Allen Spoon Oral History

Dublin Core


Allen Spoon Oral History


Allen Spoon Oral History


Churchill County Museum Association


Churchill County Museum Association


March 12, 1996


Analog Cassette Tape, .Docx File, MP3 Audio



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Marian LaVoy


Allen Wayne Spoon


Fallon, NV


Churchill County Oral History Project

an interview with


Fallon, Nevada

conducted by

Marian LaVoy

March 12, 1996

This interview was transcribed by Glenda Price; edited by Norma Morgan; final by Pat Boden; index by Gracie Viera; supervised by Myrl Nygren, Director of 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.

Note: This interview involved a weird glitch with the first tape, wherein approximately the first 5 minutes of A side of tape 1 was lost. The information was recaptured at a second interview. In digitizing, we decided to prioritize order of the recording over order of the narrative. The transcript has thus been reordered to match how the interview was recorded.


Allen Spoon arrived in Fallon as a toddler and reminisces on the pre-World War II years of life in a rural community that was blessed with families who worked and played together. His descriptions of legendary deer hunts, fishing trips and duck hunting forays are fascinating as are the competitive teams that were responsible for the losing team hosting a wild duck dinner at the local Sagebrush. Alien recalls the names of all his school and community friends, gives an insight into the importance of the baseball mania that was Fallon's in the 1 930s and early 1940s. He recalls the CCC boys who were on the local "star" teams and mentions those who married local girls and eventually settled in Fallon. particularly liked the comments that when the CCC teams were on "fire duty" that the games had to be postponed.

His school activities, some good and some mischievous, give an insight into how important the school activities were to the community. His years on the "Broom Squad" as well as his years as a cheer leader are legendary.

His description of working at a quick-silver mine that no longer exists helps one to picture the back-breaking labor put in by the common laborer at that time. The tragedy of World War II and how it affected Fallon as a community is a sad commentary on the senseless loss of young men who always put country before self.

Allen lived life to the fullest as a horseman in Hollywood working for Gene Autry, a merchant marine, a miner, a gambler and eventually a highly regarded test-supervisor for the Nevada State Highway Department. Retirement years have returned him to his beloved Fallon where he and his wife spend many hours on the golf course meeting old friends and just enjoying the twilight years of their lives.


Interview with Allen Wayne Spoon

LaVOY:  I surmise she [Allen’s mother, Elanor Stone] came from New York. How'd she happen to come from New York?

SPOON: She came from Grass Valley, California, and she was a waitress trying to get by with a little baby. She heard Fallon was a good town. They had a nice rooming house. She'd been looking. The rooming house was right on the corner right where the city hall is now [Center Street and Williams]. I don't remember the people's name that ran it, but we stayed there until she got married to Harold. She took care of me.

LaVOY:  What was Harold [Spoon, Allen’s father] doing at that time?

SPOON: He was a printer. He worked for the Fallon Standard.

LaVOY:  I read some place that he was one of the outstanding printers. Tell me what was involved with his job.

SPOON: He was a linotype operator. He ran all the printing part of the Fallon Standard then. He was over all of the printing, and he hired the help back there.

LaVOY:  Well, then they met with her waiting table and him working literally across the street at the newspaper.

SPOON: No. Down the street. Well, he used to come into the restaurant.

LaVOY:  Which restaurant?

SPOON: The Old Waffle House, and then she worked for another one. I can't remember the name of it. A restaurant there. Waited table.

LaVOY:  Where were they married?

SPOON: They were married right here in Fallon. I go by the house all the time where they were married in on Center Street at Lester Page and Greta [Ferguson] Page's house. They're dead now, and they didn't last as Greta and Lester Page. They got divorced and went their separate ways, but my folks were married on the front steps of that, house.

LaVOY:  Do you remember who married them?

SPOON: I don't remember.

LaVOY:  It's not important, but I just wondered if you knew and we could mention it.

SPOON: It was a Baptist minister, I think.

LaVOY:  It wasn't a Mr. Spoon that….

SPOON: No, they were involved in the church, but they weren't ministers anymore. Charlie Spoon, my grandfather, was a clerk in Kents' grocery store for thirty years.

LaVOY:  Was he really? Now, that would be working for Ira Kent?

SPOON: Yeah. lira, and Milt Wallace was the manager of the store.

LaVOY:  Did your grandfather ever tell you any interesting stories about when he worked in the Kent store?

SPOON: No, not much. He was just a grand person. He was probably the truest Christian I ever knew. He never told anybody anything or scolded them about anything. He just was a true Christian.

LaVOY:  Well, that's a great thing to have in your family. When your mother and father were married, where did they set up their home?

SPOON: Right on the corner of Center Street and Taylor. That house is an apartment house now, but the Beeghlys lived there fora long time. It's just changed. I lived in that house for a long time, and then I moved down next door to George Forbes when our family wanted to get a better house. We moved down there. That house is still [there].

LaVOY:  And where is it?

SPOON: It's on 298 South Taylor Street. In fact that cement finisher and contractor owns it now. His name is Taylor.

LaVOY:  With you being a little boy when your mother and your father were married, tell me what is the first thing that you recall about Fallon as a little boy?

SPOON: Well, I always loved Fallon from the time I can remember. I loved the parades and the rodeo when I was little.

LaVOY:  Things like that.

SPOON: Fallon was just a lovely town to raise your family.

LaVOY:  When did you first start school?

SPOON: First grade in old high. The old cement two-story brick building.

LaVOY:  Do you remember who your teacher was?

SPOON: Mrs. [Florence] Richards in the first grade, and the second one, I think, was Miss [Adah] Gerjets. She was one of them, and Miss [Bessie] Cleary, and then when we got up to the fourth grade it was Mrs. Burton.

LaVOY:  The famous Lucy [Grimes] Burton?

SPOON: Yes! Oh, what a wonderful woman she was! We had good teachers.

LaVOY:  Who were some of your friends when you were a little kid?

SPOON: Oh, Dave Spoon is a year younger, and he's one of my top friends.

LaVOY:  Was Dave Spoon your cousin?

SPOON: My uncle. Uncle Dave. He's my dad's brother.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see.

SPOON: And Bob Marsh and Donny Downs and Cal Beeghly and Duke Downs and Jimmy Allison. We all lived in the same area in town.

LaVOY:  What were some of the games that you played?

SPOON: Well, we used to play in back of Lofthouses'. We had a basketball court out there. Play till way late at night. All the neighbors are hollering at us because of banging on the backboard. Then we had a pool table down under the Lofthouses' house where we played pool. Nice big pool table. Some of my best memories are when Sonny Lofthouse and Cal Beeghly and Fred Hawkins, we'd all go on a big fishing trip. Get as sack of potatoes and a sack of onions and a case of eggs and away we'd go on a flat rack truck out to Reese River and fish and camp for a couple of weeks.

LaVOY:  This is when you were a little bit older?

SPOON: Older, yeah. I guess when I was nine or ten I started going with them. We'd have older boys to drive the car and the truck.

LaVOY:  What did you do out at Reese River?

SPOON: Fish.

LaVOY:  Well, you could go on the weekends?

SPOON: No, we'd go and stay a week. Two weeks.

LaVOY:  Oh, this would be during the summer?

SPOON: Yes. Summertime.

LaVOY:  Didn't your parents worry about you?

SPOON: No. We weren't uptown getting into trouble. Were out there fishing and having a good time. I think that's what's the matter with the children today growing up. They should do more camping and get out in the hills and see what life's all about.

LaVOY:  Well, I agree with you on that. When you finished with your first school, I understand that that school was

torn down. Was it?

SPOON: Yes. It's the Cottages. There's three or four cottages there now.

LaVOY:  Then what grade did you go into Oats Park School?

SPOON: Fifth grade.

LaVOY:  In fifth grade.

SPOON: Fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, yeah.

LaVOY:  Tell me something about your teachers at Oats Park School.

SPOON: Oh, they were good teachers. There was two sisters, Toft. The two Toft sisters, and one of my favorites was . . . When I first came to Oats Park the youngest Toft sister [Laurella] was in the 5B, and Theo Sherman was in 5A, and then she taught home ec. She was such a favorite of mine that I took cooking for two years.

LaVOY:  Well, that didn't hurt you at all. Your wife is very happy about that, I'm sure.

SPOON: (laughing) Well, I really liked the teacher. She was good to me. Archie Safely the manual training teacher was good, too, but he was a little too strict. We didn't hit it off too well, so I took cooking. (laughing)

LaVOY:  That's one way to get out of a problem. What were some of the classes that you like the best in that school besides home ec?

SPOON: Our history teacher was real great. The oldest [Elnora] Toft lady taught that, and I loved history. I was never too fond of the tough subjects.

LaVOY:  Of the tough subjects?

SPOON: Yeah. Penmanship. I never did learn to write very well.

LaVOY:  That happened to many of us. While you were going through eighth grade there, what were your chores that you had to do at home?

SPOON: Oh, I raised rabbits. I sold rabbits all over town. Cleaned them and have them there. Sold rabbits and raised them.

LaVOY:  You sold them to different individuals?

SPOON: Oh, different individuals. Go to each house. I had steady customers when I was younger, when I was in Oats Park, and they'd buy so many a week. Different ones.

LaVOY: Did you have any particular type of rabbit or just plain bunny rabbits?

SPOON: The reds. I don't remember the kind now, but they were…

LaVOY: And you actually had a going business!

SPOON: Oh, yeah. Ten years I sold rabbits.

LaVOY:  And how much did you sell them for?

SPOON: Oh, not very much then. I think I'd usually get fifty cents apiece.

LaVOY:  After you had cleaned them and everything.

SPOON: Yeah, cleaned them and all. I think that was about tops. Fifty cents apiece.

LaVOY:  And you still made money on it?

SPOON: Oh, yes. I raised my own.

LaVOY:  Where did you buy your feed?

SPOON: Oh, I'd buy enough from the farmers out there. I'd work in the hay field, and then I'd bring a lot of hay back.

