Jack Groneman's life
Contributor: SouthPawPhilly Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Jack L. Groneman
Born March 30, 1920
Transcribed from tape
We've been trying for a long time to get my dad to write some sort of a life history and he always complained that his writing and typing skills were so slow that it would take too much time. Marilyn convinced him to take a tape recorder and just record some of the things he remembers. In 2002 he completed the first tape. This is a transcription from that tape:
When I was just a little boy. Just after I was born, just crawling was all, she, my mother,said that I used to go into the living room, there was one step in the house I was born in that stepped up from the kitchen into the living room. On that one step, she said I used to go to the wall opposite that step and put my head against the wall and then started backing up, and when I backed up to the step, then I would crawl down backwards over the step, and that's the way I'd do it every time I did it. That seems like a strange way to do it, but I guess I was afraid to go down over them frontwards, and I didn't know you could start right at them.
I don't know of any memories at all of when my little brother was born. I don't because I was too young I guess. But we must have lived in the same place because I remember living there, my aunts lived across the street, my grandpa's parents, in other words, my Great Grandma lived on the corner from where the house I was born in. I will go up to all the areas around Provo where I have lived in my live and take some pictures of them and I will have those. So, we can have at least have those and then the earliest memories I have, well some of them, is a we moved several places in Provo at several different times. We lived when I was about five, six years old, we lived across the road south from the Pioneer park in Provo, and we lived there for um...I don't have any idea, but I know we moved around an awfully lot when I was a kid and we lived on 5th west in three or four different houses on fifth west, and later on in life when I was about 10 or 12 years old, or 9 or 10, something like that, we moved back down next door east of where the house where I was born, we moved into the basement of one of my aunt's houses and we lived there for quite a while then my dad built a house, the first house they'd ever built, that mom and dad lived in was on 5th south between 5th and 6th west on the north side of the street. I'll take a picture of that also and put a heading on it, if I remember how to use this computer. But later on, I guess it was close to depression times, and they couldn't make the payments on it so they lost that house.
One of the earlier memories I have is when I used to go visit my grandma and grandpa Groneman. They lived on 5th south between 4th and 5th west on the north side of the street and they had a barn, and a cellar, and cows and things like that. Later on he built a house next door west of where they lived then and they lived in that one for quite a while. Of course he built it on the area of where his barn and things used to be and they sold that one and they built a house up on 3rd west, between 3rd and 4th south on the west side of the street. They lived there several years. I remember going there and scrubbing the floors for my grandma. She used to give me ten or fifteen cents and always something good to eat there of course. I remember the old wood
stove they had and they had a phonograph, in the living room, my grandma and grandpa did, and I still have that phonograph. That very phonograph down in my shop, and it still works. The old wind up kind, you had to crank the handle to wind it up. I just don't have any needles for it. I've got a few of the old records, very, very few of them, but they are available for someone that has the inclination to fix them up. I was going to, but I haven't done it yet. And then more of that house, when they lived on...when they moved out of there, they built a house on 3rd west between 2nd and 3rd south on the west side of the street. They lived there...they were in that house when they had their golden wedding anniversary. They lived in that house when both of them passed away....about a year apart. Grandma died first, then Grandpa died. My mother and my uncle... at that time he was my step father, they lived in the house for several years. They moved up to a house on.....when I was 21 years old, they lived in a house on 3rd south between 4th and 5th east in Provo. That house now is a vacuum cleaner sales place for Kirby vacuums. We moved around so much....when we were living in that house on 3rd south, that's when I was...when I joined the Marine Corps. Both Garth and I...my brother and I and my best friend Lawrence, we all joined the Marine Corps the same day.
