Claudia Boswell and her late husband Ben lived in Joseph for 35 years. They spent most of their time there teaching at the Imnaha and Joseph schools. She taught the elementary grades.
Then, a couple years ago, Ben Boswell’s illness forced a move to Spokane, Wash., to be closer to doctors. When he died about a year ago, “I moved home,” she said.
Claudia said he grew up here, “And it was always his dream to move home to the county and my grandparents lived here so I’ve always been in and out.”
Finding a chance to buy a ranch on the Imnaha River, they took it. But it only lasted a couple of years before they moved to town. Ben spent 16 years as a county commissioner, she said.
The Boswells have a son in Bozeman, Mont., and a daughter in Spokane, “so they’re in touch.”
What’s the best thing or place in Wallowa County?
The mountains and the people. The people are warm, welcoming and willing to let you be who you’re going to be. They’re very tolerant, for the most part. They’re just willing to let you be.
What’s the greatest challenge facing Wallowa County?
Ways to make a living. It’s hard for young families. Housing is an issue.
What can people do to make Wallowa County a better place for all of us?
Just keep on being people. We look after one another.
What have you learned living in Wallowa County?
Perhaps we’ve learned how to live with one another.
What’s your advice for people who are thinking of moving here?
You need to be really aware of what the resources are and what they aren’t. You need to have a certain amount of self-sufficiency and a certain amount of confidence in yourself and how you go in the world. You’ll learn that here if you don’t already have it.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected you?
Not a lot, actually. I’d just as soon stay home anyway. That part hasn’t been bad. I’ve got the phone and the computer. I keep in touch with my neighbors and they call and check on me. Being part of an at-risk population is something I’m aware of all the time so I’m careful.