Marie Testolin Guazzini Oral History

Dublin Core


Marie Testolin Guazzini Oral History


Marie Testolin Guazzini Oral History


Churchill County Museum Association


Churchill County Museum Association


October 28, 1997


Analog Cassette Tape, Text File, Mp3 Audio



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Anita Erquiaga


Marie Testolin Guazzini


5355 Reservoir Road, Fallon, Nevada


Churchill County Oral History Project

an interview with


Fallon, Nevada

conducted by


October 28, 1997

This interview was transcribed by Glenda Price; edited by Norine Arciniega; final by Pat Boden; index by Gracie Viera; supervised by Myrl Nygren, Director of the Oral History Project, 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 Marie Italia Testolin Guazzini

ERQUIAGA: This is Anita Erquiaga of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Program. Today is October 28, 1997, and I am interviewing Marie Testolin Guazzini at her home at 5355 Reservoir Road in Fallon, Nevada. First of all, Marie, I want to thank you for letting me come here today to do this interview. We want to hear about your memories of Fallon, and I'm sure you do remember lots of things. Now to begin with, I'd like to go even farther back than Fallon and find out about your parents. Where was your father born?

GUAZZINI: They were born in Italy.

ERQUIAGA: Both parents were born in Italy?

GUAZZINI: Yes. Well, see, the name hasn't got an i on the end. Just Testolin because they were under Austria before, and then they divided it, I guess, but it come from Venice.

ERQUIAGA: From Venice, Italy?

GUAZZINI: Yeah. Well, it's a little town. My dad, I think, come here in 1902 or somethin'. Forgot now.

ERQUIAGA: How did he happen to come?

GUAZZINI: Where they come, they come from Binotto there and then they grew his fruits. [reading from a paper] "My father's parents came from Italy. My father passed in the freighter." He come by freighter. He did dish washing.                             

ERQUIAGA: On the voyage over?                            

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right.                 

ERQUIAGA: I was going to say, how would a young man have any money to pay.                             

GUAZZINI: He had to go. I'm thinking none of them did.                And then  he was a dish washer, and he was released after three voyages. 

ERQUIAGA: Oh, he had to make that many trips to pay his way?                               

GUAZZINI: Right. This paid his transportation. Mother, she came with her nephew over and then they came straight here. Here it tells you where they got stuck here in Hazen.

ERQUIAGA: You want to tell me about that?

GUAZZINI: Yeah. [reading from paper] "Mother traveled across the ocean on a cruiser liner. She and her nephew traveled third class from New York to Hazen. They traveled on the train. It was an experience since they did not speak English. The conductor forgot to direct them to stop at Hazen, Nevada. They discovered the mistake and were released in a small place known as Painted Rock and then stayed over at the small place known as Painted Rock. Mother stayed over, and then the next day they arrived in Hazen. My father was returned. He had gone up there with the transportation." You know what the kind of transportation was a horse and buggy to pick them up, and then they weren't there.

ERQUIAGA: That was how he was getting around, with a horse and buggy?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, that's all.

ERQUIAGA: What year did you say that was?

GUAZZINI: She didn't put down the date here, but I think it was 1902, something like that he came to here. Then he had gone to, I think, Pennsylvania and that to work.

ERQUIAGA: Oh, tell me about that working in Pennsylvania. Did he come here first and then go to Pennsylvania?

GUAZZINI: That's something, too. How could he get here in the West and then go back?

ERQUIAGA: I don't know. Those old-timers did things you wouldn't believe.

GUAZZINI: I know he went to Utah to work in the coal mines, and then he broke his leg and after that he was always kind of crippled in one leg. So then he went on into San Francisco, and there he worked in San Francisco. He had a kind of little store down there, I think. Then when the fire came--the fire was in 1902, so he must have come over before that, and worked. And then he came to Lake Tahoe and he worked for the Moffits, the sugar company.

ERQUIAGA: What were they doing? Were they processing and making sugar?

GUAZZINI: I don't know what they were doing. Then after he decided to come to Nevada to homestead the thing. That was walkin'. Most of the time they had to walk. You had to walk because you didn't have no other way to go around. I remember him saying that all the time, and then he ended up down there in that place where he was, but he had gone to the Old River District lookin'. Then the Sloans they had already tapped onto that piece of land, so then he had to move out, and he came down where they lived then.

ERQUIAGA: Oh, but at first he did live at that Sloan place?

GUAZZINI: No, he didn't live. He just went walking through there, you know. He tried to get it, but he said there was so many sand hills and thing, so then he decided to move away from there. I mean, walk some more, and he went down there where they were.

ERQUIAGA: He was just sort of walking around trying to get an idea of where he wanted to live.

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right.

ERQUIAGA: So, did he settle this place, Testolin Road?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, they settled right there.

ERQUIAGA: That road is named for your family.

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right.

ERQUIAGA: And that's where he settled that early?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right. Of course, they had to build a little cabin, and I imagine, really, it was only one room. Then after they put another, it was a two-room house, and then, finally, they put another one.

ERQUIAGA: And that was homesteaded?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, that was homesteaded. And homesteaded by a shovel, too, you know, at first. He didn't have no horse or nothin' till after they got something there.

ERQUIAGA: How many acres?

GUAZZINI: I think it was 160.

ERQUIAGA: Did your parents know each other in Italy?