LaVOY:  You were a very enterprising young man! My, goodness!

SPOON: (laughing) Well, you had to be then. It was during the Depression when we raised them. We all learned to be conservative and do something.

LaVOY:  Well, then came that famous Friday evening, June 5, 1936, when you graduated from eighth grade.

SPOON: Oh, yeah, yeah.

LaVOY:  And I was looking at your graduation program here, and it was very interesting to me. I noticed that you had a real fine music program. Miss Alice Hayek was the director.

SPOON: Yes, and she was real good.

LaVOY:  Who were some of the people that played in that little band and the school orchestra? Do you remember offhand?

SPOON: Well, Buddy Danielson played trumpet. I remember about all of them. I played trombone for awhile. Then I gave that up and went to drums.

LaVOY:  Yes, I noticed some place along in my notes that you were a drum player, but you started with the trombone when you were going up to eighth grade?

SPOON: Yeah. Then I sold my trombone to Bob Lawlor. (laughing)

LaVOY:  Did you?

SPOON: (laughing) And he played trombone for a long time.

LaVOY:  Oh! Well, that's wonderful. And I notice the man that gave the address was George McCracken. Tell me something about Mr. McCracken.

SPOON: He was the greatest teacher I ever had. He could teach anybody anything if you wanted to pay attention. He was a good teacher. He was strict as all get out. And we had our problems Mr. McCracken and I, but you can't take anything away from his teaching. He was a great teacher.             

LaVOY:  He became principal of the high school, didn't he?

SPOON: Superintendent. For many years. He was strict, too.

LaVOY:  I've heard stories about boys had to walk one side of the hall and girls the other. Is this correct?

SPOON: And at the basketball games, girls sat in one bleacher and boys in the other, and at your high school parties you danced a little far apart, too. (laughing)

LaVOY:  He was always coming and separating those of you that got too friendly. Is that right?

SPOON: Yeah. He was a good teacher, but you can't knock success. He was a good one. And he didn't have the problems they have today either. (laughing)

LaVOY:  Don't you think he had the support of the parents?

SPOON: Oh, yes. He was just a wonderful, wonderful teacher and a strict man. He was a good superintendent. We hated it, being some of the students, but he was a fine one.

LaVOY:  Something that I want to ask you about. This was in 1936 that you graduated from eighth grade, and I have noted in looking through some of my research, was Ruth Spoon your sister?

SPOON: She was my aunt. She was my dad's sister. Harold Spoon.

LaVOY:  And she had a tragedy happen to her in 1935. Could you tell me about that?

SPOON: Her husband was electrocuted. That was in 1935.

LaVOY:  [long pause] Maybe it was a little later than that. Would you tell me about that incident? Who she was married to.

SPOON: Gene [Eugene Emery] Freeman.

LaVOY:  Was he from an old family here?

SPOON: Oh, an old family here. The Freemans in the Harmon District. Yeah. A big family. They were farmers. He worked for the Churchill County Electric-

LaVOY:  The TCID [Truckee-Carson Irrigation District], I believe.

SPOON: Yeah, well, maybe it was. They had their own power company here. Churchill County, and he worked for them. He was up on a high pole putting in a new fifty-thousand watt wire, and he struck at a bee. They had some bees close by, and he struck at a bee and the back of his hand hit that high-powered wire and electrocuted him instantly.

LaVOY:  That was certainly a shame that he was killed like that. I had read that on October 21, 1936, that he’d had a baby son born. Can you tell me something about that?

SPOON: Stanley was born on the fifty-ninth anniversary of his great-grandparents, the Freemans.

LaVOY:  Was that Mr. and Mrs. E.E. Freeman?

SPOON: E.E. Freeman.

LaVOY:  And then this tragedy happened.

SPOON: Happened.

LaVOY:  That's just terrible. There were many, many things that came along in the early 1930's that affected your family. You mentioned about the Frazzinis being your neighbors. Louisa Frazzini married whom in 1936?

SPOON: Louisa married Lyle Beeghly, and they went up to Alaska later and lived in Juneau. Then they had the big earthquake and mud slide up in Juneau and killed their next-door neighbor. Scared Louisa (laughing) and they moved back to Fallon the next week.

LaVOY:  What did Lyle do in . . ?

SPOON: Lyle worked in the Alaska Juneau Mines.

LaVOY:  How long do you think they stayed up there?

SPOON: They were there just one year. That's all.

LaVOY:  And then the earthquake came along and scared them to death, and they came home.

SPOON: Louisa came home. (laughing) But so did Lyle.

LaVOY:  Then in 1936 and 1937, I notice that there was a letter among your things from 1933 to Eleanor whom would have been your mother, and it was in care of the Silver. Spoon. What was the Silver Spoon? A restaurant that was here in Fallon, perhaps?

SPOON: No. [ed- The Silver Spoon refers to Whalens and Mickelsens January 30 birthday card to Mrs. Spoon. Referred to the dance to raise money for the Infantile Paralysis Fund.]

LaVOY:  So many things happened in Fallon in the 1930s. You had accidents and everything else. With your father having been so important with the newspaper, can you tell me who was Lorraine Bingham? Tell me something about her?

SPOON: She was a wonderful woman. Just everybody thought the world of Mrs. Bingham.

LaVOY:  Did your father work for her?

SPOON: Yeah, he worked for her all the time.

LaVOY:  She and Claude Smith were co-publishers, is that it?

SPOON: She was the owner and co-publisher, but she owned the Fallon Standard, and I think Claude bought in later, but she owned it most of the time and she was the manager. A wonderful woman. She was good to everybody. She just was a wonderful person.

LaVOY:  I understand that she had been ill and came down to visit some of her co-workers at the Fallon Standard and walked out and had an accident happen to her.

SPOON: Yeah, I thought she was going to go to the post office. She was walking and started to cross the street, and a car hit her.

LaVOY:  Was this Maine and Williams Street?

SPOON: Yeah.

LaVOY:  And the doctor, Dr. J.H. Hewitt.

SPOON: Well, I wasn't here at the time when that happened.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see. He hit her. He was the CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps] doctor, I understand.

SPOON: Yeah.

LaVOY:  And was blind in one eye, and I wondered if you had any information on how it happened and what . . .

SPOON: No, I was gone at the time. I don't remember where I was. I was probably working on a job somewheres out of town, but she was just a wonderful woman, and that was a needless accident.

LaVOY:  I noticed that she died at the Moore Hospital an hour and a half after she had been struck by the car. In reading the obituaries of it I felt that probably your father was very involved in the funeral.

SPOON: Oh, I imagine. I wasn't here at the time so I don't know about that.

LaVOY:  Then shortly after that I understand a friend a young friend of yours was killed.

SPOON: Oh, Fred Hawkins. He worked for my dad in the paper. He was a real good friend of mine.

LaVOY:  Who was with him in the accident?

SPOON: Riley Powell and Boyce Miller.

LaVOY:  What had they done? It said that the accident happened on the Clear Creek Highway at Spooner Station.

SPOON: Spooner Summit. They'd been to an all-night party the night before, and they hadn't had any sleep, and I think Fred went to sleep. It was a terrible accident.

LaVOY:  Were they killed coming home?

SPOON: Yes, they were. They were on their way home. Fred lived about three or four days, but I don't think there was any chance for him. My dad and I went up to see him. He said he'd be home in a couple of days, but I think he died that night.

LaVOY:  That's very, very tragic. Another thing that I noticed was that Mrs. Leo Pinger was a great friend of your mother's.

SPOON: A good friend of my dad's, too. Her two sons were real close friends of my dad's. Both Bruce and Wayne.

LaVOY:  Their last names were?

SPOON: Van Voorhis. Bruce Van Voorhis and Wayne Van Voorhis. Fact is we drove Wayne to the train when he left for the Philippines in Reno, and he never came back. He died on the Death March [Bataan] in the Philippines.

LaVOY:  He was captured by the Japanese?

SPOON: Yeah.

LaVOY:  Was he in the service?

SPOON: Oh, yes. He was in before, see, and he was in the Reserve. Fact is, a picture that I put here of Wayne and Bruce together was the last picture they ever had together.

LaVOY:  And you have that picture?

SPOON: Oh, I gave it to the Museum. They got it there some place. It was sitting next to that album.

LaVOY:  It's at the Museum?

SPOON: Yeah. I brought that to the Museum a couple of years back. That was sent to my dad by Bruce and Wayne from Annapolis, and I don't think his mother or his wife even had one, so I thought it would be a good thing to give it to the Museum.

LaVOY:  I think that's wonderful that you did. Did he receive his appointment to Annapolis from Fallon?

SPOON: Yes. Yes. I think it was [Senator] Key Pittman that gave him the appointment. I'm not sure.

LaVOY:  I notice that you have a Christmas card from him from Annapolis that I thought was very interesting.

Something I was wondering about was, you knew Bruce Van Voorhis?

SPOON: Very well.

LaVOY:  What is your reaction to have the Naval Air Station here named after him?

SPOON: I think it's one of the greatest honors, but he deserved it. He was a wonderful man.

LaVOY:  He must have been quite a good pilot.

SPOON: Very good. Very, very good.

LaVOY:  I notice in 1936 he and another Navy friend had stopped here in Fallon flying one of the new planes enroute to some place in California. Did you kids all go out and see the plane?

SPOON: Oh, yes. Yes. He stayed at our house.

LaVOY:  Oh, did he?

SPOON: Oh, yeah. Stayed overnight and his friends, well, they had a little party, and they stayed at our house.

LaVOY:  Well, very good.

SPOON: Oh, yeah, my dad and Bruce and my mother were just real close friends.

LaVOY:  Can you tell me a little bit about Bruce's personality?

SPOON: Oh, Bruce was the lady killer of all time.

LaVOY:  Oh, was he really?

SPOON: Good looking and suave. [end of tape 1 side A] He was just a person of all persons.

LaVOY:  Tell me how he was killed.

SPOON: He volunteered for a mission that he knew he couldn't have enough gas to get there and back, and he didn't, and that's the end of that.

