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: Margaret Van Deventer


Date: 1/31/04


Tape # 63


Interviewer: Carol Demmers


Place: Tulare County, CA


Place of Interview: Mrs. Van Deventer’s home in Visalia, California




Beverly Hills



At school at USC


College life during WWII, both away from home and at home in Visalia, CA

CD: Today is January 31, 2004. I am Carol Demmers and I will be interviewing Mrs. Margaret Van Deventer in her home in Visalia, California as part of the Oral History Program entitled, "Years of Valor, Years of Hope, Tulare County and the years 1941-1946." Mrs. Van Deventer, what is your full name and when were you born?

MD: You want my maiden name too?

CD: Yes, please.

MD: Margaret Henry Van Deventer.

CD: So Henry was your maiden name?

MD: Yes.

CD: And when were you born?

MD: April 1922.

CD: Where did you grow up?

MD: Here in Visalia, as did my father, Grover C. Henry.

CD: Not your mother?

MD: No, my mother, Clara Schroepfer was from Minnesota. Came here when she was a very young woman at the turn of the century.

CD: Did you have brothers and sisters?

MD: I had two brothers: Stanley, who died when he was 18 in the polio epidemic of 1935, and I have a younger brother, Richard, who’s an Electronics Engineer and lives in Ramona, where all the bad fires were.

CD: What type of work did your parents do?

MD: My mother was a housewife. My father owned a hardware store on West Main Street.

CD: What was the name of it?

MD: Visalia Hardware Company. It later became Cross-Horlock under Gus Kasinza

CD: Cross Horlock?

MD: No, it was Visalia Hardware Company for 40 or 50 years.

CD: And then became . . .?

MD: Cross-Horlock. When my father retired he was 80 years old. I don’t remember what year. In the 60’s maybe.

CD: Did your father start that business?

MD: Oh yes. He was told at the time . . . as a young man, he came back from college; he worked in San Francisco for a while and worked in Visalia for a while and worked as head bookkeeper at Cross-Horlock’s on East Main Street, which was probably the only hardware store here. Somewhere in his forties he had a partner and started this store on West Main Street, half a block from the Fox and was told at that time by prominent business men, "Grover, you’re crazy, it’s too far west. It will never go." But it was a huge success.

CD: So how old were you when the United States entered the war?

MD: Twenty.

CD: And where were you?

MD: I was at Dominican College in San Rafael, across the bay from San Francisco.

CD: Do you remember where you were when Pearl Harbor happened?

MD: Exactly. It was noonish, I’m not exactly sure, but I turned the radio on and heard it. Horrified, shocked, unbelieving, I went down to our dining room. We had a big dinner at noon at Dominican and tea in the afternoon and all the waiters were Filipino. And they were all weeping. It was horrible. We had many students, friends of mine, whose fathers were . . . they were juniors . . . in the Navy, Army or whatever. Their fathers were at Pearl Harbor. They didn’t know what or when it happened. They were without funds for quite some time until their fathers’ businesses would arrange something for them. It was horrible.

CD: Did you know . . . were you aware of where Pearl Harbor was when you heard the news?

MD: I knew it was in the islands. Yes, because we had so many girls from the islands who we adored. They wore wild prints and played ukuleles and were kind of exotic to us.

CD: Did you know much about the war before that happened? Did you pay attention to what was going on?

MD: Not very much. I can remember discussing it and getting into arguments in history classes and that sort of thing, but I was very unaware.

CD: Young people tend to be that way sometimes.

MD: Twenty years old.

CD: They’re more interested in what is happening in their own lives than what’s going on somewhere else. So after the U.S. became involved in it, did you over the next few years talk about it a lot with your family and friends?

MD: Yes, because all the young men were in the service and that’s who you went out with. It was a big part of your life.

CD: Did any of your close friends or family end up going into the service?

MD: I had a cousin, no, two cousins. I can only think of two cousins, Bud Kinnie and I can’t remember the name of the other cousin. Lots of friends. Every young man I knew, for sure.

