Marie Gomes Madsen Rogers Oral History
Oral History Item Type Metadata
Churchill County Oral History Project
an interview with
MARIE COMES MADSEN ROGERS
February 18, 1997
This interview was transcribed by Glenda Price; edited by Norine Arciniega; final by Pat Baden; index by Gracie Viera; supervised by Myrl Nygren, Director of the Oral History Project, Churchill County Museum.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Churchill County Museum or any of its employees.
Marie Gomes was ushered into the world by Dr. Leavitt at the Odle Home Hospital in Yerington, Nevada. Her years in Yerington were limited as the family moved to the Harmon District in Churchill County and then to the Northam District.
A return to Yerington found Marie graduating from high school there. This presaged her one-dollar-per-day work for legendary physician, Dr. Mary Fulstone, at the small hospital owned by "Dr. Mary."
Realizing that she needed more lucrative employment, Marie drove to Fallon and was hired by the Churchill County Telephone Company in 1938 for the impressive wage of twenty-five cents per hour. It is of interest to note that when she retired in 1984, she was earning eleven dollars per hour! Her descriptions of the ever-changing telephone operations are interesting and make educational reading for those interested in the history of the phone company. Her marriage and subsequent widowhood focus on the difficulties of a working woman keeping her family intact.
Her later marriage to Harold Rogers, manager of the telephone company, brings to mind an amusing story that needs sharing. The pastor of St. Patrick's and Harold owned identical white Pontiacs. The day of the wedding while the ceremony was taking place, an unknown person or persons decorated the car with "Just Married" signs, tin cans, ribbons, and rocks in the hub caps, etc. The only problem was that they had inadvertently decorated the wrong car! As the newly wed Mr. and Mrs. Rogers drove off on their honeymoon in their spotless white Pontiac, Monsignor Ryan entered his overly decorated honeymoon car and drove downtown and around the area much to the delight of his friends and parishioners!
Interview with Marie Gomes Madsen Rogers
LaVOY: This is Marian Hennen LaVoy of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project interviewing Marie Gomes Madsen Rogers at her home 760 West Fifth Street, Fallon, Nevada. The date is February 18,1997. Good morning, Marie.
ROGERS: Good morning.
LaVOY: Have a few questions here to start out with. First of all tell me, what were your parents' names?
ROGERS: They were Frank and Emilia.
LaVOY: What was your father's full name?
ROGERS: Frank F. Gomes, but I don't know what the F stood for.
LaVOY: Where was he born?
ROGERS: He was born in Boston, Massachusetts.
LaVOY: Do you know what year?
ROGERS: It was in the 1800s , but I couldn't tell you exactly what year.
LaVOY: What was your mother's full name?
ROGERS: My mother's full name, now, in Portuguese it was Emilia, but in American it was Emily, and her full name was Emily Fertado.
LaVOY: Where was she born?
ROGERS: She was born in Flores, Portugal. 
LaVOY: How did she happen to come from Portugal to meet your father?
ROGERS: Her aunt was living in the East. I'm not sure whether it was in the Boston area or what, but she came to visit her aunt and to make her residence here in the United States.
LaVOY: How did she happen to meet your father?
ROGERS: Her aunt moved to Yerington [Nevada], and my dad had moved to Yerington as a young man, and he was staying with his sister in Yerington, so they met somehow in Yerington.
LaVOY: What was the name of your father's sister?
ROGERS: Mary Matthews.
LaVOY: And she had been living in Yerington for a number of years?
ROGERS: Yes, she had.
LaVOY: How long was your father in Yerington before he met your mother?
ROGERS: That I don't know exactly. It was several years.
LaVOY: What did he do in Yerington?
ROGERS: Well, he just worked on the farm.
LaVOY: Whose farm?
ROGERS: He stayed with my aunt and just kind of worked on the farm with her. She had a big ranch in Yerington and had several children, and he just kind of more or less worked on the farm there. And then I think he got odd jobs around Yerington just working on farms.
LaVOY: Where were he and your mother married?
ROGERS: They were married in Virginia City. The Catholic Church there, but I don't know the name of it. I don't know whether it was St. Mary's of the Mountains.
LaVOY: That's interesting. Did they ever talk about their wedding?
ROGERS: Yes, it was just a small wedding. I think his sister and maybe a friend of theirs stood up. My mother's relatives were all back in Portugal at the time. Although they did move out here to the coast years after.
LaVOY: Did they say where they went on their honeymoon?
ROGERS: I don't believe they had a honeymoon. I think they
just got married and went back to Yerington.
LaVOY: Did they have a place to live there?
ROGERS: That I'm not sure. I'm sure they must have had.
LaVOY: What did he do after they were married? What was his livelihood?
ROGERS: Well, it was still working on the farms. They lived in Smith Valley where some of my brothers and sisters were born.
LaVOY: What are the names of your brothers and sisters?
ROGERS: My brothers and sisters were--my brother, Joe, was the oldest of the family, and then Eva was next and Annie, and then my brother, Louie, and Albert and Frankie and Gladys and myself.
LaVOY: All the Gomes family?
LaVOY: Tell me, did you start school in Yerington?
ROGERS: No, I didn't. I started school at the Harmon School I think, approximately, when I was six years old. [tape cuts]
LaVOY: You say you were six years old, Marie. When were you born?
ROGERS: I was born September 16, 1920.
LaVOY: What prompted your family to move to Fallon?
ROGERS: We had lived in Smith Valley for several years. Then we moved to Weeks, Nevada, and then from Weeks, Nevada, we moved to Fallon in the Harmon District.
LaVOY: What were you doing in Weeks, Nevada?
ROGERS: We had a ranch there in Weeks, Nevada.
LaVOY: Your father and mother bought a ranch?
ROGERS: I believe they did own it for a short time. I think it was Garavanta's place.
LaVOY: You mentioned to me that some relative of yours went to school in Weeks.
ROGERS: Yes. In the upper story of the house that we lived in, there was some vacant rooms, and as I can remember as a girl going upstairs, they had a kind of a little school there, and my brothers and sisters, which I think was Joe and Louie and Annie and Eva, they went to school there, but for how long I can't tell you, but they did have a little schooling there and a school.
LaVOY: Who was their teacher? Do you remember?
ROGERS: Yes. It was Miss [Marie] Mann, and I think she was related to Donna Dericco [her mother].
LaVOY: Oh. Well, then, did your parents sell their ranch?
ROGERS: Yes, they sold their interest in it, and then they moved to Harmon District.
LaVOY: Why did they select Fallon?
ROGERS: I don't know why they did. I think my sister, Annie, was married at the time, and she lived here, and I think that's what made them come over this direction.
LaVOY: What was her married name?
ROGERS: Annie Soares.
LaVOY: Oh. Where was the ranch here in Fallon?
ROGERS: It was located near the Nygren Ranch. In fact they might have, maybe, leased that place from the Nygrens, and that's how I became acquainted with Maie and Myrl and Ray and Earl in the Nygren family.
LaVOY: Did they eventually buy the place?
ROGERS: No, I think it was just leased for a number of years.
LaVOY: And what did your father raise on the ranch?
