Goldie DeBraga Oral History

Dublin Core


Goldie DeBraga Oral History


Goldie DeBraga Oral History


Churchill County Museum Association


Churchill County Museum Association


March 30, 1992


Analog Cassette Tape, Txt File, MP3 Audio



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Marianne Papa


Goldie deBraga


2750 Swope Lane, Fallon, NV




an interview with


March 30, 1992

This interview was conducted by Marianne Papa; transcribed by Glenda Price; edited by Norma Morgan and Norine Arciniega; final typed by Pat Boden; index by Gracie Viera; supervised by Myrl Nygren, Director of Oral History Project/Assistant Curator Churchill County Museum.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Churchill County Museum or any of its employees.

Interview with Goldie deBraga

This is Marianne Papa with the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project. I am interviewing Goldie deBraga of 2750 Swope Lane in Fallon, [Stillwater District] Nevada. It's 11:00 A.M. March 30, 1992, at Goldie's kitchen table.

PAPA:   Goldie, would you tell me your parents' names and where they were born?

deBRAGA: My dad's name was Ad Norman Norcutt, and he was born as near as I know in Lucan, Minnesota. My mother's name was Lena Mary Jensen Norcutt, and she was born in Denmark. I don't know where in Denmark. She came to the United States when she was eight years old.

PAPA:   She came with her family?

deBRAGA: She came with her mother and her dad and her older sister. She had a brother, but he was born in Minnesota after they got here to the States.

PAPA:   Where did your parents meet and marry?

deBRAGA: They married in the northern part of Minnesota. I don't know the little town.

PAPA:   What was your father's occupation?

deBRAGA: He was always a farmer.

PAPA:   Do you know what crops he would have grown?

deBRAGA: Well in Minnesota, I don't know whether he farmed the wheat land or not, but he had cattle. They came to Red Bluff, California about 1910 'cause I was born in 1911.

PAPA:   Do you know why they moved from Minnesota to California?

deBRAGA: 'Cause my dad's brother was living in California, and he wanted them to come 'cause it was so cold in Minnesota. They came, believe it or not, in a boxcar.

PAPA:   On a train?

deBRAGA: Yes, that's the way they came. They had their animals and the family. They lived right in the boxcar.

PAPA:   Did they bring furniture with them?

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah, just everything they had.

PAPA: You said it was due to the weather. Was it also due to any economic advantage to California rather than Minnesota?

deBRAGA: I don't really know that. Well, my sister, Myrtle, was born January 10, 1903, and my dad had to go get the doctor. They said it was sixty below zero.

PAPA: That's cold, and I can see why they'd come to California! Were there any other siblings?

deBRAGA: Yes, my two older brothers. They were born in Minnesota also.

PAPA: And their names and the dates they were born?

deBRAGA: Pearl was born about 1899, the thirtieth of January and as near as I can figure it out Earl was born about 1901 on the fourth February.

PAPA: And this was all in Minnesota?

deBRAGA: Yeah, I had another brother, Ray. He was born in Minnesota June 30, 1905. Then Percy, my brother that lives here now, was born in June 13, 1908 in Minnesota. I was born in California.

PAPA: When you said your family came, it was your mother and father and your older brothers and sister, and they brought furniture and how much livestock?

deBRAGA :I don't know. They said they had some cows, but I don't know (laughing) how much. In those days people never seemed to find out what their families were doing. I really don't know. I know they brought whatever household stuff they had.

PAPA: And then they went to California?

deBRAGA: They landed in Red Bluff.

PAPA:  And how long did they live there?

deBRAGA: I was born there, and we lived there until about 1918. Then we went down to Sanger; that's down by Fresno.

PAPA:  And when were you born?

deBRAGA: July 16, 1911. It was 116 [degrees] the day I was born. (laughing)


PAPA: (laughing) So your parents went from one extreme to the other. Are there any other brothers and sisters?

deBRAGA: Yes, I have another sister, Dolly, and she was born in California. She was born May 21, 1915. That was when Mount Lassen was erupting over there. Everything was real cloudy and dark around Red Bluff when she was born. Then my brother, Robert, was born down at Sanger. He was born April 4, 1918.

PAPA: When your parents first went to California where did you say they lived?

deBRAGA: We lived between Corning and Red Bluff.

PAPA: Did you live with relatives?

deBRAGA: Oh, no. They got a place. My dad was a wheat farmer there.