CD: And did they mostly join up or did they get drafted?

MD: Both. Some just immediately and some were, I guess, ROTC. They were dedicated to be involved. I remember in particular San Francisco and the blackouts and you might be out with someone, like an Ensign in the Navy or something, and there would be something on the radio and they had to report to their ship right then and there. And you were left right there.

CD: So you remember blackouts?

MD: Oh definitely.

CD: This was when you were at college then that they had the blackouts there? Every evening you had to . . .?

MD: Yeah, and then there were rumors of Japanese planes casing the Pacific Coast. Submarines. You know, we are so criticized now for the internment of the Japanese, but at that time and that climate this state felt very vulnerable. And was very vulnerable, of course. They missed a big chance.

CD: And being on the coast there in school was even. . .

MD: Oh, San Francisco, the Presidio, yes.

CD: Do you remember if the blackouts happened to the same degree here in Visalia, when you were home?

MD: I don’t remember now. I have no idea. I have no memory of it in the summers when I came back. I don’t know.

CD: The people I’ve interviewed haven’t really remembered that very much.

MD: I don’t think it was particularly prevalent.

CD: So, I’m thinking it wasn’t as much.

MD: But San Francisco and Los Angeles, definitely.

CD: That’s interesting. So was anyone close to you, anyone you knew really well, killed in the war?

MD: Yes. Many young men.

CD: And did that change the way you felt about the war?

MD: I’m very anti-war.

CD: And before we got in were you anti-war?

MD: I have no idea of how I felt. I was very aware of Hitler and Europe because my grandmother’s ( Theresa Warta Schroepfer) family was from Bohemia, which is now Czechoslovakia . I had many relatives, many, many, a big German family in Vienna and those areas, and although I didn’t know them I was very aware of it. And very resentful, of course.

CD: Were you aware of the holocaust and that happening?

MD: No, no. Had no idea.

CD: So I know you were away then, but where did your family here in Visalia live during those years?

MD: On Court Street. 919 South Court, which is just above Tulare Avenue.

CD: Had you grown up in that house?

MD: Yes, they built it when they were first married and lived in it until they died.

CD: Do you remember during that time the things that were difficult to get hold of? Things that were rationed?

MD: Oh, ho, ho. Yes! There was, for instance, I couldn’t get cigarettes. It was a big thing. This was after the Dominican. Then I transferred to USC at Los Angeles. My mother wouldn’t buy cigarettes for me. Boys I knew would get them through the service for me and that’s about the time nylons came out. Before that we just wore stockings in shreds. When nylons came out, that was so wonderful. They were just heaven. And food, of course. One Thanksgiving . . . I always came home for holidays to Visalia. One Thanksgiving I had been invited places but I couldn’t go there because I was living in Los Angeles and I couldn’t go because I was working by that time and I only had the day off and I don’t know how to cook. I didn’t know anything and I had a baked potato and a green salad for my Thanksgiving dinner and I was so proud of myself. It was one of the best meals I ever had. Just wonderful.

CD: Where were you working?

MD: H.N.Swanson, which was a literary agency on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.

CD: Did you sometimes couldn’t come home because of the gasoline shortage or . . . ?

MD: I didn’t have a car. Very few people had a car and transportation was very, very difficult. Once . . . the best way to go to Los Angeles, you have to go by bus sooner or later. You take the bus from like Hollywood to Bakersfield, get on the train to Hanford and then someone would pick you up. And I stood up with some friends. We got on in Hollywood. It was loaded, full. It first filled in another area and then it came to Hollywood and there was no room and it was Christmas, and I had a pretty, pretty friend with me, plus a young man, and we fluttered our eyelashes and flashed our legs and begged the bus driver to let us on. We stood up from Hollywood to Bakersfield, with service man insisting we take their seats which we absolutely refused to do. We stood up that whole way. It was jammed. Lines everywhere.

CD: Do you remember if you or your family participated in war bonds at all?

