For most, the Albion Valley is just a small window in time as they drive to and from Pomerelle or the City of Rocks but for Marijane Jolley Albion has been her home for 87 years. Forty-three of which were spent working at ATC Communications (Albion Telephone Company) answering phones, running service orders, and trouble tickets. “When it really comes down to it I have two loves in my life,” Marijane said. “My family is the first and the telephone company is the second.” Long before she held the title of office manager at ATC, Marijane and her family were among the first to have phone service with ATC.
As the daughter of a dairy farmer, Marijane’s childhood revolved around helping her parents on the farm. An integral part of the business was taking milk orders by phone. “I was three when we moved into this house in 1941 and ever since then there has been a phone. Having a telephone gave us the ability to take and stop milk orders more efficiently,” Marijane said. On the list of customers whom her dad would deliver milk to was Jeanette Breslin a.k.a. Grandma Breslin. Grandma Breslin owned and operated ATC from 1929-1963. She personally sat at the switchboard 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Although her involvement in the business lessened later in life, she remained an owner until her passing in 1963. “She was one of the last customers my dad would deliver to so he could stay awhile and visit,” she said. There were a few instances when Marijane returned home from school and wasn’t sure where her dad was. To ease her dismay, she called Grandma Breslin and had a conversation that went something like this:
“Grandma Breslin, did my dad come today.”
“Yes, he brought my milk.”
“Did he say where he was going?”
“Yes Marijane, he went to Burley and should be back soon. If you have any problems, call me back and I will get help to you.”
From her reoccurring conversations with Grandma Breslin over the phone to her dad’s spring fishing outings with Victor Redman, Grandma Breslin’s son, the bonds between the two families grew exponentially over the years. Little did Marijane know though that those close ties would become stronger later in life when her personal friendship would turn into a professional one. “I had a really great job working for a lawyer in Burley and then I worked for an insurance company. I was doing mostly clerical work. When Darla asked me to come work at the telephone company I left my previous job without hesitation,” Marijane said.
Forty-three years at ATC and there was one thing said by ODeen Redman, CEO and President 1965-2013, that had a profound impact on the way she viewed work. “ODeen pulled me into his office one day and told me from 8 AM – 5 PM every employee works for the brand and therefore should dedicate themselves and put forth their best efforts,” she said. Marijane credits the longevity of her career to the Redman family, “I’ve had good jobs. The Redman family is the reason ATC is more than a job.”
What started out as a need for phone service quickly blossomed into a life-long friendship and career. When asked what ATC means to her, she said, “When I say the telephone company is my life, I really do mean it.” Not many can say they’ve been an ATC customer for 87 years and even fewer can say they’ve been an employee for 43.