PAPA: And why did he move to Sanger?

deBRAGA: My mother's parents lived there at Sanger and I don't know why. Course I wasn't very old, and I don't really know why they did move. I know the boys drove the wagons and that's the way they moved. (laughing)

PAPA: So what prompted them to move from Sanger then?

deBRAGA: This brother of my dad's that wanted him to come to California moved to Nevada. (laughing)

PAPA: (laughing) Where in Nevada?

deBRAGA: They moved down to the Island District [Fallon], where they lived. They came from Red Bluff. They came across by Pyramid Lake, and the Indians come and stopped them when they were going across. They didn't want them traveling across the reservation, I guess. Anyway, they got through. 'Cause they had horses and such the Indians thought they were trespassing. Maybe they were, I don't know. (laughing)

PAPA: Which brother was this?

deBRAGA: His name was Ed Norcutt. They lived down in the Island District. Their old place is still sitting there. It's the very last place on the right hand side as you're going to Schurz, and if you happen to notice their old chimney still sets up there. Their house burned later. It didn't burn while they were there, but it burned later. I can always see the chimney if I go by. Reminds me of where they lived.

PAPA: So then you have your uncle living here and he wrote to your dad and told him how things were?

deBRAGA: Yeah. Well, he was the one that got him to come to California (laughing), and he got him to come to Nevada.


PAPA: What year did your family move to Nevada?

deBRAGA: We came in the fall of 1922.

PAPA: Do you remember the trip over?

deBRAGA: Oh, yes, I remember. When we came from California, we stopped up at Lake Tahoe and camped there for about a week before we came on over here.

PAPA: What method of transportation did you use?

deBRAGA: We came in our car. It was my younger sister and my younger brother and I, and we camped there for probably a week before we came down.

PAPA: Do you remember what kind of car it was?

deBRAGA: No, my dad always drove a Studebaker, and I don't know whether that was what it was then.

PAPA: What about your older brothers and sisters? Did they come over also?

deBRAGA: No, they didn't come at that time. My older brother was living at Red Bluff.

PAPA: Which one?

deBRAGA: Pearl J. He was the oldest one and Earl, he's the next one. He was more of a cowboy and he used to  work for Miller and Lux and he was in Oregon and northern California. But after my folks came to Nevada Earl did come. He bought an old Model T. He'd never driven a car before. (laughing) I don't know how he ever made it. I think he come from McDermitt down. I remember him when he tried to stop that old Ford he'd kick it like he would a horse. (laughing)

PAPA:  (laughing) Did it work?

deBRAGA: He made it. I don't know how he ever did.

PAPA: Then what happened when you came to Fallon?

deBRAGA: We lived down in the Island District there. My dad rented this place from George Dalton, and I went to the Island school at that time. Then we moved up into the Lone Tree District, and I always call it the Cochran Place. That's where Laura and Harry Corkill live. Then we moved to the Beach District, and that's when I was going to high school. I graduated from the Lone Tree grammar school.

PAPA: What was it like going to school? What was the Lone Tree school like?

deBRAGA: It was just a country school same as our Stillwater school.


PAPA: One room, two rooms?

deBRAGA: There was one room. Mrs. C.B. Stark was my teacher the last year that I was in school.

PAPA: How many kids were in the class?

deBRAGA: I can't remember how many kids was in the class. It might be three or four, but all grades were in the same room. The teacher taught all grades from first grade through the eighth.

PAPA: So would it have been maybe a total of twenty or thirty students?

deBRAGA: Oh, I'd say around twenty.

PAPA: What kind of classes did you take?

deBRAGA: Well, they were just reading and writing and 'rithmetic was what we had. We were taught phonics . They don't teach that anymore and they don't teach penmanship. We had that, too. We had just the regular things that they taught in those days. We didn't have science or anything like that or we didn't have algebra. We just had arithmetic and history. We didn't have geometry. We had geography but not geometry, so we just had the regular . . . it's different from what they're taught now.

PAPA: When she was teaching geography, for example, would she break you into groups or would the class be taught all together?

deBRAGA: No, when your class came up, why you would come up towards where the teacher was, and the other kids in the room were supposed to be studying or they could be listening to what you were talking about. It's different than now. (laughing)

PAPA: (laughing) Yes. What did you do during recess time?

deBRAGA: We played ball and we run races. We used to play ball against the Island school. We used to go down there. When we went to school from the Cochran Place, why we had a horse and a cart and we drove that to school, and then when we drove down to play the Island school why we'd go in our cart and played ball.

