The population of Poplar, CA in the 1950s and 1960s was about 800-1,000 people at the most and I think that included the population of Cotton-Center and outlying areas.
My family lived in a two room house, (my Dad later added another room). We lived between the Short family and the Glory family on Imperial Rd.
It was a warm, uh, lets make that a hot as hell summer day in the Central Valley of California. My sister, Tudy and I were home with our Mom and we were playing outside. I was about six and Tudy was about four years old.
We were playing on the side of the yard next to the Glory's because they had a couple of big old shade trees. It was at least a little cooler under those trees.
Mrs. Glory and some of her women friends were sitting under the shade trees visiting and talking about how hot it was. They kept carrying on about the heat and fanning themselves with paper fans and homemade fans made from pieces of paper. Some of them were fanning themselves with their dress-tails. Now Mrs. Glory and her lady friends were not a petite bunch. These ladies loved their fried chicken and starches!
Tudy and I had been playing in the water earlier so I knew that running through the sprinkler helped to cool one off in the heat. As I listened to the ladies complain about the heat nonstop, I came up with a brilliant idea!
I enlisted the aid of my little sister and told Tudy to go into the kitchen and get Mama's bottle of dish-washing liquid. Tudy went and fetched the bottle and I proceeded to fill it up with water.
I told Tudy that we were going to cool the ladies off. We hid behind the tree and I started squirting them with the water. The ladies started jumping all around hoopin' and hollerin! They were causing quite a commotion! They made so much noise that Mama came out of the house and caught Tudy and me red handed cooling the ladies off.
Mama said, "Helen Jane, what are you doing"? I was trying to explain to Mama that we were just trying to cool the ladies off. She took the bottle away from me, and made us go into the house. Of course she threatened us with "Wait until your Daddy gets home"!
Mama apologized to Mrs. Glory and her friends for our bad behavior. She kept threatening us with Daddy for the rest of the day. We got our little butts beat when Daddy got home.
I later caught our parents laughing about us cooling Mrs. Glory and her friends off. I don't recall Mrs. Glory ever getting out in the yard like that again and complaining about the heat.
I was just trying to help the ladies, and Tudy thought it was a good idea too. I was in total agreement with them that it was really, really, hot.