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The Peanut Vendors Cart Built in the Late 1800's
It all started about 1916 in old Anaheim, CA. Herman Venegas was our uncle who was married to my mother Victoria's sister. My father was Pedro Castro. So as the story goes, the peanut vendor cart wound up having two owners.
Herman Venegas and his young wife, Paulita and 3 young boys lived in the barrio called “La Fabrica,” Anaheim. My mom, Victoria and dad Pedro also lived in “La Fabrica.”
Herman Venegas was working full time, but on the weekends he would load his cart with candy, peanuts, sweet sugar cane and fruits of the season, and would push his loaded cart to the barrio of “La Fabrica” and another barrio called “La Conga.” He also would sell at Sunday baseball games in his own barrio “La Fabrica” and he was doing very well for a few years. The Venegas family moved to La Jolla Colony around 1924. My mother and dad Pedro were wed in 1922 and also moved to La Jolla, which is now South Placentia, CA. Herman bought a home on Gonzales St and my parents did as well at 807 Gonzales, where Eddie Castro was born in 1928. The Venegas were our next door neighbors.
Herman operated his business from his home on Gonzales Street for many years. He would push his cart to downtown Placentia, where he would vend his goodies at the local handball court which was located on the corner of Baker and Melrose Streets. Then he would return to his own area in La Jolla, which boasted also its own handball court. This cart was used to sell at local “jamicas” and any type of public gatherings.
During the big flood of 1938, this two-wheel cart was washed away and lost. Later it was found under some orange trees about two-miles west of Gonzales Street at Acacia and Orangethorpe.
My dad at this time was employed by Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens. Our home on Gonzales was heavily damaged by the flood and we did not have a place to live. A small house was offered to my dad, and we moved to a ranch house (which is now East Yorba Linda Estates).
We had plenty of space to roam and play but were limited in toys. My dad knew about the damaged two-wheel cart, so he proceeded to ask Herman for the cartwheels. My uncle said okay. My dad put his ingenuity to work, he took the axle of the cart and stuck it in concrete leaving the axle sticking out of the ground about two feet. When it dried, he put a wheel on the axle slot and thus we had a “merry-go-round.”
This merry-go-round went around and around day and night so it seemed. As time went by and we grew older, my dad put the wheel away - never to be used again.
In 1952 we bought our first home on Tafolla Street in South Placentia, only three blocks away from Gonzales Street. By chance I asked my dad about the cartwheel and, sure enough, the wheel had been put away. We used the wheel to decorate our backyard and every once in a while the history of the wheel would come up. Our children grew up with the wheel for 15 years and felt like it was part of our lives and family.
When we moved to our home on Sierra Bonita Drive, Placentia in 1967, our wheel came with us. The peanut cartwheel had been part of the Castro family for many years. It had been a good wheel. It gave many hours of pleasure, and it carried plenty of goods in its days.
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