Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Memories of The Tumble Inn.
November 2000.

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The Tumble Inn property was leased by my father and uncle in the early 1940s to be a retreat should the Pacific war become an attack upon the West Coast of America. Both worked and lived in the L.A. area, and what with Japanese 2-man subs washing up on the beach, they wanted to take up alternative residence where they could best defend their families and their country.

My father, Clayton Mill, told of a conversation with the local (county or state) law enforcement officer about hunting deer for subsistence. He was told that he could hunt all year long if we used everything he killed. Just report any "outsiders" hunting deer for less admirable reasons.

Perhaps you could help me locate the scene of another hunting story. It seems that a number of Douglas Aircraft employees augmented their somewhat meager meat rations by hunting rabbits in the desert counties east of Los Angeles. And since most of them were machinists by trade, they made up a number of silencers for their .22-caliber rifles and pistols so as not to be mistaken as those with less admirable reasons to be hunting.

One gentleman shot at a rabbit, only to watch it hop into a stand of trees. He followed it in and after a few minutes, came upon a cliff overlooking a small town, complete with a Civil Defense organization that was in the process of calling out the membership for a practice alert.

Let me emphasize practice, because while the practice session used two rings of the local church bell, the real thing would be announced by five rings.

Down below our intrepid hunter was a scene dominated by a small boy who so wanted to be the one to ring the bell (only twice, mind you) for the practice session. His father gave in, and repeated, "Only twice!" Our lad pulled the bell rope once, twice and let go. But the bell kept on ringing ... Three ... Four! ... Five!!

* * *

The end of the war put Dad out of the airplane business. He and his brother, Harry Mill, worked on the Kinsey Ranch out of Gorman. Dad was a cat-skinner and Harry was a cowboy. We lived in a cottage on the ranch on the north side of a small, intermittent lake. Mom made us bright orange shorts so she could keep an eye on us while we played. And then the poppies bloomed. Miles and square miles of orange!

Paul T. Mill lives in Troutdale, Ore. If you know where Douglas Aircraft employees were hunting during World War II, please e-mail us.
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