Alice Wade Marean Oral History
Oral History Item Type Metadata
Churchill County Oral History Project
an interview with
ALICE WADE MAREAN
MARIAN LA VOY
August 20, 1996
This interview was transcribed by Glenda Price; edited by Norma Morgan; 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.
Alice Wade Marean possesses a "happy voice." It is a pleasure listening to her speak and laugh. Alice is obviously proud of her prowess as a clothing designer and dressmaker. It is hard to imagine a small girl able to professionally design and sew her clothes as an eighth-grade student. Alice not only did this, but had decided by the time she was ready to enter high school that she wanted to be either a home economics teacher or an extension agent. Her years of sewing prepared her well for the classroom and fulfillment came when she was selected to teach in Fallon following her graduation from the University of Nevada, Reno. She, in later years, was well prepared to teach adults the fine art of sewing through the community college system for fifteen or more years.
Family means a great deal to Alice. Her parents received her love and devotion. Especially touching is her comment, "I had my youngest son, Steven's body returned to Fallon and buried beside his grandfather Wade." Alice's upbeat attitude has served her well and now, when arthritic fingers no longer allow her to design and sew lovely wearing apparel one surmises that she doesn't feel one twinge of self-pity, but just forges on, as "that's how life is."
Interview with Alice Wade Marean
LaVOY: This is Marian Hennen LaVoy of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project interviewing Alice Marie Wade Marean. The date is August 20, 1996, and we are recording in the annex of the Churchill County Museum. Good morning, Alice.
MAREAN: Good morning.
LaVOY: So nice to have you here visiting us in Fallon.
MAREAN: It's always nice to come home and see old friends and places. Some of them I can still recognize. The friends and places.
LaVOY: That's great. I'm going to start by asking you what was your father's name?
MAREAN: Edwin Wade.
LaVOY: And where he was born?
MAREAN: In Santa Barbara, California.
LaVOY: Do you know the year?
MAREAN: 1887, I believe.
LaVOY: And how did he happen to come to Fallon?
MAREAN: I'm not sure. I always kind of felt he might have been a rebel in the family. He was the youngest of five and had been farming with his older brother in Santa Barbara. His diary said that on May 5, 1908, he loaded his horses and his equipment and came to Fallon.
LaVOY: He had probably read the ads for the Lahontan Dam.
MAREAN: I think he probably had, and he was just barely old enough to stake a claim for a homestead when he arrived here.
LaVOY: In what part of the valley did he have his homestead?
MAREAN: It was out in Old River District north of town, and the original homestead was forty acres. Later he bought the forty acres from the fellow that came with him who was C.B. Staup who eventually ended up in Stillwater. But by buying more, the ranch eventually became two hundred acres out in Old River.
LaVOY: Did he come as a young single man?
MAREAN: Yes, as a young single mans and, as many of them had to do, they worked a little bit and they had to go earn some money and go back to work. But since he had team and equipment he formed a contracting company of Wade, Stephenson, and Shepard, and they did some of the contracting of building some of the ditches. They also built the railroad out to the sugar beet factory. The grade, not the railroad itself, and he was in California at Orland doing some of the similar work when he met my mother who with her mother was cooking for the crew.
LaVOY: In California?
MAREAN: In Orland, California, and that was probably in 1910.
LaVOY: But he owned the land here in Nevada.
MAREAN: Right, and then he would earn some money and come back and make improvements. There was a little typical two-room homesteader's shack I guess you would call it with a lean-to built on it which was home for them when they came back to Fallon.
LaVOY: He did this himself. He built the little house himself?
MAREAN: Oh, I'm sure he did unless he had help from the fellow that came with him, and the houses were identical as far as I know. And there are pictures here of those places.
LaVOY: I've often wondered. They're all so very much alike I often wondered if they got the lumber from the same business . . .
LaVOY: And got the plans from the . .
MAREAN: Could have been if there were any plans, but the houses were identical. One room was the heating stove and the kitchen and living room and a big door going into the other room which was the bedroom and off of it was a little lean-to closet.
LaVOY: You have to give great credit to the people.
MAREAN: I would never make a pioneer. (laughing)
LaVOY: (laughing) How long had he been here before he met your mother?
MAREAN: Probably about two years because they were married in 1911.
LaVOY: What was your mother's maiden name?
MAREAN: Gladys May Labadie.
LaVOY: And she was from Orland?
MAREAN: At the time they met, yes. She was born in Detroit, Michigan, and my grandfather had started going to Yale. His name was Labadie, but his health failed so they came west. First stop was Walla Walla, Washington, where he farmed wheat land with one or two brothers, and they gradually worked their way down to Marysville, California. But they were in Orland at the time that my mother and dad met.
LaVOY: Did they ever mention anything about their courtship?
MAREAN: No. I know nothing about that.
LaVOY: Where were they married? In what church, or do you know?
MAREAN: I have the papers on it, and as far as I can tell there was no family there. Just the minister and his wife, and I don't think it was Orland, but I think it was in that area on their way to Fallon.
LaVOY: And they honeymooned, probably, in the little two-room shack.
MAREAN: Probably in the shack which was our home. It was never a shack to me. It was home.
LaVOY: No, really, people made those little places so comfortable.
LaVOY: What did your mother do when she arrived here?
MAREAN: She helped him. Worked side by side with him. She had worked in a photography shop when she was about sixteen and had won a beauty contest, but here she worked right with him. In my years growing up she was out working with him and the household was turned over to me to do the cooking and what housework could be done.
LaVOY: What crops did they put in?
MAREAN: I remember they had mainly alfalfa because he also had dairy cattle and wheat and barley and oats. Towards the later years he had corn with an open pit silo. So he raised about everything. We had a garden and he had milk cows and we had a few sheep to keep the grass down under the orchard and raised pigs. Just the typical everything. We raised turkeys, chickens.
LaVOY: Did he have the problem of the alfalfa souring because the drainage ditches at that particular time were not all in?
MAREAN: Probably, although I can't tell you for sure. I do remember when the drain ditch was dug around our place using the dragline.
LaVOY: You know who was doing the work on the dragline?
MAREAN: No, I don't remember. I was pretty small, and it was just something that happened and was fun to look at.
LaVOY: I can understand that. You mentioned an orchard. What trees did they plant?
MAREAN: Well, these were planted by Mr. Staup who came over with my dad and I remember we had apricots and apples, peaches, plums. I think there was a grapevine, but I don't remember getting any grapes from it, and there were some currant plants. We used to like to steal currants from them, and then we had a garden.
LaVOY: Were you the first child born?
MAREAN: No, I was the second. I had an older brother,
LaVOY: And his name?
MAREAN: George Edwin Wade.
LaVOY: And when was he born?
MAREAN: 1915 in October. October 2.
LaVOY: Now, here they have a son and everything and so your mother was more or less tied to the house I believe.
