Oral Histories

Clara Copley Shafer

b.1930

Clara Shafer

Q: Do you think you were affected differently by the boom than your husband, since he had grown up here? Did it bother him more with this influx of people?

A: Well, it was good for his business as a diesel mechanic. It really was. But, he’s like me. He didn’t like a lot of crowds. Did not like neighbors too close.   He liked the small town atmosphere   and the small town area. Changes come. It’s either that or move. And where do you move to nowadays??

Q: What do you consider the best and the worst things about living in Moab?

A: Well, the thing that has always bothered me is that it is so far away from anything.   I have a sister that lives right there in Salt Lake and she tells me about going to see “Les Miserables” and I would love to see it. And she tells me about seeing the “Phantom of the Opera” and I would love to see that. She tells me about Ballet West and things like that. When I was going to college, I was right there and could attend these things.

Q: The cultural events?

A: It’s not there anymore. The Music Festival is very good and I go to as much of that as possible but I miss that and shopping. My husband always said if I couldn’t get it through the catalogue, or couldn’t get it in Moab, I probably didn’t need it. That has not been a big deal with me although, yes, it does bother me. I needed a pair of ladies dress shoes and where do you go in Moab to buy a pair of ladies dress shoes? I wanted a white shirt for my grandson, where in Moab do you find a white shirt for a 12-year-old? That bothers me. But I think it is the fact that it is so hard to get out of here. I mean, you go to Green River for the train; you go to Green River for the bus. The airplane used to fly to Salt Lake; it doesn’t anymore.   Thank goodness for the shuttle. It’s helpful. But it’s the cultural events and the shopping for special things.

Q: And transportation?

A: And transportation.

Q: What’s the best things about Moab then? Either now or back when you first moved here?

A: Well, I don’t know. I had a chance to buy my dad’s house there in Coalville and I was really tempted to do it but my kids said, “Just remember how cold it gets in the winter time and in Moab you don’t have to shovel snow.” So, the growing season, I guess. Because when we first came here, when I first came to Moab there was peaches and pears   and cherries and apples and you could… as I said you could can an awful lot. You could grow tomatoes, cucumbers, the watermelons, the canteloupes, but now who gardens, who grows? I put in four tomato plants this year and three of them have died already. I guess I am not the gardener. But, I think the accessibility to fresh fruit when I first came here, and then everybody went out of their way to try and make me feel at home.

Q: Do you feel Moab has been a very friendly place?

A: Well, it was, I think, before the boom.   But after that, I don’t even know my neighbor. Before, you know, yeah. You usually knew everybody in town. And, like I said, something happened and the whole community would pitch in to help. And now, you don’t even know your neighbors.

Q: So Prommel stayed at the diesel repair until he retired.?

A: He stayed there until he died of a massive heart attack.   He had suffered a stroke about a couple of years before and then he couldn’t go back to work and then, as I said, my son took it over and then moved the business out south of town. He moved it out there because Darcy’s Truck Stop was out there. But now they are gone. He still maintains the business there. I don’t think he employs anybody but himself. He does have his wife do the bookkeeping for him.

Q: Your other kids are scattered around? Do you get to visit much?

A: Well, I try and see them about twice a year. I usually go by train. I love to travel by train. Or by bus. I was flying out but since 9/11 it is such a hassle .

Q: Do they like coming back to Moab? Do they like Moab as it is now?

A: Oh yes. But I think they would like to remember it as they were growing up. I have two daughters, if they could find work in Moab, they would be here in a minute, I’m sure. I don’t know about the boys. I have one son that I know would because he’s “Oh mom, I’m a desert rat,” he said. “I can’t get acclimated out here.”   He’s the one that lives in Carson City. Every time he comes home, he heads to the Arches or up or down the River. He guided his college roommates through the Fiery Furnace out there by himself.

Q: So they liked growing up in Moab even though it was a crazy time?

A: They liked it. They were very much involved, as I said. They took swimming lessons; the girls and boys were involved in 4-H. The girls were in the dance programs here; the boys, as soon as they were able were out helping their dad.   They have enjoyed it, I think. They still feel like Moab is the place they want to be. As I said, if there were jobs for them here, I think most of them would come back.

Q: Well, I guess that is as good as you want to say…..that people want to return there.

A: But, what is there for an electrical engineer?   Now, the Paralegal could find work here, but her husband can’t. My daughter that is a publicity manager, said , “What is there? Motel work and café work?”   She said, “My talents, my degree couldn’t be used in that kind of work.”

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