Oral Histories

Ruby Ray Tangreen Zufelt

b. 1908

Ruby Zufelt

Q. You have made a lot of people happy with your afghans, haven’t you?

A. Oh, a few. I give quite a few away. The other day we had a fellow come and do the sprinkling system. He come in to get paid and I had yarn all over the floor. I said, “I’ve made a lot of afghans, too.” I opened the closet and showed him and he said, “Would you sell one?” I said, “Well, I guess so, I think I have plenty.” So he picked one out and said, “How much do you want for it?” I had to think about how much yarn was in it, and then I told him $20.00. He brought me the money just yesterday.

Q. That wouldn’t have been enough money, would it?

A. Not any more than enough, that’s for sure.

Q. You ought to get $50-$100 for those.

A. Nah.

Q. That was all your love thrown in, huh?

A. I told him he could have a rug, too. I give him the rug. He took it home and he really liked them.

Q. How many rugs have you made?

A. Oh, maybe eight or ten. (Ruby’s great grandmother brought the pattern for these rugs from Scotland. Her mother had one from before she was married. She made another one later when Ruby was about thirteen years old. Ruby helped sew this one and has made several since that time.)

(There is a break in the telling and then it starts right off)
. . . .I made two bedspreads, about this long and this wide, you know. I pieced them together and made one bedspread out of it. I’ve got one of them left and gave the other one to my friend who lived up the country. She’s dead now.

Q. You’ve been real creative.

A. If I had to have anything, I had to be creative.

Q. But that’s when we do our best thinking is when we’re the most desperate, you know it?

A. If I hadn’t been able to sew, we’d never had a stitch to our names.

(Another break in the tape and it starts off again.)
And in the spring, Clarence come home and he’d sold the sheep to Charley Red for $3.00 a head. We’d paid $9.00 for ‘em, and he’d sold the sheep to Charley Redd for $3.00 a head. Then he went to work for Charley Redd for $25.00 a month, instead of forty he was getting. And we were living in that little ol’ shack. I can’t remember if it was before Lenore was born, or not. It was later, but anyway he went to work for Charley Redd on about the 28th of May. He took a ten day layoff for the 4th of July and come home with a brand new Stetson hat, cost $8.00. That’s not a lot, but when you’re working for $25.00 a month, it’s quite a bit. It always took $5.00 a month for his tobacco. When he come home with that new Stetson hat, a quart of whiskey, and some damn firecrackers, and not a damn penny in his pocket for us to eat on, or for anything else the kids might need, I was not amused. Can you believe it?

Q. That would be hard to believe. He must not have had any schooling in mathematics.

A. He didn’t have any sense in anything. A quart of whiskey and a bunch of firecrackers with four kids almost starving, and his wife with no cloths, except when she could manage to get some material and sew some.

Q. Is that why his first wife left him? (His first wife was Alta Larsen Tangreen.)

A. Oh, I don’t know. I have no idea. She worked and she had three little kids and he never provided for them at all. He said he had Essie Larsen (Alta’s sister) make out an order for coats for them one year for Christmas, and he sent the order and paid for ‘em each a coat. They probably had coats, but Alta told ‘im she sent ‘em back and got the money. Well, I don’t blame her. She probably had to send them back and get the money.

Q. He just thought you could live on thin air, huh?

A. Those sheep were ready to lamb and they’re warm. Dil probably wanted the wool. Clarence got mad and quit and sold them to Charley Redd for $3.00 a head. Then he had the wagon and team to get rid of. He turned that over to Lucian and he traded ‘em or sold ‘em and give Clarence a little money, not much. Just can’t believe them dumb things he did. He took five dollars a month for his tobacco. I never saw five dollars, ever.

Q. I can’t believe you stayed with him that many years.

A. Oh, I was a good Mormon. I thought that I had to have the marriage to have my kids in the next world. Now it doesn’t matter. They’re growing up on their own. And I don’t want the ones ahead of me telling me what to do.

Q. You want to do what you want to do. What do you want to do?

A. I don’t want anybody judging me.

Q. We live and learn, don’t we?

A. I don’t know if we learn or not.

(There is another break in the tape. Starts abruptly.)
Ross came down from Salt Lake for Christmas vacation and put wainscoting around inside of the house and sheetrock out side.

Q. Was John (Shafer) angry that you were angry that you were adding a room?

A. He didn’t seem to be, didn’t say anything. But my mother was there and he said, “And she thinks I’m going to help put heat in.”

Q. Did he not want your mother there?

A. No, he had a real crush on Mother. They were having a helluva good time. But when I had to take Mother in, he had such a fit. We got the room finished. Dixie and Ross came up to watch television on Mother’s television, ‘cause they were used to having it in Salt Lake. And they came up to watch television this one evening. Wade had two or three boyfriends in the kitchen and they had a Warshaurke (sp?) catalog. That’s a car parts catalog. They were talking about car parts and what they needed for what they were doing. They didn’t make a loud noise. They didn’t talk loud or anything, but it was summertime, and it was hot. John could hear them. He went to bed, but he could hear those boys talking. Next morning he got up madder ‘n hell and he “wasn’t puttin’ up with all that shit.” We had to have that air conditioning, and those kids in the kitchen were bothering him. So, I went up to LaSal and got a job.

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