ROGERS: He had garden, and he had cattle and hay and one thing and another.
LaVOY: Do you remember living in the ranch house?
ROGERS: Yes, I do, and it still stands out there, yet.
LaVOY: You were six years old when you moved. What were some of your little chores that you remember as a young child?
ROGERS: We had to gather the eggs, and we had to bring in the wood for the stove. We had wood-burning stoves at that time and the coal and things like that. Go down, maybe, to the barn and get the milk for the meals.
LaVOY: Did you ever have to do any milking, or was that your brothers' jobs?
ROGERS: Yes, I did. We milked a little bit. Not a whole lot 'cause we were small at the time or young, I should say.
LaVOY: When you went to gather the eggs, did you always find them in the chicken house?
ROGERS: No, not necessarily. The chickens had different areas where they would hide their nests. We lived in an area where there was sagebrush, and they would lay in the sagebrush, too.
LaVOY: Did you have to go out searching each day?
ROGERS: Yes, we did. We had noticed the different nests different places, so we knew where to go to get them.
LaVOY: Did you ever have any problems with coyotes getting the chickens?
ROGERS: No, not in those days. The coyotes never did come down too close that I can remember.
LaVOY: When you started school, where did you go to school?
ROGERS: At the Harmon School.
LaVOY: How far was that from where you lived?
ROGERS: I would say approximately between two and three miles from where we lived.
LaVOY: How did you get to school?
ROGERS: The Nygrens had a yellow buggy that was drawn by a horse, and the Nygrens and all of us just climbed on that buggy and went to school.
LaVOY: Who was your teacher?
ROGERS: Miss Plum. Theo Wightman was my first teacher.
LaVOY: What do you remember of her?
ROGERS: I remember her giving me a spanking when I was cheating on a spelling word.
LaVOY: How were you cheating?
ROGERS: In the third grade we were given hard words, and the word that I really had cheated on was airplane, and I had written it on my desk and thought, "Well, perhaps I could get by by doing it." She used to walk up and down the aisle, and at the time she came near my desk, I had my hand on it, and I guess I wasn't supposed to be cheating and I had moved my hand off the word, and she saw it, so she grabbed me and took me in the hallway and gave me a couple of spats on my behind, but I was certainly embarrassed and I certainly didn't cheat anymore. (laughing)
LaVOY: (laughing) Oh, dear. It's too bad they can't do that nowadays. (laughing)
ROGERS: I certainly remember that.
LaVOY: Who were some of your classmates?
ROGERS: Sally Groth, for one, and Maie and Myrl, of course, and Ray.
LaVOY: Can you remember any of the others?
ROGERS: Wanda and Rita Jones and Harry Stewart, Foster Shepard. I'm sure there were many more, but I certainly can't remember them at this time.
LaVOY: What were some of the subjects that you particularly liked in school out there?
ROGERS: I was quite fond of most of them. I was really a good student. Not to be bragging, but arithmetic was the one that I was really quite fond of. We used to have adding matches and stuff on the blackboard, and I could really add fast. Not to be bragging.
LaVOY: Well, that's great. How many grades did you attend at Harmon?
ROGERS: Up until the seventh grade, and then we moved to Northam. Then my dad bought a ranch there on Swingle Bench, but I think it was owned by the Swingles at one time. I'm not sure on that
LaVOY: But from leasing, he bought the place?
ROGERS: Yes, and we lived there for several years.
LaVOY: What crops did he raise there?
ROGERS: He raised hay. Mother had a great big garden. Mostly alfalfa.
LaVOY: Did you have any cattle and horses?
ROGERS: Yeah. We had a lot of cattle and horses and sheep.
LaVOY: I've heard a great deal about Northam, but I don't know where that district is. What did that comprise?
ROGERS: It took care of Swingle Bench and down along the [Carson] river where the Matteuccis lived and the Moris. The Jacobsens lived there at one time, and that took in all that area.
LaVOY: Where was the Northam School?
ROGERS: It was down near the river area.
LaVOY: And who were some of the students that you remember that went there?
ROGERS: There was Herman Shaffner and the Johnsons. Herman Johnson and Helen Johnson and Robert Johnson and the Lehmans. There was Alpha and Charles and Audrey, and there was the Otts. Irma and Bertha Ott and the Atkinsons. That's all. I can remember at this time.
LaVOY: Who were the teachers at the school?
ROGERS: Mrs. Stark was teaching at Harmon School. When I moved over from Harmon School to Northam, she came over and taught at the Northam School.
LaVOY: So, actually, you just went to the Northam School for one year?
ROGERS: Yeah, and then I graduated from the eighth grade there.
LaVOY: Did you have a graduation ceremony?
ROGERS: Yes, we did. Sort of a small one.
LaVOY: Do you remember anything that happened at that graduation that would be of interest to us?
ROGERS: It wasn't too exciting, I don't think. We had a small program and the family attended. We had speeches that we gave.
LaVOY: What did you give a speech on?
ROGERS: I can't remember what it was now.
LaVOY: But the ceremony lasted for an hour or more?
ROGERS: Yes. I think the teacher handed out awards for different things.
LaVOY: Then you had to come in to high school?
LaVOY: And how did you get from Northam to the high school?
ROGERS: The bus picked us up, and one of the Porteous boys was driving. I think it was Louis Porteous was the driver on the bus at the time, and they picked us all up. Went down into the area where the Moris lived and the Jacobsens. Huckabys lived there, too, at the time.
LaVOY: What was the bus like that brought you in?
ROGERS: It was more or less like the ones they have today.
LaVOY: You didn't have the honor of having the ones that had the canvas windows.
ROGERS: No. They were in pretty good shape and everything.
LaVOY: When you came into high school, what were the subjects that you liked the best?
ROGERS: I took home ec and, of course, English and history and algebra. I was quite fond of the home ec department.
LaVOY: Who was the teacher? Do you remember?
ROGERS: I think it was Miss Smith. I may not be right on that, but it's as near as I can remember.
LaVOY: Who was the principal at the time?
ROGERS: George McCracken.
LaVOY: Do you have any memories of him?
ROGERS: Yes, he was a strict person and everything was in order. The girls weren't allowed to go on the boys' side, and the boys weren't allowed to go on the girls' side. I remember him during the lunch hours. He walked up and down and through the hallways, and you weren't allowed to be messing around on the school yards or anything. He was very strict. I really admired him for his conduct because he really kept everybody in order.
LaVOY: Did you ever have to work during high school?
ROGERS: No, not at all.
LaVOY: Some of the high school teachers, as I understand it, were very active with the athletics. Did you get into any athletics at all?
ROGERS: Not here in Fallon I didn't. We moved to Yerington, and then I graduated from the Yerington high school.
LaVOY: How long did you attend the Fallon high school?
ROGERS: Up until the second year of high school, and then we moved to Yerington again.
LaVOY: Why did you move to Yerington?
ROGERS: My dad, he liked to move around quite a bit. So when we moved to Yerington, we moved to the Farrell Ranch which was near Wabuska, and I finished high school in Yerington.
LaVOY: Do you remember who some of your friends were from the Yerington years?
