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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
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A Picture Doesn't Always Tell the Whole Story

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!

Reader Comments (7)

That's some cool history.
May 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermark
Your family has apparently long been tied up in Knott's.
May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobertW
Great post! I especially liked learning that we have something in common - my Dad's name is Clayton Bywaters. He's with the Lord, now.

I'll introduce you one of these days. :)
May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Bywaters
Funny you should write this. I've been thinking along the same lines for some time now. So much history revolved around that strip of land...
May 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhb
God chose Knott's for some divine appointments for your family.

Berry nice!
May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLorri C
Cool story!

If the walls could talk, they'd remember your conversation with a customer about Mel Brooks movies the first time I visited your store in 1992 or '93 to look for theological books. "A Christian book seller who likes Mel Brooks? I guess I came to the right place."

BTW, my great-grandfather grew rhubarb in El Monte for Knotts cherry rhubarb pies. There's still a street named after him there.

"Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind..."
May 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick Yamada
Wow what history for your family.
May 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiminator

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