Beloved Homeland: Growing Up on a Wyoming Homestead

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By Patricia McCaflin-Booher

This is the true story of young war veterans and their young families. They came to live on homesteads carved out of virgin soil in a rugged windswept place in northern Wyoming in 1950 to begin life anew after WWII.

I was six years old when I came with my parents up over the Rocky Mountains from southern California to see snow for the first time in my young life. I have called this work of love of family and community “Beloved Homeland, Growing up on a Wyoming Homestead. “None of our young parents had money but we all considered ourselves rich in those early years, living in black tar paper covered barracks from the near-by vacant Japanese Relocation Center. They were described as the Greatest Generation in the works of Tom Brokaw. Most of those WWII veterans are no longer with us but they bring to our nation a hint of raw courage. How little did I realize as a young girl growing up in a homestead community in northern Wyoming that one day I too would launch out in an adventure which would soon take on a life of its own?

This is a non-fiction historical narrative which has evolved out of the Qualitative Research I have conducted while on faculty with the University of Wyoming. This is the story of young families that came from many parts of the country to begin life anew developing a homestead community with the challenges of a harsh climate and limited finances. The historical data coupled with my own specialization in Family Resiliency, have woven a story of family strength and a community cohesiveness that has been passed onto the third generations of families. Patricia McClaflin Booher grew up on the Heart Mountain homestead near Powell, Wyoming in this story. I received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Human Resources, Family and Child Development from Eastern Michigan University. Throughout my career as a Secondary Teacher and as a Family Consumer Science Educator with the University of Wyoming, stories and poems of childhood always seemed to surface. While on faculty with UW, I specialized in Family Resiliency, Creative Thinking and often had opportunities as an inspirational speaker. I have conducted seminars and workshops in a variety of settings including the Philippines and Russia with audiences in multi-generational settings. The writing, speaking and all of my life experiences have evolved into a desire to pass on the “Baton of Courage,” to generations to follow, so that they too can have a “Sense of Time and Place.”