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, August 22, 2016

PrunePicker Memories of my Father, Charles Abner Monson. Part 4.

My Father never told me that he loved me. I know that he did, in his way. I can remember several things that showed his thought for me. I used to get terrible cases of poison oak. My whole body would be involved. One time required the care of a Doctor. Another time I missed several weeks of school. This one time his Mexican friends told him of a cure. It involved boiling a bucket full of a certain weed. The bucket poured in a tub full of water. Then you soaked in the tub. I think that it helped.

One time I had a terrible ear ache. My Father poured a spoon full of my heated urine into my ear. It helped.

When my family was breaking up and going their separate ways (I think that my Grandma gave up running our home) Dad sent Warren and I to the McKinley School for Boys in Van Nuys. It was kind of fancy and cost a good bit. I know that Dad was getting letters from the School for a few years wanting money.

Times were hard. I can remember no food at times in our house. Now it was just Dad, Warren, and I. Warren was four years older than me and was soon gone. I would slip into orchards (they were all around Pomona) and steal fruit to eat.

The following story will illustrate how poor we were. Dad, Warren and I were in a grape field picking grapes.
I believe our fellow workers were mostly Mexican. When we broke for lunch I saw my first Mexican food. Lots of tortillas! I think our fellow workers had more lunch than we did. We were paid a certain amount per grapes picked. I was pretty young and did not pick a lot. But I kept track and knew that I had earned 70 cents. That was a lot of money to me and I was thinking during the day how I was going to spend it. When pay time come Dad kept all the money that the three of us had coming. I was greatly disappointed. I think now what dire straits my Dad's finances were in and I feel bad for him.

About this time I came home one day. All of our furniture was in a pile in the front yard. We had not paid our rent and had been evicted. That is poor. I had to go to a sister's house.

Later Dad and I lived in a room adjacent to a couple of rooms that the family of my sister Nita lived in. These rooms were in the back of a long ago closed up store. I can remember wandering in the store and looking out the front windows. We ate our meals with Nita. I can remember biscuits and salt pork gravy three meals a day. I remember that salt pork was 4 1/2 cents per pound. Sometimes we had potato soup.

One morning I woke up and saw my Father laying on the floor. He had suffered a severe stroke in the night. An ambulance took him to the Los Angeles County Hospital. He recovered but was paralyzed on his left side. He spent the next 17 years at the Rancho Los Amigos in Downey, California. This was the Los angeles County Poor Farm. It has been closed. There is a Rehabilitation Center with the same name across the highway. (Years later my son Chris spent time at the new facility when he had many broken limbs from a traffic accident.)

My Father lived from 1881 to 1957. Seventy six tough years.


  1. What a hard tough time y'all went through. Few folks could handle that these days.


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