Harold William Rogers Oral History
Oral History Item Type Metadata
CHURCHILL COUNTY MUSEUM & ARCHIVES
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
an interview with
HAROLD WILLIAM ROGERS
February 20, 1991
This interview was conducted by Marian LaVoy; transcribed by Pat Baden; edited by Norma Morgan; final typed by Pat Boden; index by Gracie Viera; supervised by Myrl Nygren, Director of Oral History Project/Assistant Curator Churchill County Museum and Sylvia Arden, Consultant.
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.
Harold William Rogers is a distinguished, gentle man whose trait of love and compassion for his widowed, adoptive mother is evident in all his dealings as a mature man. Harold lived and worked on a small farm in the St. Clair District. He knew all his neighbors and commiserated with them on their tribulations. As a small boy he accompanied his widowed mother to her job at a restaurant in Fallon and in so doing observed the actions of the prominent and powerful men in town. His love of the newly introduced motor cars reveals the foibles and frustrations of our early motored transportation in the city and county.
His early employment with the Churchill County Telephone Company gives us a glimpse of the laborer's work. His eventual leadership of the company at the age of thirty reveals what hard work and dedication can bring to an intelligent young man. The history of the growth of the telephone company is clearly revealed in this interview. This includes the natural growth and the unexpected growth brought about by the reactivation of the Naval Auxiliary Air Field.
Rogers' entry into politics is enlightening as well as amusing. I interviewed Harold at his charming home. We sat at the kitchen table amid records and pictures that Harold has collected over the years. [Ed. Harold Rogers passed away January 31, 1992.]
Interview with Harold William Rogers
LaVOY: This is Marian LaVoy of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Program interviewing Harold William Rogers at his home, 760 Fifth Street, Fallon, Nevada, on February the 20th, 1991. Good morning, Harold.
ROGERS: Good morning.
LaVOY: Tell me, where were you born?
ROGERS: San Francisco, California.
LaVOY: And when?
ROGERS: Well, it was the day that the United States declared war with Germany, the first time, April the 6th, 1917.
LaVOY: Now, I understand that you were an adopted child. Can you tell me something about that?
ROGERS: Well, I really don't know too much about that part of it. I do know the hospital, the University of California Hospital, I don't know what it's called now, near Twin Peaks in California. My biological mother was an Irish girl, seventeen, and worked as a maid in some of the homes in the city. Of course, unlike it is today, something like that happens, why they usually dispose of you before you're born. But I was born and she put me up for adoption.
LaVOY: And tell me who was it that adopted you?
ROGERS: Well, it was William M. Rogers and Nora Irene Rogers.
LaVOY: Now these were your parents that you grew up with, that formed your life, wonderful, wonderful people for taking you in. When was William Melville Rogers born?
ROGERS: He was born in Ohio in 1870, and I don't have the date.
LaVOY: And when was Nora Irene O'Brien born?
ROGERS: She was born in Elkhorn, Nebraska, December the 28th, 1873.
LaVOY: Now, I understand that she lived to a very old age, can you tell me how old she was?
ROGERS: Yeah, she was one hundred years and about three months when she passed away here in the local nursing home. She had been in a nursing home--not in Fallon but in Reno--for about eight or nine years, when St. Mary's had a nursing home in their hospital.
LaVOY: That's very unusual to have someone live that length of time.
ROGERS: Oh, yes. It certainly was.
LaVOY: Did your father live anywhere near that long?
ROGERS: No, he was only fifty-two when he passed away.
LaVOY: So she was a widow for many years.
ROGERS: Many, many years, from 1922 until 1974.
LaVOY: You must have been a godsend to her, being a widow that many years.
ROGERS: Well, godsend or--(laughter) a drag.
LaVOY: Oh, I don't think so. Do you have any idea where and how your parents met?
ROGERS: I'm really not sure. My father was born on a farm somewhere in Ohio. He left the farm at an early age and went to coal mining, and I imagine he drifted west through the years and wound up in Colorado. And my mother, her parents were railroad people. Her father was a construction engineer of the tracks in those days, and her mother ran a boarding house for railroad workers. Of course, I think she had seven other brothers and sisters (laughing). It was a big family. And somewhere, somehow in Leadville they managed to get together and were married.
LaVOY: Do you know what date?
ROGERS: No, I don't know that.
LaVOY: Leadville, Colorado?
ROGERS: Leadville, Colorado. Following their marriage they followed the gold and silver camps of Colorado, like Gunnison, Cripple Creek, Salida, Loveland, Pueblo and Denver the gold camps of those days. They didn't stay in any camp very long. They must have lived out of a suitcase. They wound up in Tonopah and Goldfield for a very short period of time. They were in Rawhide when the town burned. They lived in the outskirts of the town and my mother told me about the buildings burning. Then they wound up in Virginia City for a short time around 1909. Then they wound up in Fairview in 1910 and remained there until 1913. My dad worked at the Dromedary Hump mine and mill [Fairview mine] and they lived just down the gulch from this mine and mill in a little cabin that was partly in the side of the hill and part out of the hill. While living in the mining camp, he somehow became interested in politics and wound up in 1912--on an old ballot I found at the museum--in running for the justice of the peace.
LaVOY: Was he elected?
ROGERS: You know I really don't know, I guess he must have, he was the only one running (laughing). That makes it easy. They did not stay very long there. Let's see, in 1912 was the election, and somewhere in 1913 they came into Fallon and moved out into what is now known as St. Clair District. I believe the old homesteader's, name was Anderson, [John Z. Johnson] They bought the old homestead [purchased first forty acres on July 10, 1913] from this fellow and from that point on they constructed a frame house to live in. Around 1920 they bought another forty acres [purchased second forty acres from Towle March 15, 1919] to the north of the original forty from Lon Towle [A. A. Towle], Lon Towle was the father of Charlotte Towle Sanford, who several years ago was the county auditor in Fallon.
LaVOY: Well, how did they manage to know that you were available for adoption? It's obvious they were childless and wanted a child very badly. How did they know that you were available?
ROGERS: You know I'm not sure. I know an aunt who lived in Oakland at that time, course she's now deceased, was corresponding with my mother and she was with her when they went into this--whatever it was--foundling home-and they picked me up.
LaVOY: How old were you when they came and got you?
ROGERS: Well, I must have been around sixteen to eighteen months.
LaVOY: How very fortunate for both you and for them.
ROGERS: Well, for me I certainly couldn't have found anybody any better, not saying that other people aren't good, but those two were certainly outstanding as far as I'm concerned. They went through a lot of hardships and sacrifices for me, I know, and I certainly am appreciative of what they did.
LaVOY: Now the house that you came to, is that still standing on St. Clair?
ROGERS: Yes, it's still there. Today's address of this property is 3500 St. Clair Road. At that time, back in about 1918, St. Clair Road didn't run through like it does today. We came into the ranch either from the west, from what is now Lima Lane, back to the place or went out to the north of the property in through timber, woods and some other fields of people to the north of us out to what is known as Sheckler Road. That's how they made it back and forth to town.
LaVOY: Would you describe the house?
ROGERS: Well, the house was built in two sections. When they first arrived on the property there was nothing but an old 'dobe [adobe] cabin not much larger than this kitchen here, only it was square. Then he constructed a two-room cabin and cut it in half. One-half of it was the bedroom and the other part was the kitchen facility and living room. Then a little later on, they added a section to the north which became the dining room area and the kitchen area where the old range was located. Just north of that was a kitchen area with the cupboards and the sink. Another small room to the right of that was a proposed bathroom which was never completed in the time that I lived there.
LaVOY: You mean you had the friendly two holer?
ROGERS: We didn't have a friendly two holer. It was only a one holer (laughing) with assorted catalogs and current papers for (laughing) you know what. On the east and west side of this addition there was two screen porches and then also to the south of this first cabin that was built was another screened porch added.
LaVOY: That was probably a necessity because of the mosquitos and flies at that time.
ROGERS: Oh, yes, that is right. Now, I do recall in my memories of 1918 to around 1922 of being around the place a lot with my dad. He would put me on top of the hand-held plow, and he'd walk behind it with a team of horses in front. I'd sit on the cross bar of the plow, and he'd be plowing the field. I can remember at Christmas time he took me out on the porch and I guess it was tracks of the old Model T Ford that I saw but he told me that was Santa Claus' sleigh tracks. Oh, boy, I was real thrilled. They used to hang three stockings in the living room. One was for me, of course, and the other two were for them. I know the next day you'd get up all eager and look at these stockings all filled with candy and an orange or two, and a little toy or two, and that was a big deal at that time.
LaVOY: What a wonderful family they were.
ROGERS: Yeah. They certainly were. I know he would take me to town in the old Ford, and we'd stop down on Maine Street and he'd go in to visit Judge Hart [T. C. Hart]. I can’t recall what his first name was, T.C. Hart was on this ballot from 1912.
LaVOY: Well, perhaps we can find it later.
ROGERS: See, he ran for district attorney in the Churchill County election in that time. Anyway, in the Barrel House, He'd set me on the bar and he'd visit with the Judge. Then in 1922, the year we lost him, I can recall we were driving down Center Street and drove past the old Fallon Garage [126 E. Center St.] the next day after it burned. I recall the ruined walls standing and you could see what was left of the old cars setting inside with the timbers on top of them. That was quite a deal.
LaVOY: Tell me a little something about that fire, how did it start?
ROGERS: To be honest with you, I don't know. I see you have a story from the Coverston lady. Which one of them, Evelyn? That would be the best place to pick up that history.
LaVOY: But you do recall the smoldering ruins of the Garage?
ROGERS: Oh, yes. I've seen the pictures of it down there at the Museum. They're just like it.
LaVOY: You mentioned that your father put you on the cross bars of the plow. What crops did he plant?
ROGERS: Well it would be alfalfa and wheat. That was about it.
LaVOY: What were your particular chores as you got older?
ROGERS: Well, let's see, my father passed away September 22, 1922, while he was constructing a large chicken house.
LaVOY: Did he have a heart attack?
ROGERS: No, he had miner's consumption. He had dust in his lungs from working in the coal mines and the silver camps and finally his lungs just give up.
LaVOY: While he was actually doing carpentry on it?
ROGERS: Well, he was working on this chicken house when he began to feel slightly ill. My mother came out and helped him into the house, sat him down on a chair in the living room there and she went to get him a pitcher of water. He began to fall forward and she grabbed him and he fell on the floor. That was it.
LaVOY: Very tragic.
ROGERS: His lungs, they burst. Quite a mess.
LaVOY: Then he was buried from the church in Fallon?
ROGERS: No, mother was Catholic, I don't know if my father professed any particular religion. He had joined the Masonic Order shortly before his passing. He was brought into the Masonic Order by our neighbors there, the J. T. Theyers [John], and Gordon and Fanny Gault. They lived in the Sheckler District. They were great friends, they were great card players in those days. They'd go to various neighbors houses and play Five Hundred. I recall one time they went to the old [R.J] McEuen place which is about a mile south of us over on the now Schindler Road, and coming home in the Model T after the card game, we hit a large puddle of water. It wet the ignition in the old Ford and it quit, and we couldn't get it started. So he packed me on his shoulders and must have packed my mother out of the car over to dry land. They walked home and just left the old car there. The next morning he took a team of horses and they went back and towed the old car out of the water (laughing), dried it off and it started up and away they went. Of course, with no traffic in those days it could probably set there for a week and nobody'd bother it (laughing).
LaVOY: Well, then after your father died did you have to take over the farming chores?
ROGERS: Well, I didn't do too much. I was just five and my mother took over the ranch work. She actually irrigated the land, cut and burned the weeds, worked in the ditches, worked over the boxes or headgates, you know, the wooden boxes, the take-outs for each check, and she did all that work herself. Then she'd hire some help to put up the hay--cut and mow and stack the hay. Some of these hired hands were not too reliable. We sure lost a lot of good tools. Father had a marvelous set of blacksmith tools and carpentry tools and they were packed off by these different so-called farm hands (laughter). Then she would work occasionally during haying season, for some of the various ranches cooking for the hired men. She worked for Mr. Bass, (R. C.) Raymond Bass's father out on Bass Road; and she worked at the Makinson ranch [R. S. Makinson] during the haying season.
LaVOY: Life must have been very hard for her.
ROGERS: It was. Thinking back on it, I wonder how in the world she did it. I really don't know how she did it to be right frank.
LaVOY: Did she have animals that she had to care for too in addition to doing the farm work?
ROGERS: Yes, but there must have been a cow or two around. I can't remember them, but they must have been there, because somewhere around 1925 or 1926 we had a cow barn constructed. It was a pretty big barn. It would handle about twenty-four cows, twelve on each side in the stanchions, and a small separator house to the west. The head carpenter on that job was a local gentleman named Obie Harrell who had a home on Stillwater Avenue. On the west side of his home he had five or six cabins they called the Obie Harrell cabins and they're still down on Stillwater Avenue today to be rented out to whoever wants to live in them. My mother tried to run the ranch with these hired men and she decided to get a job in town. So she picked up a job from Annie B. Smith, the lady who was operating the Lincoln Cafe and Bakery which was located at 30 East Center Street. It's called Fat Jack's or Flap Jack's or whatever it is now, Saloon [Fat Jack's Half-Time Club]. Of course, I have a lot of memories of that place. The place today is only about two-thirds of the size it was back in those days, because the alley has been widened and the west side of the building had some fires in it and they cut out the counter section of this building. The west side was a long counter with a big long mirror and just to the east of the counter was display cases for bakery goodies such as breads, cookies, cakes. The partition into what is now the bar was a large dining room area. To the south of this dining room area was living quarters for Mrs. Smith and her daughter, bedroom, bathroom. The big bakery was behind the range area in which the cook operated. It was a long range and she worked at that range. Then behind that was these two Indians, I recall, Annie and Moses, very nice people. They'd walk in from Rattlesnake Hill each day and back at night, and they washed dishes most of the day. And this bakery in the back, there were two or three different bakers in there. They made all bread. They'd bring all this fresh bread out into this cooking area and there they had some kind of electrical deal to wrap the bread. They'd lay the bread in the wax paper and they'd fold it a certain way and then push the bread into this sealer to heat the ends and it'd seal the bread.
LaVOY: Did they sell the bread to their patrons?
ROGERS: Yes, to their patrons and also to the various stores in town and then maybe shipped some to Reno. But I think mostly it was sold right in the Fallon area. I can recall they had a contract with the County to feed the prisoners. Of course the prisoners was not like it is today. If they had one or two in a month that'd be a big load. I recall taking a few dinners down to these prisoners. They'd give me a great big basket filled with dishes of food and I'd walk into the jail. Old Jim Smith, one the sheriffs at that time, would pull out this great huge key, looked like it was a foot long and six inches wide, and he'd stick it in this lock and give a great big "clank". The door would squeak open and you'd go into this odory, smelly, smelly place where they had these steel cages where they had four separate bunks in a common recreation area about five feet wide and ten feet deep, and a little old iron table. The sheriff would pull the fresh food out and put it on this table and he'd put the old pans back in the basket. Then I would go back to the cafe.
LaVOY: Did you ever talk to any of the prisoners or were you not allowed to do that?
ROGERS: Well, I was young and some of those frightened me a little bit. I remember one fellow in there, an Indian fellow, I think his name was Brown. He was supposedly a murderer. I was really shook when I'd see him (laughing). But, the odor I never forget it, it was real stout. Knock you over. The toilets they had in there were just a single hole toilet and I don't think it had a trap or anything in the line going down to the sewer line to the city. It would just drop down with a kerplunk and then finally go on out into the sewer line. That odor, of course, came back into the building. Boy, it was stout.
LaVOY: Couldn't get away with that today, could they?
