San Bernardino Oral History Project

Mary Jane Williams
October 29, 2002

Hanson: This is an interview with Mary Jane Williams at her home in San Bernardino. This is Joyce Hanson for the San Bernardino Oral History Project. Good morning Mary Jane.

WILLIAMS: Good morning Joyce.

Hanson: Finally we have our tape recorder problems fixed here. Okay, let's start. I see you came here, your family came here from Oklahoma.

WILLIAMS: Right.

Hanson: In the 1920's. Why California? What brought you here?

WILLIAMS: My father left us when I was three, living in Oklahoma, and my mother had a brother who lived in Arizona. She took us there and we survived there for a couple of years. Her sister lived in San Bernardino so we moved here; we moved to San Bernardino when I was about five.

Hanson: What's the first thing you remember about San Bernardino? I know you were very young. What's your first memory of being here?

WILLIAMS: Well it wasn't much different than what we lived in in Phoenix. I don't remember anything about Oklahoma, but in Phoenix it was just little shacks you know, kind of motel type affairs. When we moved here the houses were individual houses, but they weren't much bigger or much better than what we were living in in Arizona.

Hanson: Okay. You started school here, kindergarten?

WILLIAMS: I started kindergarten in Arizona and then finished kindergarten here.

Hanson: Okay, what do you remember about school?

WILLIAMS: I went to several different schools at an early age. One of the only things I remember about going to the first school was they had a play and I got to be Little Bo Peep. So that was exciting for me. My mother was a seamstress and she made me a wonderful outfit. And of course kindergartens were just play type things but I remember they had nicer toys and things to play with. But then after that we moved further out of town and I went to the Roosevelt School from second or third grade. I went there through elementary school.

Hanson: Who were some of your friends? Do you remember your friends or the games you used to play? How did you amuse yourselves?

WILLIAMS: I was just basically a loner. I played paper dolls and cutouts, and that kept me busy. I don't think I had too many other toys other than that.

Hanson: Your mom was a seamstress, what did your father do?

WILLIAMS: He was in the oil business in Texas and in Oklahoma. Other than that, I don't know anything about him.

Hanson: Let me ask you this; as you grew up in San Bernardino, are there any big events that stand out in your mind for you personally. What were the biggest things in your life?

WILLIAMS: In my life?

Hanson: Yes. Or in town, that used to attract your attention.

WILLIAMS: Well the Orange Show was always a huge attraction in those days.

Hanson: Tell me about it.

WILLIAMS: Everybody had to go to the Orange Show. They had these beautiful arrangements of oranges and flowers and things for everybody. The orange industry, which was big, and all of the cities around would enter their exhibits and that was very exciting because they were beautiful and nice. And of course then they had the midway, which was exciting. I always liked the rides of course.

Hanson: What kind of rides did they have?

WILLIAMS: The merry-go-round and the Ferris wheel and swings and you know and smaller items like that. But it was a big thing and everybody went. And I haven't been in years; of course it's different. I don't know if I went when I was really young because we had no transportation, I mean no automobile or anything to get there and we lived out of town. I don't remember when I first started getting to go.

Hanson: Tell me about high school.

WILLIAMS: Well I wasn't a very good student. I mean I knew I wasn't going to go to college, or at least I knew that there was no way I could. So I just took general studies and had good grades, I did my work, but I had fun too.

Hanson: Okay, what kind of fun?

WILLIAMS: Well, like I said, I was kind of a loner and it took a long time for someone to come along and say, "Hey you're my friend." When I got to be 15 I did have a car, my brother left and so I got the car to go back and forth and do trips and things like that, the fun things and getting back and forth to school. So I did that, I'd go to the beach and go up to Lake Gregory, which was quite a hot spot at that time. We'd go on picnics, there was a stream up in Waterman Canyon where we would go wade in the water and take a picnic lunch.

Hanson: Okay. So you we were at Lake Gregory and we were having picnics and things. Now you have lunch still every month, or almost every month.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

Hanson: With the ladies that you were friends with in high school.

WILLIAMS: Well not basically in high school because most of the girls are younger than I am. Carolyn is the one person that I go to see basically. During the war we both worked in American Optical. It was a group of us gals that chummed around during the war. I was married at the time, but my husband was overseas. So, they were the people I hung around with. It was a younger group.

Hanson: Tell me about working at American Optical. What did you do out there?

