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.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Bert Monson Family. Went from eleven persons to one in 14 years.

I was known as Bert Monson from birth to when I went into the Army. A foster parent, his Uncle Charles Morton Monson raised Dad on a farm in Sterling, Kansas. My Dad’s name is Charles Abner Monson. Dad and his adoptive Dad were called “Little Charles” and “Big Charles”. My Dad did not like that at all. He did not name any of his sons Charles until me. My five sisters thought that I should be named Charles. They promised my Dad that if he named me Charles Elbert that they would always call me Bert. He agreed and they kept their promise. When I was drafted into the Army the First Sargent called the roll. When he called Charles Monson I thought that I had better answer. I have been Chuck ever since. However I have nieces and nephews that call me Uncle Bert to this day. And I have been Chuck to the rest of the world for 70 years.

When I was born in a house in an orange orchard in Pomona, California I was the ninth child and the eleventh Monson in the house. My folks had five girls and then four boys. 

I can remember a large crowd at the table for supper. My Dad sat to my right and said wise things like “the closer to the bone, the sweeter the meat”. During the season Mom would fix our favorite supper. Mom would make a slurry of strawberries, cream, and a little sugar. She made a lot of strawberry slurry in a large blue enameled bowel with white spots in the blue enamel. She baked a lot of shortbread. It was not cake like or sweet but was like a fluffy biscuit. We had all we wanted, at least I did. It was so good. We were a happy family. We all liked our strawberry short cake supper.

My oldest sister Nita was born in 1907 in Elk City, Oklahoma.
My sister Thelma was born in 1909 in Long Beach, California.
My sister Jean was born in 1912 in Redlands, California.
My twin sisters Dallas and Donna were born in 1913 in Redlands, California. Twins were not expected. Donna had to be rescued at the last minute. The cord was wrapped around her neck. She was turning black.

At this time my folks had five girls under seven. I think that Mom was busy. 

My oldest brother Keith was born in 1916 in Redlands, California.
My brother George was born in 1918 in Riverside, California.
My brother Warren was born in 1921 in Chino, California.

My folks then took four years off. I was born in 1925 in Pomona, California.

There we were. One big happy family of 11. However, they soon started leaving. In the next nine years everyone had moved out and the Bert Monson Family was a family of one. Me. Several of the last years of the nine my family was my Dad and I and Warren part time.

In 1926 my sister Nita was married, followed by Thelma in 1928.

 My Mother died in 1931 when I was five. I have always felt very bad about the loss of my Mom. I am not over the feeling of loss today. The other day I saw my son in law kiss his Mother. He is 64. He is so fortunate to have had his Mother all those years. Two parent families are the best.

My next three sisters Jean, Donna. and Dallas were soon married and gone. Four of my sisters replaced their first husband. I always thought that the fifth sister should have done the same.

My brother Keith was married in 1939. George moved to Taft to live with my sister Thelma.

That left Dad, my brother Warren at home. Soon Warren left.

In 1940 my Dad had a stroke that left him paralyzed on one side of his body until his death in 1957. What a sad and terrible 17 years.

All of my siblings have passed away. I miss them. Even with my four children, nine grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren I miss my folks and siblings very much. I reminisce about my years with them often

Dad and Mom.

Their nine children. The daughters in 1914. The four sons around WWII time. 


  1. Dear Mr. Chuck,
    It is hard when people go... I miss my dad and D.B.'s parents everyday. I was very lucky to have such wonderful in-laws for so many years. D.B's Mom passed away about a year ago. We were close. I still catch myself thinking of things to tell her and then suddenly remembering that I can't.

    It must have been interesting to be a part of such a large family. I love the pictures that you posted. I think that you look a lot like your mom. Sweet memories.

    Love and Hugs,

    1. When my last two siblings (the twins Donna and Dallas) passed away I felt so lonely and missed them so much. The fact that all my brothers and sisters were gone was hard to take. Thanks for your kind email. This blog was written for a writing class I am taking at the Monroe Senior Center.

  2. I am a 81 year old native of Louisiana and had lived in Orange County California for the past 35 years. We seem to have mirror images of our lives.I enjoy reading your Blog and your insights about Louisiana and your days in California. Good Luck to you!

    1. Thank you for your kind remarks. If I live long enough I will have my whole life on my blog.

  3. Hi, I am friends with your son Mikes wife Becky, that's how I came upon your Blog, I love reading your stories. I am too very interested in Ancestry, and History. I'm a member of My Mom lost her Mom, sister, and brother all within a years time, so I know what your saying, she misses them very much. Again, love reading your stories....


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