PAPA: And the boys and the girls both played?

deBRAGA: Oh, yes, all played the same. I used to be the pitcher.              (laughing)

PAPA: Oh! (laughing) Were there any other memories that you had of elementary school?

deBRAGA: Oh, I don't know. There's lots of them, I guess. I can't really think of anything that would be too interesting. (laughing)

PAPA: When you were growing up at that age, did you have chores to do around the home?

deBRAGA: Oh, yes, I always had chores. Not really what you'd call going out milking or anything like that but it was my job to always wash the dishes and help my mother. She used to raise turkeys, and I always had to go along with her and help her carry the water and the feed.

PAPA: And what was your father farming at this time?

deBRAGA: It was alfalfa just like it is now, and he had a dairy.

PAPA: How many cows?

deBRAGA: I don't know how many. Course they had to milk by hand. I'd say around twenty five.

PAPA: And your brothers helped with that?

deBRAGA: Yes, they did. When they were home they did. And my brother, Ray, worked at the round house there at Hazen when they used to have that. He rode his motorcycle back and forth.

PAPA:   What did he do at the round house?

deBRAGA: I don't know. That's where the engines would come from the Southern Pacific and I really don't know what his job was, but I know he worked there.

PAPA:   Do you remember what the house was like that you were living in at that time'?

deBRAGA: It was a house. I remember my dad and mother went out to Wonder--that's out here off of Dixie Valley--and they were selling some of the houses that was there at that mine. They brought part of a house they bought out there and added on to our house. Of course the boys had their bunkhouse where they stayed, and my sister and I stayed in the house with the parents. There was two bedrooms and the kitchen and the dining room was all together and then we had a front room. No indoor plumbing or anything like that at that time.

PAPA:   So you had an outhouse.

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah.

PAPA:   When it came to wash day, how did your mother do the laundry?

deBRAGA: She always had a washing machine of some kind. Lot of times it was powered by a gasoline engine. At that time we didn't have running water, so she couldn't have an automatic washer, but she always had a washing machine. There was always lots of us at home to be washed for.

PAPA:   And that was considered very modern for the times?

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah. I remember when we first got our radio. I thought that was wonderful. (laughing) Then we had a telephone there, too. There was six or seven on the line.

PAPA:   When did the telephone come in? Were you still in elementary school?

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah. We had a telephone then. There might be seven or eight people on our line. Yours might be a long and two shorts or a long and three shorts or whatever it was.

PAPA:   And did people listen in?

deBRAGA: Oh, you bet! (laughing) Everybody knew what was going on at your house. Oh, yeah, that was the thing people used to do, I guess, 'cause they could hear it ring at their house, too, same as it rang in ours.

PAPA:   Did anybody get upset over this or was that just accepted as the friendly means of communication?

deBRAGA: Oh, I'm sure some people didn't like what people were saying about them. (laughing)

PAPA:   How did most people get around in those days? Was it cars or was it still the horse and buggy?

deBRAGA: Some of them had horse and buggy. We had a car when we came to Nevada. I even drove to school in the car. They had buses, but the buses didn't come around pick up the kids like they do now. If we lived out so far the buses didn't come and pick you up. I know when I was a junior why I drove the car to school, and then when I was a senior my sister, my brother and I lived in Fallon and I went to high school, and she did, too.

PAPA:   Do you know the street address?

deBRAGA: I lived on Humboldt Street and that little house is still there (laughing) where I used to live when we went to school.

PAPA:   What was it like going to high school? What classes did you take?

deBRAGA: I took the commercial course, if you understand what that was. I took typing and shorthand, such as that. I took Spanish. Course you always have to take English and I can't remember what else I took. The typing was for two periods and same with the shorthand. That was what I did. I took the commercial course.

PAPA:   How many students were in the classes?

deBRAGA: I can't remember. I suppose about fifteen or sixteen in our class.

PAPA:   Did they rotate from classroom to classroom as they do nowadays?

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah. When we had to go to our Spanish class, why we had to go to that room. We went to our typing class why we went to that room. I had my shorthand, too, in that same room where we had typing.

PAPA:   And you had the manual typewriters?

deBRAGA: Yeah, oh, yeah.

PAPA:   Did they teach any other business machines?

deBRAGA: Well, at that time there was no such things in 1929. (laughing) They had no computers or anything like that. Typing is all they taught us.

PAPA:   And shorthand?

deBRAGA: Yeah.

PAPA:   Where was the high school located?

deBRAGA: Right there where the junior high is now on South Maine. Our principal was Mr. McCracken.

PAPA:   Was it painted green then?

deBRAGA: Yes.

PAPA:   Did you have a mascot, the Greenwave?

deBRAGA: Oh, sure. And the girls always had the basketball team. They won the state tournament for several years in a row. I never played on it because I always had to go home while they practiced after school, so I never did play basketball.

