Glen Porter Family History #1 
Based on Interviews with Kay Porter
Friday & Saturday June 29-30, 2007

Text by Greg Porter. Click on any image for a larger version.....
Conversely, to see the full picture album of the images taken from the trip and Kay's photo albums click here

Letters between Glen and Maude;

Glen and Maude wrote letters back and forth during the 4 weeks Glen and Kay were in California until the rest of the family joined them. Kay had 63 pages of photocopies of their cards, letters, and envelopes that were sent to him by Reg and Effie, who have the originals. I photocopied Kay's copies and have typed up the text of the letters and have attempted to put them in chronological sequence. They can be seen here. In November of 2007 I took photographs of the envelopes and the first page of each letter, which can be seen here.

Synopsis of the Family's move from Thatcher to Santa Ana:

Tuesday April 29, 1941 Glen & Kay left for SoCal, had flat between Thatcher and Central where he flagged down the Pepsi truck, then another flat between Central and Pima, then stopped at Ft Thomas to get new tires for trailer but none available, then bought tires at Geronimo, called Maude who thought they should have been calling from Globe by then. Drove on to Globe and decided not to press on because of treacherous rode to Superior and it was getting to be evening. Slept in trailer in Globe next to current Taco Bell at the corner of the 60 and 70. Wrote first postcard home from here. May not have mailed it until May 5th from Long Beach.

Wednesday April 30, 1941 Glen & Kay drove from Globe and spent night in Phoenix at a park containing a historic train.

Thursday May 1, 1941 Drove from Phoenix to El Centro, where they spent the night and watched a movie "Death be my Destiny" at the theatre. Kay remembers it took 12 hours to get to Yuma for some reason, then pressed on to El Centro starting at 7:30pm. He remembers the sand dunes as they drove past them. Colorado bridge at Yuma may have been under construction, as Kay remembers willows and alternate narrow route to cross the river. Glen stopped and talked with several people.

Friday May 2, 1941 Made it to a large trailer park at Mission Beach by 10am called "Sunset Auto and Trailer Camp" (per Glen letter) where they paid for staying 2 days until Sunday noon. Kay said they ate at the Merry Go Round restaurant on either Friday or Saturday where the food came around on a conveyor belt. There was an amusement park at Mission Beach that Glen wanted to investigate.

Sunday May 4, 1941 Drove from San Diego to a trailer camp in Seal Beach, where they stayed for 11 or 12 days. During those 12 days he investigated the Pike at Long Beach, trying to find out the costs and opportunities of sponsoring his game there.

Thursday May 15, 1941 This would be 11 days from arriving at the trailer camp at Seal Beach. Per Kay, this would be the day they moved to the "1st Street Trailer Camp" in Santa Ana. A letter from Glen confirms they were at this new trailer camp in Santa Ana on the 15th. It was a "Cozy trailer park" per Kay and was nestled in the orange groves. From here Glen was running low on money and got a job at the Marble Game company. They were here at this trailer camp for 5 days. Kay ate oranges all day long while his Dad was at work. In the evenings they'd get in the car and go to a restaurant. They didn't eat in the trailer very much.

Tuesday May 21, 1941 Per Kay this would be 5 days from entering the 1st Street Trailer Camp and so would be the first night they spent at the duplex they rented in Santa Ana on the NE corner of 2nd and Garnsey. A letter from Glen confirms they rented the duplex on the 21st. I have a picture of the duplex. It was long and skinny, split lengthwise North to South. The South End had a single porch and door that faced 2nd. It belonged to the other tennants. Upon entering the door the hall jogged to the left and opened into their apartment, which ran down the West side of the duplex along Garnsey. Glen would enter their apartment from the North end, they occupied the full length of the East side of the building. Glen paid one month's worth of rent.

Sunday May 25, 1941 Glen & Kay picked up Maude, Jimmie, and Reg at the Los Angeles train station. They lived in the duplex for a month until they bought the home that was catty corner and one house West at 806.