During our living around Provo when we were kids, we lived in a house on 5th west on the corner of 2nd south and 5th west on the south east corner of the intersection. They had a tree out front that used to have a branch on it that was perfect for climbing. It wasn’t very high, it was only about...oh maybe 7 or 8 feet in the air and I remember one time Garth was climbing in that tree and he was hanging upside down by his knees on this limb that stuck out....I don’t know if it is still there or not, if it is I’ll get a picture of it....and he fell off and twisted around as he was coming down and he broke his leg. He was tied up with a broken leg there for quite some time. Also when we lived in that house, there was a kid around the corner that he and I didn’t get along too well, and ...a... one day we got in a fight. He beat me pretty good. I went home crying....and told my dad and he said “You’ve got to go back there and you’ve got to beat him, you’ve got to fight him and whip ‘im” He says, “Here Jack” he says “I’ll give you 50 cents to just go and do it” so he gave me a 50 cent piece. So I went back up around the corner and talked to that kid again and said “Hey, why don’t you just tell my dad that I beat ya and I’ll give you a quarter out of this 50 cents he gave me.” and we arranged it that way so we went and told my dad that I’d whipped him so I got the 50 cents legally. And also when we lived in that house, I remember one summer especially when the farmers living down there on the south end of 5th west, they were raising peas and there used to be a cannery in Provo, and they would haul the peas in a wagon with horses to the cannery and they would haul them up that road...up 5th west...and when they would come by the house, we’d always run behind the wagon and pull a few pea vines off and have some pea seeds. I don’t know whether the farmers ever knew it or not, but they never did say anything about it to us, but we’d just do it almost every day. Another thing we used to do when we were children.....when we were kids, when we lived in those houses on 5th west, the 5th west ditch used to be uncovered all the way down 5th west and we used to play in it all the time. I remember one particular time, when we lived in a house on 5th west and another different house that was on 5th west, on the corner of 3rd south and on the north west corner of the intersection. I was playing in the ditch one time...and I don’t know how I fell or slipped or something and hit a rock with my right knee and cut it open pretty good and I’ve still got the scar on my knee from that fall. I remember that fall.
That’s another little thing that I do remember about my childhood. Another memory that comes to mind is...when I lived on.....the house...I was about 17 years old I guess, and we lived in that house...another house...no, I take it back, not another house, it was the same house I was born in. We moved back in there again. When I was about 16, 17 years old. Now I take it back, I wasn’t quite that old, maybe 14 or 15. Anyway, at that time I had met Lawrence, I met him because we used to live in a house on 5th west again, between 1st and 2nd north right next door south of the Catholic church and Lawrence used to live just around the corner west of the LDS church there and we got to be pretty good friends. Then we moved out of that house and moved down to the house I was born in again. I liked to go down and see Lawrence, and it was quite a little walk for me so I remembered I gathered up enough money somehow or another to buy a pair of roller skates. I used to roller skate from that house on ... between 1st and 2nd east on 5th south up to Lawrence’s place which was on 1st north between 5th and 6th west. Later on I started working in a grocery store at night. It was there on University avenue between 2nd and 3rd south. I made 15 cents an hour and I bought a bicycle...a Schwinn bicycle when I was working there. Then I could go down to Lawrence’s place pretty easy. It was pretty nice to have that bicycle. I know...speaking about the bicycle, I remember when I got old enough to have an automobile, I had my own automobile, I gave that bicycle to my little brother because he didn’t have any transportation. About a month later the bicycle was gone and I asked Garth where it was and he said “Well I sold it.” I don’t know... I could have sold it if I had wanted to, but I decided to give it to him...just give it to him, but he sold it so neither one of us had the bicycle then...just another memory I have of my childhood.
Another memory I have of my childhood, I know when I was 12 years old....I do know the age then...we used to live on center street on 2nd west in an upstairs apartment, and that was during the depression years...that was in 1932, during the depression. My mother taught dancing. She had a dance studio. We lived up there and there was a....one large room, I don’t know what it was ever built for, but that 2nd story to that property has been torn down now. That’s where we lived. Down below us, where we lived, there was a Piggly Wiggly store. Mother used to have her students there and this Piggly Wiggly store he....the manager in it got to know mother because that’s where we traded for our groceries and things. She taught his children dancing for some of our food. But each night, the bakery department especially, and the produce department, they would bring up things that were ...they couldn’t hold over until the next day properly and sell them, and they would put them in a basket that was tied onto a rope that we had in our 2nd story window and we would pull them up out of the alley and we would have those things to eat, which was really nice. That’s when I was 12 or 13 years old.
Another time when we lived in that place where I was.......we lived in another apartment on 5th south when I was probably 14...er...13 or 14 years old Mother used to have a dance studio uptown again. We didn’t live there, we lived in this apartment and she taught dancing to the children of a milkman we had and he would deliver milk for us each morning. That’s when they used to deliver it...the Milkman used to come around and deliver milk in bottles. Once a week, I remember very plain...very clearly that every week, once a week, that he would leave a full quart of whipping cream instead of milk for us. Boy, I tell ya, we really enjoyed that. But of course in those days, you could take the cream off the milk because it always came to the top. It wasn’t homogenized and you could always separate it by just sitting ....so that....but anyway, we had a full quart of whipping cream every week and that was really nice...my mother made that from teaching dancing of course. That’s another memory I have of my childhood.
