May 22, 2004
Tape 1, Side 1
Diaz: My name is Davin Diaz; I'm here with Marian McIntosh. We'll be conducting
an interview for the oral history of San Bernardino. It's May 22, 2004.
We're on the third floor of the library and it's 9:50 in the morning.
My first question is could you state your birthdate?
McIntosh: Yes, it's September 1, 1922.
Diaz: And when did you first come to San Bernardino?
McIntosh: It was in 1928.
Diaz: 1928, so you were a little girl.
Diaz: And where did your family come to then?
McIntosh: Come from?
Diaz: Yes, where did your family come from?
McIntosh: They came from Illinois.
Diaz: Do you know why they were coming here?
McIntosh: I guess because they needed to find work. Well my father's relatives
were living here in San Bernardino.
Diaz: Okay. So you got here in '28 or '29?
Diaz: You got here in 1929?
McIntosh: '28 I think it was, the end of 1928. We were a family of four
children; we had two boys and two girls.
Diaz: Where did you family come to in San Bernardino?
McIntosh: San Bernardino
Daughter: But, what part did they move to?
McIntosh: Oh, first we lived on South "I" Street. That's now a commercial
area, but years ago it they had houses there.
Diaz: Can you describe the community?
McIntosh: Well it was much different than it is now. For instance, they
didn't have many of the social services for people that needed them. They
didn't have any welfare or medical insurance or anything like that, you
just were on your own. It wasn't until the depression came [inaudible]
that anyone tried to do anything, but people were really in need you know?
Now my father wasn't exactly in need because wages were a lot different
then and he was a salesman. He worked for [inaudible]. There used to be
a place called [inaudible]. I think it was there in Rialto. Then later
on he worked for East Side Beer and Acme Beer Company and he worked for
[inaudible]. My mother and father had two girls and a boy after we came
out, so I came from a family of seven.
Diaz: Were both of those companies...
McIntosh: The same company; one bought out the beer... I think East Side
was first and then they became Acme. But my father was a non-drinker,
but he still sold liquor for years; it's funny.
Diaz: It is kind of ironic.
McIntosh: Uh huh.
Diaz: Both of those companies were in San Bernardino? McIntosh: Uh huh.
Both located on the same spot. In fact my oldest brother went to work.
He worked there all his life then too. Sometimes it wasn't what you knew
it was who you knew back in those days you know.
McIntosh: Somebody recommended you for a job.
Diaz: So during the depression, you're father worked for that company
the whole time?
McIntosh: Yes. Yes, he was a great salesman. He had a good personality,
but not too much education because in those days he was a farm boy in
Illinois, and a lot of times you just dropped out of school to help out
on the farm.
Diaz: Did he come here to work on a farm?
McIntosh: No. His father was a cement contractor, but he didn't like that
kind of business. He wasn't cut out for that, he was better off working
as a salesman.
Diaz: What was San Bernardino like during that time?
McIntosh: Much smaller than of course what it is now.
Daughter: Do you remember how it was during the depression?
McIntosh: Tough, really tough. My dad worked to have a job. But in those
days bread was a nickel a loaf or something like that you know. People
were just really desperate until the Democrats came in, nobody tried to
do anything. FDR created jobs when he came in and he helped out a tremendous
amount, because there just was not any work. No matter how bad you wanted,
you didn't have to be particular, there just wasn't any work.
Diaz: Did you guys blame Hoover for the depression?
McIntosh: I think most everybody did. I probably would have blamed him
too because I don't know what he did, he just sat. He felt we'd grow out
of it I guess.
Diaz: Was your family, were they by chance Republicans before the depression?
McIntosh: Oh no, my dad was always a Democrat.
McIntosh: Oh yes. Well, he was loved by many people; he served four terms
you know. But they really looked upon him as a savior because he did make
change completely. He did create jobs you know. It just wasn't a phrase
and then he really did work creating these agencies that put people to
work, like the WPA. It was Works Progress Administrator. But it was an
Diaz: Were there any WPA programs or offices...
McIntosh: Not until he came in.
Diaz: Oh, I mean were they in San Bernardino?
McIntosh: They were all over.
Diaz: All over?
McIntosh: Uh huh.
Diaz: Did they have the work camps here?
McIntosh: The work camps?
Diaz: Well I mean like the CCC?
McIntosh: Yes, they had those too.
Diaz: And they were in San Bernardino?
McIntosh: Yes, and the WPA built a lot of buildings. San Bernardino High
School I think they built the auditorium there.
