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Historic Provo

Oral History of Fred Harding


HARDING: I remember where the Orem train used to go by on Sixth South, Ninth West. I was born in 1911. I lived on Ninth West. My dad was a brick mason and a farmer. We had a ten acre farm.

When I got married we took a vacation and went back east. I used to work for the Utah Poultry. That's when I got out of there. I got a truck and worked out of that in Colorado. I wanted to get back home. After I got there I worked for American Freeze. I had to join the union as an operating engineer. That's what I did all the rest of my life. I did construction inside Geneva for a long time.

My mother was a Seventh Day Adventist. They had a building here.

I wasn't big enough for sports. When I was growing up I used to go swimming in the Provo River. We would jump off a bridge. I jumped off once. I've still got a scar right there.

I can remember all the stores. There was the Bluebird Cafe.

BLEDSOE: So you met her at her brother's sandwich shop.

HARDING: We've always had a good Fourth of July. During the war they rationed. I was working with trucks before the war, but after a while I couldn't stand it anymore. I wanted to get out. There was high wages in those days. There was a lot of construction.

The most dangerous job I had was out working on Geneva in their rafters. I would hoist the steel up and put sheets up on the roof. We had a little platform. I fell off and I grabbed a beam as I was falling. It took two yard workers to come get me off and pry my hands loose.

BLEDSOE: So you were hanging from this beam?

HARDING: In the air.

BLEDSOE: How high up in the air were you?

HARDING: About sixty feet. It was enough.

When I was growing up I used to drive a herd of cows. I would get up in the morning and take them down. I used to have a horse. One day I was going down to get the cows at the pasture and I had a friend. He was behind some brush down there and he came out and the horse threw me off.

We got one dollar a head for the cows and I used to drive ninety to a hundred in the summer.

BLEDSOE: That was pretty good money.

HARDING: I had a dog to drive the cows. During the winter my friend had a dog that could pull him, but he wouldn't do anything unless my dog let him. I could guide my dog the way I wanted him to go.

I went down to the lake skating and there were bulrushes. I fell through the ice all the way up to my head. I finally got to where the ice was strong enough to get me out. It was freezing. I went all the way home. My folks lived on Ninth West. I went clear down into the ice. That's the only time I had an accident.

We always got our groceries at the Second Ward Market. We knew Van Wagenens on Center Street.

Interviewee: Fred Harding
Interviewer: Cathy Bledsoe
June 22, 1999

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