Another memory I have is when I was going to school. I went to school in the Franklin school in the first grade...they didn’t have kindergarten then. I went to the Franklin school when I was six years old in the first grade and...I’ve told this story before but someone may not have heard it. One morning I got up and my folks weren’t up and I looked at the clock and it was just about the time for school so I hurried and got ready for school and didn’t have the time to eat breakfast and I ran out the door and I ran down to the school, it’s about three block was all that I had to go, and I got down there and there wasn’t a soul around. I couldn’t figure out why in the heck no one was there to go school. I waited around a little while and no one came so I went back home and my mother was up and she said “Where’ve you been?” and I told her where I’d been and she said “Jack, today’s Saturday, there isn’t any school today” so that’s just another memory that I have of my childhood....those nice things. Now that’s when we lived in that corner house with the tree in it......in front of the house...I went to first grade there. I went to the first and the second grade in the Franklin school which is located on 4th south between...between 3rd and 4th south on...between 4th and 5th west....between 5th and 6th west, excuse me. And...now wait a minute....between 6th and 7th west...I’ll get it right in a minute. Then in the 3rd grade, we moved up to a place else in town and so I had to go to what was called the Parker school, which has long ago been torn down. I went there in the 3rd and the 4th and the....3rd 4th 5th....3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade of the Parker school. And then we moved back down the west part of town somewhere and I don’t remember where, and I went to the Dixon Jr. High school in my 7th grade year. And then we moved up on center street between 6th and 7th east on the north side of the street, right next to the school up there...the Farrer Jr. High School and I went to the Farrer Jr. High School in my 8th and 9th years of school. Of course the 9th, 10th, and 11th ....er...the 8th, 9th ...now wait a minute...the 10th, 11th, and 12th years of school I went to Provo High School. I missed one year between the 11th and 12th ....after the 11th year I joined the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camp and I missed a year so I went back and finished my 12th year of school a year later. I graduated a year late from high school. Then I went to the Brigham Young University for just one quarter and that was all the schooling I ever had. I took a correspondence course for some additional schooling, but it really didn’t amount to too much. That’s all the schooling that I had...that I can remember of.
I’ve got some revisions to make. I’ve....after thinking this thing over about where I went to school, when I was going to the Franklin school, I went there until the middle of the 4th grade. And then we moved...and then I went to the Parker school from half of the 4th grade and the 5th and the 6th grade. Another thing I remember about my high school days...it’s a strange thing but my favorite class in all my senior high school, was geometry. I loved geometry. The other arithmetics I didn’t care for at all but for some reason or another I loved geometry. In fact, I loved it so much that I took it for two years. Of course the second year was a lot easier than it was the first year and I got real good grades in it. And I did have occasion to use it in my job. When we built the overlook in the Red Canyon, above Vernal, we had to cut the beams to fit each other and they were on a compound angle, two ways and I used the Geometry...that’s the one and only time I can remember using it, to figure out those cuts, and when I did, we cut them and they fit just exactly right.
One of the things I remember was having to walk to the Franklin school from where we lived at the time when I was in the 4th grade, we lived on 6th east and 5th north in Provo, and that made 5, 6 is 11 and 7 is 18, 19, 20 blocks that I had to walk back and forth to school. 20 blocks to school and 20 blocks back to school, and that’s probably the reason that my folks had me go after the Christmas holidays to the Parker school. That’s why I was in half a year at the Frankin and half a year at the Parker.
Another thing I remember about different places we’ve lived is...when we lived above the Piggly Wiggly store, I remember up in the dance studio one day Garth and I got in a ....an argument. We was always fighting about something...you know...arguing about something. He got pretty mad at me and uh I.....could see that he was getting pretty mad and he had a pair of scissors in his hand so I started running. I ran into another room and slammed the door and just as I slammed the door, the scissors came sticking right through the door. He’d thrown them and they’d stuck right through the door, and if I hadn’t have shut that door it would have hit me in the back I guess. I don’t know whether it would be enough to do some real damage or not, but it could have killed me, but that’s one of the other things I remember about my little brother. He had a hot temper and he was a fighter. He took on lots of kids in fights, something I never did do because I didn’t believe in fighting. But he...he evidently enjoyed it or something because he was always in a fight with someone and ...in a fist fight.
I went down to the shop today...today is the 6th day of November in the year 2002...and I went down to the shop today to get some material that I had to get to do a job. I looked at that house on 2nd south and 5th west and I told you about the tree that had the limb that my little brother fell out of? And that tree is still there and that limb is still there and I will get a picture of that so that we will have a picture of that and I don’t know how we’ll put in there, if I can learn how to do it I’ll put some text in on the picture with the computer so that ....and explaining it there.