Diaz: Uh huh. And you went to San Bernardino High School, right?
McIntosh: Yes, I graduated in 1941. My husband graduated in 1938, I think
Daughter: I think it was '38; I think it was three years before you.
McIntosh: Yes, he was three and a half years older than I was. He passed
away six years ago.
Diaz: This was right at World War II; did he enlist? Did he serve?
McIntosh: Yes. Well it's a long story, but when they had the draft, when
they initiated the draft they had to go sign up and all that, and some
way or other whoever filled out the papers added ten years to his age,
so he wasn't called up at first. See they drew numbers and you had a number.
He got to worrying about it and he went down and found out that he was
ten years younger than they had him down for, so he told them and then
he was drafted. He wanted to go and serve.
Daughter: They told him, "They'll never call you." He told me the story
a few times. He said, "Why won't they call me? I've been waiting." They
said, "Because you were born in 1909." He said, "No I wasn't. I was born
in 1919." They said, "Oh, okay." So they fixed it and he said they called
him within two weeks when they found out what his real age was. Then when
he went for his physical he had like an incomplete roof of his mouth where
his tonsils come down and the doctor told him, "You know soldier, you
can get out of the Army for this." He said, "Nope, you got me now, you
gotta keep me."
Diaz: He was anxious to serve?
Daughter: Yes he was. He was a little bit older wasn't he? Wasn't he like
22 or 24? It was after you got married.
McIntosh: He was 25.
Daughter: He was 25. He was older, but he still fell within the range.
McIntosh: Or 24, I don't remember exactly.
Daughter: He went to the Philippines.
McIntosh: He served in the Philippines. He was a railroad worker, so when
he went in the service they put him in the Transportation Division. He
ended up helping them unload ships. He'd have a crew and they would unload
ships in the Philippines. He hated it because he said there were people
in that unit who had been there for four years and you didn't get to come
home or have R & R. You stayed until the war was over with. He said
they had some suicides and [inaudible] rough bunch. So he said he heard
a whistle one day, a train whistle, so he went looking and he came upon
a guy that was a switchman. He said, "Hey fella, can you tell me where
I can find the headquarters?" And here it was a guy he went through basic
with back in the States. So he went and interviewed this captain who interviewed
him and when he told the fella that he was [inaudible] with that he was
going to try to transfer out because he didn't like the [inaudible] they
laughed at him. They said we've had guy after guy trying to transfer out
and they never succeed. But when he went and he gave the captain his [inaudible]
he worked for Santa Fe in the maintenance department [inaudible] bridges
and what not. He said that within a couple of weeks he was gone, he was
transferred to this railroad out there, it's called the 749th Operating
Railroad Battalion. So he just loved it, he fell in love with that unit.
He finished his career and when the war was over he left the Philippines
and went to Seoul Korea and he spent his remaining time in Seoul before
he got discharged.
Diaz: This was during World War II?
McIntosh: Yes, World War II.
Diaz: So he was in Korea before the Korean war.
McIntosh: He was in Korea after the war was over with. He was in the Philippines
during the war. They operated the Philippine railroad there. I remember
once I went to a reunion, we used to go to a reunion once a year - his
battalion had a reunion ever year for 57 years they did that. I met his
captain who hired him you know. He went from a private to master sergeant
in no time at all because he was really a very conscientious person and
he had the intellect for a management position. But he said that he just
really loved the service and this captain told me, he said, "You know
Jim was about the only railroad man I had, the rest were [inaudible].
Diaz: Did your husband come back and work for Santa Fe?
McIntosh: He went back to work for Santa Fe, uh huh. He worked for Santa
Fe the rest of his life. Now our son is, he's named after his dad, he
works for Santa Fe too.
Diaz: To this day?
McIntosh: In San Bernardino.
Daughter: He's been working there for 30...
McIntosh: He's 58 now?.
Daughter: He's 58, and he's been working for them maybe... he's going
to retire in a couple of years.
McIntosh: He could retire when he's 60.
Daughter: Yes, he's been working for them since 1971 or something like
that. He's been working for Santa Fe for a long time.
Diaz: And were you married to your husband before he left?
McIntosh: Yes, we were married four years.
Diaz: Before he left?
McIntosh: Before he left, yes.
Diaz: And what did you do here in San Bernardino while he was gone?
McIntosh: What did I do?
McIntosh: Well in those days women didn't work much, it was just during
the war they started to hire women because they were low on men, you know.
