Chronicler: Violet Uriarte

Interviewer: Gretchen Holbert

Elko, NV

8/5/87

Subject: Basque Hotels

 

Side 1

00:03- What Violet has done in her life; jobs. She is the youngest in her family. She lived in Reno for 30 years after graduating high school. Her children, grandchildren. Violet's mother; was known because she helped lots of people. What Violet did for chores; where they lived during her childhood. Early memories of the hotels: a truck accident. She remembers the hotel in Ely the best. Violet had to clean baseboards, make up the rooms. There was a piano in the dining room. About both Elko and Ely hotels; had pretty much all herders there. Everyone in the family were good dancers; mother could still dance the Jota until she got sick. Moved from the Ely Hotel in the fourth grade, stayed in Reno for 6 weeks while family moved to Elko. How she valued her childhood. Never felt different for living in a hotel; learned to work early and socially adjusted early also. Mother was happy all the time.

 

10:33- About Louis, what he is like. In the insurance business because he likes to do nice things for people. About what her mother did for people; owed a lot of money for a long time. She was a fantastic cook; made good pig's feet, beef tongue, chorizos, etc. Always had people over for supper because mom made a lot of food and didn't turn people away. Typical day for mother; sometimes never slept (making food, managing the bar, renting the rooms, taking care of the hotel). Importance of education, Josephine & Louis were best students in the family. Violet wasn't the best student. She was 7 mo's old when her parents divorced in Austin. They had a hotel in Austin, but it burned down after they had it. First time she saw her dad was when she was 9 or 10 years old. More about her father. Mother ran the Commercial Hotel almost completely by herself. A cousin helped out along with a lady named Kate. When they were little, people wanted to adopt the kids but mother wouldn't have it. About Rose Huerrera.

 

19:16- Sundays were only a day off when they got out of the hotel. After the hotel, mother worked at the Elko Coffee Shop. To Violet's recollection, doesn't remember her mother ever having a day off. Mother never expressed regret at her life. In the hotel: rooms were upstairs, and downstairs there was a jukebox. The family lived in separate living quarters downstairs. Guys would leave their stuff with her mom when they went off to herd. Food is different in the hotels these days; it has been Americanized. Before, there were no menus that was real Basque dining. It was arranged family-style.

 

26:13- Family life, how she feels about her childhood (again). Feels like she had the best childhood possible, appreciates the input of love she had all her life. Feels like it was a special situation; her youngest son studied and ate at the Santa Fe (in Reno) so got to experience the same things as her. Santa Fe was (and is in 1987) authentic Basque dining and hotel. Her relationship with the people who own the SF Hotel; like a second family to her. A while ago the Overland (in Reno) was not Basque. The Toscano, who owned etc. Ends 31:30

 

Side 2

00:03- The people who built the Santa Fe (Etchebarrys). Landas owned a hotel called the Hogan. Everyone was treated the same who came into the hotel. Served a lot of food; comperable to the Santa Fe. Sundays were always chicken, Fridays; fish. After mother retired from the hotels, she ran a short order place and all the kids got spoiled. After moved to Idaho Street people still came and stayed with them as friends. Had some kids board with them at the house; the Hunters. Mom always cooked big meals; lunch and dinner. Made soup every day. All the hotels had plumbing and such. The work for the kids was not necessarily different for boys vs. girls. How guests would entertain themselves; cards for men & women. Children were allowed to do things with the adults; were not kept out of the fun. Always a lot of children around at social events; never a babysitter. She feels like children should socialize at an early age. What roles the children took upon themselves.

 

08:41- Children grew up speaking Basque and Spanish. Violet prefers Spanish, but mother spoke both all the time (also spoke Italian). Violet's step dad was Italian, were married in '56 until her husband had a heart attack 7 years later and died. About her brother getting married a few months before mom did. Her mother wanted her kids to have an education and to have more than what she had had. Never was an expectation for her kids to take over the hotel. Only regret for her mother was that her first children (violet's half sister & brother) were left in Spain. Tried to bring them back to US, but Civil War broke out. Mother sang all the time. When they went to Spain, things were not bad; but didn't want to move there. Also, did her citizenship paperwork a long time ago, about that. Her priorities were giving of herself to people and having good friends. More about her satisfaction with her life. Seeing her dad; was there for her graduation. Relationship with him. Her children spending time with her mother. Who has gone to Spain and hasn't.

 

17:13- Her children's identification with being Basque. Violet was married in '51, divorced in '69; married on Church street. Two sons, oldest died at 21 years in '79. 2nd marriage was in '72, husband died in '72. Mother died in '71. Violet enjoys living in Elko again, being close to friends. Helped organize the Reno Basque Club, was everything except the President. Ends at 20:45.