In addition to visiting the new Women’s Suffrage Exhibit at their March 10 meeting, members of the Remembering Santa Monica group will be celebrating the 108th birthday of Santa Monica native Florence Kinney.
Spunky and fashionable, Florence has witnessed a century of Santa Monica history in her lifetime. Born in Santa Monica in 1912, Florence went to work at Van de Kamp’s Bakeries after graduating from Santa Monica High School. She worked her way up to the position of manager while enjoying the social whirl of her early ’20s, when young people would go to local ballrooms to dance or have “weenie bakes” and picnics on the beach. She met her future husband, Ray Kinney, on a blind date set up by her coworkers. They married in 1934 and remained happily married for 60 years until his passing.
The couple lived in Santa Monica and Las Vegas for periods, but eventually returned to the Westwood area. They got involved in real estate, rehabbing houses together while raising their daughter, Patricia, who became a nurse.
Florence says she’s seen Santa Monica change a lot over her lifetime. She describes it as a small, friendly town. “On Saturday nights,” Florence remembers, “you’d walk down Third Street, and you would know everybody.” In 1927, anywhere past 26th Street was “out in the fields.”
She’s also seen fashion changes, commenting that “people now are more casual. When we went someplace, we got dressed up!” She likes some of the changes, she says, but not daylight savings time – which was instituted in Franklin Roosevelt’s administration.
Florence lived through both World Wars, working in the local Douglas Aircraft small parts department during World War II. She also remembers voting in federal elections when she came of age – something that wasn’t legal for women when she was born. (The 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920 and celebrates its centenary this year.) She now has three grandsons and six great-grandchildren and says she is grateful for the “good friends and good marriage” she’s had over her lifetime. In sum, she says, “I’ve had a wonderful life.”
To RSVP for a seat at the meeting, please call the museum at 310-395-2290, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Anne Wallentine