WILLIAMS: My husband had worked at American Optical and then when he went in the service I went to work there, but we did different type of work; he did lens grinding and I did beveling and mounting and things like that. And then I worked there for a couple of years I guess, then I went to work for an optician and did the same type of work.

Hanson: Okay, what was it like when he went overseas?

WILLIAMS: Well I'm not real emotional, but then I think the hardest part was, well I had a job and we were living in a little court type house, so I had a home of my own and never thought about going back down and living with my mother, my grandmother was always with them. So, and his family was very nice, very helpful. And his mother was emotional so I kind of had to stay calm.

Hanson: I imagine it was really difficult for everyone to, worrying about the men overseas and what was going to happen.

WILLIAMS: Well he went to New Caledonia and was stationed there for three years and he, knowing the optical business, managed to get into the optical unit. So that was really not much worry.

Hanson: So you felt he was fairly safe where he was?

WILLIAMS: Oh yes. But the fact that he was gone for three years was the hardest part. It took a long time.

Hanson: What did women like yourself, who were here when their husbands were overseas, what did you do to occupy your time? I mean three years is a long time.

WILLIAMS: Well I had these friends; I had a friend that came and lived with me, one of my friends that worked at American Optical came and lived with me while he was gone. And we just formed a group of friends; we would get together and I had the little house and we would get together up there and do things together. We'd go places, we'd travel, we'd go to the beach and we'd go to Hollywood and so it was easy to get through the time.

Hanson: You said you traveled and went to the beach and Hollywood and whatnot. What about rationing and shortages? Did that slow you down any?

WILLIAMS: Well, we got so we would ride the bus to work so we'd save our gasoline for our little journeys out of town. And of course the automobiles didn't use as much gas as they do now. So that was the way we took care of that situation.

Hanson: Now let me go back a bit. When you were in high school, actually you would have been about 17 or so, there was a big flood here in San Bernardino in 1938. Do you remember anything about that flood or what happened?

WILLIAMS: I was never in a situation where I was involved in it, but yes I do remember.

Hanson: What do you remember about it?

WILLIAMS: I think my brother was out in it. Some of the bridges were down. Later on a flood came up and my daughter was living up on 39th Street and she was home; her husband had gone up to Sacramento to work and she was home with their two-month-old son and it came right down through where she lived. I remember a little more about that.

Hanson: Okay, well tell me about that one then. Tell me about that one, because I haven't heard about that one. What year was that?

WILLIAMS: Let's see, Ryan is 23 now so it was about 23 years ago. There is a basin that's up above 40th and it hadn't been cleaned out. So the floods came down, it came right down through 40th and down in that area. There is a park up there now where the homes were all flooded out.

Hanson: Oh I didn't know that.

WILLIAMS: So they made a park out of the whole area.

Hanson: I didn't know that, that's interesting. What kinds of things were downtown in San Bernardino when you were growing up here? What did downtown look like?

WILLIAMS: The main thoroughfares in San Bernardino at that time were Third and "E" Street. Harris' was on the corner of Third and "E" and there was a bank on the corner and a drugstore on the other corner. Later on, when I was working at American Optical I just worked upstairs. I think there was a bank on the other corner. And when we first moved here my mother went to work for a drycleaner that had a little shop right there on Third Street close to "E" Street. And I remember skating, roller-skating up and down Third Street in front of the cleaners there where she could watch me. And there was a Woolworth's and Sears and Montgomery Wards and I remember the railroad station, not the railroad station, the streetcar station was right there on Third Street between "E" and "F". But Harris' was the big thing. I remember when we first moved here and my aunt took us to Harris' it was a big exciting thing to do. But then I managed to get lost so, I got so excited. I guess I was only five or six years old, but then we lived only about two blocks away in a very rundown area. So I could have walked home. Of course today if you wouldn't do anything like that. But the big exciting thing was Harris'. And of course later I worked downtown. During high school all of the girls that worked after school went to work at Cresses. That was the big thing to do, go to work at Kresses.

Hanson: To be a clerk at Kresses?

WILLIAMS: Yes. But later on I became the sign painter. They didn't have all this printing equipment then so I worked painting signs for a while.

Hanson: Oh how nice. So those big signs that went in the windows with the sale items and things, is that what you did there?

WILLIAMS: Well mostly they were just the little signs that went on the counters you know, that type of thing, but then at Christmastime there was Christmas decorating and that type of thing too.

Hanson: That's good. How long did you work there?

