---Alice Abrams

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Was a Real Dorky Kid!

Me and my dad, circa 1954...

In 1954, my parents opened their own store at Knott's: The Inspiration House. The name was something my dad mentioned jokingly to Mr. Knott, but he thought it was a good name, so my dad and mom were stuck with it!

The shop was a Bible, book and gift store. Since it was '54 and kids were still safe out being kids, I had free range of the park. I was only seven but I remember walking down to the office to see my aunt and the receptionist let me sit at the switchboard and pull the lines as they rang. I remember thinking how neat that was...

On one trip, a stop at a restroom was a necessity. As I was washing my hands, I looked at the Kotex dispenser. Now, I sure didn't know what Kotex was, let alone a "sanitary napkin." But I sure knew what a napkin was. Well, I had a nickle in my pocket, so I slipped it in the slot and turned the knob. A funny little box came out which I opened curiously. I could see why you'd wipe your mouth on it but what was with the two little safety pins?

My mom was standing at the cash register watching me walk down the path. Before I knew it she was walking up to me, and very quickly unpinned the Kotex, which I had pinned to my shirt collars. I figured it must be some kind of crumb-catcher napkin thingie. Oh what a dork!

My mom didn't tell me what kind of napkin it was, only that it was for older ladies and not to buy one again. She probably was busting a gut trying not to laugh! Of course, this was the mainstay of many a family get together for some time.

(I'll get back to more of the history of Knott's!)

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!

Chicken Nancy (Not Pelosi, Either!)

I had a beloved white leghorn hen named Nancy. (I couldn't find a picture of a free-range hen because Nancy was never caged!)

She just showed up one day and stayed. I named her Nancy, although I don't have any inkling why. We became best buddies. Even my dog tolerated her! When I wanted to pick her up, she'd squat and lift her wings out making it easy to lift her up into my arms, where she'd cuddle quite contentedly.

She was a rather eccentric old gal. During molting season she wandered into the garage and wouldn't come out until her feathers were almost completely in. My dad let me feed and water her there so she wouldn't have to creep out in the buff to eat.

I grew up in rural Buena Park, (next door to Anaheim) back when there was a "rural" to grow up in. We had strawberries, some fruit trees, and were surrounded by the neighboring farmer's fields of alfalfa and orange groves. Some times he (all I can remember is his first name which was Ted) would take my hand and we'd walk through the orange grove back to his farm where I got to play with the critters. He had horses, cows, goats and of course, chickens. That may have been Nancy's birth place, come to think of it.

One day Nancy and I struck out for a walk and came across a stray dog. My dog had stayed at the house instead of accompanying us. This dog came a little too close for comfort, and Nancy, sensing danger, flew into him! She flew at his head, squawking like a crazy chicken, finally driving him off! My folks thought I'd concocted a humdinger until I finally convinced them that my little feathered friend was also my protector.

I guess she stayed for a couple of years. We had become overridden with chickens and geese. My parents told a couple at church, who were real poor and had a bunch of kids, to come round them up. Well, Nancy got out and she wound up going off with the rest of them. I was heartbroken, and my parents were besides themselves because it happened like that. I still get misty eyed thinking about it.

I know my affection for all things feathered and furry came from my days being able to run wild and free, play in irrigation ditches and get filthy - nobody ever got mad. I always was surrounded by critters. I had parakeets, cats, dogs, big old box turtles, and even (to my mother's horror) a lizard or two. I was especially partial to horned toads. You could rub them between their horns and their eyes would close. I remember thinking how neat that was! My dad would let me keep them for a day or two, then we'd go and let them loose.

I remember dressing my cat, Johnny, in doll's clothes, and tying him down in the baby stroller. My dad made me let him go, and I was forbidden to touch him for a week! I was taught from a very young age to respect all creatures. And for that I'm very grateful.......

Anyway, Nancy was one cool chick!

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'm Prejudiced!

This is Ryleigh, my great-granddaughter. I may be biased but I think she's the cutest little thing...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hurray for Flag Day!

I don't usually read Beetle Bailey, but this caught my eye today, and I really love the caption. It speaks volumes, especially in this day and age when efforts are afoot to degrade our constitution. Long may this beautiful flag wave over the U.S.A.

Thanks to all of you veterans and those who are currently serving to maintain our freedom!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

I managed to pull up a photo! This is Daughter #1 and her hubby at
some sort of training. They both work for the feds. At least they can work out with each other. They look pretty darned happy, too.

Hello. I'm back from the dead. Well, kind of. I had problems with my computer when I put Carbonite on it - wound up losing all of my photos. ARGH. I'm having problems getting them from Adobe to post. I guess I'll get it all figured out eventually!

I had a bladder and sinus infection all at the same time, ran high fevers that we were unable to get in control. After being threatened with the ER, hubman made an appointment with our MD. I waited so long because of the fact that I am currently uninsured. Oh well. I'm getting better every day, and on the plus side, I lost 18 lbs.!!! I really needed a jump start to get a handle on my waist line. Now I'll have to run to Good Will to buy back all of the clothes I just gave away...sigh.

Well,California will have it's primaries Tuesday. We've already voted, and I'm betting a lot of folks we voted for won't make it. Meg Whitman (gag) will more than likely go up agains Jerry, Gov. Moonbeam, for governor. Can it get any worse? We need a real crusader to come to our rescue but I think we're gonna be in the crapper for another four years. I love my home state dearly, but we'd leave if we could.

We had a cooler installed and boy, do I love it! It really keeps the whole house cool (cold at times!) and I don't feel like I'm watching $$$$$ floating out the door. It's arid enough here that it shouldn't be too bad. I can't handle much over 85, and it'll be way up in the 100's before long. Hopefully, we won't get another one of those $400+++ bills for the AC.

Here's hoping you all have wonderful weather and much pleasantry in the week ahead. And maybe I'll get my photos figured out. Ha, ha....