MAREAN: Very much so, and they had a few very, very tough winters. It was very cold, and I remember her telling that they had to take my brother in bed with them to keep him from freezing. About the time that the flu hit, they had to go and cut fence posts to keep the house warm. There was no fuel. Things were that tough.
LaVOY: This would have been approximately 1917 or 1919 when the flu hit.
MAREAN: 1918. I think it was before I was born. So that would have been 1916, 1917, 1918, along in there.
LaVOY: What do you recall your parents saying about this flu epidemic?
MAREAN: Other than it was very, very severe and people were very frightened. I remember my mother saying that a neighbor brought them some supplies, and they left them a little ways from the house because they were afraid to come close, and someone had to go out and get it. I suppose it was flour and sugar or whatever, but people were very frightened.
LaVOY: Well, Fallon lost a good number of its residents to the flu.
LaVOY: But, they weathered that.
MAREAN: Weathered that.
LaVOY: And then you were born when?
MAREAN: In 1919. April 22. And I remember my mother always dressed me in white in some of these little dresses with embroidery on. Can you imagine it at that time keeping a child in white with no washing machine or anything?
LaVOY: What are some of your very first recollections of the ranch?
MAREAN: It was a fun place to be, and I had chores to do from the time I was small gathering eggs and helping my mother with household things.
LaVOY: How did your mother do the laundry?
MAREAN: The good old-fashioned washboard and the wash tub and would hang them out on the line.
LaVOY: Did she do her laundry outside or inside?
MAREAN: Oh, outside.
LaVOY: And how did she get the water hot?
MAREAN: In a big boiler on the wood stove, and sometimes she would boil the clothes for a while to get them clean and white.
LaVOY: I've often wondered. I know my mother used to boil clothes on the stove to get them white, and I always wondered why boiling got them white. I still don't understand that.
MAREAN: I guess it's just the hot water. Loosens the dirt and takes a little less rubbing.
LaVOY: So, now, she would heat the water inside the house on the stove.
MAREAN: On the wood stove.
LaVOY: And then carry it out to a tub in the yard and then put the washboard in the tub
MAREAN: And scrub on the board.
LaVOY: Do the white ones first.
LaVOY: And then they went to a tub of cold water?
MAREAN: Cold water.
LaVOY: For rinsing.
MAREAN: For rinsing.
LaVOY: And then you put colored clothes in the tub where the white ones had been?
LaVOY: And if I recall correctly, you just move the clothes down from one tub to another, and then the very last thing that was washed, I believe, was the .
MAREAN: Were the blue jeans.
LaVOY: Your father's . .
MAREAN: Work clothes.
LaVOY: Dirty work clothes.
MAREAN: Right. Very true.
LaVOY: That would just seem to be the way things were done.
MAREAN: The way things were done. Right.
LaVOY: And then the water after it cooled was put on trees.
MAREAN: Um-hum. Nothing was ever wasted.
LaVOY: For example, she had one set day for washing, I surmise.
MAREAN: I don't know that she stayed too much to the old rule of washing on Monday and ironing on Tuesday. It was whatever happened to fit in and when the pile of dirty clothes got too big.
MAREAN: But, with her working out in the fields and all, you had to kind of work it in when it was convenient.
LaVOY: Now, tell me, with her ironing, how did she heat her iron?
MAREAN: They were irons that were heated on the stove, and there were several irons and one handle, and the handle could be removed.
LaVOY: So when one iron cooled?
MAREAN: Then you would get another one and put the other one back on the stove.
LaVOY: Did she have any of these fancy irons for fluting since you wore so many white clothes?
MAREAN: As far as I know she did not.
LaVOY: Then, when the ironing was all done, she had her regular chores that she had to do.
MAREAN: That's right. Helping with the milking or feeding stock or at times helping in the hay field.
LaVOY: With you being the chief egg gatherer, did they sell the eggs, or did they put them in water glass?
MAREAN: We did both. We had what we needed at home, and then we did use water glass. I remember doing that.
LaVOY: Would you explain the water glass process to me?
MAREAN: I can't give you the chemical formula for it, but we used a big, I think it was a glass jar, at least a big container. And the eggs, one layer was put in, then the fluid put in and then another layer, until the jar was full, and the eggs would last many, many weeks that way without refrigeration. We also did string beans from the garden in a salt solution and salted them down and then they were freshened before we used them.
LaVOY: The fresh beans were put in the bottom of the crock?
MAREAN: They were in a crock and with a salt in them.
LaVOY: A liquid salt?
MAREAN: No, no. It would be a dry salt. Draw the fluid out and then it became a liquid, but that would keep the beans for months. And, also, I remember if we butchered a pig the meat would be ground. I don't know whether she ground it or not. We had a meat grinder so she probably did and made it into patties. Say, the beef, and put it in a crock and covered it with lard from the pig, and this was a means of storing it for a number of months.
LaVOY: I'm not familiar with that. You're saying they ground the beef or ground the pork
MAREAN: Or pork. Whichever it was.
LaVOY: And then
MAREAN: Cooked the patties like you were going to serve them and put them in a crock and covered them with lard that had been melted down so there was a cover of fat from the meat.
LaVOY: If it was beef, it would be beef fat, if it was pork it was pork fat?
MAREAN: I don't remember that. I remember the pork, especially, and then that would preserve it 'cause we had no refrigerator. We didn't even have an icebox.
LaVOY: You didn't have a cooler?
MAREAN: The coolers, we did sometimes have a cooler.
LaVOY: What kind?
MAREAN: Desert cooler.
LaVOY: Describe a desert cooler.
MAREAN: Which is a framework of light weight wood covered with burlap tacked onto it and shelves in that and then water on top, say in a bucket, and if I remember we took strips of cloth, dipped them in the bucket, and put them over the edge as a syphon. We also did that with tomato plants in the time of drought.
LaVOY: That's to get the burlap wet.
MAREAN: You kept the burlap wet and things would get very cool like Jello would set.
LaVOY: A breeze would blow through the house.
MAREAN: Um-hum, and that was outside.
LaVOY: On the back porch usually.
MAREAN: On the back porch if you had a porch. If not it was on a stand somewhere in the yard.
LaVOY: Amazing. I'm just very surprised that I had never heard about keeping meat that way, and I'm very surprised that it would keep.
MAREAN: Well, you see it's airtight, and that is a preservative, so I get upset when they now say no preservatives, and there's sugar and spices and vinegar and all these things in the food, and it's really not what happened. And then she would take out a few of these sausages or patties and melt them down in a pan and heat them up and that was dinner. That with a little milk gravy and you had a pretty good meal.
LaVOY: I imagine that you did. Did they have cattle?
MAREAN: Yes, he had both milk stock and beef stock.
LaVOY: Did you do any milking at all as a little girl?
MAREAN: I tried it once, and my mother said, "Don't learn. You'll have to do it." (laughing)
LaVOY: (laughing) Well, you were a very fast learner.
