WLM WLM Summer 2015 - Page 24

WLM | Wyoming Woman A LOVE OF THE LAND, a Love of Culture By Kati Hime & Diane Benefiel Images by Diane Benefiel J ackson resident Phyllis C. Osborne is what she calls an “old timer, who saw Jackson the way it was back then as a cow town.” Born in 1926 in Ashton, Idaho, Phyllis moved with her family around 1930 when her father was given a job at the National Elk Refuge. The family lived in a small house on the land, where her father irrigated in the summer, hayed in the fall and fed the elk in the winter, adding fencing and whatever jobs needed done throughout the year. The home, which sat under the shadow of “The Sleeping Indian” (a mountain that resembles a Native American chief lying on his back), Western Visions: South Pass: Wyoming Arts Council Biennial 2015 William Gollings, Conrad Schwiering, and Hans Kleiber May 16 – August 1, 2015 April 6 – August 1, 2015 June Glasson, Untitled, 2015, ink, pencil, gouache on paper, 32 x 20 inches, courtesy of the artist Hans Kleiber (German/American, 1887-1967), Tongue River Canyon, Big Horns, Wyoming, not dated, watercolor, 12-3/4 x 10-1/2 inches, gift of Dr. and Mrs. William T. Ward, 1991.21.18 ART MUSEUM 2111 Willett Drive, Laramie, WY www.uwyo.edu/artmuseum 24 Wyoming Lifestyle Magazine | Summer 2015 Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm FREE ADMISSION 307-766-6622 had no indoor plumbing, and water had to be hauled to the house. “That was the way it was for all families living out in the country back then,” Phyllis explains. She attended grade school in Jackson, where the children rode in a horse drawn sleigh to school in the winters. The family returned to Idaho after a few years, with Phyllis graduating from high school in Ashton. They continued to live in a rural home – “It was a luxury to visit my aunt, who had indoor plumbing,” Phyllis recalls – and by the time she graduated, Phyllis was excited to return to Wyoming. Becoming a school teacher, Phyllis specialized in rural school education. She taught at Zenith School near Jackson Hole, as well as in Sublette, Fremont and Sweetwater counties. When the opportunity presented itself to teach at a rural school on Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation, Phyllis jumped at the chance. Her mother, fascinated by Native American culture as her daughter was, joined Phyllis, and the two lived on the reservation together while Phyllis taught. Phyllis’ admiration for the Native American people ran deep then as it does today. She filled her time with impacting the lives of children both inside and outside the classroom.