MD: My father did. I don’t remember and I can’t tell you a single detail, but yes, he was very active.

CD: How about other things? Saving things to help the war effort? Did you save pieces of tin foil?

MD: We did it, but I don’t really remember it terribly.

CD: It wasn’t a big deal.

MD: Yeah. The biggest deal was food. I remember margarine and my mother putting in that horrible color. Oh, that was tough.

CD: Did it taste awful to you?

MD: Mostly because you could remember how it looked before it got the coloring. It was terrible. And then meat . . . you know, you really made a big adjustment, but it didn’t seem like a horrible deal. The gasoline could be. Like my friends would have cars, and you would have to plan very carefully.

CD: It sounds like the biggest thing you missed were the cigarettes.

MD: Yeah.

CD: And how about a garden? Did you family grow a garden?

MD: I don’t remember. I don’t think they did. My father was a very busy businessman. Early in their life I remember they did. I remember seeing the pictures of it, but I don’t think they did during the war.

CD: Where did you go to high school?

MD: Visalia Union High School. Class of 1940. I think in our class there was about 240 people. You knew everyone. This was a small town,8,000 people. If you did something bad or wrong, your parents knew about it pretty quickly.

CD: So what did you do for recreation when you came home from college? Did you go to movies?

MD: Yes, the Fox Theater was a big thing. Usually a date always was a movie at the Fox Theater. Now I was only here in the summers then, for part of the summers, and you have to remember it’s very hot. I mean hideously hot.

CD: And no air conditioning.

MD: No. The only place that was air conditioned were bars, some bars and the Fox Theater. I don’t remember anything else. There were two swimming pools, private swimming pools, in Visalia. Mrs. Hyde’s, right in the middle of Green Acres, and Tommy Elliott’s out in the country in Orosi. Other than that there was the Sierra Plunge and Dance Hall on . . . oh, boy, Bridge maybe, South Bridge, just south of Main Street. Took up the whole block. Long gone. And it was a big, big meeting place. You went there very, very often and it was wonderful. As a high school student I couldn’t go to the dance hall. It was considered . . . I couldn’t do that. I did sneak a couple of times, when they had, I guess probably beer. I don’t remember if they had other things. And it had a fire and the roof burnt off. It was a big, big dance hall and in the summer it was just wonderful there. And in the winter, because if you danced, you got hot. But it was a real big gathering place. The people who owned it were Mert and Bill Hendricks. Mert was, I think, a Red Cross Director, and Bill was just a nice guy. And they knew everybody, and a big treat was if they allowed you to work in the swimming pool business part. That meant you were special. That was fun. We loved doing it. And it really was a terrific gathering place.

CD: So the swimming pool and the dance hall were together.

MD: There are pictures of it in the big new "Friends of the Library" maybe book. (ed. Visalia Heritage published a photograph book about Visalia.) It’s at the Library right now. There are pictures of the pool. It was a big, big pool.

CD: So you came home during the summers then in college, then you could go to the dance hall?

MD: Oh, yes, definitely. Oh well, yeah. And that summer, I don’t know exactly when they came, the cadets at Sequoia Field, but I do remember Visalia being swamped with cadets on Saturday and Sunday. At that time there were two bars,the Town Club at the Johnson Hotel, and the Rendezvous at the Motley’s Restaurant. Both enlarged into bigger rooms so that there were places to dance. Those places would be so jammed you almost had to step over people. But marvelous. Nobody checked licenses. It was a little town.

CD: That’s fun. Anything else that you remember doing? What else did you do when you were away at school for fun? Did you play cards or . . . you read a lot, I’m sure.

MD: No, not then. I was a bad student. A very bad student. I just had lots of fun.

CD: Being with friends and that kind of thing?

MD: There was a lot of drinking involved. People drank a lot in those days. I read about the problems in college now and I think, gee, I don’t think that’s not so very different than what’s it’s always been. No, we didn’t do the sort of thing where someone might die from it, but we did a lot of drinking. Because those were the nice places to go. You know, they were pretty and had a good atmosphere and there were millions of them. I’m talking about Los Angeles and San Francisco. That was always a big part of your date.

