Oral Histories

John William (Jack) West


Jack West

Oh, gosh, she was perfect. She was the first granddaughter. In fact, she was the first grandchild…..

no, Frank and June had Lynn. But she was the first granddaughter. But, oh, they adored her. God, I’ll tell you. That was our visiting life and then, of course, when we moved to Provo in 1940, Grandma and Grandpa West were still at American Fork. About that time they moved back to Ogden from American Fork. Yeah, they had. That’s right, Dad got transferred back to Ogden, back to Pioneer. But, in the meantime, his brother, Uncle Al, had been transferred from a big power plant west of Logan on the Bear River. He had been transferred down to American Fork. I guess when they transferred Dad out, they transferred Uncle Al down. We spent a lot of time over there. Oh, Aunt Gertie (Uncle Al’s second wife, his first one had died) was crazy about Ann. She knitted her a super beautiful blanket. Yeah, that was part of our first year. That lasted for a long time. We finally loaned it to Lil and she washed it and ruined it.

So, we were visiting relatives a lot. Ann took her first step when she was a year old, and we were still in a motel in Provo before we had rented a house for that job there. But Ann was sure a doll. We rented a house there in Provo, and Ann grew up. She was a year old, year and a half, and, boy, the neighbors across the street were crazy about her. Ah, she was such a doll. If she was missing she’d be either over to Doctor Claric’s house across the street or Tolboe Construction, who had a big house across from where we lived. The Tolboe’s would take her in. Ah, she was a sweetheart. And they loved her. But she was so cute.

We stayed in that house until I went into the Navy in 1945. Ann lived in that place until she was five years old, going on five. Of course, in the meantime, we visited Grandma in Ogden a lot. In fact, we visited Grandma more than the kids that lived there. She said that she saw more of us. Oh, Frank, maybe, he lived next door. But the rest of ‘em, Lil, and, well, Claude wasn’t around. But they really loved it, and Ann was so pretty. She was prettier than Shirley Temple, long ringlets, her hair got long. So the whole family enjoyed her. And, as I say, when I was home, when both of you kids were little, I took care of you. I wanted to do it. When I was home Ma never got up at night. If the kids cried or needed feeding, I did it. But there were times when I first went to work for the company, I’d get over 100 miles from town. You stayed over the weekends, you didn’t go home. You didn’t drive the company unit home when I went out in the Basin or down to Gunnison and places like that. But I would catch the bus home once in a while. I used to catch it on Saturday evening (you worked till noon on Saturday then). I would catch it and go home and then catch it back so I could be back where I was Monday morning.

But when we worked Uintah Basin, there were some nice tourist cabins out that way, and even when Ann was a baby we took her out there a couple of times. I’d have somebody drive the Chevrolet (our own car) out and then pay for their bus fare back. Milton did that a time or two. Or if I was going to stay in the Basin (I usually stayed in the Basin for two weeks), I would get a ride back to Ogden and take the Chev out, and we’d have it to use, run around, go rabbit hunting which we did a lot of out there. But we would find a sitter for Ann just to do that. She was little, but we had a lot of fun that way.

One of the operators out there (he was a bachelor, he eventually ended up to be the Chief of Police in Vernal), we had a lot of fun with him out hunting. That was actually before Ann was born. He and mother would come out hunting in ’39. Our social activities, as far as dancing and all that stuff, quit. That didn’t start until we moved back to Provo. Well, no, we got involved when I first started at the training station, but that’s another totally different story.

Dad had been transferred to Ogden. In the meantime, he had a stroke and nearly lost his eyesight, but he could remember seeing (the back of Ann’s head which was shiny from where she lay) and there was no hair and he could remember that. That shiny spot, that was about as good as he could see. Then in the spring of ‘41 (of course she was just six months old then), he had his final stroke and died. But they really enjoyed having her, and Grandma Berglund loved her. Yeah, she was an inspiration to us. It was just a whole new world.


Well, when Ann was born, I was a merchandiser still and headquartered in Ogden and, as I mentioned previously, working the Uintah Basin and Gunnison and Utah, all that southern area. I missed Salt Lake and Provo, but I took that other area in south and east. Then, in June of 1941 when Ann was a year old or just shortly prior to that, the company (Conoco) decided to open a training station in Provo and it involved putting all of the present field employees through a course for a week. That is, the district managers who had been my bosses out in the field and the merchandisers, anyone that had any contact with field work in the whole division which included all of Utah. They were to come there and spend a week and go through a service station training program. They chose me to manage it. So I got a promotion from being a merchandiser and they raised my pay to $167.50 a month, which was big, so we had to move to Provo. When we first went to Provo, we stayed in a motel there for a few weeks while we were finding a home. One thing I remember that was in June, which made Ann a year old, was she took her first step and walked from Helen to myself on the lawn of this motel. That’s the first step independently she took. We were real thrilled about that. She was still as cute as ever. But we found a place to live, rented a home, and I managed the station from then. Oh, incidentally, I had three full-time employees besides these guys that could come for training, so it was a pretty good operation. That was a little surplus help but at least it gave us a chance to talk to these people and show them through a training course. We went through bookkeeping and service on the front, lube room service, washing, everything. Some of these old guys that came up there had been district managers for a long time and, as I mentioned, had been my bosses when I was in their district. They really resented this, but they went along.

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