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Gene & Deborah Kardos Email

Where do you live now? Victorville

How many years were you in the desert? 30

Are you willing to help with pictures? yes, if i can find them

Are you willing to help with stories? if i can

My mom and dad bought property in Kennedy Meadows in 1964 now me and my husband inherited it a few years back

Chuck Stribley Email

Where do you live now? Lowell, MI

How many years were you in the desert? 5

Are you willing to help with pictures? don't have many

Are you willing to help with stories? perhaps

Tonight I'm just surfing on the web and I thought of China Lake.  I found your link and a reference to Zeke and Doris Boyack and how you may be neighbors in Yuma.  Zeke and Doris were are best friends in C/L before we moved to Arizona in 1976.  I think of them often and hope to get down to AZ to visit before I croak.  Chuck Stribley

Roberta (Smith) Brown Email

Where do you live now? Yuma, AZ

How many years were you in the desert? 17

Are you willing to help with pictures? Don't have any.

Are you willing to help with stories? I have so many!

I was born at Drummond Medical Center October 1, 1949. Left in my 2nd year at Burroughs when I got pregnant, married, & left town. Yes, we are still married, 50 years later! I would have graduated in "67". So many memories! I've read some of the other posts and it seems no matter what decade, the kids all did the same things and have the same memories! I am so Blessed that I still have relatives to come and visit. I wish people in Ridgecrest would start wearing name tags. I'm always looking at people and thinking, "Do I know them"? My Mom went to Burroughs and was in the class that painted the first "B" on B Mountain. I've seen names that I recognize while reading through here. I went to Monroe while we lived in town for awhile, then we moved to Inyokern. I still have nieces and nephews that will be graduating from Burroughs. Going on 4 generations. Ridgecrest has grown some and yet still remained the same. I'll be home to visit in 2 weeks. Can't wait!


Where do you live now? New Mexico Land of Entrapment

How many years were you in the desert? 3

Are you willing to help with pictures? If I find some.

Are you willing to help with stories? Mine only


We moved from Japan to the China Lake in the early 50's. 

School was in a Quonset hut; and, I blamed the curved walls for this, I promptly dehydrated and woke up in the hospital where I discovered that I did not like swallowing solid small things. When I left, there were small orange capsules stuck to the wall behind my pillow.

Later, I had to have a blood test and thus got to see all the dogs in the lab out back of the blue hospital in Ridgecrest.  Little did I know what Dr. D was up to.  

On St. Patrick's Day, Dr. Drummond removed my tonsils but someone forgot to remove my metal barrettes.  My mouth was held open with a clamp and I was strapped down to the table. Communication was non-existent and I was constantly shocked during the removal. Later, when I saw the movie Frankenstein, I assessed him as being a woose. 

My father was a huge baseball fan.  In Japan Sis and I spent a lot of time in the stands or in the grass on the side learning to weave clover.  At China Lake we went to baseball and softball games.  My most vivid memory is when the sailors played against a black ladies team.  The ladies wore purple uniforms with a yellow stripe on the bottom of the skirt. Wow! I did like purple. My dad was IMPRESSED with the speed of the soft ball that the lady pitcher threw.  I don't remember who won; it wasn’t important.  

Sis and I attended St. Ann's one room school house (the old Mormon Church) in Ridgecrest.  

My BF and I would sneak out a door and go to Uncle Tom's Cabin for candy and wax teeth full of kool aid.  My older sister would sneak out the door and go the bar to watch TV.


The Franciscans would come by regularly and talk to the boys. One of them would twirl his beads and pull things out of his long brown sleeves; he was not as good as the Japanese magicians.  HOWEVER, the Franciscans excelled at revealing tools for mental and emotional survival.  When I got caught sneaking out of class, for my punishment I was sent to the cloak room where the Franciscans talked to the boys about life.  I was an intellectual sponge (mom read Collier's encyclopedia to us as soon as we started asking questions) so I made sure I was punished every time a Franciscan showed up in the parking lot. The benefits of Socratic questioning has served me well.  Sis says I am more introspective than most people and friends demand that I support them no matter what and quit playing devil’s advocate.
Super Coola was THE soft drink.  Mom would freeze it (it worked because the top of the can was cone shaped and the freeze had room to expand) and my sister and I each had a can opener to flip off the cap.  I had a Roy Rogers lunchbox sans thermos. 

Our first pet on base was an orange striped cat named Rudolph.  He had the run of the place until Sis and I talked a sailor into leaning over and dropping a dime onto a plate at the fair.  We thanked him profusely and took our little yellow duck home.  We named him Teetle ....because that's the sound he made.  This was the first time we brought home a live critter who would soon have feathers.  Mom was a good sport and fed him dog kibble with water.  When she caught Rudolph sneaking up on Teetle, she slammed a rolled up newspaper on the cement behind Rudolph who obligingly jumped straight up in the air and flew out of sight.  Teetle had the run of the yard and grew up big and white and left a trail of ick wherever he went.  Mom eventually gave him to David's mom because David had pet pigeons. Later David's mom asked our mom what she fed Teetle because he was the best duck they ever ate.  