LaVOY:  Well, that's certainly a shame. Was his wife a Fallon girl?

SPOON: No, she wasn't. I only met her once. Katherine Johnson Warden [married February 19, 1938, in Parris Island, South Carolina], and that's the only time I ever saw her. He brought her to introduce his wife to the family, . . .

LaVOY:  That's very tragic that he was killed.

SPOON: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Very, very tragic.

LaVOY:  Getting back a bit to you, Allen, I just wondered. You graduated in 1936 from the Oats Park School, and then you went on into high school. What were some of the subjects that you enjoyed in high school.

SPOON: Oh, I liked about everything. I liked civics. I liked history. My English was good. I had a real good English teacher there, Eleanor Coverston. I enjoyed my civics under. Herb Peck, too.

LaVOY:  I think you were very involved with athletics.

SPOON: Oh, yes. I was a cheerleader every year that I was there.

LaVOY:  Was that unusual to have a male cheerleader at the high school?

SPOON: No. They were mostly male cheerleaders, and then you'd have lady helpers, but before me was Melville Scholz. Melville Scholz was more or less instrumental on me being cheerleader after he graduated, and he taught me a little bit.

LaVOY:  What were some of the cheers that you led?

SPOON: (laughing) Oh, I can't remember all of them. I led them all, and every year. I had good assistant cheerleaders with me. I don't remember any of the cheers now. (laughing) Probably they don't change.

LaVOY:  You cheered for what the football?

SPOON: Everything. All of the sports.

LaVOY:  That's so fascinating to me because you don't see . .

SPOON: And do you know that that hasn't changed a bit. The only thing is they're pert near all girls. Maybe one or two boys, but they have the cheerleaders, and it's a tough deal. I wouldn't have been a cheerleader if I'd thought about it now. You had to buy your own uniforms, get your own transportation to and from all the games, and if you didn't get to one of them you were really rolled over the coals, but it's kind of tough finding rides and getting and to and from all of those out-of-town games.

LaVOY:  I'm surprised that the school did not let you go with the bus with the players.

SPOON: I think the school wanted to, but the coaches weren't too hopped up about it. They didn't think cheerleaders were necessary, I guess, but they didn't like it when they went on it. I could have gone by myself on it, but they had the girls you'd have to see to.

LaVOY:  The girl cheerleaders?

SPOON: Girl cheerleaders.

LaVOY:  Who were some of the girl cheerleaders that worked with you?

SPOON: Alice Maffi Scholz. She was one of them. Gerry Goff, Lola Jensen, Cleo Ludwick, and Rosemary Hoar.

LaVOY:  That's quite a group. And, actually, you were the head cheerleader. Is that it?

SPOON: Yeah.

LaVOY:  And they worked under you?

SPOON: Um-hum. Every year. You were elected.

LaVOY:  Oh, were you?

SPOON: Yeah. The student body elects them. Did then. I don't know what they do now.

LaVOY:  So, you must have been very popular being elected as the cheerleader.

SPOON: Well, I wasn't exactly popular. Oh, yeah, I had a lot

of friends. I was class president twice.

LaVOY:  Oh, and what class?

SPOON: (laughing) That's a long time ago. I can't remember. I'd look it up in the annuals, but I can't remember. [Was vice-president in freshman year, class president sophomore year, executive committee freshman and sophomore years.]

LaVOY:  What was involved with your being class president?

SPOON: Just like politics. (laughing) It's just an honor. Then you're on the executive committee, and there you pay all the bills, and the executive committee has to vote on everything.

LaVOY:  Bills for what?

SPOON: Oh, that the students run up. The executive committee kind of governs the high school, and I was on that for several years. The student body president and all of the class presidents and the cheerleaders were on that committee. McCracken saw to that. He said, "Well, they're pretty important. We'll put them on the executive committee."

LaVOY:  You said you and Mr. McCracken had a few words. What happened to you?

SPOON: I got kicked out. (laughing)

LaVOY:  (laughing) For how long?

SPOON: One semester.

LaVOY:  What in the world did you do?

SPOON: I don't remember now what it was. It probably wasn't very good. I wasn't exactly an honor student, and I was always into something.

LaVOY:  What did you do for that whole semester?

SPOON: I went to work for Kents' in the grocery store.

LaVOY:  And what did you do there?

SPOON: Clerked in the grocery store. Stocked shelves. Then I went back to school.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see. You were also very active in the baseball team.

SPOON: Yeah, I played baseball. But, I didn't play on the high school. I couldn't pass the physical exam to be on the high school teams, but I played on the city teams. Oh, I played one or two years in high school, but then I had a heart murmur, and they wouldn't let you get on the team.

LaVOY:  You couldn't play on the high school one, but you played on the city one?

SPOON: Yeah.

LaVOY:  I believe you were a member of the Blue Eagles?

SPOON: Yeah.

LaVOY:  And you had quite a batting average. I think it was .550 which is supposedly very good.

SPOON: (laughing) Yeah. I think Johnny Brucker beat me that year though.

LaVOY:  Well, I don't know. I just know that you were chosen to play second base on the All Star. Team.

SPOON: On the all-star team, yeah.

LaVOY:  And I notice that some of the members were from Reno and some from Carson City.

SPOON: That was the all-star team of that state tournament.

LaVOY:  So, I think you were a pretty good baseball player myself. I notice that one of the players from Reno was John DuPratt.

SPOON: Yeah, John DuPratt.

LaVOY:  And one from Carson City, his name was Muldoon. I don't know what his first name was.

SPOON: I didn't know him. I remember him.

LaVOY:  Well, it was very interesting here, they wouldn't let you play in high school because of your heart murmur and here you play with the city team.

SPOON: (laughing) Well, that's just a . . . We won the state championship two times. Back in those days that was a wonderful thing that Fallon has let get away from them. We'd have two and three thousand people at softball games down at Oats Park in the evening. Used to watch, you know. They had eight and, ten town teams to play in the league--softball back in those days, and I don't know how come they let them get away.

LaVOY:  I remember just faintly--and I may not be correct--but I remember my nephew, Michael Hennen, was the little feather merchant or something for one of those teams. He was the mascot for one of those teams. I don't know which one, but I thought it was very interesting that the whole town took such an interest in the game.

SPOON: Oh, yes. Then we won the state championship that year and then the next year. The softball team. It just brought a lot of people out, those tournaments. I think they should try to get them back again.

LaVOY:  Something I read, one of your games was postponed. One of your games versus the CCC camp.

SPOON: Oh, yeah, they got good teams.

LaVOY:  Was postponed because they were on fire duty.

SPOON: (laughing)

LaVOY:  And I wondered what that meant by "fire duty". Do you know?

SPOON: Yeah. They were taken out, to help fight forest fires and brush fires.

LaVOY:  Did you know many of the men that were on the CCC?

SPOON: I knew them all. There were some good ones. Then most of them, those that played ball, married Fallon girls. Newt Lumos and Johnny Brucker. There was lots of them.

LaVOY:  That surprises me.

SPOON: Oh, yeah. They married and settled down here. They were just real nice people.

LaVOY:  Also, besides playing baseball, I notice that you also played in a band.

SPOON: Yeah, I played in a band.

LaVOY:  Was that the high school band?

SPOON: High school band.

LaVOY:  And you were at that point in time, not a trombonist.

SPOON: No. One year I was trombonist. That was my freshman year. That's when I sold it and got the drums. I played drums every . . .

LaVOY:  Oh, your mother and father must have loved that!

SPOON: Well, I didn't play at home very much. (laughing)

LaVOY:  (laughing)

SPOON: Oh, yeah, I had a snare drum, and I played in the band, and I sold them to Lester Moody's daughter [Vanna]. He was the chief of police then, and I sold them to his daughter so he could suffer.

LaVOY:  (laughing) I notice that there were two people listed as drummers with you. 'Course one was, I guess, your cousin, David Spoon?

SPOON: Yeah, Dave. He's my uncle.

LaVOY:  Oh, your uncle?

SPOON: Uncle Dave.

LaVOY:  Your uncle Dave.

SPOON: He's my dad's brother.

LaVOY:  And then a name that came up was Tomomi Ito.

SPOON: Oh, Tomomi Ito. He's a basketball player and a good one. He was all-state.

LaVOY:  Where did the Ito family live?

SPOON: They lived out here on . . . right down from you not too far.

LaVOY:  St. Clair?

SPOON: Ito and Kito.

LaVOY:  Did those two families have problems when the [Second World] War started?

SPOON: Yeah, they had a lot of problems, and the Kajikamis. There was five Japanese families that were just thought highly of. All of them were nice people and they were treated shabbily by the U.S. Government. They all went through school with all of us and grew up with us.

LaVOY:  And then they were sent to concentration camps?

SPOON: Yeah. I don't know if Ito and Kitos were. Jimmy Kajikami--he went all through school with us. He went to Japan to go to school there, and he joined the Japanese army, and he got shot down. He was killed by the American pilots. He grew up with all of us. But he went to Japan and joined the Japanese over there.

LaVOY:  When was that, 1941?

SPOON: Yeah. But, Tomomi Ito, he went all through school with all of us. We had a seven-class reunion, and he paid for all of the table decorations or something. He's down in California. Got a nursery and done real well. He was just a fine man and a good basketball player.

LaVOY:  The other families that you mentioned, Kito?

SPOON: Kitos. They were partners. They lived together on the same ranch right down on Allen Road.

LaVOY:  The Gomes' ranch now?

SPOON: Yeah. Gomes is across the street.

LaVOY:  No, Gomes bought it, I think, after.

SPOON: Yeah, that was it. He bought the Ito-Kito, yeah.

LaVOY:  I know Anne Berlin is always talking so highly about both those families.

SPOON: Oh, they were grand people! Just grand people.

LaVOY:  But, they did not have any of this discrimination by Fallon people?

SPOON: No Fallon people. No way!

LaVOY:  Well, that speaks very highly for Fallon.

SPOON: Fallon felt real bad when they went away.