A woman just couldn't get a job. In fact when I was still in school I
worked for the Kress Company in San Bernardino and they only hired single
girls. If you got married they let you go. That shows you how... I remember
when they instituted breaks, you know you had a break in the morning and
a break in the afternoon, and you'd thought the company was going to collapse
because of the time that you got off in between.
Diaz: You mean the time in between your shifts?
Daughter: Like you know how like nowadays everybody just takes it for
granted you get a break in the morning and a break in the afternoon and
you get your lunch hour. Well they used to get their lunch hour, but they
didn't get the break in the morning and the break in the afternoon, they
just had to work straight through. Then people thought that when they
were going to get their break that the company was just going to fall
apart just for giving them that little bit, and now everybody takes it
for granted you know? She was saying it was hard for people to get used
to having that break in the morning and the break in the afternoon. And
then my father had told me too that mostly everybody worked like six days
McIntosh: Yes, we did.
Daughter: Yes, and then everyone... that was another change they had to
go through when they didn't work six days a week anymore.
McIntosh: No paid vacation.
Daughter: No paid vacations, but then later on this just came into being,
but it was hard for people to get used to these new ideas that now we
just take for granted you know.
McIntosh: Well those were ideas that FDR put into effect.
Diaz: Who did you work for, Kress?
McIntosh: Kress it was called. It was a dime store actually. I worked
for them while I was still going to school on the weekends.
Daughter: It's kind of like a Woolworth's and it used to be a big store
in San Bernardino.
McIntosh: I remember when I first started I got 33-1/3 cents an hour to
Diaz: Wow, and 1/3 cents huh?
McIntosh: 1/3 cent.
Diaz: So you worked three hours to get that other cent.
McIntosh: Of course then when I got married I had to quit and then I didn't
work until Jim went overseas, and then I went back to work at Kresses.
I was what they call a floor walker actually, because you know I made
sure everybody was doing their job. But then I found out I was going to
have my son and so I quit working then.
Daughter: Didn't you work in Wyoming for like six months and work in a
McIntosh: Yes, I was going to be with Jim.
Daughter: When he was at Baker.
McIntosh: Yes, he trained at Fort [inaudible] in Wyoming and Cheyenne
it was and I went up there to be with him. They wouldn't let me go at
first because they were having racial problems on the base and he was
afraid for me to go up there at first. The Blacks were rioting among the
Blacks, not so much between the Caucasian and Blacks. But then when it
calmed down then I went up. I was up there for I guess two or three months.
When he finished his basic training he came home and then he was shipped
overseas to the Philippines.
Diaz: And Norton Air Force Base, was that open?
McIntosh: It was open then, but he didn't go out there. He was in Fort
[inaudible] in Cheyenne and there was a three-day leave and then we came
home for that time and then he shipped out to go to the Philippines.
Diaz: Okay, and when he was away you worked at the...
McIntosh: I went back to work.
Diaz: The you found out you were pregnant with your...
McIntosh: Yes, then if I'd known then what I knew later I wouldn't have
quit early you know.
Diaz: Did they have medical insurance?
McIntosh: Nothing like that. In those days they just didn't have any social
services at all. But then medical expenses were much less expensive than
it is now. See they didn't have medical insurance even when I had my children.
Actually medical expenses started to escalate not too long ago. I would
say probably when Medicare came in.
Diaz: What was your guy's reaction to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
McIntosh: Oh it scared everybody.
Diaz: You were scared?
McIntosh: Yes, because it took almost all our fleet you know. There was
all the bombs that fell on the people on board. I had a great uncle, my
husband's uncle actually that worked in Pearl Harbor. That bombing took
place on a Sunday morning and he was out playing golf I think when that
happened. He was a master mechanic that worked for the service.
Diaz: Did it catch you by surprise?
McIntosh: Oh yes.
Diaz: Was there a Japanese community in San Bernardino?
McIntosh: Not so much in San Bernardino, up north more, because they had
flowers and gardens and what not out there you know. They like nurseries
and the like.
Diaz: Did you know about the encampments that they had?
Diaz: You knew about that?
McIntosh: Oh sure.
McIntosh: What choice did we have really? Nobody knew. In those days so
many of the Japanese came over here and worked and sent a lot of money
back home. They didn't know who was loyal and who was not loyal, and if
you had to err, they erred on the side of safety so that... the only thing
that I objected to that they didn't do, was they didn't compensate the
people for the property that they lost, you know?
McIntosh: That was wrong. But then when the younger generation came along,
they have a different view on that because they didn't go through it.