MAREAN: So, I then took over the cooking, and I remember cooking for a threshing crew when I was ten years old 'cause my mother was away taking care of her father. I don't how they survived, but they did. It was only a few days, but I was ten, and it was the wood stove.
LaVOY: How many were in the threshing group?
MAREAN: Oh, there were only three, I think, maybe four men, and it was only a few days, and the first thing my dad said was to put on a big pot of beans and then whatever else I could fix would make the meal.
LaVOY: Did you feed them in the house or outside?
MAREAN: Whenever we could we had a lean-to porch, screened porch, and we had a table set up in that, and that's where we fed--well, everybody ate out there whenever it was warm enough. Soon as it was warm in the spring until it was so cold we couldn't stand it, and then, of course, we had to move in the house.
LaVOY: Oh, my. Besides gathering eggs and helping your mother, what were some of the other outside things that you enjoyed doing?
MAREAN: I wasn't unhappy about any of the jobs. When I was a little older, I drove derrick when we put up the hay in stacks with the Jackson fork. We never did bale our hay. It was put in stacks. One by the barn where the milk cows were fed and one over farther where the horses and calves, were taken care of.
LaVOY: Now, it's very interesting to me, as a child I drove the derrick a lot, too, but I don't think people really know what we're talking about. Would you explain exactly what you did driving the derrick?
MAREAN: First off, the derrick had a large boom on it and cables came from the Jackson fork which was a wide fork about four feet wide and it was used to tear the hay from the wagon, but in order to pull that fork up, you had to use a team. The cable went from the fork through the derrick and out in one direction, and then we had a funny little cart on it and there were two either horses or mules. My dad drove it most of the day but had to quit at three o'clock to go do the milking and that's when I took over driving the derrick. When I finished with that, someone took care of the team, and I went down to help with or to put on the supper for the men.
LaVOY: The derrick, when you moved the horses, that drew the big net full of hay.
MAREAN: Well, yes, although we used the Jackson fork instead of a net.
LaVOY: Up onto the…
MAREAN: And that would take it up onto the stack, and then a man would guide that around to make the stack as high and wide as would fit the area.
LaVOY: And it was very important to have a nice even stack.
MAREAN: Very much, and not very many people could do it.
LaVOY: No. Because if your neighbors saw you with an even stack, they knew that you had done a very fine job.
MAREAN: And that you cared what you were doing.
LaVOY: That's right. You mentioned mules. Did your father buy mules from the Army after World War I?
MAREAN: The first one may have. I remember two or three of the mules, but I really can't tell you where he got them, and we had work horses.
LaVOY: It seems to me so many of the farmers here bought mules from the government surplus after World War I.
MAREAN: I imagine he probably did. I know that the table on the porch where we ate in the summertime was a military table that they had gotten, so I assume they bought things from the military surplus.
LaVOY: You mentioned horses. Were you able to ride?
MAREAN: Oh, yes. But not for pleasure. It was for work, and although I didn't ride too much I would sometimes check on the irrigation for my dad while he was milking or help my brother one time check on the stock down the [Carson] Sink and rode horse to the 4-H meetings.
LaVOY: Did you have a favorite horse?
MAREAN: Yes, and it was an old white horse that had been on the trail up at Zephyr Cove, and when it was no longer up there, my dad had it for us. I remember going to 4-H one time and I got almost home, and he decided he was going to take care of me, so he did a little bucking. (laughing) Not much. Just enough to make me realize I'd better pay attention to what I was doing. I had my own saddle, a small saddle my dad got for me, and then the other horse I rode was a big red horse. Very tall, and he was a smarty. One day I went to get him to go to a 4-H meeting. He always kept raising his head an inch higher than I could reach to put the bridle on, so I had to take the old white horse, Pete. As soon as I was putting the bridle on him, old Red came and nosed me in back like this on the back as if to say he fooled me. He didn't have to go. (laughing) Then I remember one time riding across the field. I galloped across to see my dad and got over there and found out the cinch had come loose. Why I didn't kill myself I don't know, but I managed to stay on.
LaVOY: I can't imagine that the saddle didn't turn while you were riding. (laughing)
MAREAN: Right. Yeah, there were lots of interesting stories. One story, before we had a barn we had just a corral for the milk stock, and, of course, my mother was helping my dad milk, and my brother and I had a special cow that was, she was wonderful. She let us pesky little kids climb all over her and we played there, and then one time we thought, "We're going to try another one." I was four years old. My brother was seven, and we climbed on this other one, and she didn't like it. She made a couple of bounds and threw us into the irrigation ditch. (laughing)
LaVOY: Oh, my.
MAREAN: We went and told our mother. She wasn't very happy about it.
LaVOY: I imagine not because a broken arm out in the country is very serious.
MAREAN: Yes, it is.
LaVOY: Where did you go for your 4-H meetings?
MAREAN: Around the neighborhood in Old River. Some were at our house. Some were at the Rice place and Lakings. I don't remember the other's now.
LaVOY: What did you learn in 4-H?
MAREAN: I continued sewing. My mother taught me to sew very young. She said all I could do on the machine was break a needle, so I was making my own clothes from about the fifth grade on. I enjoyed sewing. I liked it. By the time I was in the eighth grade I knew that was going to be my line of work if I got to go on to school that I was going to study home ec and either become a teacher or extension agent.
LaVOY: Well, that's very admirable. Did you have to clean the chimneys of the lamps?
MAREAN: Oh, yes. I'd forgotten about it. But, you did. You had to take them off every so often and wash them in soap and water and dry them and put them back on the lamps.
LaVOY: When did you get electricity at the ranch?
MAREAN: I was about ten years old, and evidently they brought it into the north area. That would have been… not Depression time, before the Depression, and then we were quite fortunate. We then had a radio.
LaVOY: Electricity coming into the valley was really a Godsend.
MAREAN: Was really, yes.
LaVOY: There was so much danger from those old lamps.
MAREAN: Um-hum. You had to be very careful with them. I remember getting some burns from a hot chimney when you weren't paying attention to what you were doing. (laughing)
LaVOY: (laughing) When you did start school, and where did you go?
MAREAN: Since my birthday was in the spring, I started when I was over six, and I went to the old high school--it's now gone--for the first two grades, and then I went to West End for the third and fourth and then to Oats Park for the next four.
LaVOY: What teachers do you particularly remember?
MAREAN: Laura Mills was one, especially, and, of course, Elnora Toft and Laurella Toft. 'Course Mr. Best. I remember Miss Richards, Miss [Adah] Gerjets who was the art teacher. I'd have to look at the picture and remember now. I've forgotten some of them. Mrs. Howell. I think there was a Mrs. Howell that taught at West End.
LaVOY: West End was on the old Mori property, wasn't it?
MAREAN: Yes. It was over either on the property or right next to it.