LaVOY:  I notice another drummer was Warren Hursh.

SPOON: Yeah, Warren Hursh was one of my best friends.

LaVOY:  Was he really?

SPOON: Oh, yes. My closest friend, and I miss him so. When I was working out of town here, I'd come and I'd have lunch with him at least once or twice a month. We were just close friends.

LaVOY:  Through this period of time when you were in high school, can you think of any other episodes that happened that would be of interest for your oral history? How about hunting? Were you a great hunter?

SPOON: All the time. T hunted all my life. I hunted the ducks and geese and deer. In fact I got a copy here of a hunting trip. Bob Hammond, Bob Marsh, Cal Beeghly and me. We were hunting up in Big Creek.

LaVOY:  Where is Big Creek?

SPOON: It's just about twenty-five miles south of Austin. Nice creek there, nice mountain top.

LaVOY:  You fished in that area, and then you hunted. .

SPOON: In the mountains.

LaVOY:  What did you hunt? Deer?

SPOON: Deer, chukar. All those creeks were good fishing. Big Creek's real good.

LaVOY:  What was the biggest catch of fish that you ever recall getting?

SPOON: I don't remember. We've caught tubfulls.

LaVOY:  There was no limit at that time?

SPOON: Oh, there was a limit, but we were camped and ate 'em, but we didn't get more than we were going to eat for the day or that night.

LaVOY:  Did you ever catch a trophy fish out there?

SPOON: Well, back in those days a trophy didn't mean very much. We didn't pay any attention to them.

LaVOY:  You just caught the fish and brought them home. Did you ever dry any of them, or did you always eat them?

SPOON: We smoked a few of them, but we didn't really care about smoked fish. We tried it. All of us kids try this or that. (laughing)

LaVOY:  Did you go deer hunting much?

SPOON: Every year. Got deer all the time.

LaVOY:  Did you ever get any big ones?

SPOON: The biggest deer I ever killed was over in Monitor Valley. Monitor's the highest cultivated valley in the United States.

LaVOY:  And where's that?

SPOON: It's on the other side of Austin. Smokey Valley, then the next one is Monitor Valley. We were up on Dobbin Summit. Sonny Lofthouse and Cal Beeghly and Ramon Arrizabalaga and his brother-in-law, Louis Moiola. We had a grand time. We were there about two weeks. I killed the biggest buck that year I'd ever killed, and he had a twenty-eight and three-quarter inch spread. I would have made the big deal over in Austin if I'd of a taken him in, but it dried out, and I lost by fifteen pounds.

LaVOY:  Oh, my goodness! You shouldn't have stayed out there so long.

SPOON: Oh, we were busy.

LaVOY:  Tell me some of the things you did in your hunting camp.

SPOON: Oh, no, we don't dare tell. (laughing)

LaVOY:  Well, that's very quiet.

SPOON: Well, we played poker at night and partied a little bit. We had lots of fun.

LaVOY:  Lucky you didn't shoot one another. (laughing)

SPOON: No, no. We learned to hunt in those days from the time we were nine, ten years old. You had a gun, and you learned to be lots more careful than they are today. Sonny Lofthouse took Cal and I from the time we were big enough to go. He was a great hunter.

LaVOY:  Besides deer did you ever get any other game?

SPOON: Antelope. We'd hunt antelope once in awhile, but I didn't care much about antelope. It's like going out and killing one of the cows in the field.

LaVOY:  Well, I think they're kind of speedy, aren't they?

SPOON: Oh, yeah. But they…

LaVOY:  Easy to shoot them.

SPOON: You can sneak up on them. They're not real wild.

LaVOY:  Were the ranchers opposed to you hunting out in that area, or were there any ranches there?

SPOON: Oh, yeah, good ranchers, and they never bothered you if you don't leave the gates all open. You got to use a little sense, and we did. I think the worst trip--Bob Hammond and Cal Beeghly and Bob Marsh and Hilliard Marsh and I, we went on a trip up to Big Creek, and we'd been drinking a little bit. We'd stopped at East Gate and got several quarts of whiskey and we pulled into camp there was about eight or ten campfires going, but then we got to partying real good, and finally we all passed out and got up the next morning there wasn't a camper there in Big Creek. (laughing) They'd all moved out. (laughing)

LaVOY:  So, that must have been quite a party. (laughing)

SPOON: All except the deputy sheriff that was old man, Maestretti. Old Bill Maestretti, and he scolded us pretty good.

LaVOY:  About how old were you then?

SPOON: Oh, Bob Marsh and I and Cal were probably seventeen or eighteen.

LaVOY:  Still in high school?

SPOON: Well, maybe. Bob Hammond was two years younger. But we all knew better than all that, but he [Sheriff Maestretti] wasn't too cranky with us. In fact, He even packed two of our deer down for us. He had a horse.

LaVOY:  Well, that was very nice of him. (laughing)

SPOON: But, we had grand times. Well, Donny Downs was one of my best friends, and he was in the diplomatic service. He went right to the top as a troubleshooter. His first assignment was in LaPaz, Bolivia, and he handles them real good. Then he was sent to Europe right fromthere, and he was behind the Iron Curtain for seven years! But he got out to get married. He was going to be married on the Isle of Capri, and he sent me a wedding invitation, but he didn't send me an airplane ticket (laughing) so I couldn't go. Donny did real well. Grant Sawyer and Donny met when all the governors went over to Europe and France, and they met Donny. Donny threw a big party for them. Grant was telling me when he got home over in Carson [City], he was telling me you never saw a party like that. I said, "Well, how did it go?" "Oh," he said, "they do it just like they do here in the States, but a little more vigorously." (laughing)

LaVOY:  (laughing)

SPOON: And he said, "Donny treated us royally."

LaVOY:  Of course, this was a little bit later in your life.

SPOON: Yeah, a little later. That's when Grant was telling me about--Donny was still in Europe when Grant went over there, but he was outside of the Iron Curtain, but they sent him back again, but that's when Donny didn't take it. He didn't go. His back was in terrible shape and he retired.

LaVOY:  Now, is Don Downs a friend of yours from these early Fallon days?

SPOON: The very first. I used to go out to the ranch and stay with him and put up the hay. Work for his dad and put up hay.

LaVOY:  When did he go into the Diplomatic Service?

SPOON:Ah… [tape cuts out] Donny went into the Diplomatic Service around 1938, and when he was getting ready to leave, he said, "Here, Spoony, I brought something in from the ranch for you." He had five beautiful new suits.

LaVOY:  Well, where did he get those?

SPOON: He worked for the men's clothing store in Reno when he was going through school. He got a lot of clothes. He'd get most of his wages in clothes, and that's the way Donny is though.

LaVOY:  Were you and he about the same size?

SPOON: Oh, yeah. Just about. He might be a little taller, but I could have those pants shortened, and they were beautiful suits. I was so pleased. Anyway, Donny was a real, real top man. Alan Bible told me one time when I was somewhere talking about Donny, and he'd just retired as the United States Senator, and he was telling me, "Donny's one of the most important men in our Diplomatic Service. He never gets any write-ups, but he's so important on the troubleshooting. He could settle anything."

LaVOY:  I understand that Alan Bible gave quite a kudo to one of the Arrizabalagas, too, who was .

SPOON: Oh, yeah. Ramon Arrizabalaga. He was behind the Iron Curtain, and he spoke about five or six different languages, and that's why he was really important. He could interpret, and I guess he was a real help to the Secret Service behind the lines. I don’t know what they call them.

LaVOY:  The OSS?

SPOON: Somethin', I don't know, but in diggin' out the spies and all. Ramon was really a big deal.

LaVOY:  Well, we have gotten just a little bit ahead of ourselves, but I just want to go back a little bit. You graduated from high school in 1941.

SPOON: Yeah. I should have graduated about 1937.

LaVOY:  But, you kept getting kicked out of school, is that it? (laughing)

SPOON: Well, yes, and quitting. Doing different things bad.

LaVOY:  When you would quit school, what would you do? Just get a job?

SPOON: Well, they had a rule that if you lost sixteen, seventeen days, you lost your credits.

LaVOY:  Oh.

SPOON: So, when you run that many times, and I probably went fishing that many times, and, so, it was no use of going anymore. I was going to lose the credits anyway.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see. Well, when you graduated in 1941, can you tell me who gave the commencement address?

SPOON: Don Chapman.

LaVOY:  Was he the valedictorian by any chance? Was he one of your classmates?

SPOON: Yes, I think his dad was on the school board.

LaVOY:  And then Irene Saval was probably the valedictorian.

SPOON: Reverend Floyd Reed. [gave the invocation]

LaVOY:  The one that gave your commencement address was Ruben C. Thompson.

SPOON: Oh, yeah.

LaVOY:  He was such a prominent man from Reno and taught at the University for so many years. Do you recall any of his words of wisdom?


LaVOY:  You were just glad to get out of school?

SPOON: Well, I was glad to have that over with. All of that.

LaVOY:  (laughing) Who were some of your classmates that graduated with you that were close friends of yours?

SPOON: Oh, they were all good friends. Warren Hursh is probably the closest one with me, but they were all real close, and I was friendly with all of them.

LaVOY:  I notice this Yoshiko Ito--was that a girl?

SPOON: Oh, yeah.

LaVOY:  That was one of the girls of that family.

SPOON: Mae Kito and Yoshiko Ito.

LaVOY:  Well, it was an interesting group that you… Now, Ernest William Blair, Jr., that would be Helen Millward's brother, wouldn't it?

SPOON: Mmm, yes.

LaVOY:  He was in your class, too.

SPOON: There's a lot of real good students there, like Gordon Mills. Fallon can be proud of a lot of them. Like Alfred Mills, when he died was a professor in the University of Miami.

LaVOY:  Now, he didn't graduate with you. He was, what, ahead of you or behind you?

SPOON: No. Maybe one, but I went to school with him all through . .

LaVOY:  Tell me a little bit about after your graduation. The evening after your graduation, did you all go out partying, or what did you do?