But we didn't know whether we were going to be captured on the Pacific
Coast or not. And we didn't know whether those people were loyal or not
you know. But so many of them suffered unnecessarily, because most of
them were okay, you know.
McIntosh: But it wasn't through being malicious, it was because they just
didn't know who was trustworthy and who was not. Yet they had a Japanese
battalion that set a wonderful record for themselves, you know.
Daughter: Was it in Korea that you lost your brother during the war?
McIntosh: Yes. That was later. That was '52. I had a brother that was
killed in Korea when the North Koreans came down. See most of the Army
and services had been demobilized by that time so they had low force.
My brother was 19 when he went into the Army and he was in the Army until
the end of the war and then he got out for a little while. Then he went
back into the military; he went into the Marines and he was, like most
Marines, he thought the Marines were the active of the military you know?
But he was only over there, he was 23 when he was killed.
Diaz: Where did they lay him to rest, in San Bernardino?
McIntosh: He stayed there in Korea for awhile. Eventually they shipped
him home. It wasn't right away though, it was a year or so.
Daughter: He's at Montecito isn't he? Isn't that where he's buried, at
Montecito in Colton?
McIntosh: Yes. He wasn't married or anything; he was just a young guy.
He worked for the same company before he went in the service. He was drafted.
He took his basic in Texas.
Daughter: It was his choice to go in the Marines; he wasn't drafted.
McIntosh: No. But he left when he was very young; the first time he was
so young. There were seven of us kids and he was killed in the Korean
War and my sister, my older sister just died this year, so there are six
of us still left. Most of us have been pretty lucky you know?
Diaz: Yes. Are you...
McIntosh: I was the second to the oldest. My sister who died was going
to be 85 and I'm 81.
Diaz: Did she live in San Bernardino all of her life?
McIntosh: Yes, and her husband worked for Santa Fe too. In the old days
half the town worked for Santa Fe, you know.
Daughter: One thing that is kind of interesting I think about the family
is that my uncle and my father were cousins and my mother and his wife
were sisters. So sisters married cousins. That's kind of interesting.
Diaz: You married your...
Daughter: She married my uncle, you know my uncle that was married to
her sister that passed away? It's kind of confusing. They were cousins
and they both married sisters. But that's how they met because my uncle
knew her because he was dating her sister and then he introduced her to
McIntosh: It was a double relationship.
Daughter: It was a double relationship.
McIntosh: Jim's grandfather was a contractor on the Santa Fe Railroad,
so he had a railroad connection. He, they had steel crews that went from
all over the United States and he was a contractor. He was union for his
crew that was a traveling gang. He made quite a bit of money with that.
Diaz: This was your...
McIntosh: My husband's grandparents. They worked until they retired from
Daughter: They settled in San Bernardino too.
McIntosh: Uh huh.
Diaz: You said half the town, half of San Bernardino worked for Santa
McIntosh: At least I'd say, yes.
Diaz: So it was a big rail city?
Diaz: In the yards?
McIntosh: Yards were big yards. Of course you probably don't remember
any of that, but my husband just used to almost cry when he'd go by there
and see how they had reduced the building and all that. I haven't been
down to the depot there. I heard it became a historical site, but I haven't
been down to see it yet.
Diaz: The yards, is it over off of Third Street?
McIntosh: Uh huh.
Daughter: And it always was there in that location? It never was anywhere
McIntosh: Not that I know of.
Diaz: This is off topic, but there's some nice photographs of the rail
station. When you guys get on the bottom floor near the library I'll show
you. There's some nice pictures there.
Daughter: They have a "save the whistle" at the library on Fifth Street,
the Feldheym Library, and my dad and mom contributed money to save the
whistle. You know that big whistle that makes the noise. It used to go
a lot more. Didn't it used to go like every half hour or so then?
McIntosh: They called the workers to work by the whistle and they let
them go by the whistle. I think they got off at 2:30 or something like
Diaz: So if they got off at 2:30, what time did they go in?
McIntosh: 7:30 or 8:00 o'clock. It was eight-hour days, six days a week,
all except Sunday. When Jim and I went on our honeymoon when we had to
take time off, there was no paid vacation. So many things that the younger
generation takes for granted now, it just wasn't attainable, you know.
Daughter: Did you used to get mail delivery twice a day?
McIntosh: Yes.Daughter: And when did that end; do you remember?
McIntosh: No, I don't remember how many years it was.
Daughter: They used to get mail twice a day, once in the morning and once
in the afternoon.
Diaz: I'm going to flip the tape, okay?
McIntosh: Uh huh.
End of side 1.