June 1941 They bought the home at 806 W 2nd Ave during the month of June. They would sell it in late May, having lived in Santa Ana 11 years.

Greg's interview with Kay;

From here are the unedited notes of  Kay's account of the move from Thatcher to Santa Ana that I typed while also voice recording him. (The actual voice recordings are on 4 MP3 files; File1 File2 File3 File4 To save them to your computer RIGHT click and save. To simply play them justleft click);
> Glen became interested in a service station at 8th St and the 70. Ed loaned him $600 in about 37 or 38. He ran the service station and started working up his games. He wondered how to get them out, knowing they wouldn't go here. He was good with wood and built a dirty clothes hamper in Santa Ana that Kay still uses. So Glen built a trailer using an axle from a model T that he got at the junk yard in Central that's still there. They lived in the first house on the right on Little Hollywood street, just East of the 70. The house is still there. Glen built the trailer on the side of that house. They left Tuesday April 29, 1941. They stopped at Bruce Naylors service station in Safford. They had their first flat on the trailer between Thatcher and Central. While there Glen flagged down the Pepsi man and they talked for a long time and Kay thought they'd never leave. Then another flat between Central and Pima. So they stopped at Ft Thomas to buy some tires, but the didn't have the right ones, so the found some in Geronimo. They pulled off right where Taco Bell and jack in the box are now, they unhooked and had something to eat. They wrote the first letter to Maude from there. Next day passed the treacherous superior highway with steep drop offs. They made it to Phoenix the next day and stayed the night at a park that had some old trains and streetcars on display, like an outdoor museum. Glen wrote another letter to Maude from there, voiceing his intention to leave by 6:30am. The next day they made to Yuma, then through the inspection station on the California line. It was 7:30pm. Kay thinks they must have had some car trouble... Kay does remember going down an old road amoung some willows. He thinks that maybe they were building the bridge across the colorado. Glen stopped there and talked with people there, eating and talking. By the time they got across it was 7:30pm. Kay remembers the mosquitoes were bad there. Kay remembers seeing the sand dunes in the evening that night - they kept driving and made it another 55 miles clear to El Centro. They went to a restaurant and then saw the movie "Death Be My Destiny" with John Garfield. They made it to San Diego the next day and went to Mission Beach trailer park. Glen wanted to check out an amusement park at Mission Beach. They paid up at the trailer park until Sunday... 2 days. Didn't have any luck at that fun zone. They ate at the 'Merry Go Round' restaurant, where the food came rotating by. They ate there either Friday or Saturday. Sunday they left the trailer park and headed down PCH to Long Beach, where they stayed at the Seal Beach trailer park. They stayed there 12 days. Glen was anxious to go to the Pike at Long Beach and get a spot for the game. He was checking around there for 11 or 12 days. A guy at the Pike wanted to see the game so Glen set one up, the guy came by a couple of hours later. The next day the guy brought a trailer and they took one game down and they let the kids at the Pike play it free for a day. He spent many late nights at the Pike until 10 or 11pm trying to get a spot for the games. One night he told Kay to meet him back by the bumper cars in an hour. An hour later Kay was back, but no Glen, Kay found a cop and told him he couldn't find his Dad. At 11 the cop took him to the police station. So he sat there only about 10 minutes and Glen walked in. Kay thinks Glen was late getting back. After 11 or 12 days they pull up stakes and went to a trailer park in Santa Ana called the First Street Trailer Camp, nestled in an orange groves. From there Glen was getting low on money so he got a job with the Marble Game Company. Kay was getting stuffed with oranges from sitting in the groves all day. They would go into town and eat in a restaurant at nights. After 5 days they rented a duplex on the corner of 2nd and Garnsey. Kay and Glen were there just 5 days and Maude showed up with Jimmie and Reg at the Los Angeles railway station on Sunday May 25, 1941. Glen had the duplex paid for for 1 month. Glen enrolled Kay at the McKinley elementary school. Kay found a kid on the back steps of the school carving planes