ROGERS: There was the Fabri girls, and there was Joyce Chiantili, and, of course, some of my cousins attended, and the Pontis there. Lucille Pontis and the Rosaschis. Gloria Rosaschi who was married to Kenny Kent. Some of her family went to school. I think Peter was attending school at the same time that I was, and that was Gloria's brother.
LaVOY: Did your father lease the place there or buy a place?
ROGERS: No, he leased that, and we had cattle and hay and stuff like that. Sheep.
LaVOY: When you graduated from high school in Yerington, what year was that?
LaVOY: Actually, you were coming out of the Depression at that time.
ROGERS: Yes, we were.
LaVOY: When you graduated did you go on to school?
ROGERS: Just for a short time I went to the Sacramento Business College down in Sacramento [California], but I got real homesick so I didn't stay there very long.
LaVOY: About how long did you stay?
ROGERS: Oh, I would say a couple of months. I got so homesick that they sent me home. I was living with a family there in Sacramento and working for my room and board, and they transported me back and forth to school, but, like I say, I didn't stay there very long 'cause I got deathly homesick, and I came home.
LaVOY: When you came home, did you live with your parents?
ROGERS: Yes, I stayed with my parents in Wabuska for a while, and then I decided that I would come to Fallon, and I stayed with my brother, Louie Games, who lived in the St. Clair District, for a while, and then I applied at the telephone company for a job. Mr. Townsend was the manager at that time, and, after an interview, I was hired right away.
LaVOY: Where was the telephone company located at that time?
ROGERS: It was located on Williams Avenue where the new building stands now.
LaVOY: Right by the courthouse.
LaVOY: You didn't start in the new building. You started in
the little building that is right next to the courthouse?
ROGERS: Well, that was completely taken down when the new construction was built. It was taken down and the new building was . . .
LaVOY: Tell me something about the telephone company. You say Mr. Townsend was in charge of it, and what was your job?
ROGERS: I went to work as a telephone operator to begin with, and the first shift that I was given was two weeks all night. They really tested you out. If you could stand the two weeks all night, well, then you were on the way.
LaVOY: What were your hours for all night?
ROGERS: Eleven till seven in the morning.
LaVOY: Did you have anybody in the building with you?
ROGERS: No, and we weren't allowed to let anyone in, either It was locked.
LaVOY: Did somebody work with you?
LaVOY: Just you alone?
ROGERS: I worked all alone from eleven to seven.
LaVOY: Did you have any exciting calls at that point in time?
ROGERS: No. It was kind of a quiet shift. The only excitement I have at one time was I heard--this was during the winter months. It was really cold outdoors. I remember that, and I heard this knock on the front door, and, really, I wasn't supposed to let anyone in, but it seemed like he was desperate to make a call, so I did let him in.
LaVOY: And who was it?
ROGERS: It was Chris Madsen.
LaVOY: Why did he need to make such an important call?
ROGERS: He was a dispatcher for the Garibaldi Trucking Company, and he had to make an urgent call, so I did let him in, and he made his call. He tipped me a dollar and left.
LaVOY: Oh. (laughing)
ROGERS: And he became my husband.
LaVOY: Well, my, we'll get into that very shortly. That's the first time you had met him?
ROGERS: Well, I had talked to him over the phone for long-distance calls. He made quite a few calls.
LaVOY: What was the Garibaldi Trucking Company?
ROGERS: It was a company from Los Angeles, and they came here during the winter months, and they transported sheep and cattle from different farmers in this area and Austin.
LaVOY: I understand that at that point in time there were a lot of feed lots here.
ROGERS: Yes, there was, and he transported feed from the Los Angeles area into here.
LaVOY: Oh. Now, getting back to your telephone career, you said you stayed two months at that night shift?
ROGERS: Yes. Or two weeks that was.
LaVOY: Oh, two weeks, and then where'd you go?
ROGERS: Then they assigned me a shift during the day which was broken. It was broken shifts.
LaVOY: Like what?
ROGERS: Like eight thirty to one, and then you returned, I think, about three and worked till six or six thirty. Something like that.
LaVOY: Tell me, how did you know who was calling and how to transfer your calls?
ROGERS: At that time we really didn't know who was calling because there was several people on a line. There's quite a few people on the line, so you would never know who was calling unless you recognized their voice, and then you knew.
LaVOY: What do you mean there were several people on the line?
ROGERS: There was four or five people--it isn't like now that you can have a private line. There wasn't that many lines available, so they had to kind of double up on the different parties.
LaVOY: How could you get a call through if so many people were on the line?
ROGERS: You take like in the country, why, you just have to take . . . if you lifted the receiver and someone was talking, you would have to wait till they finished and then placed your call.
LaVOY: Did they have rings?
LaVOY: What were they?
ROGERS: In the first office that I worked in, was manual, and you rang everything manually in the country and in the city.
LaVOY: How would I know if you were ringing my number if I lived in the county?
ROGERS: Well, if somebody called to say 1-F-8, say, your number was 1-F-8, well, we had code ringing which 1-F-8 was a long and three shorts. If it was just 1-F-4, then we rang four shorts. And it rang on everybody's line. In those days you had a lot of rubbernecks.
LaVOY: And what is a rubberneck?
ROGERS: A rubberneck is someone on the line that's listening to your conversation.
LaVOY: Well, I would think if you had a lot of them that the volume would go down.
ROGERS: Yes, it did. It really did.
LaVOY: Was there any retribution for that?
ROGERS: No. At that time you just tried to get along the best you could with the service you had.
LaVOY: What kind of a switchboard were you operating?
ROGERS: I worked on a cord board.
LaVOY: That's the kind that has the long cord that you plug into the hole?
LaVOY: How did you ever figure out which hole to plug anything in?
ROGERS: They had numbers. On the switchboard they had numbers like seven, one and two, five, and around that particular hole would be colors like red, yellow, white and green. On our switchboard we had colors, and we would insert our cord in the seven, one, and then we'd press the G, and then it would ring. We'd have to press something else so it would ring.
LaVOY: Oh. Sounds rather complicated to me.
ROGERS: Yes, it was a little complicated at that time.
LaVOY: Who were some of the people that worked with you during the day shift?
ROGERS: There was Catherine Winder, and there was Lizzie Mulvaney and Gladys Stewart and Norma Hiatt. I can't remember what the night operator's name was. She worked all night. I can see her very plainly in my mind, but I can't remember what the name was.
LaVOY: Well, that's all right. It'll come to you in a few minutes. Were the operators friendly with one another?
ROGERS: Oh, yes. We got along very nicely.
LaVOY: Were there any funny things that happened during the day when you were working?
ROGERS: Well, people are really quite funny. They asked the silliest questions.
LaVOY: Like what?
ROGERS: How to cook beans and how to do this and that.
LaVOY: You mean you actually you got calls as the telephone operator to tell the person how to cook?
ROGERS: Yes. Different things, and where certain people lived.
Oh, there was a lot of things they used to ask us.
LaVOY: Did you get many calls for time?
