Make your own free website on



This is our story of moving to California in 1950 as told and written by my mother, dated September, 1951.  I was 11 years old at the time.


     "How would you like to live in California?"  That is the question my husband asked me one day about a year ago.  I agreed it might be quite an adventure as it would mean traveling over 3,000 miles.  We lived in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
     We sold our house and all our belongings.  After settling everything we did not have a very great amount of money but had a lot of determination. We had a 1948 Nash sedan which is a small light car.  On top we put a rack on which we loaded our clothes we would need after arriving.  It was piled as high as we dared pile it.  The trunk contained things we would need during the trip.  We found we could put in a few of the children`s personal things so there was a small radio, a phonograph, a movie screen and projector, football, baseball bat and gloves, two dolls and a doll`s suitcase and a bag of small cars.  These things were in addition to three electric hot plates, clothes needed for the trip, three army cots, silverware, a few pots and pans and dishes, besides a big lunch my mother packed for us and a few groceries to use on the trip.  Now the back seat was last to be packed.  Spread on the seat were five blankets and three pillows.  We sat on them.  By we, I mean myself and four children.  On the floor by our feet were a thermos jug and a large lunch basket.  On the robe bar there was a coat for each of us, which was eight coats in all.  On the shelf of the back window there was a box of kleenex, a roll of paper towel, a couple of turkish towels, a pile of funny books, two cameras, an alarm clock, a set of maps and a couple of boxes of candy and gum.  Every time the brakes were put on in a hurry, down came the stuff on the back of our necks.  It was a little warm and uncomfortable sitting on the blankets and pillows, in fact, our heads were almost touching the top of the car.  The discomfort itself would have been nothing, but when you put four children ages 5, 8, 10, & 12 in the center of such a discomfort, especially four children of fighting Irish stock, you can gather somewhat how frayed my nerves could become.  One minute I would be riding between this one and the next I would be somewhere else as it became necessary for me to shift positions according to the disposition of the children.  They had developed a mania for tagging each other.  It was imperative that each be the last one to tag the other and more than once I threatened to leave them by the side of the road.  In the front seat sat my husband and my oldest boy who was 15, and my brother.  Every once in a while my son in the front seat would turn around and add to my troubles by slapping one of the younger ones when they were misbehaving as they got on his nerves too.
     We planned on making about 300 miles a day.  The first day we started about 10:30 A.M. so did not travel quite that far.  We got well into New York State.  We drove our car in to a tourist court to inquire about accommodations.  We wanted a cabin with kitchen.  When the manager saw the number of children, he gave us two cabins.  Of course, we paid double that way but we did not have to set up our cots.  However, we came to the conclusion that we could not afford such accommodations every night as our trip was limited to a certain figure.  The next day we started about 8 A.M. and made pretty good time.  We did not want to go through the city of Cleveland so decided to take a cut  off.  That was our mistake as we got on to some very poor roads and ran into one of the worst thunder storms we had ever seen.  We had planned to stop at about 4 P.M. and find a cabin with kitchen and kept driving until it began getting dark and late.  We were all on edge and hungry as we planned on having our supper in the cabin and it was about 10 P.M. before we finally found a motel.  We had to take two cabins without kitchens so there was supposed to be no cooking.  However, when we unpacked our things we took our electric plates in and we had the meat we had bought to cook so we made some sandwiches, but by this time we were afraid the owner would smell the food cooking and come and make us get out so we certainly did not enjoy that meal.  We went to bed as fast as we could.
     Everything went along fine most of the trip.  We ran into a little extra expense one night.  It was just outside Springfield, Missouri.  We spotted a cabin with kitchen and so far on the trip it had been difficult to find kitchens so we anxiously grabbed this one and were feeling lucky that we were able to rent it for $5.00.  The owner even offered us another rollaway bed which we brought into the cabin.  However, when we moved our baggage in we found it was not exactly what we expected.  The sink started crawling and we found the whole place was objectionable.  We had paid for it so decided we would have to put up with it for the night.  We managed to make ourselves some supper but our appetites were not very good and after eating we put all our things back into the car for fear of contaminating them.  We just didn`t relish the thought of putting out the lights and sleeping in the place so packed our car and drove down the road to look around.  We spotted plenty of beautiful cabins farther down the road and decided it would be wise to rent a different one to sleep in.  We saw a very nice place that had duplex cabins so my husband and I went into the office and rented one that contained two double beds.  In registering we did not put down the number of people in our party and it was dark so no one could tell just how many were in the car.  We got ourselves situated in the cabin and suddenly heard a lot of commotion and sirens so decided to follow the crowd.  we all got in the car and up the road  a short distance there was a serious accident.  Everyone got out of the car to look around with the rest of the crowd.  All the children had on new lug sole shoes and we found ourselves stamping around in some of that Missouri mud.