Oral Histories

Clara Copley Shafer


Clara Shafer

Q: That was 1954 ?

A: I left in the fall of ’54 and didn’t get back until the spring of ’57.   And then I went back to BYU to renew my teaching certificate. While I was there, Prommel convinced me that he was the only one for me and we were married in June.

Q: You met him when you were down here?

A: Yes. He was at home on leave from the service, and I had agreed to write to him. Well, he was alone in the service and I didn’t know too many people down here. So, it was just correspondence more or less for about four years.

Q: So he convinced you to come and get married?

A: Yes.

Q: That’s great. And then did you immediately move back down to Moab?

A: We lived in one of the half-chicken-coop apartments that his brother had converted for a while and then…

Q: Where was that located?

A: It’s just up above where what used to be the Provonsha apartments are. It’s on, I think, 2nd South. At that time it was called Shafer Lane because John Henry donated the ground to the County or the City to make a road and so it was called Shafer Lane at that time. The apartments were owned by my brother-in-law. He had two one-bedroom apartments that we rented first and then, when the family came along, we moved down west and he had two two-bedroom apartments and we moved into one of those. But we were transferred. Prommel was working for Mr. Keller as a mechanic. Keller had ore hauling contracts in Moab and in Riverton, Wyoming.

Q: Here in Moab?

A: Here in Moab. He had an ore haul out of the Gas Hills in Wyoming and Prommel was spending more time in Wyoming than he was here in Moab and so we moved to Riverton, Wyoming. We lived there for three years. Apparently, Keller lost the haul, or something, I don’t know. Anyway, we were transferred back to Moab which suited my husband because he was the kind that had to go back and count the Court House steps if he was gone too long. So, he was very pleased to be back here near his mother, and, of course, his father, cousins and friends.

Q: During that time, when you came back from BYU, after your mission, the town had probably changed a lot.

A: Oh yes. Definitely. They had the Helen M. Knight school then. When I was here there was the LDS Church where the MARC is now (100 East and 100 North) and then the Baptist Church had where Seekhaven was (200 East and 100 North). The Catholic Church used to have a man come down, a Father come down from Price. I think he came once a month and they held services in the different homes. The Seven Day Adventists people would go to Grand Junction and if there were any other denominations, I wasn’t aware of them. Yes, it had changed an awful lot and grown up an awfully lot. The hospital when I was here was a little bit west of Pasta Jay’s (south side of Center Street between Main Street and 100 West). It had been a home at one time. That’s where that motel is. And, at that time, Continental Trailways came through Moab and it stopped right across the street from Riley’s Drug at Mom’s Café‚ which was open 24 hours a day at that time. It got in here at 4:00 in the morning which was an unearthly hour. If there were passengers that needed a ride anyplace, usually the Sheriff met them and would take them wherever they needed to go.   It left Moab about the same time, too,.which was also an unearthly hour. Then Continental sold out to Greyhound and I don’t know what happened to the schedule. It kind of got fouled up after that and then for a while we didn’t have anything until we got this Big Horn Express, a ten-passenger van that runs between Monticello and the Salt Lake airport..

Q: When you and Prommel came back from Wyoming, was the town still growing at that point?

A: Oh yes. This was back …. we left in ’60 and we came back in ’63. And it was still growing. Shortly after that, my husband and Jay Carter bought out Bill Osborne and they had Skyline Garage and Diesel where they now have Ya Gotta Wanna, behind McDonald’s (west of ~600 So. Main Street). My husband and Jay Carter bought that out in….I’m thinking it was 1964. But Skyline had been out there since about 1954 or somewhere around in there because my husband said he had helped haul some of the stuff out to build it. At that time it was in County limits, I think. He drove a truck for a while. He drove a truck for his brother-in-law out of Mexican Hat. Then he went into the diesel repair business for Chuck Keller and then he bought into this with Jay Carter. When Jay Carter died, he bought Jay’s share and he ran it with his boys, as soon as the boys got big enough to be any help he had them down there. He said his kids weren’t going to run the streets after school. They could help him until supper time. By then it was time for homework and bedtime.

Q: Did you come back to teaching when you returned?

A: No. My husband always said that if he couldn’t make enough for us to live on, I had to learn to live on what he made. We had enough to argue about without arguing about that. So I let it go. Like I said, we always had a big garden and I bottled everything I could, and froze a lot. He was the kind that insisted on home-made bread so I was baking at least twice a week. There towards the end of my father in law’s life, he came and lived with us so there was six kids plus my father-in-law. Of course, my oldest girls were old enough to go away to college but they were still here in the summer time.

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