Tape 1, Side 2:
Diaz: We were talking about how the whistle called the workers.
McIntosh: Uh huh.
Diaz: How loud was that whistle.
McIntosh: You could hear it all over.
Diaz: All over?
McIntosh: Uh huh.
Diaz: When you say all over, would it be by Pacific and Arden?
McIntosh: It was louder than this one is, because this is an electronic
Daughter: We live on the 1300 block of Arrowhead Avenue and we could always
hear it back then. That's not a huge distance, but quite a distance, you
McIntosh: But see that little whistle was a Texan smokestack.
Daughter: Because it was bigger.
Diaz: And this was during the 40's and 50's?
McIntosh: Yes. My husband had retired when he was 50; he had osteoarthritis.
The company started changing about that time, but that's what always happens,
Diaz: What... because you're a Democrat.
McIntosh: Uh huh.
Daughter: I told him that.
McIntosh: You can tell that.
Diaz: Yes. What was your reaction to Kennedy's assassination?
McIntosh: Oh I was devastated. I think I was the only member in my family
out here that voted for him. I voted for him because I was raised a little
bit different than... my husband's folks were anti-Catholic; so I don't
think they voted for him for that reason. But I voted for him because
he was the best choice.
Diaz: Better than Nixon?
Diaz: So your family were Democrats for the simple fact that Kennedy was
a Catholic, they wouldn't vote for him?
McIntosh: That was my husband's parents, not my dad. My dad was a Democrat.
Daughter: He had passed away by that time.
McIntosh: But Kennedy was a very popular president. I don't think he lived
long enough to really evaluate what he succeeded in doing, but I think
he would have been a great president if he had been able to have lived
Diaz: Was there like a large...
McIntosh: I was always amazed that a man with his background, because
he had come from a money family and he had a different life than the average
person, yet he could have the vision to see the needs of many people,
Diaz: The common man, almost in the same way that FDR did.
McIntosh: Uh huh, only FDR had a tougher time.
McIntosh: Was that because of his disability that you think it was hard
McIntosh: Oh it was hard for him sure, but he was strong. I know when
he died and the funeral train left from, they put his body tied in a south
line car in Georgia I think it was he took the trains where he used to
go because he had polio and was crippled. But they brought his body back
on the train and all the people lined up on the railroad tracks all the
way you know? Just devastated because he had been in there so long. Four
terms, he was in his fourth term. But you felt like you were a child being
abandoned by your father, you know.
Diaz: Was there any ceremony in San Bernardino for FDR?
McIntosh: I don't know of any formal ceremony.
Diaz: What about for Kennedy, do you remember what you were doing?
McIntosh: I know exactly what I was doing. I was working in the J.C. Penney
Company and I was standing at the, they had a meter here and you measure
off yardage and I was measuring off a sale of yardage to a customer when
we got news that he had been killed and I said something to the customer
and she said, "I'm not surprised," which meant that she was a Republican
I guess. But I never forgot it, you know. I remember exactly what I was
doing when I heard.
Diaz: Did you hear it on the radio?
McIntosh: I forget. No I was working, so it wasn't on the radio. It must
have been word of mouth.
Diaz: Someone came in and told you?
Diaz: Was this the J.C. Penney's that... what street was that on?
McIntosh: I worked there for 27 years.
Daughter: You started on 5th and "E" right?
Daughter: That's where the welfare department is now.
McIntosh: And then we went to the mall. They were a good company to work
Diaz: Why was that?
McIntosh: They paid good wages, good benefits. I don't know how good they
are necessarily anymore, but when I worked for them they were a good company
to work for.
Diaz: That would be like in the 60's?
Daughter: She started in '58. Was it '58 or?
McIntosh: '58, yes.
Daughter: In '58 she started. She retired in '86. Tell him what positions
you held there.
McIntosh: Oh, I was the merchandiser. I managed a number of departments.
I was in a middle management position. Eventually I worked from... you
know I worked for ten years and then I... especially when we moved to
the new store I got promoted where I was an exempt employee, which I don't
know if it's necessarily a good thing. It was good for the company because
they don't have to pay you overtime see.
Daughter: One thing, I was old enough then when she was in the new store
that I remember observing was all the other merchandisers that worked
with her had college and she never had college, but she did just as good
or better than they did without the college, you know.
Diaz: So you were a manager?
McIntosh: A manager, yes.
Diaz: Did you have males under you? Like, did you...
McIntosh: I used to train the managers that were coming into the company.
Diaz: Did they like disrespect you by any way by you being a woman being
McIntosh: Not really.
