The Life and Times, Page 13

As Told to Dan Reddell

In 1950, I bought a new DeSoto for a family car. In 1953, I went to Tulare and traded it and some cash for another DeSoto automobile, and drove it to Sacramento to visit J.B. and Ida. 

I traded the Dodge pickup for a 1951 Chevrolet pickup. Pickups were essential for work on the farm. We'd been living on the farm for eight years, making a living, but not much more. Taxes were high, but the farm was paid for and we could keep on living there.

 We became good friends, and still are, with some of the families we met out there--the Cobbs, the Olivers, and the Holgates, but I wanted a chance to make more money. I built three houses on Roby Street, in Porterville, selling one of them for $8,000, and the others for around $12,000, making a 10% profit. 

Gene and Dale were going to Porterville High School at the time, and I decided to rent out the farm and move into Porterville. The year was 1956, and we moved into a new three bedroom home I built on Roby Street. I liked living in town; I could buy lots and build without any trouble, and that's what I did for a living. 

Even when I lived out on the farm, I built houses or remodeled them in the wintertime for people. In 1957, Gene and Dale bought two brand new 1957 Ford cars, which were the first new cars they ever owned. They had jobs at the Porter Theater and made the monthly payments, and they needed cars for transportation to work and school.

 Gene got a job at Porterville State Hospital which led to his career in hospital administration. No more than two months after we moved off the farm, we discovered a lump under Ricky's arm and found out he had Hodgkin's disease, a type of cancer. It was the beginning of a five year nightmare. Losing a son was the worst thing that ever happened to me. 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to show Ricky some of the world while he could enjoy it, so in 1957 we took him, Dan, and Sheril on a trip around 13 states. I showed them where I was raised in Amherst, and took them through all the scenic sights such as the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Carlsbad Caverns, Yellowstone National Park, The Badlands, and Crater Lake.

 They enjoyed it and so did Dorothy and I. To give Ricky and all of us a place to go to get out of the Valley summer heat, I built an A-frame cabin up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in a place called Camp Nelson. We enjoyed it for two or three years, and we spent one whole summer there while the boys learned how to trout fish and enjoy the mountains. 

We would drive around the back roads in my 1959 Ford pickup and gather rocks to build a fireplace, but I sold the cabin before it was finished. I wanted the money to buy a lot over on the coast in a place called Cayucos, because I thought the climate would be good for Ricky.

 Gene married Lynda Jones on March 4, 1958, and Dale married Billie Zakrezski on August 11, 1961. Soon we had grandchildren. Kris and Priscilla were born to Gene and Lynda, and Randy and Rusty were born to Dale and Billie. By now, Dale was in the building trade and came over to Cayucos to help me build my first house there. We moved in it in 1960, and Dan entered the 8th grade at Cayucos Elementary, and Sheril entered kindergarten. 

It was quite a change in weather. Instead of hot summers and cold, foggy winters, we had cool foggy summers, and beautiful sunny winters. In 1964, two years after Ricky's death, we took Dan and Sheril on a trip to the Worlds Fair in New York. 

We went through the south, visiting Civil War battle sites, President Lincoln's house in Springfield, the Liberty Bell, and we

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Email Dan Reddell: bayshoredan@aol.com