PERSONAL  STORIES & NARRATIVES

Doctor Knox Was My Doctor - Keith Simpson, former resident

  I'm Keith G. Simpson born Dec. 10, 1943 and was raised in El Cajon, Ca. at 551 South Johnson Street next to where the Church of Christ stands. My grandfather Lorn H. Robertson built the house about the time I was born. I grew up with my grandparents and my mom and dad.
  At the age of approximately eight years old I came down with a new disease to San Diego County called "Scarlet Fever". The nurses from all the neighboring schools came to our home to take notes firsthand about this new disease and kept a follow up on my condition.  Dr. Knox was my physician.
  I owe my life to Dr. Knox, not only was he my doctor but he was my friend. Back then the doctors took time to get to know their patients, age didn't matter.
  I'm very glad I had a doctor that kept up to date with all the new technology and science that was available at that time. There was a new vaccine that had just come out and he decided to try this vaccine on me. This vaccine was called "penicillin".
  Dr. Knox after my inoculation told me I would be out of school for three months. First month, complete rest (bed ridden). Second month, getting out of bed only to eat, then back to bed again. Third month I could be up and around doing nothing strenuous and if I got the least bit tired I was to lie down.
  All during this time Dr. Knox quite often came to my home to check my condition. I got to know the nurses from the neighboring schools very well for they too came to see me often.
  The penicillin since then has become very useful for treating so many other illnesses.
  I praise Dr. Knox and other doctors like him that have taken sucn an interest in their patients, for it means so much, their good deeds will never be forgotten. They have left us a true legacy.


J.P.R. Hall Ranch House - Jonna Van Zanten Waite, Resident


   While out for a Sunday drive on Mothers Day 1959, my parents Albert and June Van Zanten happened upon a house with a For Sale sign.  It would turn out to be the ranch house of the Hall family, early settlers of the El Cajon Valley.
   My mother was from Texas but spent time growing up in an old house in Pasadena.  So, her love of old two-story homes was evident when she fell in love with the home built about 1896. As a teacher, my father did not get paid during the summer unless he had a separate job; upon purchase of the home and the subsequent move in which occurred on my mother's birthday in August, there was no salary coming in and our family of five ate a lot of spaghetti to make ends meet.  Back then $20,000 was a lot of money.  
  The property was being sold by the Lowrey family and it included quite a bit of land with old, dilapidated out buildings, including an adobe stable, a packing house, and a caretaker's cottage - none of which my parents purchased.  They only bought the land the house is on and the yard which faces Madison Avenue.
  In the early days, there were a lot of eucalyptus trees that were felled and my father and older brothers spent days cutting them up and stacking firewood.  Firewood which lasted 20 years. My father spent many hours designing and putting in rock borders around the palm tree, north property boundary, a small pool, and creating a small wishing well.  He added concrete edgings which to this day outline the lawns and planting areas.  The driveway was off Madison and approached the front of the house which faces west and then turned to the south end of the house.
  I played in the trees and explored the out buildings before they were demolished. It was an idyllic time for a 5-year old girl.  Eventually the land was cleared and subdivided and new houses were built around the old ranch house.  It is now surrounded by a 1950-60s subdivision.
  But there was a time when JPR, his wife Charlotte, and their 10 children worked a thriving 60 acre ranch which was planted in vineyards and fruit trees.  Their oldest son, W.D., had 40 acres to the east planted in wheat.  That property became Montgomery Middle School.  At the time, the ranch was part of Bostonia.
  My father was a dreamer and there were not enough hours in a day for him to accomplish all that he wished.  My mother kept the interior of the home in a Victorian style with lace curtains and eventually antique furniture.
   At this writing in 2012, the ranch house has been in the Van Zanten family for 53 years - longer than the Halls owned it.  And, it is still loved and cherished.


LONGER STORIES & NARRATIVES


Citrus Growing on Pepper Drive  - Milman Youngjohn, Former Resident

Poultry Farming during Depression Years - Milman Youngjohn

Those Terrific Model T Fords - G. Carroll Rice, Resident

The Landslide - Kathryn Dodson Benson, Former Resident

Those Damn' Smudge Pots - G. Carroll Rice, Resident




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