Daughter: Tell about the time when you came back and the assortment or
something was all messed up and how you got angry and you think that that
was what kind of like made him see what you could do?
McIntosh: Well I said... usually I'm a very calm person, or I was. But
I went on vacation one time and when I came back they had picked out what
I was to carry for the next year and when I looked it over everything
was wrong with what they picked out, the sizes and everything was wrong.
Just about that time I had an assistant manager come through the store
and I just walked up one side of him and down the other I was so ticked
off. He looked at me and said [inaudible]. But it wasn't long after that
I got a promotion. I guess they figured I was sincere about my job because...
Diaz: Were there a lot of women working at J.C. Penney?
Daughter: But not really in upper management until later; weren't there
just mostly clerks.
McIntosh: That's right
Daughter: She was one of the first ones in that store.
McIntosh: I was the only one that actually wasn't hired from outside management.
Daughter: They mostly hired college graduates or people that were almost
finished with their college.
McIntosh: I started out in the curtain department and I worked in the
basement with dishes and knick-knacks for years and I still worked curtains
and I loved my job so that always helps you when you've got a job that
you like. So basically I worked up to management, which paid a lot better.
By that time the company had become woman friendly, where before it was
men that got the promotions and women did the work.
Diaz: So your husband, when he came back from the war, is that when you
went to J.C. Penney?
McIntosh: Yes. It was after I had my two children.
Daughter: She waited until I was in first grade.
McIntosh: I was a stay-at-home mom until my son, I think he was 6-1/2,
no you were 6 and there were 6-1/2 years between you.
Daughter: I was 6-1/2 and he was like 12. I was like in first grade and
he was seventh grade.
Daughter: My dad said they wanted to buy a car and it was just hard with
one income so she went to work to help out with Christmas and she was
just going to wait until they could get a car, because cars were a lot
less money then. But things just ended up staying for all those years.
She liked it and she was good at it and she enjoyed meeting the public
so that's why she stayed after we got the car. I think they had maybe
five cars in the time she was there, something like that, four or five
cars. They bought the one plus one more.
Diaz: Was it rare for you being a woman to go to work?
McIntosh: Into management, no. Not by the time I was in.
Daughter: But when you started to go to work it was a little bit rare,
McIntosh: Yes, because that was just started.
Daughter: Because I can remember like when I went to school she came to
the program and I was happy because all the other... there was like her
and another mother that worked out of a class of 30 kids at that time.
Now, you'd find two moms that don't work, you know? It's just totally
opposite. But I don't think I really... because by the time I got out of
school my dad was just about ready to come home and my grandparents were
there. You know, there was always somebody that would watch me. I don't
think I really suffered for it.
Diaz: So it was rare though?
Diaz: Do you have any... do you guys go to church at all?
McIntosh: Oh, well we're Methodists. When the kids were growing up I'd
gone to Saint Paul's. It used to be on Fifth Street and they moved it
to Sixth Street, now it's on Arrowhead Avenue, so that's the third...
Daughter: Tell him about the horse and buggy after you got married. I
think that's kind of neat. Remember when you got married and you went
up a certain street with the horse and buggy drew the carriage.
McIntosh: I remember it, but I don't know how to describe it. They had
this horse and buggy hitched behind a car and they pulled us all up and
down the streets. It was kind of like a joke you know. And my husband
took a picture of it and he had the picture enlarged and framed because
he really liked it.
Diaz: What kind of automobiles did you guys own?
McIntosh: The first automobile that I can remember is a station wagon.
That's when we had two kids.
Daughter: He would drive his father's car sometimes before they got their
Rambler, because he was the only son because his brother had died in a
plane crash - he had an older brother, but he was like the only son so
he would be able to borrow his father's car and stuff like that when he
had to go somewhere or he would catch public transportation to go to work
because the bus was not that far. It was a couple of blocks from where
we lived. We used to live off 44th Street.
Diaz: Was public transportation a lot better?
McIntosh: Was it better?
McIntosh: No. They had the streetcars.
Diaz: There were streetcars in San Bernardino?
McIntosh: Uh huh. And they went... was it Mountain View where they...
they used to go up to Arrowhead[inaudible].
Diaz: They used to go where?
Daughter: They used to go like downtown where it was developed you could
see sometimes like on South "E" Street, you can see the tracks and my
dad would say, "Oh those are the tracks for the streetcar." When did they
get rid of those?
