California Council for the Humanities

California Stories Initiative

Years of Valor, Years of Hope

Tulare County and the Years 1941-1946

Tulare County Library

The Friends of the Tulare County Library

And the Tulare County Historical Society

Interviews in 2003-2004


Interviewee: Dick Hover

Date: 2/3/04

Tape # 65

Interviewer: Robyn Lukens

Place: Tulare County, CA

Place of Interview: Mr. Hovers’ home in Visalia, California. Kent Perry, a close friend, contributed to this Interview.


Visalia, California

Olympia, Washington

Cayucos, California


Visalia was growing during the war because of vast migrations from the Midwest.

Fires in the Mill in downtown Visalia

High School during war

Japanese submarine off the coast of California

RL: Hello, my name is Robyn Lukens, and I am sitting here this evening, February 3, 2004, with Dr. Dick Hover and we’re going to talk about how World War II affected him and Tulare County and how the war affected the way Tulare County is now. Doctor, can you say your full name for me?

DH: Richard Lee Hover.

RL: And may I have your date of birth?

DH: The 16th of August, 1926.

RL: Wonderful. May I have your parents’ names?

DH: Lyle Verena Prader was my mother’s maiden name, and Frederick Harrison Hover, my father’s name.

RL: And where are they from?

DH: My mother was originally from North Dakota, New Rockford. My father was born right over here in Parkfield near Cholame on Highway 41 heading for the coast in 1889. No planes, no trains, no nothing, on a homestead out there between Parkfield and Cholame.

RL: I’m not familiar with that territory.

DH: Well, that’s halfway to the seashore, just before you get to Paso Robles.

RL: Okay. And where did you grow up?

DH: I grew up right here. The family had lived here. They moved to the Los Angeles area for a while. I was born in Los Angeles and we came back to Visalia when I was three months old and I have been here every since.

RL: OK, since you were three months old. How old were you when the war began?

DH: Fourteen? Fourteen I think. Yes.

RL: In 9th grade, were you?

DH: Well, we called it freshman. After the 8th grade you’re a freshman, but the 9th grade will do. That’s correct.

RL: Let’s see. So you were in school and do you remember what you were doing on the Sunday that Pearl Harbor was bombed?

DH: Yes, I lived at 701 W. Mineral King, which is at the end of Johnson Street here in Visalia. My father had been called back into the service about a year prior to that. My father was the commanding officer of the local National Guard battalion and they called the California National Guard back into service about a year before the war started. They were at Camp San Luis Obispo, over on the coast and Dad was home that weekend when the announcement first came. It wasn’t all over television, of course, because we didn’t have any television, but everybody hung on the radio and it was hard to believe at first.

RL: This might sound like a crazy question, but do you remember who announced it? Which newscaster?

DH: No I don’t. I don’t remember.

RL: Do you have specific feelings about the war?

DH: Well, in thinking about how it changed the county, prior to the war the migration from the Midwest was on. Many people were moving here because of the Dust Bowl and the consequences of that, so the town was growing, but it was still a very small town. Six or seven thousand, I think, at the most when the war started here. And again though, many things changed. The industries came, the war industries gobbled up manpower. We needed lots of manpower here in California. The shipyards were here in California. The aircraft factories were here in California. Good weather in California, so there were many training facilities in California. So many, many subtle changes were taking place and we weren’t necessarily aware of many of those, but a lot of changes were taking place in California.

For example, when I was a little kid, it was very common for men to come by who wanted to work and do odd jobs for food. These were men from the Midwest. We had quite a hobo jungle here in Visalia, down by the railroad tracks. These were good people. They’d come around and Mom would always find a job for them and find some food for them. That was a very, very common thing when I was a little kid. I remember that very, very well.

RL: Very interesting. Do you have specific opinions or memories or feelings about the dropping of the Atomic Bombs?

