Oral Histories

John William (Jack) West


Jack West

Well, I guess maybe I can tell you a little about my social life. When I was in high school, well, all the way through school, I never attended a dance or a sports deal or anything. Of course, I graduated when I was sixteen. All the rest were a couple of years older, but I was scared of girls. I had some girlfriends, girls that were really friendly in high school because I helped them with their math. I got along good with them. And then, in 1933, after I had been out of school a year, I was running around with Howard McFarland, a neighbor, and he was going with Mary Olson who was Helen’s main girlfriend. They were neighbors over on Eighth Street. The car was available to me then because Dad had got a better job. He was an operator at the Power Plant. And we lived lived not too far away, so, if in the evening, if he was on evening shift, he would walk up, or even in the daytime. He didn’t worry about the car. In the meantime, working at the service station, I was completely maintaining the car, putting all the gas in and everything. So they didn’t mind me using it. Of course, whenever they wanted it, they took it. But I had it available.

But this particular evening, Howard and I went out. He had made a date with Mary who was at a party at the school. It was a drama party. It was the end of the school year, the fifth of May, and they were having this little party for one of the affairs the school had put on. Helen and Mary were both there. And so I went with him about when we figured the end of the party, around 9:30 I guess. I don’t know. He decided he would take Mary home. He had talked me into the idea of asking Helen if she would go with me. And of course I had never met her, hadn’t seen her. So we got to the party at the tail end. We were just in the hallway waiting for the girls and Helen came out with Mary. Howard and Mary were going to go and I was going to take them home. But I got up nerve enough to ask Helen if she would with me. Well, it developed that some other guy in the neighborhood, over towards her place, had already asked her but he was going to walk her home. So we used the pressure of the idea that I had a car; it would be better if she would go in the car. Of course, I don’t think that made too much difference with her but the fact that, if she went with me, she would be going with Mary and they’d stay together and they’d have an evening together. In any event, she finally told the other guy that she wouldn’t go with him and she decided to go with me. She had on a blue dress that Grandma Berglund had made. God, boy, talk about beautiful. The dress was beautiful; Helen was beautiful. Oh, really something! I thought, “Well, this is too good for me, but I’ll go along. I’ll take her home.”

So we got the car and took off and just bummed around town for awhile around Ogden. That was that old ‘27 Chev. But, see, it was only six years old then. So it was still a pretty good old car. But we went and ate, had a hamburger or something.

In fact, in those days, hamburgers got down to 5 cents apiece. It was a small hamburger but you could get a hamburger for a nickel, five for a quarter. But I don’t remember too much of that detail.

But, in any event, during the evening Howard made an appointment or a date with Mary for a day or two later, and I asked Helen if she would go. She says yes. So from then on, it was movies or just for a ride. But, anyway, she was so good to me and, boy, I really fell head over heels because she was so gorgeous and good. So I didn’t give her much chance to go with anybody else. I just kept her dated up. And that was, let’s see, the 5th of May, 1933. But we really hit it off real good, and I hit it off good with Grandma Berglund. And, as I mentioned, I had the car available.

Right about that period was when I took the service station over the first time. So I was doing pretty good, made three or four dollars a day. That was all you needed. I mentioned that I had borrowed the money from Grandpa to get in there. And we had a real good time. And, in ‘33 when I met her, she was just finishing junior high. So, in ‘34 and ’35, she went to high school and even then we didn’t go to any of the high school occasions particularly. We went to some of the ward dances and stuff. I finally learned how to get along at a dance. And then, we just had a swell time; that was all. It was cheap, we didn’t spend much money.

The night when the folks needed the car, we would take the streetcar down to the show and then take the streetcar home, walk up to her house, and then I’d walk over to Twelfth Street. It wasn’t very far. But we got along real good. Then, I mentioned earlier, in ‘35 I checked out of the station and started school that fall.

Q: That was at Weber?

Yeah, two years of college, and by that time I had gotten socially involved to where I really enjoyed going out and going to dances. Finally we ended up going to White City. They had a lot of name bands come in, top bands. We would go with other couples and have a real good time. But by the time I got into Weber College and got those jobs that I got (running the employment service and keeping time for the school) we got really involved in social activities. In fact, the second year I was at Weber I was Chairman of the Entertainment Committee. I really changed my attitude. But as a result of that, we, Helen and I, were involved in everything that went on, all the dances, except the sports activities. We didn’t worry about them. But we attended all the plays, while I was in one (a very minor part). But we really had a ball and Mother was really popular. In fact, some of the kids that graduated when she did in ‘35 went on to college. I was a couple years ahead of them in graduating. But, anyway, some of her acquaintances (high school acquaintances) were in Weber. So we really had a good time. And we had all this social activity going, and then, well, it just couldn’t have been any better. I mean it was just perfect. We got along so good, had a lot of good friends. Let’s see, that was in ‘35. I decided to go back to Weber for two years and, well, I hit the high spots there.

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