Dottie Lindsey celebrates 100 years

Dottie has always loved Ventura.

by Ross Williams

On March 8th Dottie Lindsey will be celebrating a milestone. Her 100th birthday. Dottie moved about the living room adjusting the curtains to get the lighting just right. For a person about to turn 100 she has a lot of pep to her step and a wit to match.

“I’m one of those Dust Bowl people” Dottie said as a matter of fact. In 1936 in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl Dottie’s father owned a soda shop. It was called the Pine Palace and it was made of half logs, equipped with a soda fountain and sandwich counter. “He made the most gorgeous banana splits that you have ever seen.” Dottie says with a grin. “And at night they would have dancing and serve 3.2 beer. It was a wonderful place.”

There deep in the heart of Baptist country many of the religious people in the area didn’t approve of the business or its “immoral atmosphere”. One late night the family received a phone call, their livelihood was on fire. Arson. With that, the family packed up all that they could fit in their car, sold off what they could, took the insurance money and moved out to California for a new beginning. The rest of their possessions were sent by rail but there was an accident on the railroad and the rest of their possessions never arrived. The trip to California was short lived as her father’s new business eventually failed and they once again returned to Oklahoma.

Just out of high school Dottie’s father passed away. With her mother at home with her younger brother and sister Dottie became the head of the household and went off to work. Dottie applied at J Paul Getty’s Spartan Aircraft just outside of Tulsa, settling for a job as a sheet metal worker and riveter when they didn’t have any open positions as secretary available. “Getty was a little guy, just about 5’5”. I had expected with all of his money and women for him to be much better looking than he was.” Dottie says with a matter of fact. One thing is clear, Dottie calls them how she sees them.

With the US now fully invested in World War II and moving operations into Africa, President Franklin D Roosevelt asked J Paul Getty to increase production and decrease rejections. With that, Dottie was one of those that Getty let go in the company shake up. Cashing in her last war bond, she gave her mother half and 20-year-old Dottie headed to Oklahoma City looking for opportunities. That’s where she met her husband George. They were married by Christmas. George was a California boy and they quickly moved out to San Francisco to start a life of their own.

Dottie and George came to Ventura in 1959. Back in those days, Ventura was a little town of well dressed people and wonderful weather. The laid back beach town vibe sat well with the Lindsey’s. They moved to the Eastside of Ventura, which at the time was unincorporated and Out in the country as she put it.”  Dottie has always loved Ventura, “It was a nice place where we could take our two boys to the drive in, watch a movie and drink cokes.” Simple things. 

George worked for the Controller’s office and Admiral at Point Mugu until his retirement. Dottie worked there as a secretary until hers. Dottie retired from Point Mugu after 22 years. “It was always exciting. I was kept busy and there was always an adventure.”

After retirement Dottie did a lot of volunteer work with Congressman Gallegly. Sitting in on quarterly breakfasts, she would often talk to him and jokingly say that both of her grandsons were in Jail. Her two grandsons are both deputies and started their careers in Ventura. Congressman Gallegly would smile and remark, “And doing a fine job of it from what I hear too!” George and Dottie did a lot of work over the years supporting the congressman.

George passed away 12 years ago and Dottie chuckles and sighs in deep remembrance as she talks about the past and present, family and friends, those that have come and gone and all of the experiences that make a life worth living. She had even had an autobiography that she was working on but it was lost at some point.

After our interview Dottie took me on a tour of her prized garden, showing off her collection of large and healthy orchids just ready to bloom. We picked oranges off of her tree with daughter Sandy. We looked over her collection of teapots and talked about the little details of life that give her joy. Painting, crafting, reading and all the things that make a life worth living.

Editor: If you are a senior (over 70-years), or know of one, who would like to share their retirement, or job, with us please let us know at [email protected].

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