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

By Jon Hammond
contributing writer 

Having babies in Tehachapi before there were doctors

Mountain Tales: First-hand stories of life in Tehachapi


July 31, 2021

Jon Hammond

I was born in Cummings Valley on Dec. 21, 1907. We didn't have no doctors here. You had to go to Bakersfield. My mother told me she had a midwife help deliver me, her name was Mrs. Martinez and she lived in Cummings Valley and her husband was a cowboy. That's all there was then, midwives, or the husbands would help deliver the babies. When I got married, my husband worked at Monolith, and before that he worked on ranches. For $30 a month. And we had money then. Now you can work for $30 a day and not have nothing.

Both my babies were born at home here in Tehachapi. I didn't even have a midwife – my mother delivered them. By the time you would get a doctor from Bakersfield to get up here, the baby would probably be walking.

When we lived in Cummings Valley, we would go to Bakersfield in a wagon down the Sheeptrail [also known as Comanche Point Road] – you could make it in one day if you wanted to. Growing up in Cummings Valley, we didn't have a radio. We didn't even know what one looked like. My parents had a Victrola with one of those big horns on it. Then they had those little rolly things and when you wound it up, music would come out. And people just doctored themselves at home. They were tough though – seems like people die more now than they did back then.

Mary Rodriguez

Mary Rodriguez was descended from Tehachapi pioneers, and she worked at Tehachapi Hospital for many years.


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