CD: It was a little unusual for women to go to college, especially coming from such a small town like this.

MD: Yes, that’s true.

CD: Had you always wanted to?

MD: It was just assumed. All of my friends, my close friends, went to college. It was just assumed you went to college, although now I realize we were very privileged. Most young people here did not go to college because their families could not afford it. It was very different in that there was very limited scholastic help for students, I think. I do remember a couple at Dominican. I don’t remember any at USC.

CD: No tutoring or anything?

MD: I meant financial help. I just read where the tuition at Dominican is $35,000 a year. I could not believe it. That just sounds terrible to me. And of course, USC is even more, much more.

CD: Of course we know that during the World War II years many women went to work because so many men were gone and they were . . . . It kind of changed how America was with women in the workforce. Do you think that affected you as a college age student and someone who had gone to college and what you did with the rest of your life?

MD: You just assumed you were going to work. My friends and I were pretty independent. Probably a bit ahead of our time I would say, maybe, although none of us worked in the actual war effort. That’s not true. Some did go to work on Mare Island. In Vallejo, the big thing. I didn’t. I worked for a literary agency.

CD: How long did you work for them?

MD: Just a little over a year. I didn’t want to leave particularly, but you can’t imagine housing in Los Angeles during those years. When I was . . . I left USC the summer after my junior year because all my friends were gone, all the men. A lot of them had been killed by that time. It was horrible. And then I went to a private secretarial school in Beverly Hills. It was called Wright McMahon and supposedly she only accepted college graduates. Now I had not graduated and she told me I would never graduate and it was the hardest thing I did in my whole life. I did graduate and she put me through every test she could think of and I just swallowed it and did it. I was getting a little concerned, this was my fourth year. I did go to summer school at USC that year and then I left. I thought my poor father; I have to do something pretty soon, so I went to this secretarial school. It was very hard for me. I had no business background at all, a typing course in high school. Minimal. I can only say it was important to me, so important that I turned down dates to do the work I had to do for the next day. I really did. I worked very hard.

And I did graduate, and then supposedly it was a demanding school, but geez, it was in Beverly Hills. It was terrific. I remember Rodeo Drive, the fancy shopping area now. Well, when I was there, there was the Brown Derby around the corner, Romanoff’s over here, and then empty, empty, empty, empty, empty and a little place that served blintzes in an old house. The next block was more built up, but right there was nothing except Romanoff’s and the Brown Derby. Anyway, when you graduated from this school, Mrs. McMahon said she would only call you; they placed you if you wanted to be placed and supposedly you took a month’s vacation and then you called her and said you were ready to be placed. And she called me the second week I was home and she said, "I apologize Margaret, but this is so ideal for you, I just have to tell you about it." It was the literary agency, and I went down and was interviewed and I took the job.

CD: And excited.

MD: Well, I was very worried at first, because my first interview was at 6 o’clock at night and I had never heard of a 6 o’clock interview and I have to be in Hollywood on Sunset Blvd. That’s really strange, but I’ll try. And this Swanson’s office was connected with Harold Ober in New York. They were big, big time, and their busiest time was from evenings when the producers at the studios get back to their offices, so from like 5:00ish to 7:00 it was very, very busy. Lots of interaction. So that’s why the interview was at 6 o’clock when everybody would be back in the office because the agents go out to the studios and sell properties and we had marvelous clients. F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of my favorites, if I had only been 10 years younger at that Swanson’s I could have delivered scripts to him a block away.

CD: Wow. And you mentioned that housing was very difficult.

