Oral Histories

Frank “Pancho” Tabberer


Pancho & Elsie Tabberer

Q: Could she have dual citizenship?

A: No, There’s something now. Maybe if you go to Canada and you’re an American citizen there maybe something now that would allow that, but that isn’t something that she would ever figure she would go back to Canada. And the kids, grandkids, great-grandkids are here in the states. We go to visit (Canada) but not to stay.

Q: Lets look at some of these other questions.

A: Okay, when we first came to Moab in the 60s we rented a little one-bedroom apartment up on about 3rd East and it was a pretty small apartment; it was all that was available There wasn’t anything available then because there was —–.

Q: How many kids did you have then?

A: We had two. Our daughter was born in September of 56 and our son in last day of December 57. So those were the two kids we came with. When I first came in Bud Walter was a partner with Bud and Jane Lincoln at the Prospector Motel. And that’s where I stayed until we found a place to live. Then I brought the kids and Elsie up from Farmington. We got set up. ______ helped Jane and Bud Lincoln run that Prospector down there. That was kind of an exciting time. You get to meet all these people doming in. I wouldn’t want to be in the motel business. Explosives was a lot more fun, Jean. The town at the time, you know Moab was–, most of the Uranium boom was slowed down some then. There was the reason was the big business we had when we came back here in the late 60s was oil exploration, but the first time around was uranium. Charlie Steen was still going; Atlas was going. There was some seismic going on.

Q: Where was the oil business, down at Aneth?

A: Lisbon Valley, and there were also some wells that they were doing some exploration out on the Big Flat area, up Dead Horse Point area.

Q: Did you do a lot of exploring, whether you found anything?

A: The way that they explored back then was that you drill a hole, put dynamite in it and blast it. Then take the vibrations from the blast and send it to a geophone on the surface and to the recording truck that took all the stuff and the way they did it.

It was a busy town off and on, like an accordion, up and down.

Q: Talking with Maxine Newell who was here during the earlier boom time, it sounded like Moab was one big party. Everybody had a good time.

A: Well, there were times at the old Town and Country Club was going on at the time. We had customers there. Go to the Town and Country Club.

Q: Is that where the Elks Club is now?

A: No. That T&C was a restaurant and club and it’s on the half block from the museum on the corner where Nifty Fashions is. You go there with a customer and have supper and have a few drinks. They had what they called then a “Bottle Club” and that was the days when I took a drink or two. Go with a customer and have a drink and go into the club where there was a little drinking and dancing. Elsie never did like that part of the explosives business where we had to go out and entertain the customers. But she was a good sport about it, she never complained. So you’d go there and sometimes you’d be there with a customer until midnight, go home, you know back then you did everything. You’d call on the customers, sold the powder, load it, and deliver it. You’d be out to the magazine to load the truck up.

Q: Sound like not much sleep?

A: Not much. 3 or 4 hours sleep and then get up. There were two of us here at the time, at the location, so we’d load up the powder, two trucks go out wherever he’d meet the crew or if the mine needed powder, you’d load up powder. A lot of the mines took full loads, like straight from the factory where they manufactured the explosive.

Q: I think of powder boxes as about apple box size.

A: 50-pound boxes. And then there was blasting agent in 50 lb bags, a lot of the companies used.

Q: So you did a lot of loading?

A: Loading, loaded the truck, hauled it out, unloaded it in the magazine. Some of the finest people I ever met were the mining people in this country.

Q: Are they still around?

A: Some. A lot of them aren’t here anymore; a lot of the old miners are gone. When our kids started school here in Moab, Luanne started first and second grade and Ross was in kindergarten. We left and went to Wyoming for a year and then Farmington for four years and when we came back here in 68, Ross was in 5th grade and Luanne was in 7th grade, in the old middle school. It was the Junior High then because it was 7th, e8th, and 9th grade. The High School was 10-11-12.

When we came back it was like we were coming back home.

Q: Did the kids think so?

A: No. Oh no, no. They had been in Farmington; were involved in the schools there. I can remember Luanne; it was on her birthday, in Sept 68 that we moved back to Moab. She had just turned 12 years in 7th grade. It was a lot harder on her than on Ross you know was a year and a half younger, He was————- and Junior High.

Q: Did you get involved in politics or community service?

A: We were members of the CBC I was involved with the church. Never did get involved in politics. I was involved in that I became part of the Republican Party Convention Group here, and was part of the precinct an officer in the precinct and then became state delegate and went to the… really involved. And then for at least 2 presidential election times I was state delegate too

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