Compiled from a first person interview given Spring, 2014. Presented on March 21, 2015 at the Lemon Cove Women's Club Annual Open House, and enacted by students from Sequoia Union School, Lemon Cove, California.
My name is George Williams and I was born in July of 1923. My Dad and I came to Lemon Cove around 1934. My dad was a box-maker for the fruit packinghouses and I worked with him when I could. My dad was swell. He was my mentor, my role model and my really good friend. We rented an old duplex on the alley behind Mr. Higgins’ store.
My dad had strict rules when it came to my schooling. I could only work with him when school was out. But I liked school and studied real hard. Miss Jennings was my favorite teacher. She was strict but real fair. And each April she had a special day when the whole class hiked up Watchuma Hill and flew kites. All day!! Everybody liked Miss Jennings.
But it wasn’t all work and school. There was fun too! We used to fish and catch frogs in the reservoir east of town and went swimming at the “Bridge Inn” near Terminus Beach. And there was a tree in the groves behind Mr. Allred’s place that had the sweetest persimmons!
When I was sixteen my Dad was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. They sent him up to the Livermore Veteran’s Hospital. I became the Lemon Cove "Orphan". Mr. Hueneke, he ran the phone company, and he had a screened sleeping porch he let me stay in. Joe Lusk was the regular night operator for Mr. Heuneke, and he taught me how to do his job, so he could go to the movies and to the school football games. It paid a dollar a night. So when Joe got out of school and moved to Visalia, I got his job full time. Did I tell you that it paid a dollar a night? One of the best things about that night job, was that nighttimes were slow, so I could read each of the five different newpapers from around here, and got really knowledgeable on current events and sports statistics.
Now there were no foster homes for kids in those days, so the county was real glad that I had that job. They arranged with the E-quioa Café to give me three square meals a day for the special price of 25 cents a meal. George McFarrin owned the café and he was a good friend of my dad’s. That left me 25 cents a day to save for bus tickets to Livermore to see my dad.
I did finally buy a bicycle. Cost me four bucks. $2.00 down and 25 cents a week. I worked all kinds of odd jobs as a kid. Pulled cockleburs with Norman Polly for 10 cents an hour for old Mr. Howison – his own “youth development program” he called it. I rode with Mr. Allred when he went to the Sequoia Park to do mechanic work and I hauled hay for Ike Tyson south of town. I worked odd jobs for Tyson’s Mercantile, and they let me sleep in the room under the water storage tank. It was right off the second floor of the hotel. Mrs. Tyson was a wonderful lady - a wonderful lady. She even cooked a lot of my meals so I didn’t have to buy them at the E-Quoia café.
I consider myself so lucky to be growing up here. So many people in this town really look after me. Why Mr. & Mrs. Moffett bought me a new pair of courderoys and a shirt for Christmas! Even Mrs. Zimmerman gives me a little something to mow her grass. The people in this town are just good people. Yep! A good place to grow up.