MD: That’s why I came home. I moved, oh I just can’t count. Somebody’s husband, these were women who were married that I knew at Wright-McMahon, older women, would be transferred somewhere so they would have an apartment or a home or something and they’d say you can have it, I don’t know for how long. Well, then he’d be changed and sent overseas and she’d have to have her house back. So you moved again. This happened when I was at Wright-McMahon. There was no housing whatsoever to be found. I lived at the Kappa Alpha Theta house at UCLA. I didn’t attend UCLA, but it was arranged for me, and I lived there for probably half a year, along with . . . they opened . . . various people would open their homes and then Mrs. McMahon, the president of Wright-McMahon, CEO, tough, tough lady, arranged for me to live with friends of hers on North Rexford in Beverly Hills. That’s an address that gets instant service and attention by salesgirls at Magnin’s or Saks or whatever. Well, Edward G. Robinson lived across the street. It was a fabulous area, and it was a great big room. It was lovely. Had a roommate. Always had roommates and then I lived . . . oh well, probably in two years I moved nine times.

CD: And finally just decided to just go home.

MD: I thought, "I can’t do this." I couldn’t find anything. I just could not find anything. "I give up. I just give up. I’ll go back when it’s better."

CD: You had to quit your job?

MD: Uh huh. And they had just offered me something else better. But it was a very tough job. Like by 7 o’clock at night . . . you rode buses all over, or if you were real late, cabs if you could afford it. At 7 o’clock people are going out for the evening. The workers are home by 5 o’clock or so, but anyway, it was always jammed and a mess. Just a real difficult thing to do. You wait and waited.

CD: Good thing you were young then.

MD: That’s the only time you could do things like that.

CD: So when you came home, had your family’s housing situation changed at all? They stayed in the same home, you said. Did other people come and live with them?

MD: No, just family. Only, my younger brother was there of course, and no.

CD: So it wasn’t so difficult here. Do you think other people had trouble finding places to live?

MD: In Visalia? Oh, yes, indeed I do. I married Max Van Deventer in 1948 and we, through relatives, got an apartment which was probably . . . no, first we got a house. It was great. A little tiny house. Grateful, grateful to find it through friends again, and then got probably . . . well, the woman was coming back who owned it. Again, we were there a year in the house, and then it was arranged that we had an apartment on Noble Avenue which was probably the most hideous thing you can possibly imagine. And boy, were we grateful to get it. Housing was very difficult.

CD: So tell me about Max. Where did you meet him?

MD: In high school.

CD: Had he stayed here in Visalia?

MD: Oh, no, he was in England in the Air Force. Well, we just went out together off and on with both of us going with lots of other people. Nothing serious at all, and wrote to him during the war. I wrote to a number of people during the war. You just did that.

CD: Did you write to people you didn’t even know?

MD: No.

CD: Because you knew so many people.

MD: I knew everyone I wrote to, yes. Long friendships, or cousins, or . . .

CD: High school friends.

MD: Yeah.

CD: So he was there . . .

MD: When I came back from Beverly Hills, he had just returned from the service. He had just been released from the service and we started seeing each other off and on and he went out with other people and I went out with other people and eventually we got married, but I had known him a long, long time.

CD: And so you have stayed in Visalia ever since.

MD: Uh huh. Uh huh.

CD: Do you remember the end of the war, when it was announced that it was over? Where were you?

MD: In Beverly Hills. Went to a party, and oh well, it was just like . . . those years just seemed endless in a way. I mean, it just took so long. Time was going on. Oh yes, I do remember. Immediately businesses were closed. Much jubilation. Much noise everywhere and I went to a friend’s house immediately, as soon as I could get busses you know. Celebration, celebration. And then I went to another friend’s house who had lost her husband in the war. She had been married six months and he had been killed because . . . I’m not going to say that. He was an instructor and he was killed during a flight. Six month anniversary. And I went to her apartment and she had a roommate, Judy, and we got in the car and drove around Hollywood and Beverly Hills shouting, screaming, drank their champagne up. It was a glorious feeling, it really was. Like the weight of the world – gone.

CD: Do you remember back in Visalia, things that maybe changed? Did anything change that much during the war years? When you came home in the summers did you notice the town growing? I know you noticed Rankin Field and all of that, but other things.