ROGERS: No, they sure couldn't. That old jail is still on Williams Avenue. The Search and Rescue use the cell section as a storage area, I believe. I'd have to check with somebody in Search and Rescue to see what's it all about. It was used for different things following the earthquake.
LaVOY: Do you recall how much money the lady that owned the restaurant was paid for this lunch that you took to the prisoners?
ROGERS: I sure don't. I don't even know how much she paid my mother. My mother arrived on duty, usually, at six o'clock in the morning and she was still at work until two in the afternoon. She'd have about two hours off, and at five she'd go back and start preparing for the evening meals. She'd be done between eight and nine, depending upon the load that came into the place.
LaVOY: That was a long day and she had to keep the ranch going on top of that.
ROGERS: Yeah, sometimes she'd go home and milk the one cow or whatever we had, I don't know how she did it, I really don't.
LaVOY: And you were so small you were not too much of a help.
ROGERS: No, I wasn't much of a helper, that's for sure.
LaVOY: Did you have any pets at that time.
ROGERS: No, no pets. When mother worked in this restaurant on the weekends, I used to play with some other kids. We'd play in the I. H. Kent store--that's the one Bob Kent has today--and played down in the basement. In those days the thing was really stocked with different kinds of food and hardware items because he had three sections upstairs. He had the store where you would come into the counter, give the clerk your list of groceries, and he'd run all around making up your list. Then you'd pay him and he'd put it in a little round coin device and it set up on a, like a trolley arrangement, he'd pull this big string and the cash would go over to the center of the store to where M. H. Wallace had his office. His girl would take this money and if you needed change or mark the bill paid or whatever, and send it back to you. In the center of the store was the hardware department where they had axes, and shovels and farm equipment supplies. The north section was they called a "cash and carry" department. It was similar to the Safeway, Raley's. You'd go around and pick out your goodies to bring up to the counter and they would check them out and you'd pay these ladies.
LaVOY: Well, did the ladies put the money in the tube too?
ROGERS: Yes, they'd do the same thing, this tube arrangement was tied into all the departments of the store and they all went into the center collection point.
LaVOY: Do you remember who the woman was that collected the money in the center of the store?
ROGERS: No, I sure don't. I've forgotten their names, but I do remember the ladies over in the "cash and carry". One of them was Mrs. Chrissie Bass and her sister, Steffie Lewis. They were the Tolas girls. Willie Lofthouse, who still lives in Fallon, worked with them in that department. In the east section of that department of the store, the "cash and carry" department, was the main office of I. H. Kent and his bookkeeping staff, about where Robert Kent has his office today only it was a little larger.
LaVOY: Now, who were some of the boys that you played with down in the basement?
ROGERS: The basement there, plus out in the streets, it was "Irvie" Sanford, Jr. [Irving] who's deceased, and Joe Wallace [Milton K.] who's also gone. They lived right close by. Sanford lived right east on the corner of Nevada and Center. The house that he lived in has been moved to Russell Street, right across from the West End School yard. Later on a service station was built in there and now Janess Chevrolet uses it as a kind of a wash stand affair for their new vehicles that come in. On the east side of this Lincoln Cafe was the Kent warehouse which the building still stands there today. But in there, in the fall of the year thousands of turkeys were brought in by the farmers and put on whatever they put them on to display them and pack them for shipment. In the back end of the building they would have a repair of farm equipment, tractors, mowers and different things. Then a little later on around 1927 or 1928 the addition was added on the east side of the Kent warehouse and the Ford Garage moved into this building, Taylor Motor Sales I believe was the first one that moved in there. [Thumping noise]
LaVOY: Three tapes instead of two… [pause, tape cuts]
ROGERS: Then later on Howard Henning was there quite a few years. Now of course he is out on West Williams. I recall around 1928, 29, somewhere in there, when the first Model A's- [End of tape 1 side A. Transcript continues “came out”] Homer [Homer Bowers] would take these Model A's out for demonstration rides to people and hope to pick up a sale or two. And every chance I got, I tried to get a ride with these people. It was fascinating because it was a stick shift car. I was used to the old Model T with the pedals. Homer would load the people and I'd sneak in there somewhere, probably the back seat, he'd take 'em spinning out around the country roads and go up the side of Rattlesnake Hill. There was a certain grade there that he would test out the Model A. Put it down in low range and head up this steep hill and the old Ford would whirl away and climb the hill. Boy, that was a big thrill! Then come down the hill and back into town to wait for another customer to show up and go for another ride (laughing). Every chance I got for a ride I took it.
LaVOY: How much money did those cars cost, do you remember at all?
ROGERS: Oh, I don't know, probably around four or five hundred dollars, I'm just guessing now.
LaVOY: How many rides a day did you get, if you were lucky?
ROGERS: Well, I'd get three or four if I was lucky (laughing). Not every day but whenever I could. In addition to doing the Model A rides, I would try to hitch a ride with the Kent's delivery wagon. People would phone in their orders and they'd prepare the various orders in these little folding wooden boxes. Then they'd stack them up by the south rear door, facing Center Street. Then the old Model A delivery wagon would back up to the sidewalk and the driver would come in with his empty boxes and unload them in the store. Then grab the filled boxes with the name of the people and the bill and load them onto the truck. Then down the various streets we would go delivering the groceries. Take the groceries into the house, set them on the kitchen sink there, and unload the bags on the counter, and then fold up the box. One of the drivers was William Ascargorta. They nick-named him "Askie" and I'm sorry to say that the poor fellow is gone now. He's the brother of Mary Richards who's here in Fallon today. I rode with another driver whose name was Willie Trigueiro. I think he was a cousin of the Trigueiros that are in the area today. He had very thick glasses. That's the thing I remember about him (laughing)--he had these thick glasses. He also worked for the ice company delivering ice too. Oh, yeah, this reminds me of another story. They delivered ice to this Lincoln Cafe and they had a big freezer box, oh, larger than this refrigerator [four feet by six feet] right here. He'd bring in these big cakes and put them on the top and close it up. Of course, on the bottom of this refrigerator they had a great big pan and somebody had to empty it every day. I don't know who did it, but somebody in the store took care of that.
LaVOY: Well, now, when they delivered the groceries, did they bring the money back or did the person that was ordering the groceries pay at the end of the month?
ROGERS: Well, some paid and, as you say, some paid at the end of the month. Kent had a huge charge account arrangement there. Many of the farmers, would work on Kent's money all year long and at the end of the year they would sell off their hay or a few head of stock and pay off Kent. Kent's main arm twister or collector was Dan Evans, Sr., the grandfather of Mike Evans, the attorney down here in Fallon today. I remember old Dan. He was a brilliant singer, I think he was a baritone or bass, but he was a beautiful singer. But he was a tough fellow to negotiate with when it come to Kent's money (laughing). Irvie Sanford, Joe Wallace and I [Irving Sanford, Milton K. Wallace], had little wagons. We'd put one knee in the wagon and one to pedal the thing down the street and we used to go down the sidewalk in front of the old I. H. Kent home which was located on the east side of the Ford Garage. You see, the Kent home was there for a long time. There was a big lawn there and the Ford Garage was built on top of it. It was a beautiful yard to play in but then they built the garage over the top of it, and that put the Kent house right up against the garage. But before the garage was built and the Kents were living in this little home, the three of us would get these little wagons, go down the sidewalk and cut back into the dirt--the street was all dirt--and then as we made the quick turn in front of Mrs. Kent's walkway we'd throw dirt from the street up on the sidewalk and I'm telling you, at the end of the day that sidewalk was filled with dirt. Why she didn't kill us, I'll never know.
LaVOY: What was Mrs. Kent’s name?
ROGERS: I can’t recall her name. I should remember that, but I just can’t recall. [Mary Kaiser Kent]
LaVOY: She must have been kind to put up with your nonsense.
ROGERS: Oh, God, I should say so, I think there's a history on her at the Museum--the Kent history is fabulous really, you come right down to it. Anyway, in this restaurant where my mother worked, two teachers lived there the--Toft girls. They were teachers at the Oats Park School, Elnora and Laurella, they were beautiful ladies. They lived in the back part of the restaurant and during their spare time from school they would wait on table for Mrs. Smith. The other lady was Dorothy Shirley, then she married a Mr. Woods, I forget his first name, it might have been Dan, I don't know. Their son Danny Woods in later years had the Danny's Shoe Store and then her grandson, Danny the third, became the Chief of Police of Fallon, and was Chief for several years with the county and city on police, law enforcement. Then he retired from the City and went to work for the State. But, getting back to Dorothy--Dorothy, on the passing of Mr. Woods, married Vince Vrenon and they had two or three children, I'm not sure of this. Then I guess they separated or something--she married a Lew Whitaker. The last time I remember him he was doing yard work, like mowing lawns and planting lawns for people in their new homes. In later years, Dorothy worked in the telephone office as a telephone operator for several years. She retired from the Telephone Company even in my time. That's how I became acquainted with Dorothy. When I first seen her she was just a young, beautiful--of course she was a beautiful lady all her life--lady around twenty, twenty-one. All through the years we kept very close. Some of Mrs. Smith's patrons in this Lincoln Cafe was Abe Dildine and Mr. Brannan, Dildine I think was a carpenter or plumber. I remember Abe Dildine one time, took me in his old car clear to the Stillwater sinks to do a little fishing. And Billy McKenzie [William J. McKenzie] was a mechanic around town and later on became the manager of the Hiskey Stages that ran from the Ely area, through Eureka to Fallon to Reno. Later on he married Gladys Smith who was a Home Ec teacher at the high school in the thirties, I guess late twenties and thirties. And talking about this Irvie Sanford, Jr., his father, Sr., as I recall him, was one of the drivers for Hiskey Stages, I recall going to Reno a time or two with my mother and he was driving the Stage. Very nice fellow. One time Mr. Sanford and Irvie, Jr. and I and the fourth party--I can't recall his name at the moment, it'll probably come to me tomorrow--went to Winnemucca to a rodeo--of course again I was a little kid and I never knew what Winnemucca was, where it was or a thing. My mother gave me some money to go with them and said, "Now, you be careful and just don't squander all this money. I want to see a little change when you get back." I remember getting in the car. It was a Chrysler two door sedan. I think it was about 1926 or 1927 model. On the radiator cap it had the wings that came on the Chryslers of that time. We drove in the nighttime--of course we had to go to Fernley and then backtrack--and as I remember the highway was not paved, just a gravel road; corduroy, dusty, and we got into Winnemucca and I was pooped, tired (laughing) from that ride. We did go to the rodeo and then coming from the rodeo we went into this restaurant to eat and I hadn't spent any of the money yet. They kind of give me the eye about picking up the tab but I didn't jar loose with any money yet, and I came home without spending any money (laughing). When I gave the change back to my mother she kind of gave me a tongue-lashing and sent me over to Sanford's to give him some of my money to help pay for my expense. So I had to go back over (laughing) and pay him off, so to speak.
LaVOY: Well, you gave it a good try.
ROGERS: Yeah. I got carried away there. I remember this Irvie Sanford, Jr., was quite an automobile enthusiast. He had an old Model T cut down Ford in his garage in the back of the rooming house there. He was cranking it one day and the thing kicked back--Model T's had a habit of doing that--and broke his right wrist, both bones, and they had to pin it. I recall to the day he passed away he had a big scar on each side of his wrist where they had worked on his arm. I think I'm spending too much time on this blasted restaurant.
LaVOY: Very interesting.
ROGERS: Well, I can recall in this restaurant the Rotary Club from time to time would meet in there and I can recall Judge Guild [Clark J. Guild]. Old Judge walked with a cane and was somewhat crippled. He was quite a dapper dresser, his straw hat all cocked to one side and his nice jacket. He'd drive up to the sidewalk and park with his Stanley Steamer and that thing fascinated me because it was kind of a chuggety, chuggety, chug motion as it sat there and vibrated. He'd crawl out of the thing and then there'd be I. H. Kent, and then Ira Hamlin Kent, I. H.'s son, Tom Dolf, Andy Haight [A. L. Haight], Ernest Blair. I think he was the treasurer at that time. This was the early days of the Rotary Club after its formation, and Mr. Laveaga [Paul] was the Sergeant of Arms and of course Laveagas had my favorite ice cream parlor on the north side of the Rex Theater [73 S. Maine Street] which is now the Fallon Theater. Man, they had good milk shakes in there. Mmmmm I'll never forget them.
LaVOY: Now, these men would come in an have lunch at the restaurant?
ROGERS: Yes, they would come in and have their lunch and their meetings, their horse play just like they do today.
LaVOY: And now many years later you are a member of Rotary.
ROGERS: Yeah, that is right. It's hard to believe. There was Joe Jarvis, old Herb Roe who was the undertaker, no, it wasn't Jarvis they had the Fallon Mercantile at the time along with Jake Bible. Their head meat cutter was Harry Heck, Sr., the father of young Harry that we know today. Harry Heck had a daughter and another son, I think the other son was Carl. Harry Sr's. first wife, I understand, was a Kaiser. She passed away shortly after young Harry's birth. That really tore up Harry Sr. He was a prince of a fellow, he really was, it really got to him real bad. Also, in talking about deaths, I remember this Mrs. Smith's son, his name was Frank Pepper. Her name was Pepper years ago when she came from Wonder. She was remarried to a fellow named Smith. Anyway, Frank going out on the road to Schurz before it was ever paved or anything. It was just a dirt trail and he went into that drain ditch that's south of the fairgrounds today and turned over in his Model T. and it crushed him to death. I recall the Deputy Sheriff, R. J. Vannoy, coming in to tell Mrs. Smith about his death and of course she was very much shook up. The next day they brought the old Model T into town and parked it behind the restaurant there and they were looking at it. The top was all caved in and weeds and dirt in the car. That was a sad thing.
LaVOY: Well, do you have anything more that you'd like to tell us about the restaurant, if not we'll go on to when you started school.
ROGERS: Well, I could come back to it I guess.
LaVOY: No, go ahead and tell us now.
ROGERS: Well, because I did start to school in 1923, 1924, 1925 I went to grade school at St. Clair. The St. Clair school building was a one room school house that held all grades, one through eight. It was located on Bass Road where Richard Bass lives today, you know that cream-colored house there? It was right in there. [3375 Bass Road].
LaVOY: Who was your teacher?
ROGERS: My first school teacher was Daisy Lucas. She lived on the north end of Lucas Road just west of "Little Sodie" [Little Soda Lake] and she would drive that road each day to the school, in the winter time. I don't know how she did it. She'd start up the old, big pot bellied stove probably as big around as this table with an iron case around it and the stove was inside of it, to heat the building. Behind her desk was another small store room area and outside we had we had two holers, I guess, (laughing) one building was for the girls and was for the boys. There was a swing, and one of these things on a pole that go around and around. You hang on to it and swing out into it. In fact, I have pictures in here somewhere where we were playing on this thing (laughing). In this period of time when my mother was working in town we leased the place, and she moved into one of Obie Harrell's little cabins and I was transferred into what is now West End School. Of course it was a two-story brick building with a fire escape slide arrangement on the back. Have you seen pictures of the Old High?
LaVOY: Yes, I have.
ROGERS: Well, that West End School and the Old High School, you have to look close to see which one is which. I imagine they used the same architect design for the West End school. And Lucy Burton was one of the teachers that I was familiar with at West End School. One of the big treats of the day at West End School, -- not of the day, I guess it was year. When they were about to close the school year down, why, she would take us up into the belfry and show us the big bell that was up in there, where they'd ring the classes in. That was a big treat to stand on that balcony and you could see for two or three blocks around (laughing). I remember one time at West End, we heard the fire sirens blowing very frantically and when we went out to recess we could look toward the center of town and we saw all of this black smoke coming up--huge smoke--so when noon hour came around we all dashed downtown and sure enough it was a good fire just north of where Jeff's store is today. This hotel, rooming house and Barrel House and I believe a bakery, maybe a barber shop too, I've forgotten now just what was in there. They were all burnt to the ground, nothing left.