LaVOY: And you had hayfields around you?
MAREAN: Um-hum. Hayfields on the west side.
LaVOY: When you were in school, what were some of the subjects that you liked very best when you were in grade school?
MAREAN: Enjoyed geography. Wasn't very fond of arithmetic but I did have to teach it when I came back. I didn't dislike school at all. I enjoyed the music. Played violin and clarinet in the band. I liked school.
LaVOY: With your playing the violin and the clarinet, that must have been hard for your parents to buy those for you during the Depression.
MAREAN: Yes. The clarinet was what my brother had played, so I used his instrument, but I remember their coming up to Reno to buy me the violin. Also about that time there was a piano at Old River School that wasn't being used or taken care of and we had it for a little while. And then my dad bought a used piano, and I don't remember the people he bought it from now.
LaVOY: That must have really filled that little part of your house.
MAREAN: Oh, it did. Of course, by that time, we had added another bedroom which was moved in from Wonder or Rawhide, I don’t remember which. Then we had also added on another bedroom as a lean-to. My room was right in the middle. They had to go through the room I used for a bedroom to go anywhere in the house, so it was Grand Central passageway.
LaVOY: (laughing) Did you have a bathroom in the house?
LaVOY: Outside bathroom.
MAREAN: I didn't have running water in the house until I was married.
LaVOY: That's understandable.
MAREAN: A friend of mine said- [end of tape 1 side A] A friend of mine, Grace Lehman, who eventually married Tom Sloan, lived up on Swingle Bench and she now lives in Reno, and we're very good friends, and she said I was wrong. She said, "We did have running water. You grabbed the bucket and ran to the pump and pumped it and ran back to the house."
MAREAN: So we had running water, and I love her story.
LaVOY: That's so very, very true of that particular era. Do you recall anything about graduation from Oats Park School?
MAREAN: Having to wear a formal and high heels. It was not easy. (laughing)
LaVOY: Did you make your formal?
MAREAN: Oh, I'm sure I did. Or my mother did. Or together we made it. Yes, we had a long, long dress, and it must have been held in the music room at Oats Park.
LaVOY: Something I'm curious about. What type of recreation did you and your mother and your brother and father do? What did you do for recreation at that period of time?
MAREAN: Well, other than having a radio there were also community dances, and we made our own band out of the neighborhood. Our own dance bands. One woman played the piano very well, and whatever kid was in the neighborhood with an instrument one or another filled in. We played at the Old River schoolhouse, and I remember she would get maybe a dollar or two for the whole evening, and that went to more sheet music, but it was fun.
LaVOY: Did you go on any picnics to the dam?
MAREAN: Once in a great while, but by the time my dad got up at three thirty or four o'clock in the morning he was ready for bed at eight. There just wasn't much going around to somebody else's place. It was really quite a trip even to get to Soda Lake.
LaVOY: Did you go to church on Sundays?
MAREAN: No, we were not church goers.
LaVOY: I see, but now you mentioned Soda Lake. What was at Soda Lake?
MAREAN: It was just a place to see. We very rarely went there, but this was after they had quit pumping the water out to evaporate for the soda, but some of the flats were still there where they did evaporate it. It was a place to go. We went out there one time when I was in the eighth grade. We went out and gathered wildflowers. It was a contest who could get the most, and two of us from the neighborhood drove our family crazy making them take us where we could more wildflowers. I remember winning some gladioli bulbs from Laura Mills.
LaVOY: Oh, my. I understand that bulbs and plants were her reward for everything.
MAREAN: Yes, she was a wonderful teacher. Wonderful person.
LaVOY: Now, we have you almost ready for high school. Tell me some of your feelings and reactions to entering high school.
MAREAN: No problem. We rode the bus to school, and I took all the home ec I could get and most all of the science I could get. We were just busy. When I was a senior I took some extra work with Mr. Giblin to help him read papers. There were three of us, and I had every class filled. I didn't have any study period. We were to do something with a committee, and I remember Mr. Robertson saying, well, what study period could I come. I said, "I don't have any," and he would hardly believe me, so then I think I wasn't on the committee or something, but every class was filled, and I didn't have any study periods.
LaVOY: You mentioned that you rode the bus to school. Who was your driver, and who did he pick up?
MAREAN: We were lucky. We finally divided Old River into two sections, and Tom Sloan was one driver. George Lohse was another, and then my brother [George Wade] drove bus, and we would pick up, say, twenty kids from that area.
LaVOY: What were the names of some of those that you picked up?
MAREAN: Oh, dear. The Rice family, the Lohses, Gardner. Those are some of them I remember. It would take some thought and digging into the memory.
LaVOY: You would leave home about what time?
MAREAN: I think we caught the bus around eight o'clock. We walked a quarter of a mile to meet the bus. We met up at the Moody corner and there that pick up would be--or it's the Lohse house which was almost the same--would pick up five or six at that stop.
LaVOY: And then you'd continue on getting the rest of the…
MAREAN: Make a regular route and bring the students in to the school, and most of the buses were driven by high school students. They were all farm boys that had probably been operating teams. Of course if you knew how to drive a team, you knew how to guide a bus. Although bus driving--I drove school bus when I was teaching. I stayed on the ranch and drove school bus. There'd been an accident and one boy had to give it up and I was in the right place, so I drove school bus.
LaVOY: Oh, my goodness. The school, I imagine, had plays and things like that. Were you ever involved?
MAREAN: No, I could not do that because I had to go home when the school bus went. Anyone that was taking basketball or football had to stay and practice after school, and I had no way so I rode the bus home and did my chores at home.
LaVOY: What was the mode of transportation that your parents had?
MAREAN: We always had a car. They got a car just a few days before I was born, so we had a car when many of the others didn't.
LaVOY: What type was it?
MAREAN: We had an old Overland which was a, I think it later became the Willys. It's a small car. Smaller than a jeep. A small car. A touring car. In the winter there were isinglass flaps put on it, and on the bus I rode on they had roll down canvas curtains to keep the cold out during the winter.
LaVOY: Oh, my, that was a chilly ride! (laughing)
MAREAN: (laughing) Yes.
LaVOY: I'm interested in this car. I imagine that your mother and father first drove a wagon if they had to come into town.
MAREAN: Yes. That was before my time, but they did. A wagon or a buggy or spring wagon. Something like that.
LaVOY: Then when they got the Overland car, they used the car to do their shopping?
MAREAN: Yes. Yes, and it was done mainly on Saturdays. Of course, we came in for the mail about three times a week.
LaVOY: What do you remember particularly about downtown Fallon at this period in time?
MAREAN: It was mainly Maine Street from Williams Avenue to the high school. No, farther north than that because there was the court house and eventually the post office was built out there. There's another post office even. The post office was down on Center Street.
LaVOY: Where the Elks building is now.
MAREAN: The same building the Elks building is now. That used to be the post office and the express office.