ROGERS: Oh, we had quite a few calls for time. There was quite a few calls for time at that time, but then when we changed over, in the meantime during those years we switched over to a more modern switchboard, and then we did get time quite a bit. But during that first one that I'm talking about is one that we worked long distance, and we only had three long-distance circuits at that time. One person sat at the long-distance board and worked nothing but long distance. What she did, she passed the call to Reno. She took the information from the customer in Fallon, and then she passed it on to the Reno operator, and she processed it on, and then we would call the person back when the person was on the line so they could complete their call
LaVOY: Were there a lot of long-distance calls?
ROGERS: Not at that time there wasn't too many.
LaVOY: Do you remember anybody in Fallon that was particularly active using long distance? [End of tape 1 side A]
ROGERS: The people that used the lines mostly were Danny Evans, the Kents, the Kendricks, and Ernie Hursh and quite a few of the different farmers around. Cushmans.
LaVOY: Why were they calling long distance?
ROGERS: They had different business calls to make. Ordering supplies and stuff like that.
LaVOY: What was Mr. Evans' business?
ROGERS: He was in a service station business there on the corner of Center and Maine where now stands the Fallon National Bank. [200 South Maine]
LaVOY: And then, of course, the Kents had their…
ROGERS: Feed mill and the store.
LaVOY: What was their feed mill like?
ROGERS: Tom Kendrick was the one that run that mill. I don't remember whether Kents had anything to do with that flour mill. I think it was the Fallon Flour Mill. I know Tom Kent was the main person in that.
LaVOY: In the flour mill business?
LaVOY: He wasn't in the lumber business at that time?
ROGERS: That I don't remember.
LaVOY: The other Kent would have been Ira?
ROGERS: Yes. The older Ira, and then, also, the Wallaces were with them in the Kent Store which was located on the corner there. [Maine and Center]
LaVOY: With this long-distance calling, was that much more expensive than the regular calling?
ROGERS: We had toll charges for the long-distance calls, but I don't think they were very expensive, but, at that time
LaVOY: Coming out of the Depression, it was only the people that had the means.
ROGERS: To make calls.
LaVOY: Working there with some of the women, did you have a dress code?
ROGERS: Well, we wore dresses at that time. We weren't allowed to wear slacks. I believe on the weekends we were allowed to wear slacks, but we usually dressed in the nice dresses.
LaVOY: Did any of the operators go against the code?
ROGERS: No. We got along very nicely. The only thing that I remember--I guess I didn't mention Madeleine McLean was working there at the time that I was, also--and the only thing I can remember her is wearing this pad underneath her headset in order to not hurt her head.
LaVOY: What kind of a pad?
ROGERS: Well, it was--I hate to say--but, it was a sanitary pad.
LaVOY: And nobody ever complained because she had it?
ROGERS: Well, she had wrapped it up in a sort of a white cloth, perhaps a handkerchief or something so it wasn't noticeable.
LaVOY: Had she worked for a long time for the telephone company?
ROGERS: Yes, she did. She worked many years. She was a very pleasant person to work with, and I think, in later years, she quit the telephone company and went and worked for the Navy out at the base.
LaVOY: Oh. How long did you stay in this one building?
ROGERS: We stayed there for several years. I don't recall the number of years, but then we moved into another building. In the meantime I left the office. I worked in this particular office for about a year and a half-I was married--and I left for some time, and then when I returned they were in a different building.
LaVOY: It seems to me you mentioned to me at one time about moving from one building to the other. Was that at this period of time or later?
ROGERS: It was later.
LaVOY: All right, then, we'll digress a bit. You worked for about a year and a half.
LaVOY: And you were dating at this time?
LaVOY: Tell me, who was the young man you were dating?
ROGERS: It was Chris Madsen who I let in to make that long-distance call that night.
LaVOY: That sounds very interesting. Where did you go on your dates?
ROGERS: We went to shows, and we went to Reno and around.
LaVOY: Where were you when he asked you to marry him?
ROGERS: We had gone to a show at the theatre, but I don't remember the name of the picture, and then when he brought me home, he asked me.
LaVOY: And you, of course, accepted.
LaVOY: Where were you married and when?
ROGERS: We were married March 7, 1941, at the Justice of the Peace office in Carson City. We were enroute to California, and we decided just to have a quiet marriage and go on.
LaVOY: You honeymooned in California, then?
LaVOY: In what part?
ROGERS: In Fresno, California. We went down and visited his family, and that's where we honeymooned, I guess you would say, in that area.
LaVOY: Was he on a trip with his truck?
ROGERS: No, he had to go down to some business in California, and so we decided to get married and have a quiet ceremony, and it was not to be known to anyone because at the time I worked for the telephone company you couldn't work if you were married, so we kept it a secret for about two or three months, and then I was to leave to go down to California to his summer session of trucking, so then I told them.
LaVOY: Your parents did not know that you'd eloped?
ROGERS: No, they didn't.
LaVOY: How did they react to that?
ROGERS: They didn't say too much. Chris was a very fine person.
LaVOY: Were you living at home when you were married?
ROGERS: No, I had an apartment, and he was staying at the Tom Kendrick residence. He was renting a room there, and I stayed with my girlfriend on Stillwater Avenue who was Norma Hiatt, and I went back and forth to work, and he lived at his place, and I lived in my apartment. That was a strange arrangement, wasn't it?
LaVOY: Yes, it was. (laughing) And nobody even suspected that you were married.
ROGERS: No. Not till we told them.
LaVOY: Were they all surprised?
ROGERS: Yes, they were.
LaVOY: Goodness gracious. Well, then, you ended your working for the telephone company and became Mrs. Madsen.
Where did you first live?
ROGERS: He had to go down to Los Angeles, California, for his summer session of trucking. In the winter months, he came to Nevada, and the summer months he returned to California. That was the season there.
LaVOY: Did you live down in California then?
ROGERS: I lived in Maywood. We had an apartment there at Maywood.
LaVOY: And how long did you live there?
ROGERS: I would say maybe less than six months, and then he came back to Nevada to do the winter months.
LaVOY: And where did you live when you returned to Nevada?
ROGERS: I lived in a house that Mrs. Clark had that was rented to us in the back, and it was on Ada Street. It was a little house. I think it's still standing there.
LaVOY: Did you not work at all?
ROGERS: No, not at time, I didn't.
LaVOY: When did you have your first child?
ROGERS: I had my first child on January 4, 1942.
LaVOY: And who was that?
ROGERS: That was Edward.
LaVOY: So the three of you lived here in Fallon.
ROGERS: Yes. Up until six months, and then we were--I think it was well not quite six months when we went back to California again.
LaVOY: Did you do this for a number of years?
ROGERS: We did it for a number of years, and then he bought his own trucking company, and we moved to Sparks where he had the Nevada Livestock Transportation.
LaVOY: Where did you live in Sparks?
ROGERS: We lived on Nineteenth Street. We had bought a home there on Nineteenth Street.
LaVOY: And how many years did you live there?
ROGERS: We lived there for four or five years.
LaVOY: And you had more children while you were there?
ROGERS: Yes. Then I had Shirley and Theresa.
LaVOY: When was Shirley born?
ROGERS: She was born at the Washoe Medical Center December 2, 1946.
LaVOY: And then the other child?
