The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Jon Hammond
Land of Four Seasons 

Growing up in Cummings Valley at the turn of the 20th Century

Mountain Tales: First-hand stories of life in Tehachapi


February 15, 2020

Jon Hammond

Mary Rodriguez.

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.

Jon Hammond

Mary Rodriguez and her mother on a horse in Cummings Valley, where Mary was born in 1907.

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

Mary Rodriguez was descended from Tehachapi pioneers, and this tough, pioneering woman is the ancestor of current Tehachapi residents. She worked at Tehachapi Hospital for many years.


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