Chronicler: Elvira Cenoz

Interviewer: Mateo Osa

Date: 2/15/88

Location: Gardnerville, Overland Hotel

Language: Spanish/Basque

 

00:9†††††††† introduction

00:20†††††† 1971 came to the US. She left Saturaran, to Bilbao to Madrid, New York( Kennedy airport), Denver, and then on to Reno.† By midnight she was in Susanville, CA.

0:47†††††††† she didnít speak English

1:11†††††††† her uncle had left her some property in Susanville.† She is happy to have come

1:45†††††††† she was in Susanville 6 months.† Her uncle had left a French-Basque lady and a man in charge of everything in Susanville, she came to take care of them.† Maria Kodimo (?) and Jose Vasquez; they sent her to school at Lassen College.† She went there a year until 1972

3:10†††††††† Her sister became ill and when they were in Reno her brother-in-law bought a restaurant in Alturas, California, she went to Alturas to help him out and stayed there 8 years.

3:35†††††††† it was a good business.†

4:05†††††††† she had already worked in the restaurant business† with him and her parents in the Basque Country, so they were used to the work, here they just had more people and larger parties.

4:47†††††††† Her whole family had been in the restaurant business in Spain.† Her aunt still has a restaurant in Bilbao, Urrejola.

5:05†††††††† Her uncle in Ely, Nevada† also had a restaurant; the Osa generation is involved in the hotel/restaurant business

5:13†††††††† She was born in SaturrarŠn, Gipuzkoa on April 6, 1931.† It is a neighborhood that belongs to the town of Mutriku.

5:31†††††††† She got married in 1980 to Eusebio Cenoz.† The Overland was a lot of work for him alone, so she worked in the kitchen and he worked in the bar.

6:05†††††††† For any kind of business, renovation is important.† You have to change once in a while to give more life to the place.† She learned this from her parents; they were very strict, but they taught them.†

7:05†††††††† Her grandmother was old-fashioned, she cooked chipirones en su tinta better than anyone; she can cook them like that, too.† To be successful you need to have good taste, patience and not worry about how many hours you spend in the kitchen.† The more you cook, the more you like it.

7:52†††††††† Basque people like to eat.† They could serve more variety if they had fresh seafood; she misses that.

9:09†††††††† She doesnít know what they used to serve at the Overland before she got there.† But things were different.†

9:34†††††††† She wasnít used to the way they did things.† Cleaning is the first most important thing, especially in the kitchen and the dining room.† You have to have a† good soup and a good stew. Maybe some chicken, meat, lamb, shrimp, and dessert.† She thinks that before she came they just served meat.† She began to change things.† She wanted more variety.† Lamb is typical Basque.†

11:18†††††† They have clients that come from as far away as New York every 3 or 4 months.† They are contractors that have land in Tahoe.† They have clients from all over.†

12:29†††††† Basques like to eat, but the Americans do, too.†

13:10†††††† She doesnít discriminate.† A variety of people come to eat.†

13:54†††††† A good Basque party starts with a good dish, soup, salad, tongue stew, steak, almost a pound.† Thereís a dance, the kids from Gardnerville dance, then a dance for the public.

15:23†††††† Porrusalda she does for a Basque party, but not every day.

15:50†††††† If you tell an American it is tongue they donít want it, but if they donít know what it is, they love it.

16:32†††††† Basque food is seasoned better than American food.†

17:31†††††† They serve soup every day, but the stew is different every day.† Tuesday, lamb stew with potatoes; Wednesday, red beans; Thursday, Tripe or tongue stew; Friday garbanzos; Saturday a semi-paella with meat.† During Lent she serves cod fish and paella.†

18:23†††††† you have to change every day.† Sometimes she prepares a special meal for 40 or 60 dollars with hot and cold appetizers, imported wine and champagne.†

19:14†††††† for communions, weddings, etc. she prepares shrimp and solomillo al horno with imported champagne and wine.†

20:05†††††† experience comes from watching and doing, not just a good idea.

20:24†††††† in the Basque Country, they change menus daily, too.