WILLIAMS: I worked there for quite a while; a couple of years and then I went to work at Newberry's doing the same thing. I worked there until, Don was going to be going overseas so I quit, he was home for a while before he left and after that I went over and worked at American Optical.

Hanson: Okay. So when he came back you two went into the restaurant business? Is that it?

WILLIAMS: Right.

Hanson: What restaurant was it?

WILLIAMS: Well our first restaurant was just a hamburger stand at the corner of Ninth and "E" Street, and it was just a big hangout for all of the men and boys that were coming back from the service.

Hanson: What was the name of it?

WILLIAMS: Chiliburg.

Hanson: Really? And so they all just hung out there?

WILLIAMS: Yes, it was a gathering spot for all of the young people. I wasn't working there at the time, but my husband had a partner and the two of them ran it. Of course I became pregnant.

Hanson: That ended that.

WILLIAMS: So I didn't do much work there but I was in and out enough. Of course that's how I got acquainted with a lot of these gals that were younger than I was in high school, but then this was after three years or so, so it was a good place to be. And then Bernice Norton always talks about when she was pregnant with her first child and she told her husband she said, "I've got to go have a hamburger at the Chiliburg." She was having labor pains.

Hanson: But she had a craving.

WILLIAMS: She had to go have a hamburger, so she did before her husband took her to the hospital.

Hanson: How long did you own that?

WILLIAMS: I think we were there for about 11 years, or it seems like, because the partner left and we kept it.

Hanson: But at that time you were in competition with Snow's and McDonald's and some of the other drive-ins?

WILLIAMS: Yes, uh huh.

Hanson: And you still did okay.

WILLIAMS: Yes. It was a big car street. It was used car lots and car agencies and things like that in that area. Of course it wasn't all, you know, just kids on the street. We had all of those people for lunches and things like that.

Hanson: What was your next adventure in the Restaurant Business?

WILLIAMS: Don sold that and Milton Sage came and asked him if he'd like to go to work for him. He was putting in a new market at Del Rosa and Highland Avenue, a big market out there. Previously it was just the one he had was on Baseline and "E". And he was putting in a BBQ rotisserie type chicken and takeout food, so Don managed that. Don said, "I don't know anything about chicken," so Mr. Sage gave him an option to come and he had two of these BBQ machines set up at the Baseline store and all of the chickens he wanted to play with on this rotisserie until he got it right. So, that was the way it worked out. Don did all the chicken but then there was also the chef back in the kitchen that did all the other stuff. So that was a new experience for San Bernardino then. We didn't have any of those in San Bernardino yet. But he found out that he didn't like working for anybody else, so we went into business again in a big dinner house out on Highland Avenue and Muscott, out in that area.

Hanson: Okay, what was the name of that?

WILLIAMS: It was called the Dinner Horn.

Hanson: Okay.

WILLIAMS: And it was originally a restaurant, but then we completely did it over; new booths, bar, piano bar and there were two dining rooms. A lot of clubs met there so later on we added another big dining room for the club's meetings and things like that. And we were there about three years I guess. It was exciting. It was interesting and it was exciting; something new, something a little upscale. But again we had a partner who always wanted more and Don was working 'til two o'clock in the morning; from six o'clock in the morning until two o'clock in the morning and he was never home. It was just too much for a family, so that lasted only about three years. We lost some money, but it was better to keep the family intact.

You don't realize how many people you know. I was on jury duty once in Fontana, this was after we had retired, and I was chosen and I was up on the 12 seats you know and they asked me what I did and what my husband did and I said we were retired from the restaurant business and they said, "Well which restaurant did you own?" I said, "well quite a few." He said, "Well which one was the last one?" I said, "It was Pogy's," and the judge said "in San Bernardino?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Well have you ever seen me in there?" I said, "Yes." The attorneys, "Were you ever in there?" "Yes." "Were you?" "Yes." "You're excused Mrs. Williams."

Hanson: So tell me about that last one; it must have been some place.

WILLIAMS: Well it was kind of fun and I did work.

Hanson: Oh I'll bet.

WILLIAMS: But in the meantime we were at, my husband ran a big upscale coffee shop, it was called the Minute Man and it was down across the street from Santa Fe Depot. And this was before the freeway, and so all of the traffic, it was close to Mount Vernon Avenue and so most of the traffic traveled Mount Vernon Avenue and so we got a lot of people that were going to Vegas and places like that. So we were there for quite a while. He was the manager of that. And then from there we went to a little place on Highland and "H" which was called Cookies. We were there for a while and then Don turned it into a 24-hour shop, which was unusual. After two o'clock in the morning we got a lot of people. And that became quite a chore.

