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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

(Wireline 5) A prunepicker visits the South in 1951.

I was very excited when I learned that I was being sent to the Schlumberger Headquarters in Houston for a week long training school. I had never been up in an airplane, let alone fly in a large commercial flight half way across the US. I thought that I was one important guy.

Half of the flight we were flying over Texas. I remember looking down at the bleak West Texas terrain and seeing the lights of drilling rigs. The country was a lot like parts of Kern County where I worked.

A week in a hotels and meals on the expense account. We stayed at the Rice Hotel which was the biggest and fanciest hotel in Houston (in those days). Exotic food. At a cafe I ordered a breakfast. With the eggs and toast was a pile of white stuff. I was told the white stuff was grits and to get used to it. Not me, I did not eat it. I can now but still prefer hash brown potatoes. A group of us went out to dinner. I will never forget the big piles of delicious fried chicken and biscuits.

Schlumberger then was located on South Leland. Later they built a large and modern (to me then) plant and office out on the Coast Freeway. Now they are in Sugarland, a city on the edge of Houston.
In some ways Houston was like a foreign country to the old prunepicker (me). The plant had two water fountains at each water station, one marked white and one marked colored. This was a shock to me.

We were in classes all day with many experts, geologists, engineers, chemists, accountants talking on the oil well drilling business. A training class picture is shown below. Mr A M Allegret was the dean of the class. He is on the far right in the second row. I am first on the left in the second row. I remember a lecture by Mr Allegret in which he told us to keep our finger nails clean.

Notice that I am wearing a bow tie. The Schlumberger family that owns Schlumberger is French. Many Frenchmen wear bow ties. See Mr Allegret. Need I say more? The bow tie could not be pre tied.

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