Many of you will recognize the famous "Berry Market" from Knott's Berry Farm (one of America's first and most famous amusement parks). This picture was taken in the 1930s, and I saw it a few days ago on an Orange County history blog I frequent. The building is still there, now part of larger complex.
I had seen the picture before and thought about my own family's history--and our deep ties to this building and the Knott family. The picture doesn't tell that story . . .
My mom, Marian, worked here about the time the photo was taken (in the late 1930s). There's a famous picture of Walter Knott and his son Russell selling boysenberries inside right behind the large window. My mom (in her late teens) is standing next to them.
My aunt, Virginia (my mom's sister), was Mr. Knott's first secretary, and when a handsome Woodbury College student showed up looking for work, my mom liked his looks and talked my aunt into hiring him. That young man was Clayton Riddlebarger, my father.
My folks left Orange County during the war (my dad was in the FBI by that time) and returned to open a Christian bookstore at Knotts in 1955. By that time, my grandmother, Juliet, had retired from teaching, and ended up running the nursery--also pictured in the above photo! Some of her favorite shrubs still reside in my backyard.
After Knott's opened Camp Snoopy in 1981, our bookstore was relocated . . . you guessed it . . . just up the street a few doors from this building pictured above. We finally closed the store in 1994. By then I had a new vocation.
Oh, and lest I forget, although my wife and I went to the same elementary and high schools, guess where I met her again after we both graduated from high school a few years before? At Knott's. My wife worked a few doors down from our bookstore in Knott's accounting department, about 50 yards from the building pictured above.
So forgive me, if that picture stirs me more than it does you! Man, if those walls could talk!