The Nugent Family Move To Southern California in 1948

The Nugent’s Move to California In 1948

     In February of 1948 Uncle Vic and Dad travelled to Nassau on a business trip and saw that people were playing golf in February. That changed my Dad. Sort of said, we are out of here. He figured he worked half a year to pay for winter fuel and clothing. He and Mother made a trip to California in July of that year to see what area would be the best. They decided on Santa Barbara. I had just graduated and they sent me off to Mt St Bernard in Antigonish, NS. One of Mother’s ideas was that if we were going to move, everyone had to go. At that time, she thought Uncle Vic and family would follow. I think at that time Uncle Vic bought out Dad’s half of the business. They sold the house and a lot of the furniture, thinking later it would have been better to ship the furniture.

     We left Moncton the morning of March 13, 1949. Dad had bought a 7 passenger Cadillac and a 30-foot trailer. One of his friends supplied us with a stack of comic books, which we discarded as we finished them. We ran into a blizzard as we got to Boston, so spent a few nights with Mother’s aunts, celebrating. St Patrick’s Day there. We got to New York about dinner time and lost a wheel off the trailer in the Bronx. Someone stole it and it took several days to replace it. We parked at a gas station. Ken, Peter and I took the subway into Manhattan. We went to a show and saw the Rockettes. I also remember getting cherry pie at the Automat.

      We stored our winter clothes in New Jersey. We always stayed at trailer parks. We were shocked to see colored only water fountains as we entered into the South. In Moncton the only people of color were porters on a train, or one music teacher in town.

     We got to go into the ocean in St. Petersburg, Florida. We were surprised when we saw the desert in Texas and NM. We expected something like the Sahara. When we arrived in Banning, CA, we were surprised to find it had snowed during the night. This was the middle of May.

     We arrived at a trailer park in Long Beach. At that time there was a red car line, so we could go into Los Angeles. After that Dad and Mom bought a house on Hillview in East Los Angeles, and we stayed there until we moved to Montebello. While in East Los Angeles the boys worked at the local swimming pool, and even though Janet was only 2 and a half, they threw her in. She learned to swim quickly. St Alphonsus was where Peter met Father O’Dowd, and from there the Seminary.

     Dad started up a wholesale paper business, then eventually went to work for Zellerbach Paper. One of his customers was The Farmers Market. One of the movie stars he saw there was Dorothy Lamour. After he had a massive heart attack he took the family, except for Ken and I, on a car trip back to Moncton. Ken was working and I was going to Sawyer Business School. The others were going to St Alphonsus School or Cantwell. Ken also went to Cantwell. When they came back Dad worked for a while again at Zellerbach then started working at Hollywood Outlet, and Tom eventually joined him there.

By Betty (Nugent) Herle

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