ROGERS: Was Theresa, and she was born in Reno also. Theresa was born January 14, 1947.
LaVOY: So, actually your children were not born in Fallon?
ROGERS: No, the only one that was born in Fallon was Edward, and he was born at Dr. Wray's hospital.
LaVOY: That was the oldest child?
LaVOY: Where was Dr. Wray's hospital?
ROGERS: It was on the corner of Stillwater Avenue and Maine Street. [406 South Maine]
LaVOY: Was it a large building?
ROGERS: Yes, it was. He had several rooms that he had patients in.
LaVOY: And he delivered your son.
LaVOY: And you were satisfied with the hospital care?
ROGERS: Yes, he was very, very nice. I remember him putting Eddie in a little blanket and he carried him around like a little sack of potatoes. (laughing)
LaVOY: After he was born?
LaVOY: Sort of like the stork.
ROGERS: Yeah. Carried him around.
LaVOY: Was he showing him to people?
ROGERS: Yes--I shouldn't brag--but he was a very beautiful little baby. He looked more or less like his dad. Not me, for sure. (laughing)
LaVOY: And the doctor took him around right after he was born?
ROGERS: Uh-huh, and showed him around. Just like the stork would. Carrying him around.
LaVOY: In a blanket. How long were you at the hospital?
ROGERS: Oh, just for about three or four days, I think, and then my mother came over. We were living in town, and she took care of him.
LaVOY: Where were you living when he was born?
ROGERS: I can't remember what the name of the street was. We were renting from a lady, but I don't even remember her name.
LaVOY: Well, digressing a bit, then you moved to Sparks, and you lived there until what year?
ROGERS: We lived there until in the late forties or the early fifties. It must have been in 1949 that we moved over here.
LaVOY: And why did you return to Fallon?
ROGERS: He moved his trucking business over here to Fallon.
LaVOY: Did you build a home here then?
ROGERS: We bought a home on Stillwater Avenue. We bought it from Thelma Hart, and we lived there for several years, and then we moved to the country.
LaVOY: Saying you moved to the country, where did you move?
ROGERS: We moved on Allen Road. We had a home built there. Dr. [Darius] Caffaratti was the one that bought it from us when my first husband passed away.
LaVOY: Is that the home that has all the orchard in front of it?
ROGERS: Yes, it is. And I planted the orchard.
LaVOY: Did you really?
LaVOY: What were some of your activities in Fallon at that point in time?
ROGERS: Well, we were church goers and participated in some of the church functions and the Rotary Club, the Lions Club.
LaVOY: Well, your husband being in business was involved in all of these things.
LaVOY: Did he have a business out at the base after the base closed?
ROGERS: Yes, he did. He had his business first there at the air base [Naval Air Station, Fallon] which was vacated at that time, and he worked out of the shop there with his trucks, and he hauled cattle and feed and pigs and sheep and so forth. At one time he raised pigs there at the swimming pool. He and another. I can't remember the name of the person that was with him on these pigs, but it was really funny to see these pigs running around in the swimming pool.
LaVOY: Oh, my, was that the swimming pool by the officers' club?
ROGERS: Yes, it was.
LaVOY: And they fed the pigs down in the pool?
ROGERS: Uh-huh, and then they sold them.
LaVOY: Goodness gracious! He didn't have a partner in his business in Fallon?
ROGERS: No, he didn't.
LaVOY: What was the name of his Fallon business?
ROGERS: Valley Livestock Transportation.
LaVOY: And he transported livestock of all varieties between here and California.
ROGERS: Yes, and the different areas of Nevada like Austin and Ely.
LaVOY: Did you ever go with him on any of these trips?
ROGERS: No, I didn't.
LaVOY: Did you go back to work for the telephone company after you moved back?
ROGERS: Yes, I did. After the all the children were in school, I went back. I believe it was either late 1949 or in the early fifties. I'm not sure just what year I went back.
LaVOY: What job did you take when you went back?
ROGERS: I went back as a switchboard operator.
LaVOY: Right back where you were when you left.
LaVOY: What hours did you work?
ROGERS: Well, our hours were a little bit better. I worked eight to four thirty, and we had broken shifts like eight thirty to one and then came back and worked from three to six. And then four thirty to ten.
LaVOY: Wasn't that kind of difficult for you with the children being home?
ROGERS: My husband was there most all the time, and then when he wasn't, I had the neighbor lady. She has passed away. It was Ellen Brown. She took care of them quite a bit of the time when he wasn't there.
LaVOY: Had the switchboards changed?
ROGERS: Yes, it had. It had changed quite a bit. We were able to handle more long-distance calls, and the area was growing.
LaVOY: Who was in charge of the telephone company at that point in time?
ROGERS: Harold Rogers was the manager at that time.
LaVOY: Now, you still had the switchboard with those long cables on them?
ROGERS: Yes, we still worked off of the cord board, and we used the cords. I remember working there one day, and the repairmen were supposed to replace the cords, and I remember Harold coming and sitting behind us and noticing all these frayed cords so he just took the scissors and cut the ones that were frayed and took them back to the repairman and told them, "I want those replaced," which they hurriedly came and replaced them. I thought it was quite funny at the time. Of course, I wasn't married to Harold at the time.
LaVOY: Now, if there'd been an emergency, Harold would have been in problems.
ROGERS: Well, there was five positions at the time, and he just cut the cords that were on . . . he didn't take all the cords off the positions.
LaVOY: Probably three of them. Who were some of the repairmen that came back in?
ROGERS: Oh, there was Wallace Lima for one.
LaVOY: Did they make any comments on his cutting the cords off?
ROGERS: No, they just came and repaired them. I should remember some of the different ones that were there. My mind is slipping, I guess.
LaVOY: They were building a new building next to where you were working?
ROGERS: Yes, it was under construction at that time.
LaVOY: Is that the current building?
LaVOY: How did you move from one building to the other?
ROGERS: We went into a digital office at that time. We were working more or less on a manual board, so it was improved to a digital office.
LaVOY: Explain to me what a digital office is.
ROGERS: The equipment had changed, and our calls were handled differently. Before we used to use a dial, and it was improved to buttons or keys.
LaVOY: Like touch tone?
ROGERS: Touch tone, yeah.
LaVOY: So, in other words, if somebody would call in and want a number, instead of dialing it, you would push buttons?
LaVOY: Did you still have the long and short rings?
ROGERS: No. It was rung differently.
LaVOY: People could automatic dial then from their homes. Were there still party lines?
ROGERS: Yes, there were two or three people on one line. And then they had the advanced--people were given different private lines. I had a private line. My husband had a private line when he had his own business out in the country. It was advanced where we could have a private line
LaVOY: Did Harold bring about a lot of changes in the telephone company?
ROGERS: Yes, he did.
LaVOY: What were some of them?
ROGERS: The digital office went in, and they had another office built out in the Soda Lake area out towards Reno which was the Pioneer Exchange. That was the 867 exchange.
LaVOY: What do you mean? There was another office out there?
LaVOY: With operators working out there?
ROGERS: No, that was just an exchange, 867. It had its own equipment and everything. They had a couple of men out there that maintained the equipment.