LaVOY: And you came three times a week.
MAREAN: We usually came in about three times a week.
LaVOY: Why did you not have the mail delivered?
MAREAN: My father was quite upset when it was delivered, and he felt that something had been opened, and after that he always came into town to get it. That's only from what I heard. I didn't know of any time that we did not come into town.
LaVOY: That's understandable, I think.
MAREAN: Right. He was pretty independent. Otherwise why would he have come here to homestead?
LaVOY: That's very true. What grocery stores did you usually go to?
MAREAN: Kent's for many years, and then there was a Safeway store probably about where the Nugget is now. [70 South Maine] We used to go there some. And then there was Kolhoss's store. There was one up where the old Penney's used to be. Along in there. Don't remember the name of it, but Don Combs operated it, and then there was the Bible and Jarvis Hardware Store. We went there. Those were the main stores.
LaVOY: Was the Piggly-Wiggly--was that what it was called?
LaVOY: Or a Sewell's store?
MAREAN: No. I don't remember right now. But it was a grocery store, and that may have been where Safeway moved or something. I don't remember.
LaVOY: Did you enjoy shopping?
MAREAN: Not particularly. We got what we needed and went home. We were on a very tight schedule. You weren't ten or fifteen minutes late to start the chores. You felt guilty. We were on a very tight schedule.
LaVOY: With the milk that came in, did your family use it all?
MAREAN: No, we had a separator and my dad sold the cream. There was a cream route. They would come out and get the cream, and the milk went to feed pigs and turkeys and us. When we had a surplus of milk in the summer my dad built a kind of a chute or trough where he poured some of the milk in and soured it and dried it as cheese. Like dried cottage cheese which was kept for the pigs later in the year.
MAREAN: Which is kind of different.
LaVOY: I should say.
MAREAN: But he had extra milk, and then my mother sometimes when there was extra milk made cottage cheese and brought it in to the store and sold it.
LaVOY: That was very enterprising of him to save the milk for the pigs.
MAREAN: Saved the curd, and, of course, the whey, what they couldn’t eat then. The turkeys liked that too. The whey.
LaVOY: When did he go into turkey raising, or was that your mother's project?
MAREAN: No, it was family project. Nothing was very definitely one or the other. My dad did most of the outside work, but my mother helped on nearly everything.
LaVOY: With the turkeys, how many did you have?
MAREAN: Oh, I suppose we had forty to sixty off and on. We had one interesting thing. Of course, they always wander off in the morning. Any of you that have been around turkeys know they wander off. We had an Australian shepherd that was a smart dog. I remember they would pick him up and hold him so he could see the turkeys a quarter of a mile away and tell him to go get them, and he would do it and bring them in like a cattle dog. He would herd those turkeys in to the house, and, of course, you had to teach them to roost when they were big enough. My dad took quite pride in that he always sent his brothers and sister a turkey for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. They would decide when they wanted their Christmas present which was the turkey.
LaVOY: Oh. What was this smart dog's name?
MAREAN: That was Duke. He was an Australian shepherd, and we had other Australian shepherds. Millie and Curly that were more or less working dogs. They helped with everything. This one Duke was real smart. One time my dad was out in the field, maybe a quarter of a mile away, and he needed a pencil. Called to the house to get it. My mother tied the pencil on a string to the dog's collar, put it in his mouth and told him to take it to my dad which he did, and he wouldn't give that pencil up until my dad untied the string.
MAREAN: And then we had a little gallon jug that we carried kerosene out to the barn for the kerosene stove, and he used to carry that half full. He was quite proud he could carry that out to the barn. Wonderful dog.
LaVOY: My gosh, I'm surprised that he was trusted with it to the barn. (laughing)
MAREAN: Well, he was very good. During the winter when we were heating with chunks of wood, he would go out to the woodpile and drag a big chunk up to the front porch. That was his ticket to get in the house to be nice and warm for the evening or night.
LaVOY: Oh, my goodness gracious.
MAREAN: He was probably our smartest dog that we ever had.
LaVOY: With your wood, did you have a wood lot, or did you go out and get it?
MAREAN: Cut down trees. There were fence posts that had grown into trees which was quite common then. We usually got the wood from the ranch. I remember one time my dad was cutting a tree down along the drain ditch, and it got hung up. It didn't fall, so he went in the house and got his rifle and shot it. Shot the branch that was holding it up and down came the tree.
LaVOY: Oh, gosh!
MAREAN: So we may have been the only ones that had wood that was gathered with a rifle.
LaVOY: Was it your brother's job to cut the wood?
MAREAN: My brother and my dad. I don't remember. The wood was there and stacked. Or it might have been a hired hand that helped. I just don't remember.
LaVOY: Well, life on the farms at that time was always very, very . . .
MAREAN: Very busy and hard, but a wonderful place to grow up.
LaVOY: Did your mother do much canning?
MAREAN: Oh, yes. We canned almost everything we could. Her brother used to send us peaches from California, and we always canned those. And, of course, they always came in right at haying season, so it was hot and heavy for a while, but we also used the pressure cooker and canned beans, and I remember when we butchered in the fall, my mother would cut up chunks of meat and put them in the quart jars and pressure it.
LaVOY: It was a very common practice. Extension agents were the ones that introduced the pressure cookers.
MAREAN: And we used to borrow the pressure cooker from the extension service for a few days when we had a lot to put up and then finally we had our own.
LaVOY: Did you have a smoke house?
MAREAN: No, we didn't.
LaVOY: You basically relied on canning and…
MAREAN: And then if we butchered in the fall, we waited until it was cold enough so we could just hang it on the porch outside. One story that might be of interest, my dad had put in a field of wheat close to the barn, and he was doing the milking, and he looked down and there was a flock of ducks eating his wheat, and he was not happy. So he shut down the milking machine, came to the house and got the shotgun, went up and blasted into the flock of ducks to scare them off. He got nine with one shot and we ate duck all winter.
LaVOY: (laughing) Oh, my goodness.
MAREAN: My mother cleaned them and hung them up and we had duck. The next time he only got five, but the ducks didn't come back. They got the message.
MAREAN: These were the fun stories of things I remember.
LaVOY: Well, I think that's what makes these so interesting.
MAREAN: And then one time he had silage in a pit. I was in college by this time. Dug a pit and lined it with plastic and then the corn was chopped and put in there and fermented. Well, from another drain ditch the ducks came over, and that was nice getting food, corn right there where they wanted, but they got pretty drunk, and they had trouble getting back to the drain ditch. (laughing) He said they really staggered sometimes.
LaVOY: (laughing) Getting back to you with high school, tell me what you remember about your graduation night.
MAREAN: We had a class of about forty, and at least fourteen of us made the honor roll. I remember I made grades high enough to be on it, and I had a formal, and we were on the stage in the entrance where you go into the high school. I remember looking down when I got my diploma and the pride that was in my parents' face.
