Q: It seems that several of them came from New Jersey, back east? Did you interact with any governmental agencies such as Arches National Park and so forth?
A: Just to go out and see the parks. We like to go see the parks. The boom really did change Moab because there were about 2,000 people (I’m not sure exactly how many) when it all started. And they turned the peach orchards into trailer parks and we still have a lot of trailers and we don’t have as many peach orchards.
Q: How were the peach orchards?
A: Oh, beautiful fruit. I wasn’t involved in it, we were on the mountain, working, but they shipped a lot of fruit from Moab. The peaches were really good. Every summer we lived on the mountain at the ranch. The whole family moved up. School would let out about the middle of May and we’d go up. It never started again until after Labor Day so we’d come down the first of September, the night before school started. My mom would go up with my dad a lot, but she was always home at night with us. During the winter, my dad would be gone a lot out to the desert by Cisco with his sheep. Sometimes in the fall and the early spring he’d be staying at the ranch.
Q: Did they have chuck wagons or a ranch house?
A: We had a two-room house when we first moved there. There were six kids and my brothers and sisters slept in tents outside. I slept in the one bedroom on the couch. My parents had the bed and I was there. Then my dad built a porch that was the length of those two rooms and it held about four or five big beds and a couple of narrow beds. The kids all slept out there. There was a curtain hanging between the boys and the girls. You had the breeze blowing in from the summer air.
Q: Did your mother cook for the whole crew?
A: Yes, My mom and my sisters, and my sisters carried water in buckets. I was just little and didn’t really get into all of that. My dad made a slip and put a barrel on it and we’d hook up the old white horse, Pet, and it would pull the barrel out to the spring we’d fill the barrel with water and then we’d pull it back.
Q: Did it have a lid to keep it from slopping out?
A: It probably had a lid on it. Then my dad piped the water from there. But it was always alkali water; it wasn’t good to drink. We drank it when we didn’t have anything else. Seems like we drank a lot of Kool-Aid to cover up the taste. But you know we didn’t have a refrigerator, even in Blanding. When I had my tonsils out, my aunt had a refrigerator and my mom sent over and had some Jell-o set up in her refrigerator and got some ice cubes and things. When we were at the ranch, we’d have the old orange crates and we’d put gunnysacks over them and put the milk in there. You’d pour water over the top of the gunnysacks and if you had a little breeze in the shade it would kind of keep it cool. It wasn’t cold. Then my dad finally got a larger house built and we had a gas refrigerator. He hooked a motor up to an old Maytag machine outside and she’d do her laundry. She would heat the water over a fire, and do the laundry outside with an old ringer washing machine. This was on the mesa at our ranch.
Q: I’ve used a ringer washer, too.
A: We even used a ringer washer in town too. We did it inside during the winter, but in the summer it was always outside.
Q: When you were growing up in Moab, were the streets paved?
A: The Main Street was, and the Main Street at that time turned at what is now the Wells Fargo Bank and went up Center Street by the courthouse and up around past Milt’s and out the old way (past present-day Red Rock Elementary). In fact, the old, old road was over further, like going out in front of White’s Ranch and out. The one I remember goes the way it goes now, but you came down Fourth East, that way past the old drive in theater.
Q: Did you go to the theater when it was up on the hill?
A: We did a few times. It didn’t last very many summers. That one didn’t. The other one lasted a long time, but the one on the hill didn’t last very long so we only went there a couple times. We had kids then.
Q: Do you have pictures of the one on the hill? People remember it, but we can’t find pictures of it.
A: No, we don’t have a picture. Yes, we remember it, but we were just saying the other day that it didn’t last very long.
Q: The screen is still there for the one down below?
A: Yes, we went to a lot of movies there with our kids.
Q: What do you consider the best and the worst thing about living here in the boom times?
A: The best was probably that it gave jobs to the people. I don’t know that there was any worst unless it was that there wasn’t enough housing, and they had to take the orchards, but personally it didn’t bother me.
Q: So your family just did what they had always been doing?
A: Yes, on the mountain in the summer and in town in the winter. Now they are keeping that mountain road open pretty much during the winter, but it still would be pretty hard to get down to the ranch in the winter. The Loop Road, they are keeping part of that open since people live up there off the Loop Road now. Still there was quite a steep hill down on into the ranch, so it would have been very hard. We didn’t have snowmobiles and all those things then. So we came to town.