MD: No, because I thought it was so dull. I thought, "How can my father stand to do this routine every single day. Meet the same people for coffee, go to the bank." And he loved it! He hated going away. He wouldn’t go away, just like me.

CD: So they never came to visit you ever.

MD: Yeah, my mother would come to college. She came to Dominican and she came to down south. And I remember she told me, I was kind of neat freak at the time, about surface, you know how it looked. And she says, "I thought you girls," (I lived with three other girls in an apartment,) "were such neat housekeepers until I looked underneath things." As long as there were flowers and wine and everything, we thought everything was fine.

CD: This is a little change of subject. When you went to the movies and they would show the news clips and things like that and you listened to the radio and things, did it ever occur to you that maybe the news was being slanted a little bit or were you aware of censorship of any kind?

MD: Except the letters you would get from overseas where things would be clipped out. That I do remember. No, we were all just really impressed with the news things, whether they were manipulated or not, you know, we just accepted it all. And the movies were so . . . they were propaganda, many of them.

CD: But were you aware of that then?

MD: No, loved them all. They were just wonderful.

CD: And did you, even after the years, enjoy going to war movies or movies about WWII?

MD: Yes. Like I watch PBS on their documentaries. I’m still fascinated by it. To see and think of things I didn’t at the time. And horrified.

CD: It makes you sad I’m sure to remember some of your friends.

MD: Oh, yes. The best illustration I can give of the kind of young men that were killed: when I was at USC, a dear friend of mine was pinned to the student body president, Bob McKay. I’ll never forget. He was student body president, he was Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Nu; he was everything. He had a photographic memory, a handsome, oh extremely handsome, charming guy, and he was killed. That’s the sort of people we lost so many of.

CD: What about ethnic groups? Japanese, Germans, and were there such people in your school, where you were? Do you remember Japanese people being taken away then?

MD: I really don’t. I remember . . . I’m not sure I remember it, it might be reading, but I felt it was justified. Because they had such strong ties to their homeland, it just made you suspicious.

CD: But you weren’t nervous about people of German descent?

MD: Yes.

CD: You were?

MD: Yes, if they were . . . it depended on their view. Like Lindberg, I can remember his American first thing. I can remember such horrible dinner arguments between aunties who were pro-Lindberg and my father and other men who were very anti-Lindberg.

CD: OK, I think we’ve kind of covered most of what I had to ask you. Is there anything you remember that we haven’t talked about that you want to talk about?

MD: Oh, this . . . I just know a wonderfully funny story about Sequoia Field.

CD: Oh great.

MD: Lloyd and Gladys McDonnell were the, I guess, financiers with partners who built Sequoia Field. And Lorraine, Lolly, their daughter, became my good friend. She was then married to Jocko Mahoney, and that’s a long story in itself. But anyway, she had gone to USC and this jock was the lifeguard at the Pacific Coast Club in Long Beach and they ran away and got married. She was probably 20 years old too, and her parents weren’t very happy. But anyway, the summer that I met her, she had friends up here, visiting, who all of them worked at Sequoia Field in the restaurant. I didn’t, but they did. And they said, and they didn’t know very much about that kind of work, waitressing, you know. And once when they first started, they grabbed the grapefruit juice pitcher to make the waffles and poured it in and blew out all of the electricity. It looked like waffle batter to them. I just thought that was wonderful.

CD: (Laughter)

MD: She had a blue convertible and rode around Visalia making all kinds of noise and stuff and I visited her. She really was quite a good friend for quite some time. Visited her in their home. Now this Lloyd was a big dear, and Gladys, the mother, was a very well know flyer… set records and stuff. Her friends included Jackie Cochran … and I visited them (Lloyd and Gladys). Another friend and I spent a week with them in Long Beach. They had a gorgeous home on a golf course and we were treated royally. She was wonderful. She was supposed to come out for the dedication of the thing ( A memorial with the names of people who were associated with the Sequoia Field.)that Newell Bringhurst and Bruce Baird had out at Sequoia Field. I went to that, but I was never in Sequoia Field during the war.