Another thing that comes to mind that’s connected...kind of connected with school, is when I graduated from the Jr. high school, the Farrer Jr. High School, when I graduated from there, my father gave me a camera, a 35 millimeter camera and that was really something in those days because they were fairly expensive I guess then and he didn’t have a heck of a lot of money, but he did...he gave me a wonderful 35 millimeter camera. Of course at that time all we had was black and white film, we didn’t have any color film, and I took a lot of pictures. A lot of those pictures I took, I’ve still got some of them. This one little album I’ve got here in the house of some of the pictures I took with that 35 millimeter camera, then when I got older and got married to Melba, I built a dark room in the house we lived in on 463 South 400 East in Orem, I had a darkroom in the basement of that house, and I could develop black and white film. I couldn’t do color film, but I did do black and white film. I had the enlarger and the whole thing down there. I really enjoyed that. We took a lot of black and white pictures and where they are now, I don’t have any idea.
Now, Marilyn, I’m looking at the list you gave me, it says ‘Your earliest memories, home, family, conditions, and siblings, and what schools you attended and so forth like that. The siblings I had my little brother, Garth and then I had two sisters, Gloria and Charlene. Charlene is the youngest one and Garth was right after me. There was myself and then Garth born then Gloria then Charlene and we all had LaVar Groneman, that was my father as a dad, all of us had the same dad, and mother and Alton, when they got married, they didn’t have any children. Then, like I said, I went through the schools I attended, all of them, and the addresses of places I’ve lived, and we will get addresses and pictures and, If I can, I’ll remember the dates as much as I can, when we lived there. And...so....but I’m gonna have to take my camera and just go around Provo and take a picture of all the houses I can remember that we’ve lived in, and there are quite a few of them.
About the construction business..of course I was born into construction business. My grandfather and my great grandfather were contractors, and my father and my uncle Lynn were contractors, and I started working for them when I was 16 years old as an apprentice carpenter, but before I went to work as an apprentice carpenter, I was the water boy and clean up boy on the jobs. In those days, I used to carry a bucket of water around with a dipper in it and give all they guys on the jobs water when they needed to drink, then I’d clean up around the jobs and keep the place clean as much as I could. We used to take the scraps then, and just put them out in the yard where we were building the job and burn them. There wasn’t any law against burning things then. We’d just burn the scraps up and that’s the way we got rid of them and then when we got through with a job, we’d dig a hole and bury the ashes. That took care of all the cleanup on the jobs. I remember when I was a young fellow on one of the jobs, we were working on a job in American Fork and I don’t remember what type of job it was...I think it was a school of some kind ...but I was just a youngster. I wasn’t old enough to be an apprentice carpenter or anything, I was just the water boy and cleanup boy. We stopped for lunch one day, and there was a fellow that was eating lunch with us....he was of Spanish...or Mexican decent, and he was eating some things that looked pretty good to me. They were little green pear shaped things and I asked him what they were and he said jalapeno peppers. He was just eating them down like he was eating an apple or something like that and I said “well how about...can I have a taste of it?” And he said “Sure if you’d like to” and he gave me a taste and I’ve never....so surprised or learned something really fast that that was HOT and it made me sick to my stomach. That afternoon I went and crawled under a bunch of lumber that we had stacked up in different places and I crawled under that lumber and I just stayed right there and when quitting time came, I didn’t know it. I just stayed right there because I was too sick. I guess it was about an hour and a half or two hours after quitting time my dad came back over to the job and finally found me. They had all thought that I had gone home with someone else, but he drove back over to American Fork and found me and took me home. Oh, that was quite an experience in the construction business. I learned quite a bit about Jalapeno peppers that day. To be careful when you eat those things.
I remember also when I started taking my apprenticeship as an apprentice carpenter...you had to be sixteen years old before you could be an apprentice in the union. And you had to belong to the union, so I joined the carpenter’s union in Provo and worked as an apprentice carpenter for Groneman & Company. I was learning to do the carpenter work of course along with the other chores I had which was water boy and cleanup boy, they’d let me do some of the carpenter work. I started to buy some of the tools I needed to be a carpenter....hand saws, and things like that, and by the way, the first hand saw I ever bought I still have and I still use it. It’s an 8 point Diston saw, and I was really proud when I got that.
