Oral Histories

Ferne J. Mullen

b. 1919

Ferne Mullen

Q: So, what sort of changes have you noticed in Moab?

A: Lots. I mean, I just can’t even count them all. I think one of the best things that has happened here is the bicyclists.

Q: You say the best thing?

A: One of the better things. In the late years after the mill and the uranium .   Because they are clean. They have money and they spend money in Moab.

Q: That’s right. There is no exhaust on bicycles.

A: And they spend money in Moab. And so many of the people that come in, they don’t have the money to spend. But those bicyclers have money. So, anyhow, and I like the Jeep Safari. That’s fun.

Q: Well, it isn’t everybody that likes the Jeep Safari.

A: I know it. And, I think the Jeep Safari is as well run as it can possibly be.

Q: I think it must be.

(Mary?) River running.

A: Oh yes, I love the River.

Q: Oh, that’s right.   You’ve done alot of river running. \

A: I went down the Colorado, I think it was five times. In the winter.

Q: As a passenger or?

A: Yes. 

Q: I just wondered if you did some rowing yourself?

A: Oh, not very much, no.   I wouldn’t on the Colorado.

Q: When you say the Colorado, you mean the Grand?

A: The first trip I took was to Desolation. You put in at Sand Wash, right down past Duchesne, and come out at Green River and after that first trip, I was caught. That all happened after I retired.

Q: Oh.   So you really like to run rivers in your spare time.

A: Um hum.

Q: And you like to read?

A: Um hum.

(Mary?): She had a pilot’s license.

A: Yes, I did.

Q: No, you didn’t mention that. You have a pilot’s license? When did that happen?

A:   That was my husband who had an airplane.

Q: He had an airplane or the company had an airplane?

A: A little small plane. 

Q: He had one.

(Mary?): What kind?

A: Cessna.

Q: And you learned to fly? You have a pilot’s license?

A: I did. Because we went on trips and took the kids. His folks lived in Chicago, his mother was sick so he would fly back there. Fly to friends’ houses.

Q: Just as though she took up crocheting one time but she mentioned she had her pilot’s license.

A: I did it because there was always the thought that if something happened to the pilot…

Q: Well, that’s looking ahead, I guess.

A: Then, I could relieve him.

(Mary?): Didn’t you have to do your solo flight from Grand Junction to Moab?

A: I did so many solo flights. Oh, my solo flight. I was so mad at my husband I could have killed him. My first solo flight was — passengers — went out to the airport. The airport was south of town and so I slammed it. I had to go to Grand Junction to take my test and fly back. I passed my test so I went back there and landed and John said, “Oh, goody! You got your license! Now you can take your two girls up.” I never was so scared in my life. 

Q: Oh, you mean because you felt responsible for them?

A: Yes. You know. 

Q: Did you take them up?

A: I took them up and I landed them.   Safe and sound.

Q: Here they are.

A: I was a nervous pilot. I really was. Always was.

Q: So, did you keep flying after your husband died?

A: No.   We sold the plane before he died because when he first knew he had his heart trouble, he had an ulcer, a bleeding ulcer. He knew I liked to fly but not by myself.

Q: But at least you boned up on how to fly in case something happened to him.

A: And when we were on long trips, it was nice that he could go back and close his eyes and rest and I could fly.

Q: Well, you sound like you have an adventuresome bone , I mean, river running and flying. What else?

(Mary?): She bowled. She was on a bowling league for years. How many years were you on the league?

A: Oh, I think it was 15 years, I haven’t bowled on the new one out here.

Q: Do you still get called on for nursing duties?

A: No, I don’t even trust myself. Everything has changed so much in those years. Do you know how long it has been? Twenty-seven or eight years. 

Q: I remember when Sam Cunningham’s mother was needing somebody, would you be able to fill in like that?

A: For a while I was in hospice but I gave that up.

Q: Are you involved in hospice?

A:; No, I was when it first started but I quit that.

(Mary?): And you play bridge.

A: I play lots of bridge.

Q: You play lots of bridge? Well, that sounds challenging.

A: I watch television

(Mary?) In the winter time you play bridge 3 times a week.

Q: Wow. And you are active in your church, I guess.

A: I am. The foundation that Mary started. I am on the Board at the Credit Union. So I think I keep busy.

Q: I think you keep busy. Have you had any religious conflicts in the community?

A: Not any. I can’t say I had any. The girls did at school, especially when they first started. She had an incident, but Mary, you know, speaks up. When this teacher asked, the first thing he asked in the classroom, “Are there any Catholics in this class?”

(Mary?): He asked if there were any Baptists, any this or that, but my Mom and Dad had taken me on vacation that day. We came back and I started school a couple of days late because our vacation interfered and so I wasn’t in class when he asked. So, when we got ready to study Father Escalante, he proceeded how to say how Catholics worshipped idols and Catholics do this and…

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