Mike N. Robledo
Born: November 16, 1910
In the last 100 years, what invention had the most impact on your life? Why?
I was born in Redlands, CA but moved to Los Angeles via the steam locomotive in 1913 and lived there until 1951. I can remember standing next to the steam locomotive and wondering how I got off that giant train. The stairs had really high steps and I guess my father must have carried me off. I remember that train ride. When I was a little boy and a fire started in the neighborhood the fire wagon/truck would have to make it to the fire as fast as possible. The Clydesdale horses would pull the truck and I remember the steel on the wheels would cause sparks when it turned corners. The other kids and I would run through the empty lots and beat the fire truck to the fire (there was not too many houses in area yet). I think the invention of the engine was a great thing. Later in life while living in Oroville, CA I needed the fire department and I needed them quickly; my farmland caught fire from a spark by the train. I was very glad for the engine driven fire trucks that day. They even had a helicopter come in and drop water on the fire. I would have lost everything if they had never invented the engine.
What was your favorite decade? Why?
1940's were the most memorable times for me and many others too. There was The Great Depression in the 1930's and much need for assistance from God only knew where. Franklyn D. Roosevelt was The President Of The United States Of America and he created jobs along with programs such as Social Security, The March Of Dimes, Unemployment Insurance and Work Progress Administration. All of these programs gave us so much hope.
What advice would you give to a high school graduate today?
My best advice was passed on to me from my father. I have since passed this on to all of my family as well. There were two things my father used to say. 1) You must learn to save your money when you are young and do not spend it on things you do not need. You will learn many things from every thing you do in life. Learn from these experiences and make a better person of yourself as you go. These are the things that will help you get through life as you get older and, if you saved your money your should be comfortable later on in life as well. 2) If you cut corners or cheat, it will always come back on you in the long run. So be honest with yourself and others.
What is the most important lesson you learned in your life?
I was working on a construction site and I asked my boss if he needed another good worker like me (my brother Jim was not making very good money I think he was earning about $0.30 an hour if that much). So the boss said "Heck if I could have two guys like you I could get so much more done and at a faster pace. Is he as good a worker as you?" I assured him he was and proceeded to go get Jim. I was excited since Jim would now make $0.50 an hour more and, I was sure Jim would jump on board with me. I saw Jim that night and gave him the great news but Jim did not want to leave his present job. Jim said his boss treated him like a son and could not just leave him. I then had to go back to my boss and I was ashamed that I had put myself out there like that without asking my brother first. I thought my boss would not ask me anything if he did not see my brother with me that morning but that was not the case. My boss quickly came over and asked me where my brother was and I had to tell him that he declined the offer. My boss was not upset at me but, since I never go against my word I left work and pulled my younger brother (by five years) out of his job and made him come to work with me. Jim's first paycheck was much celebrated and welcomed. Jim could not believe how much more money he made now. I remember that shortly after that Jim bought a Ford Model A, got married to Petra and bought a couple houses. Jim did turn out to be as good a worker as I was because we came from the same lessons. I guess I did a good thing after all. After that I never wanted to put myself on the line because you never want to look bad in your boss’ eyes.
What leader in the past century impressed you the most? Why?
President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He made the best changes any president ever made for the people of the United States.