Oral Histories

Clara Copley Shafer


Clara Shafer

Although I have not been active in the community, I have been active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When I first came to Moab, I served in the Young Women’s Auxiliary as a teacher of the 12- and 13-year-old girls for one year and for another year as drama director. After marriage, I worked in the auxiliary for children (the Primary). I served in this organization for 30 years. I taught the 10-year-old boys for 14 years, helping to prepare them to enter the Boy Scout organization. I also served as secretary, pianist and teaching other age groups. I served in the nursery four different terms.

I have served 3 different times in the Relief Society as Educational Councilor. The Relief Society is the women’s auxiliary. I have also bee secretary, teacher, and pianist in this organization. For a few years I was serving in the Primary and the Relief Society simultaneously. I have also been a teacher in the Sunday School, and at the present time I am working with the teachers of the various auxiliaries in a special calling in the Sunday School.

Q: Where were your kids going to school?

A: My kids all went to school here.

Q: Was that Helen M. Knight or …?

A: When we came back from Riverton, Wyoming, about the time my oldest girl started kindergarten, she …. Well, some of my kids went to kindergarten in the old LDS church house, which is now the MARC (Moab Arts and Recreation Center). I can’t remember how many did. Whether they went to kindergarten and school, some of them in the southeast and then we moved down there on Moenkopi and my kids went there until my oldest daughter was a junior in high school and then we moved back up to where we live now but my kids mostly went to the Helen M. Knight school.

Q: Were there classrooms very crowded still?

A: I don’t think so. No. In my opinion they were not crowded. You talked to the teacher now days and they would say they were. Back when I was teaching school, the classrooms of 34 – 35 were normal. That was normal. I mean anything over 30 – 35 they figured was crowded but anything under 30 – 35… they tried to keep them around 24 but, you know….

Q: Now was it pretty transient or was it a pretty stable population once they came here for the boom?

A: It depended on where they lived. If they lived in apartments or trailers they were pretty transient. But if they had moved into a house they tended to be more stable. When we moved to where we are living now, we moved into one of the older areas of town and there weren’t too many children my kids’ age. They were just in that area – mostly older people.

Q: Were you involved in any of the political functions here? On Boards or ….?

A: Prommel was pretty much involved with the American Party. It wasn’t Republican or Democrat. It think it was called the American, at that time. He never ran for office. He was the kind that liked to stay out of the limelight. But he was very conservative in his views. And the candidates that he usually supported were usually the conservative ones. Prommel was not involved in much of anything. 

Q: He wasn’t a joiner?

A: No. He did his own bookwork up there at the shop, as well as ordering the parts and everything owning the business, he was very good at he did, I’m told. I had my brother up in Bellevue, Washington, tell me about a friend of his that broke down in Moab and they had a diesel engine and he was asking around where he could get it repaired and he was told, “Well, it’s a good thing you broke down in Moab. We’ve got one of the best diesel mechanics around” and, my brother-in-law heard this story up in Bellevue , Washington. No. He was good at his business. And he would work. It was not uncommon for him to go to work at 9 o’clock and to come home at 9 o’clock at night so he didn’t have time to do anything else. 

Q: And then you had all of the kids so you did not have a lot of time.

A: I was involved with 4-H. I wanted my own kids involved in the program. I had been involved in it when I was growing up and I could see some benefits for the kids. So, they were involved and because they were involved I was involved too. I led 4-H for a while. My kids have always been involved in Scouting. I have two Eagle Scouts. I insisted that the kids take swimming lessons. They used to go fishing with their father-in-law and I just felt more comfortable if they knew how to swim and then, of course, they always had the life jackets on. Two of the boys were involved with Little League baseball and one of the girls was interested in baseball. That and swimming was all that was offered then.

Q: Where did you take them fishing…on the River or on the Mountain?

A: On the Colorado River, in a boat. Sog always knew where the good holes were and, in fact, Mel Dalton (he was chief of police at that time) had been told about this drunk man who was driving down the wrong side of the road on the Potash Road. It was Sog. He was just looking for good fishing holes and he was driving down the wrong side of the road to see them. He got so he would park the truck a half mile up from where he was going to go fishing because people would see where he was going to go fishing and then they would go fishing in the same area. He had a boat and when it was stolen Prommel wanted to buy another one for him. I told him no because Sog was over 80 and I was afraid he’d tip the boat over and drown. He would say he had many a meal of the catfish and he figured he owed them one.

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