DH: Later on I went back into the service, after WWII and actually before Korea, and I was stationed very close to Nagasaki in Japan and saw the destruction, which is amazing, but the destruction is no greater than bombing raids or the sites of land battles, a great deal of destruction. But I feel, without question, that it was necessary to drop those bombs and it saved millions of American service men’s lives, by stopping the war instead of having to invade Japan .

RL: What was the feeling that you had when the announcement of the war came?

DH: My father, being in the service that way, I knew it was coming because he knew it was coming and every day at lunch he would come home from his work and nobody talked at dinner. We just listened to the news, so he could hear the news. So we were very much aware of it. As far as affecting me, high school are some of the best years of your life and war or no war, we had wonderful times in high school. It was a lot of fun and the Japanese who were in this area, many Nisei, Japanese of American birth were in this area, most of them in agriculture and many of our friends in high school, in athletics, which were some of our greatest experiences, were the Japanese boys. They were wonderful fellows, wonderful fellows. Our good friends. It’s hard to relate them directly to the Japanese enemy because these were fellows we had known for a long time.

RL: Exactly. So you chose not to separate yourself from your friends.

DH: No, that’s right. For example, when they were first transported to the camps that were built in the area, everybody went down to the train to see them off and things like that.

Ed. Note: Most Japanese Americans in Tulare County were transported to Poston camp in Arizona in August, 1942. See various Japanese American interviews in this project.

RL: Interesting. Going back just a moment to the feeling around your dinner table while you were waiting to hear the news for your father: was it really tense? Was it scary for you?

DH: In a way because of an experience that I remember very well. Dad’s battalion ran all the way from Long Beach to Big Sur. One battalion of men and that was nothing, and as Kent mentioned, the tentative plan was when the Japanese came, we had no way to stop them, so we would fall back to the Rocky Mountains and try to make a defense there. And yet seeing yourself in that situation is strange too. I didn’t worry very much about that. But I recall distinctly one night in Cayucos, just after the war started, a Japanese sub sank a tanker off of Cayucos and they brought survivors into Cayucos and all. And you could see the flames of the tanker burning out there and so that kind of brought it home a little more. That same sub, they feel that it was the same sub, shelled some of the oil fields down around Long Beach. No big deal, but it was, brought it a little closer to home. So you remember things like that. I remember it blew my brother out of bed that night. He wasn’t hurt or anything, but that was very exciting. (The Hover family had a cottage in Cayucos, where they were staying, near where Camp San Luis Obispo, when this happened. The cottage was a half block from the ocean and there was a huge explosion when the tanker was hit.)










RL: Wow. And I’m sorry, how much older is your brother?

DH: He’s two years older than I am and he is still with us.

RL: I’m sorry I forgot. Did I get his name?

DH: Fred.

RL: And any sisters?

DH: No, just Fred and I. I’ll tell you a story about Fred related to the high school days. My dear brother, bless his heart, went into the service earlier, of course. And he had a Mercury convertible. Well, somebody had to take care of that car, so he left that Mercury convertible with me while we were in high school. Somebody had to take care of it, so I was there to do it. And believe me that was a wonderful time for us to have a car like that, in those days. The brother enlisted in the Army Air Corp. He was an aircraft crew chief, responsible for maintaining the planes.

RL: Do you remember what year it was?

DH: ’39 Merc. I still have pictures of it.

RL: That’s neat. Do you remember what color it was?

DH: Black with a white top.

RL: I don’t think I asked you - what part of the service were you in?

DH: It was terrible, but I heard you ask about how school was different. Dad being a colonel, these things were very important to me. Much of the curriculum was different in high school. There was the V12 program that was Naval officers, the V5 program that was Army Air Force training, and your curriculum was affected by these different programs because of course you were going to go on and into these different branches of the service and become heroes. It turned out I was 4-F and that was horrible. A fate worse than death. I couldn’t even join the Merchant Marines because I have bad eyes.

I will never forget, though, one part about that. One time in high school,Dad was gone in the service of course,my mother would urge me, "Don’t you study so hard. We don’t want it to affect your eyes." That wasn’t too hard to take either. Again, I felt terrible when I found out I was 4-F. I didn’t find that out for quite a while, but many of the courses were dependent because of the different branches of the service at that point you figured you’d be going into.

