Once Upon a (Life)time
Stories About Western Montana 1908-1960


Once Upon a (Life)time is Mildred Chaffin's life story, covering the years from 1908 to 1960. She was born Mildred Palmer in Evaro, Montana on May 11, 1908, and attended schools at Evaro, O'Keefe, DeSmet and Missoula. She explains that she "grew up in spite of everything" and lived in western Montana all but ten days of her life. Mrs. Chaffin is an accomplished writer, having worked as a reporter for several newspapers, including the Missoulian, the Seeley Swan Pathfinder, and the By-Line (published in Seeley Lake during the 1960s). Mrs. Chaffin has also published her own cookbook, Cooking for Daily Living, and was one of the original members of the SOS Writers Club which, in the 1960s, published the book Montana's Little Legends. Her poetry has been published in various magazines, along with her articles about the 18 years that she and her husband, Allen, worked as outfitters in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. In 1989 she and several other Seeley Lake authors wrote Cabin Fever: A Centennial Collection of Stories about the Seeley Lake Area.

This little narrative came about at the instigation of my children, aided and abetted by my cousin, Ella Kay Johnson, all of whom harbor a deep-rooted curiosity about what the younger generation chooses to call "The Olden Days." Consequently I have tried to present a word picture of the way we worked, the way we played and our sense of propriety in a world before their time. We didn't worry too much about what we had--or more to the point-what we didn't have. If some of these happenings seem a bit unorthodox, blame the kids. They insisted that I "tell it like it was." I write this with all respect for the people named herein.

--Mildred Chaffin