. If you had a little more time you'd have beaten me. Everything you said about me is true, except one thing." He said, "One thing you lied about me. You said I was 73 and I'm only 72.
RS: You were campaigning for your husband?
LC: Oh no, with my husband, only my husband never ran for public office. But he ran a lot of people, and the Times once said that if Kemper Campbell is for you, who can be against you? You know, he would defy the Times, really, in those days.
RS: He was an independent thinker, apparently.
LC: Oh yes. [DC laughs]
RS: Mrs. Campbell, you said something that I think is significant, that when you felt you had a significant cause to campaign for, that you very actively did it, even to putting the children in the car and busying yourself. And I think it's important that we speak out for what we believe.
LC: Of course I didn't feel any great burden to go into politics as long as Mr. Campbell was fighting. That's just one instance where I went out and helped with all women's clubs in Los Angeles. I didn't put any of my other children in the back of the car. She was pretty easy to carry around most days. [laughter] So I didn't do much about that, but I had the good fortune to nominate a couple of mayors for Los Angeles. When the committee would meet in my house and I'd walk in and say, "Well, my suggestion is that you run George Cryer," or, "that you run the other, some other one." And they always were honest men. Sometimes you can make a suggestion.
DC: One of the Cryer twins, did one just die recently?
LC: What twins?
DC: Cryer, one of the...
LC: Oh, no, you're thinking of Crale. George Cryer, he was the mayor of Los Angeles for several terms, and he was an excellent mayor. I know about him because he was my immediate superior in the District Attorney's Office.
RS: These people that you worked with, you were in the Attorney's Office there in Los Angeles -- well, no, you said you worked in the Juvenile Department, but you worked in other departments also?
LC: Well, I started out in the Failure to Provide [Office], which is an awful department. That's where you're after these delinquent husbands. They're worse than delinquent children.
RS: Yes that's true. Do you have any names that you'd even want to mention, that were interesting people that you ran into during those years?
LC: I ran into Ben Lindsey [Benjamin Barr Lindsey], and I disagreed with him all the time. I think that he was a fake.
DC: What did he do?
LC: You know, he's the one who started the saying, "There are no delinquent children, there are only delinquent parents," which isn't true and I always resented that because I know that parents, sometimes, they get bad seed and there's nothing they can do in the world for their children and they can't help them.
And he started this juvenile court where the children were not confronted by the witnesses against them. You could send your testimony in on a postcard. And they didn't have a right to a jury trial, they didn't have a right to be represented by counsel. They didn't have the right to, oh, they could be compelled to testify against themselves. All on the theory that we are not prosecuting them, we are protecting them. And in protecting them, they took away all the rights that the constitution gave them. And I objected to that. I saw the folly of it and the injustice of it, and I think, now, we're reaping the whirlwinds, what we did to those children.
RS: Were you able, then, to take a contrary action in this?
LC: Well, of course I could then, just the children that were under my direct supervision is all. I couldn't do anything nationally about it [laugh]. He was a national figure. He came to California; he had trouble in Colorado. It was in Colorado that he became a national figure, and he came to California. Finally he was appointed to the bench, but they never let him sit on the juvenile -- in the juvenile department. He was a very poor judge. You know, one of the worst handicaps, or the worst vices let's say, of anyone in public office, is the overwhelming desire for publicity. That'll ruin a good man.
RS: Yes, it can be a downfall. Probably well-intending men have started out with proper motives, and then led astray through this very thing.
LC: Desire to have personal significance, to be known internationally.
RS: Mrs. Campbell, in your husband's career, do you have any favorite or did he have any favorite funny things, or things that were unusual, that you used to recall together with pleasure or...
LC: Yes, we had a common language and common memories, like all husbands and wives that have been married and lived together for over 40 years. But he had a keen sense of humor. Looking back now I don't call to mind, just now, anything that, well, there was one case, we were attorney's for the -- of the Adventist hospital for Loma Linda, [?] Memorial in Glendale. And [?] for the school, and one time the Loma Linda College got out a new prospectus. Well, they had the old prospectus but they passed a new rule that the graduates wouldn't get their diplomas until they had one year as interns and then they had to take their final examinations and get their diplomas.
Of course, that raised a lot of resentment on the part of the class, and they came to my home -- I was teaching medical students then. They came to my home and asked me, the class representatives and I went over [the] prospectus and I decided that it had amounted to a contract with these students, and that they couldn't, under those circumstances, change the rule, compel them to wait a year to take their examinations.
So I dictated a letter, and they wrote it and sent it in to the faculty. And then I got a hurry-up call from the dean of the college, and he asked us to come out, because we represented the college. And right away I thought, "I bet that he's got my letter." I hadn't signed it, I had dictated it, and the class had signed it -- the officers of the class.
So I went out there and sure enough, I was confronted with it. And the dean said, "This class didn't write this letter themselves." He said, "They had some jackass lawyer write it." But my husband, who knew nothing about it, he said, "Well whoever it was, I think the jackass lawyer's right about it. I don't think you can change the rule this time." And so as we were walking down the runway from the college, the ramp, I turned to Mr. Campbell and I said, "That wasn't a jackass, that was a jenny that wrote that letter." So they threatened to disbar me for playing both sides against the middle, but they never did. [laugh]
RS: How did that end, did the students win?
LC: Oh yes, they were right, of course, so they won.
RS: Oh, that's cute, Mrs. Campbell. Tell me about your ranch here. Is this your main house?
RS: And how many guests will you accommodate here?
LC: We can accommodate up to 48 guests. We don't like to have the house quite that full.
RS: I can imagine.
LC: Over holidays we even crowd in more people than that because at Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's, and especially Decoration Day -- Memorial Day, I mean -- and Easter, people are so eager to come that they'll crowd three and four in a room, if needed.