RL: And I’m sorry. 4-F meant exactly what again?

DH: You weren’t eligible. You wouldn’t even be drafted.

RL: Oh.

DH: Everybody would say, "Oh great" today, but that isn’t the way you felt then. You wanted to get into the service. That meant everything to you at that time. It had an effect on your education in that respect.

RL: Very interesting. Incidentally, do you remember any faculty saying so long to the high school and going right into the service?

DH: Well, one of our greatest coaches, Bill McKinney,still a number of his relatives here - he was our varsity football coach. I recall, I remember when Bill left to the service. Coming into high school, particularly being in athletics, we all knew the fellows at least four years ahead of us and of course, 99% of them were in different branches of the service. And they would come home from time to time and you recalled all that very vividly.

RL: So your family lived at 701 W. Mineral King?

DH: Did I say that? That’s right.

RL: And did your mother stay put throughout the war?

DH: No, actually I felt bad, but when I was a senior, Mom went to be with Dad. He was at Fort Lewis, Washington at that time. She was ill and had to have some operation, so she joined my father at Fort Lewis, Washington for medical care as well and that left me alone here. My brother was in the Air Force and I stayed with my aunt (Margaret Prader Lynd) my senior year.

RL: Do you remember where she lived exactly?

DH: Oh golly, where did Aunt Margaret live? At that time I was staying actually at Grandpa Pete’s (Peter Prader) house at 805 S. Garden. Aunt Margaret would come by and see that Grandpa and I were doing all right.

RL: And so that happened as a result of your mother needing to go to Washington?

DH: Yes. At that time, I had a job. I was a Call Fireman. A Call Fireman was a neat job. You live at the firehouse, stay there at night and you answer calls whenever there is a fire. And even in high school, when the fire whistle would go off, you got to leave class and go to the fire. That was a lot of fun. Living at the firehouse was a lot of fun and a good job. You got $30 a month for that. (Dick often studied, ate, and sometimes slept at the firehouse instead of at his grandfather’s home.)

Speaking of jobs, there were a lot of jobs around. So many of your workforce was in the services. The fellows were gone. There were lots of jobs around. The Sequoia Field was a primary flight training school out toward Dinuba and that required a number of employees and lots of us high school fellows worked out at Sequoia Field. We’d catch a bus and go out there at 4:00 in the morning and preflight the aircraft, warm up the engines. I worked on a gas truck and then get off, it seemed like we got off about 1:00 in the afternoon and that was quite an experience. A lot of fun. All the times were good.

RL: No smoking around the gas truck.

DH: You’d be amazed how many people smoked around those gas trucks.

RL: As a teenager.

DH: Yeah. You’re young enough,you can’t realize how many cigarettes were around at that time. The food packs in the service, the rations, every ration had cigarettes in it. And almost everybody smoked.

RL: Back then we didn’t know how unhealthy it was.

DH: Well, I don’t know if it was unhealthy or not. It probably was. Im sure it was. I feel better now since I have quit smoking.

RL: Amen.

Kent Perry: That’s how I used to get my rides home from San Diego. Just stand out there on the road with a carton of cigarettes under your arm. They’re fighting for you.

DH: That was another thing. They weren’t rationed. They just weren’t available.

Kent Perry: Well, you get them for 5 cents a pack, just the tax.

RL: Cigarettes weren’t available, huh?

DH: No, because they were going to the servicemen. They’d go to the rec hall in the service, lay down a dollar and get ten cans of beer. Ten cents a can.

RL: Wow.

Kent Perry: Of course we were only getting about $50 a month.

DH: That’s the most I ever had in those days.

RL: Do you remember the brand name of the cigarettes.

DH: Sure. Lots of them. Lucky Strikes, Camels, of course, Old Gold, Dominos, Spuds, Chesterfields,

Kent Perry: Marlboros.