LaVOY: Had they graduated from high school?
MAREAN: No. One of them had one year. I don’t remember which it was, but one had a little bit beyond eighth grade [ED: original transcript notes it was the mother that had a ninth grade education], but it didn't stop them from learning. My dad studied and wired our house for electricity, and, of course, he had done a lot of work with his contracting, and my mother became a practical nurse and then later studied and got her vocational certificate. So they were determined people.
LaVOY: You mentioned your father became a contractor. What do you mean by that?
MAREAN: He had the team and the horses to build the railroad grades. He also built the railroad grade from Wadsworth on up around Pyramid towards Alturas, and that was the first year or so after they'd been married. My mother was eighteen and cooking for this crew out there along the Truckee River, and she said they had to drive in to Reno for supplies, and the main pastime of the workers on Sunday, they would go along the river and see how many rattlesnakes they could find.
LaVOY: Oh, my. That's a great pastime, isn't it? (laughing)
MAREAN: Wasn't much to do along the Truckee River from Wadsworth to Pyramid at that time.
LaVOY: No. I read in something that your father had a Hupmobile.
LaVOY: When did he get that?
MAREAN: Just before the Depression. About 1929, and it was a big heavy car. Not too common, but it was a heavy car, and it was like a tractor. He even pulled an airplane off of one of the alkali flats one time out north of our place. A small plane couldn't get off, so they walked in to the house, and my dad said he could help. So he took the Hupmobile out and they hooked the tow chain on it and pulled the little lightweight airplane out.
LaVOY: Oh, my goodness. Now, I didn't mean to bring that up because we were talking about your graduation with the pride in their eyes. I'm curious to know. Did you go right on to college?
MAREAN: Yes. My brother was in college. He had had two or three years in a couple of different schools. Diesel school and a year in Utah and then was at the University. I didn't know until maybe a week or two before school started whether I could go or not because of the money, but my dad borrowed so that we could go, and he was fattening out steers, so he could cover my education. I went right from high school into the University and had four years there.
LaVOY: Did you have any gentlemen friends in high school?
MAREAN: Yes, some. Like most of them, a few dates. I'd rather not name names though (laughing) 'cause now there's some of them they, of course, have their own families now. I don't know if you want any of the names or not.
LaVOY: Well, it's entirely up to you. It's always very interesting.
MAREAN: Well, I think my first boyfriend was Howard Connor of an old Harmon family from here. That again was a group of young people together. His older sister- You know, a couple dated and all the little brothers and sisters came along, too.
LaVOY: Very platonic relationships.
MAREAN: Oh, as usual going to the dances, but I didn't date until I was almost sixteen. That just wasn't done. As long as I had a big brother that was fine. I went with him.
LaVOY: When you started college, where did you live in Reno?
MAREAN: I lived in the dorm. First in Manzanita Hall and then later in Artemisia Hall for the three years and worked anything and everything that came along. We babysat. We cleaned houses. We polished silver. Worked in the dining hall most of the time, and the twenty people that worked there, were family.
LaVOY: That's very interesting.
MAREAN: But, I didn't belong to any sorority. I knew I couldn't afford it, and I had no desire to belong to it, so I didn't leave a big legacy to the University. I was there for an education and that was it.
LaVOY: Did you immediately go into the home economics department?
MAREAN: Oh, yes, and I took that right through, and they were an isolated little group. We had our program laid out for us. We were only allowed about one elective in the four years. Then right out of college I went to teach in Oats Park.
LaVOY: I just was curious now. Who was head of the home economics school?
MAREAN: A woman by the name of Mrs. Lewis, and then there were two others. There was one in clothing, Jessie Pope, and one in foods, Alice Marsh and that was our faculty for most of the way through school. Of course, we had to take chemistry and such as that with other teachers, but that was the home ec staff.
LaVOY: Who was head of the University at that time?
MAREAN: A fellow by the name of Leon Hartman.
LaVOY: And he lived in the house right . . .
MAREAN: There was a house on campus. He was only there a few years, and then I don't remember who the next one was. I remember babysitting somebody in that house one night. I've forgotten the name now.
LaVOY: Did you stay in Reno on the weekends, or did you come back here to Fallon?
MAREAN: If there was a car coming down, we would come. I say we. Edna Pflum was my roommate part of the time, and if someone in Fernley could get that far. I mean, sometimes we shared a ride. Usually I could get the ride down, and someone else could get the ride back, and we came usually by car.
LaVOY: Now, your brother was at the University at the same time?
LaVOY: So, did he come with you, or did he have other business?
MAREAN: We were pretty much in our own section. He was an engineer, and I was in home ec. Usually we were in our own group.
LaVOY: What year did you graduate from the University?
MAREAN: In 1941.
LaVOY: In the spring of 1941?
LaVOY: And your brother, what was he doing at that time because he would have graduated prior to you.
MAREAN: By that time the War was on, and he had an engineering degree so he was with US Engineers [Corps of Engineers], and I know he spent a lot of time in Hawaii, and he also was in the Navy engineers but can't tell you just what he was doing.
LaVOY: With you graduating in May, 1941, then you started teaching in September, 1941.
MAREAN: In September of 1941 on a ten-month contract.
LaVOY: And where was your first teaching job?
MAREAN: Oats Park School.
LaVOY: Oh, for heaven sakes!
MAREAN: Right where I had gone through the school.
LaVOY: And who was principal at that time?
MAREAN: Mr. E.C. Best.
LaVOY: Did you enjoy working for him?
MAREAN: Yes, as much as you can. A new teacher's pretty scary. (laughing)
LaVOY: Besides home economics what did you teach?
MAREAN: I had a class in arithmetic and one in reading and home room. I had the seventh-grade girls and the eighth-grade girls. That pretty well filled the time.
LaVOY: Do you remember, just roughly, what your wages were?
MAREAN: A hundred dollars a month. We had a hundred dollars a month for ten months.
LaVOY: Were you paid at all during the summer?
MAREAN: No, nothing during the summer.
LaVOY: Who were some of your very favorite students? I shouldn't say favorite. Better students.
MAREAN: It's kind of hard. Mainly with the girls. I had the girls for two years and the other students was just who was in that class. I don't remember as any… I had the McCracken girls. The older ones. A Kent and a Young were girls I especially remember when they were in the eighth grade. But when I hear names now I can place them in a certain class that I had.
LaVOY: I imagine that you enjoyed teaching and were a very good teacher.
MAREAN: Well, I enjoyed it. Whether the good is another story.
LaVOY: Your brother, I imagine was called into service after December 7, 1941.
MAREAN: Yes. I don't think he was with them before draft time, but he, probably, like the others, volunteered.
LaVOY: Just thinking back he must have entered the service prior to December 7 because he was at Pearl Harbor.
MAREAN: Yes, he was at Pearl Harbor when it happened. He was with the Navy as a Navy engineer.