RS: Do you find you have a lot of repeat guests?
LC: Most of them are.
RS: I would imagine this would be true.
LC: I suppose 75 percent of our guests are people who've been here before, even more than that.
RS: What is the history behind your ranch here? You said you bought it from somebody. Did you build this yourself?
LC: Yes, we did. We built this in 1929 just before Black Friday. We finished it for Easter of 1929. To build the ranch, we sold Bank of America -- I don't mean Bank -- Transamerica stock at 60. Well, on the 29th of October, 1929, the stock fell. In the morning Transamerica stock went from 60 to 20, and subsequently it went below six. And we sold it at 60. People talk about the depression, they talk about the stock market, they don't know what it is.
RS: Share with me, Mrs Campbell, because in one of my history classes I just recently wrote my term paper on the crash of 1929 and '30, and these things that you're mentioning were things that I had read. You mentioned you had thought -- how did it affect you, had you sold it in April of that year?
LC: We sold it to build the ranch.
RS: So you had depleted all of your...
LC: I was pretty lucky. I was a very close friend of the wife of one of the presidents of one of the banks that united with Bank of America. And he kept after me from February on. He said, "There's going to be a crash." And I said, "What makes you think so?" And he said, "Everything goes up too high, comes down. Everybody is buying stock on margin, bound to come down." And he kept after me and after me and he said, "I won't be satisfied until I know that you've sold enough stock so that you don't have any stock on margin."
Well, I began to be alarmed, and I went to the man who had charge of the investments for the Seventh Day Adventist Church. He was a minister but he was a much better financier than he was a minister. If he had served his, himself, as he served his God, he'd have been a very wealthy man. And I asked him about it and he said, "I'm selling all my, all the church stocks by the first of July."
And so I kept after my husband and I remember sitting on the front porch here one day. He said to me, "Well, honey, I make ten thousand dollars a week on our stock. I hate to sell it." But I kept after him ‘til finally he sold enough stock to pay off all his debts, except a debt that he owed on the ranch, which is a different matter. So that's how I weathered the depression.
If it hadn't been for that friend we never could have built the house -- never would've built it -- because there were seven lean years then. And strangely enough that friend of mine, Mr. B [Bonny? Bohne?], he came originally from Australia, and he had gone through the crash in Australia. He didn't live to see the crash. He was president of the board of the local Bank of America in Los Angeles, and he stood up one day in August and he said, "Well, gentlemen, that will be all for today," and fell dead. So he never knew that he saved us, but he did.
RS: That his prediction had -- was just about to come true -- that's interesting. You said that people talk about the depression and they don't know. I was born in the '30s, so I was a depression baby and really -- and was too young to experience the throes that my parents were put into, but from your vantage point, what would you tell us about the depression.
LC: Well, of course, there was an awful lot of -- I don't know whether you would call it suffering -- or there were a lot of disappointed people. You know, when you go up to the office thinking you're worth a half million dollars and come down at noon for lunch and you're worth maybe fifty -- why, you're very much depressed about it. I never knew anybody that went hungry during that time. Now, I am not, and never was a Democrat, but I will say that President Roosevelt rose to the occasion. And the government took care of people. But it was a time when everybody realized what the problems were.
And you take for instance the two cement companies. Victorville then was around 3,000 people, and they were largely dependent on the cement companies. The cement companies kept one member of every family on the payroll. They didn't fire all the family -- kept one member. And they operated the cement companies for months and months at a loss. But that was a time when people, by and large, remembered the Golden Rule.
Now, I know we had people on the ranch, tenant farmers, and we had lots of alfalfa. We had a very tight contract with them. Alfalfa was selling for $25 a ton, and it went down to $8 a ton. Mr. Campbell could've taken -- they had these partners who were leasing the land -- Mr. Campbell had the right under his lease to take all their heavy equipment and everything they had. But he told them to take the money for the alfalfa, anything they could get for the alfalfa, and let them move away with all the equipment. And he didn't take one dollar from them. Now then, one of the partners was really married to a witch. She boasted, "We got the best of Kemper Campbell." That was as much gratitude as she showed. I heard that she said that. Nobody ever got the best of Kemper Campbell, but he let then go and take all their equipment and all the money from the alfalfa that they could sell.
And, as I say, that was almost universal. People kept as many people on the payroll as they could, and I don't know of anybody that really was hungry during that time. But, of course, that's not all. You can't live by bread alone. People, many people, never recovered financially from that depression.
I remember that one woman was here at the ranch, and she was a communist. Well that wasn't the solution, either, and while I think they have the right of free speech and assembly and everything as we do, still, they make very unpleasant guests, and I never take them if I know that they're communist. I remember she was sitting at the table one day and she said, "Fifty! Fifty babies starved to death at Bakersfield." Now why Bakersfield I don't know, because Bakersfield was one little city that survived the depression. The oil wells kept on pumping and you know there was agriculture around. And I remember Joe was sitting close by and he was about 15, 14, then. And he said, "Did they bury them all in the same grave?" And she didn't think it was very funny. But anyway, well, we all survived it.
RS: Was he trying to be amusing or was he serious, do you suppose?
LC: I think he was trying to be amusing. He didn't smile when he asked it, but...
RS: Donna, are we running...
DC: No, that's fine, how are you holding out?
LC: All right, I don't think we're keeping to the subject, but...
RS: Well, another subject is you, Mrs. Campbell, and did you have anything special that you wanted to talk to me about?
LC: No, I don't think so. I'm always eager for gossip, if you...
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The Story of Victor Valley
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Country Life Realty
Links to Desert Museums
These items are historical in scope and are intended for educational purposes only; they are not meant as an aid for travel planning.
Copyright ©Walter Feller. 1995-2023 - All rights reserved.