DH: They didn’t have those then. They came out later. Yeah, most of them are gone.

RL: And just to make sure I understand. Did you get offered the chance to graduate as a result of going into the service?

DH: No, I was 4-F and I didn’t go in until the very end of the war. I’d like to interject this later on. I found ways of getting around this eye requirement. You could memorize a few of the letters and stuff and I did get into the service and later on I got a direct commission and I went back into the service and went to Korea and I was in the first troops that went to Korea because I was stationed in Japan when Korea started.

RL: Okay.

DH: So I did get into the service. That’s probably why I did all that because I hadn’t been able to get in the first time and it affects you, if you think about it.

RL: Emotionally.

DH: Right. I remember I told my father, he was home by then, I hadn’t told him about this commission. I said, "Dad, I got a commission. I’m a second lieutenant." And he said, "You damn fool."

RL: What did he mean by damn fool?

DH: He’d seen a lot of service and probably forgotten how he felt about it before because he was in the Mexican border campaign against Pancho Via before World War I. He was a 2nd Lieutenant then. Then he went to France with General Pershing in World War I and was a captain and a pilot and then he stayed in the National Guard all those years, as Battalion Commander here, and then back in during World War II and retired as a Bird Colonel. But most of the guys that knew him, from the old outfits and stuff, they’re all gone. We’re remembering.

RL: So, does this kind of describe how you felt back in your high school days - maybe less of a person because of the eye problem and not being able to get into the service? And then when you became 2nd Lieutenant, you felt like the big man.

DH: Well, I wouldn’t say big man. The first description of how I felt: you felt crushed. You wanted to go. And then when I did get in, I liked the service. So I went and had another shot at it. But I got wounded several times in Korea and then I decided I better find something else to do. This may not be the career I want. So, I was a little older but I came back and went to dental school. When I got out that time. Your description really was very good. I didn’t feel like gung-ho when I was a 2nd Lieutenant. When you’re a 2nd Lieutenant, the men don’t like you and the officers don’t either.

RL: Ha! Who likes you?

Kent Perry: His wife.

DH: My wife (Laughter). Now that’s a joke, but that describes it pretty well.

RL: I can kind of imagine even though I don’t know anything about the military that it would be a real blow to one’s self image to not be accepted.

DH: Yeah.

RL: Is it a near-sightedness? Is that what kept you out?

DH: Yes.

RL: OK. And war time romantic relationships, did you have any?

DH: Well, actually we had a bunch of them, but . . .

Kent Perry: He was married.

DH: Well, later on I was married. But around town, it’s too bad you can’t have, or maybe you should have some pictures in the book or whatever will become of this. As I mentioned a while ago, the city auditorium which is where that parking garage on Acequia and Bridge is downtown now, that two story Memorial Auditorium, they’d have wrestling matches there. They’d have boxing matches there. Our first high school proms were held in that building. The west end of the building was the Chamber of Commerce. The east end of the building was the National Guard Armory, but some of the characters that would come to the wrestling matches, things like that, even as a young child or at least 10 or 12 and on up, it was perfectly safe to walk around town to sneak into the fights or whatever was going on. Those were wonderful times.

RL: Did you have to be 18 to get in legally? Is that what you mean by sneak in?

DH: No, you had to have the money.

RL: Ok, got you. (Chuckle)

DH: And I don’t think many will remember Mr. Humberger. Humberger’s Canvas Shop was down on Main Street and about that same distance east. And he would always be at the wrestling matches at ringside and he walked with the cane and he would beat on the stage. He’d beat on the wrestlers with that cane. And sometimes they would have to remove him, but he was a show in his own right, a wonderful old gentleman.

RL: Sounds like a great memory.

DH: And that was sort of the entertainment center on the far side of Church Street. Beside Hyde Park were the Sierra Dance Hall and the Sierra Plunge.

RL: Is that a bar?

