Oral Histories

John William (Jack) West


Jack West

The first term on the Council, I was over the Police Department. There was not a lot of work to do as far as the Council job, the liaison with the Police. We were expanding the Police Department at that time. It had gone from about two people to….. I don’t recall how many we took on, but we got enough to take care of the job. Then on the second term I was involved with the Roads Department and these were specific jobs over and above being involved in all the general advancement of the community. While I was on the Roads Department, the second term, we as a Council decided to buy a street sweeper. We had nothing prior to that. It was just up to people, just washing down once in a while. Marsell Graham, who was a friend, had previously been warden at the prison. He was out of that, but he was a salesman for an equipment company and he put the pressure on us to buy his particular type of street sweeper. As a result of that, I got my one and only ride in a jet. His company financed the trip and took Jack Lolley, the street supervisor, and myself to San Francisco. We stayed overnight. The reason we went there is because he had a demonstrator street sweeper there that was equipped to show us what it could do. As a result of our trip there and back, we did buy his street sweeper and that was a real addition to our needs here in Moab with all this dust blowing around and everything.

Well, one of the fun things that happened after we came to Moab, particularly with the attitude they have, was the way the kids reacted, Ann and Jim. I don’t know if I mentioned specifically but when I asked them if they wanted to come to Moab, Jim said, “When?”” and Ann said “No,” she wouldn’t leave Provo. She wasn’t coming down here, but, in any event, they did. They were in on getting into the new home and that was in the spring, first of March, so they had to change schools and finish out the school year here. Jim, as I mentioned, he was ready to do it. He made a couple of trips down with me when we were hauling furniture down, but I don’t think Ann was here until we made the trip down and moved here. Of course, they both got in school and within a couple of three weeks they had so many friends that they didn’t know what to do with them. Jim, particularly, got acquainted with some of young guys in the neighborhood. Chuck Loveridge was just up the street, and Mike Stoye, just across the street, and Mayhew across the street. It didn’t take them long to get going and the weather was good so all their spare time was spent up in the hills behind the house. It was just real exploring and this, of course, isn’t part of my life, but I remember the remains of the old city dump was just back a short distance behind the house. Jim started coming in with junk, literally, the remains of stuff that was fascinating to him but had been dumped up there. They really enjoyed that, and then, as he got older, I mentioned the fact that he got involved in a lot of trips with us out into the boondocks on the trucks. I know he enjoyed all of those, and we enjoyed having him along, me and Bill Nick. Then he got to the point where he was old enough to drive a car and run around with some of the local guys that were driving cars and they were on the go a lot then. Of course, they did a lot of things I never knew about. I am finding out a little bit about them now, but they really had a ball.

So, as far as the family was concerned, Helen had adapted real fast into the social activities. Then Jim got into it. In the short time that Ann was here and involved in high school, she really became involved in the community activities. And after she got here and got involved in school, she was Homecoming Queen and then Uranium Queen, two of the biggest awards you could get in this town. She had a number of real good interesting jobs too that were important to her and to us. She was a busy gal and really did well.

Well, one of the important traditions in my life was the daily coffee break or coffee breaks. I started that in Provo. The service station in Provo, the Conoco Station, was across the street from the Provo Bakery and they had a coffee counter and, of course, we would go over there, take our break in the morning, having a doughnut and a cup of coffee. Once in a while, Jim would be around. I would take him with me. That was really a thrill for me to have him along. When I got to Moab, this same tradition continued. The service station, as I mentioned before I’m sure, was right next to Butch Christensen’s Ford Garage which eventually closed and Bob Nelson moved in with a Montgomery Ward’s sales deal. Bob and I immediately became very friendly and I would go to coffee with him, started out there. And, in fact, some mornings in the winter I would open up at 7, Bob would show up at maybe 7:15, and he would say, “Let’s go get a cup of coffee.” By then I wouldn’t have moved anything out, so I’d lock the door (this was, of course, in the winter, when it wasn’t busy) and we would go have coffee over at the Greenwell for fifteen minutes or so. So that’s how important it was compared with business.

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