While I’m thinking about tools, I’ve still got the plane, it’s a jointer plane it was called, that my grandfather owned (turn tape)
I was talking about the plane, the Joiner Plane that I still have in my possession, and it still has the same bit in it, it’s almost completely worn out now it’s been sharpened so many times....but it was my grandfather’s and I still have that planer er plane, it’s a Joiner plane that you used to use to plane doors with, or long pieces of lumber that you wanted straight. And we always used to have to do it by hand then out on the jobs, and I still have that piece of equipment that my grandfather had. And I cherish that very much, and I hope it’s passed on down so that someone can remember it. I’ll ...I think I’ve told Kim and the other kids where it came from and they know which one it is, and a, getting back when I was an apprentice carpenter, I was making sixty cents an hour as an apprentice carpenter and a...I remember that was quite a bit of money ...and....when we used to go a place that was called the Chicken Roost over north of Springville, we used to go in there and get a complete Chicken dinner for fifty cents. Now fifty cents was almost a full hour’s wages, but now you can go get a chicken dinner for a lot less than a..then a... ....oh, maybe a quarter hour’s wages or maybe less than a quarter hour’s wages, so things are not as expensive now as they were then, figuratively speaking. And of course, I remember when I got to be a carpenter, a....full fledged carpenter, I was making one dollar an hour. We were building some houses on 5th north, between...a....4th and 5th west. Perrys used to have a seed store and a farm, and we built some houses there. And they sold, at that time we built them it was .... built those during the war and I couldn’t buy one because I wasn’t a....in the war effort. I wasn’t considered in a war....a necessary person in the war effort, so we couldn’t buy one but they cost four thousand two hundred dollars for the people that did buy them. And that was quite a bit of money in those days. That I remember about....things about my carpenter learning, and so on and so forth.
Then as I got a little bit more about it, ah...my father had a heart attack. He had to turn the business over to my Uncle Lynn, and at that time my Grandfather had died, so it was Lynn’s business completely uh...my dad still had something to do with it, but he couldn’t work in it any longer. And uh...I got to be a Superintendent. The first job I got to be a Superintendent on, was a little ah...school over in Mapleton, and that was the very first job that I got to be a Superintendent on and it was um...n’t a very big a...it was an addition to a school is what it was, and I guess Lynn thought I could handle it and I did evidently. I handled it just fine, and from then on I got jobs as a Superintendent for him...I worked as a Superintendent for him on various jobs. And....uh....you’re wondering how I got to be my own contractor? Well one day we were working in Salt Lake on the Armory, on an Armory up there, and it was the time of year when the state fair was on, and one evening I had Melba and Nell Perry, Verl Perry was working up there with me, he was working as a carpenter for me, and I had....we had them come up and meet us after work and we went over to the state fair, to see the fair. And I was...at that time I was driving a pickup that belonged to Lynn back and forth because I always had to haul things up..back and ... run around and get things. And when I got home, Saundra was still up and she was just crying. She was really upset and crying, and we asked her “what was the matter?” and she said that Uncle Lynn had called her up and really told her off because I hadn’t brought the pickup home right after work. So ah...I told Melba “You stay here, I’m going to take the pickup down to him.” So I drove the pickup down to his house and went into his driveway..in his driveway...he lived in a house that my Grandfather and Grandmother built at that time on 3rd west, and the driveway was right next to their bedroom...on the bedroom side of the house, and I drove into the driveway and I just laid onto the horn, and it was about..oh..I imagine about twelve thirty or one o’clock in the morning, and ah..Lynn come to the window just wha...”What’s going on!?!” and started cussing me out up one side and down the other for not bringing the pickup home, and I told him, I said “Lynn, here’s your pickup and from now on you can get someone else to do your work because I quit as of tonight!” and I did...I quit...I never went to work for Lynn again. And then I went to work for a man named Ed Dorland as a superintendent...he hired me as a superintendent and...to build a school up in Salt Lake, and I built the school for him and then when he finished, he didn’t have any more work to do so I went down and asked a contractor named Kenn Witt, Kenneth Witt, if he had a job, and he did. He hired me as a contractor and ... hired me as a superintendent...he was a general contractor, and the first job that he sent me on...Kenn sent me on, was that Fine Arts Center down in St. George. And that was a big job at that time...it’s a beautiful building, and I did a....evidently a good job for him because when Christmas time came he told me I was going to get a...doing a good job and he gave me a dollar an hour raise. And a...then I worked around different places for Ken, and another job he sent me on is down in St. George again was the girls dormitory. And when I finished the girls dormitory....and came back up to Provo after I’d finished the job, he told me that he figured that job and he made a mistake when he bid it and he bid it awfully low...but he said “Jack, you made some money for me and I thought I was going to lose money on it” so that’s the first and only time that I ever got a bonus on a job. The first and only time...and ah...and after that he sent...he got another job down in St. George, after we built the one in Flaming Gorge, he got another one in St. George and it was called the