LaVOY: Now, would that be where the Western Hotel is now?
ROGERS: No, this side, between--you know where Merton Domonoske's office is? From there back to Jeff's. There's a little recreation thing in there for kids today. It's been a bar and a number of things through the years. But that was all rebuilt--the barber shop, the bakery and a couple of stores in there.
LaVOY: Is that the bakery that a Mr. Johnson owned?
ROGERS: Yes, that's right. Yeah, I believe he was a big Dutchman or something, I don't recall now, but he was a big mar. He had a bakery in there. [M. B. Johnson Bakery]
LaVOY: And his daughter, Beth, I believe helped him in it?
ROGERS: Could be. I just don't remember. The barber shop was owned--Nicholas Jesch--you've heard of Helen Jesch Tolotti in Reno now and Frances and the whole Jesch family which in turn ties back to the Dietz family who were early settlers up in the Northam District. Johnny Bergin was a barber with Nick Jesch. I think those two gentlemen were barbers up at the Dam during its construction and then they moved into Fallon as the project up there diminished with the turnup of the Dam facility.
LaVOY: I understand that Mr. Jesch was a member of the Volunteer Fire Department and if he was shaving you and your face was covered with lather, he just threw off his apron and left you right there until the fire was over. Is that correct?
ROGERS: That's right, he'd take off. The fire station at the time was located just north of Heck's Market, the butcher shop there on Maine Street. Right now there's Heck's Market and there's an accountant, Lynn Broyles. The fire station was just north of that and faced the alley. The big bell that's down in front of the new firehouse today, well, I won't say it's new--twenty or thirty years ago--is still hanging in front of the fire house but that used to be in this fire house on Center and Maine. I believe that old fire station and even before it was a fire station was a schoolhouse located where--is it the Fallon Bank [Fallon National Bank] building and then the schoolhouse and then after it ceased being a schoolhouse it was turned around and became the fire station. They housed Old Betsy which is in the Museum today. It may have housed the horse drawn fire rig--what were they called--the smoke billowing out of the thing--I have a picture of that here somewhere too. Anyway that was where the fire station used to be. And as you say, Nick Jesch and other firemen would dash down and get on Old Betsy and away they'd go. I recall one time, this was later years of course, that Kent's, where Tom Kent is today, on the east side of their big concrete building that they store grain, barley and what have you in there and seeds. There was another plain building, a pretty good size with this sloping roof, it came to a point and then sloped down on all four sides, and Nick was up there working on the roof. I don't know what happened, he slipped and fell to the ground and I think it broke his arm or shoulder or something. It was rather a shake up to see Nick fall off that roof. He was a good man though, a very good fellow.
LaVOY: Well, now, getting back to the fire that you left the school to see, did your teacher chide all of you for going down there?
ROGERS: Well, this was during the noon hour and we had an hour's break and it wasn't too bad. We had no school yard at that time. It was just Center Street ran up in front of what is now West End and made a circle around through the weeds and things and then headed east. Because West End sat out in the corner of Sam Mori's hay field. I know during class you could hear them, in the summer, getting ready to cut hay. You could look out and see the mowers working and the hay rakes cutting hay in this area right here, it was all fields.
LaVOY: While you were in the classroom?
ROGERS: In the classroom, yeah. In September when the last cutting would take place.
LaVOY: What were some of the subjects that you took?
ROGERS: Of course that would be reading, writing and arithmetic I guess, all through the three or four or five years.
LaVOY: Well, now, after you left West End School where did you go?
ROGERS: From there I went to Oats Park. I did have a short period in San Francisco somewhere between 1929 and 1930. I lived with my mother's sister and her husband.
ROGERS: Well, getting back to the Lincoln Cafe, it changed hands somewhere around that time. It was sold to a Mrs. Ryan an her husband, Jack. They were, I believe from the Hawthorne area. Mother worked part time for those people. I remember, Mr. Ryan had a little drinking problem and Mrs. Ryan would be crying there, wrapping bread. It was tragic for her. My mother wasn't too satisfied with things there and at that time we had leased the property to another gentleman here in the Fallon area and he had it I think for roughly four years, 1927 to 1931, someplace along in there. He was a dairy farmer and he took over the ranch operation. Then we went to San Francisco for a year with my aunt and her husband and their four children. We lived on Bacon Street (laughing) [201 Bacon Street] there was no freeways or bridges at that time over the Bay. It was a fascinating thing to ride the ferry and the thing I loved doing most would be getting on the street car which was number twenty-five. Bacon Street was located in the south end of San Francisco, a little to the east, which later became the Bayshore Highway, right in front. San Bruno Avenue was the main thoroughfare and that's where the street car was. I can recall riding that street car, along with my mother, and I'd try to sit right up along side of the motorman to watch him work the levers and clang the bell as we went down through the various streets, and it terminated on the corner of Fifth and Market. There we would get off and do our shopping or whatever it was. The motorman would move the electric rod from the back end of the trolley, pull it down and lock it in, and raise the back of the rod at the other end of the trolley back up to the wire so you could go back.
LaVOY: Now, you were about ten years old at this time?
ROGERS: I was about twelve. I remember right near Fifth and Market there was the Emporium and Hales Department Store and the mobs and mobs of people walking up and down the streets.
LaVOY: So for a boy that was raised in the country that must have been very exciting. When did you return to Fallon?
ROGERS: Yes, it was. We came back in 1930, I'll skip these San Francisco years. We returned and lived back in Fallon in 1930, 1931, 1932 and again we lived in one of Obie Harrell's cabins on Stillwater Avenue. I think it was the rear cabin. Then my mother went back and did some temporary work for this Mrs. Ryan. Somewhere in this time frame my mother accepted employment in Carson City, in the Whifflebird Restaurant which was located on the main drag in Carson? This little restaurant was owned by V. E. Mahyer and his wife and their daughter Julie [End of tape 1]
ROGERS: That’s Vicki instead of what I gave you. Now, some of my memories of Carson City will be very brief. The restaurant didn't have their own ice cream supply. They used the supply in the bar which is to the north of this little restaurant. It was Burger's Saloon I believe it was called at that time, and on occasions they would send me after an order of vanilla, or chocolate or strawberry through the back fence. There was a loose board I just shifted to one side and go through the boards and go in and get these two or three dishes of ice cream and bring them back through the alley into the restaurant (laughing).
LaVOY: They were actually in dishes, not in boxes?
ROGERS: Glass dishes, little ice cream dishes. And I can recall one time wandering around Carson City and I walked up to the capitol front door and Governor Balzar [Governor Fred Balzar] opened the door for me. I wandered in and looked around in the hallway there, and I was quite taken aback by the Governor opening the door for me, a little old snot nosed brat (laughing). Then I can recall playing around the old square round house, which they are now tearing down, and to the east of that was a railroad turntable. Engines or cars would drive up on this turntable and they'd manually turn it around so they could go in the other direction. The west side of town ended at St. Teresa's [St. Teresa of Avila-108 N. Minnesota St. Carson City]. That was the west end of town. Just down the street from it was the brewery and across the street from the brewery was the school house that I went to, which has been torn down since then.
LaVOY: What was the name of that school?
ROGERS: You know, I don’t remember.
LaVOY: It wouldn’t be the Northside school, by any chance?
ROGERS: I really don’t know. I just don’t know. I think a Mr. Priest was the superintendent of the school at that time. I believe the old brewery now is an art center.
LaVOY: Yes, it is.
ROGERS: From then on down toward main street, that's where Annie Legarza had a home, and when she and John [John Rebol] married they lived-in this home. Ah, well, such is life.
LaVOY: Well, when did you move back to Fallon?
ROGERS: Well my dates are a little bit fuzzy on that, I think it was somewhere around 1932. We returned to the Fallon area and we moved out into the country on what is now Lima Lane into an old frame building which was the Doc Morrow home on Sheckler. Dr. Morrow and his wife, I guess, in the early days had eighty acres there, and the old Morrow house is located right where the Wallace Lima [2715 Lima Lane] residence is today. An irrigation supply ditch cut this ranch in half and the north forty was the house and the south forty later on was sold to the Fred Facha family. And of course Wallace Lima, he’s been deceased now, but Lima had that north forty.
LaVOY: Your mother went back into the farming actually then?
ROGERS: Yes, she was in-between the farming and trying to get resettled. At that time this gentleman that had the ranch leased from us--his lease was up and I think he moved to another portion of the valley out around Beach District in that vicinity out near the Navy Base. Of course the Navy Base wasn't there then, but he moved out in the Cushman Road area.
LaVOY: But she didn't go back on your original place?
ROGERS: Well, yes, we did, finally. We moved from the Morrow place back to the old ranch home and had to refurbish the house and work over things to get back in business. I know, my mother had to borrow a little money and I recall Joe Jarvis co-signing a note for her. That's one thing I remember about Mr. Jarvis, that's Laurada's [Laurada Jarvis Hannifan] father and Inabelle's dad, [Inabelle Jarvis Hansen] a prince of a man. When we lived on the old Morrow place my schooling was jumbled up a bit, I lost a year or two in here from Carson and San Francisco, and I was a sickly little brat when I was young, too. When I was about nine, my mother was again working at this cafe in town. They put me in this hospital--not the Moore Hospital--but, God, I've forgotten the ladies name--anyway, there's a bar in that thing now. It's on the corner of Williams and Nevada and Dr. Dempsey operated on me. He took out my tonsils, my adenoids and he clipped my palate. I was a sick kid for a few days in that place. Nona Kinney [Mrs. N. M. Kinney] was the head of that little hospital. The Moore Hospital was also on Nevada Street where Mrs. Walker, the photographer, [Mary Foster] lives today. And my schoolbus driver, well I rode into school with Willie Christani[?], that’s an uncle to Alice Shultz. She was a…
LaVOY: Maffi [?}
ROGERS: Maffi. That’s it. I was trying to think of that name. She was married to- Alice, that’s Christani’s sister, was married to Adele Maffi, and in turn Alice Shultz was her daughter. And this Willie Christani… I can’t get this right. Willie was a brother of his, and you know I’d have to look up the cemetery to remember his name. I’ve forgotten it [Ed- none of this was transcribed and I am not entirely familiar with these names, so I am uncertain on spelling or accuracy]
LaVOY: Well, that’s alright.
ROGERS: Anyway, he graduated from high school and shortly after that he died. Young fellow, young man. And somewhere in that timeframe Willie Capucci was a bus driver. And then…
LaVOY: Now, this is when you would have been starting high school?
ROGERS: I was winding up Oats Park in about the winter of 1933. I can recall that graduation exercises in the auditorium of Oats Park. The Chairman of the Board at that time was S. R. [Ray] Downs, a white haired gentleman and then Mr. E. C. Best and the other teachers in the area. We were in this auditorium which during class time was a music room, but they fixed it up for graduation services. They had these wooden folding chairs lined up for all of us graduates to sit in. There was a couple of kids that didn't make it in because it was a real stormy winter, lots of snow and ice, and they told us to move over about two chairs. When I raised up about a half an inch to slide over, a nail in this folding chair caught my little pants and ripped the seat out of it (laughing) and oh, man, what an embarrassment. I thought it was a hole as big as a house there 'cause it made a rip, and when we started to march up toward the stage to receive our diplomas I just went out the fire door out into the hallway (laughing). I didn't go up on the stage. I thought my whole pants were out. Well, actually it was only about a two inch square, well, angle, really.
LaVOY: And you didn't get your diploma?
ROGERS: Well, they just brought it out to me in the hall.
LaVOY: Let you come back and sit down?
ROGERS: I just don't remember, I think it was all over. When they passed out the diplomas that was the end. They had a program ahead of time. I don't know what it was now. But, music like they have at graduations. Little speech or two. But anyway, that was that (laughing). As I said we returned back to the ranch property. My mother bought a few milk cows and also started a chicken business. That's when I learned how to milk cows, separate the milk and the cream, turning the old separator, feed the cattle, cleaning the barn and the corrals and take care of the new born calves, and we raised pigs. My mother raised chickens, young poultry from the egg up, you might say. She had purchased an incubator. Oh, it must have been about six, eight feet long and about roughly three or four feet wide and they had these trays that the eggs were placed in. Of course we hoped they were fertile eggs. Put them in these trays and shoved them in the incubator and the heat came from hot water coils that circulated around the inside of this incubator. The water was heated by a kerosene lamp. You'd start this little lamp and stick it into this incubator and heat the water and I forget how many days it takes for chickens to hatch, but every day, I don't know whether you did it once or twice a day, she'd pull the tray out and change the position of the eggs and put it back in. She had this incubator located in the bedroom [laughing] of all
places, no place else to put it. She put it in there and then when the little chickies were hatched we had a brooder house. Our old garage where the Model T used to be housed, had been converted into a brooder house. She had one of these kerosene brooder stoves with the steel hood that hung over the edges of the circular thing, and a little fence around it to put the little baby chicks in it. That was quite a chore keeping that brooder stove going and taking care of those little chickens.
LaVOY: Did she sell them as fryers as they got larger?
ROGERS: Yes, as they grew she sold off fryers, and then there was some chickens she raised for laying hens. We placed them into this long chicken house that my father was working on when he passed away. That was quite a chore keeping that place clean every weekend. We had to go in there with a wheelbarrow. There were boards for the chickens to rest at night and of course, below these boards were the dropping boards where the manure would fall and then we'd go underneath this board and rake the chicken manure into a tub, and wheel it out over toward the old river--creek which was the south branch of the Carson River. Of course, the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] wasn't around in those days. We dumped the manure into the water. It floated on down and maybe people were bathing in it and cows drinking the water and everything else, but who ever thought of the bugs that were floating around in those days?
LaVOY: And did she sell eggs from the chickens?
ROGERS: Yes. The nests were along the east wall of the chicken house and we had to go in there everyday, you'd have to put straw in there to make it soft so the chickens wouldn't break the eggs. Once in awhile you'd have a skunk sneak in and suck a few eggs and maybe kill off a chicken or two. I know we killed a couple of skunks in there one time. Messy, smelly, hard to get rid of the odor. Also in the house, we didn't have any electricity. We had the kerosene lamp and then the electricity was put into the place. I think Melvin Lewis was the one that wired the house.
LaVOY: Now, that was after the REA [Rural Electrification Agency] came into effect?
ROGERS: Well, I don't know. I think the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District was the power company at that time. Mel was an independent electrical contractor and later on he became the superintendent of the electrical department. In 1933 when I graduated from grammar school I went in mid-year, 1933, that's the time I recall Anne Gibbs Berlin. She was leaving high school along with, I think, one of the Best girls [Elizabeth]. Norma Jean Mills married Robert Best. Grant Sawyer's brother [Pete Sawyer] married this other Best girl [Elizabeth]. I was in school with Caroline Best the youngest daughter. There was two boys, Robert Best who lives in Carson today and Eldon Best who later on became my boss in the Telephone Company. How we tie together, huh? Now, I went to high school and that was four and a half years. Now, the beginning of 1934 through 1937 I inherited, or managed to obtain, the school bus driving job. At that time the high school boys could drive the bus. Of course the buses in those days were not very big, twenty, twenty-five people was about it and of course, the old buses had no heaters, no door, and no windows, they just had this black cloth you'd roll down and hook and eye in the winter time and the old canvas curtain over the doorway. The floor boards were so well-worn you could look through the floor boards and see the dirt going by and the road going by. You'd let up on the gas and the fumes would come up into the truck. Of course, they were well-ventilated so the fumes didn't bother you (laughing).