I think I forgot one thing about Mert Hendricks. That was back about the swimming pool and dance hall and stuff. She was director of the Red Cross and there was a hospitality house on West Main just past Willis. South side. They entertained . . . I guess the cadets could go there anytime and Mert would ask you to be a hostess there. It was very dull and very boring, but you just got a book for them or that sort of thing.

CD: And so you did that at times?

MD: At summer occasionally when I was home and occasionally Mert would . . . these were people I would meet when I was down at the pool and maybe three or four cadets I did go out with on dates. Dinner, drinking and stuff, when Mert would just have a fit when she really wanted me to meet this person. They were fine. A couple of them I wrote to all during the war.

CD: Anything else you wanted to talk about?

MD: Isn’t that enough?

CD: (Laughter)

MD: I don’t think so.

CD: I have two kind of tough questions that we ask everyone at the end of the interview and maybe especially tough since you weren’t here a lot during that time, but first, how do you think the WWII years affected you personally? How was your life changed because of that?

MD: I think it was greatly influenced by it. As I said I am very anti-war. I just don’t think beautiful young men are worth it and I wish we could convince the rest of the world that we really are not interested and I wish we really were not interested, because I think (ed. President George W.) Bush has been deceptive, misleading.

CD: So in that way it’s made the biggest impact on the way you feel about war?

MD: Definitely. Although my generation had such a good feeling about the war, because we felt so right and we were, and we did such a good thing.

CD: And everybody worked together.

MD: Yes.

CD: There was no fighting about it.

MD: No. Everybody was dedicated and patriotic and flag-waving, you know. I still am, but within bounds.

CD: And, second question is, how do you think the war years affected the way Tulare County is now? Do you think those years had an impact on Tulare County and how is grew and changed?

MD: I don’t think right at that time it had much impact. I think because of the many cadets from so many different areas, I think that may have had an impact. They realized what a marvelous place California is, even though it’s so horrible in the summer. It’s just such an attractive, beautiful, versatile, varied state.

CD: So you think maybe they were tempted to come here after the war?

MD: I know, absolutely, particularly, maybe not particularly here, although many did. I think many did. You know, almost every boy from this area who was in the war returned to this area.

CD: This is side two of tape #63 and Mrs. Van Deventer was talking about the young men who had come here during the war for training who ended up coming back after the war and maybe settling in this area. You were saying you remembered . . .

MD: The different areas and how they returned back to Visalia. You know, North Carolina, New York, and I named some others that did return.

CD: From other states.

MD: Uh huh.


MD: I want to add one thing. This is about . . . during the war, what you remember being deprived of. In addition to the things that I named, I can remember some clothes would still have zippers in them, skirts. But many of them, suits . . . suits were big to wear then and would have little buttons down the side, which were not fun to button. And then shoes were strictly rationed. I think there were four a year and I can remember buying . . . saving, saving, saving, saving, and buying this beautiful pair of black leather spectators at Magnin’s and I had had a previous pair by a similar designer that were wonderful and this pair during the war I couldn’t wear. They just were awful.

CD: Hurt your feet.

MD: Yeah. The leather was crummy. There was a real difference. And I was so mad because I had spent my coupons for those things.

CD: So you had to have a coupon, but were they also very expensive? The things that were rationed?

MD: Depending on where you went.

CD: So you couldn’t wear those. That was too bad.

MD: No, they were terrible. I can still see a picture of them.

CD: They were beautiful, but not fit to wear. Well, thank you, Mrs. Van Deventer for sharing your time.

MD: Would you call me Margaret?

CD: OK, Margaret. Thank you. And this is the end of our interview.

MD: Great!

C Demmers/Transcr. Jan Chubbuck 3/11/04/ed. JW 6/30/04

Editors note: Words in italics were added during a phone interview in October with Margaret Van Deventer.