cafeteria. And I went down to St. George again and built the cafeteria for him. So I built three jobs for Ken Witt down in St. George....and the ah fine...the overlook. Red Canyon...I built for Ken, and I built a job...um...I don’t remember exactly what kind it was...I think it was a swimming pool...no...I’m not sure. I built a job at the ah BYU for him, and then si....Ken got sick and had cancer and he had an operation and they took one of his lungs out, and he finally....he knew that he couldn’t live any longer...they told him. So he had a job that he had made arrangements to do...which was a new screen on the drive in theater over in Springville. And he said “Jack, I want you to take it over as a contractor and do the job under your own name...you be the contractor on it.” And that is how ... I became a general contractor...because Ken died and gave the job...gave the contracting business to me. Now when he passed away I bought a bunch of his equipment and tools and things that we needed in the trade...and I did that job under my own name as Groneman Construction...over in Springville on that drive-in theater. And after that I was a General Contractor. I had to go and get my own license. And I had...the name that I worked under was a..General...was a Groneman Construction....Groneman’s General Contracting. Two different licenses I had at different times. I called myself those two different things.
I don’t .....right off hand, I can’t think of all of the jobs I built as a general contractor. I’ll have to sit down and see if I can think of them...kind of make a list of them...and approximately when, and then I’ll get the information on that to you...as much as I can remember. And...so...I will...right now I won’t do that...but I will get it for you. And...ah..about the millwork, well....when I first got into the construction business on my own, we rented a little building with a yard, that was on south....in South Provo, on the old highway 91. It’s a little concrete building that used to .... that belonged to a...ah...a roofing contractor, and he fell and hurt himself so he couldn’t continue with his business, so he rented us his building and his yard, and I was in there... for about five years, and then one day, my Uncle Alton...my Stepfather Uncle, came to me and said “Jack, I’ve found a building that’s got a fairly decent size yard in it that you can probably fix up to be your own business if you want to buy it and it’s only five thousand dollars”....and that was the one on 364 West 600 South, it was a house....and when I bought it, there wasn’t any plumbing in the house at all and ah...there was electricity, but it was the old...what they called a “Knob and wire” electricity wiring and no...like I say no plumbing..no water. The water was a well outside that you pumped to get the water out of, and it had a...a barn on it, and it had a cellar next door west of the house, and I spent quite a bit of money remodeling it. And then after I’d been there a couple of years, then I decided I wanted to go into the millwork business. So I put an addition onto the back of it...and it went right to the property line with the building...right on the back end of it..was...the addition so I could put the millwork in there. And we had a door on the east side that we used just to get our millwork in and out of. And a little later on I found out it wasn’t working too good. I needed more room, so I went to the people that lived....that owned the two houses behind my shop there ..on the north side of it....that they were on 5th south....to the each of them and I bought the back end of their lots...the rear end of their two lots. One of them I bought a little bit larger than the other one....and that’s when I put the overhead door in the building...on the back end of the building, so we’d have easier access into our millwork shop...and also give us a lot more room. And ah....it worked out pretty good. We had the millwork there...we started it there. Then we had an opportunity....I had an opportunity to build a building for a man that did automobile painting and repair work..and that’s the one that’s built right next door west of my office. And I built that for him, and leased it to him....and after he moved out of that building, a sewing company leased it from me....that made clothing...and when they moved in, then they had lady employees or women employees, so I had to remodel the inside of that and put another bathroom in so we’d have both a men’s and a women’s bathroom. And...after they moved out, I leased it to a fellow that made things out of...ah...he molded plastic injection molding is what he did. Moldings and bottles and things like that .... he made things out of plastic anyway. And he had a machine shop that he’d make all of his dyes with that he...er...shapes with that he had to mold his plastic. And I sold it to him later on. And he ah....he had a hard time and he couldn’t pay me, so he moved out....owing me some money...and I finally ah....he finally sold it to someone else and they they..paid me what they owed me. The bank..he made a loan in the bank and he moved his business up to Washington so he paid me off on that...and that’s the last I had of that building. I should have kept it, but I didn’t know at the time...didn’t keep it. But after he moved out, then we moved the millwork...all of the machinery over into that building. And ah...had our mill there for quite some time. I take it all back.... we didn’t start the millwork until I moved...until he moved out, and then I bought my equipment. I bought the millwork equipment that Anderson Lumber used to own..they had a mill and I bought their equipment and moved it into that building after he moved out.......and.....later on, I built the building behind my office...that’s how it went...and then I moved the millwork into there when I had a chance to lease the building to someone else. It’s kind of a mixed up thing Marilyn...you’ll just have to kind of straighten it out, but maybe Kim can remember some of the dates..I don’t know exactly when they were.