LaVOY: Well, now, what type of a vehicle did you drive?
ROGERS: Well, my bus for three years was a 1928 six-cylinder Chevrolet. It was one of the first six-cylinder Chevrolets that was out. Then in the fourth year they took this six-cylinder and I believe they were going to change bodies and put a metal body on it, and I inherited old bus number four, a 1926 Chevrolet, a four-cylinder and that particular winter 1936-1937 was a bad one. We had cold and snow and again these old buses had no anti-freeze. You had to drain it every night in the winter time. Drain it out, heat some water on your stove, again it was a wood and coal stove. You had the chores to do, like getting the kindling in and wood and so on. But in the morning you had to warm the water and pour it very gingerly into the engine and warm up the motor.
LaVOY: Did you keep the bus at your home?
ROGERS: Yes, I kept it at the home, not like they do today. I think they bring them clear back to town.
LaVOY: Did you have a definite route that you drove?
ROGERS: Yes. My route was from home out to St. Clair Road. I went west on St. Clair Road to what is now Lima Lane, then I went south to Schindler Lane. I picked up a number of the Casey family children there and for a short period of time I went out into what is now known as Solias Road and picked up this one girl, Emma Hall was her name, lived--oh, must have been another couple of miles, it was just through the boonies. There was no road just a trail, past the old Lou Schaeffer place on south another mile to this little cabin and pick up this girl and then bring her back into the Schindler Road and then north to pick up all the Lima children and then to the corner of Sheckler Road and Lima Lane and I picked up the four Imus boys. There's only one of the Imus boys left, Wendell. His older brother, Elvin, was badly injured in World War II, paralyzed, and his brother, Austin, was in the banking business. I think he was killed in an auto accident over by Wabuska.
LaVOY: Did you have any old buddies that you picked up on the bus?
ROGERS: No, I don't think so. My closer friend lived in town here. His name was Mason Coverston, that was Cousie Coverston or Cousie Nelson's younger brother, and we chummed around a lot. Many times when my mother-getting back in the restaurant, in the Lincoln Cafe days I would play with him. I'd stay over nights many time at his place. They lived on the corner of Stillwater and Humboldt, right east of the Methodist Church today. Talking about the Methodist Church very briefly, in the winter of 1928 the Methodist Church was down on the corner of Broadway and A Street, a big framed structure. They had the church part of it, the pews and the altar area. The front and the back was a recreation hall. I was at a Halloween party for some reason or another in this hall. After the party I went back to the restaurant and my mother and I went back to the ranch. The next morning when she drove into town I got to the restaurant, the excitement the big excitement, "Oh gosh, we had a big fire in town last night." "What happened?" " The Methodist Church burned [Oct. 11, 1928] down!" My gosh, I dashed on down to see and sure enough it was gone. Just a pile of ashes, (laughing) that was all that was left.
LaVOY: The revelers got carried away.
ROGERS: Well, as the story goes--I don't know if there's any truth to it or not--on the north side of the Methodist Church--I hesitate to mention the people's names--they operated, in a poultry house which was up against the Church, a still. The wind was blowing that night and the still blew over or something and caught fire and burnt down the church (laughing).
LaVOY: Oh, my goodness.
ROGERS: I don't know if this is true or not, but I've heard.
LaVOY: It's an interesting story whether it is or isn't.
ROGERS: I've heard tell, do you remember Ramon Arrizabalaga? Well, his folks operated the Grand Hotel on north Maine Street just east of the Court House. [40 N. Maine St.]
LaVOY: That’d be east of the courthouse?
ROGERS: Yes, across Maine Street. That two story – I believe it’s apartments upstairs now and below is a health food store in there. And where the health food store is that used to be the lobby of the hotel. This, again, is hearsay. Ramon used to be the runner for the libation for some of the clients of the hotel. He'd run over to the saloon and pick up a few bottles of this bootleg whiskey and bring it back and his dad would serve the customers. But again, this is a story.
LaVOY: Well, now getting back, I believe we were talking about your school bus driving. Did you have any interesting stories that happened to you while you were driving the school bus?
ROGERS: Well, Jay Babb was the head mechanic for the bus sheds. His first assistant was Schmaling Walker and then following Schmaling Walker was Dick Whisenhunt. In the cold weather they would tell me to go to the pump section of this old 1934 Chevrolet four-cylinder engine and poke a wire down into the pump to get the oil to circulate in the engine. It wasn't a very good engine. It was quite old and many, many miles on it. And I recall, this cold winter we were coming down Lima Lane going north and just about in front of the what we called the Jack Thayer place at that time, is now Sterling Lima's. The engine blew a rod and started knocking. So I shut off the engine and one of the students, walked on up to the Lima ranch and phoned into Jay Babb, the bus shed boss man, and told him we broke down. So, Dick Whisenhunt grabbed another truck or a bus and came out and towed us into town (laughing). That was all big excitement. I remember while this truck was down being overhauled, they loaned me an old four-cylinder Dodge. The cylinders in that thing must have been six inches across. When it would operate it would just, putt, putt, putt, and the shifting in that old Dodge was just the reverse of the so-called standard shift today. Well, first would be low, then--it had four gears you know--low, intermediate, second and high. And this Dodge configuration was just backwards. Getting back to interesting things, when I obtained this job as a school bus driver I didn't know how to drive a stick shift automobile. All I knew how to drive was a Model T where you pushed on the pedals and so on. Luckily I had a neighbor down the street, to the south of us, named James McGoldrick and his family. James had an old 1930 Model A. He took me out on the country roads and was teaching me how to shift gears or use a clutch and press on the accelerator and all that. I ground those gears down, I'm telling you--it ground, and banged and he'd cuss and scream at me and finally it sunk in what I was to do.
LaVOY: And the poor parents didn't know that you were driving their children and you didn't know how to drive.
ROGERS: That's right (laughing) I didn't. But by the time I got through with his car though, tearing up the gears, I did catch on how to shift gears. Then when Jay gave me the bus, he took me out for a drive and taught me a few wrinkles about the bus. And I got by. We had governors on the thing so you couldn't go very fast. You'd only go twenty-five miles an hour and it would shut you off, you'd slow down and go again. So they were pretty safe.
LaVOY: Well, now, you drove until you graduated from high school?
ROGERS: Yes, the last year that I drove they permitted you to have a conductor to keep discipline on the bus, which is kind of a farce but, the kids that were on the bus that I drove were all a good bunch of kids. There were no rowdies in the group but this conductor was a girl, Tom Pflum's sister, Edna and she received the fabulous sum of four dollars a month to perform her duties. When I first started to drive bus, let's see the first two years I received sixteen dollars a month, the third year I received nineteen dollars a month and the last year it was twenty dollars a month.
LaVOY: You were moving up in the financial world.
ROGERS: Oh, it was really getting up there. In those times, a dollar went quite a ways and it sure helped us on our meager income on the ranch there, because it was a struggle, it really was, taking care of the chickens and the pigs. You'd have to get up in the morning and take care of the stock and get the bus ready to go and then change clothes, make your route, then go to school, then walk across town to the bus sheds. See, the bus sheds were over where Oats Park is today, where the bus sheds are now, only it was the old tin building that you see there today. I know Mario Peraldo was a bus driver in my time. Bill Lee--I believe he's been interviewed--was also a bus driver for a short time in those years, and this Dale Miller that you saw in this photograph I was showing you a minute ago, was a bus driver, and Charlie Miller and, oh, I might try to mention all these people but gosh,--Leon Vaughn was a bus driver and it goes on and on.
LaVOY: Now you did this to earn some money. Did you ever get a chance to go to any of the dances at the schools?
ROGERS: No. I never did go, because I had this Model T and it was a struggle to go anywhere in that thing.
LaVOY: So you basically kept your mother company?
ROGERS: Oh, yeah. Of course it had an Armstrong starter, and if you had tire trouble you had to repair the whole thing right there where you broke down. You couldn't change a rim or anything. You had to repair it--repair the inner tube and put it back together and pump up the tire and go on. So I was at home most of the time.
LaVOY: Tell me about your high school graduation. You didn't have any nail trouble then did you?
ROGERS: No, I'm trying to think--I do remember in high school in those years, the 1930's when George E. McCracken, a fabulous instructor, was the principal of the school. His policy was that the girls were on the north side and the boys were on the south side and they did not mix only in the classrooms. And any of the school socials like dances, the boys and gals, when they were dancing, kept plenty of daylight between them (laughing). There was no close dancing in his time. And he was quite a disciplinarian. If you had four demerits you were given the boot, I think, for two or three weeks, I didn't get that many. I got one or two but when I got that far along I thought I'd better shape up or--I was afraid of losing my school bus job.
LaVOY: Now, did you go to church while you were in high school or were you just so busy that you just didn't get in?
ROGERS: Oh, no. Yes, we went every Sunday.
LaVOY: And where did you go?
ROGERS: St. Patrick's, the old St. Patrick's over on the corner of East and Richards Street.
LaVOY: Was there a priest that was stationed here?
ROGERS: Well, in the twenties the Fallon church was a mission out of Yerington. I can remember Father O'Connell and Duckham coming over, I think--on the even Sundays they'd come to Fallon and the odd Sundays they'd be in Yerington. It was around 1932 that Bishop Gorman became the Bishop of the Nevada diocese. The Fallon church was established as a separate parish of its own. I have a list of all the parish priests throughout the history of St. Patricks, but it's all over in McShane's [Father John McShane] hands right now, the whole works is over there. I hope I get it back. I don't want to lose all that. [end of tape 2 side A]
LaVOY: Well, did you have any church functions that you ever went to Sundays after Mass?
ROGERS: Well, when I was younger,--the younger years--we had religious instruction by the ladies of the parish, similar to what they have today. In the pews, we'd go through either the catechism or Bible history.
LaVOY: Was one of those lady instructors named Miss Kenny?
ROGERS: I don't know about her so much but Mrs. L. A. Covell and Mrs. Raymond Robinson was the ones that I recall. I do remember Elizabeth Kenny and her brother, George Kenny, the attorney. Two fine, fine people.
LaVOY: Who were some of the young people that attended church with you?
ROGERS: Well, I can remember Ramon Arrizabalaga, his sister Marie [Arrizabalaga Moiola], their brother, Felix, Johnny Rebol and his sisters, Ann and Mary--Mary lives in California now. Ray and Mary Robinson's children. Let's see there was a son, Raymond, a daughter, Sally, Eleanor and I think Margaret. Margaret later became a nun, and I believe she is still residing today around the Redwood City area. The Alvin Perrier family with all his--there was a Woodrow Perrier, I recall him in school. Grace Solaegui [Perrier] and her sister, Mary, and a brother----he was lost in the war. He was in the Merchant Marine.
LaVOY: All the Solaegui children . .
ROGERS: All the Solaegui children, right, and the Jesch families. The Pflums, Tommy Pflum, his sisters Edna and Virginia and Wilva.
LaVOY: There was quite a community.
ROGERS: Oh, yeah, the Erquiagas were all there, Erquiagas, Madrasos, Leno and Johnny. Did I say Trigueiros and Armases from Stillwater? Both families were large. I know, the Armases all stacked in a little old Model A (laughing) coming to town. I've forgotten what the Trigueiros came in, and the Vieras also in Stillwater, came in.
LaVOY: It was quite a parish community.
ROGERS: Yeah, oh, the Kinneys, the Hannifans, the Jack Hannifan family. They were older than the Maurice, Sr. family. There was the two boys and two girls. John R. later on was the county clerk/treasurer and then became the secretary for the irrigation district, sorry to say he passed away with a tumor, and Martin who was a mining engineer up in the Montana area. Grace, who later married a Mr. Hanks and resided in Ely for a number of years. Now she's in the Reno area. And the other sister, Eileen became a nun. Her sister's name became Sister Kieran.
LaVOY: Well, now moving school. Did you on, now you have graduated from high have to go right to work?
ROGERS: Let me see here. During the summer months of high school, I worked out for the District on what they call the "bull" gang.
LaVOY: Now, what District?
ROGERS: TCID [Truckee-Carson Irrigation District]. We went out on the ditches and canals and put in head gates and burned weeds along the ditches. The government programs were going along like WPA [Works Progress Administration] and all the various relief programs. I worked on two different programs, I worked on the program where we removed the old wooden water line from Rattlesnake Hill, coming down the hill--it was wooden wrapped with wire. We brought that into town and reburied it as a storm drain line right down South Maine Street, from the corner of Richards south to what is the Museum. It was a river at that time, the center branch of our three rivers through Fallon.
LaVOY: But what did you replace the wooden with?
ROGERS: They were metal iron pipe and during that time the first concrete storage tank for the City water supply, to keep the pressure available for fires and so on down town was being constructed.
LaVOY: Where was that?
ROGERS: On top of Rattlesnake Hill. The first tank is still up there. It had a kind of a flimsy roof on this tank, and through the years developed many holes and there were times when they found a few rabbits and a few snakes and few lizards and rats in the water
(laughing). Isn't that nice? Then later years when I was on the council why they added another two huge tanks to the east of this tank. I think the capacity was, I don't know whether a half a million or a million and this one tank made it up about three million capacity today.
LaVOY: What project took care of that, of the digging up of the old wooden . . ?
ROGERS: WPA, Works Progress Administration. The fellow that I worked with lots that I rather enjoyed was John Dabol. We worked on digging up this whole pipe. The place where it was really involved was right in front of the A. D. Drumm Construction yard which is now the telephone's plant south of town. Maine Street stopped there, it didn't go any further. It was just sand hills on over to the river and we had to dig through these sand hills. The walls of the trench were about as deep as this ceiling which is roughly ten feet. It's a miracle that the sand did not cave in on us, but it didn't, we got through there and we buried the pipe and filled it in. You can see the intake to this drain in front of the old Drumm property that's there today, down there in the corner at the Stillwater, Fairview and Richards where the storm drain water drains into the old river.
LaVOY: What other projects did you work on?
ROGERS: Well, I would go out on the old fairgrounds which was north of what is now the Bonanza [fairgrounds approx 890 W Williams Ave, Bonanza 855 W Williams Ave]. There was the rodeo corrals and grounds, the arena. We would remove the old boards and take 'em down and we would remove the nails and reuse the nails. We'd cut up these old worn boards for fire wood or whatever and then replace the boards. And any little spare time why you'd have a shovel and go out around the fire plugs around Fallon and dig the weeds (laughing).
LaVOY: It certainly kept you busy.
ROGERS: Well, we were awfully busy. Three hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon and half of that was spent discussing world situations (laughing).
LaVOY: Well, now, when you really had to go to work after you
graduated from high school where did you go?
ROGERS: Well, I was on the farm there for a couple of years and then in 1939 I had a serious sickness. I developed appendicitis and my mother took me into Dr. Summerbell [Ferris Summerbell]. He examined me and said, "I'm afraid you have a ruptured appendix and you have got to get to Reno, now I'll get in touch with Dr. Stadther [A. L. Stadther] and he will work on you as soon as you get in there." Man, I was scared to death. All we had was a Model T so my mother called the Pflum family. They had a 1931 Model A so Tom Pflum drove me to Reno in this Model A, and I was swelling up in the stomach, swelling and swelling. As we were going down through the canyon around McCarren Ranch area it was raining pitchforks, just really coming down. The old Ford was a runnin' on three cylinders on into St. Mary's [Regional Medical Center, 235 W. Sixth St. Reno]. They wheeled me into the hospital there and the clergy came up to see me. That was the first time I'd ever seen Father Sheehy [James] who later was the parish priest in Fallon. He was the assistant chaplain or something there at St. Mary's. He visited me for a minute or two then they wheeled me up into the operating room and I passed out and they did their job. In those days they didn't have all the antibiotics that they have today. When I was back down to the room, it was a four bed ward. Luckily, there was only one other person in the room. They had a big tube sticking out of my side into a bucket and the odor was terrible, like a chicken house full of dead chickens. I had a nurse the clock around, twenty-four hours, each eight hour shift was a different lady for a week. Then I was another three weeks after the nurses were taken off. During my recovery period up there I had the opportunity to be visited by Mrs. Carl Dodge and her daughter Marlea, who later became Mrs. Loring Primeaux. They would bring me ice cream and cake every time they came to visit Mr. Dodge who was seriously ill. I don't know whether he ever came out of the hospital alive at that time or not, because I think that was his last days.
