Story about my Mother and Father at Utah State University
Printed in the Deseret News
By Julian Thomas
I built a trailer in a lot to the side of my mother’s backyard for Norene and me to take to Logan as we would start school to become forest rangers. It was 8 feet wide and 16 feet long. There were four wheels and a hitch, and you could tie the hitch to a car, and away you’d go. I knew a fellow who owned a car. He offered to tow the trailer to Logan. When we went over the mountain to Logan, we almost wrecked it because it was heavier than the car. I then hired a man with a truck to take it on to Logan for $50. This was a lot of money when I only made 25 cents an hour sweeping floors at Utah State University.
There was a trailer park for students near where the football stadium is now. We paid $5 a month for space. One of the men in the park was living in a sheep wagon with a big cover over it. We had a coal stove that gave us our heat, and we cooked on it too. We used both wood and coal on the stove. We would drive up to Logan Canyon where a lot of wood was off to the sides of the road. I would haul it down and cut it up for firewood.
I studied forestry and range management at the School of Forestry. In our first year, my wife, Norene, worked in the registrar’s office, and then we got the first of our family, Neal, which ended her work. I worked for the Forest Service during the summers. My goal was to help the public and take care of the forest. No one gave up money to help through school. We worked to earn enough money to pay for everything.
My first job at school was sweeping floors in the chemistry building for 25 cents an hour. The chemistry building was the dirtiest building imaginable. The people would spill and scatter everything, and it was a terrible mess to keep clean. I also swept the floors of the forestry building, which was down at the bottom of campus, while the chemistry building was at the top.
The wood-burning stove was great. It heated our living space, and we could cook on top of it and bake in the oven. We were connected to running water, but sometimes to wash and bath, we just had to carry the water in a bucket. We could go to the Laundromat occasionally, but other than that, we just washed clothes by hand. The bathroom was an outhouse that was in the woods.
I was the mayor of the trailer town. There were 38 trailers there. Once, I was in talking to the president of the college, and he said, “We have no emotional problems with any of your group because you all have so much to do. We have problems with many other students because they have too much time.” We were often faced with many problems at Trailer Town. We had to use our creativity to solve them. One of the big issues was figuring out how to get water to all of the trailers.
At trailer town, we had many problems to face and solve, such as figuring out how to get water to all the trailers.
We lived there for four years of college and two years while I was working for the government. My first full-time job was working up Logan Canyon for the Forest Service.
Before I went to school, I lived at home. In the summers, I would herd sheep, move camp, and do the cooking. I did that for two or three summers to make money for school. I worked for my cousin Royal Smith. It was all work, and you had to work for your fun. You didn’t have time to worry about anything else.
As I said, we paid for everything ourselves. My father made $100 a month herding sheep, which cost him all of that to feed his large family he lived away with the sheep and would come home 2 to 3 weeks in the winter and a week or two in the spring.
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