GUAZZINI: Yes. Yeah, they knew because they lived close together there.

ERQUIAGA: Did he know she was coming to this country?

GUAZZINI: He sent, I think, a little money or something over to get her over here. That's what it is.

ERQUIAGA: When she came, then, she settled right in there on Testolin Road.

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right. And didn't know a word or nothin', you know. And my dad always kind of raised garden all the time. I guess, had to spade the ground by hand, you know, like you do.

ERQUIAGA: Yeah, didn't have tractors. Did he have any horses yet?

GUAZZINI: No, didn't have horses and probably no money to buy horses, hardly, either. But he always liked to peddle. You know, raise something and then go, and he used to go to Wonder to peddle. I know he said that in the winter, boy! it was hard. You went over there . . .those people, I guess, in those days, we ate the stuff there as it came out. He said the eggs you just dumped the crate and they rattled through the floor. They were froze by the time he got there.

ERQUIAGA: Oh, my. So, he would drive out to Wonder to sell his produce?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right, with a horse and a little wagon.

ERQUIAGA: How long did it take him to make the trip?

GUAZZINI: I don't know. That's what I wonder. I don't know. It must have took a long time to get up there, and that's why it froze more, too.

ERQUIAGA: But he went every week?

GUAZZINI: Every week, whenever he could go, and in the summer they'd bring vegetables and things like that. He said the potatoes in winter they'd be frozen, too. People ate them, I guess, because there was no other way.

ERQUIAGA: No, they didn't have a super market. They couldn't find better ones. (laughing)

GUAZZINI: Right. (laughing) Yeah, that's true, so I don't know.

ERQUIAGA: I understand that he was in San Francisco at the time of the big earthquake. Did you hear any stories about that from him?

GUAZZINI: He always talked about it. You know how it was, and he did really bring some cups up, too. In fact, I think Catherine's still got some.

ERQUIAGA: Little drinking cups?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, the little cups. They were always fancy. They used to be with flowers and stuff like that.

ERQUIAGA: You mean they survived the earthquake?

GUAZZINI: Well, they survived. Some of them did, too. He said that was awful. It was terrible when the city got, you know, frightened like that.

ERQUIAGA: Now, the fire was started because of the earthquake?

GUAZZINI: I think so. Yeah. That's the way it was.

ERQUIAGA: So, did he lose what he . .

GUAZZINI: Yeah, he lost what he had. Then he went to work for that sugar company, the . . . I don't know he always said, "Moffitt," but I don't know if that was the right thing or not.

ERQUIAGA: It was at Lake Tahoe, anyway.

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right. Then he went over there. Stayed over there, and I don't know how he learned English. He learned it some way to get by.

ERQUIAGA: You said your mother was born in Italy, also. What was her- Well what was your father's full name?

GUAZZINI: Antonio Testolin.

ERQUIAGA: And what was your mother's first name?

GUAZZINI: Hers was Italia Benotti. They were kind of close. They knew each other before, see?

ERQUIAGA: Oh, I see.

GUAZZINI: And then she worked for her brother, and she said her brother was always so ornery. He had to take the mud up. He'd build the houses, and the houses are still standing in Italy because Ida and her husband went over there and it was there. The other families, the nephews and things were living there. They built them to stand. Probably just the same as Spain over there. They made them to last.

ERQUIAGA: What crops did they raise when they were first farming here then?

GUAZZINI: Well, anything, I guess, that come into their head. Anything, potatoes or vegetables. Then I don't know how they got started on the hay.

ERQUIAGA: And cattle? Did they start-

GUAZZINI: Well, the cattle, I guess they had only one or two to milk, and mother afterwards she used to make cheese and sell cheese. Then when her cow died of milk fever or something, boy, she was really upset. I tell you, she was really sick. That cow would make a three-dollar cheese every day.

ERQUIAGA: Every day!

GUAZZINI: Every day. She gave so much milk.

ERQUIAGA: And they couldn't do anything for milk fever.

GUAZZINI: I don't think so. I remember that she was in the barn. I still remember that.

ERQUIAGA: Do you remember very many things from before you went to school when you were real little?

GUAZZINI: We always worked around there and the thing. Us kids had to do something all the time. Take care of the other ones and help with that. And then Catherine and I we had to do a lot of the washing. We had to do it by hand, and we always had to boil our clothes. I don't know why, but we had to boil them.

ERQUIAGA: Oh, that was something your mother had done in Italy, I suppose.

GUAZZINI: I guess so. I don't know. Did they have soap over there? I don't know. (laughing)

ERQUIAGA: Did she make her own soap here by any chance?

GUAZZINI: No, she never did make that soap like some of them did.

ERQUIAGA: Did she work out in the field a lot?

GUAZZINI: Oh, yeah, she did a lot. After, when they hired men she worked right along side the man, too, then come in and cook. Did the stuff, something whatever you could, and made the bread.

ERQUIAGA: And did she have a wood burning stove?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, a wood cook stove.


ERQUIAGA: How could she tell when the oven was right?

GUAZZINI: I don't know. Put the hands in. (laughing)

ERQUIAGA: Put their hands in. (laughing)

GUAZZINI: Then we had a wood stove to heat the other room. She said she used to get so mad. Us kids were cold and everything else, and those men they hired one year to help they'd always hug the stoves, so she'd fire it up. She said it was a wonder the old cabin didn't burn up. (laughing) To make them move back.

