When you grow up in a small town like Kaysville, Utah in the 1950’s and 60’s having your very own Potato Chip Factory in the neighborhood is a huge deal.
Sometimes in the early morning, if you went outside on our front porch and looked directly east, you would be able to see the huge white puffy clouds of smoke that filled the air. That meant the little chip makers were hard at work making those wonderful potato chips. The unmistakable smell of potatoes and oil that filled the air was yummy to say the least. It’s the same whiff you get when you first open a fresh bag of chips and the air hits them for the very first time. It wouldn’t be long before I was hounding mom to take me up to Bowman’s Market for our very own bag. Knowing the chips you’re eating with your bologna sandwich were actually made just a few blocks up the street was quite thrilling.
Each year at Kaysville Elementary, we would go on a field trip to tour the Clover Club Potato Chip Factory. The classroom would be buzzing with “chip talk” for days before the actual event. The teachers would write all of the rules for the long walk (actually only 1 block away) on the blackboard. We would either have to line up boy, girl, alphabetically, or the teachers would choose partners for us. I always feared being stuck with ____, who smelled like he just pooped his pants, or ____ who everyone on the playground knew had the worst case of “Cooties” in the world. Fear gripped me as the teachers decided our fate.
When the big day finally arrived, we were beside ourselves with delight. We had trouble curbing our enthusiasm and the teachers had to threaten us with the old “we won’t be going if you don’t be quiet routine” or “if you don’t settle down we will have to call in our Principal Mr. Rampton to come and have a talk with you.” We knew in the long run these were idle threats. The room mothers arrived and tried their best to keep us under control explaining over and over the “don’t touch ANYTHING rule” as if we were actually listening.
At the head of the line would be John Sanders, son of Hod and Clover Sanders, makers of the magic chips. Having John in our class was like having your own celebrity. We never tired of hearing his endless knowledge of elaborate details of the inside workings of the the factory.
When finally inside, they showed us how they cooked the chips and we watched in awe as the conveyor belts overflowing with freshly made golden chips took their long ride throughout the building, eventually filling the ever so familiar read and green bags to the brim with those tasty chips. The workers were dressed usually in white, at the top of the front pocket carefully embroidered in bright red cursive letters were the words “Clover Club”. Some of them wore funny paper shower caps. It seems silly now, but there was a time way back when I dreamed that someday I too might be wearing one of those white coats, being a proud employee of Clover Club.
At the end of our tour each one of us would be handed our own mini bag of chips to eat. I always thought that was so very cool. I tried to save mine as long as I could so I could show and brag to my brothers about my big adventure. I flaunted my bag of chips in front of them, taking great delight in going somewhere my brother’s didn’t get to go that day.