Bushman's Fire versus
Jensen's Math: 1946

1931 Chevrolet Coupe
Burl Bushman's 1931 Chevrolet Coupe

One winter day in 1946, I decided to go home from B. Y. High for lunch. I drove my car, a 1931 Chev Coupe, and planned to be back in time for my first afternoon class, Math, taught by C.L. Jensen.

After lunch, however, I was a little late in returning to school. When I arrived I saw that classes were already in session. I quickly parked on the north side of the Arts Building near the curb, to get as close as I could to Jensenís classroom.

As I parked and jumped out, I discovered there were flames coming from under my hood! I quickly threw open the hood, picked up handfuls of snow, and threw as much snow as I could onto the flames. I was finally able to extinguish the fire.

One of my friends inside in the Math class told me that this incident really threw C.Lís class into a tizzy. The students, and even Mr. Jensen, ran over to the windows. My friends knocked on the windows, shouted and laughed while they watched me frantically throwing snowballs into my engine compartment, trying to save the car.

This spectacle really threw a kink into C.Lís teaching plan, because the fire was much more exciting than the geometry theorem he was attempting to explain. He knew that Math didn't come close to the entertainment value of watching a friend's car on fire -- this was real life!

After I finally got the fire extinguished, I quietly slipped in the classroom door and took a seat in one of the back rows.

To my surprise, C.L. never said a word to me about it.

While I probably deserved a tongue-lashing for coming in late, I think maybe he liked me because I played on the BY High varsity football and basketball teams. Or maybe he just sympathized with me for having such serious car trouble.

Why the fire? For quite some time I had been noticing a small leak in my gasoline line. Until I could afford to fix it, I had wired a can to catch the gas, so I could save it and pour it back into the gas tank.

A spark from a loose wire must have ignited the gasoline in my temporary drip catcher. The minute I got out of the car and saw the flames, I had a pretty good idea what had happened, and by quick action was able to save my old Chevy from becoming a complete loss.

~~Burl Bushman, Class of 1946

Burl Bushman, Senior at Brigham Young HS, 1946
Burl Bushman, 1946
Click here: Math Teacher, C. L. Jensen, BYHS, 1946
C. L. Jensen, 1946
[Click for more]

Winter Day at Brigham Young High School
Winter Day at B.Y. High