McIntosh: I don't remember exactly, but it was a long time ago. They went
Daughter: Yes, I just remember the buses. I don't remember the streetcars,
but my dad used to talk about how they would catch a streetcar.
McIntosh: Because he was very near to it.
Daughter: Yes, he was born on "G" Street, you know over by the railroad
off of Mount Vernon.
Diaz: Was San Bernardino predominantly Caucasian?
McIntosh: I think so, they always had a fair size of Mexican population out on the West Side.
Daughter: What about Black people? Were there very many Black people? I look in your yearbook and I don't see very many.
McIntosh: No, not like there is now, but then the population is much broader.
Daughter: There's so much more people.
McIntosh: This was a much smaller town.
Daughter: Now do you know how much the house was, the house that I live in now when my grandmother bought it in 1939? I think it was like $3,000 or something like that.
McIntosh: No, it was $4,000.
Daughter: $4,000 after the depression.
McIntosh: When we bought our house out at the north end of town it was, I think the interest rate was 4%, and that was just the interest, you know at that time. I know the first house we got was $4,500.
Daughter: Yes $4,500. That was in the late '40's, right? That you bought your house.
McIntosh: Yes, and it cost, it was 12% interest and we paid forty-some dollars a month, it was like rent.
Daughter: And it was a new house. It was three bedrooms and a bathroom. It was a tract house.
Diaz: Where was this at?
McIntosh: Over on 44th Street, close to the mountains. I believe it succumbed to the old fire.
Daughter: I don't think it went though.
McIntosh: My sister was in Del Rosa, the Del Rosa fire. She lost everything. I mean she was insured, but she didn't have time to take out anything. You just get up and go.
Daughter: They lived there 46 years.
Diaz: That was the fire they had in October?
McIntosh: The Old fire, yes. It came down from Waterman Canyon. She lost everything, all her rose bushes, everything, trees. She's just now in the process of trying to rebuild.
Diaz: Where did she go after the fire?
McIntosh: Well she had just bought a small house. Her husband died ten years ago. He owned Walter's Machine Shop, and he died ten years ago. But this house that burned, it was a brand new house when they got it and I don't believe anybody ever lived in it. They had lived in it and raised their family in it, but when the fire came it moved so fast it just took everything, even the El Camino.
Diaz: That's too bad.
Daughter: She was getting ready to move out, but she hadn't moved out yet. Her son was going to move in, so you know. So she could go in the house. I think she stayed with one of her sons for a couple of weeks and then she went to Highland to move into her new house.
McIntosh: She had bought a house in Highland. She had four kids.
Daughter: Yes, but they were all grown
McIntosh: She has a girl and two boys.
Diaz: There were several floods.
McIntosh: In '38 there were.
Diaz: In '38?
McIntosh: Yes. See, in those days they didn't have flood control, so it was really pretty devastating. We lived on South "I" Street that was near to the old Mill. Sometimes there was a channel there, I guess water channel that cut through where we lived. My dad was the second house on South "I" that was saved. Tom Baker pulled off on that corner of Mill and "I" Street. I lived on "I" Street, the first house past that five-acre pull off they called it; I think they raised chickens or something. I was in middle school; I think I went to Richardson Junior High.
Daughter: It wasn't nothing about a prep call or nothin', it was a regular... it was called Richardson Junior High back then. Didn't you say they did something at the Orange Show to divert the flood?
McIntosh: Well yes, the flood came up to Mill and stopped, but they were afraid that the water was going to go through the Orange Show, so they blasted to divert the water. And that water turned and went right through, they call it Padgett's Olive Court, they didn't call it a motel, it was like you park your car and you stayed the night. It went right through and just wiped everything out, but it didn't get the Orange Show.
Diaz: It avoided the Orange Show. So it was flowing from the mountains down?
McIntosh: Well there was so much water fell in such a short period of time and they didn't have the runoff to handle it you know. Everything seemed to go south. Colton got it much worse than we did. But I remember that water just came up [inaudible] Mill Street. I remember there was a great big storage tank - it must have been as big as this room, not maybe as tall, but it was right in front of the Orange Show and that big thing was wrapped around a telephone pole that was there at the Orange Show. I'll never forget that; I can still see that in my mind.
Diaz: What were you doing when...McIntosh: I stayed at home. I had to stay home.
Daughter: So were you in junior high school when all that happened? You were weren't you?
McIntosh: I think so, yes.
Diaz: Do you remember what month it happened?
McIntosh: I don't remember the month.
Diaz: Was it like spring or summer?
McIntosh: The Spring probably, and I think it was 1938.
Diaz: When did the Orange Show...
