Cast Iron — August 1, 2015 at 10:58 am

Happy 90th Birthday, John West!



I AM REALLY VERY SHY and do not feel comfortable pushing myself into anyone else’s space unless invited. So when John sent me a post card he had received years ago from a Lou McMurry and said that the address was near our place in Dunedin, Florida, he wondered if I knew this guy.

One day when Bets was out, because I would have been embarrassed to do this in front of her, I decided to take John’s card on a walk with me and check out the address. The houses were all older houses, not too big with lots of Florida trees and shrubs around them with small mowed well kept green front lawns. All of a sudden I saw this house where the spray colors had missed their mark at times and turned the grass into a multicolored front lawn unintentionally painted with the over-sprays of various colors. I didn’t even need to look at the address, knowing only an artist lived here. I braced myself and walked to the door which was ajar with the keys still in the lock, and knocked. No one came. I felt relieved, but as I started to walk away the door opened enough for me to see a tall barefooted man in what looked like his undershorts and T-shirt who suspiciously said, “Can I help you?” I held up John’s card and asked if he knew John West. All of a sudden it was like I said the magic word! This cautious-looking man’s eyes lit up and he kept repeating, “John West, John West, you know John West?” The door opened wider and he motioned me to come in. I came into what was a living room but it looked like a miniature General Motors factory. I was so thrilled when I saw the little trucks he was making I could not believe it. As I walked in he kept asking, “How do you know John West, John West, John West?”

Read the complete article in the August 2015 issue of Antique Toy World Magazine. Subscribe today! Click here!