prune picker

This is the blog of a prune picker. (Native born Californian) Retired oilfield. I am an old man. 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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

When I learned to swim in Taft, California

I was swimming in the Louisiana Tech Pool recently when my thoughts went back to when I learned to swim. I was about 7 or 8. It was about 1932 or 1933. I lived in Pomona. My sister Thelma lived in Taft. Her husband worked for Standard Oil Company of California in the oil fields around Taft. He was probably one of the best well off of my immediate family. This was in the great depression and to have a steady job was really something. Especially with  large company like Standard. Marian was also one of my favorite relatives.

Thelma and her family would visit us in Pomona. Several times they took me home with them for the summer. They lived in a Standard Oil camp. The camp had a dozen company houses and a clubhouse with a swimming pool. My nephew Donald taught me how to swim. Donald was only 21 days younger than me. I was an uncle at 21 days old!

It was quite a trip from Pomona to Taft. The last hour had a long straight stretch . I asked Marian many times if we were about there until he got a little upset. I shut up.

Through Pasadena, over the mountains, and cross a desert. I got very car sick going over the Ridge Route and down Grapevine Grade. Had to up chuck at least once. The summit at Tejon Pass. near Gorman, was 4160 feet. I remember being snowed in, years later, at Gorman with my brother George. There were soldiers in big green overcoats and rifles guarding the Pass. It was shortly after Pearl Harbor. Went from fruit orchards and truck crops to oil wells and desert. Here is a photo of Pomona.

And a photo of typical Taft country. Tumbleweeds and oil wells.

It was an exciting summer for a young boy. I had my first drink of Coca Cola. It was cold and delicious.


  1. That pic full of oil wells reminds me of East TX oil boom times...without all the piney woods.
    Great historical recounting. We always love your stories from years ago. You are a walking history book. Thank you.


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