Hanson: 24-hours is a big commitment.

WILLIAMS: Yes. And then we were doing so well, the landlord said, "Well we'll just raise the lease," and so he tripled the rent and Don says, "I'm not paying that." So we left again. So we took all our equipment with us.

So we took all of the equipment and went downtown on Fifth Street between Arrowhead and Mt. View to a little café. We redid the building and opened it up as a sandwich shop. It was just from 11:00 o'clock to 3:00 o'clock lunch. But it was close to the courthouse. That's where we met all those judges and those attorneys.

Hanson: So that was Pogy's.

WILLIAMS: Yes, that was Pogy's, and we just had sandwiches and soup. But they would line up, we had a counter that they'd line up out into the sidewalk to be waited on, but it was fast service and good sandwiches.

Hanson: Did you make everything, or did you hire people to cook?

WILLIAMS: Don made all of the soup and basically everything else, and sometimes we would have chili beans and things like that, but other than that there wasn't much. We had a woman that had worked for us; she went to work for us at the Minuteman, she worked for us at Cookies and she went to work for us at Pogy's. She would clean off the tables, pour coffee and refill the coffee and things like that. Then we had a schoolgirl that would come in and be the middleman, she'd get the drinks and things like that. But we had people lined up at the counter and I was cashier. So, we were there about 13 years I think, until Don retired. It was a good place. There were lots of times well we decided to go skiing and we'd put a sign in the window, "Pogy's gone skiing."

Hanson: Was there any particular reason you called it Pogy's?

WILLIAMS: Well we were looking for a tricky name, something very interesting, and we happened to be on a trip up in Washington; our youngest daughter was going away to college so we decided we would take her on a trip, and so we did this trip all the way up into, I think we went up to Victoria. But we were in Washington, Seattle I think, and driving around up in a nice area and Don looked up and there was a boat in the driveway and it was called Pogy's, so he says, "That's it, Pogy's." So that was, and that was where the name came from.

Hanson: That's interesting. Usually people have some sort of names they're putting together or something when they come up with names for businesses.

WILLIAMS: No, it was the name on the back of this boat.

Hanson: That's neat.

WILLIAMS: But it's been an interesting life. A lot of stories to tell.

Hanson: Well tell me, tell me.

WILLIAMS: Don especially has stories to tell, that's why I said I'm sorry he's not doing this. When we were at Chiliburg, well when McDonald's first came to town and the two McDonald brothers were the original owners, and all they were serving was hamburgers. So they would come to the Chiliburg and eat and that's how they made their hamburgers was just exactly like we made ours. And when he decided to put in french fries, he would come to Chiliburg and get an order of french fries and take them. And he was experimenting with some lights to see how long he could keep those french fries hot underneath these lights.

Hanson: The heat lamps.

WILLIAMS: The heat lamps, yes.

Hanson: That's interesting. Using you to experiment.

WILLIAMS: They decided they would put in a McDonald's in Phoenix, Arizona, so he came to Don and asked Don if he would like to go manage this McDonald's in Phoenix. And Don says, "It'll never work." This is one of his big, "It'll never work." He says, "You can sell those to people in San Bernardino, but you can't sell those to anybody else. They won't buy them." And so when McDonald's sold the business to Krock one of the brothers came to Don with a check and says, "You said it wouldn't work." Because the two brothers ended up with a million dollars apiece after taxes. [Note: The actual check was for $2.7 million. There was one check. Each brother got $1 million and the $700,000 was for taxes.] So he showed him the million-dollar check.

Hanson: Oh, I've never seen a million dollar check.

WILLIAMS: I haven't either. [End of side 1]

[Side 2]

Hanson: So let's pick up from the $1 million check.

WILLIAMS: But that's what Don says usually, "It won't work, it won't work, it won't work."

Hanson: Why did he think it wouldn't work? Did he talk about it?

WILLIAMS: He always felt that just because the people in San Bernardino bought something it didn't mean that anyone else would buy it. I don't know. He didn't think it would go anyplace other here.

Hanson: He was thinking other places had more upscale restaurants and they couldn't compete with it. That's an interesting thought.

WILLIAMS: He was talking to, our neighbor and we've known them for years and she was over visiting and he was telling stories like this; things that she hadn't heard before in all of the years that we had been neighbors, which is something like 35 years or longer. Our youngest daughter babysat their daughter when she was born and I think she's 35 years old now.