Like I said, I will get a list of the buildings that I build and see if I can remember about when they were, and where they were, and so on. I know the second contract that I ever had...the second one...was a job I bid myself...now Ken Witt bid the job over in Springville and turned it over to me for his bid price, but the second job I did as a contractor on my own, was I built a restroom for the forest service up in ah...north of Vivian park up the north fork up the girls home up in Provo Canyon. That was my second contract. It was a restroom.
Talking about ah....experiences in the military, I mentioned that I joined the CC Camp. I was in the CC Camp and missed a year of school of course, but while I was in the CC Camp I started having real bad migraine headaches. And they put me in the ah..hospital there for....these headaches. And finally they got so bad that they said that you’d better get out of the CC Camp. So they gave me a discharge from the CC Camp and ah....that’s how I joined the CC Camp and how I got out of it. And when I got out, of course, I went back to school again. And another experience in the military is when I joined the Marine Corps. Garth, my little brother, and my best friend Lawrence Grahm and I, we all three of us joined the same day...in Salt Lake...we joined the Marine Corps. And they ah...put us on a train in Salt Lake and sent us down to San Diego. And when we got into Los Angeles, we um...train stopped there for a couple of hours for a lay over before it went on to San Diego, and I knew a fellow in Los Angeles that met us there, and that was ah....Charles Spurrier. And ah....foolish us, we didn’t know what the situation was...anyway we went with him instead of getting back on the train that went back down to San Diego again a little later on with the rest of the recruits, we stayed out in Los Angeles all night, and we went out and saw the town, and we’d never been to Los Angeles to speak of...so he showed us a lot, and then the next day he drove us down to the Marine Corps base in San Diego. And when we got there, we got a pretty royal bawling out from the...the commandant there. And we got our clothes issued to us. But we got bawled out pretty bad for being...we were actually Marines because we were sworn in in Salt Lake. And so we were actually AWOL when we went there. But we didn’t know it. And we went through boot camp for six weeks...in boot camp in San Diego...and that was pretty rigorous training I’ll tell you!
An experience we had there was when we went up to the rifle range....they issued us all rifles when we joined the Marine Corps of course, and taught us how to handle them...with our drill...in our drills. And then we went up to the rifle range and we were there for two weeks, learning to shoot the rifles. And ah...I remember one time we were doing what they called a ‘Rapid Fire’ with the rifles...you’d lie down and put the rifle up to your shoulder and shoot ten shots...rapid fire...they only gave you so much time to do it. And I was shooting that rapid fire...we were practicing that day...and the Sargent...the drill Sargent came behind me and he says “Jack, keep those feet down on the ground...quit raisin’ them up quit bending your knees or I’ll put a boot right in your bottom side” (laugh) So I tried to keep my feet down on the ground after that...and then the day we shot to qualify for rifles, we shot with the kneeling position...the prone position...and the offhand position...and there was a rest position...Now the offhand position, you just stand up and hold the rifle and shoot it. You aim what you want to ...shoot. And the resting position, you lean your rifle on something and then shoot at the target, and the prone position, you’d lie down and shoot the target while you’re lying down on the ground. And rapid fire was a...thing you did while lying down in the prone position. So it came to be rapid fire time and they ran the targets up and we all started firing our ten rounds. The rifles only held five rounds at a time so...when we got through with five rounds we’d eject the clip and put another five rounds in and finish shooting....and I did it in the time allotted and when the...that was the last thing we did up to the rifle range...and the next day they got the results of all the recruits and I was in a...of course it was in a platoon and there was 60 men in a platoon that we trained ...the training ofin the platoon for the six weeks...and there was 60 men...and when they got the results, they had us all stand to attention and give us a medal...so on and so forth...of what we did in the rifle range. And they had three different kinds of medals. The sharpshooter and uh...there were two others I don’t remember what they were but they were of lesser rank than the sharpshooter...and I got the highest rank in the whole platoon. And ...the reason I did, I’m sure, is because when I was younger, I used to go up to the uh...what was it....range that they had up in east Provo up there where Saundra and Randy live now, that my uncle ....Alton...used to belong to a rifle club and they would go up there to practice...and they would take me up to run the targets for them... Now running targets at that time was ...they raised up and down...we were down in a trench when we were running the targets...and we would raise the target and they’d shoot, then we’d pull the target down and put a an orange plug in and raise it up so they could see it with their field glasses and see where they hit. And...of course at that time they’d let us fire the rifles a few times just to ...just for the heck of it, and I’m sure that’s where I learned to fire the rifle as good as I did. Learned to shoot it as good so I made that highest rank in that platoon in the Marine Corps. And I’m sure that’s how I did it...because I had that opportunity to learn from them.