LaVOY: But, it all went through your office?
ROGERS: Well, that wasn't a separate office, It had its own equipment but we could ring from this office out to the 867 exchange.
LaVOY: About this time didn't the commissioners want to sell the phone company?
ROGERS: Yes, about that time they did.
LaVOY: And who was that and why?
ROGERS: I think probably maybe they wanted to get money for other things in the area. For instance, maybe a new sheriff's office and upgrade some of the different things in town here, but I can't remember what they were exactly at that time.
LaVOY: Why would they want to sell it when it was making money for the county?
ROGERS: I don't know why they wanted to. It made more money than anything in this area.
LaVOY: Do you remember who the commissioners were?
ROGERS: I think it was Jimmy Woods for one and Freeman Morgan, but I don't remember of the other one. There was three. I do remember those two. [Donald R. Travis and Frank deBraga]
LaVOY: How did it happen that they did not get to sell it?
ROGERS: It was voted. The only thing that kept it from not selling was the vote from the employees. If it wasn't the employees' vote, it would have sold.
LaVOY: I don't quite understand that. You didn't have a county-wide vote. It was just an employee vote.
ROGERS: No, it was a county-wide vote, but it was just the above votes from the employees that kept it.
LaVOY: How did the commissioners react to that?
ROGERS: I can't remember too much about it, but I know all of us were happy that it didn't sell.
LaVOY: And it has proven to be the Godsend for the county.
ROGERS: Yes, I should say so. It makes more money than anything. It has grown as you well know.
LaVOY: It's hard to understand why things like this happen.
ROGERS: Yes, I should say so because there's not too many county-owned exchanges.
LaVOY: I think this is the only one. I may be mistaken, but I think that it is.
ROGERS: The county should be proud of this exchange because it gives out good service, and the only sad thing about the exchange, they got rid of all the operators when the computers came in. Then it lessened the help.
LaVOY: Well, digressing a bit, getting back to when you moved from the old building to the finished new building, how was that accomplished?
ROGERS: The switchboard was on rollers, and I remember we had to take it down through a hallway to the new building. I was working a long-distance call from Mr. Wimple at the time. Pat Mills was working and Lois Corner. We were three on the board as it rolled down long the hallway into our new area, and it was situated there until we could go onto the new switchboard.
LaVOY: You went from the old manual to the digital?
LaVOY: Did the gentleman finish his long-distance call while you were enroute?
ROGERS: Yes, they did. It was portable. We could work off of it until the new one was
LaVOY: What's so funny to me is you have the switchboard on a roller.
ROGERS: A platform sort of a…
LaVOY: And the three of you were walking with it?
ROGERS: Yes. We were walking and working the calls as we went down the hallway.
LaVOY: And nobody knew that this was happening that was making the calls?
ROGERS: No, 'cause it wasn't interrupted at all. And then it was brought into the new building, and it was still on a platform, and then we still worked on it until the new one was put into working condition.
LaVOY: Was that the same day?
ROGERS: No, this didn't happen the same day. It took several days before the new switchboard was initiated
LaVOY: Did you have to go to classes to learn how to use the new switchboard?
ROGERS: No, we didn't. It took us a little while. I remember it was activated in the evening. Well, we were kind of given a little instruction, but we didn't go to school or take any classes on it.
LaVOY: Who gave you the instruction?
ROGERS: It was the chief operator, Cora Sanford. She explained what we were to do, and we sat down at this activated in an evening, and I remember sitting down and taking calls from it. It was quite different.
LaVOY: Do you remember offhand what year that might have been?
ROGERS: It probably was in the early sixties as near as I can remember.
LaVOY: When you had this famous jaunt from one building to the next, was there anybody there with you when you went down the hall?
ROGERS: No, it was just the three of us walking the board down through the hall.
LaVOY: Then when you started the new system, did you have anybody there observing?
ROGERS: Oh, yes. Harold Rogers was there and Cora Sanford, and some of the employees were excited about the new board, so they were standing in the background watching.
LaVOY: No outsiders, though.
ROGERS: Maybe the commissioners might have been there, but I'm not certain on that.
LaVOY: And so life went on with the new telephone building and the new digital switching and everything else.
LaVOY: How did that change your work job?
ROGERS: We still had our different shifts. We had tickets that we wrote out in the beginning. In fact, I have some samples of the tickets.
LaVOY: Excuse me, what are tickets?
ROGERS: We took the information. When a person made a call, you took down their name and their number and where they called to. Then we had a clock which we timed it.
LaVOY: Oh, this was for long distance?
ROGERS: Yes, at that time. Then it advanced into marked sense ticketing, and we had a card. They had numbers on them, and there was the calling party's various numbers that were in bubbles. As they gave the number to us, why, we marked the bubbles, and where they called to we marked bubbles for the calling number. Then we had a clock that we used for stamping on and off.
LaVOY: I don't understand this bubbles.
ROGERS: What I mean by bubbles, kind of an egg-shaped circle, and when they told you the number, you just made a line right through it.
LaVOY: Right through a bubble?
ROGERS: Yeah. Through the bubble.
LaVOY: And how did the bubble get the number?
ROGERS: Well, we timed it, and then it went into a machine in the back there where they rated them and so forth, and then they punched the . . . they had a system of doing it.
LaVOY: That's still confusing to me. I don't quite understand it, yet.
ROGERS: I can't remember, but we stamped the ticket, and we put it in our slot near the set of cords that we had.
LaVOY: And then the business office took it from there. How many worked in the business office at that time?
ROGERS: In the front office there were several girls working in there. I don't remember just how many there were, but there were several.
LaVOY: And they're the ones that would get the information from your slot drop and from the bubbles.
LaVOY: I'm still confused about these bubbles, Marie. I'm sorry. Could you explain? [end of tape 2 side A]
ROGERS: Each ticket was marked according to the numbers which we marked bubbles, and they were timed. After they were timed for each customer that made calls, then an observer would pick them up and correct them, and then they were sent into billing which took place down in Stockton.
LaVOY: Billing was in Stockton?
LaVOY: For what reason?
ROGERS: That was the office that did the billing for the telephone company at that time.
LaVOY: For all the billing, or just for long-distance billing?
ROGERS: Just the long-distance calls.
LaVOY: Oh. Well, that's very interesting. You were working at the switchboard, and, also, you had moved up to what?
ROGERS: To a service observer, and that was watching over a group of girls and helping them with whatever questions they had to be helped with.
LaVOY: And did you check on the billing, too?
ROGERS: No, the only thing that we checked on the tickets was that the bubbles were marked correctly and made so they could be read.
LaVOY: Did you have to use a special kind of a pen to mark the bubbles?
ROGERS: Yes, we had to use a carbonized pencil.
LaVOY: Did you have to handle all of the fire calls, too?
ROGERS: At the time we were working that board, we had the ambulance, also, and we had to handle the fire calls.
LaVOY: Suppose there was an emergency. Tell me how the ambulance call would go through.
ROGERS: If someone had an emergency, they just call into the operator, and say, "Well, we need an ambulance." We had several people that were on the volunteer list. Joe Lister was on one, and so was George Lott. There were several others that we would call. Whoever we could contact, they would go and get the ambulance and make the call.