21:02†††††† when they have large parties they need extra help, Mateo is one of them.† There are 4 waitresses, there another woman who can do what Elvira does in the kitchen, so that Elvira can help Eusebio in the bar.† Elvira keeps the books, too.† Elvira doesnít leave the house to shop. (good saying ) Everything is delivered to the restaurant.† She only leaves to go to the beauty salon, and to go to church, etc.†

25:03†††††† she needs to speak English at work, also Spanish, but more English, she would like to speak better.†

26:31†††††† They rent 9 apartments in Gardnerville and 3 in Susanville.†

27:20†††††† END SIDE I

 

SIDE 2

 

00:05†††††† dialogue begins

00:27†††††† talks about misunderstandings because of language barrier.† She gets along fine asking people to repeat until she understands.† Americans have a lot of patience to make sure you understand; it doesnít matter how long it takes, they want you to understand; they help; they like Basques.

1:58†††††††† Americans like Basques for 2 reasons, they are constant, if we say something Ė thatís the way it will be - not today one thing and tomorrow another; they think weíre more honest.† The second thing is weíre always ready to work and help.†

3:07†††††††† She has had no problems with anybody in Gardnerville, she gets along fine with everybody.

4:04†††††††† She would like to expand the business. You canít leave this world with material things; if God gives you health, she just wants enough to get by comfortably.† When you have an opportunity to improve or renovate, that is exciting to her. She has the need to do things.

5:02†††††††† There is no ďmenísĒ or ďwomenísĒ work at the Overland.† They do everything together.† The men butcher the lambs, and she cooks them, but if they need help in the bar, she goes and helps out. We help each other.† We help each other outside, too.† She learned that from her family.† Thatís the way it was all her life.† One week it would be your turn to clean, the next helping in the kitchen, the next ironing, the next sewing; 2 sisters did the work of three girls that way.† If you didnít do your work you would get your bottom and your ears warmed up.

7:49†††††††† She helped her sister in Alturas with the books.† She knew how to do accounting in Spanish.† She always spoke Basque with her family in the Basque Country, her grandparents didnít know Spanish.† She studied accounting and typing, so she didnít have any problem, but they do things differently here. For example, division is done differently here, but the result is the same.† She used to keep the books in the Basque Country.

11:54†††††† renters.† She chooses on terms of their face and how they talk.† Sizing a person up that way helps her in the restaurant, too.†

14:28†††††† In 1977, she will never forget the 4th of July in Elko.† It felt like she was in Euskalerria.†

15:50†††††† she is preparing a mus tournament.†

16:35†††††† bertsolariak are coming.† Ancient language with ancient language.† Bertsolarismo does more for the culture than mus.†

18:35†††††† bertsolarismo has been conserved here more than there.† We are so far away from the Basque Country and we donít want to lose what we have, we have to keep doing things, singing, dancing, etc. so tomorrow there will still be something.

19:14†††††† gardnervilleko euskaldunak (Mateo) have retained a lot of culture.† They dance and some of the young ones speak Basque.† 13 kids participate in the dance group .

19:56†††††† There is a lot of Basque atmosphere at the Overland, the kids dance there. There are 3 Basque places in Gardnerville, but the Overland is a central meeting place.

20:39†††††† When she got to Alturas it seemed like she was in a whole different world, but when she went to Gardnerville, she felt like she was in the Basque Country again.

20:50†††††† There are a lot of Basques in Gardnerville and a lot of Basques also come from San Francisco, Fresno, Reno.† Gardnerville is a good location.† The lake Tahoe is right there, the highway goes right by the restaurant.† It is centrally located.† It is close to Reno.

21:57†††††† Euskaldun Cluba meets at a Basque restaurant (Overland, JT or the Country Club) once a month .† There is also the dance group.† The club started from the dance group.† There are two dance groups, the little one and the older kids.†† There is also a Basque picnic in the summer.† They participate in the Nevada day Parade.†

23:14†††††† The kids dance at parties at the Overland.† People like to watch them.† They make a little money for the dance group that way.† They have their own account.† The kids go to music camp to learn things.† They use the money to pay their way to camp.†

25:00†††††† Being Basque in Gardnerville is a good thing to her.† She doesnít have any complaints, she has a good life in Gardnerville.