Oral Histories

Ruby Ray Tangreen Zufelt

b. 1908

Ruby Zufelt

Back to the DeLong interview:

Just before I started school Dad decided to go to Idaho. His brother, Uncle Charley, was in Idaho. I had been there before, but I can’t remember that time. He started out in a one horse buggy and he was selling aluminum cookware. It was pretty new. Everything had been granite up till then, and it was really something. He started canvassing and selling the cookware all along the way to Idaho. I was in the first grade in Wellington, before we left for Idaho. At Christmas time, Mother took us kids on the train and we went to Uncle Charley’s place in Idaho.

Excerpts from The Early Years of Ruby Ray:

We went on the train. We got to Ogden and had quite a layover. They took me over to a little gift shop of some kind and bought me a pair of white moccasins with beads on them. Walking back, it was dark and we were walking across the train tracks in the coal slack. I never remember being in Idaho, but I remember being scared I’d get those slippers dirty.

There’s lots of little remembrances that don’t amount to much. One time Dad was in bed with the blood poisoning and we were living in a tent house in Stores. There was a door come in the front and one going out the back of the tent house. It was just one room. Our horse Daisy come in the front door one time and Mother had to lead her out the back door to get her out of the tent.

The next year Dad had typhoid fever and was in the hospital. Mother took in boarders to make ends meet, while he was gone. She had quite a few boarders, maybe six. She let me wash the dishes. She put the dishpan down on the bench we used to sit on. I washed them and dried them and had to reach up and put them on the cabinet. She give me a quarter one time to get a can of tomatoes in the cellar. The cellar opened off the back door into the cellar.

I remember having the croup there. I don’t remember being sick. I just remember being bundled up and Mother making me sit in a chair. She said I had the croup. I didn’t realize I was sick, but she kept me bundled up.

When I had my tonsils out, I was wrapped up in a sheet on the kitchen table and the doctor was there. I never could stand the smell of chloroform. After I got older, Mother had some chickens out east of Monticello and sprinkled them with louse power. It smelled like chloroform and I couldn’t stand the smell of it.

When I was little and living in the tent house, I remember Aunt Ruby was staying with us for a while. She took me up on the hill on kind of a cliff overhang. We was sittin’ up there and we could hear the church music and the people singing from the church on Sunday. It was quite an adventure, just getting up there and hearing the Sunday school songs.

I had a playhouse out back and there was a bunch of oak brush growing right next to the tent. I had a big rag doll. I remember lifting her up and putting her on top of the oak brush for a cradle to hang her up. I played around a little while and started back to get her and there was something ugly under the bush. I went, “Mother there’s something awful ugly under this bush where my doll is.” She went out and it was a rattlesnake. She called a neighbor man to come and kill it. I remember seeing it all coiled up under the bush and I didn’t know what it was but it was awful ugly. I didn’t even want to go close and get my doll. I guess Dad was moved to Stores in the winter, then back to the farm in the summer time.

(After that) we lived in a little log house in Wellington. I’ve got the picture of the log house with Mother holding Ireta and Vern was little. I was just coming home from school and these people, photographers, came around and they took pictures of all the little old shacks in town and sent them back east. Mother found out later, the pictures were used as postcards showing Dwellings of the Mormons. They didn’t show the pretty yards or any thing, just the houses and people. They sold them on the street as postcards. I guess Aunt Earla must have got a hold of one. (See photograph in this report.)

I went to school in Wellington in a little building up high on a hill. It was a long climb up there. It burned down later. They built a new school house down on the level of the ground. I went to school in Wellington until Christmas, when Dad decided to go to Idaho.

Back to the DeLong interview:

Uncle Charley had a little place to live and we went right out there late at night. There wasn’t any transportation and he wasn’t there to meet us. Mother had to hire a buggy to take us out to Uncle Charley’s. But the man had another customer to take some place first, so we had to wait in the depot ‘till he got back with the outfit. I think he had a spring buggy. The depot man gave us, Vern and I, a little box of stick candy. It was just a little bit bigger than a toothpick box. We were so tickled at it. Vern was just little, about three, I guess.

We got out to Uncle Charley’s on Christmas Eve. They hadn’t planned on it and Mother hadn’t either, so they didn’t have much for Christmas. I got a little set of pots and pans that were child-sized, from what Dad had for samples; also a ball of something that Aunt Tina shared with us. Course we had candy and stuff. It was a nice Christmas. I went to school there the rest of the winter. It was just a little one-room school house with all the grades together.

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