Oral Histories

John William (Jack) West


Jack West

So that’s where he was. He was still there just finishing out his term when I got out and headed home. But that’s how come I picked Ray up while he was there.

Q: And what would you and Ray do?

Well , when I would go visit him, we would just go up into town to a bar or a movie, nothing exciting. Or go to a cafe. I remember one time we went down on the wharf with a couple of his buddies and had a big meal. But it just didn’t involve that much. It was fun being together. I never did anything really socially exciting while I was in the Navy. When I was in Chicago, I’d leave Wright Junior and spend some time in the USO looking at a movie or just talking to people. Going back there, I would stay overnight once in a while, stay in the YMCA in some big church where they just had cots or something like that. Yeah, that was when I was up at the Naval Training Station that was farther away.

But that got us back to Ogden after the Navy and the Coast Guard. I already talked about working with Earl Tall awhile. As soon as I got back up to Ogden, that was about the first contact I made. Earl Tall was Dad’s full cousin, and his favorite cousin. He and I had always got along real good, Earl and I, and he had a good garage and Pontiac sales business in Kaysville. He wanted me to go to work for him. So I tried it for about three months, three or four months, but in the meantime I had been in touch with Conoco and wondered about getting back into the station.

I got home in March, I think it was, and by fall the company had told me that they weren’t satisfied with the operator that was in the old station that I had in Provo on lst East and Center which was right uptown. The thing with Earl wasn’t working out. He didn’t want to give me any responsibility and I didn’t like just being a flunky there in the service station and the garage. I don’t recall exactly when we moved back to Provo. I got back into the station in ‘47? Actually, we got back into the station in ‘46 because, in the first place, we were living with Grandma and Grandpa Berglund. I was home and had to get a job and get going. The thing at Earl’s didn’t work out, so we moved back to Provo in time for Uncle Ray to come back to work for me and start school that fall at B.Y.U, for four years of premed. So that probably was October.

So, anyway, we were there but, in the meantime, I had made some contacts with the Firestone store there. I had gone to school with a guy and his wife that was managing it. It was a coincidence that they had settled in Provo. Pete Fackler was his name. He’s still in business in Provo in 1992. His son is running it, but I see him on commercials still.

Anyway, I got acquainted with Frank and offered him a job. He went to work for me in 1947, and then, of course, he stayed with me until we moved down here in ‘56. But, in the meantime, he was my number one man and Ray and he really got along good. I hired a bunch of part-time B.Y.U. kids and they would fix their schedule so that I always had plenty of help on hand. They were all country boys from central Utah, down around Richfield and stuff like that. We really established a good business. We had super service. We did a good job, sold a lot of gas. It was going real well.

A lot happened in ‘46 and ‘47. In September, Jim was born and he was just as cute a boy as Ann was a girl. Boy, he was a neat kid and I enjoyed him just as much as I did Ann. I did everything, took care of him, bathed him. If you had to get up at night, got up at night with him. I really enjoyed it. I remember one time when he was about a year old, I’m sure, and we had some company. We put him in the bedroom in his crib. He and Ann slept in that one room and she had a regular bed and he had his crib. The crib was right up against Ann’s chest of drawers and on top of this chest of drawers was a plastic container of bath powder with a big powder puff in it. I was suspicious. It seemed like he settled down real quick and everything was quiet in there. So I thought, “Well, I better look.” And I looked in and he had got into that bath powder. It was from top to bottom, everything was white, his face, his hair which was white. He was born and had white hair for two or three years before it started turning dark. Boy, I couldn’t get mad, it was so funny. So I took him outside, I took a picture of him, and I’ve still got a slide of it. Then we just used the vacuum to clean up all the mess. It turned out real easy.

Ray, in the meantime, was going with Louise in Ogden. They knew each other in high school and after he got out of the service (well, boy, he went to high school in Provo, I guess, but all the way along he had known Louise from grade school and then knew her family when he was living there in Ogden with the folks). But, anyway, he started going with Louise again and he traveled back and forth, from working at the station and going to school to see her. One time he was coming back on the mountain road up above Kaysville and he went to sleep and drove off the road into this oak brush and you know how thick oak brush is. He got so far in and so wedged that he couldn’t even open the doors. He had to crawl out through the window. He got a ride and got down to Kaysville which is where I had worked. That’s where Earl Tall was. They sent a wrecker up and pulled him out of the oak brush and he just drove back on to Provo. All it did was scratch it up a little. It was a rough looking old ‘35 Ford. So that worked out real good.

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