ERQUIAGA: (laughing) The house that I remember there on the Testolin place, did they build that?

GUAZZINI: The one you remember now? No, that came in from Wonder. After Wonder closed down, then they moved that in. That was moved by Mr. Benadum, I think.

ERQUIAGA: I see, and how did they move it?

GUAZZINI: With the horses.

ERQUIAGA: And a wagon?

GUAZZINI: I guess they drug it. It was moved in half. I don't think it was quarters.

ERQUIAGA: It was a pretty good-sized house, wasn't it?

GUAZZINI: Yeah. Well, after made another partition with ties. You know, you used to go get the ties from the railroad track?

ERQUIAGA: Railroad ties?

GUAZZINI: Yeah. Railroad ties made that extension there, and it still stands.

ERQUIAGA: When did you get electricity?

GUAZZINI: That I don't remember. I wish we knew.

ERQUIAGA: You don't remember when you were a little kid whether you had the candles or .

GUAZZINI: Oh, we had coal oil lamps. That's the way we had to see whatever you saw. Of course, I was so small. After we started school--I went to school to the Wildes District there.

ERQUIAGA: About where was that Wildes School?

GUAZZINI: Do you ever hear of the Bucks? There used to be those people named Buck

ERQUIAGA: I've heard of them, but I don't know where they lived.

GUAZZINI: We come up the bridge, and then we go that way there and over there, and now there isn't even a sign there where that schoolhouse was on that road.

ERQUIAGA: On Wildes Road?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, on Wildes Road.

ERQUIAGA: And it's east of the Harrigan Road?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, way east along the canal. We had to come up along the canal, but I had to stay home one winter so Kevin could get six years old so then we could go together. You know Gerald Roberson, don't you?


GUAZZINI: Well, his grandmother was a school teacher, and then in the winter she'd come by because they lived below, and she had a horse and buggy that she would go to teach, and then she'd pick Catherine and I up. She had a rock and a buggy and then a blanket. That's where we'd go.

ERQUIAGA: Oh, for heaven's sake. You didn't ride school buses?

GUAZZINI: Oh, no. I don't what time. You know, it would have been something to put that all down. When the school buses came in.

ERQUIAGA: But, you don't remember when you quit riding that horse and buggy?

GUAZZINI: No, I don't remember it. Well, it wasn't too long after that, I think they consolidated.

ERQUIAGA: And after that then they had the bus?

GUAZZINI: The winters were terrible.

ERQUIAGA: Then you were the first child born to your parents?

GUAZZINI: Yes, right. I was born in 1912.

ERQUIAGA: You want to give me your full name?

GUAZZINI: Marie Italia Testolin.

ERQUIAGA: So, you were named for your mother.


ERQUIAGA: Were you born at home?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, I was born at home. I guess they must have had a maid. I don't know if they had a doctor. I can't even tell you that.

ERQUIAGA: You don't know if there was a midwife?

GUAZZINI: A midwife, I mean. It was probably a midwife.

ERQUIAGA: But, you don't know who it was?

GUAZZINI: No, I don't. Sometime, I guess, when we're younger we don't even pay attention to those things. It makes it hard.

ERQUIAGA: Who are the rest of the children in your family? Do you want to name them for me?

GUAZZINI: Catherine [born 1913] was my sister. The next one was Ida [born 1916], and I don't know if she had a middle name or not. And then there's Tony [ born 1918] Then there's Gilbert [born 1921], and then there was Norma. She passed away. And then Grace.

ERQUIAGA: And what was it happened to Norma?

GUAZZINI: I remember her. I was married already. She was sixteen years old, and she had appendix. The same time as that Capucci girl. It was about the same time. She passed away. She just sweat so bad. Those days you know, they didn’t have the facilities- Well, there was a doctor here. It was Dr. Leonard.

ERQUIAGA: Do you know what year that was?

GUAZZINI: Saw it on a stone, but I forget. 1930's, I suppose.

ERQUIAGA: So your parents didn't have any of their brothers or sisters or any family around here?

GUAZZINI: No, they didn't.

ERQUIAGA: They were the only ones. Did they keep in touch with letters, do you know?

GUAZZINI: Well, I guess they did, probably. Some way or the other, and my dad did have some nephews that came from Pennsylvania, I think, here, and they didn't stay here very long. They went back. They farmed here for a while. I know he was so mad. He farmed over there on the Halgren place, and then they planted potatoes. Well, you don't know how to talk or anything else, and then they'd get the best of you. You know some people get that way.

ERQUIAGA: Did you have indoor plumbing? Eventually, you did.

GUAZZINI: Eventually when we got in the other house there.

ERQUIAGA: Well, before you had a . .

GUAZZINI: Oh, we had a pump outside.

ERQUIAGA: And how did you take baths?

GUAZZINI: We had a wash tub, and in the summer time we went in the canal. We done a lot of rinsing getting the water out of the canal. But I remember they had an open well. You'd pull up with a pulley and bucket. It was really a wonder that some of us kids didn't fall in because it was open. I don't know who helped put that in there

ERQUIAGA: And that was where you got all of your water?

GUAZZINI: For drinking, yeah.

ERQUIAGA: How about for the garden?

GUAZZINI: The garden came in through the canal. The canals were already in place. I wonder what year they put the canals through. I don't know. And I know the electricity, the Kallenbacks were the ones that wanted the electricity. You know, Marie Ormachea's grandparents. So, everybody pitched in so much money.

