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Susan Pape

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 4 months ago

Susan Pape was born three months prematurely in Jackson, WY, to George & Texas Pape. She weighed one pound, 12 oz and was the smallest surviving baby on record in Wyoming until the 1980s. She was raised on Willow Creek, above Cora, with her 2 sisters. They were snowed in each winter. “I was a genuine hick!” Susan said. When her father was in the Marines, Texas took the girls to live with her Mother in Houston. While there little Susan walked out of the gate and was gone for eight hours. A stranger recognized her and brought her home.

 

“I don’t ever remember not riding a horse,” said Susan. “The first horse I broke was a wild horse off the desert. I was six. Our ranch had cattle, chickens, a milk cow and pigs. We rode the pigs and about everything with four legs, including the milk cow. I pretty much cowboyed all my life. We had a pet elk that we raised until it got too big. We took him to Jackson and he was used in the movie ‘Shane’”.

 

From kindergarten to 8th grade Susan attended Willow Creek Rural School. She and her sisters were taught the Wyoming Course by hired teachers when they were available and by their Mother when not. Her mother taught the Calvert Course. The girls rode their horses to school, both to the Loziers and to the Z-U. The first elk fences were put up because the little girls would encounter huge herds of elk as they rode to school, causing potentially dangerous situations. They also had a few close encounters with moose. “All we had to do was tell our dad and the moose seemed to disappear,” said Susan. “I don’t think my dad poached, but Game Wardens were nice in those days and would call ahead to let us know that they were coming for lunch.” Which might mean a change in the menu!

 

When the girls got sick in winter, the doctor sent medicine through the Game and Fish pilots. The pilots would fly out and drop the medicine in the meadow. “It was always penicillin,” said Susan. “So Daddy would practice giving the shots to oranges first. Another time I ate the cows’ cottonseed cake and had a reaction. Mother refused to call the doctor because of the ‘rubbering’ (listening in) on the 18-party line. She just let me swell up.” The Pape’s telephone was on the Forest Service Line. The ranch did not have electricity.

 

Susan went to Wasatch Academy Boarding School from 8th through her Sophomore year, and came back to Pinedale High School for the last 2 years. She attended UW and has been married. She has 3 children: Chopper and Greg Grassell, and Natalie Wise, and 9 grandchildren.

 

Susan reminisced, “Growing up on a ranch, neighbors were so important. It’s something I miss now. Good neighbors could mean life or death. Our play things were cats, horses, books and hard work. I had a most wonderful childhood, family and place to be raised.”

 

By Judi Myers

Printed in Rendezvous Pointe (Pinedale, WY Senior Center) Newsletter, July, 2006

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