PAPA:   Did you go out for any sports at all?

deBRAGA: No, not in high school.

PAPA:   Then when you went home you had to help around the home, help your mother?

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah, get supper, wash the dishes. (laughing)

PAPA:   What did the families do for entertainment?

deBRAGA: They used to have dances. I remember they went to the dances when I wasn't very old. They danced at the different school houses. Well, there wasn't any entertainment. You got to go the show once in awhile, but that was it.

PAPA:   And the show was at the Fallon Theatre?

deBRAGA: They had two theatres. They had one across there where the [Fallon] Nugget is now [70 South Maine] and then they had one where there's a theatre now [71 South Maine].

PAPA:   Do you remember how much it cost to get in?

deBRAGA: (laughing) It didn't cost very much. I can't tell you, but I know it wasn't very much. It isn't like now when you go it's three and a half or five and a half or whatever. (laughing)

PAPA:   Did the families attend the dances together or did the teenagers attend the dances alone?

deBRAGA: My folks didn't go with me. My brother always took me, so we'd go to the dances together.

PAPA:   So they were like high school dances?

deBRAGA: No, they were country dances. The Fraternal Hall had dances, too, all the time, and we'd go up there to the dance.

PAPA:   Did family and friends visit a lot?

deBRAGA: They didn't visit a lot. No, I can't remember them visiting that much.

PAPA:   After you graduated from high school, did you work?

deBRAGA: I went to work for Mr. Winters. He was a District Attorney. I was his secretary and I worked for him in the morning, and in the afternoon I worked for Mr. Cann. He was an attorney, and I worked for him until about the middle of July. Then I went to Modesto [California] and worked in the Pratt-Lowe Canning Company. Two other girls from high school went with me.

PAPA:   Why did you move there?

deBRAGA: We just went down to work for the summer in the canning. They were canning peaches.

PAPA:   Could you earn more money or did you want just something different to do?

deBRAGA: Oh, (laughing) we didn't earn any money. We always earned a little bit, but it wasn't very much. In those times you didn't get paid very much. I stayed there until the canning season was through with.

PAPA:   What year was that?

deBRAGA: That was in the fall of 1929. I graduated in 1929 from high school.

PAPA:   The great economic crash was 1929. How did that affect your family?

deBRAGA: It didn't help them any. (laughing) It wasn't very good for anybody. My dad and mother had to leave Nevada. They left when I was a senior in high school because my mother had heart trouble and it was too high for her here, so my dad had taken her down by Sanger. He took her back where her folks were.

PAPA:   Did the whole family move or did some stay here?

deBRAGA: No, just my dad and mother. The rest of us stayed here in Nevada.

PAPA:   What was everybody doing? Which brother was here and what was he doing?

deBRAGA: My brother, Ray, that I told you was working at the round house in Hazen, why, when that closed then he went to Hawthorne and worked over there for construction. And, Percy, my brother--he's just three years older than I am--stayed with my sister and I there on Humboldt Street. He worked for Kent's. He worked for Mr. Sloan and they hauled hay with the team and wagons for Kent's. He'd buy the hay from the farmers. When I got through with Modesto there in the fall I went to Sanger and lived with my folks for awhile and I worked in the packing house. Grapes, packed those in boxes.

PAPA:   When did you meet your husband?

deBRAGA: I met him when I was a junior in high school. Met him at the dance at the Fraternal Hall.

PAPA:   And his family were living in Fallon?

deBRAGA: Lived right across the road here from me now.

PAPA:   He lived on Swope?

deBRAGA: He lived here in Stillwater. They moved from out at Ione. His dad was a miner. When the mines closed, his dad came here and bought this little place, forty acres here. The rest of the family moved down in 1917 so he lived here in Stillwater all that time.

PAPA:   In this house that you're living at 2750 or was it a different house?

deBRAGA: Oh, no, it was a little house across the road over there. It's no longer there. Like I say, his dad was a miner and when the mines closed out there, why he had to do something else, so they came down here and homesteaded the forty acres across the road.

PAPA: And they grew alfalfa?

deBRAGA: Yes, they had alfalfa and they had a few head of cows they milked. That was the mainstay of people. In those days they had a few head of cows and sold cream.

PAPA: How did you and your husband come to marry? Were you high school sweethearts?

deBRAGA: No, Frank never went to high school. Frank graduated from the Stillwater school, but he never went to high school. He went out and had to work.

PAPA: So you met him at the dances?

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah, that's where I met him. He was a good dancer, so we had lots of fun dancing. (laughing)

PAPA: When you went to California then you continued writing to him?

