Chronicler: Mary Abbot (Mitcheo)

Interviewer: Mateo Osa

Location: Gardnerville, NV

8/23/87

(1 of 2)

 

00:9†††††††† speakerís father† worked in Reno at the Northern Club where Harrahís is now; wasnít a Basque hotel, but there were a lot of Basque hotels around it

1:07†††††††† French Hotel in Gardnerville was run by Baptiste and Axina(?) Borda. 1937 Baptiste had a heart attack, so speakerís parents came to Gardnerville to lease the French Hotel.† She was 7; she grew up there.†

1:55†††††††† There were three Basque hotels at the time: French Hotel they (Mitcheos) had, the East Fork run by the Ramon Bordas and the Overland run by the Etchemendis†

2:16†††††††† French Hotel was small, one section of four rooms where the family lived.† Kitchen had electric and wood stove; used to have a handball court in the back with four sides Ė that is now a parking lot, kept pigs between the East Fork and the French.† French was 2 story.† Rooms upstairs Ė six rooms, no bath upstairs; boarders used a barber shop right next to where the bar is Ė the barber shop had a bathroom they used about once a week

5:02†††††††† four bedrooms downstairs for family.† The bar was very popular, the heart of the thing.† Had a piano in bar.† Had parties; the biggest one on new years eve with accordion music.† Mountain Oyster feed once a year; officials were invited in the spring.

6:56†††††††† birthdays are not like they are now; didnít invite their friends, just family

7:15†††††††† new years eve party were mostly Basque but other people came, too, from Reno, too

7:41†††††††† An accordion player that was popular was Italian

8:10†††††††† boarders were almost always Basque; more French Basque then Spanish Basque; there were more French Basques in the area at the time; speakerís father was from Navarra

8:45†††††††† first language was Basque until she went to school; sister went to school first, learned English first

9:35†††††††† her brothers never learned Basque

9:55†††††††† her mother learned Spanish at the hotel through the boarders and a girl that worked there

10:24†††††† father didnít speak French; picked up Spanish in the states

10:54†††††† the bartender and cook were hired, the rest were employees; hired extra people for parties

11:29†††††† Alice and speaker helped mom with food preparation, waited on tables, cleaned rooms

11:50†††††† women came to bar, visited with mom.† They didnít want kids in the bar

12:16†††††† dad didnít have sheep after the hotel

12:32†††††† boys (Louis and Joe) did more outside work; dishes once and a while; didnít do much

13:17†††††† girls did more work; waited tables at lunch and went back to school

13:42†††††† had more people at dinner than lunch

14:10†††††† felt like a regular family but it was bigger; everybody ate together; lunch was served at 12 noon; rang the bell.† Evening meal 6:00 rang the bell.†

15:30†††††† Overland started serving like a restaurant from 6 to 9

15:59†††††† served everything but steak; steak was rare; served veal a lot, Fridays served seafood; lamb, liver, stews

16:51†††††† soup, salad and two entrees, potatoes or spaghetti and a vegetable

17:15†††††† served family style on big platters, kept refilling platters, only dessert was served individually, had wine bottle on the table; got wine in big barrels kept in the basement and refilled the bottles; Berango (?) wine company.† Used to make their own, too (her mother says).† Made their own chorizos and morcillas; butcher their own hogs.

19:40†††††† made chorizos once a year stored them in lard in crocks.†

20:21†††††† her mom tried to not do too much cooking, hired cooks.† She always did chicken every Sunday, fried and then put it in flat pans, sauteed garlic with parsley, vinegar, poured over chicken and put in oven

21:36†††††† families came from the lake; Sunday was their busy day

21:53†††††† boarders Ė Fred Goyenetch, Garanza, (canít understand some names)Bilbao, non-Basque ďSki-JumpĒ, Fernando Goyenetch

23:20†††††† a fire started upstairs from a cigarette, threw the mattress out the window

23:55†††††† herders were good friends, but didnít consider them relatives

24:18†††††† it was fun having several families growing up on the same side of the street

24:39†††††† all the kids from the hotel families played together, were good friends; kick the can, hide and seek, marbles, nobody could beat Pete Borda; her brother Lou had a bee bee gun hit Burt Borda in the ear

26:06†††††† played cards, Pedro.†

26:20†††††† they all had their American friends at school, but in the summer they were all together by the hotels, Sarasola kids used to come play, Betty Jacobsení mom was Basque Ė she used to come play