LaVOY: So, he probably had enlisted or whatever earlier.
MAREAN: Yes. I can't tell you the date, but he was in for a number of years.
LaVOY: I read a letter that he had sent back to your family from Pearl Harbor. Would you care to comment on that?
MAREAN: Of course we were very concerned when it happened, and we got one of the first letters coming out of Pearl Harbor. He sent it here, and then we gave it to the newspaper so people here would know about it. He was with the Navy quite a while, came back to the States working as an engineer. In fact he was in charge of building an extension to the Standard Oil office building in San Francisco. He was also city engineer in Las Vegas for a short time. In Redwood City, California, and ended up in Fresno as the engineer for the school district. It was at that time that he passed away. He had been ill, and he was there at that time. He had one son, and I don't know where he is now.
LaVOY: During the war years here, I imagine it was very difficult for you to live here in Fallon with the rationing and everything.
MAREAN: Yes, it was. I lived on the ranch. Had to buy a car for transportation the first year.
LaVOY: What car did you buy?
MAREAN: I bought a used car from Donald Downs of the Ray Downs family, because he had gone into foreign service, and I used that. It was a Plymouth. [end of tape 1] By the time I was in college the Hupmobile had just about had it. It was ten years old or more. Used an extra quart of oil just to get to Reno. So I needed transportation, and we thought of getting a car. So, I asked my dad about it, and so he said, "Well, you're going to have make the decision. It's your responsibility. I'll sign the note on it, but you have to make the decision." I made the decision and bought the car, and then when I was married I left it at home for the family.
LaVOY: Oh, that was so nice.
MAREAN: So there went most of my salary but it was a little bit of pay-back for my education.
LaVOY: Oh, I can certainly understand that. You taught for how many years?
MAREAN: One and a half years.
LaVOY: And then you…
MAREAN: And then John came back from overseas, and we were married.
LaVOY: Had you known John in school?
MAREAN: Oh, yes. I knew him when I was in the fifth grade and he was in the eighth grade, and then I knew who he was in high school, but I didn't start going with him until we were in college and he roomed with my brother. At that time city kids and anybody was glad to come to a ranch for a holiday, and he came down, and they rode horses, he and my brother. When they came back to the barn-my brother had a little black stallion, mustang--and they jumped off of the horses, and John jumped between the horses and the little black stallion whipped around and landed both feet in the middle of his back and knocked him out.
LaVOY: Oh, my.
MAREAN: Well, (sigh) and he came around. My brother brought him around, and then after that we started going together. And he hasn't liked horses very much any since then.
LaVOY: Well, it's a wonder he survived. (laughing)
MAREAN: (laughing) Then we went together for a year or two until he went in the service and there was no way I was going to get married till I finished my education and proved I could take care of myself. So we were engaged for five years before we were married.
LaVOY: Well, that's admirable. Where were you married?
MAREAN: On the ranch in the house and in the same room I had been born in which is quite unusual.
LaVOY: Oh, I should say so.
MAREAN: We were married at the ranch and there were all of thirteen people there.
LaVOY: And who performed the ceremony?
MAREAN: A minister from the Baptist Church. John's aunt had known him. I wanted the justice of the peace because I knew him very well, but he was out of town, and, of course, being in the service John was here for just a few days.
LaVOY: Who was the JP that you knew?
MAREAN: Bellinger. I think Bellinger was his name, but he had been here for many years and was Justice of the Peace, and I thought how nice that would be, but it didn't work out that way.
LaVOY: Where did you go on your honeymoon?
MAREAN: John was stationed in Florida then, so the honeymoon was on the train going back to Florida. We were there for five or six weeks, and then John went into pilot training, and we moved around the south.
LaVOY: I've neglected asking you what you wore for a wedding dress.
MAREAN: I had a little kind of a beige and brown dress, and I insisted that it be something I could use afterwards. I didn't want a big wedding. I didn't want a white dress or anything like that, but it was a suit that I could wear afterwards.
LaVOY: Who was your attendant?
MAREAN: The Nygrens. Alma and Earl Nygren were the witnesses. Alma and I had been in school together since first grade.
LaVOY: Her name was Alma what?
MAREAN: Strauss. She was of the Lattin family.
LaVOY: And then John had …
MAREAN: Earl stood up with John because at that time I don't know that he had any close friends here in Fallon. He had been away for quite a while.
LaVOY: Oh, I see.
MAREAN: And I had previously stood up with Alma and Earl when they were married.
LaVOY: Oh, I see. Something I'm curious about. Having lived out here all of your life going south, wasn't it a shock to you to see segregation?
MAREAN: Yes, it was a shock, but one thing that got to me the most was how poor the land was. Where they were raising corn, there was one stalk. Ten inches further was another stalk, and we weren't used to that, but it was hot and muggy. We traveled the south from February until October, and then my dad passed away, and I came back. After that John had finished that training, and we moved several times ending up in Fresno.
LaVOY: I noticed that when your father passed away, I surmise that it was your mother who had an estate sale?
LaVOY: Did you feel that she could not handle the ranch by herself?
MAREAN: She couldn't handle it, and my brother and John were both in the service, and, as my dad had told my brother when he was young, "Do what you want. You can always come back to the farm if you need it," 'cause he had the know-how for it. So, there was no one to run the ranch.
LaVOY: Did you know this J.A. Law who was the auctioneer?
MAREAN: No, I didn't. I was not at home when this took place.
LaVOY: What did you feel when you came home and everything was gone?
MAREAN: Well, when I was home right after my dad had passed away they had not yet auctioned off things, but I noticed the silence. Everything was quiet, and that impressed me. It was just different.
LaVOY: Did your mother sell the property then?
MAREAN: Eventually. As soon as she could she sold to the Ray Travis family. It took a few months.
LaVOY: Then what did she do?
MAREAN: She went down to California then where her mother and brother lived. She had already been working as a night nurse, a practical nurse, in the local hospital. So she went on into nursing as a practical or special nurse and then studied to get her vocational nursing pin.
LaVOY: About how old was she at that time?
MAREAN: I'd say around fifty 'cause my dad was only fifty-five when he died, and Mother was five years younger.
LaVOY: That's most admirable that she would do that.
MAREAN: Yes, it is. And then she stayed in that profession until she could no longer handle it 'cause she had arthritis quite badly.
LaVOY: After you came home for your father's funeral, then you left again?
MAREAN: I left to join John, Took the train to Chicago and we went back to Florida for a short time, and then he was transferred first to Colorado and then to Fresno.
LaVOY: While you were in Fresno what activities did you have as an Army Air Force wife?
MAREAN: Very little contact with the social part. We were buying a home and put the money into buying a home, and when we left Fresno a couple of years later we had purchased a home outright and had had two children by then.
LaVOY: What was your first child?
MAREAN: We had a girl.
LaVOY: Her name?
