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, March 28, 2014

(Wireline 7) Memories of Oildale.

During our first stay in Bakersfield Jackie and I lived in four houses. The last two were in Oildale. Our last house was across the street from the Kern County Airport. We were living there when the largest California earthquake since the Frisco quake struck Kern County. It was on July 21, 1952. The day after my 27 birthday. Several people were killed and the courthouse and city hall were damaged beyond repair. It was in the night. Jackie hopped out of bed and headed for Nancy and Chris, our two children. The hall floor was heaving so badly so Jackie could not walk there until the quake was over.


RR tracks near Bakersfield.


A school house in Bakersfield.

For months there were after shocks, some strong. In August a quake in Tehachapi killed several people. I can remember feeling a quake while I was driving down a highway. I remember a big shock that came when we were logging a well. When you are running wireline in a well the forces from spinning a large heavy reel are lined up with the truck. (The truck rocks to and fro in line with the truck) I can remember a quake to cause the truck to rock at a right angle to the normal rocking. (an odd feeling)

I can remember being in a coffee shop and all the stacked dishes would start to rattle. The customers would get quiet and look at each other. Downtown Bakersfield was cordoned off and the National Guard was on patrol. Jackie and I would sit in Oildale and watch Los Angeles TV broadcasting from downtown. I had installed a 30 foot antenna pole on the roof so that we could watch TV and watch Gorgeous George wrestle. There was not any TV in Bakersfield.

One time we had some cold cash. My brother Warren (every family has one such character) would visit us and I would loan him money, which he never paid back. On one visit Jackie put all of our money in an ice cube tray so that I could not lend it to Warren.

Our children started school in Oildale. Here is a picture from the time. The man with Jackie is her father Payne Ireton. They are holding on to Chris and Nancy.



One time Jackie looked out the window and saw the neighbor lady running down the driveway. Her husband was chasing her and shooting a gun at her! The lady ran around to our front door and Jackie let her in.  The police were soon there.

The Blackboard cafe was two blocks from the Schlumberger shop. Buck Owens and Merle Haggard  played there. It was a cowboy bar. I probably stopped there for coffee a half dozen times. This is one of the places that the Bakersfield Sound started. The area was loaded with Okies and Arkies 








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