Now let us go back to some early day stuff when this [our] family started straying away for several winters to California.—Our first trip was in 1915, when Dad raised enough wheat to take the family on a three month stay in the south, where a lot of relatives decided to live.
About three weeks before Christmas, after getting bachelor Carl Bondis to hold the farm down, we left the Rocklyn depot by stepping into the passenger train. The engineer had to wait a bit ’til our trunk that was full of visiting clothes got loaded into the baggage car. When we got on the main choo-choo train in Spokane, we headed south. Our suitcases were stored somewhere ’til the Pullman’s upper and lower beds were made for us, so we could go to sleep.
In the middle of the night in the Siskiyou Mountains, the passenger train jumped the tracks, and sort of made a pile without hurting anyone bad enough to cause concern. Before a relief train from Weed got there, it turned mighty cold on the inside—as the pipes from the steam engine weren’t together anymore. I remembered Sister and I used the bed blankets as extra coats.
In those days, San Francisco Bay was empty of bridges. Before we got to San Francisco, the whole train was loaded onto a ferry—with the locomotive and coal tender parked in the middle.
Finally the main train got us to the land of orange blossoms and lemon trees. A little train with many windows and wicker chairs took us to the town of Orange. A real estate man met the train with his mini open air bus, and took us and our trunk to one of our relatives. The ride was free, with the hopes of selling us some real estate land that was smog less at that time.
The stay at Orange was like bouncing from one nice relative to another, which was okay, but to a six-year-old boy, their orange groves without any snow, and Santa Claus in his sleigh was sadly missing that Holiday Season.