McIntosh: I know there wasn't any bridges open between town and our part of the country, because they didn't know how much damage had been done to the bridges so my dad was a salesman and in order for him to get home he had to park his car on the other side of the bridge and he crossed the bridge there at Mountain View. There was a bridge at Mount Vernon and I forget what the street was, it was near Metcalf School, and he walked across to get home. Otherwise he wouldn't have been able to come home that night.
Diaz: How high was the water?
McIntosh: I don't know. See I missed that part because it only came up to like Mill Street and we were beyond Mill. We were the first house past that five acre lot. We used to cross through that to get to school.
Daughter: Did you used to go to the Orange Show when it used to come? You know how it was like 11 days or something.
Daughter: Do you have any memories of the Orange Show?
McIntosh: You always got time of to go.
Diaz: Everybody in the city got time off to attend the Orange Show?
McIntosh: No, just the school kids.
Diaz: Oh okay.
McIntosh: We had certain days that kids got special passes then.
Diaz: If I wanted to move to San Bernardino in the '30's, how would you describe San Bernardino?
McIntosh: It was a lot different. Not near as big a population. The [inaudible] were different. Certainly the wages were different.
Daughter: Did you have a lot of churches?
McIntosh: I really don't remember to tell you the truth. My church was on Fifth Street, then it moved to Sixth, then it moved to Arrowhead Avenue. The consolidated the First Methodist and Saint Patrick is the same branch, but [inaudible] in Saint Paul's.
Diaz: Okay, I'm going to run out of tape, is there anything you would like to add?
McIntosh: Not that I know of, no.
Diaz: Okay, well thank you.
McIntosh: Uh huh... earthquake. We got kind of shaken up with it. We didn't have any utilities for about three days.
Diaz: Where was that?
McIntosh: Long Beach. I forget what year it was.
Diaz: Would that be in the 50's or 60's?
McIntosh: No, earlier than that. See I got married in '41 I was just a child.
Diaz: Okay, and you were without power?
McIntosh: Power and gas, everything had to be checked.
Diaz: So what did they do for you guys?
McIntosh: You just had to wait it out.
Diaz: You waited it out.
Diaz: Where did you guys go for food?
McIntosh: I don't remember, we just made do, you know.
Diaz: Was the whole town shaken up?
McIntosh: Pretty much, yes.
Diaz: They had to shut down schools?
McIntosh: Yes. Prices were so much different than they are now. We used to go to the show on Saturday, the matinee for kids and it cost a dime, and a nickel for a loaf of bread. Of course the wages reflected that too you know.
Diaz: Yes. Where was the movie theater at?
McIntosh: Well they had the California Theater and they had a big theater over on, what did they call it? They had two entrances there, across from the Sun Company. Then they had the West Coast, which is up near Fifth Street and they had the Temple, which was hard to go in, it was down on Third. So we had one... and the Ritz is the ones that took over [inaudible] movies. There were five movie theaters then. My husband and I used to talk about when we had vaudeville. When I grew up they didn't have it anymore, but they used to have very good shows that came to town.
Diaz: Did you go see Gone With the Wind at the movies?
McIntosh: Oh yes. That's when my husband and I were engaged, before we got married.
Diaz: Did you go see that more than once?
McIntosh: Uh huh. I think we went over to Riverside and saw that. It must have come there first, I don't know.
Diaz: Did you guys sit through the whole thing?
McIntosh: Oh Yes.
Diaz: The whole four hours?
Diaz: Yes, and that was probably a real big deal around here?
McIntosh: Uh huh. The used to have previews and you would go to the movies and you didn't' know what you were going to see because there was a new movie that they were trying out for an audience to see what the reaction was to it. That was kid of interesting because it was like playing lotto, you didn't know what you were going to get.
Diaz: Is that one of the things you guys did for fun back then?
McIntosh: Yes. Going to the movies mostly. We used to go to the L[os] A[ngeles] ones.
Diaz: L.A. was like the big city?
McIntosh: The big city, yes.
Diaz: What would you guys go do in L.A.?
McIntosh: Well we'd usually go to a show. Same thing we could have seen here, but it was in L.A. My husband and I, after we were married, we used to go in and see a stage production once in a while like Oklahoma and big productions like that. But it cost you maybe $4 or $5 you know? Now it's about $50.
Diaz: How would you guys get to L.A.?
McIntosh: We could go on the streetcar, they had streetcars into L.A.
Diaz: Yes? How long would that take?
McIntosh: A couple of hours.
End of Tape