Oral Histories

Dale & Donna Oviatt

Donna: b. 1929 - Dale: b.1929

Donna & Dale Oviatt

Donna: Three. One is driving truck; you have to have a college education to drive a truck anymore. He drove for Savage; Russell is 55 or 56, (born in 1948). He lives in Huntington and he’s working for the county right now. He retired once, but he got bored so he went back to work. He had worked for Savage for 20 years so he had his retirement. My daughter does blueprints for bathrooms and kitchens in Denver. She’s a designer for bathrooms and kitchens and she has a job for one of our friends where they do all the decorating for the malls in Denver. She is a very busy girl.

Q: Any grandchildren?

Donna: Yes, I’ve got six grandchildren and seven great-grands. Just one little girl.

Q: Do any of them live in Moab?

Donna: No. they haven’t for years and years. They are in Utah except the one that lives in Colorado. One lives in Price and one lives in Huntington.

Q:Terry is your daughter?

Donna: Yes, Dale’s and mine. (Dale: they are all three my kids, but just one by marriage.)

Q: Did your kids go to school here?

Donna: Yes,

Q: What kind of house did you live in here, together?

Donna: Here in Moab, we had a house down where the Center Café is now. We sold it and they built a café on there. We wanted to move out so we weren’t all sandwiched in between all the motels and hotels and apartments. So we moved out here (on Kerby Lane).

Q: When did you move out here? And did you buy this?

Dale: It was a HUD home, actually. When they appraised it, it was for $50,000. When we were going to bid on it, Donna asked how much we should bid? I said if they appraised it for fifty thousand, if you want it, that’s what you better bid for it.

Donna: That’s when all the houses were selling and everybody was moving out of Moab.

Dale: It was about twenty years ago.

Donna: It was when the mill closed down and everybody was moving out.

Dale: Whenever year it was, it was Thanksgiving Day.

Donna: He and I moved in Thanksgiving Day; the kids were grown and gone.

Q: The place that is now the Center Café on First West, was that an original house?

Donna: Dan, Lila Winberger used to own it. It was two rooms. When we bought it, we just kept adding on and adding on as we got kids. It was a really long lot, right next to the hotel, The Moab Hotel across from the Bike shop corner of 1st N and 1st W. Jack Rour used to run it then. Then we had a motel behind us and apartment complex on the other side of us so we decided it was time to move out.

Q: Did they tear your house down to build the café?

Donna: No, they still have the house there.

Dale: They just built all around it.

Donna: It became a restaurant right away as soon as we left.

Q: What was that restaurant?

Dale: I don’t know what the two girls that bought it from us what name they had for it. (Honest Ozzie’s)

Q: Was First West a pretty busy road?

Donna: Very, very busy. Just about like Main Street was. Instead of getting on Main Street with no lights where you couldn’t get on the road -that was during the boom- and they come down First Street so they didn’t have to wait for the traffic for fifteen minutes or so. It was very busy.

Q: Did you shop for groceries and stuff in Moab?

Donna: Of course, I worked in Millers.

Q: What all did Millers have?

Donna: We didn’t have groceries, it was just clothing, better lines of clothing. He was in business a long time. Hal Johnson used to own it, but he closed down and retired. He had health problems. Then Sprouse-Reitz bought it. They had a big Sprouse-Reitz store there and I worked there for a little while – for about a year. Working out here and driving in to work every day got kind of monotonous and expensive.

Q: How was this road when you moved out here?

Donna: It wasn’t too bad. The only thing is, when we have a gully-washer, you can’t get across here. It roars down and fills clear up. We had some Relief Society teachers here one day and it was raining. We hadn’t thought about the Creek (Pack Creek); they visited with us about a half hour; when they got ready to go they had a hard time getting across the creek. Dale was afraid he was going to have to push them with his Jeep to get them through.

Q: Did you spend much time in other cities, Monticello, Grand Junction?

Donna: Not really, just when we have to go over there to the doctor, that’s the only time we shop there. We don’t go to VA, we go to St. Marys.

Q: You don’t use your Veterans benefit?

Dale: No, Ma’am.

Q: How about interaction with Park Service, Forest Service, BLM? When you were working for the county, did you have run-ins or cooperative efforts?

Dale: Didn’t do that much. The roads going across Park Service and BLM grounds, we graded them, took care of them, but other than that, that was about it.

Donna: They graded up in the mountains even, the Loop road and all over for the Forest Service. It worked out so that everybody was agreeable.

Q: What did you do for recreation when the kids were growing up?

Donna: We used to deer hunt; we used to roller skate; we loved to go arrowhead hunting; now we can’t walk very good.

Q: Where did you roller skate?

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