LaVOY: They would make the call. Then they would take the person to the hospital?
LaVOY: Oh. With the fire calls, how did you handle that?
ROGERS: The fire calls, they usually called in, and we just blew the fire whistle.
LaVOY: How did they know where to go?
ROGERS: In the earlier days, at the time we were on this particular switchboard, things had improved from what I first started with. If anyone had a fire, they'd call and say, "We have a fire at 760 West Fifth Street," or whatever, and then we blew the whistle. Then the firemen carried a little box [pager] that recorded the fire call, and they knew where to go.
LaVOY: For example, if somebody called and said there was a fire on Maine Street, did you have a different whistle?
ROGERS: No, we just blew the whistle, and then we announced where the fire was, and this recording, the little gadget that the firemen carried, they would turn it on and they could hear where the fire was.
LaVOY: Oh. Now, you didn't blow a whistle according to the part of town that was burning?
ROGERS: No, not at this particular time. That took place when I first started to work.
LaVOY: When you first started to work in 1938, tell me how they handled the fire calls.
ROGERS: The town was in different zones. The right side of the town we had even, like two, four, six, and on the other side was one, three, and five. If we had a fire in zone two, we'd just blow two whistles. On four, it'd be four.
LaVOY: And then three . .
ROGERS: Um-hum, and they'd know it was in that area, but they didn't know exactly what address.
LaVOY: And they had no way unless they called you back of getting the address.
ROGERS: That's right.
LaVOY: The town being divided like that, I know it was a small town at the time, but it was divided east and west or north and south?
ROGERS: It was east and west. We didn't go too far out of town in those days.
LaVOY: Suppose there was a fire up at Kent's at the flour mill. What would have been the number for that?
ROGERS: On that side of the street it would have been zone two 'cause it was divided from that area to Williams Avenue, Williams Avenue down to Center Street, and Center Street down towards Maine.
LaVOY: If there was a fire in the country, how was that handled?
ROGERS: I don't remember how that was handled. I think we just blew one long.
LaVOY: Well, you blew one long ring, and then the volunteer firemen would call in, one of them would call in and find out where it was in the country. Is that it?
ROGERS: Well, something to that effect. I don't remember exactly how that was done.
LaVOY: But in town . .
ROGERS: It was the zones.
LaVOY: According to the whistles that you blew, then the fire chief, probably, would call in?
ROGERS: One of the firemen. It wouldn't necessarily be the fire chief.
LaVOY: And say, "Where is it?" and you would tell them, and then they'd take the fire engines . . .
ROGERS: And go to it.
LaVOY: But then after you came back to work, you just blew a whistle, and they had a box.
ROGERS: Yeah, they had a recorder. It would record. They'd turn it on, and they could hear us announcing the fire at a certain location.
LaVOY: Did you ever have any fires at the telephone company?
ROGERS: Not that I recall.
LaVOY: Well, that's good. (laughing)
ROGERS: I don't recall any.
LaVOY: Here you are a supervisor. About what year was that?
ROGERS: That was after my first husband passed away, and I was married to Harold.
LaVOY: When did your first husband pass away, and what were the circumstances?
ROGERS: He passed away in 1964. He was out at Pete Cushman's ranch on a Sunday morning unloading wheat.
LaVOY: And had a?
ROGERS: He had a heart attack and passed away suddenly, and his son was with him.
LaVOY: That was your .
LaVOY: Your son, Edward That must have been a terrible shock to the family.
ROGERS: Yes, it was, and at the time that this happened, I was working on the switchboard all Sunday morning with Dorothy Whitaker, and I received the ambulance call, and I remember just getting away from the switchboard. Of course, it wasn't busy on Sunday morning, and it seemed like in no time Harold was there. It seemed like God's will that he was standing behind there, and he told me to leave. My sister was called, and she came immediately and got me.
LaVOY: Well, how tragic that you would get the call for the ambulance. Did they mention his name?
LaVOY: What a shock to you!
ROGERS: It was.
LaVOY: I would have thought you would have completely collapsed.
ROGERS: I think I did.
LaVOY: Very, very sad. He was buried . . ?
ROGERS: He was buried here in Fallon.
LaVOY: How did the children react to all of this, besides being terribly shocked and saddened?
ROGERS: Well, they were very close to their dad.
LaVOY: That's very tragic indeed. Did you return to work fairly soon, or did you take time?
ROGERS: I had time off with that, and then I went back to work.
LaVOY: Your life changed. You were living in the country.
LaVOY: On a good sized place. When did you decide to move in here to your home that you're in now?
ROGERS: He had passed away in February, and I just didn't want to remain there. It was a bigger house, and I still had the two girls home with me. Theresa was still in high school, and Shirley was home, so I decided that I couldn't remain out there 'cause I just couldn't take care of it. My son was running the business at the time, and he had his home and his family. That's when I thought I should sell and move into town. I was very fortunate that Dr. Caffaratti bought the place and paid me cash for it. In turn I built this house on Fifth Street.
LaVOY: Who built the home for you?
ROGERS: It was Bernie Ponte.
LaVOY: Then you and your two daughters moved into the home here.
ROGERS: Yes. And then Shirley [Madsen Spencer] went on to school in Kansas City to work for the airlines. She went back and stayed there several months. After graduating from that school, then she went to work for TWA in Las Vegas.
LaVOY: As a stewardess?
ROGERS: No, she worked in the communications. She was too young at the time that she couldn't be a stewardess. I think you had to be eighteen or something, and she wasn't quite eighteen.
LaVOY: Is she still working there?
ROGERS: No, she worked there for several years, and then she moved to Rock Springs, Wyoming. She was married in Las Vegas, and then she moved to Rock Springs, Wyoming, where she opened up a health food store, and she had that for several years. Then she sold that out. In the meantime she had two children, and she stayed home.
LaVOY: But she still lives in Rock Springs?
ROGERS: No, she has moved from Rock Springs to Riverton, Wyoming.
LaVOY: Well, that left you and one daughter?
ROGERS: Yes, it did. She was finishing her last year in school, and then she went on to the University and went to school there.
LaVOY: She lives now in…
ROGERS: Theresa [Madsen Archer] lives in Temecula, California. She was married later on and has two children that have graduated from schools in Hawaii, and they're now living here. My granddaughter is teaching English in Japan now.
LaVOY: Your family has certainly scattered.
ROGERS: Yes, it has.
LaVOY: And that left you pretty much alone. And when did you start dating Harold Rogers?
ROGERS: It was several months after my first husband passed away. He worked there in the office.
LaVOY: Well, you had known him forever.
ROGERS: For years I had known him since he was a very young person because when I worked there in 1938, he was a lineman there working for the telephone company. He was a very, tall, skinny person at that time. In his later years he really filled out, and I thought he was much better looking when he was a little heavier. (laughing)
LaVOY: How long after your husband passed away did you marry Harold?
ROGERS: About a year and a half.
LaVOY: When you and Harold started dating, where did you go?
ROGERS: We went out to dinner and went to Reno and around. He couldn't go very far because of his mother.
LaVOY: I understand she was an invalid.