LaVOY: Now, was that a relation of Carl Dodge?
ROGERS: Yes, Carl's father. But I remember Marlea and her mother. They were so nice bringing this little cake and ice cream to me and I sure appreciated their visits.
LaVOY: Well, you were very fortunate in having Dr. Stadther because he was Reno's outstanding surgeon.
ROGERS: You know, it was a strange thing, we had nothin'. Flat broke. Of course the costs at that time seemed like a lot but the whole works was only about four or five hundred dollars. And Dr. said, "Well, I'll tell you what you do. You pay off the hospital and then you pay me off." So by time payments through the years we managed to pay off the hospital and when that was paid off we started paying off the doctor on time payments. It took us about three years to pay him off, five bucks a month or something like that, which was big money for us. And every Christmas he'd send me a Christmas card. When we paid him off the Christmas cards stopped (laughing). But he was a great doctor, he really was.
LaVOY: Was Sister Seraphine [Sr. Mary Seraphine, OP] at the hospital then?
ROGERS: She sure was. And she came in and visited every patient in the hospital. Of course she was a very young woman at that time--in 1939. And later on in 1970-71 my mother was up there in this nursing home, and Sister Seraphine was still making her visit along with Sister Xavier [Sister Mary Xavier, OP]. This Sister Xavier was a fantastic person, I guess she was the head of nursing in the early years.
LaVOY: She was head of the surgery nurses.
ROGERS: In later years she was in her walker or a wheel chair and the strange thing that happened, every once in a while I'd hear she fell down. She broke a wrist, she broke an arm, she broke a leg, but she healed so fast, she's back on her feet again visiting patients. Those two ladies were just utterly fantastic. It's just hard to believe that there's that type of humans around, visit everybody and so nice.
LaVOY: Then you were in the hospital almost a month?
ROGERS: I was thirty days, yeah. During that time my mother obtained the services of a Rodrick Murchison who walked from the Murchison Ranch which was a mile and half or more from our place, to milk the cows in the morning, milk the cows in the evening. He did that for about two months--did those chores for us.
LaVOY: How long did it take before you were actually up on your feet and able to work again around the ranch?
ROGERS: Oh, I was out nearly all summer. It took me quite a while to get over that thing. It really did.
LaVOY: You're lucky to be alive.
ROGERS: Well, I should have been planted at that time. Everything would have been much better I think (laughing).
LaVOY: Oh, I don't think so, Harold. All right. Then, after you got so that you could work, where did you get a job?
ROGERS: This other government job was for the youth to work with government money. I was given a job down at the Nevada Highway maintenance yard on east Williams Avenue. The school district has the old highway yard for their operation today. I'd report for work there and I believe it was a George Coleman was the superintendent at that time. Pat Taggert and Willie Johnson were their crewmen and a couple of other people. That's where I started working for the maintenance department. They would drive along the highway I and some other boy would pick up the barrow pits--the hub cabs, the tires, the bottles, the whatever, throw it in this old truck. Then a little later on they put me in a big four wheel drive dump truck. This one gentleman, Mr. Taggert, would try to drive the truck but he had a lot of trouble shifting gears and everything, and they let me drive it. I could handle it pretty good so I took Taggert's job and he was a little bit furious at me for taking his job because he was the one that was packing me back and forth from the ranch to town because Taggert lived west of us about a mile and a half (laughing). God! Then that particular job ended and I thought, "Gee I'd like to get on that highway maintenance job. That's nice work. You burn the barrow pits and do maintenance on the roads, oil and tar and all that good stuff." Somehow or other my mother had contact with Fred Kirn out in the Harmon District.
LaVOY: He was the county commissioner?
ROGERS: I don't know whether he was a county commissioner at that time or not, he probably was. A very, very fine person. In fact there's a story about him and his wife and family, in the last In Focus, and it's right on the money. Well, Fred and his wife drove me to the state capitol and we had a little meeting with Governor Carville [E. P. "Ted" Carville] (laughing) right to the top, nothing in between. Then we dropped back down into the highway engineer's office, Robert Allen, and that's where I applied for a job. Well, a job from the highway department was offered to me, but it wasn't with the maintenance department, it was on a survey gang over in Ely. Well, being as we had this little ranch and the dairy and my mother a widow I just couldn't take this offer. So, Fred Kirn told me, "Why don't you come into the county telephone company they're doing a little maintenance work there and they could use a helper." So, December 1, 1940, I reported to work at the telephone office and Eldon Best was the wire chief at that time. He wasn't the official manager he was just the wire chief. A fellow named Waldo Davis was the installation repair trouble shooter--worked on telephone instruments and that type of thing. The crew that I was to work with was Chester Merling, the head lineman, and Chester had with him as a lineman William Hendricks from Yakima, Washington. He didn't stay here very long. He left shortly after I went to work. The third lineman was L. A. Hasty, they called him "Blacky" Hasty. In fact he was married to one of the Pirtle ladies, Hester. Esther Carter, you know Esther Carter she's a Pirtle and Hester and Esther, I think they were twins. Hester was married to Mr. Hasty and they lived out west of town on Casey Road. I was made a temporary "grunt" or groundman as they called them at that time. In the telephone company at that time the bookkeeper was Miss Ellen Wall, who was in charge of everything. She collected the money, she took orders for service, for installs, removals, trouble, the payroll, you name it. Anything in administration, she was the whole works--this one woman. The telephone operators at that time, I believe, was Lizzie Mulvaney, the daughter of this other Mrs. Mulvaney who was the midwife. And as I recall, there was Catherine Winder--that's George Winder's sister who has long passed away, Jeannie Cook, and later on her mother Hattie Cook, Norma Hiatt, Janet Yetter, Cora Harmon--later on was Cora Sanford, and Gladys Allison. Night operators were Edith Johnson and Marie Games, whom I later on, many, many years later, married (laughing). Of course there were other operators, they came and went. The company about that time was worth around ninety-eight thousand dollars, a total investment. We had some nine hundred telephones in service. Roughly five hundred sixty-five were what we called common battery where you just picked up the receiver and a light flashes on the board and the girl plugs in and says, "Number, please?" and then makes the connection. And then we had three hundred thirty-five of the magneto or crank telephones.
LaVOY: The ones that were out in the country?
ROGERS: Yes, they even used common batteries in the country, they were slowly making a transition at that time. Many years before that they were all magnetos and during the Townsend's years. Don Townsend who was the manager in the 1930's made a change from the Drop Board, the old magneto type board, to a Universal Switch Board which we could convert to magneto to common battery. Then later, of course, we changed to dial. Our service truck at that time, we had one Chevrolet, a 1936 with a regular telephone service body on it, a real sharp looking outfit. And we had one 1937 Ford ton truck with a flatbed on the back, and all the tools and supplies were heaped in a pile on this old truck.
LaVOY: Now, just a moment. Who owned the telephone company?
ROGERS: Well, the telephone company is and still is today owned by Churchill County. Its been in operation since August 5, 1889. It started out as a Western Union telegraph line and it was operated as a telegraph system for around roughly fifteen years. [tape cuts] Did I tell you how much we paid for it?
LaVOY: No, you didn't.
ROGERS: The commissioners back in those days paid nine hundred and seventy-five dollars to Western Union. The county commissioners were Joshua Cushman, Dave Wightman, and Walter Ferguson.
LaVOY: Those three men were responsible for purchasing it?
ROGERS: Yes, they were. Of course the settlers along the Carson River were needing some form of communication because of illnesses that would take place and so on, to get in contact with Wadsworth, which was a booming community in those days, a railroad center in fact. The big railroad center moved to Sparks and lasted its term of life, and then moved to Ogden. There's not much there in Sparks now except the fuel storage tanks. There are one or two brick buildings left.
LaVOY: But they purchased it from Western Union?
ROGERS: Yes, they purchased the old failing telegraph line from Virginia City to a point some twenty-five miles east of Stillwater.
LaVOY: How many miles of line did it have when you started working approximately? Can you recall?
ROGERS: Oh boy, you know I really don’t know. I really don’t know. I probably could look it up someplace, but I may have it in this pile right here…
LaVOY: Well, now, I believe we were discussing… what were you working on?
ROGERS: Well, I was a groundman and working with Chester and Blacky Hasty. We were going around the valley, the rural lines and the poles in those days were untreated. Today they're butt treated with a creosote solution with deep penetration, especially a special treatment at the ground line, so the poles will last. In this area they'll last fifty, sixty years. They'll fail from the top not from the bottom because of the creosote. But in this time none of the poles were treated and we'd go and physically shake the pole and when they'd pop why we'd just reset it down in the ground. Sometimes when they're reset they'd be too short so we'd have to come out with a small load of poles and replace those short poles with a little taller poles to keep the clearance.
LaVOY: Did you dig the holes by hand?
ROGERS: Yes, everything was by hand. My first day on the job, I think I've told this several times. Maybe people might get tired of it but I was sitting on the back of the old truck because there was no place in the cab for me to ride because there was Chester and Mr. Hasty and Hendricks, I was to sit in the back. We rode out here on the Stillwater Road right near the old Louis Freeman ranch. There had been an auto accident. This local gentleman was partying a bit too much the night before. I think he had about a 1936 or 1937 Buick sailing on the Stillwater road which was just a gravel road and lost some control, went over and took out a little fence, hit a power pole, cut it off, veered off across the Stillwater road again, cut off a telephone pole, and veered back again across the Stillwater road, hit another power pole and tore down a section of fence up to the third power pole where he came to a stop. About all it did to that old Buick was just cave in the bumper. That old car was built, I'm telling you, I could not believe it. Anyway, when we arrived at this wreckage of all this power plant and telephone plant, that's where I first come in contact with George Erb, who lived in the area. The Erb family had been here for centuries and he was in charge of the repair of the electric. Merling and Hasty and I and Hendricks were in charge of the telephone. Chester gave me a shovel and says, "Well, I want a hole just in front this broken off pole." The only hole I knew was a post hole like on a farm about eighteen inches down and about six or eight inches across. I dug (laughing) this hole for a fence post and Chester took one look at that. He's pretty handy with the verbiage, you know; the air would get a little bit blue overhead. He grabbed this shovel and, "I'll show you how to dig a hole." Well, he punched down this hole for the pole and he put it down four feet and about a good fourteen inches across. Then we physically lifted the pole and put it in the ground and back filled it with a tamping bar. We tamped in the dirt and then Chester or Hasty – I forget who now – climbed up the pole and transferred the cross arms off of the broken pole on to the new pole and repaired the wires and we were on our way. But that took about half a day to repair mess out there.
LaVOY: Did the man that ran into the poles have to pay the telephone company for it?
ROGERS: He probably did. I don't remember just how that was handled but I'm sure he did (laughing). That was my first experience on digging holes and from then on I learned how to do it. In fact I have one of the shovels I used. I used to take it home and later years when I was working as an installer I'd have to irrigate at night, and I needed a good irrigation shovel so I'd take this telephone shovel home with me and I'd irrigate all night on the farm. [End of tape 2]
ROGERS: It'd be rough days at the office after irrigating all night and especially if it'd be a rather slowish day. Of course, this irrigation problem was in effect when I was on the line crew and also when I was an installer. Getting back to the line crew, when we were out checking the old telephone lines, on occasions we would stop at the Stillwater store, the Hazen store or whatever outlying country store there was and then socialize a little bit, shall we say, cover the world's problems and solve everything and make the world better for democracy and all that. One of the favorite stores was the Les Greenwood and his mother's store in Stillwater. Down in this store we would take maybe two to three hours to get a problem solved. But in addition to solving problems we made most of our purchases of leather gloves and occasionally Levi pants because he had a good supply of clothes we liked to wear. He didn't have shoes though, I had to buy them in town. But, I'm still on the line crew I'm going to go ahead to about 1940, 1941. We made a minor addition to our telephone company's long distance plant, Fallon to Reno. You see the Churchill Company owned the wire plant from Fallon to downtown Fernley. Then at that point the Bell system picked it up and carried it on into Reno. Well, we had two open wire circuits and that's all that we had in Fallon at that particular time 1941, just two long distance circuits. So by the retransposing of these two wires, phantom transpositions and what have you, we added coils on each end and we made a third circuit we called a phantom circuit. That held the company for a day or two. Then the activity of the war was developing and there was some thought of taking over the desert land, which is now the NAS [Naval Air Station]. We were given the order to construct a magneto farmer line into what is now the base. We extended the line from the corner of Cushman and Beach Road, north across US 50 or the Lincoln Highway at that time, and about a quarter of a mile into what is now the base. Through sagebrush and weeds to a small frame cabin occupied by the Army. Then a little later on, I don't know how long, maybe months, why the Navy took over the proposed base. Of course, the base history has to be from the base I guess.
LaVOY: Well, now, just a minute, you said there was a small building that the Army had. What did the Army do out there?
ROGERS: Well, they didn't do anything that I know of. They finally brought a Caterpillar to push the brush aside and make a trail into this cabin for autos to come back and forth. I'm really not sure what they did. I don't know whether they did anything, because in a very short time the Navy took it over.
LaVOY: And it became the Navy Air Auxiliary Station.
ROGERS: Yeah, the Naval Auxiliary Air Station. And the Dinwiddie Construction Company was given the contract for the construction of the Navy Base. It was the runways, the east-west runway was one of the main runways and they had the southwest to northeast runway. They had to have a southeast runway heading northwest, like a triangle. Then they built the old area, the hangars, the tower, the barrack buildings, the supply area. They constructed two, two-story buildings for the captain and the exec, and the bachelor officers quarters, and their separate recreation. They had either five or seven two-story barracks buildings for the enlisted men, down on the south side, and a fire station and the administration building.
LaVOY: Now, a question comes to my mind. Whose ranch did the Army put their building on?
ROGERS: That land was just abandoned land. When the project was first settled and the settlers started into the area there was a few homesteaders that were sent out to that piece of land, which was rather poor land. Many of these people thought it would be good to take this because it was all level for them. All they had to do was put up a few levees and start irrigating. But it was nothing but an alkali flat, and they could not raise crops on this ground so they were relocated into the other districts like Harmon, Sheckler and St. Clair. So the land went back to the Department of the Interior. I'm not sure about that part of the history.
LaVOY: Well, I still do not quite understand why an Army building was out there. When did it first appear?
ROGERS: About 1941.
LaVOY: And how many men were out there that you know?
ROGERS: That I don't know, I don't think there were very many. I don't think there was anybody. Maybe they changed their mind after they got started and then turned it back to the Navy.
LaVOY: And the Navy took it over from the Army?
ROGERS: I think so.
LaVOY: All right now, there must have been a lot of ranches that would have been affected by these runways?
ROGERS: No, not that area.
LaVOY: Now where is this from the May Ranch?
ROGERS: That would be north across what was the highway. See the Lincoln Highway went right in front of the May Ranch between the May Ranch and the base. Part of the old Grimes Ranch is absorbed in the Base. Harmon Road runs clear to where it stops today. Well it used to go clear on through to the Lincoln Highway or US 50. The Base was west and north of that. And Union Lane, as you come east and hit Pasture Road; well right there was the northwest corner of the base. There was no farm land involved. It went right on across to Harmon Road and that land to the south was the Navy Base. Nothing like what it is today. After the Base folded it went back to nothin' then reestablished . . .