ERQUIAGA: You had to pay to get it in the first place?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, get it. I think they had to help, too. I don't know. Probably got the poles in. That's how we got electricity. And the telephone, I don't know actually how they ever got the telephone in.

ERQUIAGA: Did you use it very much?

GUAZZINI: Well, we never used it. We weren't allowed like nowadays, you know, jump up and call and thing like that. Well, it was a public line. Everybody's on it. You'd hear their ring. It's not like now. It'd ring to everybody's house, and then everybody wanted to go listen. (laughing)

ERQUIAGA: (laughing) Did you really do that?

GUAZZINI: We never did because we weren't allowed to. My dad used to get so mad when he tried to call somebody, and he couldn't get through. (laughing) He said they was always talking about their chickens and stuff like that.

ERQUIAGA: He thought it was just for business, maybe.

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right.

ERQUIAGA: Well, when you were growing up, did you milk cows?


ERQUIAGA: And help with the irrigating or anything like that?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, we did, and we helped with the garden, the hoein' and all of that stuff.

ERQUIAGA: How big a garden did you have when he was selling produce to the mine?

GUAZZINI: We must have had three or four acres or five. The garden looked like to me all over it. There was more garden than alfalfa, I believe, 'cause he liked to go peddle that stuff. He went towards Lovelock and those sections, they were all in progress those days because they were putting the thing. There was always people around.

ERQUIAGA: On the railroad sections, you mean?

GUAZZINI: Right. Not like now. They don't have that, I don't think, anymore.

ERQUIAGA: So when did he get a car that took him around to these places?

GUAZZINI: She said here that when he got that Model T. [Inaudible] –selling rabbits and…

ERQUIAGA: What did they sell rabbits for?

GUAZZINI: They killed them, butchered them, sell them.

ERQUIAGA: Oh, and that was one of their money-making . . .

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right. You didn't make much in those days.

ERQUIAGA: Where did they sell the rabbits?

GUAZZINI: I guess somebody would come and want them. I don't think they peddled them. They used to kill the pigs, too, and do that. His first main transportation, a horse-drawn wagon, and then later, he purchased a Model T Ford for five hundred dollars in 1929. The business flourished, and then after they got a Dodge truck. It cost twelve hundred dollars. 1929 was during the Depression. We had a phone since the twenties. Then they had the mail delivered. I remember when the poor old MacDonald, he had to come in the winter time. It was tough. I imagine they come with the horses the first mail. I know he had an open car. A Model T, too, puttin' the mail out, but we had to go way down there to get it. He didn't come to every place. They just went to certain . . .

ERQUIAGA: Oh. Mostly to the main roads?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right. Right.

ERQUIAGA: Do you remember anything about your first day of school?

GUAZZINI: I don't remember that, really. We didn't even talk English, probably. It was kinda hard, I'll tell you that, and then after all was hard. Giminy, even on the bus. They call you Dago and every damn thing.

ERQUIAGA: You didn't have anybody to learn. Your dad must have talked English, though, to do all the work that he did.

GUAZZINI: Yeah. Right. My mother, that was one thing, she said they'd come to the garden and get stuff, the people, you know, by themselves. Finally, she said, "This is going to stop." So, she went out there, you know, and would charge them.

ERQUIAGA: Oh, you mean, they were just coming and taking it?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right. She said she always stayed in the house because she was kind of shy, but then after she got wise to it and went out there, asked them. She learned some way.

ERQUIAGA: She had learned enough by then to know how to stop that. Do you remember the teacher's name that used to pick you and Catherine up?

GUAZZINI: Mrs. Roy. That was Gerald Roberson's grandmother. I still remember her husband. He was a, I tell you, kind of a lazy guy or something, whatever you call it, but he always got the horse hitched and the rock heated and put the blanket on and got it to get to go. And I was thinking poor thing, if she got thirty dollars a month, that's probably what she got. Lyla had the thing. She taught over there, and she taught over here by the Socialist Party. I don't know what there was out at Harmon. I don't know how long this school's been out there.

ERQUIAGA: Do you remember your father keeping any kind of records? Did he write down?

GUAZZINI: I don't think so.

ERQUIAGA: He didn't have to keep track of what he spent or what he bought?

GUAZZINI: No, I don't think he ever done that.

ERQUIAGA: Did they become American citizens at any time?

GUAZZINI: Yes. I don't know what year.

ERQUIAGA: Was it at the same time? Both of them?

GUAZZINI: Well, I guess so. Probably had to get it in order to own the land, wouldn't they? Some way or other.

ERQUIAGA: Oh, I don't know.

GUAZZINI: I don't know, either. I don't know anything about that really. I don't think there's anything on here.

ERQUIAGA: Did your mother ever drive a car?

GUAZZINI: Yes. Afterwards she drove a car. She drove the Ford thing when they bought that.

ERQUIAGA: What do you mean by "afterwards?"

GUAZZINI: Well, first she used to go to town to bring stuff to Kent's Company over there. She went with the horse and buggy, too. Then, of course, Catherine and I were big enough, we'd get something started for lunch or something like that. I remember the first time we killed a chicken. One by the feet and the other one by the head, and we couldn't get the darn thing killed. (laughing)

ERQUIAGA: (laughing) You were just tugging on it, you mean?