Now about David... he was cute, had buried a jar of pennies in his back yard as part of a time capsule, he never lost all of his marbles (especially the cat-eyes) and played with real live birds.  His mother looked like Grace Kelly and his mom’s father drove a shiny black Cadillac, was tall and dark, and... wore on his head a bright colored bandanna with polka-dots and to my mind HE was a pirate.  Therefore, David was special and unique!  

We took Rudolph with us on a trip to visit friends in Anaheim.  Why I do not know.  Rudolph entered the alfalfa field across the street from Stevie and Terry's ...never to return AND we did not get to visit Disneyland.  Dad said "wait till it is finished"! 

Dad replaced Rudolph with a dog and cat and mom named them after a notions store in Ridgecrest -- Buttons and Bows -- or maybe it was the song from 1948.  Could she really remember that far back?  Buttons was a thoroughbred black cocker spaniel who promptly started planning for a 60 hole putting green in the yard. Miss Bows was a dainty seal-point Siamese.  She would later have 8 little black kitties. 

We regularly came to Ridgecrest for a frosty and my dad would haggle over the price per pound for watermelon.  Once home, the melons went into the freezer (the kind you can put bodies in) for a while. Then he would eat the watermelon with salt and we would wonder why???  Mom said it was a North Carolina tradition.

We spent a lot of time walking towards "B" mountain --- we were allowed to go alone into the desert as long as we kept the "B" within our sight  -- so our parents would not have the whole desert to search for us.  We would pick-up hornie toads and the boys would try to shoot a lizard or snake with a bow and arrow.  

My BF and I would chant: "California oranges, Arizona cactus, we play Burroughs just for practice!"  What did we know.... we had never been to a game or to Trona. We were young... it was catchy!

One time when it rained, BF and I went and scooped up fairy shrimp at the "dry lake" and brought them home to show mom.  She did not make a fuss over them; so, the next bucket I brought home was full of golf balls.  Somehow she always knew where we had been.

During one of our forays into new territory, BF and I chased a furry ball into a woman's garage.  She gave us a jar and urged us to pursue it... the furry thing.  I got it and it got me. The woman called mom and mom took me to the dispensary.  I was given a choice:  I could keep the kangaroo rat in the jar and get a shot in the stomach OR I could give up the little fellow and hope for no shot.   I gave him up!  I already knew about Rabbit's little sister having to get shots in her stomach. NO Thank You!  And No shots!!

A new St. Ann’s was built and shortly thereafter caught fire when three combustible forces collided -- alter-boy, matches and candles... or so somebody said.  Sounds possible?  Anyway, I ended up going to school on base where we all got to watch the class ballerina twirl around the room on special occasions.  I was impress that she held her chin up and did not get dizzy and fall down.  She always did the same thing and in the same direction.

One day we were all ushered into the auditorium to watch TV.  Some kids from Richmond, who we did not know, were or had been on TV and we were all going to watch them on the Art Linkletter Show’s segment Kids Say the Darndest Things.  Boring.......! Couldn’t identify with any of them and Mr. Linkletter kept looking in the camera up close and too close for comfort.

Our family joined the rock hounds. We went to every ghost town in three states and even drove to a hill and looked down at a dry lake.  Only Daddy knew why. 

Sis and I also left mom and little brother behind and joined dad in an open jeep bumping over roads and rocks .... all this to look at wild animals and to stop and blow holes in the road.  We got to do this four times. The last time dad decided to take motion pictures of wild animals.  I hung on for dear life while Pop led the way and dad drove with one hand and filmed with the other.  I liked Pop he was enthusiastic. He was the keeper of the hinterlands on the base.  Mom was sure he was picking up samples in old goldmines. 



Richard Maxwell Email

Where do you live now? Houston

How many years were you in the desert? Ten plus 8 in New Mexico

Are you willing to help with pictures? Yes

Are you willing to help with stories? Yes

I lived in China Lake from 1949 to 1959.  Born in Long Beach in 1948.  I wondered what happened to all of the schools.  I went to Viewig, Rowe Street and Grove Street Schools, We lived on Ringgold Street which no longer exists.  My father drag raced at the Inyokern Airstrip.  A 49 Ford. A long time ago.  I remember Kernville before Lake Isabella was built and then saw the road stop where the lake began later on.  We used to go to the Kern River and camp at Camp 3. Always went to movies with friends for ten cents.  Enjoyed the cartoons back in those days.  They were good back then.  I went back to see what things were like back in about 1990.  It was really depressing.  It was the first time that I had been there since 1959.  Whole sections of town were now non existent.
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