†27:07††††† END SIDE 1

 

SIDE 2

 

0:08†††††††† Basques were Catholic and most of the other people were Lutheran; many Germans

0:40†††††††† besides religion, didnít notice difference with her friends; and friends lived in the country, they lived in town

1:17†††††††† the people in the community really supported their family; they were good friends

1:47†††††††† so much of what they did as a family was Basque; the church

2:28†††††††† Gardnerville was an older town, Minden was a planned community, maybe thatít why all of the Basque hotels were in Gardnerville.† Minden was established about 1910.† Danburg, a German pioneer planned it.† Railroad stopped at Minden.

4:02†††††††† those years were good times; she liked the schools, small classes and everybody was your friend, didnít have to go anywhere, everything was within walking distance.† Reno for shopping; her dad liked to go to the mountains to visit herders, she liked to go with him, they had a car

5:41†††††††† learned a lot at the hotel, never went home to an empty house

6:25†††††††† never noticed difference with friendsí houses; they had regular meal times, too

6:55†††††††† parents never pushed hotel on kids; wanted them to go to college; none of them took over the hotel

7:36†††††††† you always think the hotel will always be there while you pursue other things, and the next time you turn around, it isnít there anymore

7:58†††††††† East Fork Bar was kept open, but that was it, none of the Etchemendi kids stayed there; the 3 boys went into the military, Josie married a sheepman and moved to California, Mayi married a sheepman, no one took over the hotel;† Speakerís brother Joe might have taken over the bar, but not the restaurant, brother Louie was a schoolteacher.†

9:29†††††††† none of her friends wanted to carry on with Basque hotels

10:02†††††† when you go off to college

10:31†††††† 1937 to 1947 her dad had the French Hotel, then he bought the Pyrenees building, it was called Seth Hotel, the downstairs had been a soda fountain and then a five and dime.† Bought it in 47.† Put in the bar, dining room and kitchen, redid all the rooms. Fritz Nendrit (?) did a lot of the work.† It was an overnight move across the street.† They moved the safe from the French to the Pyrenees, her uncle Jean Baptiste was there, they left the safe in the street all night long and it wasnít even locked; full of money, and nothing happened

13:12†††††† rent for French $125 a month.† Boarders payed by the† month.† At Pyrenees raised the dinner price to $3.00

13:48†††††† Reno had a good bakery then, had fresh bread everyday, served monterey jack cheese

14:20†††††† 50 cents a meal for herders; about 7 dollars a week for boarders

15:25†††††† Mary was in high school when they moved to the Pyrenees; Pyrenees was easier to handle, a lot more space.† Pyrenees had 14 rooms upstairs.† Basque and non-Basque clientele.† Men and women.

16:43†††††† hired cook in the Pyrenees.† Kids were still part of the operation until they went to college

17:30†††††† Maryís friends used to visit at the hotel, her mom would offer them food

18:08†††††† played pedro and herders played cribbage and mus; played in the bar

18:41†††††† clientele at Pyrenees was more non-Basque than at the French; partly because times had changed, not as many herders or Basques coming through

19:10†††††† graduated from high school in 1947; helped out her parents on breaks

20:04†††††† Mary took parents to the bank and helped them out

20:25†††††† George Monrose (?) attorney used to help them with income tax; bookkeeping

21:39†††††† war years when they were in the Pyrenees; a lot of civilian pilots in training came to the Pyrenees; did good business then.† Remembers counting stamps for sugar, etc.

22:47†††††† ranchers used to talk to her dad about finding workers; Coleville, helped them get herders

23:41†††††† Saralegui; his dad herded sheep for them when he first came

24:06†††††† herders that died when at hotel, her dad would notify family, got plots at the cemetery for people

24:45†††††† had wedding celebrations at the Pyrenees; her own wedding and Aliceís was at the Pyrenees

25:08†††††† some friends had their receptions there; doesnít remember any boarders getting married at all

26:03†††††† herdersí credit was always good as far a her father was concerned, loaned money and gave credit; was good at giving advice, didnít have much schooling, learned to read in this country, but had a lot of common sense; people came to him for advice

27:10†††††† dad cosigned for herders; helped a miner in Alpine County, he paid him back with interest, 15 years after her dad died these people came back on motherís day and gave her mom a check for $1,500.00 to thank them again.

28:25†††††† END SIDE 2