GUAZZINI: Well, we were trying to pull the head off. (laughing) You know, get it to die.

ERQUIAGA: Did it work?


ERQUIAGA: So, did you finally get an axe?

GUAZZINI: We never thought of getting axes. We should have hung it and got the knife.

ERQUIAGA: But, did you get it killed?

GUAZZINI: I can't remember really if we got the darn thing killed. (laughing)

ERQUIAGA: Did you learn to make bread? [End of side A, long pause] –About how your mother made bread.

GUAZZINI: Yeah, they made bread. They had an oven outside. I don't know if you remember those ovens that were made out of brick.

ERQUIAGA: Oh, no. We didn't have one.

GUAZZINI: And then they put the wood in there to heat it up and everything. They knew how hot it had to be. It was made out of bricks. My cousin made that, and then they put the bread in there. Boy! it was wonderful! My sister, Grace, up there on the Richey place, she still stands, I think, but down Testolin there a bull came along and knocked it all down.

ERQUIAGA: Did Grace ever use the one at her place?

GUAZZINI: No, they never use it anymore, either. I guess afterward they'd go in the house, you know, they had electricity stoves and stuff like that.

ERQUIAGA: How did your family spend their evenings when you were growing up?

GUAZZINI: They just, I guess, stay there and talk or do something, or sometimes they go out and pull weeds on their hands and knees.

ERQUIAGA: After it cooled off in the evening, they did that.


ERQUIAGA: Did you have a radio?


ERQUIAGA: Not even after you were grownup, you didn't?

GUAZZINI: No. I don't know the first radio. It was in the thirties there, probably. Forties, maybe, when we got it. I don't remember having any radio, and I even hate them now.

ERQUIAGA: Do you? You don't have a…

GUAZZINI:I got a radio, but I don't care to stay there. And TV, I'm not very good TV, either. I don't stay there with the soap opera and all that stuff. Don't have time anyway.

ERQUIAGA:  So, when did you learn to drive a car?

GUAZZINI: My husband died in 1978. That's when I learned to drive a car.

ERQUIAGA: Oh, you hadn't been driving before that?

GUAZZINI: Hum-um. Not on the road or anything. My sister, Ida, came up and them. I knew something about it because I drove around in the tractor. I got my license pretty fast. I'd drive two or three times around town there with the sheriff.

ERQUIAGA: You probably had a stick shift at that time. Oh, no, not in 1978. You might have a . . .

GUAZZINI: Well, the first old GMC we had, they had a stick shift.

ERQUIAGA: Did you have any little pets?

GUAZZINI: Well, I just got a dog or something. Cats I got plenty. But, cats they stay outdoors.

ERQUTAGA: Well, I was thinking when you were growing up. .

GUAZZINI: Oh, yeah. That was something. We had a dog, and then we got one of those little wagons for Christmas. Then we put the thing on him. I don't know how we got this fixed to the dog, and they'd go pull this wagon through the worst rough ground you ever saw. (laughing) Poor old dog. We never went up and down, you know, like the rows were made. We'd go across them.

ERQUIAGA: Well, did you ride in the wagon?

GUAZZINI: No. (laughing)

ERQUIAGA: Just made him pull the wagon?

GUAZZINI: Poor old thing. I think this wagon, probably one of the younger ones rode. Catherine and I were just one year apart, and then Ida, she's two years or something like that. It's funny how you do things.

ERQUIAGA: Yeah, well, you rode horseback, I suppose.

GUAZZINI: We rode horseback in later years. Kind of later we were bigger, and then the poor old horse would let three or four get on it, and then we'd get up to the barn there, he'd lay down and let us off. (laughing) He had too many on there.

ERQUIAGA: Oh. (laughing)

GUAZZINI: Old buckskin horse was the first one.

ERQUIAGA: Did you ever go to any dances?

GUAZZINI: No, we never did go to dances. We were never allowed to go. Well, you had no transportation, really, to go.

ERQUIAGA: Did your folks ever get together with other families for dinner or any visiting?

GUAZZINI: Visiting. They had the bachelor on the other side. He'd come over and help when they butchered the beefs and stuff like that, and then they had him over.

ERQUIAGA: What was his name?

GUAZZINI: Tom Hickerson. And then we had Bailey. He lived up above, but he never came to eat. He never did come. Just come down to visit sometimes around three o'clock or something like that, and he ask Mother if she had a few minutes to talk, and that was it.

ERQUIAGA: What do you remember about Christmas? Did you celebrate Christmas?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, we did have a Christmas, and then this bachelor, he would come over for Christmas. Far as the exchanging gifts, we never did.


ERQUIAGA: Among yourselves you didn't?

GUAZZINI: No. They bought us whatever they could, you know. They bought a wagon for all of us. I don't know about the dolls that we had. We never had a first doll or nothin'. Well, they were poor. Really. No money. You had to pay your water and taxes and stuff like that even there wasn't too much.

ERQUIAGA: Did you order clothing from the catalog, did your mother sew?

GUAZZINI: Sometimes. My mother sewed, and then our underclothes would be flour sacks.

ERQUIAGA: White flour sacks.


ERQUIAGA: And she made all of that?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right.

ERQUIAGA: Did you learn to sew while you were at home?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, I learned to sew. The sewing machine you pumped it with your feet. I still have one of the sewing machines, but that isn't the one. My mother, I don't know what she done with the Franklin.