SPOON: (laughing) I don't have any idea.

LaVOY:  You don't remember?

SPOON: I don't have any idea. But, I know, our senior ditch day that year we sure had a ball. We all went up to Tahoe, and then on the way home we stopped in Carson City and had a bigger ball. I remember that pretty well, but I don't remember any of the ones that were with us.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see. You graduated in 1941, and I notice that the draft was breathing down your neck at that point in time, and on July 30 your number was called from the big bowl. Tell me what that means, the "big bowl".

SPOON: The fish bowl. They drew the numbers out of a big fish bowl, and I got twenty-two.

LaVOY:  Where was the fish bowl kept?

SPOON: I don't have any idea. I thought it was in Washington, D.C., because it was a federal . . .

LaVOY:  I just wondered if they had a local board.

SPOON: Well, they had local board, but they had to go by the numbers.

LaVOY:  They had the serial numbers of the Fallon people of Churchill County in this fish bowl, and then they drew the numbers out of it. Is that how that . . .

SPOON: No, they didn't draw any numbers. Everybody got a number.

LaVOY:  You were S-499? [serial #221]

SPOON: Um-hum. It was national, I think. I'm not too sure. Anyway, I was called twice. I had to go to Salt Lake, and then I was called again in 1942 or 1943.

LaVOY: You were called, but were not taken. Probably because of the murmur in your heart. [End of tape 1]

This is Marian Hennen LaVoy of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Program interviewing Allen Spoon. This is the second interview of Mr. Spoon, and is done at my home 4325 Schurz Highway on March 12, 1996. We are going to start with Mr. Spoon's family history. We will complete that approximately at click 97 [] then we will go on with where we left off with his interview that was done on February 29.

LaVOY:  Now, Allen, I would like to have just a brief discussion on your father's family. Would you mind telling me your father's name and where he was born?

SPOON: Charles Harold Spoon born June 17, 1904, in Fallon, Nevada.

LaVOY:  His parents, very obviously, had moved from some place to Fallon. What was his father's name?

SPOON: His father's name was Charlie C. Spoon, and his mother's name was Ethel Lowe Spoon horn in Susanville [California], and Harold's father was born in Spoonville right out of Susanville.

LaVOY:  Was the town named after his family?

SPOON: The town was named after his grandfather. Spoonville. It's not there hardly anymore. There's just an old building that was a church and one big kind of a barn left, but everybody knows Spoonville in that country.

LaVOY:  Tell me what prompted Charles to move to Fallon?

SPOON: Two Spoon brothers [Charles and Harvey] married two Lowe sisters, Ethel and Arvie Spoon, and they moved to Fallon to start a new life. Fallon was just a small town and building up then. There was a big future in it.

LaVOY:  And what did they do?

SPOON: The two Spoon brothers separated. One of them [Harvey] went into a store, and the other one [Charles] built a hotel.. The Spoon-Davies Hotel and the Spoon-Davies General Store.

LaVOY:  This would have been your grandfather, Charles Spoon, that built the hotel?

SPOON: Yeah.

LaVOY:  Do you remember anything about the hotel?


LaVOY:  You were too small. Was it a prominent hotel?

SPOON: Oh, yes. It was a good big old hotel.

LaVOY:  And where was it located?

SPOON: Right across the street from the Wallace building and behind the Kents' store was the store and the hotel. But, then, Charlie Spoon had a ranch right on the corner or Drumm Lane and Harrigan Road. It was right next to the Drumm ranch, and Harold was raised on that ranch.

LaVOY:  I see, and Harold decided he would not go into the ranching or the hotel business. What did he do for a living?

SPOON: No, Harold went to work right out high school for the newspaper, for the Fallon Standard.

LaVOY:  I see. Alright, getting to your mother. What was your mother's maiden name?

SPOON: My mother's name was Eleanor Stone.

LaVOY:  And where was she born?

SPOON: She was born in Franklinville, New York.

LaVOY:  And her parents, what were their names?

SPOON: Her mother's name was Nellie E. Spring.

LaVOY:  And do you know her birth date and death date?

SPOON: 1877 to 1958.

LaVOY:  And then her father's name?

SPOON: Was Clayton F. Stone. He was born in 1875, and he died in 1945.

LaVOY:  Did they ever come to Fallon?

SPOON: Oh, yes. They both died in Lovelock. They lived with my mother's brother and my mother in Lovelock for awhile. Don Stone went to school here in Fallon, but he moved. to Lovelock and married a Westergard girl. His mother and father died up there. They're buried there in Lovelock.

LaVOY:  How did your mother and father happen to meet?

SPOON: My mother was a waitress in the Old Waffle House here in Fallon, and Harold used to come in there for breakfast, and they just got together and got married.

LaVOY:  Did she come from Lovelock, or had she been some place else?

SPOON: No, she went to school in The Paradox in Colorado, and she left there when she was about sixteen, and she went to Grass Valley, California, then to Virginia City [Nevada], and from Virginia City to Fallon.

LaVOY:  And, so then, she and your father were married in Fallon. When were they married?

SPOON: 1924.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see. All right. Well, that's just fine. So, then, you were about how old?

SPOON: About three and a half.

LaVOY:  When they were married?

SPOON: Um-hum.

LaVOY: I see. Well now, we will continue here with where we left off on the last interview. [tape cuts] I'd like to get back to 1941 when you were called up for draft, and I believe you went to Utah and were turned down because you had a murmur in your heart. Then I understand that shortly after that you went to Hollywood. Now will you tell me who you went with and what you were doing?

SPOON: Well, Sandy Guyman and I had met Gene Autry in Reno riding Pony Express horses.

LaVOY:  What do you mean, "Pony Express" horses?

SPOON: Well, during the rodeos, they have the Pony Express race and you change horses and the whole thing.

LaVOY:  Was this common with the rodeo at that time?

SPOON: Oh, yeah. All of them. That's a big thing. Used to be. It isn't that strong anymore. Doesn't have the room for it, but they still have Pony Express races that'll go through for a big long time. Anyway, the Cavalcade of the West was Indians doing all their thing and the Pony. Express races and roping and trick roping. It was just a Cavalcade of the West put-on by Gene Autry, and Sandy and I were both riding relay horses working for Gene Autry, and it was a real good job.

LaVOY:  He hired you at the rodeo in Reno?

SPOON: Well, he saw us riding Pony Express horses and relaying and he hired us to come down to do that. So, we went there. Thought it was a good deal, and it was.

LaVOY:  And you went down where?

SPOON: To Hollywood. We both lived in North Hollywood. We rented a house down there and had quite a ball.

LaVOY:  I understand that you met a number of movie stars at that time.

SPOON: Oh, yeah. Well, we met an astrologer that wrote for a lot of the movie stars. Carol Reiter was his name. He was one of the well-known ones all over the world. Wrote lots of articles on horoscopes, but he introduced Sandy and I to all kinds of movie stars and top notchers.

LaVOY:  You mentioned something about Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Could you tell me about that?

SPOON: Oh, Gene Autry was a real generous person, and he let us have a big party on the lawn at his house in Toluca Lake. It was a beerbust, and so we're having a party and I guess we got pretty noisy. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby lived right across the street from Gene Autry, and they're looking over the fence and we're wanting them to come over. Pretty soon Bob Hope asked us if they could crash the party, and it tickled us to death. They were just the grandest people you ever heard of and just as comical in real life as they are in the . . . and we had A ball. That was one of our big times of all the time we were in Hollywood.

LaVOY:  Approximately how long were you riding with this Cavalcade?

SPOON: I think we were about three months, and we were just getting ready to start going across the United States putting it on at different towns, and Gene Autry got drafted. Well, he was already in the reserves, and he got called up in the War. Busted everything up.

LaVOY:  Were you called again at this time?

SPOON: Yeah, I was called during the time I was there, and I got called back. I went to the induction center, and he asked why I was wasting their time that I'd. already been turned down.

LaVOY:  Was this in Los Angeles?

SPOON: Yes. I told him I didn't have anything to do with that. I was called by the draft board in Fallon, so he said, "Well, see that you don't called again," and he wrote them a letter that told them they're wasting their time, my time, and the government's money because of I had a 4-F, and they called me again. Anyway, I didn't have to go, but I was in the merchant marine.

LaVOY:  Just a minute, then when Gene Autry closed his Cavalcade and you were still in Los Angeles, did you return to Fallon, or did you go on to something else?

SPOON: No, I didn't travel to Fallon. I went to Gabbs Valley and went, to work up there building with the McDonald Engineering. Was working on that BMI's plant.

LaVOY:  What were they- mining?

SPOON: Magnesium for the war effort and for steel.

LaVOY:  At one point in time you were mining for quick silver. Where was that?

SPOON: Oh, that was before. I worked in the Wild Horse quick

silver mine out towards Austin.  I. did that, that before. I was in school then. That was in 1938 I did

did that. I stayed out there about seven or eight months. Then when school started I went back to school.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see. This is part of your five years in high school. What did you do at the quick silver mines?

SPOON: I worked in the mill and then I worked mucking ore.

LaVOY:  That must have been a hard job.

SPOON: It was a good job. Hard job, but it's a good job for a young fellow.

LaVOY:  Tell me what "mucking ore" means.

SPOON: They blast ore. They blast it down onto a lag-in. Wood planks. Then you shovel it into a wheelbarrow or into a ore car, take it to the mill, the crusher.

LaVOY:  What were you doing at the one in Gabbs?

SPOON: We were building a big plant, and I was over all the greasing. They had about five or six big shovels and Cats. I was over the greasing. I got a pretty good job there.

LaVOY:  How long did you stay there?

SPOON: I stayed till it was finished. I was about the eighth man hired for McDonald, and I was just about the last one to leave.

LaVOY:  So, you left in approximately what year?

SPOON: 1953, I think it was.

LaVOY:  So you worked for a long time.

SPOON: No, that time I finished the Job. McDonald was building that plant, and I left in about a year and a half.