DH: No, there was no bar there. The dance hall is still there. It’s Visalia Auto Parts or something like that now and from my office building I could always look out the window and look down and see the old Sierra Dance Hall or where it used to be. But the plunge, I was the evening lifeguard there a couple of summers. We had to drain the water every third day and we’d be down there at midnight and have some kind of a party going most of the time. It was lots of fun. What else?

Speaking of bars,there were bars all up and down Main Street. Let’s see, there was the Town Club, The Mecca, The Rendezvous, The Shamrock, Shaw’s, Searcy’s, The Wonder Bar and The Stag. Those were two big ones.

RL: Did you frequent any one of them in particular?

DH: No, but we really didn’t. A few times, maybe The Mecca later on, but they were just there. They were standout places. And Visalia was a beautiful old downtown prior to the war. After the war, developers and city planners came in and they tore down all those beautiful old buildings. And I still regret that, still regret that. And where the Depot restaurant is, I remember kids being shipped out going to the service from the depot. Not the restaurant, it was the depot then, on the tracks. Now it’s a nice restaurant. At least they saved that.

RL: Were they shipped out on a train?

DH: Yes.

RL: Okay.

DH: In fact, during the war, the vast majority of the transportation was rail transportation. The trucks and all hadn’t taken over.

RL: Now a few seconds ago you said that downtown Visalia was older. Did you mean the architecture was older looking?

DH: Well, yes.

RL: Victorian?

DH: Victorian and even older. West of the court house on Court Street there was a line of shops yet. I remember the bicycle shop was there and I remember wooden sidewalks and the sidewalks were covered. Yeah, that was on Court Street, wasn’t it? And the County Library, which was just south of the Depot restaurant downtown, that currently is the County’s Court building but they don’t use it anymore and it’s closed up. But that was the old Masonic Temple which was back around the turn of the century, a beautiful old building. In fact, I just noticed, they are going to re-open the hotel; they’re going to try to, where the drug store was on Court and Main. Yeah, they’re going to see if they can open that again. I think that’s a good idea (the Palace Hotel at Court and Main).

Fires played a part in old Visalia. And even during the war, the Santa Fe depot was on Santa Fe and Main Street. Across from that was a milling company. I think it was Lally’s Mill and that would burn about every two years. And I mean it would be a big fire. Something about the milling process, the dust and all, that burned several times. And there was, oh, remember the Moose Club burned down downtown, and that was a three story building on the corner of . . . I don’t remember what corner. It was Main and . . . . it was on Main Street.

Kent Perry: Over the Penney’s? That was the Elks.

DH: Oh, I’m sorry, that was the Elks.

Kent Perry: I was a Boy Scout. The troop ate there.

RL: I’d like to review quickly for the sake of this tape, the photos in front of us look like high school football. Can you explain those?

DH: This is a print that was from the original 35mm slides and this was back in 1942 or 43, I think, and Coach Disbrow took that picture and gosh . . .

Kent Perry: It was ’42.

DH: That’s right, because you are there. Some of the our old gang is still with us. In the left back is Johnny Casella, fullback Walt McCormick. Walt was a heck of a football player. He played three years all coast at the University of Southern California, our school. And then he played two years with the 49ers. Now he’s a lawyer in town. He’s still with us. This is Howard Scarborough, who played quarterback. Howard’s still with us. Benny, bless his heart. Benny Snow died in the service. Here we have, who’s left end?

Kent Perry: That’s me.

DH: This is Kent right here, that’s right.

RL: On the end in the first row.

DH: Left end. Al Urammian, playing tackle. I think Al’s still with us, isn’t he? Jimmy Rangle, that’s amazing, he’s still with us. This is me. I’m still here.

RL: Are you fourth from the left or third? It’s hard to tell.

DH: I am fourth, because next to me you can’t really see who it is. That Kenny Oliphant. Kenny’s still with us. He was at lunch yesterday. Then, is that Stanley?

Kent Perry: I think it is.

DH: That Stan Miller and on the end, right end, is Rufus Aker, and Ruf’s still with us. This was our junior year and we only got to play four games a season because of the war. Transportation was a problem.