ERQUIAGA: Did you ever go on picnics?

GUAZZINI: We used to go kind of. If we went, we went to like Smith Creek or something like that, went and camped for a couple of days when they had the Model T.

ERQUIAGA: Well, that was quite a trip itself.

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right.

ERQUIAGA: Was it an overnight trip?

GUAZZINI: We had to go overnight. Couldn't go over back and forth.

ERQUIAGA: Did your folks like fish?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, they liked fish.

ERQUIAGA: Did they come from ocean country?

GUAZZINI: I don't know how far the ocean is from their place where they lived. They were on the upper Italy there, so I don't know. I imagine they had creeks or something. 'Cause water must have went through some way.

ERQUIAGA: Did you ever have popcorn balls when you were real young? Did they know about popcorn balls?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, I think they had popcorn, but I don't know if they ever made balls.

ERQUIAGA: Were there any particular treats like Italian food that you would have?

GUAZZINI: For Christmas or something?


GUAZZINI: Mother used to make raviolis, or if she didn't make that, she made the lasagnas.

ERQUIAGA: Did she do that the rest of the year, also?

GUAZZINI: Sometimes, but that was on Easter or something like that.

ERQUIAGA: That was considered a treat.

GUAZZINI: Right. Then we always raised turkey which, you know, was one of the main things. Chickens and rabbits. Things like that.

ERQUIAGA: Did you have a Christmas tree?

GUAZZINI: I don't know if they did or not, really. I can't tell you that. Some of them brought in brushes to make Christmas trees. We always had a little gift anyway. I don't know if they were that way in Italy or not. I can't tell you. I don't think they did have. They went to church. You know how they would go and have big doings.

ERQUIAGA: Did your family go to church here in Fallon?

GUAZZINI: No, they never went to church here. None of us are baptized because we didn't have the transportation to go in there. The only ones baptized is Gilbert because he got married to a Portuguese there in Yerington. They had to go through the church to get married. Ida, she was Catholic, and Grace. Richie's very strict. I guess you knew Grace, didn't you?

ERQUIAGA: Oh, yes.

GUAZZINI: You went to school with her?

ERQUIAGA: I was one year behind her.

GUAZZINI: She called me up last night.

ERQUIAGA: Did you ever work in town at any time?

GUAZZINI: No, never did go out to work. Catherine afterwards in 1930 she went to college in Reno. Just a business college. Emery was the man that done the district, so he went down to the folks and told her that if she wanted a job to come.

ERQUIAGA: Was that Ward Emery?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, I guess it was Ward Emery, and then she was there for thirty-two years she worked for the TCID. [Truckee-Carson Irrigation District]

ERQUIAGA: How did you meet your husband?

GUAZZINI: He was kind of working for us down there in the thing, so I met him that way.

ERQUIAGA: Were you in high school?

GUAZZINI: I was out of school then.

ERQUIAGA: You graduated?


ERQUIAGA: Did all of the children graduate?

GUAZZINI: Yes. They all, and Catherine went to business college, and Ida she went to University for a couple of years to become a teacher. Then she taught in Dayton there. Sometime you had to live in the house with them, and then you had a little house to teach the kids.

ERQUIAGA: When did you and your husband get married?

GUAZZINI: In 1930.

ERQUIAGA: And what was his full name?

GUAZZINI: Luigi Guazzini. I don't think he had a second name.

ERQUIAGA: So, where did he live? If he was working for your family, where did he live?

GUAZZINI: He had their old house when my folks moved into this other house.

ERQUIAGA: Oh, he lived in the little old cabin?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, there was him and another fellow that were there all the time to help the folks with the garden.

ERQUIAGA: Where did you live when you got married?

GUAZZINI: Then we moved into town. He was a First World War man.

ERQUIAGA: Veteran of the First World War.


ERQUIAGA: Did he continue to work for your dad?

GUAZZINI: Yeah. And then after, we rented a place there in Old River: The old Corbeil place.

ERQUTAGA: That's the place Virgil Getto has now.

GUAZZINI: Right. First we were up on the highway. Who was that place? There was an old lady had that place. It was way across from Breas' over there if you know them?

ERQUIAGA: Wasn't that out on the Reno Highway?


ERQUIAGA: That's where you rented first?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right.

ERQUIAGA: And then to Old River.

GUAZZINI: And then we went over there, and then from there, they sold that. I think Arthur was the one that bought it. The boy, the Corbeil?

ERQUIAGA: I don't know who's had it in between.

GUAZZINI: And then we came down here. Across there my brother owned that place for a while. Then we went to Dan Evans' place.

ERQUIAGA: Well, you moved around a little bit.

GUAZZINI: Right, and then we moved here and bought here.

ERQUIAGA: Who did you buy this from?

GUAZZINI: I'll be darned if I can think of it. It was a mess. There was no house on it. A mess.

ERQUIAGA: You had a lot of work to do, then.

GUAZZINI: Oh, God. In 1930, in one of those cold winters, 1940, whatever it was, really cold.

ERQUTAGA: After you were married, did you live about the same way that you'd had at home, or was it different?

GUAZZINI: Yeah. We had no water here either, and we had to put all that in our bathroom. We had to put it in ourselves and all of that.

ERQUIAGA: And electricity?