LaVOY: You say the Base folded?
ROGERS: Well, when the Japanese surrendered in 1945 everything stopped.
LaVOY: Now, I read someplace that when you first started putting lines out there to the base that you expanded to eight hundred and fifty subscribers. Now would that be base personnel or would that be ranchers that did not have lines prior to your taking the lines to the Base?
ROGERS: Well, I think it was just the growth of the community as a whole. The Navy Station had its own, well, the telephone company provided it, but it was, a different count than this. Where did you get this eight hundred?
LaVOY: From the newspaper. A newspaper article that said you had spent twenty-five years as manager of the telephone company. But that's all right, we will continue on. So the Base operated from 1941 until approximately 1945?
LaVOY: And then what happened to it?
ROGERS: Then for a short period of time it was idled and private contractors moved into the base like Barney Fritz, who lived in the area. Marshall Coverston, Andy Drumm could have been involved, and Chris Madsen and another party were raising pigs in the old swimming pool (laughing).
LaVOY: Oh, really?
ROGERS: Yeah and in the old hangars they were bringing in aircraft engines, propeller-driven engines and overhauling them and taking them back out to wherever. Probably to the airline companies, somewhere. I'm really not sure of that.
LaVOY: The gate was open. They didn't have guards or anything at that point in time?
ROGERS: No, no. It was just private enterprise. That's up into 1945, 1946.
LaVOY: Well, then this point in time, when did the Navy start the Base up again? [tape cuts] Well, Harold, I'm really getting ahead of myself. Let's go back to 1946 when public enterprise was using the Base. What were some of the other things that were used out there?
ROGERS: Well, I understand that Madsen [Chris Madsen] and Ellis Lewis were in business together and they also had a repair shop to overhaul stock trucks and trailers that were hauling cattle, sheep and the like. And there may have been other businesses out there at the time, but I just can't bring them to mind and my computer is beginning to fail a bit. Let's see where are we goin' from here?
LaVOY: Well now the telephone company must have had a lot of lines out there, did they have to take them out?
ROGERS: Yes. We put all of the plant into the Navy Base from Fallon, and also we totally rebuilt the wire plant again to Fernley--big jobs. We had several people working for us and we had to put in a cable plant on the Base and then two switch boards. Cable splicers were hired out of Reno as Fallon didn't have anyone on the payroll that could splice cable. All of this plant, that is the equipment-wise and instruments, were all removed and so were the switchboards. It's a strange thing, I guess I installed the major portion of the telephone instruments for the war effort at that time and then when it ceased to be, removed them again. And again Waldo Davis was the manager in that time because Eldon Best had passed away a short time before. Davis took over his duties and he was given permission to ship these old boards back to the original suppliers which was rather unusual. Sometimes when the supplier sells you something that's the end of it. But they did take the equipment back. The aerial cable plant remained in place for quite some time, and just set there, because Fallon, in the office in town, our warehouse, was pretty well stacked with telephone instruments all over the place.
LaVOY: Well, where was the office in town?
ROGERS: Located at 50 West Williams where the office is today. Of course it was a little concrete block building. I might mention that during the War we in the Fallon office had to go into the blackout. You've heard of the blackouts during the War?
ROGERS: We had all the courthouse and the jail and the telephone building arranged so that we could hang sheets of plyboard over the windows. One of the duties that I had in the telephone building was to put up these sheets of plyboard and fasten them at night and take them down in the morning for the blackout arrangement. They had taken the old fire bell from the old fire station and moved it down in back of the telephone office and erected a large frame and hung the bell with a couple of arms hanging out with two ropes hanging down. In case of a crisis and all the power was out, the operator was to go outside and grab a hold of these ropes and ring this old fire bell and call the gendarmes, or whoever, to alert them that there was an air raid going on (laughing).
LaVOY: In Fallon?
ROGERS: In Fallon, yes. Well, of course, they did have some of the traces of those Japanese balloons, I think, over into the California coastline and into the Sierras probably. I don't know if they ever got over into this area or not, but they were floating around in those days.
LaVOY: But Fallon was ready to ring the bell in case a bomb dropped.
ROGERS: Oh, man, that is right. Of course if a bomb fell on the operator I don't know what you'd do then (laughing). Hadn't planned for that. Now, where do you wish to go from here?
LaVOY: Well, now, this was 1946 when we were talking about the Base. But isn't that about the time that you were working up in the telephone company?
ROGERS: Well, let's see, in 1945 we lost our good friend and boss and manager, Eldon Best. Then Mr. Waldo Davis took over his duties in November of 1945, then in April 1946, Mr. Davis hired a G. E Baker as wire chief. He came from Yerington. He at one time owned the Yerington telephone company, and before Yerington he owned private telephone companies in Oregon, like at McMinnville and Walport, Oregon. Then Waldo Davis resigned and left Fallon and moved to Missouri and then Mr. G. E. Baker became the manager. Then somewhere right around in this time frame Mr. Merling [Chester A.] went to work for the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District as the power company's main superintendent and George Erb who worked for the power moved to the telephone, made a little swap.
LaVOY: Mr. Baker stayed for how long?
ROGERS: Just one year. And he did a few things that I learned a little about--making tariffs and how to arrange charges for telephone service and so on. The company at that time had no tariff book--tells you what to do about this, that and the other. He did make up the first tariff book which is on file somewhere down in the telephone company archives. Talking about salaries, a little bit humorous. George Erb learned to be a cable splicer. Well, the commissioners were all heart. They gave him a nickel an hour raise for being a cable splicer (laughing).
LaVOY: Do you recall who the commissioners were at that time?
ROGERS: I believe it was E. R. Allen, Archie McIntosh and George W. Pomeroy. Somewhere in that time frame an Allen K. Dalby, he was a short termer. When his term was up why I guess he didn't run and George Pomeroy came in as commissioner.
LaVOY: Right about this time you were promoted to the manager, were you not?
ROGERS: Yes, Baker resigned May 1. 1947, and on May 5, 1947, a minute order was issued by E. R. Allen and seconded by Archie McIntosh that they hire me as a telephone manager.
LaVOY: This is amazing because you were only thirty years old at the time.
ROGERS: Yes, thirty years old and (laughing) very little experience on telephone service except just being out in the field working, that's really all I knew. I'm sure that they didn't want to put out too much money for outside help, so I had the job.
LaVOY: And you had to learn very rapidly how to be a manager?
ROGERS: And through trial and error we continued on. Lots of error, I assure you (laughing).
LaVOY: Now, you were the manager for how many years?
ROGERS: Up until 1976, I think December 1, 1976.
LaVOY: My goodness, that was a lot of trial and error, wasn't it?
ROGERS: Yeah, I should say so.
LaVOY: Did you have any interesting anecdotes that you want to tell us about some of the things as your years as manager and what changes were taking place in the phone company?
ROGERS: Well, in 1948 we decided to construct a garage to house all of our rolling equipment, which was two installation wagons, a ladder truck and a line truck. We just had 'em out in the open so we did go for a bid arrangement. During this bidding for this garage building nepotism come into play real heavy. The successful bidder on the new garage was a Paul Prudler, who was a licensed building contractor. But he happened to be the son-in-law of Commissioner Ed Allyn and there was a question raised about that so they took it to the attorney general and he said, "Well, fellas, just forget it and rebid the job." So they did rebid the project and a Mr. Beryl Bliss was the successful bidder of this building. Part of the building is in use today. The sheriff has the north end of the building for his offices and the south end is used by the radio installation department for the telephone company. The repair portion of the building was tore out because of the firehouse extension. But that's again another little story. I was involved in that of course, but it's a part of this story, but the nepotism come in there. Following that we did build a fence around the lot behind this telephone garage which was in the alley. You know behind the courthouse today there's no alley, it's just the law enforcement building, but there used to be an alley went right on through to Carson Street. So the telephone garage was on the north side of this alley and the city lots behind this garage were all just weeds, salt grass, things like that. Our pole yard was in there, all the telephone poles, cross arms, wire, what have you, was layin' there, out in the open. And it got so the little kids, boys and girls, would play on these old poles and they'd roll them around and if a pole ever fell on 'em it'd kill 'em. So we fenced off the whole area. Well, since then of course, the fence has been removed, the lot's been paved and its used now by the county as a parking lot, sheriff's office, judge's chambers, the telephone, and what have you.
LaVOY: When did you move to the building that is on South Maine?
ROGERS: Let’s see, I’d have to get my dates figured out here [tape cuts] In June of 1971 the Silver State property was purchased by the telephone company. The buildings were purchased at a price of a hundred and ten thousand dollars, and the land--six or seven acres of land--was thirty thousand dollars.
LaVOY: Now, you mentioned the Silver State, is that Andy Drumm?
ROGERS:That's Andy Drumm. The Silver State Construction Company was the A. D. Drumm Construction Co. and we were very fortunate to pick up that piece of property because the school district, was extremely anxious to have that property too. I guess Doris [Drumm] was alive at this time. Andy was gone. Anyway, the Silver State or Drumm sold all their equipment, drag lines, caterpillars, all their construction equipment was sold on bid. Various construction people came into Fallon and bid for the equipment and they sold it off. The property was available so at that time the company bought it. Then, going back to 1950, we saw the handwriting on the wall as far as the old cord switchboard. We'd expanded the boards clear up to the wall, couldn't go any farther, so we had to look at a dial operation. We did some looking around and made a few trips to California looking at different exchanges and went out to bid. It turned out that the Kellogg Switchboard and Supply Company had the lowest bid and sorry to say, it was not really the proper bid. The one that we should have bought was a little high and, of course, the way they go on these bid things, the low bidder gets it. We bought this 1040 cross bar office and it was a one thousand line capacity. Well, from about 1910 or so up to 1954 we only gained around four hundred telephone lines so we had another six hundred lines to go so, my heavens, we could go for another fifty years, easy. Well, this little office didn't last that long, it only lasted about five, six, seven years and it was swamped. But to house this dial equipment we had to make an addition to the little concrete block building which was the telephone office then, where the building is today is on top of it. They had to put an addition on the back to house the dial equipment and they changed the main distributing frame, that is, all the cables from the outside world, that is the city plant, rural plant, toll lines, had to be moved from the building over to this new addition and put the dial system into it. I've forgotten how much that cost at that time. I'd have to go back through history to dig it out. In these prices it wasn't too high because we used part of the firehouse wall for the west wall, and constructed three walls on the east to house the equipment. And that lasted until the late sixties. Of course, everything else was going on at the same time. The Base had reactivated and we were swamped with the expansion at the Base, the new area come into play which was north of the old navy station. They called it old area and new area. The new area is what absorbed these ranches like the Hannifan ranch, the Wightman, the Farrell ranch, the Williams ranch. God, I can't think of all those names. Remember that hand drawn map I gave you? All those people were marked. And John R. Hannifan and his parents were absorbed and Andersons were taken in at that time by the big Base expansion. But, along with that we had to negotiate a new dial system for the Base with a portion of it in the old area and a portion of it in the new area. Then the old telephone dial system in Fallon was becoming extinct so we needed to construct a new telephone building. We had to negotiate with the legislators, I believe one of them was Harold Fitz and Ralph Lattin at that time and the commissioners to put through an enabling act to allow the County to go to bid on buildings and equipment to expand the telephone system, plus provide service to the Navy. And, in addition to that, the Federal Aviation Agency was coming into being at that time-the surveillance of the skies for air traffic, commercial traffic.
LaVOY: Well, didn't Fallon have the first complete direct distance dialing station in Nevada?
ROGERS: Well, that was after they cut over where we eliminated the old--what we called the 1040 system. We installed a Stromberg-Carlson system and within it, it had the direct dialing equipment. That was around 1962, roughly in that time. Now, I don't how we compare to some of the other rural areas, I'm not quite sure but we could have been.
LaVOY: I believe I read that Fallon was the first one in the state that was installed.
ROGERS: We had the Federal Aviation Agency. Well, I'm getting ahead of myself, when the Air Force they first came in here they located in the old area of the Base. [End of tape 3 side A] They were starting with the surveillance of the skies overhead of military aircraft and commercial aircraft.
LaVOY: What year was that, approximately?
ROGERS: [uncertain noise] Brother, let me see… The dates I'm not sure of and I'd have to check back on the dates but I know one thing that happened. The Bell System, who the military was working through, told us and a few other independent companies in California and Nevada and Arizona, Washington, Oregon and Montana, to come to a special meeting in Portland. A real hush, hush deal (laughing). So, I went up to this meeting and the guard was outside the door where we were going to meet and everything so they gave us the story of how they were going to defend the areas along the Pacific coast by the radars. The information would be fed into direction centers, from there it would be sent to Colorado Springs which is the big brain of the defense system, even today. They were showing pictures on the wall, how the radar would work, how it would transmit the information to the direction center, but they didn't want it to go to Colorado Springs. They had to scramble planes or submarines or what have you. They would send information to the various bases that do this. "But, remember fellas, this is all hush, hush. Keep it under your hat." That's fine. So, going home I got off at the airport in Reno, had a little time to kill before coming back to Fallon and I picked up the Saturday Evening Post and in the back end of the Saturday Evening Post was the whole thing. The whole works, everything they told us at this meeting which was supposedly hush, hush was all here in this magazine. By God.
LaVOY: Well, that's the press for you.
ROGERS: I'm telling you, I couldn't believe it. But anyway, they established their first radar in the old area east of what--only one hangar left you know--just east of that the Air Force set up a little operation and they had their first radar going. We had channels fed into the direction center which was at Stead--this big building there near Penney's warehouse there. Then there was a satellite from Fallon. One of 'em appeared over in Winnemucca and another one was out in Gabbs Valley and then Tonopah and they fed information into Fallon and then went over to the direction center. Then they moved to the southwest corner of the Base where that checkerboard tower is today. That's the Federal Aviation Agency's radar. And the Air Force would lease the operation or however they worked it out, and the moved the Air Force complex over alongside of this tower. As it progressed they had to make it atomic proof and they put walls around walls. They covered the whole complex with another building (laughing) and it's still out there today. The Navy's there now of course.
LaVOY: About how long did the Air Force stay out there, just roughly?
ROGERS: Oh, heavens. They were there into the early seventies.
LaVOY: And the Navy was there at the same time?
ROGERS: Oh, yeah, the Navy was there. They were in operation because of the Korea and the Vietnam situation following that, and the Navy continued to expand. Then also the local company here in Fallon continued to expand. Of course we had to put up the building that's there today to replace that little old concrete block building and to put in this bigger dial office that we refer to as the direct distance dialing. And then around 1970-1971 we put a second story on the building to house the offices for the so-called administration of the telephone system at that time.
LaVOY: Well, you've had a lot of years. There were tremendous changes that were going on.
ROGERS: Oh, it did. It's still going on.
LaVOY: Now, I'd like to say you had not married up to this point. And suddenly you found someone you were interested in. How did you happen to meet your wife?
ROGERS: That's clear up in the sixties now. Marie had, somewhere in the early fifties, decided to come back to the telephone business as an operator because she'd liked the work before. And sure that was fine. She was a good operator in those days, and she came back to work and around 1964 her husband passed away. I've known her family, not real well, but I knew her sister Annie [Gomes] for many, many years. My mother knew her quite well. I knew her and I remember her and Marie and Annie and her mother's sisters in Yerington. Her brothers went to the church summer school. I seen them there but that's really all I paid much attention to, but somewhere in 1965 we more or less got together and then on Halloween Eve, Spook's Day, two spooks got together. It was Admission Day is what it was, Nevada Day [October 31] when we were married.
LaVOY: Now, tell me what your wife's maiden name was?