RL: Interesting.

DH: But it was still a wonderful time for us. Just wonderful.

RL: And, am I right, back in the 40’s the ball players would wear a lot less protective gear than they do today?

Kent Perry: I thought we wore more.

DH: The bulk of it, I think it was actually more bulky. The protection from it today is better because of the design and the materials, but it isn’t as bulky as it was back then.

That’s in the Mineral King Bowl and I lived when I was a child, well then, only two blocks from there and I remember riding down in the bowl on my tricycle when they were digging the bowl.

RL: That was neat.

DH: That was a long time before that.

Kent Perry: That’s when I lived on Main Street.

DH: When Kent lived on Main Street, Benny lived just north of Kent .

RL: Another good friend?

DH: Yes, Benny is the right half here, who we lost in the service. He was our Student Body President.

RL: You were a 2nd Lieutenant of the Marines?

DH: Infantry. Army.

RL: Okay. To clarify that, that’s great.

DH: I was a 1st Lieutenant when I got out, my wife just informed me.

RL: I’d like to get your opinion of the community reaction to the end of the war.

DH: Well, I was up in Washington at that time. I was working in a sawmill up there and I remember being with Jim Shiffert, another buddy of ours, on the day the war ended. Local reaction is always celebrating. It’s the same everyplace. There are lots of pictures in Life magazine that pretty well cover it all.

RL: Incidentally, do you happen to have any copies of that?

DH: I happen to have a Life magazine in there from this last reunion that Alan George brought to me. He’s a nice guy. I don’t know if there are any pictures in that one, but it’s a Life magazine. It is the Life magazine that he had closest to our graduation which was only a month or so from back in ’44. But there are lots of those pictures around.

RL: And I’d like to mention that Dr. Hover has his yearbook, is that correct, in front of him, called the Oak of ’43. Can you remind us of what activities you had been involved in?

DH: Well, that was an interesting way of collecting signatures.

RL: He just showed me some kiss marks in his yearbook.

DH: Some of the football pictures I was yell leader that year, head yell leader. My wife, Ona, (Ona Lee Knupple Hover) was also yell leader when she was a senior. The track was always a lot of fun because it was in the springtime and there was green grass down in the bowl and that was always a lot of fun.

RL: Were you a pole-vaulter?

DH: No, I was a shot putter and a hurdler. One story about some of Japanese buddies - the West Coast Relays, the big track in Fresno was one of the biggest in the country at that time. Frank Matsushima was a broad jumper and we had a relay team. I was on that relay team and we went to the West Coast Relays and we wanted Frank to broad jump. I had a big pair of dark glasses and this kid’s Korean and he’s going to go with us. Well, he was Japanese. I don’t know if he placed or not, but we did get him in the relays. That was a lot of fun. (This was in the Spring of 1942.)

RL: Did people have to say he was Korean because of the racism?

DH: No, there was an aircraft facility at the airport at Fresno, so that was a restricted area. He couldn’t go to Fresno. I just remembered that. But of course, Koreans could. I still see some of our Japanese buddies. Well I mentioned Lloyd Kurahara and I hope Lloyd gets to make a statement here. Oh we used to go out and swipe watermelons and things like that and had lots of fun with Lloyd and some of the other boys. After Lloyd was sent to the camps, he was given the opportunity to join the Army and some special units and he joined the 442nd Combat Team and they fought in Italy and were the most decorated unit in the Army. Made of the Nisei’s, the Japanese American boys. They did a heck of a job.

RL: Interesting. For the safety of the interview, I’m going to check the status of the tape. (turn tape over at this point.)

Well, Doctor, as you look through your notes, is there anything you’d like to have mentioned that we haven’t discussed already?

