Oral Histories

Ferne J. Mullen

b. 1919

Ferne Mullen

Q: Were you an all-purpose nurse?

A: Well, I was the Director. 

Q: Oh, you were the Director?

A: The Director and working nurse. We scratched up – we had some wonderful nurses that were working here then.

Q: I think we have a tray at the Museum with the name Ferne on it.

A: That’s me.

Q: A white tray.

A: I have sitting here a picture of Dr. Mayberry and I. We just gotten a new incubator or something in the hospital in surgery. So we had our picture taken. I will see if I can find it and give it to you.

Q: We would like to scan it and give it back to you.

A: And, we had Dr. Munsey and Dr. Mayberry who were the Doctors. We finally got two other Doctors in. But, there were a lot of automobile accidents, a lot of babies born, people sick. It was busy. So, this went on as far as getting along with the local people. I think they fitted in real well. We got along real well with them. Very interesting people. And, with Monticello, Green River and Blanding, I don’t think anyone had too much time to ….

Q: Deal with them?

A: No, not really. Because Green River had … they usually took them to Price. We were kind of in-between occasionally. And Blanding, of course, had their Doctor and Monticello had their hospital. People shopped a lot in Grand Junction…

Q: You lived in Green River at one time?

A: No.

Q: Oh no, you didn’t? Or Hanksville?

A: Grand Junction. 

Q: But then you lived…?

A: I lived in Grand Junction.

Q: So, I mean when your husband was working on the Hidden Splendor or the Temple Mountain you didn’t…?

A: As I say, Hidden Splendor or that mine in the Far West mining.

Q: I was trying to think of the name of the fellow with the Hidden Splendor.   Well, I think it played out.

A: It did.

Q: Right

A: I think that.

Q: So you just moved over to Moab when he moved to Moab?

A: Yes. I think that was around the first of September . Mary started to school . Kindergarten. 

Q: What school did you…?

(Mary?): HMK. [Helen M. Knight Elementary]

Q: It was brand new, I guess?

A: Uh-huh. 

Q: And then Pat – where did you start school?

A: You started school here at HMK. They both went all through school here. Anyhow, we transferred over there and we got a house because somebody moved out. And we had a house on Mountain View Drive here in Moab.

Q: So was Mountain View sort of started in the boom times?

A: Yes, Hidden Splendor Mine built it for their employees.

Q: Over in Mountain View?

A: Yes. They had rows, and I don’t know how many houses there.

Q: I remember, over on LaSal Street they called that the Hecla subdivision so I guess the mining people….

A: They built houses to get workers. And so we moved there and, as I say it was in September and I didn’t do any ….. I did special duty at the hospital because John was working and I had a baby at home.

Q: So you had your three kids? You just had three children

A: Yes. And I did special duty nursing. I know I did special duty for Dr. Allen for quite a few days.

Q: Well, okay. There was the boom time and your nurse times and there is probably a gap when you became a City Councilwoman.

A: Oh, that was much later.

Q: What did you do in between times? Nurse.?

A: Yes, I worked 25 years

Q: 25 years at Allen Memorial?

A: Yes, my husband died in 1970.

Q: Ahhh. What happened to him?

A: He had a heart attack.

Q: It wasn’t a mining accident?

A: No. And, it was very sudden. He was at work and that was in 1970.. She graduated from High School that year. And, then I had Mary start to College the next year. 

Q: Mary went to school in Idaho?

A: She went to College in Idaho. My son was in Wallace, Idaho. He worked for a mining company. He did their office business. So I almost moved there.

Q: Well, was he on the river? (a Westwater trip later)

A: Yes, he has since moved to Washington, D.C. 

Q: He is a Judge or something?

(Mary?): Yes. He was Vice President of Day Mines.

A: He was 12 years older than you. Fifteen years older than her. So, let’s see. He worked for Hecla Mine and Hecla had the mine and he did Harris’ old houses and steam bid his but…. he worked for …. what was his name.   Hecla Mine.

(Mary?): Calhoun.

A: No, that’s Day Mines.

Q: So did you know Charlie Steen?

A: Yes. Not too close but met him many, many times.

Q: Did you go to his parties?

A: Oh yes.

Q: What was he like?  

A: Very friendly. I didn’t see much of his wife. She never really joined in on the parties. I guess smaller parties, or something. But I had met her.

Q: How about Dan O’Laurie? Did you meet him?

A: Yes.   I would like to back track as I think of something funny about Charlie Steen. My husband, and the miners one time he had a party up there so they wrote a play. And so when it was time to go to the play, it was held down in the….? It was just behind where…?

Q: Behind where Nifty Fashions are? (southwest corner of Center St. and 100 East) There seemed to be a great gathering place there.

A: Yes.   There was a restaurant there and they had another on a little stage back there.   So they practiced this thing.

Q: So, were you in the play?

A: No. No. All men. But it was a really funny play. The time was set that they would do it at ten o’clock at night. Because of the party and all, they had food and so they went down at ten and got already and then left. Charlie Steen didn’t come to the party at ten o’clock. And I don’t think he ever liked us after that. He invited us to his party because he almost had to, you know what I mean. But, he was insulted because they wouldn’t do it over. And it was special for him. He didn’t know. That is not a play you put over. It’s too crazy, you know. It was .. one guy had…

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