Oral Histories

Deone Skewes

b.1920

Deone Skewes

Q: I trust they paid you for it?

A: No. I wouldn’t take any money so they said I couldn’t do it anymore. So, if I wouldn’t so I said, “Let’s not do that”

Q: Did they feed you?

A: Yes. I said, “Why don’t I just have dinner and we’ll call it square?” So that’s what we did.

Q: Well, that was certainly a good deal for them. Did you play all through the dinner hour?

A: Yes. Usually played for two or three hours Sunday evenings and once in a while somebody would come up and ask me to play something, Stardust or whatever, and leave a nice tip on the piano. One of the waiters put a big goblet and I said, “No you can’t do that.   I don’t want that here at all.” So I took the money container off the piano and that is kind of like asking people to put something in there and I didn’t want them to. So, we got rid of that and so they would just talk to me and under their hand might be a nice bill, or something you know, so that was okay, you know. But I didn’t want people to think they were supposed to do that.

Q: Well, they probably assumed you were paid by the Sleights, as far as that goes.

A: Probably.

Q: So, what sort of music do you like?

A: Well, you know I look at it this way, I got the practice and I got the dinner so I was coming out ahead.

Q: So you play anything? Are you a classical pianist?

A: Yes. All through school I took classical and I did, up to a few years ago, play classical music as well as pop tunes and jazz and all that.

Q: Do you play by ear?

A: Yes. But I also play by note.

Q: So this fellow who asked you to play Stardust…you could just go ahead and play it?

A: Yes. Go ahead and play it. I would have a hard time remembering what to play so I had this little book and I would write down everything I played so I could remember and just refer to the book.

Q: You had the name of it?

A: Then I put it in alphabetical order and I had about 300 songs there that I could play and I just looked at my little note book. Finally one man and his wife were sitting by the piano having their dinner and he asked me to play a certain thing and his wife said, “No. Don’t do it because, don’t you see she is playing in alphabetical order and she will get to it pretty soon.”

Q: Oh no! She saw your list

A: She saw the note book and the list. She said, “She will get to it.”

Q: And you did?

A: And I did. Yeah. Those were fun days. 

Q: Did you have any interaction with the agencies, the park or the BLM?

A: No, I didn’t.

Q: Do you like to go hiking or riding or…?

A: No, I haven’t done anything like that since I was a kid.   I haven’t the whatever it takes. It’s too hot, I’m too old and I have emphysema and asthma so I am no hiker. 

Q: Well, had you been?

A: Oh, when I was younger, we lived in the hills.

Q: Where did you like to go? Any place in particular?

A: Oh, just climb all over the hills.   Mother had some binoculars and she could check on us and see that we got clear to the top and then we would come back. But, we had to entertain and amuse ourselves, you know.

Q: Well, I think people like you did. Seems so often we don’t have things for the teenagers to do. Well, they used to do whatever they did before without it being _________. Well, there is just a lot of nice country around here. Just to wander.

A: Yes, it is. You bet. 

Q: Well, did you know people like Bill Meador?

A: Oh yes.

Q: Was he School Superintendent when you were here?

A: Oh no. He was a little boy in school.

Q: Oh, he was?

A: Yes.

Q: He had a brother named Junior?   He must have been older.

A: Junior was near my age. But Junior was younger than I am. They had Junior who was the oldest, then there was Bill and Donna Jean, and I don’t know whether Donna Jean is older than Bill or Bill is older than Donna Jean. I just don’t know.

Q: I guess I haven’t met Donna Jean.

A: Well, she is married to Robert Reid. They live out in Spanish Valley . She is Donna Reid.

Q: I can’t remember why I went there. I think it had something to do with the Museum. They were nice folks.

A: Yes. They have a large place out in the Valley there.

Q: Well, this neighborhood is pretty much the same as it has always been?

A: Quite a bit. It has changed though.   On the corner this vacant lot, used to be the old Goodman home. And I’m just sorry there isn’t a picture of that.

Q: The one the library is going to have?  

A: Yes. That corner was Mr. Goodman’s lot. 

Q: Well, I know Rusty has investigated Mr. Goodman. He must have been quite a character.

A: He was a character. He was a funny man and he didn’t even mean to be funny. But, he was a cattleman and he and his friend, Harry Green, came to Moab. They married two girls from Colorado, Dolores around there. I think it was called Northdale, Colorado. It was a little wide spot in the road. And Mr. Goodman married Louise, Mary Louise, and Mr. Green married Annie.   And, they each had a nice home here.

Q: Where did the Greens live?

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