GUAZZINI: Yeah. Jack Dennings married that . . . what was her name? She married that Laca boy. Enos.



ERQUIAGA: Now what about them?

GUAZZINI: I said they were the ones that owned this place.

ERQUIAGA: And you bought it from them?

GUAZZINI: They wanted to sell it because they couldn't make it pay. He did work in Hawthorne. They're gone, aren't they? I think they're dead.

ERQUIAGA: I believe so.

GUAZZINI: I don't know about Jackie what happened to her…

ERQUIAGA: Did you help outdoors? Help your husband?

GUAZZINI: Oh, yeah. I had to help that and milk the cows. He wasn't too much for milking cows till after we got the milking machine.

ERQUIAGA: Did he like to sell produce the way your father did?

GUAZZINI: He liked to take them to town, but he never was to go peddlin' here and there. He'd take them.

ERQUIAGA: But, he'd take them to the stores?

GUAZZINI: Yeah. To Kent's there. Raised cantaloupes. He used to know how to pack them. Sometime he'd have to go in there and pack them.

ERQUIAGA: Did you raise lots of cantaloupes?

GUAZZINI: Oh, we had, I don't know what we make, one acre or two sometimes.


GUAZZINI: That's a lot, I'll tell you, to get thing.

ERQUIAGA: To take care of, huh?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, and then after make all those boxes. I said I wish I had all the boxes. I have a hammer. I wish I had all the boxes I made with that hammer.

ERQUIAGA: You still have the hammer, huh?

GUAZZINI: My mother used to go and help sometimes.

ERQUIAGA: Did you and your husband raise turkeys?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, we raised turkeys.

ERQUIAGA: And did you sell them to Kent's?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, it was Kent's. There's no more Kent's.

ERQUIAGA: No. They helped a lot of people. Did you start building up a herd of cattle?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right. I still have a few cows.

ERQUIAGA: Milk cows?

GUAZZINI: I don't go milk them anymore.

ERQUIAGA: In those days you had milk cows. [cuts out for a moment] Well to go back to when you and Louie got married, did you have guests at your wedding, or was it just you and Louie?

GUAZZINI: It was just me and Louie.. That's all.

ERQUIAGA: There was no party?

GUAZZINI: We never had no party.

ERQUIAGA: Did you go on a honeymoon?


ERQUIAGA: Just come home and went to work.

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right. Had to go to work.

ERQUIAGA: Did you have a root cellar?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, we had a root cellar. We still got one here in this place.

ERQUIAGA: Did you dig it yourselves?

GUAZZINI: The other one over there at that other place, Gilbert's, I think we dug it ourselves. Right back of the house.

ERQUIAGA: How did you store in the winter time? Did it stay warm enough?

GUAZZINI: Yeah. Sometimes we used to bring down the ashes from the stoves. You know, put them in the buckets and be sure there was nothing to burn around and do that way.

ERQUIAGA: To make heat.

GUAZZINI: To make heat. My dad used to do that a lot.

ERQUIAGA: For instance, if you had canned food in the summer, did you keep that in the root cellar?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right.

ERQUIAGA: And it didn't freeze?

GUAZZINI: No. It was warm enough.

ERQUIAGA: How about carrots and potatoes?

GUAZZINI: Oh, like that, I don't know how we done that because I think we stored them in, probably, dug a hole and piled the dirt on them. Dumped them in the thing.

ERQUIAGA: Tell me about your family. Your son.

GUAZZINI: My son he's doing good.

ERQUTAGA: Did you have any other children?

GUAZZINI: I had a girl, and she passed away when she was an infant about two months old.

ERQUTAGA: What was her name?


ERQUIAGA: Do you know what happened to her?

GUAZZINI: Pneumonia.

ERQUIAGA: Was she the first or second child?

GUAZZINI: The second.

ERQUIAGA: Louie's the first.

GUAZZINI: Louie's the oldest.

ERQUIAGA: When was he born?

GUAZZINI: In 1930 or something that. He's going to be seventy-six, now, I think. Is there somebody . . . ?

ERQUTAGA: No, I'm just thinking. He's younger than I am. I'm sure he's not seventy-six, but I guess you know.

GUAZZINI: Sixty-seven, then.

ERQUIAGA: (laughing) Okay, I'll buy that.

GUAZZINI: Lila, she's six months older than Louie is. My brother, Gilbert, is seventy-six.

ERQUIAGA: Do you remember that earthquake in 1954?

GUAZZINI: Oh, yes.

ERQUIAGA: Did it do any damage for you?

GUAZZINI: No, it didn't. Far as that it didn't do any damage. Only thing is it shook. Scary! There was people down this block where McCormicks lived. The Johnson place. Boy! they were scared 'cause that was a block house. And the water in the canal just flop, flop, flop all over the banks. It's a wonder the boxes didn't go out.

ERQUIAGA: Do you raise hay here on this place?

GUAZZINI: Yeah. That's all. I don't sell. Louie he uses some. They do the work, but I have a few cows that I feed. They have calves on them.

ERQUIAGA:  Did either you or your family sell cream to that creamery that was in town?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, we used to sell that a long time ago. Crescent Creamery?

ERQUIAGA: I think it was the Fallon Creamery.

GUAZZINI: Yeah, Fallon Creamery. Scholz, wasn't he the manager?

ERQUIAGA: Could be. I don't remember, but it was down there by the railroad track on North Maine. Where did Louie, your son, go to school?