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah, we wrote and he came over to see me one time, too, when I was there at Modesto, and we went down to the Sacramento fair. That's the one and only time I was ever to the fair at Sacramento.

PAPA: What was the fair like?

deBRAGA: It was much smaller than it is now from what I hear. (laughing) It was just an ordinary fair. We went to the exhibits and they had lots of animals and we'd go around and see them.

PAPA: Did they have rides at the fair?

deBRAGA: Yes, they had the ferris wheel and such as that. Course now they have lots more things. (laughing)

PAPA: You two then decided to get married?

deBRAGA: Well, yes. I came back to Fallon again. On Thanksgiving Day I landed in Reno in 1929. My brother and Frank met me there. Frank and I were married on September 29, 1930.

PAPA:   What was it like planning your wedding?

deBRAGA: Didn't plan any wedding. In those days there was no such thing. (laughing) We just went to the Justice of the Peace in Reno and got married.

PAPA:   Did you have a reception when you came home?

deBRAGA: Oh, about ten days or so after we came home, why the neighbors they came to shivaree us. Then from there we went on down to the Stillwater and they had some music there and we danced, and that was the size of it.

PAPA:   Where did you live and how did you set up housekeeping when you were first married?

deBRAGA: When we were married Frank was working for Mr. Staup. He had a dairy and Frank was milking the cows and did the farm work.

PAPA:   Where was that located?

deBRAGA: It was just about a half mile from here.

PAPA:   On Swope?

deBRAGA: No, it was off of the Stillwater road. It's just to the west of us here. We lived there for seven years and then we moved up on the corner up here on the Stillwater road and we lived there for … I can’t remember. Anyway, we moved down here in the fall of 1943, bought this place [2750 Swope Lane] from the Kolstrups. We built this house. We started in the fall of 1948, and when it was finished, we moved into it on February 12, 1949.

PAPA:   When you said you built the house, you mean your husband and friends built this or did you have it built?

deBRAGA: We had it built. We had a carpenter and he built it.

PAPA:   What are your children's names and when were they born?

deBRAGA: They were all born in Fallon. Lyle, the one you met, he's the oldest. He was born June 29, 1932, and Dennis the next one, was born October 6, 1933. He lives in Lovelock. He has the Lovelock Cement. And Bob was born on December 4, 1936. That was the year that it was thirty two below zero here. Ooh, that was cold! (laughing) He lives at Paisley, Oregon, and is the manager of the ZX Land and Cattle Company. [End of tape side A] Ted was born on April 27, 1938. Patsy was born September 11, 1941. She is married to Harold Bub Weaver, and she lives in Elmo, Utah. [NOTE: This is not a direct quote, but a combination of what she said on either side of the tape break].

PAPA: What was it like to be pregnant in those days and to give birth? What were the hospital conditions like or did you go to a hospital?

deBRAGA: I didn't go to a hospital with the four boys. I went to Mrs. Hall. She was a midwife. In those days when you had your babies, it was thirty-five dollars for your doctor and fifty dollars for her. I stayed ten days. You never got up in those days. You had to stay down in bed.

PAPA: Where did you stay? At her home?

deBRAGA: At her home. Patsy was born out at Dr. Wray's hospital. That was out on Auction Road.

PAPA: And who took care of the other children when you were having the latter ones?

deBRAGA: Marguerite Osgood, Frank's sister, would take care of the kids when I had to go to the hospital. They stayed with her. My sister also helped take care of them, too, when she lived here.

PAPA: When you were pregnant, did you continue working around the house, or did women take it easier in those times?

deBRAGA: You didn't take it easy. You did the same thing then as you always did. (laughing) You had work to do and like the day that Patsy was born I did a great big washing in the morning and then Frank took me to Dr. Wray's hospital that afternoon about four. I carried my water in the house and heated it on the stove and put it in my washing machine, then I had to carry the water out, throw it out. I didn't have anything like I have now.  (laughing)

PAPA: (laughing) No automatic washer.               

deBRAGA: Yes, I had an electric washing machine.

PAPA: But you still had to carry the water.

deBRAGA: I still had to carry the water in and heat it on the stove in your boiler, as you called it, and then you had pour that into the washing machine. You had to carry in your water that you rinsed your clothes in, too. You did all that. You didn't go over here and push a button and do all that like you do now.

