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Beth and Tony Anthony

The Spirit of Tehachapi

 

March 2, 2019

Alysia Bailey

Beth and Tony Anthony in the BeeKay Theatre mural, it's good to see them as they once were. They helped make Tehachapi a good place to live.

Sometimes when writing about people I find myself including little vignettes from their past; interesting little pieces that give a glimpse into a person's life as they lived it.

Beth and Tony Anthony were childhood acquaintances. They dated all through high school and also after graduation. He graduated in 1946 and she, in 1947. Both were honor students.

They were to marry in 1952 and Tony, a member of the U.S. Army at that time, would be shipped to Germany just one week after their wedding. Beth was to become a "service wife" without much training.

While he was gone Beth worked, saved money and wrote many letters to her husband. These were the no computer, no cell phone days. A telephone call from overseas went through many operators and switchboards and took planning to make sure the person would be home. Operators had to stay on the line so letters were best.

Having saved a bit of money, Beth decided to surprise Tony by purchasing a lot in a new housing development being constructed by Don Carroll. The area was along Curry Street and what is now, Valley Boulevard (formerly Highway 202). There was a Cherry orchard on the property taken out and replaced by attractive homes which became A, B and C Streets. They would choose the floor plan and Carroll would build it. When writing Tony about it, he asked why she had bought something so far out of town. It was a good investment and they would raise their family of four children in that neighborhood. Most of their neighbors were old Tehachapi High School friends. Their own children would attend school together as had their parents.

In the meantime, Tony, over in Germany found himself able to travel to his own father's ancestral home on the little island of Euboea off the coast of Greece; to a little town of Limni. There he was able to see his grandmother and many other relatives. Tony's father, John Anthony, had come to the United States when only 12 years old; traveling with an uncle. His name can still be viewed in the Ellis Island lists as Joannes Antioniou, which Americanized becomes John Anthony. His grandson, also named John Anthony, made the trip some years later to Ellis Island just to view the signature of the 12-year-old boy who was entering his new country. As a grown man, he would in the 1920s, come to Tehachapi as an employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad. There, he would meet Angelita Cortez and the couple married in 1927. They would have four children; Tony, James, Daphne and Helen.

Tony and Beth were able to pick up their lives upon Tony's discharge from the Army. Their new home on A Street wasn't that far out "in the country" at all. Tony began to work at Monolith, a job he had left to enter the Army. Life was pleasant with both of their families close by.

Beth's parents, LaSalle and Vida Hansen still lived in Monolith where they had come to from Utah in 1932 when Beth, the youngest of their four girls, was only 2. Vida Hansen was a noted "needlewoman" who was known for her creative sewing, crocheting and craft work. Beth, was a good student and was also known for her creative talents all of her life. When their four children, John, Mark, Christine and Jeanne, were old enough Beth worked as a librarian in the local schools.

Tony's father, John Anthony, died of a heart attack in 1950. His mother, Angie Anthony would stay in her home on Main Street, now called Tehachapi Boulevard. She had a career of her own and had worked at the Tehachapi Hospital for many years. She lived to be 98.

Tony Anthony was Fire Chief of Tehachapi for some 40 years. Always on duty. It was during this era that the Fire Department began their Annual Fireworks Display, which continues to the present time. He was known for his talks on safety to the school children. Tony was Tehachapi's Citizen of the Year in 1990.

 
 

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