LaVOY:  About 1942, 1943, in there. During this period of time, there were so many sad things that happened with the War and whatnot, and I noticed I believe someone in your family had been married to a Freeman?

SPOON: Oh, yeah. Ruth Spoon, my aunt Ruth was married to Gene Freeman.

LaVOY:  Can you tell me what happened to him?

SPOON: He got electrocuted.

LaVOY:  I believe we're talking about the wrong Freeman. I think we're talking about Garnett Freeman.

SPOON: Oh, Garnett. He was married to Lois Downs.

LaVOY:  Oh, that's right. My error, and tell me about what happened to him.

SPOON: He died a terrible death attributed to a serum from yellow fever, and he just went through terrible pain for five months and then he died.

LaVOY:  Was there a large funeral in Fallon?

SPOON: Oh, a very large funeral.

LaVOY:  Was he a pilot?

SPOON: Yes, he was a pilot. He was a lieutenant, but he died a needless death. Careless.

LaVOY:  I was very sorry to hear that. There must have been other friends of yours that were lost too at this point in time.

SPOON: Dick Weaver was lost the first day on the bombing of the Arizona.

LaVOY:  Was he a local boy?

SPOON: Oh, yes. He had five brothers, Tom, Dick, and Harry, and I forget the other brothers' names.

LaVOY:  That's an interesting series of names.

SPOON: I went to school with the three. We were boys, and I felt real bad. They lived about half a block from me.

LaVOY:  From where you lived in Fallon?

SPOON: I lived on Churchill Street, and they lived on the next street over behind me.

LaVOY:  Were there others from Fallon that you knew that lost their lives at that point in time?

SPOON: Lots of them.

LaVOY:  Was one the Gibbs boy?

SPOON: Oh, Jim Gibbs, yes, and Merlin Scholz. We lost a lot of them, but Jim Gibbs was a real good friend. Went all through school.

LaVOY:  That must have very sad to you because of your being classified 4-F you just couldn't get into the service yourself.

SPOON: Oh, yeah.

LaVOY:  Your mother was overjoyed that you were not in.

SPOON: I was in the service in all of the real tough ones. In the merchant marine I was on a tanker, and I stayed in. I'd come home, but for two years I was right in the hot of it called Torpedo Junction by Guadalcanal and hauling high octane gas for all those airplanes. I was hauling that steady.

LaVOY:  When did you join the merchant marines?

SPOON: I joined the merchant marines in 1938, but I didn't sail but one ship then, but I had the papers all the time, and then soon as the War was declared, and when I could do some good, I joined the merchant marine.

LaVOY:  Where did you join from? In San Francisco?

SPOON: San Francisco. I just started sailing tankers. Well, I sailed Fair Isle which was a ship out of Mobile, Alabama, but mostly I sailed tankers.

LaVOY:  What was the Fair Isle?

SPOON: The Fair Isle was a T-2 cargo ship. It had kind of been re-made. One day we were down in Milne Bay, New Guinea, and brought back a bunch of WACs and WAVES. Got diseased or pregnant or something. All of them had something. Had to come back. Brought back a carload of them. Poor girls. Had to stay down in that hot second. I felt sorry for them, but you couldn't do anything about it.

LaVOY:  Where did you drop them off?

SPOON: San Francisco.

LaVOY:  And then you went back out again on the same ship or another tanker?

SPOON: I didn't get on that ship again. It's tough sailing those kinds of ships. You can't have enough fresh water and no showers. Salt water showers.

LaVOY:  The tankers that you went out on, where did you go with them?

SPOON: We'd take high octane gas to wherever they needed it, and then we went to the Persian Gulf and loaded there and then back and the Philippines. In fact I was in Manila on VJ Day. We were on our way to Okinawa, and they radioed us to come back. The War was over. That was quite a deal in Manila. They celebrated for a month. (laughing)

LaVOY:  And you were one of those celebrating with them, or didn't you get off the ship?

SPOON: Oh, yes, we celebrated right with them.

LaVOY:  Oh, that's wonderful.

SPOON: But, the Japs treated the Filipinos terrible. In the commercial district there in Manila, they blew those all beautiful big buildings, the banks, and all the things from the inside out for no reason. They just tore them all, and the Filipinos had never done anything to the Japanese.

LaVOY:  Now, we're regressing a little bit, but I believe one of your friends died on the Death March?

SPOON: Oh, yeah. Wayne Van Voorhis on the Death March.

LaVOY:  It must have very poignant to you to have been there where he had been.

SPOON: Yes, because we were right there on Bataan and Corregidor. Anyway, poor Wayne. We took him from Fallon to Reno to get a plane when he went to the Philippines.

LaVOY:  I imagine the whole thing was very traumatic to you.

SPOON: Oh, yes.

LaVOY:  The entire War effort affected so many lives. Especially here in Fallon. I was reading how they collected--by "they", I mean I believe it was the Eagle newspaper collected hunting knives from Fallon people so that they could send the knives to the army, I believe it was. [Fourth Air Force command in the South Pacific.] Do you recall anything at all about that?

SPOON: Well, I remember getting knives and turning in our hunting knives to whoever wanted them, but I don't remember who they went to, but many of the knives received could doubtless tell some stirring tales as in this one. [tape cuts] "One of the weapons received this week which his owner hopes will make a mark in the belly of a Jap.” (laughing)

LaVOY:  Isn't it interesting that a comment like that would be in the Fallon newspaper on February 6, 1943? You would not see things like that in the paper anymore. After you got out of the merchant marine, what did you do?

SPOON: I worked. I dealt cards, dealt craps and tended bar.

LaVOY:  And where?

SPOON: Oh, Reno and Fallon and Lovelock. Any place where I happened to . . .

LaVOY:  Did you live in Lovelock very long?

SPOON: Oh, off and on for about eighteen years.

LaVOY:  What were some of the clubs that you worked in?

SPOON: Felix's and the Bank Club in Lovelock. I had a bar of my own in Lovelock. I had the Lovelock Club for about five years. Then I had the Overland Bar in Winnemucca for a year or two. Then I dealt in Elko and Reno and tended bar a lot.

LaVOY:  What games did you deal?

SPOON: I dealt the twenty-one and dealt craps.

LaVOY:  Did you have any interesting people in Fallon and in these other towns that you were the dealer for their playing? Did you have any Hollywood personalities, any governors or whatnot? Just local people?

SPOON: Yeah, local people. You wouldn't know anyway. You don't have much conversation with the people playing.

LaVOY:  Something that I was curious about. Your father--I read some place that he had won many contests with his whiskers. Would you explain that?

SPOON: (laughing) Whiskereno contest. He won it every year for the not styled. Just let them grow wild. He won the whiskereno contest for about seven or eight years. They finally retired him . . . wouldn't let him run anymore. Said he was the retired champion. Undefeated.

LaVOY:  When was this whiskereno show put on in Fallon.?

SPOON: During the Forty-Niner show and rodeo.

LaVOY:  Would that be in the fall?

SPOON: In the fall. September. Labor Day.

LaVOY:  Did people dress up for that?

SPOON: Oh, yeah. Everybody dressed up for the Forty-Niner wild west show.

LaVOY:  That's tremendous.

SPOON: Oh, yeah.

LaVOY:  And also notice that he was the first president of the 20-30 Club.

SPOON: Yeah, he was the charter president of the 20-30 Club, and then he was the charter president of the Lions Club.

LaVOY:  Was he also on the volunteer fire department?

SPOON: Oh, yeah, he was a volunteer fireman for a lot of years. All the time he lived in Fallon, oh, after he grew up.

LaVOY:  I noticed that he was the president of: the volunteer fire department at one time in 1939, so he must have been a very active man. I also notice that one time there was an anniversary, the third anniversary of the 20-30 Club and they had a huge duck dinner at the Sagebrush. They must have been very active with their duck hunting in this area.

SPOON: Oh, yes. Everybody duck hunted.

LaVOY:  When was the Greenhead Club shoot?

SPOON: The Greenhead Club is a private club that owned hunting grounds, and you joined it. Then you can hunt on that club. They have two shoots. One for the Greenhead shoot and then they have a smoker the last week of the season, and they have a big party. And it is a big one!

LaVOY:  And where'd they usually have it?

SPOON: They have it in the Elks Club, or they have it in the Sagebrush. The Sagebrush for a long time put it on underneath, and then they got too big for them, and they had to have it in a bigger . . .

LaVOY:  Was this during the time that Bill Powell owned the Sagebrush?

SPOON: Yeah, that was when Bill Powell owned it.

LaVOY:  How could they serve the wild duck? I thought that was against the law?

SPOON: Oh, they have enough ducks. All of the members. Then they put them in the freezer.

LaVOY:  In other words these ducks were donated for a specific purpose?

SPOON: Oh, yeah. All of the hunters brought in the ducks and they had a big duck dinner every year, too, besides the smoker. They had teams. The winning team gets his duck dinner free, and the other one pays for both.

LaVOY:  Were those clay pigeon teams?

SPOON: No. Ducks.

LaVOY:  Whoever got the most ducks?

SPOON: No, you get points like on a greenhead, ten points.

LaVOY:  Oh, on the species of duck?

SPOON: Yeah. The sprig is probably seven. Like pintails probably just one.

LaVOY:  Oh, because they were not a popular eating duck?

SPOON: Well, they're not as popular. They're easier to kill. The sprig and the greenhead are the toughest, and they had the most points on them.

LaVOY:  When they had these dinners, I understand you had Mario Peraldo occasionally for entertainment. What did he do?

SPOON: Played the accordion. Mario played for all weddings.

LaVOY:  Does he still do this?

SPOON: Mario lives over by me, but I don't think he ever plays accordion anymore.

LaVOY:  But he was a popular entertainer.

SPOON: Oh, yes. He's a real good accordion player.

LaVOY:  Well, that really amazes me. Well, now, also, about the time probably that you were probably in the merchant marine, I understand that you had a brother, and what was his name?

SPOON: Leland.

LaVOY:  He was born in 1933.

