prune picker

This is the blog of a prune picker. (Native born Californian) Retired oilfield. I am an old man. (91) I blog a lot about my body and getting old. As I approach death life gets more interesting. More interesting is not good. I still drive. I attend sports, music, and civic events. I am writing my memoirs. I attend swim class three times a week. Some of my blogs might be interesting. A lot of my blogs are silly and trivial. None are very long.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Grape picking in the Great Depression.


This is an event that occurred in my life. I am telling it to illustrate how tight money was in the depression. I think that it happened around 1934. My Dad and I and my brother Warren were picking grapes. I was about nine. I remember that all the other pickers were Mexican families. I remember being fascinated by the lunch that they had. It was strange looking stuff, like burritos and tacos. This was long before Taco Bell.

We were to be paid so much for so many grapes. I kept track of what I picked. I was young and not a good grape picker. By the end of the day I had earned about 70 cents. I have never forgotten that my Dad took the money and kept it. 70 cents was a lot of money in those days. I was sorely disappointed  and angry with my Dad for keeping it. I know that it was common practice for parents to keep the earnings of their children. Abraham Lincoln's father hired Abe out and kept the money until Abe was 21.  

My thoughts now about the incident is wonderment and sorrow about how poor my Dad was at that time. My Dad worked hard all his life and had supported a family with nine children. At one time he had a team of horses and contracted work in the orange groves in the Pomona Valley. We were well off at one time. I can remember living in a large two story house. But tractors took over orchard work and the depression came. Dad worked for the WPA and really had a hard time.

Dad fell on very hard times after the start of the depression. I can remember a house with no food. The family was just my Dad, Warren and I. I can remember coming home to that house and all of our furniture was piled in the front yard. The rent had not been paid.

Money was tght!


  1. Excellent story about money. Good illustration Chuck!
    Deanne Groves

    1. Thank you Deanne. I vividly remember not having any money.


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