Journey takes Price resident across the Atlantic
Ursula Beckman is a Price resident of more than 30 years. Over that time she has developed a love for the area and everything it provides. But every so often she is faced with a familiar question: How did you end up in Price?
It's an interesting question considering where she came from and how her path in life took her thousands of miles from her birthplace to living in a small town in Southeastern Utah.
Beckman, 74, was born in Essen, Germany a town located in the western part of the country. It was there she had what she describes as just a "normal childhood", growing up in the country where it was much safer. During World War II, Essen was targeted by the Allies because of its label as an industrial center with coal and steel, enduring some of the largest air-raids of the war.
"We got bombed more than anyone else because of that (being an industrial center)," Beckman said. She remembers living through the war, including the time spent in the basement as the bombing was going on in the distance.
Despite all of that, Beckman went to school and worked. She finished high school and even went to college. Beckman eventually married her husband Herman, who was heading off to the United States to join the Army.
After turning 21, Beckman journeyed to the U.S. to join her husband in Fort Scott, Kan. Leaving no details behind, she can remember exactly how the journey went. First it was taking the Super Constellation into New York, followed by a helicopter ride to LaGuardia Airport and a final flight into Kansas City. It wasn't just her first time coming to the U.S., it was also her first time flying on an airplane.
Moving into an apartment in a new place, let alone a new country, wasn't as hard as Beckman thought it would be. Beckman and Herman started a family and began settling into their lives as a family. Even at a young age, she didn't let the new experiences hold her down.
"Everyone on the base was very nice and we never had any problems," Beckman said. "Everyone got along with very little. It was a much simpler time back then. I guess when you are young you just dive into things."
In 1959, Herman was discharged from the Army and they decided to move west to La Crecenta, Calif. Beckman recalls the day's long car ride the family embarked on. Because of the summer heat and the car they were in had no air conditioning, they spent many of those hours driving at night with more suitable conditions. Arriving in Southern California may have seemed like a relief at first but Beckman remembers a different scenario.
"I remember when we first got there my eyes were burning from all of the smog in the air," Beckman said.
Beckman always wanted to find a place in the country, much like her days growing up in the country in Germany. Herman started researching to find a home through farming catalogs and came upon a place located in Price. They found what they were looking for - a 20 acre farm, with a dilapidated building and an old farmhouse located north of four mile hill and south of Price.
The family spent a couple of years traveling to Price during the summers, fixing up the farm and eventually they moved in and stayed full-time.
"This area didn't exist when we first came here," Beckman said referring to her current neighborhood. "There wasn't too much going on in Price at the time."
They started bringing animals onto the farm including chickens, pigs, milk cows, goats and geese. Beckman's fond memories of living on a farm in Germany for a few years spread to her kids, Roger and Marty, as they too enjoyed everything it provided.
"The farm was a great place for the kids to grow up," Beckman said.
While Price has turned out to be a place she loves to call home, Beckman had some doubts before the family made the move final. Herman showed her pictures of the area and even went so far as to enhance the look of some picture slides to persuade Beckman into saying yes.
"I really didn't want to come here at first, especially after seeing pictures of ragweed growing really tall," Beckman said. "To be honest, I thought Price was out in the boonies."
But after a few months of living in Price she came to realize there were other Germans in town. Once a month, they would gather for coffee. Instead of her being asked the question of how she got here, Beckman was able to ask and hear how others arrived in Price. Add in a nice mixture of people in Price and it's become a place Beckman is happy to live in.
"I wouldn't want to move anywhere else, even back out to California," Beckman said. "I am really happy to have found this place."
For more than 30 years, Beckman has worked in the Cosmetology school at the College of Eastern Utah. In 1994, Herman passed away. She keeps herself busy by working part-time at CEU, gardening and planting flowers and enjoys spending time with her family. Beckman said she doesn't have any plans to stop working and retire just yet.
"I feel as though I have accomplished a lot," she said. "I don't intend to quit just yet. I'm not ready for that."