SPOON: Yeah, he was born in [July 20] 1933, and he was killed in 1942.

LaVOY:  How tragic! How did that happen?

SPOON: Well, he was going with his mother the next day on a trip to Butte, Montana, back east some place, and he was going to tell some of his friends goodbye, he and the little Lofthouse girl. They were on their bicycles going down to tell some friends goodbye, and they drove right into the front of the duals on a salt truck.

LaVOY:  Was this on Taylor Street?

SPOON: On Maine Street. [End of tape 2 side A]

LaVOY:  Well, with such a tragic accident, was this in the morning that this happened?

SPOON: I wasn't here, but I think it was in the afternoon after school.

LaVOY:  Well, probably school was out because I believe that it was in July that he was killed, but to have a tragedy like this happen in Fallon, I know your parents were devastated by it. Was he crushed by the salt truck?

SPOON: It just hit him in the head and he hit the oil and killed him instantly, I think.

LaVOY:  And did he have a little dog with him or anything?

SPOON: He had a big dog. His dog was with him. He was a big Lab, and the dog wouldn't let the people pick him up.. He growled, and finally they got my dad down from the Fallon Standard.  He got the dog off and picked him up, but he didn't live very long. I think he died on the way to the hospital. I was up in Elko then working for Dodges.

LaVOY:  Well, such a tragic accident. That certainly must have affected your family very drastically.

SPOON: Oh, terrible. They never got over it. It just ruined their lives.

LaVOY:  Was he buried in Fallon?

SPOON: Oh, yeah.

LaVOY:  And you came down from Elko for the funeral?


LaVOY: Do you recall how you felt losing a little brother like that?

SPOON: Oh, I was just devastated for quite some time, but I went back to work. That's the best thing to do. I went back to Elko, but my family never got over it. It just ruined their lives.

LaVOY:  When did your father retire from the newspaper? About 1943?

SPOON: He worked on both the Eagle and the Standard for some time because the printer at the Eagle, Dalbey died, and he worked at them both. But my mother and dad just couldn't take it anymore, and they finally just moved. They moved first to Reno. That didn't do it. Then they moved to Sacramento where I had just moved to by then, but their whole lives were just messed up because I'd moved away. whole lives were just messed up 'cause I'd moved away

LaVOY: Did they separate then?

SPOON: Yeah. And they both married again, but it didn't work out. They just never were the same after that.

LaVOY:  Well, that is very, very tragic to have something like this happen. Now, you mentioned that you had moved to Sacramento. What were you doing in Sacramento at that time?

SPOON: Well, I went to work for McClellan Air Force Base, and I stayed there a couple of years.

LaVOY:  What did you do there?

SPOON: I worked in landing gear.

LaVOY:  For heaven's sake! Doing what?

SPOON: All of the landing gear has to be worked on and everything. Installation. I did it all in landing gear. My buddy, Bob Marsh, went to work with me, and he's a flyer, and he loved to fly. I never cared about it at all, and in landing gear when you install, you got to go up, land, take off, land, and all that, and I'm going up every few hours, Bob (laughing) was working in the P-38 line, and he never did (laughing) get to go up. He quit not too long after that 'cause (laughing) he wanted to get in landing gear so he could fly, but he didn't.

LaVOY:  Oh, dear. Then from Sacramento what did you do?

SPOON: I stayed there for awhile, but I was never happy. liked to come back to Nevada, so I left. Bob had already left and came back. We left Gabbs Valley together and moved to Sacramento. Bob and his wife and his little girl was then just about six months old.

LaVOY:  This is your second time out at Gabbs Valley?

SPOON: Yeah. Bob was married to Raelynn Albee. They had the little baby, and we all moved to Sacramento. We didn't like it there coming out of Nevada moving to California, so we moved back. Bob moved first and then I came back behind.

LaVOY:  And what did you do when you came back to Nevada?

SPOON: Oh, I started dealing again and tending bar.

LaVOY:  This would probably bring you up to about 1950, I understand that you had a marriage and you had a son. Would you tell me your son's name?

SPOON: Michael Vernon.

LaVOY:  And he was born where?

SPOON: In Lovelock.

LaVOY:  When?

SPOON: July 20, 1950.

LaVOY:  Did he stay with you, or did he go with his mother?

SPOON: He went with his mother, and they live in Red Lodge, Montana now. He's got a ranch. He's done real well.

LaVOY:  I know you're very happy about that.

SPOON: Oh, yeah.

LaVOY:  The years following your return to Nevada, what were some of the jobs that you did?

SPOON: I got burned up working in the clubs. You can't be around too long you gotta get out, so I went to work for the [Nevada State] Highway Department. Stayed there twenty-two years.

LaVOY:  Did you really?

SPOON: Yeah.

LaVOY:  What did you do with the Highway Department?

SPOON: I worked in construction 'cause I knew all about it, so I got into testing. Testing all the materials, and I liked it real well. Stayed right with them until I retired. ‘Till I was sixty-five.

LaVOY:  Where did you work? In Fallon or Carson City?

SPOON: I worked all over. I worked in construction, but I worked out of Carson City, and then when I went into the progress lab in Reno--that's for this whole District Two, did all the testing, supervised all the testing in District Two. I stayed in Reno all that time, and then I retired out of the progress lab.

LaVOY:  Tell me what's involved with this testing.

SPOON: All the materials, gravel and sand and asphalt. Tested it all.

LaVOY:  Test it for what?

SPOON: Oh, for strength. Like your ground. Compaction for when you lay your asphalt, and then you lay your gravel. It's all gotta be compacted and tested.

LaVOY:  Is it this compaction and whatnot that keeps roads from deteriorating?

SPOON: It sure is. That's about the most important thing there is, is to get the compaction underneath because if you don't get the compaction, it just breaks down the asphalt and cement, whatever it is. It's got to have compaction under there.

LaVOY:  So many times the roads will have a little pothole and then the next thing you know it's a huge one. What is the cause of that?

SPOON: That's from lack of compaction. Clay's a bad thing in any kind of roadbed because water gets in it, and it just breaks down.

LaVOY:  Is that the water freezing and thawing?


LaVOY:  Or just plain water?

SPOON: Water gets in on the clay parts, and it just kind of makes it into water. It just melts. Clay is a bad thing. Testing is a real important job in road work.

LaVOY:  I imagine so. Who were some of the prominent road builders during your period of work with highway department?

SPOON: Oh, I worked with all the good ones. Dodges and Drumm and Isbell. Just about all. Olson, a Utah construction. I worked with all of them.

LaVOY:  Tell me a little something about the Dodge Construction Company.

SPOON: They were a good company. They had good men.

LaVOY:  Who owned the Dodge Construction Company?

SPOON: Bob and Carl Dodge.

LaVOY:  Was Bob Dodge Carl Dodge's brother?

SPOON: Yeah. Dodge Brothers Construction. That was the name of it for a long time.

LaVOY:  With their headquarters in Fallon?

SPOON: Yeah.

LaVOY:  Where did they build, and what did they build?

SPOON: Built roads and bridges and mostly highways.

LaVOY:  In the state.

SPOON: In the state. Well, they went out. And Drumm went out, too, some. But Dodges, they stayed in Nevada about eighty-five or ninety percent of the time.

LaVOY:  Then, Andy Drumm is quite a character that we hear about.

SPOON: (laughing) Yeah.

LaVOY:  You must have known him well.

SPOON: I worked for Andy, and he gave me the first car I owned when I graduated from grammar school into high school, he gave me his father's car.

LaVOY:  And what kind was it?

SPOON: It was Chevy coupe. It was his dad's car, and his dad had died, and he gave me that car.

LaVOY:  How did he happen to give it to you?

SPOON: Oh, I worked with him.

LaVOY:  In what position as a kid?

SPOON: Oh, picked rocks on the grade and did all kinds of things. Whatever had to be done. Washed in the wash racks, but I went to work as early as I could for Drumm on the road job soon as I was eligible. And he gave me a car, but he wouldn't give me the title to it before drove it for a year without any major tickets. I was pleased then. He put new tires on it, new battery and everything fine.

LaVOY:  Well, he must have thought a great deal of you.

SPOON: Well, Andy thought a lot of everybody that worked for him. He was a good man. He'd stake you to buy a travel trailer to live in. If you needed a car, he'd put the down payment and collect a little bit at a time. He was a wonderful man to everybody.

LaVOY:  Wasn't his wife a state legislator?


LaVOY:  Or was it his mother?

SPOON: Oh, his mother was. Yeah, yeah.

LaVOY:  Did he ever have any comments on that?

SPOON: No. (laughing) He had comments on everything, but, and he was pretty smart. He was a genius in his own right. You didn't want to argue with him about baseball. He knew the batting average of every major league player in baseball.

LaVOY:  Did he have a plane?

SPOON: Oh, yes, he had several of them. He drove a car about as fast as he went in an airplane, though. (laughing)

LaVOY:  (laughing) I've heard this.

SPOON: You didn't want to be faint of heart to ride with Andy, I'll tell you that. (laughing) But he was good to me. He always was.

LaVOY:  Did he go out of business on his own?

SPOON: Oh, yeah.

LaVOY:  He retired?

SPOON: Yeah. Well, he had a bad heart and he couldn't get in there anymore 'cause he'd get so uptight. He just had to get out. That's why he got out. He was making money. Oh, he went broke several times while he was in, but he was a genius in his own right. Like the time the state came in with open-graded. It was a new thing they put on the top of the asphalt for skid marks. He laid that. First time he'd ever had a job with it, he laid the most open graded per day per job for everything. He just was a genius. Usually when he'd get something, like a truck, he'd overhaul it before he'd ever use it putting different sidebars on it. Like a paver. He'd overhaul a paver when it was brand new. He just was a genius.

LaVOY:  Of course, you remember all of the Nevada roads being unpaved as a-small boy.

SPOON: Oh, yes.

LaVOY:  And he and Dodge were the ones that basically paved most of the roads.

SPOON: Oh, yes, and Tedford. Tedford was in the construction business, too.