DH: Well, just one. At that time, so you can appreciate the feeling, everybody had someone in the service. Your next-door neighbor, your brother and your father and so you were close to it. We didn’t have television, but we had the Movie Tone News down at the Fox Theatre. I still remember that. To put in a plug for the Fox Theatre, back then it was 10 cents, but I was just down there to hear the High Sierra Jazz Band and it’s fixed up beautifully. It’s just the way it used to be. In fact I don’t remember it being as clean as it is now. But as I say, everybody was involved and was close to it. Younger people, the years go slower, older people they go faster. Of course, there’s no going back. Service men, many of the men who went through . . . I don’t know how many, but quite a few who went through their Air Corps Training out at Sequoia Field, came back to Visalia. It’s a beautiful area.

Agriculture changed. When we were going into high school, they grew nothing around here but prunes. Down on Bridge Street there’s a . . . I think it’s a foundry now; it’s down near Washington School and that was the prune house. People grew prunes and they processed them there. Sunsweet Prunes. And then cotton. We used to go out and pick cotton in high school (the summer of 1942, between Freshman and Sophomore year in school). You picked it by hand with a bag. After the war we had the cotton picker. What a change that made. And now we’re still going through changes. It really tears me up to drive on Highway 41 on the west side, big agriculture area, and you see that land lying fallow. They’re not growing anything on it. Makes you wonder sometimes. But it’s all part of change.

The war did affect Visalia, tremendously. And I think there was more effect here on the West Coast, as much as any place, because of the two front wars in Europe and the Pacific. And the huge Naval Base at Lemoore now. Lots of changes, lots of changes.

RL: Do you remember any specific celebration at the end of the war? I know you were up in Washington, but . . .

DH: No, I really don’t. Our good friend, Kent and my good friend, Jim Shiffert, Jim was in the Coast Guard up there and we got together that day. It had been planned in advance. We didn’t know the war was going to end that day, but we just goofed around some. Kind of going to Yettem, to get em. But we didn’t find anybody.

RL: I forget, was the Yettem and Gettem, it was a bar?

DH: No, Yettem is a town. It was just a saying and it sort of rhymes. That was one of the statements that would fly around some of the hangouts, the barbecue, or the root beer stand, whatever.

RL: When you were looking for ladies?

DH: Right, right.

RL: OK. Is there anything else you would like to mention before we close here?

DH: There are so many things we could talk about, for hours, on old Main Street. I noticed I wrote down here that I was manager of the Bijou Theater for a while, (on Main Street where the Bank of America is now.) because nobody else would do it.

RL: When you look back, is it sort of a sad feeling, the way Tulare County was before the war and how it has changed because of it?

DH: Oh, very definitely. I suppose it’s common to all generations, but I think we lived at the very best time of all. You couldn’t have had a better town and the small town environment that Visalia was back then. Everybody came to Visalia from all the surrounding towns. This is where you hang out. This is where you drag the Main. That has to be mentioned, because you would start down by the high school, you’d go down to the Navy gas station and then you’d turn around and come back and you did that fifty times on a Saturday night. And everybody came to Visalia to drag the Main. Now they give you a ticket on Mooney if you try that I understand. But we sure had a lot of fun.

RL: I think there are even signs up on Mooney about cruising.

DH: Probably is. Dragging or cruising. And again, there is so much we could go on about. Our competition with good old Tulare, they were our primary competitor in sports and things like that. Some of the things we used to do.

RL: Tulare Union High School? The Redskins?

DH: Right. It got to be a tradition. I remember one night, and gasoline was = well, that was during the war = gasoline was hard to come by. Twenty gallons of gasoline on the lawn under the water tank over there and then you touched that off and get out of town. And I remember looking back from the top of Rocky Hill, seeing that V burning on the lawn at Tulare High School. Now, I didn’t have anything to do with that, but I recall it happening.

RL: (Laughter) All right. I really appreciate your input this evening and we will go ahead and close off for now at 6:25 p.m., February 3, 2004. Thank you.

DH: Thank you.

Robyn Lukens/ Transcriber: Jan Chubbuck, 3-17-04/Ed. JW 8/19/04

Words in italics were added to clarify or add names to this interview, based on a phone interview with Dick Hover on 8/19/04.