Part of a series of interviews done by the Imnaha School Kids in 1987.
Interviewer: Jay Martinez
Q. What is your name?
A. My name is Mary Marks.
Q. How long have you lived in this area?
A. Since 1933.
Q. Did you come here with your family?
A. I was born at Joseph, Oregon. My folks came here. My Mother came form California and my Dad came from Illinois, and settled in Joseph.
Q. When did you come to Imnaha?
A. In 1933 and was married to Kid Marks in 1934 and then we lived here all those years. And I am still living here.
Q. What do you like about living here?
A. I like the canyons and the climate and being away from town. I just really like it.
Q. How many people lived here when you first came?
A. There was a family on every ranch then here on Imnaha. Now different ones own three or four of the ranches that were each a separate place before. We had two schools up the river here, one at Freezeout and one at the Park. The one at Fruita hadn’t been used for a long time.
Q. What was life like then?
A. Well it didn’t move as fast then as it does now. They were still using alot of horses, doing all their farming with horses. We would ride to the dances horseback at the Grange Hall up the river. Sometimes we went down to the Imnaha Store or the Bridge to dances, they had one big dance hall down there. That was really about all our entertainment, the dances and the Grange.
Q. What was farming like?
A. It was a lot slower than it is now. They farmed all these little patches. The small haystacks would be four or five tons, then from some of the bigger fields along the river, they would put up some pretty big stacks. They looked pretty big to us anyway.
Q. What changes have taken place since then?
A. Everybody has running water, bathrooms, electricity, television, radio, and about everybody has a car. Used to be it took about three days to go to town, with a team and wagon. Now you can drive from here in about an hour and a half. So they used to figure on three days to go to town to get their winter’s supply of groceries, then I guess they just snuggled in for the winter and waited for spring. If they ran out of groceries, I guess it was just too bad.
Q. How did these changes affect you?
A. Quite a lot for the better, it made the work alot easier. I don’t think it really brought any more people into the country, but the ones that lived here got to live an easier life with the machinery, tractors and things to do their work with. And cars to get around in. It was all for the better, I know.
Q. What changes do you think will come in this community in the near future?
A. They can change some more. There may be less people or they may just make this into a retirement settlement and be alot more people. I do think the Forest Service is going to rule us all out of this range. I think we will see the day there won’t be any cattle up here on this range, just deer and elk.
Q. What was school like when you came here?
A. There was about 9 or 10 kids in the Freezeout School. At one time there was about 20, they were all pretty big kids. They had a lot of fun at school, they had alot of picnics and ball games. They kind of entertained themselves. The school just went to the eighth grade.
Q. How did you get to school?
A. Some if close enough walked. But my husband rode from Freezeout to the Freezeout School. Then the Marks kids down below rode horseback. I don’t think there was anybody that lived very close. All the kids had horses and that was what they like to ride the horses to school and then after school they had races and alot of things that their folks didn’t really approve of.
Q. What subjects did you study in school?
A. Just the general things they taught from the first grade to the eighth grade. The eighth grade was the highest they could go down here. Mainly they studied reading, writing and arithmetic, I guess. If they went further than they eighth frade they had to go to Enerprise for High School. One year down here there was a teacher that taught the ninth grade, Mark Marks went to her.
Q. Where did your family get their food?
A. They raised it or most of it. They all had cattle and chickens. About all they had to buy was flour, sugar and the necessary staples that you couldn’t raise here.
Q. What did you do for fun when you were little?
A. We had picnics and card games and entertained yourself. We did lots of reading.
Q. Are there any other interesting facts that you would like to share?
A. There was one big boy that went to school down here and my husband was not too big a man, he was pretty small. It was his cousin, Alan Wilson, and he was kind of a cry baby and the kids got to picking on him. I guess my husband, Kid Marks, reallyteased him. Alan told me in later years that he made up his mind that if he ever got big enough to whip Kid Marks, that was going to be the first thing he did, to get even with him for all the whippings and things he did to him when he went to school.