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Historic Provo

Oral History of Mable Bott


WINN: This is Jennifer Winn and I'm here with Mable Bott, who is 92 years old. Today is May 27, 1999. Mable, what are your earliest memories of Provo?

BOTT: My earliest memory of Provo is my home. My husband was born and raised here. I like it. I love it. If I didn't I wouldn't be here. There is a lot of changes. They used to have an electric car from here to Salt Lake. We called it the Orem. You could drive up there if we had a little shopping or something to do. They moved a lot of stores around.

What I don't like is they've taken all our little corner groceries away. All in all it's a wonderful place with good neighbors. I'm a Mormon.

WINN: What brought you to Provo?

BOTT: My husband. He worked here. He worked with Lewis and Bott Plastering Company. He did a lot of plastering in Provo. He plastered in Heber and places up there. That's what brought me. Both my children were born here, my son and my daughter. My son is retired. He lived in Salt Lake. My daughter is retired and is very happy. She lives just a block and a half from me. They both have wonderful families.

My husband was killed 24 years ago in an accident in a snow storm. I still stayed on.

WINN: When you first came to Provo, what were the city's parameters? How large was the city?

BOTT: There is not too many new places around my neighborhood. They enlarged the business district in town. They moved most of the stores to the mall. The NuSkin building is a new building. There's a new hotel. It was littler. That's about all. It was a community place. I've lived here in this place since the first day of August, 1942.

WINN: You first moved to Provo in 1936. When you first came, were you still feeling the effects of the Depression?

BOTT: It was the Depression. We were married in 1928. We went to Marysvale and stayed down there for a while. My folks were down there. We did odd jobs in 1928 and 1929. When we moved up to stay in 1936 my husband got work. He formed a company and had a partner, Lewis and Bott. He worked until he died.

We suffered the Depression. It wasn't easy. We got along. Everybody raised gardens and did odd jobs. We got along. You can do it if you want to.

WINN: When the war came, how were you affected by that?

BOTT: I have three brothers. One worked for the government in Hawaii. My other brother was with Patton over in Italy. My other one was down in the Philippines. They were uninjured and got home safely, thank goodness. My husband was too old and my son too young. It was just my brothers.

WINN: Did the war affect the economy of Provo or did it make it difficult for you?

BOTT: No, I don't think it affected it. I don't think so. I don't know. I have grandsons up there. My brother came home and he went up here. He took a course up here. Then he moved to St. George. He is a city manager there now. My other brother stayed here in Provo. He went to war with Earl Lewis. His name was Henry Benson. There are older people that know about him.

WINN: When you were raising your children here in Provo, what were some of the activities that they were involved in?

BOTT: School and dances. They worked. My son went to work when he was sixteen. My daughter met her husband, Rex Jones. He was in the Navy. He joined that, so she stayed here with me. She didn't go. I was working at that time. I worked at Penney's for about ten years. That was fun.

WINN: As a family what did you do for recreation? Did you go camping or hiking?

BOTT: Yes, my husband was an avid fisherman and hunter. He liked to hunt and fish. We took Wes camping and fishing and went to the lakes. We took our family wherever we were. We went to Yellowstone and down south to the Grand Canyon.

My son worked for the government and they sent him to Germany. That was later on. He went over seas.

I've had a good life. I wouldn't trade one minute of it. I've had ups and downs. We all do. That's what makes life worth living.

WINN: Were there any activities like circuses or parades that you can recall?

BOTT: Not that I can recall. I'm not a sports minded person. Sports we enjoyed. We would get together with our family and went fishing a lot. They went deer hunting. I didn't go. No trouble with guns.

I have seven grandchildren and nineteen great grandchildren. I've got two great, great grandchildren. That's five generations. I wouldn't trade any of them for anything. They're just normal people.

WINN: Has this neighborhood changed in the years you've lived here?

BOTT: We've got a lot of new neighbors and a couple of new homes built up.

WINN: What kind of activities have you enjoyed doing?

BOTT: I enjoyed hiking and dancing. I like to swim. I have for a long time. My husband and I used to go dancing.

WINN: Where would you go dancing?

BOTT: They used to have these places. It was Utahna Dance Hall up here on Second South and Third West. We used to go up there and go dancing. They had dances up the canyon. We went up there.

WINN: Have you noticed any other changes in Provo?

BOTT: No, except people get old and die and new ones come in. Around here we're the same. Nothing changes except new people. Old ones go away and new ones come in. There aren't many new homes built around here. There is one right over here.

WINN: Have you ever been involved in community activities or politics?

BOTT: I served on jury duty for quite some time. I have never been arrested. I've had tickets. That's about all. I've had a normal life. Eat, drink, go to sleep, get up, do it all over again.

WINN: Can you recall any funny or interesting stories of things that have happened to you in Provo?

BOTT: We used to have a lot more snow. It must have been getting warmer, because we haven't had as much snow.

WINN: How about holidays? Are there any special ways that holidays are celebrated in Provo?

BOTT: We had the Fourth of July. We always had parades. They're good. They always make a big fuss over the Fourth. You've been here long enough to know that.

WINN: Is there anything else that you'd like to share?

BOTT: No. I've told you of the changes. There are things I like and don't like. I liked the little corner grocery so I don't have to walk clear up town.

WINN: Thank you very much for sharing some of your experiences with me.

BOTT: You're welcome.

Interviewee: Mable Bott
Interviewer: Jennifer Winn
May 27, 1999

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