ROGERS: Maiden name is Marie Gomes.
LaVOY: What year was she born?
ROGERS: 1920, September 16, 1920.
LaVOY: Well, tell me about your courtship. Did you have much of a courtship?
ROGERS: No shot gun. Nothing like that.
LaVOY: Who were your attendants?
ROGERS: Let me see, Tom Pflum stood up for me and Marie had Evangeline Rubianes, now she's Evangeline Lang, she lives in Lovelock.
LaVOY: Who performed the ceremony?
ROGERS: Monsignor Ryan.
LaVOY: Which one of the Ryans? There were a number of Ryans.
ROGERS: John. John Ryan.
LaVOY: And here at the St. Patrick's Church?
ROGERS: At the new St. Patrick's.
LaVOY: The new St. Patrick's, now where is that?
ROGERS: Over on the corner of Fifth and Tedford [850 West 4th].
LaVOY: Well, where did you honeymoon?
ROGERS: We didn't go very far. We made a mad dash trip to Lovelock, then to Winnemucca and came back. I had a little problem. My mother was quite an invalid and I had hired help to watch after her and she was firm of mind sometimes, and firm of tongue sometimes (laughing).
LaVOY: So you thought it was wise to return home?
ROGERS: Yes. It was pretty hard, it really was hard and of course as time went on she got to the point where you couldn't take care of her. Mentally she was perfect, just sharper than I am right now, but physically she couldn't do anything. She was real bad. Had her in a few nursing facilities here in town, they were not too satisfactory. Had her at one there on the river in Reno and gee, they kept her drugged most of the time. Gosh, everytime you'd go up to see her her head was down, she was sound asleep. So, I don't know how I managed it but St. Mary's had this facility going and I went in and applied to move her in there if I could. I got her in there, so she was there for a couple of years.
LaVOY: Oh, that's good. Well, where did you and Marie live after you were married?
ROGERS: Well, she had this house here, right here on Fifth Street, 760 Fifth Street. She'd constructed it in 1960, shortly after Chris passed away. She had sold her other property out on Allen Road to Dr. Darius F. Caffaratti and she built this house right here and then I sold the East Street property. It was three doors north of the old Catholic church.
LaVOY: Then you moved in here?
ROGERS: I moved here.
LaVOY: Marie had been married before, is that correct?
ROGERS: Yes, that's right.
LaVOY: Did you have step-children.
ROGERS: Yes. There are three. One in Reno, one down near the San Diego area and one in Wyoming.
LaVOY: And you all get along beautifully, no problems whatsoever?
ROGERS: No, no.
LaVOY: Then I understand that you became interested in politics. What was that?
ROGERS: That was after I had left the telephone office.
LaVOY: Well, now, let's finish with your telephone company years before we go into your political years.
ROGERS: Well, in 1953 I was still in the phone company and I became a member of the Fire Department and remained on that for twenty years. And it was in 1973, I had a stroke.
LaVOY: You did?
My whole right side went out, my voice and the whole works. It was very, very fortunate for me that--well, I was talking on the telephone--in fact I was talking to one of the officers at the Air Force Station and he was talking to me and I couldn't figure what was the matter. I couldn't answer him. I just couldn't comprehend what was going on. The pencil was in my hand and I couldn't control it. It fell on the floor and I kind of jabbered a little bit and I hung up. I just sat back in my chair and John Friberg happened to be in the next office and he come around to talk about something and took a look at me said, "What's the matter with you?" I couldn't answer him so he wheeled me off of the chair and laid me on the couch we had there and got my collar loosened. Luckily the ambuance was next door and Davey Miller and Don Coverston wheeled upstairs with the gurney and packed me down and put me in the ambulance and wheeled me over to the hospital. While they were taking me downstairs--I was a bit overweight, I was much heavier than this, I was around two fifty, oh, I was terrible. I remember Don said, "God, we got a heavy one here." (laughing) Well, anyway, they wheeled me onto the table over there at the hospital and Doc Caffaratti came over along with his nurse, Margaret Bailey. Doc gave me some kind of a shot in the arm and my whole body just burned like fire, but it was a relaxer of blood veins and vessels and I guess during that relaxation period whatever plugged up passed on through. But it took awhile for me to get the control back into arms and legs and mouth.
LaVOY: Did you stay on as manager then?
ROGERS: Yes, for a while, for a short time. Johnny Friberg took over temporarily for a while. Then he left the company and went up to Alaska to operate the Valdez Telephone Company.
LaVOY: But you got back so you could talk and move around and everything?
ROGERS: Oh yeah, I got around all right. In fact, right after the doctor gave me the shots and was about to release me he says, "I'll make arrangements for you to go up and have a test with Dr. Rosenauer [Adolph] in Reno to determine what was your cause." I think the tests were worse than the sickness. That darn test knocked me out for about two months. The shots that they put into the veins, the spinal taps was murder. But Caffaratti's diagnosis was exactly the same as Rosenauer. So he did a good job.
LaVOY: That speaks well for Dr. Caffaratti.
ROGERS: Yeah, he was okay, he was a noisy man sometimes. I can relate some things about him on the fire department, but that's another story (laughing). Talking about the politics . . .
LaVOY: Just a minute.
LaVOY: So you recovered from your stroke and stayed with the telephone company for how long?
ROGERS: Oh, until about 1975 and I decided then we should give 'er up. I had a little time coming, you know, vacation time and things of that nature. Of course, I'd used up all the sick leave (laughing).
LaVOY: So you retired in what month?
ROGERS: It was November 30, 1976.
LaVOY: Did they have a big party for you?
ROGERS: Yeah, they had a big blast. It was in all the papers.
LaVOY: Did you get a gold watch?
ROGERS: Oh, I got many gifts. I can't believe it.
LaVOY: Well, for having been the head of the telephone company
for so many, many years you certainly deserved anything that you got. Then you were going to settle down to a quiet life?
ROGERS: Yes. It has been fairly quiet.
LaVOY: No, you went into politics.
ROGERS: Well, I don't know why I did that. Jim McCuller who operated a shoe store in Fallon at that time, was going to Arizona to attend school. So he resigned from the City Council. I don't know why, but I did write a letter to [Merton] Domonoske, the Mayor, and said, I might be interested if he were looking for someone to fill, this ward that Jim McCuller represented.
LaVOY: What ward is this?
ROGERS: Ward three. Today Kenny Tedford is the representative. Following my term as Councilman, the present Mayor-Erickson [Robert] was Councilman and filled my spot. Yeah, I was in the City Council for nearly . . .
LaVOY: Well, now, just one moment here, you wrote a letter to Merton Domonoske telling him that you would be interested, so did he appoint you or he and the Council appoint you?
ROGERS: It would be a Council action, yes.
LaVOY: And who was on the Council besides him?
ROGERS: Jack Frank and Richard Graham, and the attorney at that time I believe was Mario Recanzone and the Judge, of course, was Judge Teurman [William], whom we still have today. Chief of Police, as I recall, was Danny Woods.
LaVOY: Now, you had never been in politics before, how did you find that?
ROGERS: It was quite a learning experience, I assure you (laughing). The first day after the appointment, Mert give me a call and says, "Come on down and we'll take a little ride." So he put me in his car and we drove around to the various points of operation of the City, like the water system, the various wells, and the storage supply on the hill, the fire department, the sewage disposal plant and the City Hall and the jail. Reviewed their operations and went from there. Oh, yes, the City Manager was Ben Bartlett.
LaVOY: Was your Council responsible for any noteworthy ordinances or changes in City government?
ROGERS: Well, not really. We did have a few minor changes in the gun laws and that raised a roar among the gun enthusiasts. The press, I believe, read more into it than there really was. They were making the ordinance a little more lenient for the officers so they could carry on their duties. But the press had it that you had to check your guns at the city limits and all that sort of thing and when the hearings were on these ordinance changes, the hall was packed (laughing) with people opposing anything to do with guns. Really bad. They were the most hairy things--some of those hearings--such as the gun ordinance.
LaVOY: Can you think of any other ordinances that caused an interest in the city?
ROGERS: No, not much. We had one restaurant wanted to locate on the east side of Maine Street, and have a saloon or a bar with it. There were quite a number of people in favor of it. But there were many, many people that didn't come to the meeting but they expressed themselves on the telephone and by letter. They opposed it. They didn't want a bar on the east side of Maine Street (laughing) and that was kind of a hairy situation.
LaVOY: I understand Fallon's bars for many, many years were all located on the west side of Maine Street.
ROGERS: Yes, they have been. Except one that I can recall when I was a little kid, around 1926-27 they called The Hub. Kind of a combination bar and gambling place for cards and most of the elite men like M. H. Wallace and those types, Ernie Hursh [E. H. Hursh] and I don't know whether old man Kent was a card player or not, but some of the higher-ups in the city would play cards there. It was more of a dignified club.
LaVOY: Where was it located?
ROGERS: Well, today I believe it's the Mexican restaurant there on Maine Street ["La Cocina", 125 S. Maine St.].
LaVOY: By the theater?
ROGERS: Yes, south of that.
LaVOY: You were appointed for your first term as City Councilman. Did you run for a second term?
ROGERS: Yes, when this term was up I ran and I had opposition, a Dr. Shaw [Jay D. Shaw]. And it was a fairly close election, couple of hundred votes in the whole thing so I don't know what the difference was between us. But that was it.
LaVOY: Now, when you finished serving your second term, did you choose to run again?
ROGERS: I did not run, I did not choose to run again.
LaVOY: Well, serving seven years I think is a very good thing.
ROGERS: It wasn't quite that long, but that's good enough. Plus immediately, this is crazy, but Bob Erickson was on the variance board--the Board of adjustments for people who want to put in businesses in residential areas and things of that nature. He was on this variance board and he became the Councilman. So they gave me his old job on the variance board [Board of Adjustment] and I stayed on that thing from 1983 to 1991.
LaVOY: You're still on it?
ROGERS: No, I just recently resigned. Not that there's anything the matter with the people. These things make me nervous.
LaVOY: This is when people want to change the zoning for different businesses?
ROGERS: No, no just a variance from the zoning. The variance board doesn't have anything to do with the actual setting up of zoning. The City Council and the Mayor and the Engineer do that.
LaVOY: And then when people don't agree with that they come to your board?
ROGERS: Well, they'll come before the Council to protest a variance, I mean an ordinance change, but a variance is like you wanting to have a mail order business say, out of this home right here in the middle of a residential district, which is a business, and you come before the variance board with reasons why and what you'll do and not do, and what you'll store and not store. And notify the people within three hundred feet of your intentions and they look at it and they'll either approve it or disapprove it. If we have a large number of people disapproving of it, we'd say "no." If there's no opposition toward it, why it was allowed. But the variance is only good for you and for your term of business. When you cease to become a mail order service or whatever you are, then that variance is dropped from that property.
LaVOY: Oh, I see. Now, how did Marie enjoy you being the Councilman?
ROGERS: Oh, it didn't bother her, she was working.
LaVOY: Where did she work?
ROGERS: She was still in the telephone company. I forget now, she's been out about five years now--but she was a telephone operator.
LaVOY: Did you go to any of the state or regional city meetings?
ROGERS: Well, yes, we went with the city--the League of Cities had their annual meetings like in Vegas [Las Vegas] and in Ely and one in Fallon, I believe. We attended them, yes.
LaVOY: Did you find them interesting?
ROGERS: Oh, yeah, quite interesting. All the council people, the mayors of the other cities. Here locally, we established a joint meeting every quarter with TCID, the city and the county to discuss the problems. That was interesting.
LaVOY: Who were some of the employees of the city while you were on the Council. Now you mentioned some when you first went on did those people still stay or did you get new people?
ROGERS: No, they still remained. Jerry McKnight was the City Clerk and Mary Porter was also in the City Clerk's office, and Marguerite Powrie, Clerk's office.
LaVOY: Basically it was the same employees . .
ROGERS: No change in personnel.
LaVOY: Who was the City Manager?
ROGERS: Ben Bartlett. Outstanding gentleman, outstanding. He kept everything in line and had everything lined out-the agenda at Council meetings and Domonoske conducted a good meeting. When we got on this particular subject we didn't vary one way or the other until we had the thing resolved, then moved to the next subject.
LaVOY: I believe Mert was Mayor for sixteen years, wasn't he?
ROGERS: Oh, a long time. He was in there for more than twenty, I believe because he was on the Council for a number of years too. I'm not sure of his term as Mayor. I found him to be a real fine gentleman, really. I liked him very much.
LaVOY: Well, now, you have sort of calmed your life down a little bit now. What organizations do you belong to?
ROGERS: Well, I'm a charter member of the Elk's Club, I'm sorry to say I'm a very poor attender (laughing) which is not good.
LaVOY: When did the Elk's Club start here, what year approximately?
ROGERS: About thirty years ago.
LaVOY: What other organizations?
ROGERS: Many, many, many years ago, when I first started to work at the phone Company, for a short time I belonged to the Eagles [Fraternal Order of Eagles #1447], I don't know why I dropped out but I think mostly because at that time the payroll was not too high, the cost of living took all your money, and these organizations, take a few dollars, to keep up with them.
LaVOY: When did you join Rotary?
ROGERS: It's a little hard for me to remember. It's not far from twenty years ago. How time flies. I remember the President of Rotary at that time was Manuel Barrenchea. We met upstairs in what's now known as the Nugget. Of course, it goes back to another story. The Nugget offices was over the top of what used to be the old Palace Theater and there was rooms upstairs. The Nugget had some of their administration offices up there. The Rotary's been moving around town quite a bit. They moved from there to the Convention Center, the Community Center, then to the County Administration Building when Lauf [Mike] had it as a convention center, then upstairs at the Depot restaurant.
LaVOY: Now, you said something that I don't quite understand. You're speaking about the Nugget that is on Maine Street?
LaVOY: And you said, "upstairs" and then you said, "above the theater", now what theater was that?
ROGERS: Well, First Street that connects with Maine Street, some people call it an alley, but First Street continues west past the mortuary, on behind Safeway clear on out to the Nugget property. Well, the first building you run into is a two story brick building. I'm not sure who constructed the building. In some of the years that I remember as a little kid, there was a bank in there, I think it was Churchill County Bank downstairs and apartments upstairs. Then later, it became a bar operated by William Powell, Sr.
LaVOY: That would be the Sagebrush?
ROGERS: The Sagebrush, yes. Then next to that, I'm not sure the order that these things came, but there was a restaurant called the Mission Cafe operated by some Chinese people called the Woos, the Woo family. Then next right in there someplace was the Eldridge and Hursh Store where they sold dry goods. They had pants, shirts and what have you. Right in there someplace there is a narrow stairway--I think it's between the Mission Cafe and the Eldridge and Hursh--that goes up, and there used to be offices up in there, dentist's offices, doctor's offices, and apartments in later years. I think they're abandoned now. They're up there but they're just empty. Probably gathering cobwebs and dirt and dust. Then in later years there was sewells? Piggly wiggly? I can’t remember which, but a grocery store. The Palace Theater was next to it.
LaVOY: Who owned that?
ROGERS: I'm not sure, I think there were some people named Tannehill involved in it. Related to the Sanfords and the Bailey family, but this I’m hazy on. It’d have to be reviewed by somebody. [End of tape 3] The theater located east across Maine Street at that time it was known as the Rex Theater. Now it’s known as the Fallon Theater. When the Fallon Theater was named the Rex Theater, the managers were J. W. Flood and his wife.
LaVOY: That was the theater across the street?
ROGERS: East of the- Let’s start over again. This Palace Theater was located west across the street from the now Fallon Theater.
LaVOY: And it was owned by who?
