This archived article was written by: Caitlin Wright
As a child my family moved around a bit, but none of the moves were as interesting or unexpected as our move to Emery County.
An opportunity presented itself and plans were made to move into my grandparents’ old house in Clawson. It was a huge, gorgeous house with room for growing children and the prospect of living there captured my attention, curiosity and excitement.
My grandmother Carolyn passed away before I was born and the house was empty since grandpa lived in a smaller house next door. The house had been built by my dad and his brothers. It was a dream home for us, and now we had the chance to grow up in it. I already had my room picked out and was in the process of planning the layout when we made our move. Leaving Loa, Utah, was not difficult for me and I was ready, but certainly NOT ready for what happened to our family next.
Through deceitful and shameful actions, the dream home that my family was so happily anticipating was swept out from under us and we were left with nothing and nowhere to go.
All of our belongings packed, the house in Loa rented and no place to go, my parents were stuck in more than a bind. This was a disaster. I can’t imagine the panic, anger and frustration that my parents must have experienced. My three sisters and I were all under high school age and I don’t think any of us fully understood what was going on. Then, we ended up at the Farm.
The Farm was pretty much a piece of land south of the Hunter Power Plant in Castle Dale. It belonged to my uncle and for years had been inhabited by nothing more than the skeletons of old abandoned cars and the rabbits that burrowed underneath them. This is where we made our home for almost the entire next year.
For the next two weeks my family slept in a tent while my parents and two older sisters were busy cleaning out an old trailer that was to become our new home. As they spent time cleaning out more blow snakes, mice and wasps than I ever care to admit, my younger sister and I spent our time exploring.
Because we didn’t have any plumbing or running water, believe it or not, we bathed in the ditch. I couldn’t comprehend it! Most of my play time consisted of playing in the ditch and now the dreaded bath time was just play time. All I had to do was add soap. We had a designated area where all the bathing took place. It was back among the trees and brush so it was pretty inconspicuous and private.
As the warm days passed and it started getting cool, bathing in the ditch was obviously out of the question. Thus the dreaded sponge-baths came into play. In the same way that bathing in the ditch was a dream to me, a sponge bath was equally nightmarish.
All of our food was cooked on the wood burning stove in our kitchen/cabin and we also heated our bath water on this stove. A tin tub served as the bathtub and although we weren’t emerged in the water, I can’t deny that being right there next to the stove felt good.
The bathroom, as anyone would imagine, was an outhouse. It was strategically placed far enough from our trailer that we weren’t always aware of it, but close enough that we didn’t have to trek that far to reach it.
My family was not poor. We never once went hungry and we never ever went without warmth and a roof over our heads. My parents made sure of that and they made a completely disastrous situation into one that I have grown from.
Who knows if I’m a different person today because of it or if it was just something that occurred in my life, but I like to think that I’m a better person as a result. This experience helps me appreciate the things I have that other people have to go without. It has brought me to an understanding of everything that my parents have done and continue to do for me and I can never repay them for that.
Today, at our home in Ferron, my family will soon celebrate our 10th year in Emery County, and it has been a fabulous 10 years. The Farm has become a retreat for us and we have spent many, many days camping, cooking and enjoying the time away from the world. It is now our project. My dad spends as much time there as he can allow doing everything from building a Farm House, to training his oxen, to letting us shoot pot guts. It is one of my absolute favorite places in the world and I know nothing can ever change that.