Of course a boy can’t be a cowboy all the time and Curt showed an early interest in four wheeled modes of transportation.  Here he is with his first car, a 1957 Ford Custom 300 with a 272ci V8 and 3-speed on the column.  Curt is the shorter guy in the picture and he did not get this car of his dreams until he was able to drive and his dad bought it for his first set of wheels.

 

Curt didn’t start driving until he was in high school at Weber High School. He got a job between his junior and senior years as a “bugger”.  (I know some of you are shaking your head but that’s what he said, a “bugger”.)  In this job he sprayed lodge pole pines in the Targhee National Forest for the United States Forest Service. All of this spraying was a futile attempt to control the pine beetles devastating the forests in eastern Idaho. At 15 this job afforded Curt the opportunity to get away from home during summer vacation, live in a tent in the mountains, eat questionable foods, and saturate himself on a daily basis with a mixture of diesel fuel and highly carcinogenic insecticides.  So now you know what a bugger is. 

 

This job taught him a couple of valuable lessons.  First, work equaled money and more work equaled more money.  Secondly, Curt loved the feeling of independence that being on his own provided.  After that he had a difficult time wanting to live under his parent’s roof again.

When he returned to school his senior year Curt met the love of his life, Holly.  So with a pocket full of money from his summer job; a sense of independence; a confidence in his own abilities and most importantly a good woman to love, Curt never looked back at his childhood again.

After high school his parents wanted him to become an accountant or a doctor so they packed his bags and sent him off to college.  After a couple of semesters Curt determined that college was not for him.  He dropped out of college and sought new adventures.

Being of prime age for the Selective Service during the Viet Nam war Curt did what he thought was best to dodge the draft and avoid the adventures that the government might have in mind for him.  He joined the Utah National Guard and became a weekend warrior.  The Army sent him off to Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Fort Sill, Oklahoma where he was conferred with the degree of 13 Alpha10 signifying his accomplishments as a cannon cocker, artillery gunner.  Obviously the Army in its infinite wisdom recognized that anyone capable of aiming a spray gun at pine beetles was the perfect man for the job of firing howitzers. Somehow Private Fuller’s job then morphed into that of a truck driver when he returned home after basic training.  Of course Curt says he had not been trained to drive a truck while he was in basic training with the Army.  That sounds about right for the Army.

Upon his return home Curt married the love of his life, Holly, and 41 years later they are still married.  (Just look at the grin on Curt’s face.)

 

Armed with his experiences in the National Guard and an abiding need to feed himself and Holly, Curt looked for a job.  He read where a local ready mix concrete company was hiring and with his resume as an Army truck driver in hand, decided to apply for the job.  He was asked during the interview if he could drive a truck.  Curt said he lied just a bit but answered yes.  The interviewer said, That’s great!  That truck over there is loaded, here is the delivery ticket.  Drive it to the job and when you get there someone will help you get it unloaded.” Curt’s reflections on this event were, Yesterday I could not spell truck driver and today I are one.

 

Curt has enjoyed his job over the years and still thinks it is a great job.  During his career he advanced from truck driver to batch plant operator and then to dispatcher.  Then 15 years ago the owners of the company decided to sell the business to a large corporation.  When that happened Curt was made an offer he could not refuse.  He could either take a job driving a truck again or hit the road without any wheels beneath him.  With 25 years of experience but no formal education Curt says,I slid down the ladder of success banging my chin on every rung as I went.”  Curt accepted the offer to drive a delivery truck again and fifteen years later he is still doing that job.

It’s not such a bad job,” said Curt. As BB King says ‘The Thrill is Gone’ but it is an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.”  During his time in the concrete business he has grown to appreciate how much concrete is all around us and an integral part of our lives in our homes, businesses, roads, virtually everywhere. You name it and I’ve been there while it was being built,” said Curt as he reflected on his career.  Curt has a nickname, At work they call me Dirt. Years ago someone didn't understand me on the phone and thought I said my name was ‘Dirt’. He called back and asked for ‘Dirt’ and I haven't been able to shake it since.  (It could be worse, you could still be known as “bugger”.)

Curt also learned to enjoy the people he has met during his time in the concrete business. The people that pour concrete are some very colorful characters. If you have no formal education, can't pass a drug test, are a convicted felon, or an illegal alien, you probably end up on the end of a concrete truck chute at some point. But I've come to know these folks as some of the most wonderful, hardworking people in the world and I've thoroughly enjoyed spending the last 40 years with them.”

Curt said that working in the concrete industry is one of the reasons he became interested in woodturning. My job has always involved long hours, early mornings, sometimes all night pours. When I went back to driving a truck I no longer had to worry about work things and became bored. I needed a hobby or something to keep me off the couch. My wife is an artist and we like to attend arts shows and exhibits. One day at the Salt Lake Arts Festival I made the comment after visiting a woodturning booth that I would like to try turning wood sometime. My brother-in-law was there and said he had a lathe that he had never taken out of the box. The next day he dropped it off in my driveway. Another of those ‘yesterday I couldn't even spell woodturner, today I are one’ things in my life. And so the woodturning journey began.”

Curt started turning and his progression as a turner resembles that of many of us, “The lathe I inherited was a brand new Ridgid pipe bed lathe, similar to the Craftsman lathes so many of us started out on. My first tuning tool was a sharpened flat screwdriver and my first turning was a piece of 2x2 fir that I splintered and whacked away at until it was somewhat of a crude spindle. I didn't keep it but I wish I would have. I graduated to a Harbor Freight set of tools, learned that hardwood tree branches turned better than fir, got a few books from the library and learned some techniques using waste blocks and faceplates. But my first big advancement was when I acquired a Oneway Talon chuck. Now I was cooking! Then I discovered the world of the online woodturning forums and saw the incredible work that can be done with a piece of wood, a lathe, and a little talent and I was thoroughly hooked on turning.”

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Saturday the 18th. Thanks for visiting Woodturners Unlimited.