Monday

Buy Two Acres, Get Rich

Working on Knott's Berry Farm, Part 2

At that time, Knott was busy fooling around trying to cross a bunch of stickerey old bushes. He finally did come up with his now-famous boysenberry, which he took credit for creating. He was an easy guy to work for as long as you looked busy. He loved Model T's, mules, horses and strawberries.

On strawberry picking days, he would drive up in his chopped off Model T that had a cupboard built on the back. It held 40 flats. One day, when the last of the strawberries were being picked, (he just hired the four of us) we decided to pick a couple of flats for ourselves, saving all the large berries. That afternoon Knott drove up to the field. I had the habit of counting and telling how many were picked. When he asked, I forgot to subtract our flats. A little Mexican boy, that was following us around all day eating strawberries, spoke up and told Knott the other two flats were way out in the weeds. So I fetched the missing berries and was told to pour the oversized berries over the other flats, as he said they were not full enough. He must have forgiven me, as the next week he hired my tractor and me to do some field work. [He] also trusted me to keep track of the hours.

In the fall of 1927, working for Walt Knott was fast coming to an end. My dad was going broke in real estating. It was chicken ranch country only on paper. The saying was "buy one acre and be independent, buy two acres, get rich". I just didn't work out that way. If it weren't for my aunt taking over dad's holdings, we would not have been able to come back to Washington.

Dad bought an old Essex car so he could haul my mom and a big fat load of earthly belongings. I took the body off of our old 1915 Model T that had seen four previous trips to California, made it into a "bug", as it was called. To do that, I just moved the gas tank back, put a board in the front of the frame, and used it as a seat. The gas tank was used by my sister and I as a back rest. Of course, the steering wheel was way up in the air and had to be tied down to a two-by-four across the motor frame. My sister had no choice but to wear pants, that, or ride back to Washington with a skirt in her face. Before leaving, I bought a new cowboy hat. (It did work as an unbrella through the rains in Oregon.)

The day came for the two outfits to head north. We drove by Anaheim to say good-bye to the gang. They were working down there picking the last of the watermelons for the season. Years and years later, that same field became the home of an exact replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

"Working On Knott's Berry Farm" Kik-Backs, p. 9


Leaving California


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