Growing up in Cummings Valley at the turn of the 20th Century
Mountain Tales: First-hand stories of life in Tehachapi
February 15, 2020
I lived in Cummings Valley with my family. I was born on my Grandfather Ocana's ranch on December 21, 1907. My Dad was Anselmo Campos and he was a cowboy for the Hill Ranch. When we went to visit family in Bakersfield, we went in a wagon over the Sheeptrail. You could make it in a day if you wanted to – a long day.
We didn't have a radio – we didn't even know what one looked like. My family had a Victrola with one of those big horns on it. Then they had those little rolly things [wax cylinders] that they put on there and played them and the sound came out. My Dad only had two shirts – one on and the other being washed. Now if men don't have a dozen, they aren't satisfied.
We had a wood cook stove and kerosene lamps. There were three springs on the ranch. They were piped to the yard, and we carried water in buckets and set them by the stove. My family had their own garden, and cows and cattle and we had all kinds of meat – pigs and sheep and everything. We didn't suffer much where food went.
When I got older I used to ride the train from Tehachapi to Bakersfield. For 35 cents. Try to do that now – you wouldn't get far, would you?
– Mary Rodriguez