PAPA:   But then when you had the baby then you had ten days of bed rest?

deBRAGA: That's what they wanted you to do, but, oh, I guess maybe you needed it. (laughing)

PAPA:   (laughing) But then when you got home it was back to the routine.

deBRAGA: Back to the same thing awashing diapers and doing all of that. (laughing)

PAPA:   When you were raising your family, how was it different for your children growing up than compared to when you grew up?

deBRAGA: Oh, it was a lot of difference. When the boys were in high school they did a lot of things that I never did when I was in high school.

PAPA:   What type of activities?

deBRAGA: The boys were all members of the FFA [Future Farmers of America] and they had all had trips. They went to Kansas City [Missouri]. Lyle was in 4-H and he had a trip to Chicago. Patsy did, too. She was in the cherry pie making, and she went to Chicago, too, on that.

PAPA:   To the National Club Congress?

deBRAGA: The boys they were all in FFA but Lyle was in 4-H. That's where he won his trip to Chicago.

PAPA:   Were they active in high school sports?

deBRAGA: Oh, yes. Bob was in football and Ted was in baseball.

PAPA:   So they had more leisure time than when you were growing up?

deBRAGA: They didn't have too much leisure time because they always had cows to milk every morning before they could go to school and all four boys, drove bus from down here, too.

PAPA:   So your husband and you owned the farm here and you were growing alfalfa?

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah, and we always had cattle and he did a lot of outside work with his tractor, leveling land for the farmers around. It was a busy time. I know when my daughter graduated she went to Salt Lake and went to nursing school. I felt like the world had dropped out from under me (laughing). So I went to work as a substitute mail carrier at the post office.

PAPA: And your boys, they worked on the farm?

deBRAGA: Well, they did while they went to high school. But then when they got married they had their own places. They are all scattered out and got their own business. (laughing)

PAPA: How did the economic times and the war affect your family? That was in the 1940's.

deBRAGA: Frank's brother, John, was sent to England and then he went on to France before the war was over. My brother, Percy, was over in Africa for thirty months and then he was sent over to Italy, too. He hadn't been there too long when the war ended.

PAPA: Your children were in school at that time?

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah.

PAPA: Did they have any projects to help the war effort?

deBRAGA: Oh, I don't know whether they did or not. I know they always wanted people to go around and gather up all the old tires and anything like that and bring them to a certain place there in Fallon where you could take them. But far as anything else I don't remember that. I know they wanted everybody to have those black curtains to put on their windows in case there was an air raid (laughing). I remember all that black cloth that I bought and put up to the windows.

PAPA: Fortunately, you never had to use it.

deBRAGA: No, they didn't come and bomb us. (laughing)

PAPA: Were there school picnics at that time?

deBRAGA: Oh, yes, we always had a school picnic when the school was let out. We used to have them here at Stillwater, too, even after the school closed but we haven't had any now for about three years. Seems like people get busy a haying and they don't take time to come.

PAPA:   Were there community activities? And by community, I mean like Stillwater activities. Did they meet regularly?

deBRAGA: The kids always would have a Halloween party, and at Christmas they'd have their plays and Santa Claus'd come. So there was always things like that. Then, of course, the grownups had the Stillwater club that I used to belong to, the [Stillwater] Friendly Club.

PAPA:   That was the homemakers' club? How did you come to join a homemakers' club?

deBRAGA: They just invited me to come. Lyle was only about four months old when I first joined the club and that was in 1932. We quilted on quilts and we had regular social meetings once a month.

PAPA:   You joined because you were invited, and did they meet every month?

deBRAGA: Yeah, they met every month and they'd meet at different homes. It was nice to go. You got to see people that you didn't see otherwise.

PAPA:   Did you take the children with you?

deBRAGA: I did when Frank wasn't around so he could take care of them, why I took them along.

PAPA:   What were some of the projects they were working on? You said they were quilting?

deBRAGA: We made quilts and quilted on quilts. Some of the Harmon ladies would come and help us quilt.

PAPA:   Who did you quilt for? Were they for club members or other people?

deBRAGA: We would sell chances on them, sell tickets, and somebody maybe out of the district would win them. You never knew.

PAPA:   What did your clubs do with the money that they raised?

deBRAGA: They just used it for doing things at the school. There was always things there that needed repairs and such. That's what the money was used for.

PAPA:   Did you belong to any other homemaker clubs?

deBRAGA: Not at that time. It was around 1950 I was invited to the Artemesia Club, and I don't think I joined at that time. I just was a guest of them, but I joined later. I belonged to that, and then I belonged to the Harmon social club.