MAREAN: Alona Marie [Marean].
LaVOY: And when was she born?
MAREAN: [October 10] 1944, and she has gone through school and is now an optometrist in Idaho.
LaVOY: Oh, that's wonderful.
MAREAN: And then about twenty-two months later [August 10, 1946], we had a little boy. Raymond John [Marean] who now lives in Canada and is in the banking business and loves outdoor life, canoeing and sailing, hiking, camping, that sort of thing, When he was six months old, we just couldn't stand six weeks of fog in San Joaquin Valley and the heat in the summer, and we decided to come back to Reno where John then went into teaching and taught at Reno High [School] for a number of years.
LaVOY: And while he was teaching at Reno High, what were you involved in?
MAREAN: Well, after a couple of years I went into night school teaching adult education beginning and intermediate sewing which I taught for about fifteen years. Dearly loved it. That's my favorite. Adult teaching because they want to learn, and everything you teach them is appreciated. And then, family activities, John was doing his work in various writing and with the State Department and teaching both junior high and high school. Then Incline School opened, so we decided it was better to move to Incline rather than have him commute, so we rented the house in Reno and went to Incline. Two weeks after the school started, they found that the girl they had hired to teach home ec was not qualified with the State Department. So they talked me into going back to teaching, and I had not been in the classroom for twenty-five years. It was a blow! That is at that age level. I had to equip the department. We started the department with five sewing machines, one stove that was not yet connected and improvised from there. We got some leftovers from a church yard sale, I guess you would call it, and we just built the department from that. I did get things through the department, but it was quite a blow to start after not being in the classroom for twenty-five years at that age level.
LaVOY: And having two children, too.
MAREAN: Oh, well, we had four children by then. Of course, they were pretty well grown. Only one of them, the youngest one went with us to Incline and graduated from there.
LaVOY: Who was your third child?
MAREAN: The third child was David Michael [Marean], and he was an outstanding swimmer in this area. He took many of the state records and trophies and eventually the chlorine got to him so he quit swimming much when he was in high school. Was very outstanding in music. He played a number of instruments. He played any guitar he could get a hold of, trombone, violin, viola, attempted the piano but wasn't too successful. He wanted to go on and become a music teacher but found out that not having the piano was a hindrance. Then he later went on and is now with the National Guard and also has his own business of installing cable TV into such as condos.
LaVOY: I see. He was born in [August 16] 1949?
MAREAN: He was my forty-niner. I count from him when I try to find ages for others.
LaVOY: Oh, I see. (laughing)
MAREAN: He's my forty-niner. I can always remember that.
LaVOY: And then your youngest one?
MAREAN: The youngest boy was Steven Richard [Marean], which I took the initials S.R. from his grandfather, and he was a brilliant child.
LaVOY: He was born in 1952?
MAREAN: In [August 11] 1952 while John was at Reno High. He went through school in Reno. Was in music. He played French horn and violin, but he was one of these kids. who was a reader from the time he was a small child. If things were silent you start looking for the child 'cause they're usually into mischief, but we'd find him in the corner reading a science magazine of his dad's. So he was into that and then went with us to Incline and graduated from up there. Then John was invited to go to Canada, and the three of us moved up to Canada, and Steven graduated, of course, and then went on into photography and became very good at photography, and was just going to change into becoming a science teacher when he had his accident and was killed.
LaVOY: Now, his accident?
MAREAN: He was on a motorcycle. He was finishing up his work at Peace River in Alberta, Canada, and had his stepson on the motorcycle with him, and they were thrown off, and Steven landed on his head, and his brain just became mush. I had been living in Reno for quite sometime then so I didn't see him again, but he lived from June until the middle of September. After he died--he was cremated and sent to me and I have him in Fallon beside his grandfather Wade.
LaVOY: Oh, that's very touching. Very touching.
MAREAN: But the family was all on the move or interested in something else in their lives and I thought the best thing was, "You come home to me, and I'll put you with your grandfather."
LaVOY: Did you go to Canada at all?
MAREAN: I was in Canada for about four years, but the last two years were very unsettled in that my mother needed help and John's mother needed help, and I was the one that could get away. So I spent many trips back and forth from Calgary to Reno and finally came back to take care of my mother 'cause she had fallen and she just couldn't take care of herself. And after a couple of years I bought the family house back from our niece and nephew who had run into some problems with it and I moved her into the old family house with me where I'd raised my family 'cause she was ready for a wheelchair, and we couldn't handle it in a mobile home. We were only there, oh, four or five months if that long until I had to put her in a rest home. I couldn't take care of her anymore.
LaVOY: That was where?
MAREAN: In Reno. Then I started my sewing business again into dressmaking. I had done alterations earlier for various people and even for one cleaning establishment in Reno doing alterations and repairs that I could do at home. Then I had my own customers for ten, twelve years, I guess, until I couldn't handle that because of my arthritis. I did one complete wedding for a friend. We designed the wedding dress and the bridesmaids' dresses. I was quite proud of that.
LaVOY: I am assuming that you and John by this time had divorced?
MAREAN: Yes. We separated for a number of years, and it just wasn't working out. He was in Canada, and I was in Reno, and the marriage fell apart like many of them do. We were divorced on our forty-fourth wedding anniversary, so we were together for a long time.
LaVOY: What year was that?
MAREAN: [February 10] 1987, and now we're speaking again, and he's now staying at my house while he's visiting in Reno, and we're going to go visit our great grandkids.
LaVOY: Well, I think that's wonderful.
MAREAN: So, it's been a good life.
LaVOY: Yes, indeed it has.
MAREAN: And I feel it's an accomplishment to have raised three good average citizens, and they're all in a profession and doing well.
LaVOY: Now that you come back for a visit to Fallon, what are your feelings about Fallon as it is now?
MAREAN: Kind of like Reno. I'm sorry it's grown so much because the people now are not enjoying the childhood and the young adulthood that I knew because we were happy. We made our own plans. We weren't concerned with drugs and the wild driving and all. If one person in the neighborhood had a car, you gathered up the other kids in the neighborhood and went to the school dance or whatever. I'm sorry that my children didn't experience something like that.
LaVOY: With Fallon as it is now with the new WalMart opening, the base getting so big, do you have any comments on that?
MAREAN: I feel that the growth is out of control, and it's too bad because it was a lovely young community. I had a wonderful growing up. It was fun. We had responsibility. There weren't many problems among the young people.
LaVOY: So you would like to see Fallon like it was back in the 1930s and 1940s?
MAREAN: 1940s, yes. To me it was a wonderful place to grow up and to raise a family.
LaVOY: Well, I think you had a wonderful childhood here.
MAREAN: Oh, I did.
LaVOY: And you had a very, very interesting life, and on behalf of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project I certainly want to thank you for being kind enough to record this.
MAREAN: It's been a pleasure.
LaVOY: Thank you.