Hanson: That's, it always make you, you never realize how many years pass until you see someone that you knew as a kid and they're adults.

WILLIAMS: Uh huh, right. Well it's funny, my friend who happened to pick me out as a friend, she lives in San Bernardino and I haven't seen her in years. She happened to be at the last class reunion, our 60th class reunion. And so we tried to get together and make an effort to see each other, and she's always looking back at all of the things we did, the fun things that we did. But somehow we just drifted apart and hadn't made the effort to get together.

Hanson: Someone told me about a place here in San Bernardino, and I don't know if it was around when you were in high school, but I'm going to ask you about it. Inspiration point?

WILLIAMS: Oh yes.

Hanson: Oh yes.

WILLIAMS: But of course. You probably pass it every time you go home.

Hanson: I heard it's over on "E" Street there where it kind of juts out.

WILLIAMS: It's up on that little hill and Castaways is above it now.

Hanson: So that was popular even then?

WILLIAMS: Oh yes, and probably years and years before that.

Hanson: I was just curious to see how far back people remember Inspiration point.

WILLIAMS: That's where kids in high school would drink. I remember that.

Hanson: Every town has one of those I suppose.

WILLIAMS: Yes, they certainly do. It may not be as exciting as that, but you could look down and see the lights and I'm sure every city has things like that.

Hanson: In general, how has San Bernardino changed? Good or bad, just your impressions.

WILLIAMS: I wouldn't feel safe doing things that I did as a young girl. We lived way out on the other side of Mount Vernon. My mother would let me ride the bus to town and go to the movies by myself. And then when the movie was over with I'd ride the bus home and lots of time it would be dark. And I could walk from Mount Vernon a couple of three blocks to where we lived with no feeling there would ever be anything happen to me.

Hanson: How old were you about then?

WILLIAMS: Oh, I must have been in the sixth grade or something like that, because we moved closer into town when I got into junior high school because I went to Sturges Junior High School. I think that was probably the main reason my mother moved, so I could walk to school.

Hanson: You would have been probably 11 or 12 years old then?

WILLIAMS: Uh huh.

Hanson: What other things have you seen change here?

WILLIAMS: I think that's the biggest thing. We lock our doors now; we keep the gate locked. We've been fortunate. We have had one car stolen out of the driveway

Hanson: Let me ask you about some things that other people have told me about. During the war I heard about prisoners of war that were down here. Do you know about those or anything about what happened during the war as far as Italian prisoners of war?

WILLIAMS: No. I remember all of the black shades that we had to pull down, and my husband was up at Camp Cook up above Santa Barbara, and he would drive home on the weekends whenever it was possible and he had to drive very, very dim light with his parking lights on because it was right along the coast there. I remember that. I do remember a lot of people built bomb shelters.

Hanson: Do you know anyone who did?

WILLIAMS: No, I don't know them, but I know there was one right up on Marshall up there, in that area, or Edgehill.

Hanson: So there was a real fear that there would be something going on here?

WILLIAMS: Yes. Along the coastline of California.

Hanson: What about Japanese families here during the war?

WILLIAMS: They were taken to camps. They were put in camps and were all taken away. We had quite a few down on Third Street, on the other side of Sierra, it was quite a group, and they were all taken away. We had, at Santa Anita Racetrack they had shelters built on the parking lot there to house the Japanese.

Hanson: Do you know where they went from there? Did they stay there?

WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Hanson: Just curious. Let me see, what else. Tell me about some of the things your kids used to do; they were born here and grew up here.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

Hanson: What kind of things did they used to do for fun, growing up in the 50's and 60's?

WILLIAMS: Well my oldest daughter, this was home, the backyard's small, but the backyard was all bricked in and she would ride her tricycle back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth. And she was pretty much kept in, you know, she didn't get out and run on the street you know or anything like that. She was another, she was kind of a loner and she could entertain herself for hours. And she had a jumping horse that she rode on you know. And eventually we put swing set in that little area here and eventually we had a playhouse out there and a sandbox. It was one big play yard.

