I still lived in an area that was primarily dairy land. Slowly, the dairies were being bought out by real estate developers and more homes were being built, but there were plenty of dairies still standing at this time. Since the milk man no longer was making home deliveries, we would drive to the dairy to make our purchases. Our drive would take us down Studebaker Road, toward Artesia Boulevard, where there was a cute Spanish style little white house. There was a wishing well in front of the house, and I thought it was the most beautiful house, and wanted to live in a house just like it. There were also peacocks roaming in front of the house, often out in the middle of Studebaker Road. It was quite a treat when the peacocks became agitated and raised their tail feathers to their fullest.
There were many students in my school who worked at different dairies after school. Some kids were part of the families owning the dairies, others just worked for the extra money. Most of the work was attaching the milking machines to the cows or feeding them. One of the boys at my school lost two fingers working a machine, so it could be dangerous work.
We lived near the San Gabriel river bed. In Southern California, most rivers are empty until drenching rains arrive. The San Gabriel river bed was no acception. You would see people riding horses down the empty river, there was the "bamboo forest", an area named by the kids because of all the wild bamboo growing there. You would see jack rabbits, quail and other wildlife there. The river bed was one of the kids favorite play areas, and you would always see groups of kids there. There were tumble weeds, and we would build forts in the middle of the river bed when it was dry.
When the rains came the river bed would become a raging river, rushing towards the ocean. It was very dangerous with heavy currents, and it seemed as if every time it rained, a child would drown. My friends and I knew not to go near the river when there was water in it.
There were so many new homes being built in our neighborhood that we would often play in the construction areas. I loved looking at the lay-out of the rooms and paid very close attention to what I thought was good or bad about each home. I fell in love with the floor plan of one home being built near our house. I thought it was the perfect design. When we went to see the new home my Aunt Avis and Uncle Tim had purchased in Downey, it was the exact same floor plan as my favorite. I thought their home was the most beautiful home I'd ever seen.