PAPA: Do you remember when the Stillwater Club dissolved?

deBRAGA: No, I can't. They should have the records there at the museum. I'm sure the books were turned in there, but for me to tell you right offhand I can't remember just when they did. 'Cause when some of the older members like Mrs. Kent and Mrs. Lawrence and Mrs. Fitz were no longer here why the other ladies didn't care about being bothered. So it was kind of hard to keep the club a going when you didn't have some members come. (laughing)

PAPA: You also belonged to the Neighbors of Woodcraft Lodge? Could you tell me about these experiences?

deBRAGA: The Neighbors of Woodcraft was instituted here in Fallon in April 1936, and I became a member. Then I became the clerk of the Woodcraft in the fall of 1938, and I've been the clerk ever since.

PAPA: What did your responsibilities as clerk include?

deBRAGA: The Neighbors of Woodcraft is a fraternal organization and you have your life insurance along with it and it was my job to collect the money from the people that had policies with us and you had to make your reports to Portland [Oregon]. That's where the main office is.

PAPA: Did they have a social aspect to the club?

deBRAGA: No, we always had our meetings once a month and then a lot of times after the meetings, if we had circles from the other part of the state come we'd have programs and refreshments and such as that.

PAPA: Is that organization still going?

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah, it's still going. I don't know how much longer, but we're still hanging on.

PAPA:   Who's the current clerk?

deBRAGA: Who's the present clerk?

PAPA:   Yes . . . you  still are. (laughing) So you've had all these years?

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah.

PAPA: Did you belong to Farm Bureau, also?

deBRAGA: Oh, yes. We always belonged. Still do, in fact.

PAPA: What type of organization is that, and what were some of their projects?

deBRAGA: I don't know what the projects were. (laughing) I know that we have always been a member of the Farm Bureau. I have my car insurance with them. I don't do much in the Farm Bureau than pay my dues now. But we used to go to their meetings when they used to have them, and they used to have their Farm Bureau dinners. Frank and I used to go years ago but we haven't for a long time.

PAPA: I know that Farm Bureau has had displays at the county and state fairs. Were you ever involved in that?

deBRAGA: Oh, yes, I used to work at the fairs and when the kids were in 4-H, they had their animals there so we would be there. I used to go to Reno with them when they took their animals up to the Junior Livestock Show. Lyle had beef and Ted always had pigs and Dennis and Bob always had lambs. Patsy, she had a beef, also.

PAPA: Did the whole family go up, or did you just take the kids and your husband stayed home?

deBRAGA: I'd go and Frank would come when he could, but when you have chores to do you can't always stay up there. That was one of the big times that the kids had when they were growing up was to go to Reno to the livestock show. It's all different now.

PAPA: After your children were grown you said that you became a substitute mail carrier. Why did you seek employment and what made you take that job?

deBRAGA: Ann Mills was a rural mail carrier and she was needing somebody to relieve her a little bit. So she asked me if I wouldn't like to come and help her out so I did. I was a substitute carrier on Route One and also on Route Two out here, and I worked there until I retired September, 1974.

PAPA: When did you start?

deBRAGA: I started in the fall of 1959, so I worked fifteen years.

PAPA:   What was the route like? What was your day's work?

deBRAGA: I'd be to work about seven o'clock in the morning, and you had to sort the mail that was given to you. Then you had to deliver it. My route was all from out west of town out through Sheckler, Lone Tree, Island District, and then back to town. Then the route went on way down to the Beach District and back by the Navy Base. It was a long route.

PAPA:   Did you have to use your own vehicle?

deBRAGA: I used my own car.

PAPA:   Were you paid per mile?

deBRAGA: I got paid by the day, and I also got paid by the mileage. I wasn't on Civil Service. That was the bad part. The lady that took my place when I retired was put on Civil Service then. If I'd been on Civil Service I could have had a pension coming in.

PAPA:   So you had no pension with this job?

deBRAGA: No.

PAPA:   What changes could you see from when you started the job to when you retired?

deBRAGA: I guess it's about the same. I do know they have a lot more benefits from what I had 'cause I was just working by the hour. Course you only got paid for eight hours. You might work ten hours, but you never got paid for it because you're only supposed to put in eight hours. But lot of times when there was lots of mail why you had to get it put up before you could go home after you got back on your route.

PAPA:   You also write the Stillwater news.

deBRAGA: I've been writing that for awhile. (laughing)

PAPA:   When did you start writing it and what got you involved in that?

deBRAGA: It was Kemma [Osgood] Kolstrup. She was the one that was writing it and she asked me if I didn't want to start, so I did. (laughing) Haven't got rid of it yet. (laughing) I try to talk other people into doing it, but I haven't been able to talk hard enough, I guess. (laughing) It's a job. I enjoy it, but I have to collect the news. I always ask people to call me if they have any but, once in a great while they will, but not very often. So I have to get on the phone and call around. Some people won't allow you to put news in. They have news, but they don't want their name in the paper.