GUAZZINI: He went to Harmon here for, I don't know if he went a couple of years or not. But then we had so much trouble. I don't know. He was the only child, and they'd pick on him. He had a bicycle, and it was always half broke. So, Louie, my husband went to E.C. Best and see if he could get in. They put in. We used to pay thirty dollars a year, so he could go on the bus. Then after a couple of years, they consolidated and he went.

ERQUIAGA: When he went to the Harmon School, how did he get there? Is that where he rode the bike?

GUAZZINI: He rode his bicycle. Those Freeman kids . . . There were spokes in them. He was fixin' the bicycle all the time. My mother was the one that bought him the bicycle besides.

ERQUIAGA: When your son, Louie, got married, what was his wife's name?

GUAZZINI: Lila Baumann. Ernest Baumann. Do you remember Ernest Baumann?


GUAZZINI: And Lillian?

ERQUTAGA: She was their daughter.

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right.

ERQUIAGA: And then how many grandchildren do you have?

GUAZZINI: I have four.

ERQUIAGA: And now you have great grandchildren.

GUAZZINI: Yes. Sam has two, and then Morena had two, and Virginia got two. That's six of them. Ted don't have any.

ERQUIAGA: What are the names of the grandchildren? Which is oldest? Morena?

GUAZZINI: Morena's the oldest, and then Sam's the second, then Virginia's the third. Virginia has a couple of kids, too, and Ted is the youngest.

ERQUIAGA: And so you have six great-grandchildren.

GUAZZINI: Yes, right.

ERQUIAGA: That's pretty nice.

GUAZZINI: They're nice kids. Morena, I guess you know, she teaches school, and her husband is a janitor in the school.

ERQUIAGA: And Virginia doesn't live in Fallon?

GUAZZINI: No, she lives in Reno.

ERQUIAGA: Does she work some place up there?

GUAZZINI: She works out of her home. She's kind of a bookkeeper or something. In fact, I think she works for the University of Nevada, now. Her husband is a biologist, a bugologist. A bug man. If you have any trouble with bugs, you call him out.

ERQUIAGA: What is his name?

GUAZZINI: Jeff Knight.

ERQUIAGA: I didn't get Morena's husband's name.

GUAZZINI: Gary Heser. He was here this morning. Comes every morning. He doesn't go to work till about two o'clock, and then he has to work till eleven at night.

ERQUIAGA: So, he comes to visit you?

GUAZZINI: Well, he comes to help me move hay or do something.

ERQUIAGA: And the two boys, they're farming?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, they're farming with their father.

ERQUIAGA: Now they've started this store.

GUAZZINI: Louie, my boy, he got an idea to start the store, and that was it. If he wants to do anything, he's gonna do it whether he goes under or up.

ERQUIAGA: (laughing) Well, it's doing well, though, isn't it?

GUAZZINI: (laughing) They're doing wonderful, I guess. I don't know.

ERQUIAGA: They have a pretty good spot for a store

GUAZZINI: Yeah, right. It was really a good spot.

ERQUIAGA: Keeps him busy.

GUAZZINI: Oh, I tell you that keeps him busy. I feel sorry for her.


GUAZZINI: Yeah. The bookkeeping and all that stuff. Of course, they have a bookkeeper, but you're still there. The main one.

ERQUIAGA: They work hard anyway. When did your husband die?


ERQUIAGA: And what happened to him?

GUAZZINI: He had heart condition, and he just passed away in the house here.

ERQUIAGA: After he died, did you change your lifestyle any around here?

GUAZZINI: No, I don't change myself. [laughs]

ERQUIAGA: You kept right on milking the cow?

GUAZZINI: I was milking one, but I have machines, but then after I never milked more.

ERQUIAGA: And did you continue to raise a garden?

GUAZZINI: I raise a little garden. I don't raise too much. Raise enough for myself and give the kids some if they need it. Some of the kids.

ERQUIAGA: Did any of you ever go back to Italy? Your parents?

GUAZZINI: No. Ida and her husband went back to Italy, and Catherine went over with Norma Stark, I think. I don't even know what year it was.

ERQUIAGA: Did Catherine enjoy it?

GUAZZINI: She enjoyed it. She enjoys to travel.

ERQUIAGA: Does she still speak Italian?

GUAZZINI: Well, she does speak it. I'm about the best one, and Ida was really good because her husband was Italian, and then they were around Italians down there. Where you get away from it, then you don't speak it too much.

ERQUIAGA: Wasn't your husband Italian?

GUAZZINI: Yeah, he was Italian. He always spoke Italian.

ERQUIAGA: How long had he been in the country when you married him?

GUAZZINI: He was in the first World War. I don't even remember what year he came in here. He said it was tough when he came. Didn't know nothing'. They landed him and that bunch in Reno, and then from there they were told to go to Dayton to work in the farms shoveling out ditches and doing all of that stuff.

ERQUIAGA: Can you think of any other things you'd like to tell us about?

GUAZZINI: No, I don't know much. (laughing)

ERQUIAGA: I think you did very well. If you don't have any other things that you'd like to talk about, I think we'll conclude our interview, and thank you very much.

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Churchill County Museum Association , “Marie Testolin Guazzini Oral History,” Churchill County Museum Digital Archive: Fallon, Nevada, accessed September 22, 2021,