---Alice Abrams

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Knott's - the Early Years

This is a photo of the original "Knott's Berry Place." It's now called Knott's Berry Farm, and it used to be 2nd place behind Disneyland in attendance.

I have so many stories revolving around Knott's I hardly know where to begin. I guess the best place is the beginning. I'll work forward in the following days.

My mom's family owned a farm next to the Knott's original farm, where Mr. Knott continued to develop the boysenberry which Luther Burbank first developed. You all probably know the story about how Mrs. Knott decided to make some extra money for the family by cooking chicken dinners. At that time, before freeways, one of the major links to Los Angeles and Long Beach from Santa Ana ran very close to the soon to be diner. The business exploded, thanks to the determination of Mrs. Knott (Cordelia). The Knott's had several children and my mom and her sisters attended high school - Anaheim H.S. - with the Knott kids.

It was only natural that my mom worked for the Berry Market, which sold fresh homemade relishes, jellies, pies, etc. My mother was quite the prankster and loved cutting up with other employees who were all much older than she. I couldn't believe it when she told me that she put raw chicken livers in Mr. Knott's coat pockets when his coat was hanging on the coat rack. He took it good naturedly - what can you do with pockets full of livers?

(Later on, when my family had their own store at Knott's, it was a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I decide to shake things up a bit by putting rubber vomit on the floor in the shop, sprinkling water on it so it'd look real. Guess who showed up? Yep, Walter Knott in the flesh. The gal I was working with tried to use her foot to scoot it back away out of sight, but the eagle-eyed Mr. Knott saw what we were doing. He looked straight at me and said, "You're just like your mother!" He was smiling when he said it, but I know my face was beet red. I think I was about 16...)

The beginning for my mom and dad began at the Berry Market. My aunt Virginia, was Mr. Knott's bookkeeper and did most of the hiring. One day, a very good looking young man came looking for work. My mother took one look at him and ran back to the office and demanded that my aunt hire him. This was 1939...and began the courtship of Marian and Clayton.They were married about 2 years later!

As I said, I have scores of stories so I won't hit you with all of them at once!


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i love this! more please!!!

smiles, bee

Sarge Charlie said...

very interesting, what's next?

Traveling Bells said...

What Bee said!!!

Big hugs...

Anonymous said...

I love Knotts Berry Farm!! Wow great post, Gracie. Have a wonderful Thursday!

Sandee said...

What Empress Bee said. I love this post.

Have a terrific day honey. Big hug. :)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Next chapter, please!