from balsa, and he let Kay try it. Kay was hooked and that started his hobby career. They stayed at the duplex only that month and then bought the house for sale caty-corner at 806 2nd. The house was only a 2 bedroom. Kay and Jimmie shared a room. It was a turn of the century house. They were living there when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Going to the movies was the Saturday event. Movies were a dime and you got an ice cream on the way out - a milk nickel which was a new invention - ice cream on a stick. Kay would go with Glen to the Long Beach scrap yards and buy stainless steel to make bracelets from as a business venture. Kay thinks Reg has some of them still. Kay said they drove out in a 1937 Chevy. While in the duplex they went to LA and traded in the car for a 1939 Ford Coupe. Glen got $125 for the 37 Chevy. Kay remembers being in the movie theatre when they made an announcement that Pearl Harbor was bombed. Some folks got up and left the theatre. Kay remembers the first air raid warning at night when all the search lights came on all down the coast, sirens blaring. Kay shined shoes at Birch park and sold newspapers on the corner, shouting out to the crowds regarding the paper's availability, he then got a paper route on his bike. Sometimes Maude would drive him in the car. Los Angeles Times and Herald Examiner he would yell from the street on a Sunday morning pulling them down the street in a little red wagon. Also worked at an orange packing plant in Tustin. Kay said he was a bad boy in school and played hooky a lot. He said he had kind of a personal problem, it was a PE class that he didn't like. The teacher was like a drill sargeant, he wanted everyone to change into shorts because he had lot of hair on his legs, so he'd play hooky and eat oranges in the groves instead. He doesn't remember his parents ever scolding him about it. He did complete 6th grade but nothing much past that. He decided to quit school, Glen said if you quit you'll need to go to work and Kay was fine with that so Glen got him a job at the orange packing plant doing heavy lifting of orange crates. Kay also had a job at the bowling alley during the war. Paper jobs, then the bowling alley at night while going to school as about a 12 year old while still going to 6th grade. PIcking up the balls and pins made him sick to his stomach till one day he couldn't take it any more and he bolted out the back door and never went back. He thinks he worked there a few weeks. Next he got the orange packing job and worked a single day, but he starting getting sick while packing oranges and bolted and quit that job that day. Next he saw an ad for a western union delivery person.. riding a bike. That was the beginning of 4.5 years with Western Union. Glen told Kay that from his $40 weekly paycheck Glen wanted $12 a week for Kay to live there. Kay then wanted his own room. Glen told him he'd build Kay a room on the back of the house if Kay paid the $80 for the cost of materials. Kay agreed and that's what they did. Kay then bought a new Cushman scooter for $229 or something like that. Kay paid $22 down and financed. Glen got a job as a supervisor in a scrap yard in Wilmington or Long Beach where the excess steel from the wartime shipbuilding would be sent. Kay said the picture of Glen and Maude in the backyard and Glen with his lunchpail on March 22, 1946 was the final day at the shipyard. Glen finally got a spot for his games at Balboa sometime during war. He would work it on the weekends and work at the shipyards during the week. Once the war ended and after his shipyard job ended he worked the games 7 days a week. Kay said Selznik, the director of Gone with the Wind came and played the games as well as Jennifer Jones some famous actress. Glen said Selznik was real careful about getting the correct change back from Glen. Jennifer Jones had a brother that worked at the fun zone. AFter the shipyards Kay said Glen started the construction job hanging dry wall and doing whatever else was required. Kay's not sure how long he held that job. Kay remembers that on weekends the games would be open till 11 or 12pm. Kay said Glen would force him to go to church, but Glen wouldn't go. He'd tell Kay that he had to go because Maude wanted him to go. So Kay would go and be bored. The problem was he could hear the model airplanes flying at the high school athletic field and would want to be out there. By the time he got over there the planes were all cracked up.

There's much more work to be done to this web page, but this is a quick start.... Greg 7-1-07