And after I got into the Marine Corps, I was in there several months, and we were stationed right there in San Diego..we didn’t get out...oh we went over to an island. Um...for some maneuvers one time...we was over there for a month, uh...it was kind of nice..they took us on a ship over to this island...I remember one time on this island, it was hot down there in San Diego of course...in that area, and it was mucky...murkey...and we could take showers that they had ....all they had for us to shower in was just cold water. They didn’t have hot water...they just put cold water in a....you’d go out there under a tap an pull string and let the water run on ya. So one day, I decided I was gonna go....I don’t know why, but I decided I was going to go get clean in the ocean. So I went down to the ocean...and there was some cliffs there... and I climbed down on the cliffs...and a wave come in...and got me wet, and I soaped up good and...and then I was hoping a wave would come in to wash the soap off me and a wave came in alright .... but it was a LOT bigger one than the one I got wet with..and when it hit me and I grabbed onto the rocks and just about lost my hold on the rocks...it just about pulled me out into the ocean...and I’ll tell ya...when that wave went down I got out of that ocean in a hurry and I never did do that again. I showered in the shower, not in the ocean. I can remember that to this very day...how frightened I was when that wave hit me and I was just holding onto that rock, for just...holding on as hard as I could ... and it just about tore my hands loose off that rock and I remember that to this very day.
And...after I was in the Marine Corps for a while.....I started getting these migraine headaches again. I don’t know why, but I did. And they sent me up to the Navy...Naval hospital in San Diego there, and it was up by Balboa Park in San Diego. It was across the street from Balboa Park in fact. And I was in the Naval hospital for about six weeks, and they couldn’t cure those migraine headaches, and they would really lay me up. So finally they gave me a medical discharge. That’s how I got out of the Marine Corps was with a medical discharge. And when I got home, it was before the war broke out, and I got discharged in November. And then that December is when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. And I went up to Salt Lake and tried to reenlist again back in the Marine Corps, but they wouldn’t take me because of my medical discharge. So...These doggone migraine headaches is what made me get out of the CC Camp and what made me get out of the Marine Corps. And, I might as well tell you the rest about the migraine headaches. Um...when I met Melba, and we decided to get married, and we did get married of course, Melba got migraine headaches. She started having migraine headaches and I have never had a migraine headache since that very time. I’ve never had a migraine since...since we got married. So evidently I just gave them to her some how or another. She got the migraines. She’d never had one before we got married, and I had had them, and it was just the opposite after we did get married. She really got bad migraine headaches.
Oh....you asked me to say something about pivotal experiences in my life. One of them I think was a....well there were two of them really. One year in the winter time in days gone by when I was a younger fellow, we couldn’t work in construction. Everything closed down for the winter time. So one year I went and got a job at Sears & Roebuck & Company. That’s when they used to be located at 2nd West and Center street in Provo. And I got a job in the automotive and hardware department selling automotive equipment and things and also tools and things. That was a pivotal experience in my life because we worked there for about six months. Melba and I got along fine with our family then. And then when spring came of course, then I went back to work in construction again. Another pivotal experience in my life was one time when Garth got discharged out of the Marine Corps, and he lived in California. And he came up one time and ah he had been working at a dry cleaners down there in California, and he ah said “why don’t we open a dry cleaning plant here in Utah Valley” and we thought about it for a while and Melba and I talked it over and decided yes, we’d try it. So we went and borrowed some money and bought some dry cleaning equipment and talked to a fellow that owned a piece of property out in Orem, and he also had a grocery store at that time with some apartments attached to it. And..named Ollie Johnson. And he hired my folks....Groneman and Company...to build a building on his vacant property that we could use for a dry cleaning plant. And we built it specifically for a dry cleaning plant. Built it the way we should for our equipment, and office, and all of our presses and ironing boards, and (end of tape)