Chronicler: Rosenda Martinez

Interviewer: Gretchen Holbert

Winnemucca, NV

6/28/86

Subject:

 

Tape 1 Side 1

00:02-Mother's history, how she got to Fallon. Trip to US. A relative went to Basque country and spent time with Rosenda's husbands' family. Who mother worked for in Fallon. Father's work life, mostly worked in ranches. Used to drive a team from Fallon to Stillwater with Borax. Got kicked by a horse, almost lost his leg. They were in Reno for a little while, then came to Galconda. Uncle had the Morning Star Hotel, father bought hotel and took over. Sheepherders would stop in Galconda because of the hotel; also was mining there (gold and silver). Banked in Winnemucca. What the Morning Star was like; a big dining room, had a big dining room and had an Indian woman who helped with the laundry; also had a guy to help with the bar. Rosenda was born in Galconda; in the Morning Star via a midwife. How they got around; train, car, etc.

 

08:30- Other hotels in Galconda, one other that was Basque-run, others that were mostly just American. The hot springs in Galconda. Neighbor boy would come over and get milk from them. Was a pretty tight community, but very busy so not too much visiting. Basque families in the area, Basque community there. One school; but no high school. That was added later. Before that, had to go to Winnemucca and board with another family. After high school went to Winnemucca Hotel to work. Stayed in the Winnemucca for 4 or 5 years in the '30s. Her duties in the hotel, who were there. What the arrangement was in the hotel, who worked.

 

17:59- Festival days, what she was paid in the hotel. Customers in the Winnemucca Hotel. The parties there; who came and more on customer in the hotel. The way they served the food; how much it has changed. What was served there. Not many tourists at that time; more about the parties. What Rosenda's schedule was like; no days off, no time for church. Saved her money so she could go to nursing school.

 

26:20- More on the Morning Star; she was 15/16 when they sold out the hotel to her aunt. It burned down not long after that. The layout of the area at the time. Sometimes ladies of the night would come to the hotel. Names of the whores. She liked the red-light district, would always get candy, etc. No Chinese community in Galconda; but there is one in Winnemucca. There used to be a Chinese temple in Winnemucca, but it was torn down. Ends 30:15

 

Side 2

00:00- Where people would come from to stay at the Morning Star. Used to take 5 days to get from Reno to Elko. How many rooms there were (20-25), how it was heated. The Winnemucca Hotel was larger than the Morning Star. There was some intrigue as to why the Morning Star burned. The other Basque hotel in Galconda burned down also. How things were situated in the hotel. What days were like; what she remembers about people there. Rosenda's first language was Spanish; mom didn't speak Basque but dad did. Mom learned Basque in the hotel. Some were French Basques. Entering school; what it was like. She didn't speak any English. She still remembers that day. Etcharts were a little older, they helped her out.

 

09:23- Where parents got supplies, meat from; they had a barn and a hotel (had cows, sheep, pigs). Didn't feel different; they helped her learn English. She left home because Mrs. Esparsa came and hired her to work in the Winnemucca. What her siblings did. Rosenda met her husband while she was working in the Winnemucca. After she finished nursing school she went to go work at the hospital. Then, she and her husband bought the Winnemucca from Frank Escovel and two other men. The future owners came to work for them as a cook. She was there for 5 years. She and her husband owned half the hotel. The guys who stayed at the hotel. What they did for the herders. They had a safe for keeping valuables. Also, took care of the herders bundles. Her daughter; what her childhood was like.

 

18:18- How she felt about buying the hotel. Not all that different from the first time in the Winnemucca. What her parents did after getting out of the Morning Star. She didn't end up nursing all that much after she got her training. She worked night duty after her husband died. That was in Boise that she went for training. Didn't necessarily prefer one type of work over another. In the hospital had one day off a week. She really did what had to be done for what she wanted. She was happy to stop working when she had her daughter. When husband died her daughter was in university. About her daughter, what her life is like. Rosenda didn't ever do any ranch work. Dried clothes outside. Decided to sell the hotel because Rosenda got sick and tired of hotel work. She was just tired of the amount of work, never getting any sleep. How they were arranged in the hotel.

 

27:35- How the food has changed. They had a good cook when they were there. Owners of the Winnemucca now and then. They didn't advertise; got all business from word-of-mouth. There was a concha in the back, guys played all the time. Also, played mus, solo in the afternoon and evening. Women didn't play, though.

 

Tape 2

00:32- The Morning Star had a handball court, played any time of day. Other recreation was cards and sometimes accordion players would come and perform. He traveled from town to town to play; would find some guys to play drums. There were children at the dances sometimes. Never a problem with having children at the Winnemucca's bar. Sometimes there were dances at the Martin also. There was another lady who had a boarding house in town too. More about other hotels in Winnemucca. Didn't have Basque picnics then, very rarely wasn't working. Sent laundry out to get cleaned. Mother made all her clothes, and now Rosenda sews also. Mother used to crochet, made girls wool skirts for school. Always had one nice dress; took care of it. She learned how to sew different stuff from high school and other places. Never had time to do handwork in the hotel.

 

08:26- Her mother never stopped. Occasionally mother would go to Winnemucca to do business. Didn't talk much about Basque country. Mother mostly cooked. Lived to be 92, was still able to get around. What her mother did with her time after she retired. Never rebuilt the Morning Star, all the hotels burned. Early Galconda infrastructure, how they took care of stuff. What Rosenda cooks most of the time.

 

15:00- When she came back and was in charge of the Winnemucca she let Mrs. Mendiola handle the cooking. She learned how to cook American dishes also. Just picked up how to cook. In the Morning Star didn't grow much of anything; bought most food from grocery stores. One of the owners of the grocery stores couldn't read or write. Herders were like family. Parents were fine with her going to nurse's school. When she went to Winnemucca, the Morning Star was gone. Her youngest sister worked at the Winnemucca, but then went into the marines (so did her other sister). Both her brothers also went into the military. Her graduation from nurses' school.

 

23:07- More about her sisters, the difference between them and other girls from the area. What the average Basque girl did. Family reunions. After her father died her mother married another guy. He was a herder, operated out of Galconda. He died in Winnemucca a while before mother. Life in Galconda, didn't feel isolated much; didn't think about it. Never came to Winnemucca until 20 or so years old when she came to work at the Winnemucca. How the Basques pronounced towns' names. About Basque women, how long they lasted until they were married. More about roots, feeling a certain way about heritage. Ended at 30:53