But we always had birthday parties every year. We had neighbors next door. He was superintendent of the art department for San Bernardino City Schools, and they lived next door for a few years and they didn't have any children so she would go over there. So they had a big pink horse and she played with that, and she'd take it in the bathtub. So they helped entertain her. They lived there maybe three years, then they had their child. The mother and the daughter became allergic to the olive blossoms so they moved just over on North Road, not that far away. We still see them every Easter; other times too, but Easter is special. When they had their daughter she came over her first Easter, she was only about eight months old at the time and they came over for Easter to hunt Easter eggs. So they were older, he's 90 years old now, and she's just about up there. But they entertain, and he swims. They play Frisbee everyday on the beach, and they are just amazing people. And our grandchildren are like grandchildren to them because they don't have any grandchildren. But when our grandson was home from college, where did he want to go? He wanted to go down and visit Fred and Gretchen.

Hanson: That's nice. That's nice to have friends that are close.

WILLIAMS: They are very special friends.

Hanson: You told me that you have some artwork.

WILLIAMS: You know I went looking for that. This artwork here is artwork that Fred Holland did. The paper clippings is what I went looking for those and I think I must have given them to my daughter. I know I did have them because I made copies for one of Don's cousins up in Ventura who didn't know much about her family.

These clippings were from the newspaper about all the parties; so-and-so was here from Abilene, Texas and brought a turkey and so-and-so's birthday and so-and-so was here, just little things like that.

Hanson: So in general, what's the best memory you have of living in San Bernardino? Take your time.

WILLIAMS: Well I think one of the best things about San Bernardino is the fact that you're an hour from the beach, you're an hour from skiing, you're an hour to Palm Springs, and you're an hour to Los Angeles. Because when we were young we'd go to Hollywood and go to the Palladium and dance. And when Don and I skied we'd could up to the mountains and ski instead of going up to Mammoth. Then we'd go to Palm Springs. I think that's the main thing that I appreciated about San Bernardino.

Hanson: Good. Now when you had your businesses and you had your restaurants (my mind is just wandering here), was your business usually steady or did you notice like economic dips; like people all of a sudden like the unemployment would go up and so your business would drop off. Was there any of that or were you guys pretty much steady the whole time you were in business?

WILLIAMS: It seemed like it was pretty steady. I don't remember any point in time where we felt we were going to have to close up or anything because the business was poor. I remember when we were down at Pogy's. Of course we were by the police department, and one of the policeman somehow dropped tear gas and it just spread over into our restaurant into the patio and people were panicked. I basically knew what was going on because I kind of saw him, but they didn't know what was going on and there was a lot of panic. But there was something about that in the newspaper and boy did business pick up after that. . Because we never advertised, it was just word of mouth you know. But that really did increase business. The newspaper headline was, "And the tears flowed like wine."

Hanson: Unexpected advertising. Free advertising.

WILLIAMS: Right. But we did have a little patio down there; I think it was one of the first ones in San Bernardino. It was a pretty good size patio with tables and umbrellas. That was one of our other big draws to people, other than the fast service.

Hanson: And a great location.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

Hanson: It's a great location down there.

WILLIAMS: For that type of business. Don kept thinking maybe we should stay open at night, and I'd say, "oh no."

Hanson: Had enough of that?

WILLIAMS: Had enough of that.

Hanson: How did the 24-hour business go? Obviously it was too much strain.

WILLIAMS: It went well. The reason we started because I guess we weren't making the amount of money we needed, so Don thought about the 24-hour business and so the first night that we opened up he just had one waitress and himself. And I think they had something like eight people or something like that come in. But as soon as the word spread that it was 24-hours, he called me one night and wanted me to come work. Well I never had done waitressing, but I've done enough that I could handle some, so he asked me to come to work that night. Well, the place was absolutely full, you know, just jam-packed with people. And I guess it was that way every night. It got to be a hangout, because the people that worked in the bars they don't go home and just go to bed.

Hanson: Right, they need to unwind a little.

WILLIAMS: So it was the big breakfast kind of business basically. I couldn't handle working all night. But I think we kept that up until we moved on to the next one.

Hanson: Well it was novelty having something open 24 hours.

WILLIAMS: But then of course after he got it going he didn't have to be there all the time, he had someone else come in and do the cooking. Because he basically is not a cook, he fried hamburgers and things like that.

Hanson: Yes, because back then there weren't a lot of places opened 24 hours, not like today where you can go to Denny's 24 hours.

WILLIAMS: And it was a good location too, Highland Avenue and "H" Street. That was before the freeway was in too, so that people would drop off there, going to the mountains and places like that.

Hanson: We're to the end. Is there anything you want to add before we finish up or? You think that's it?

WILLIAMS: This was a lot of talking for me.

Hanson: Thank you so much.

[End of interview]

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San Bernardino Oral History Project