By Richard Senate
Long ago, in Ventura, before the oil wells and traffic, before paved roads and telephones a tradition existed here of the “Golden Triangle,” a triangle formed by the cities of Ventura, Ojai and Santa Paula.
Young people who were serious about their relationship would announce to the friends and family that they would “ride the triangle.” This was seen as a big step in their courting. In that time the two were always kept under observations with chaperons—in this ordeal they would be by themselves, alone. The young man would rent or borrow a buggy and horse, the young maiden would cook and make the food. Tearful mothers would see them off at sunup as they started the long ride. By buggy, on those unpaved roads, it was an all day affair.
It was demanding too, at times, when the road was steep, they had to push the buggy themselves. There were bears and snakes to menace the travelers. On the trip they could talk and settle questions they might have, as well as kiss and smooch at stops along the way. It is said that if they were still speaking to each other when they got back home—they would soon wed. I always wonder how many were still virgins after this symbolic journey.
When they pulled in, exhausted from the trip, they had concocted a story of their travels for friends and family. Most of the time it worked, and the two were married, but several times it didn’t and the couples broke up afterwards. The couples were mostly young, but several middle-aged men and women took this test as well. It forced them to work together, handle problems and see if they were compatible together. Not really a bad test for couples who lived in a very demanding age.