PAPA: When did you start this?

deBRAGA: I think it was around 1933 or so.

PAPA: Was it harder getting news in 1933 than it is now?

deBRAGA: There wasn't too much going on but there'd be a little bit. So it's just been going on. (laughing)

PAPA:  (laughing) Do you remember any exciting stories?

deBRAGA: (laughing) No. I don't remember any, but it's just like people having company or having a club meeting or something like that or people went some place that they'd tell you. In those days it wasn't so hard to get news because nowadays they say, "Well, I won't give you the news because when I go up town people say, 'Oh, I saw in the paper where you went so and so,' " and they don't like that. (laughing)

PAPA: So now it's harder?

deBRAGA: Yes, it's harder.

PAPA: But do you think that people appreciated reading the news more when you first started in the thirties and forties and that's why they were willing to give it?

deBRAGA: Well, that might be it too. I don't know, but you hear them say now that . . . course I had better not say it. (laughing)

PAPA: I was talking to Peggy Renken the other day and she had some fond memories of when the groups used to play cards and have socials. Do you have any memories of that?

deBRAGA: We used to have Five Hundred parties in the winter time.

PAPA: Is that Five Hundred rummy or is it a different game?

deBRAGA: It's called Five Hundred and we used to play cards. We used to have about four and five tables and we'd play about every two weeks we had a party at somebody's house. That was in the winter time and her folks were in it, too. They used to play cards with us and that was lots of fun. Course we couldn't go out very much. We all had little kids so that's what we did.

PAPA:   So the families would bring the kids over?

deBRAGA: Oh, yeah. If they didn't have anyone to leave them with they'd bring them along. Yes, we used to have a lot of fun playing Five Hundred. Then it got so the card party got too big. So many people would invite another group to come in and that kind of spoiled our card parties.

PAPA:   I know she told me about an incident that she remembered waking up and it was very late in the morning and I guess all the cars had frozen up so everybody decided just to keep playing. (laughing)

deBRAGA: (laughing) That was at our house. (laughing) I know they played until it was time for Frank to go milk. (laughing) It was awful cold in those days. I think about it. When I was going to the Lone Tree School how cold it was in October. Octobers now aren't that cold, but I always remember that. I remember this one time I was going to the Island school and Mrs. B.C. Johnson-she's still alive, she still lives out in Lone Tree-was my teacher. She asked another girl and I if we would come and stay with her. Her husband was going up the river to cut his winter wood and she wanted us to stay with her and help her. She had a horse and cart. That was October and I remember how terrible cold it was. I about froze!

PAPA:   Was there a lot of snow also?

deBRAGA: No, it was just cold. There wasn't any snow on the ground. It was just cold! I always think about that when October comes, think how cold it used to . . . or I thought it was awful cold then. (laughing) Maybe it was just me. I don't know.

PAPA:   I think our weather patterns are changing.

deBRAGA: Yeah, and they are changing. Just look now how all of this month has been so beautiful.

PAPA:   Yes, we've had a very warm March.

deBRAGA: We sure have and it didn't even get down to zero this past year. So it's been very mild.

PAPA:   (laughing) Were people very active in their churches when you were growing up or raising your children?

deBRAGA: I suppose they were. We didn't go to church. They had a church-like deal up here at the Indian mission and Frank and I used to take the kids up there. I think it was during the middle of the week they'd have Sunday school classes and we took them there. Then it got so all the Indian kids'd come on their horses and bang on the windows and everything, so we got so we didn't go anymore. But, anyway, we did go for a little while. I think it was the Baptist church that sent their teachers out.

PAPA:   You lived very close to the reservation?

deBRAGA: Oh, yes, it's just up here about a couple of miles.

PAPA:   Do you remember any other activities that your children played with the Indian children or worked together?

deBRAGA: No, when we did our haying, Frank always hired Indian men to come and hay. I would cook for them. You had to give them breakfast, dinner, and supper and that was during the Depression. Those men worked all day for fifty cents a day. Glad to get it.           (laughing)

PAPA:   Were there any other memories that you'd like to share with us about Fallon area?

deBRAGA: Oh, I think you've asked me everything. That's probably enough for today.   (laughing)

PAPA:   This is Marianne Papa and on behalf of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project I'd like to thank Goldie for her interview.

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Churchill County Museum Association, “Goldie DeBraga Oral History,” Churchill County Museum Digital Archive: Fallon, Nevada, accessed September 22, 2021,