ROGERS: This I’m not sure of. Somehow in the back of my mind, I thought the Tannehills, who were related to like Jim Bailey – you know Jim Bailey? You probably remember that name. He was a Department of Motor Vehicles for a number of years. – And the Sanfords. Now where am I? I’m getting lost here.
LaVOY: Back across, across the street.
ROGERS: Oh, back to the old Palace Theater. It was in this building that I saw my first talkies, so to speak. It was an Al Jolson movie and I'm not sure of the name whether it was Sonny Boy or some such title as that. Al Jolson was singing and talking in this movie.
LaVOY: The town could support two movies?
ROGERS: Yeah, they did. The one to the east I think had a little better crowd than the one across the other side. Of course, both theaters, in those days, had the silent screen and the piano down at the foot of the stage and the rolls of paper--songs to fit the action--fast music to fit the Indians chasing the white men or visa versa and the love scenes with violin type music and a slow piano and all that (laughing).
LaVOY: Now those were recorded? You didn't have a woman playing the piano?
ROGERS: There was a man or a woman playing and sometimes they'd swap the roles to do the job. But there was a man or a woman working these pianos, both places.
LaVOY: The player pianos?
ROGERS: Yeah, it was a player piano. I don't know where those machines are now. They're gone I guess.
LaVOY: How much did it cost to go to the movies?
ROGERS: Oh, a dime I believe it was.
LaVOY: Goodness. That's very interesting.
ROGERS: And after that why'd you have another dime to go over to Laveaga's Ice Cream Parlor and load up with a milk shake or a dish of ice cream. I'll never forget that place.
LaVOY: Well, getting back now to some of the organizations that you belonged to. When did you join the Knights of Columbus?
ROGERS: I believe it was 1946. I became a member of a Reno Council 978 and I believe two months later Tom Pflum and Al Glaubitz, and I've forgotten who else in this area. Firmin Bruner was the one that sponsored us and oh, yeah, Father Mikula [Francis S.] twisted our arms too, to get into the organization.
LaVOY: Did you ever become the Grand Knight?
ROGERS: Well, when the Council was formed in Fallon we appointed Firmin Bruner the Charter Knight and got the thing going, the Council established and on its feet. The next year I took over as the Grand Knight, then several years later I was back in as the Grand Knight. Then somewhere in the late fifties I joined the Fourth Degree up in Rena. There was Tim Wolf, Al Glaubitz, Lewis Moiola, Dr. Caffaratti [Darius F.] and a Navy Lieutenant.
LaVOY: Now you're on the Churchill County Museum Board. When did you go on that?
ROGERS: I've been on about a couple of seasons as a Board of Director and then doing a little volunteer a little before that.
LaVOY: That museum is very interesting to me. It started in a store, is that correct?
ROGERS: Yes, it was an old Safeway Store. I believe the property was sold to the Oser family [Alex and Margaret], and they in turn contributed it back to Churchill County to be used as a museum. Then again, we're getting back to the early people in here, Willie Capucci, I believe, was the first curator of the place.
LaVOY: Doris Drumm gave a lot of things to the museum didn't she?
ROGERS: Oh, yes, time and material. She liked bottles. She'd go out into these old mining camp dumps and dig and dig and dig and she'd get up, especially around Virginia City, she'd get into some of those dumps and she'd get a little tired of digging and would want Andy to come up with a Cat and dig out some of the ground so they could filter through it to pick up the objects.
guess the state had to stop him because he was digging into their highway right-of-way, and they were afraid their road would collapse (laughing). They shut him off
LaVOY: He'd run his Caterpillars clear from Fallon over to Virginia City?
ROGERS: Yeah, those big rocks you see in the front of the museum with Indian writings on them?
ROGERS: Petroglyphs. I believe they came from Grimes Point and he hauled his equipment out there, big flat beds and drag lines or whatever to lift these big heavy rocks and bring them into town and unloaded them where they are now. He did a lot of volunteer work around this community. Another one he did was repair the old roads in the cemetery, and put them in good shape and they had a drive to plant trees several years ago. Andy had a digger go out and dig the holes and the various organizations planted trees at the cemetery.
LaVOY: Those are those green ash trees?
ROGERS: Yes, the ones that have survived the cold winters. Yeah, he was a great one for volunteer work.
LaVOY: That little building that's out in the front, the little Woodliff Building that's there--how did that happen to get there?
ROGERS: That little building is the Woodliff Store. It was located on Carson Street and Center Street. And you go down – well first of all, Maine Street is north and south, and the next street over is Carson Street, which runs from Richards clear to the oil companies. Well, where City Hall is, West of City Hall is Carson Street, then you cross first street – that little narrow street – then this next block. The Woodliff today has the motel, before the motel there used to be a theater building set there. One of the early day theaters right in there. I think that was probably the Woodliff property. And just south of there about a block or two sat this little store building. It sat there in disrepair for many, many years and surprising it wasn't burnt down through the years. And the property south of that, I’m a little foggy, the newspaper office, the Fallon Standard. Brick building which is now a basque restaurant. It’s been for many many years. It was the Standard until it became the Lahontan Valley News. And then west of that was the buildings that were in this area I think were torn down or burnt down, I forget which.
LaVOY: And just the little one was left?
ROGERS: Yeah, the Woodliff building on Carson street, and then on the corner of Carson and Center… I’m foggy on just what was in there, but I know Ralph Rice, the shoe man, cobbler at the time, built out of diatomaceous earth a block building, group of buildings in there. There used to be a real estate office in there and a little restaurant – there’s still a little restaurant in there. A little Mexican restaurant? Just a small, small operation. And another rental property right next to it in there. I don’t know who’s in there. They change hands so fast.
LaVOY: This is right across from where the Elk’s lodge is?
ROGERS: Yeah. That’s it, the Elk’s lodge.
LaVOY: That’s where that little store was?
ROGERS: Yeah, it was across but up in Carson street. Further than the corner. Up about two blocks. [lots? Two blocks north of Carson and Center is City Hall/Williams ave]
LaVOY: How was it moved?
ROGERS: You know, I don't remember. I don't know how they moved it and I don't know who moved it.
LaVOY: But it is on the museum property now?
ROGERS: It's on Museum property now. I think if you check in with the curator down there, it can be told how it was moved.
LaVOY: Well, do you foresee any future expansion for the museum? It seems so very crowded.
ROGERS: Oh, man, it could stand another building like it has there. I think they'd like to house, or at least put them under shelter. In that back lot behind the museum to the alley, and extend along the alley some type of a shed with a roof over, open on the east side to house those old wagons and cannons and whatever else is in there.
LaVOY: To get them out of the elements?
ROGERS: Yeah, that's right. I know Sharon [Sharon Taylor-Museum Curator] was considering something between the buildings and that's possible too. We don't know yet.
LaVOY: But you're working on it . .
ROGERS: Oh, yeah, they're working on something because there's machinery between the two buildings that are there now that needs to be covered. Some type of shelter. If they had the land to the north of that it would be fine, but there's problems with that land. I'm not sure just what it is, EPA problem.
LaVOY: I believe it's contaminated from a service station having been there. Well you certainly do keep busy and I notice that you are a great photographer. Is that a hobby and when did you take it up?
ROGERS: I don't know, I've been taking pictures for over twenty or thirty years. No hobby, just wasting film and money.
LaVOY: You take very good pictures. Well, we're just about finished, but one thing is coming back to my mind that I recall that I didn't ask you. The Navy Base has been out there for quite some time and I know it had some very colorful commanding officers out there. Do you recall who some of those were?
ROGERS: Boy, there's been so many. I don't know if he was the first commanding officer but I do remember this Commander Rice was in on the World War II days. In the new area we had quite a few dealings with a Captain Muncie negotiating some of our telephone services. They had a few complaints and we went out and had verbal exchanges, nothing serious--we ironed them out anyway. I found him to be okay. He had his mind set on something and I had my mind set on something and it was all cleared up. It was okay. In fact when I left the phone company or was about to leave, why he called me out there and gave me a fancy certificate and made me a Desert Admiral (laughing). I don't know where that certificate is today, but somewhere here in the house.
LaVOY: Well, Admiral Rogers, I want to thank you for this interview. It's been very, very interesting and on behalf of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project, I just want to thank you.
ROGERS: Yes, we could have gone probably, if we wanted to, into a little more detail for another three or four hours.
LaVOY: This is the end of the interview.
EULOGY GIVEN AT HAROLD ROGERS MEMORIAL SERVICE BY
HAROLD WILLIAM ROGERS
There has been an avalanche of loving support from Churchill County, Fallon, from around Nevada and the nation, and the family is deeply appreciative. Marie and the children, Ed, Theresa and Shirley, and the grandchildren, want each of you to know how beautiful are your remembrances and your total caring. They thank you collectively for being present today to celebrate the life of Harold. Even as she is crushed by the enormity of his loss, Marie urges us to express and feel the joy that was Harold William Rogers, a joyous citizen, great patriot, beautiful friend, and incomparable husband. Our beloved and treasured and unforgettable friend Harold often joked that his adoptive parents found him in a cabbage patch. It was Harold's unique way of explaining that his arrival did not occur under the smoothest of circumstances.
His birth, in the Bay Area, on April 6, 1917, occurred the day the United States declared war on Germany, launching us into World War I.
Then there was the matter of his biological mother. She was a poor 17-year-old Irish girl, a maid, and she had the baby out of wedlock. She was desperate and she gave baby Harold up for adoption. His first months were lived in a foundling home.
But then a Fallon couple, Nora and William Rogers becamethe adoptive mother and father. They were poor in a material sense, and wealthy spiritually.
Thus, did Harold Rogers get off to a hard scrabble beginning.
The father, even then faltering with consumption, scratched out a living at various Nevada mining properties. He would die when Harold was only six. So there, alone, was a little boy and his young mother.
But people at times rise to greatness from the darkest hours. This was so with the unique Harold Rogers. What so much helped launch him to be the powerful personality, and force, was mother Nora's love and courage. He found the work ethic early on their little farm in the St.Clair Djstrict. He prospered from neighborhood camaraderie. He saw in his mother's example that nothing worked so well as honest labor, a gentle manner, and humor, common sense and so many other attributes that became his trademarks.
The cheerful boy, prospering in the hospitality of the very small town of Fallon, did his chores, and although he was a bit shy, learned to be expert at collecting friends. He drove school buses while he was in high school, for $16 a month. Even at that tender age, it was noted that he had a fascination for cars, cameras, and caring friends.
From this boyhood picture there emerges the portrait of the towering man we admired and loved.
There was the matter of his humor. With his sly one-liners, his spontaneous comments, his side-splitting views, we didn't know whether we were dealing with Fred Allen or Jack Benny.
The minute the new cars arrived, Harold would visit the showrooms; while other shoppers kicked tires, Harold would rap his knuckles on metal and editorialize to exasperated salesmen: "They're getting tinnier every year." Though he rarely was tempted to buy a car, he invariably left the salesman with a parting question: "Does this thing run?"
He teased. But he could take a teasing.
Harold was a volunteer fireman and ambulance driver for so long that his colleagues said he came over with Columbus. They gave him a special helmet, emblazoned with the number: 1492.
He had his ear cocked for humor and remembered it even at the oddest moments. In 1973, when his weight was close to 250 pounds, he suffered a stroke at the telephone office. Stretcher-bearer Don Coverston bent to the task, looked at Harold, and said, "We sure got a heavy one here."
Harold was such an understated, over-achiever that he had no true understanding of the depth and breadth of his business and civic impact. But in fact, it was his wisdom, tenacity and tirelessness that did so much to make this valley attractive, progressive, and wholly likeable.
He set incomparable records, but he never bragged about them. You know what the records are:
--He logged 36 years with Churchill Telephone and Telegraph System, longer than any other person.
--Harold was only 30 years old when he became the system's manager, and he was the leader for 25 years, longest ever.
--And Harold Rogers was the champion picture-taker of all time, with more negatives than any cameraman, past or present.
Sometimes longevity doesn't mean quality necessarily. But with the creative, innovative and unique Harold Rogers, time meant everything. Given more time, he could do more good deeds.
Given more time, he led the county-owned telephone system from a magneto operation, into the technological age.
The man behind the camera did much more than enrich the bottom line of the Kodak company -- Harold filled up the scrapbooks of his beloved Knights of Columbus, the Fallon Rotary Club; he photographed his fellow volunteers at the fire department. He made sure that each succeeding St. Patrick's priest, right to Father John McShane, had the gorgeous photographic records of their administrations here.
You have in your possessions, the pictures that made his gifts to you. The stuff of which the good lives are made: The baptisms, the weddings, the parties; holiday events: Elmo Dericco playing Santa Claus, the new Rotary presidents, taking office.
The portrait of Harold Rogers was always broadening, growing richer.
I am pleased to tell you also that his portrait is all the more vivid because last year, Harold gave his oral history to the museum he loved. It was recorded by Marion Lavoy. So his remembrances are preserved.
We need to closely view this multi-talented man.
At the phone company, he found and trained wonderful people; he ruled the roost with encouragement, with praise, with ideas and then he carefully kept to the sidelines, while his colleagues got the credit.
At St. Patrick's, who was usher? Harold.
Who took up the collection? Harold.
He spruced up the church before and after mass; who placed the Monday candles? Who took the goodies from the Catholic food bank over to the Methodist church? Who put the missilettes back in their place? Who turned out the restroom lights?
Harold. Harold. Harold. Harold.
Mert Domonoske and Ben Bartlett are among those who give our dear brother the highest marks as city councilman; Catherine Testoline recalls his conscientiousness with the Fallon unit of retired Nevada Public employees.
Ted Hunnewell says Harold left an incredible legacy at the telephone system -- "The very best employee."
John Hanifan: "Harold made people want to do their best."
At the Churchill Museum, which he served as chairman to the end, Myrl Nygren says it all about Harold Rogers, in just two words: Priceless treasure.
His boyhood friend, Tom Flum, says: "Right from the start, Harold was a great person."
Listen to Laura Paladini, his secretary for 15 years: "Harold was sensitive, extremely kind, funny and compassionate and a tremendously creative listener."
We know of his sense of history for he captured it in the scrapbooks he made, including 15 he did for telephone colleagues; Harold could tell you whatever happened to the pothole on Stillwater Road after 1952.
Or tick off names of the early neighbors in the St.Clair District.
He caused Churchill roadsides to be clearly marked; he personally catalogued the museum's historical papers; he was, as Marion Lavoy will confirm, the free world's greatest keeper of lists; it was Harold who assembled lists, by year, of every council person, every commissioner, every priest and each monsignor.
There was his magnificent compassion. When Don Mello was a telephone rookie, age 20, driving a company car, he hit another driver broadside. Unfortunately, the guy he hit was highway patrolman David Banovicch. Harold didn't fire Mello. Instead, he simply put his arm around him and said, "That was too bad. Now let's get on with happier things."
He was the doer of good deeds, those thousands of acts of kindnesses for which he asked no thanks. He was a giving person, who happily shared his encyclopedic knowledge of the church's people and their times.
The man who began life as the orphan, who had such a hard beginning, that man was galvanized most of all by a love that lighted lives.
He was the guy who never forgot to love and to care for his mother, who lived to be 100.
He was the man who became the habitual good samaritan. Who spread sunshine at hospitals.
He was the epitome of gentleman and gentleness. And most thoughtful of his wife.
Harold Rogers truly lived in the image of our Holy Author.
If he was present to offer us parting advice, he would say "Celebrate life, as did I."
He would suggest, "Do what you can for your fellow man."
He would joke with us, telling you and me, "Laugh at yourselves and you will forever be amused."
What we would say to Harold in return is this:
"We loved your greatness and your humility, your humor and kind words.
"Thanks for the lovely memories, Harold Rogers."
--Rollan Melton Feb. 5, 1992 Fallon, Nevada