LaVOY: And he took very good care of her.
ROGERS: Yes, he did. He was very good to her.
LaVOY: When you decided to get married, did you tell your children?
ROGERS: Yes. In fact, they were with us, stood up with us. Harold didn't want a very large wedding. You know how he was, very conservative. He wanted a very conservative one. It was just the family and a couple of his friends.
LaVOY: And where were you married?
ROGERS: In St. Patrick's Catholic Church.
LaVOY: And where did you honeymoon?
ROGERS: We started to go to Utah for our honeymoon, so we stopped at Winnemucca overnight, and we started to go on. I think he stopped somewhere in Elko and tried to call his mother and check with her, but she was feeling quite ill, so we never did make it very far on our honeymoon. He was kind of upset, and so I said, "Well, maybe we should go back being that she's not feeling very well." So that was the end of our honeymoon.
LaVOY: You got as far as Elko?
LaVOY: (laughing) Well, mothers have a way of doing things like this.
ROGERS: Yes, I think so.
LaVOY: (laughing) Was Harold the manager of the phone company at that time?
ROGERS: Yes, he was.
LaVOY: And you continued working?
ROGERS: Yes, I had to check with the commissioners to see if there would be complications or whatever, and they said, no, since I had been working there for so many years that I could continue. I never interfered. I was just like the other girls. I didn't have anymore privileges than the others, and I got scolded when it was time for me to be scolded and work the shifts when it was all night. I just continued on as if I wasn't married to him.
LaVOY: What were some of the changes that took place with the switchboard after the digitals?
ROGERS: It went into a computerized switchboard.
LaVOY: Did that make it easier for you?
ROGERS: Well, it was faster, but, then we lost communication with the people. It wasn't, you know, I think I liked the switchboard better because we lost contact with people. The calls were put through much faster.
LaVOY: The personalized part of it was gone.
LaVOY: What changes do you see now in the phone company that either make you feel good or not so good?
ROGERS: There has been a lot of changes. The operators are gone. We don't have the help of the operators. They were very helpful if you couldn't find a number or something they would go out of the way to help people. They're gone, and now if you need information or anything you go out of town for that. It's a lot different, and now they have the Internet and a lot of different changes have been made since I've left.
LaVOY: You continued working while you were married to Harold. For how many years?
ROGERS: Harold retired in 1977, and I worked up until after he retired. I worked seven years more, and I retired in 1984.
LaVOY: Did you have a nice retirement party?
LaVOY: Tell me about it.
ROGERS: There was two retirement parties. There was one that was given by the personnel at the telephone company. We had cake and gifts and pictures and what have you, and then the regular retirement party was held during the, like at a Christmas party or something like that, and then Mr. [Ted] Hunnewell gave you your certificate and talks and dinner.
LaVOY: Who were some of the people that had worked with you for so many years that were at either of your retirement parties?
ROGERS: There was Lois Corner and Marie Warkentin and Ruth Armas, Betty Case, Mary Yost, Mary Bartel, Babe Bowlsby, and there were several others that I can't remember right at the moment.
LaVOY: Had any of these started with you in 1938 and were still there?
ROGERS: No, not at the time. Not in 1938 there wasn't 'cause it was Gladys Stewart and Lizzie Mulvaney and Norma Hiatt. They're all gone now. Oh, and Madeline McLean was also there at the time, and, of course, she left to go work . . .
LaVOY: They were all gone by the time that you retired.
ROGERS: Yes. The only one's that living is Madeline McLean. She's still alive.
LaVOY: The thing that is of interest to me is things have changed so very, very much with the telephone company and going into the digital and everything. What is your overall thought about times having changed so very, very much?
ROGERS: My thought, I really liked the older days better. 'Course, you know, we have more people now, and we wouldn't be able to give them the service that they are receiving now.
LaVOY: What was the most exciting call that you put through?
ROGERS: The most exciting call that I had was an ambulance call that I received from the Winders out in the country, and it was their mother, Eva Winder, wasn't home at the time and this youngster called in and told me that she had shot her brother in the leg. So, I told her the only thing that she could do was to take a towel and put it in the wound to stop the bleeding and the ambulance would be sent out immediately. To this day this particular person that was shot works at Raley's. He kind of limps.
LaVOY: Was it a Winder?
LaVOY: For heaven's sake! So, besides being an operator, you were a doctor.
ROGERS: Whenever I see this certain person, I think of that call that I received. I think that was the most exciting. I was really excited.
LaVOY: I imagine so.
ROGERS: You wouldn't call it a nice call.
LaVOY: I think the most tragic one that you received was when your husband passed away. That would be the most tragic. For activities that happened in town, like for fires or parades or things like that, what was the most exciting thing you remember?
ROGERS: The most exciting one I think I remember was when Harold was in the parade. When he was a city councilman, he was riding on one of these three wheelers or four-wheelers, and they were in the parade, and I think the councilmen and the mayor, and the mayor at that time was Merton Domonoske. They were riding in the parade.
LaVOY: On four-wheelers?
LaVOY: I had forgotten that Harold was a city councilman. For which ward?
ROGERS: For this ward. I don't know if it's .
ROGERS: Maybe it's three. I'm not sure on that. [Ward two.]
LaVOY: You mean the three councilmen were all riding on four-wheelers?
ROGERS: Uh-huh. In the parade one year. I don't remember what year it was. I think I've got pictures.
LaVOY: Well, that is very interesting. Some of your outside activities, I imagine you did not have too many while you were working.
ROGERS: No, I belonged to the Eagles and the Neighbors of Woodcraft at that time. Since then I've joined several others.
LaVOY: Harold passed away when?
ROGERS: January 31, 1992.
LaVOY: And now you have been here as a widow since that time.
ROGERS: Yes, I have.
LaVOY: What are you doing to keep yourself active?
ROGERS: Besides my yard and the clubs that I belong to and visiting the kids and staying home.
LaVOY: You have become quite an artist. What prompted you to start that?
ROGERS: I did take an art class from John Sorensen right after I retired. In fact, I worked there in his shop for a couple of years and helped with the customers, and then I painted in my spare time there. He instructed.
LaVOY: Are you continuing on with your painting.
ROGERS: No, I have just painted a couple of pictures since Harold passed away. I kind of lost interest in it.
LaVOY: I know you're doing a lot of civic things helping people.
LaVOY: Who are your friends at this point in time?
ROGERS: Catherine [Testolin] has a been a dear friend to me and she's been my guardian angel besides my family and my sister, but she's been a real good friend.
LaVOY: I think that you are leading a very nice life, and you intend to stay here in Fallon?
ROGERS: At the present time my thoughts differ. Sometimes I'd like to move, and sometimes I look around and think, "Well, this isn't such a bad place to live after all." After going to Reno and checking out the crowded areas and then all the bad things that are taking place there, I think maybe Fallon is a better place to live, don't you think?
LaVOY: I think I'll have to agree with you on that, Marie. Can you think of anything that we may have overlooked in your career as a telephone operator?
ROGERS: I know my life hasn't been such an interesting one.
LaVOY: It sounds very busy to me. On behalf of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project, I want to thank you for the interview.