LaVOY:  Oh, was he in the road business?

SPOON: Yeah. But they were smaller. Tedford was a contractor. Good to work for, too.

LaVOY:  This was .

SPOON: J.N. Tedford.

LaVOY:  This would be the father…

SPOON: The father of Jack and Kenneth.

LaVOY:  With all of these years, you must have met some charming young lady and gotten married and settled down. Was this while you were working for the state?

SPOON: Oh, before, too.

LaVOY:  Tell me, who did you marry?

SPOON: Gynith Wemple.

LaVOY:  And when was this?

SPOON: In 1973. [November 10]

LaVOY:  How had you met one another?

SPOON: Oh, we met when she first moved to Fallon. She was eight years old.

LaVOY:  Where did she move from?

SPOON: From Susanville.

LaVOY:  Is that where she was born?

SPOON: Yeah, the Wemples all come from Honey Lake Valley, and her dad worked in the bank, and then he came here to run a consolidated warehouse. I was stuck on her ever since the first day I saw her.

LaVOY:  Oh, that's wonderful. Now, you had all these years of travel and everything else. You and Gynith got together again, and where were you married?

SPOON: In Fallon. Right in her dad's house.

LaVOY:  What street was that one? Do you recall?

SPOON: On Taylor where he built that house.

LaVOY:  Approximately where on Taylor?

SPOON: Taylor and Stillwater. On the corner. [390 West Stillwater]

LaVOY:  Oh. And you were married there?

SPOON: Yeah.

LaVOY:  And where did you go on your honeymoon?

SPOON: I don't think we had a honeymoon until about six months later. We were both working.

LaVOY:  Oh, what was she doing?

SPOON: She worked for Eagle-Pitcher Industries. She was an executive secretary, and she couldn't get away very good, so we just postponed our honeymoon until we could get away.

LaVOY:  At this time, where were you working?

SPOON: I was working for the state.

LaVOY:  At this time, too. And she worked out…?

SPOON: She worked out there at the 102 Ranch [Tracey, Nevada]. That's where their big mill is.

LaVOY:  Oh, right by where the power plant is now.

SPOON: Yeah. That's the 102. I was just divorced, and I'd been out to Gerlach visiting Leonard Ashton. Jean Cook, Gynith's best friend, married Leonard Ashton, my best friend. I was out visiting them, and I was kind of down in the dumps. I told them about just being divorced, and they said, "Well, Gynith's single." Well, that's a hundred miles back. I couldn't get back to Reno fast enough to call her on the phone and ask her for a date. That was the happiest day of my life at the time, so everything's worked out for the better.

LaVOY:  Well, that's wonderful.

SPOON: Oh, yes, it's been wonderful for twenty-two years now.

LaVOY:  Very happily married.

SPOON: Oh, yes.

LaVOY:  While you were working for the state, you lived where?

SPOON: Oh, all over. Elko, Battle Mountain, Winnemucca.

LaVOY:  And Gynith moved with you?

SPOON: No. I didn't marry her till about 1973, when I'd got a steady place to work in Reno. District Two testing lab, and that's where I was then. I didn't have to travel anymore.

LaVOY:  And so did she keep her job with Eagle Pitcher?

SPOON: Oh, yes. She had a good job. Executive secretary to the president of the minerals division, and she stayed with them. She was the oldest woman, in fact, the only one to get a twenty-five year gold watch from Eagle Pitcher.

LaVOY:  When did she retire?

SPOON: She retired when she was sixty-three.  I guess, eight, nine years ago.

LaVOY:  And did you go to her retirement party, or did they have a retirement luncheon?

SPOON: No. She came to mine. I had a big one. The district engineer and all, they had a big party for me (laughing) when I retired.

LaVOY:  Oh, how nice.

SPOON: Oh, it was nice. It was really nice, and then I got the twenty-year pin and a lot of others.

LaVOY:  Then what prompted you to move back to Fallon?

SPOON: Oh, we both were raised here and went to school here and played golf here. We were just happier. We had a home in Reno first, and we weren't happy there. Fallon's where we wanted to be.

LaVOY:  What do you with your spare time in Fallon?

SPOON: We play golf.

LaVOY:  Most all the time?

SPOON: Oh, every time we can.

LaVOY:  Well, now, moving hack to Fallon, with the golf course, do you feel the golf course needs to be refurbished, or have they just recently done that?

SPOON: They're doing that. They're doing all they can. You have to crawl before you can walk, and they're doing the best they can.

LaVOY:  Do you believe there will be at some time a larger golf course here in Fallon?

SPOON: Oh, I think they'll make that one a larger one. I really do. When they get the money.

LaVOY:  Are you on any golf teams, or do the two of you just play together?

SPOON: Oh, she belongs to the women's club. I belong to the men's club.

LaVOY:  And you play every Wednesday? Is that it?

SPOON: Well, we don't get involved that much. We play together about three or four times a week and get the exercise. That's what counts.

LaVOY:  Do you tell your score ever?

SPOON: Oh, yes. She beats me once in awhile. That perks me up.

LaVOY:  Well, I'm glad to hear that you admit it.

SPOON: Yesterday I made a forty-nine and she made a fifty. (laughing) That's just the same as getting beat.

LaVOY:  (laughing) Now, Fallon has changed so much since you first came here. I'd like to know what your feelings are on how Fallon has changed from your first memories of it to the current time.

SPOON: I've always loved Fallon. Fallon's a fine wonderful place to raise your kids and grow up in. When you grow up from the very start, you realize what a wonderful town it is, and it hasn't changed for the worst at all. I don't think it's any better than it was, but it's a real fine town. It's getting bigger, but I don't think it's for the worst. I don't think it's much different.

LaVOY:  How do you think the base [Naval Air Station, Fallon] has affected the town?

SPOON: I don't think it's hurt it. I think it's helped it a lot. I really do. A lot of people don't, but I really it's helped it. Brought in a lot of new things. For a long time, Fallon, if you weren't part of the Five Hundred, you never got there. But that's opened a lot of people's eyes, and you can get there now where you couldn't before. I don't think it's as clannish as it was. I moved away from Fallon for the simple reason they treated people badly here. The poor people they were poor and that's the way they stayed, and I never liked that, and that's one of the reasons I moved away. But it doesn't seem to be that bad anymore. They go out of their way to help people now. They really do, and that's what I think of Fallon.

LaVOY:  Well, that's a very thought-provoking memory on your part. It's interesting that you were one of the more prominent families in Fallon.

SPOON: Well, I was part of them, and that's why I felt so bad about it.

LaVOY:  Because you had friends who were not?

SPOON: That's right. I had so many friends that weren't, and to see people treated like that, it upsets you. If you didn't have it, you weren't going to get it in Fallon then.

LaVOY:  But, now, with the influx of new people, it has watered it down.

SPOON: You can make it now. You can get by and get ahead.

LaVOY:  Those are very, very nice thoughts on Fallon. We are nearly finished with our interview, but there's something that I forgot to ask you way back in the interview. When you were so active as a cheerleader, it also said that you were a member of the broom . . .

SPOON: Oh, broom squad.

LaVOY:  Squad. What in the world was the broom squad?

SPOON: That's when you get demerits, you have to work them off, and I got demerits all the time for some little

thing 'cause I could never keep my mouth shut.

LaVOY:  And I know you mentioned one time that your mother hated to have the phone ring.

SPOON: (laughing) 'Cause I was in trouble.

LaVOY:  What did the broom squad actually do?

SPOON: Swept all the floors, washed all the windows, and

cleaned everything.

LaVOY:  The school.

SPOON: Oh, yes, and I was on the broom squad all five years I was in school, and I don't think that anybody ever got more demerits than I did. Maybe some got as many. I doubt that even. I'd just talk, talk all the time and get into trouble.

LaVOY:  But not serious trouble?

SPOON: Oh, no.

LaVOY:  Just annoying trouble to the principal of the school.

SPOON: Oh, yes. I drove those poor teachers, and I realize now they were just trying to help me. I was just a smart-ass kid.

LaVOY:  (laughing) I've been wondering about your mother. When did she pass away?

SPOON: 19… [tape cuts] 1969.

LaVOY:  Was that in Fallon or someplace else?

SPOON: She died in Lovelock.

LaVOY:  And from what?

SPOON: Well, she was sick for quite awhile. I think she might have had cancer, but I'm not sure. I just got a call that she'd died, but I knew she was going to 'cause she kept getting worse and worse. She's buried in Lovelock.

LaVOY:  And where's your father buried?

SPOON: In Fallon.

LaVOY:  And he passed away before your mother or after?

SPOON: He died in 1956.

LaVOY:  And you visited him in Fallon all the time that you were traveling here, there, and the other place, you'd come back home to visit him, is that right?

SPOON: No, He didn't live here. He lived in Sacramento. He died in Sacramento, but he's buried here.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see. But, you kept in touch with both your parents even though they were separated?

SPOON: Oh, yeah. They'd come to see me more than I . . . they'd come visit me. Well, I always took care of my mother. I had a house for her and a travel trailer that wherever. I lived I'd take care of her after they got divorced . . .

LaVOY:  You were a very good son to her.

SPOON: Oh, yeah. I had a little house built for her in Lovelock alongside of mine. I had a mobile home, but I had a little house so she wouldn't lose her own identity, and she could putter. I'd bring her over one hot meal a day and then I'd take her shopping.

LaVOY:  Well, you were a very good son to her.

SPOON: Oh, yes, I had to. Well, she was real good to me.

LaVOY:  Are there any other things that you can think of that you would like to have included in this interview?

SPOON: Well, not really. Just that I always have thought Fallon was the best town in the whole world.

LaVOY:  Well, that's wonderful, and we're very happy to hear that, and on behalf of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project, I want to thank you for this second interview, and this is the end of the interview.

Original Format

Audio Cassette


57:09, 1:00:08

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Churchill County Museum Association, “Allen Spoon Oral History,” Churchill County Museum Digital Archive: Fallon, Nevada, accessed July 25, 2021,