Oral Histories

John William (Jack) West


Jack West

Boy, it was in bad shape. So this Brisco guy loaned me enough money to keep it running. It was $300 or $400 because Joe had just ripped it out to nothing.

Q: So what happened to Joe?

I just booted him out and he went back on extraboard (?), up on the railroad. He kept his new car that he had paid for out of the station, a new Pontiac. I started coming back out of it again and then by that fall the company (Conoco) had an opening for a merchandiser. I checked out of the station and was able to pay Brisco off with what little came out. But in those days, hell, you could get into a station for $500.

So I came out okay on that and paid Brisco back and went to work merchandising. That would have been ‘38. That winter we lived in Salt Lake and I went to work out of Salt Lake. I worked in Salt Lake quite a while. Ann was born and then they transferred me to Ogden. Of course, I had a company unit then, one of those little sedan delivery type things. It was a ‘34 Ford, the first one. We were living in Ogden but I worked Price, Uintah Basin, as far south as Gunnison, out of Ogden. While I was in Price, I got in touch with Helen and she told me that she was pregnant. And that was, oh, super, super. So we had an apartment up there. But I stayed in Ogden for that time; we were headquartered there. Ann was born in June of 1940 and I was in Price again when she was born. I came home and then, in June of ‘41, Ann was a year old. I’m rushing this story along though ….

Q: But you were in Price when she was born?

No. Of course, that’s when I learned, but I was home in time for her birth. She was in Dee Hospital. But everything was going good. I was working for the company. And then in June of 1941, Ann was just a year old. In the meantime, the company had established a training station in Provo where all the company employees had to go for a week and take a course in running a service station including the old guys that had been there forever, plus all the new leassees would come down. They had this program going and they made me manager of that training station in Provo. That’s how we got to Provo in June of 1941. I took that over and it worked out real good. I was making big money, $167.50 a month. Really loaded. But, of course, that fall in December, Pearl Harbor hit and within a few months, by March or April of ‘42, they closed it as a training station because all the young guys were going into the service. In the meantime, I had enjoyed running that because I had the old-timers there and some of them really resented having to go there for a week. All they did was party. We got along good. But at that point, they offered me the station. I could either take it on a lease basis or I could stay on with the company. But to stay we would have had to gone to Texas. Dean Hadfield was going down there to open up a new division, or to supervise a new division and I could have gone with him. But in the meantime I had that two years of traveling with the company and I decided no more of that. So, at that point, we decided to stay in Provo and took the station over.

Of course, in the middle of all this talking about where we lived and what we did, why, Ann came along in June of 1940 and, boy, we thought getting married was a fabulous adventure. But when Ann came, that was like being in Heaven. It was a totally new concept, and we both loved it. She was really a beauty, and, of course, we were living in Ogden at that time. She was born in Dee Hospital, and Mother was a beautiful new mother. We had a fancy blue folding baby carriage which they have totally abandoned now, but it was sure a pretty thing. I would leave Mother, she’d be alone during the week, and then I’d be home on weekends. Although there were seven stations in Ogden, I spent a lot of time in Ogden luckily. So I was home a lot. But then when I would head for the Uintah Basin or south to Gunnison or Provo, I would be gone for a week and come home on weekends. But Mother did such a beautiful job and she had such pretty clothes for Ann. But when I was home I did everything that Ann needed. I just loved her so much. In fact, when Jim came along, it was the same way. When I was home I took care of everything. I did the bathing and changing of the diapers and loved every bit of it. But they were so damned nice. Jim will have to be in a separate section. But we really enjoyed her. That isn’t even the word. It doesn’t describe how much we loved her.

But our recreation on weekends when I was home was mostly just staying home and being there with Ann. We would go up the canyon on a picnic or visiting the grandmas. In the meantime, my parents had moved. Dad had been transferred to American Fork. He was in the mouth of American Fork canyon in a power plant there. So, we would visit down there, which was a short distance. Well, it was a long distance compared with nowadays on the old road. But we kept busy on the weekends and visited a lot, Grandma and Grandpa Berglund.

Q: What did your folks and Grandma and Grandpa Berglund think of Ann?

Read the other Oral Histories