Recalling the late, great W.X. Perkins

W.X. Perkins was a great boss, says former employee of the one time Phoenix, B.C. resident

To the Editor:

I have written about W.X. Perkins before, but a man such as he was should never be forgotten.

I do not know his younger history, but in the very early days he was the magistrate in the old ghost town of Phoenix, which was located on top of the mountain above Greenwood, a town of about 3,500. From there when Phoenix was winding up its mining years, Mr. Perkins moved to Grand Forks and started a garage. As time went on Mr. Perkins was going to start a chain of garages and he started one in Penticton just on the full block behind the Bank of Montreal. In my early years in Penticton, in 1944 I went to work for Mr. Perkins. Now to describe him – he was a man who had no equal. Times became hard, but when there was nothing to do in his garage, he never laid a man off. The first Christmas I was there he came around and gave me a big cheque with a handshake and a smile. I went into the office and told Archie Feid, “Perk made a mistake.  He paid me away too much.”

Archie said, “That’s not your cheque, it’s your Christmas bonus.” In those days that was unheard of, and so was the two weeks pay he gave me for a holiday). At times we had nothing to do for a month or so, and he got us painting the whole interior of that garage. I was so embarassed at that  I took time off for a month and went up the street and worked for Walter George’s jewellery store, fixing clocks. When I went back to “Perk” my job was there.

 

One of Perks men was seriously injured when a tractor fell on him. Perk put him to work in the office for the rest of his life.

Another young married man Perk told me he would have to let him go as he had nothing for him to do. He had a wife and child. Well, in that polio epidemic the man became partially paralyzed. Perk came to me and said, “Don’t you tell him that I was going to let him go. He is staying on.”

That was Perk. I worked for him until 1960 and then, in order to carry on my trade as a transmission specialist (the only automatic transmission specialist in the interior of B.C.) I left Perk’s and went to an ultra modern garage which was on Front Street in those days.

 

But believe me, I never forgot “Old Perk” as he was known. The finest man I have ever known, and he should never be forgotten.

I wound up owning my own garage in Keremeos for over nine years. I can write papers on about six different trades, I am a musician and artist of native and my own history and am now in my ‘90’s.

Thought you may like this bit of history. The girl I came to B.C. to marry was my cousin, so I married her good friend Annie Miller (no relation) and when she passed away after 64 years I married my cousin,  Audrey Joy and here I am still in Keremeos, still gardening, etc.

I was engine crew on steam trains at Brookmere for a year and I also have flown an aircraft.

I started out driving horses in the 1920’s and I still drive a car and have never had a car accident.

As ever, Wilf Miller, Keremeos