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Transcript of interview with Patsy Brinton, Margaret Carnell, and Sharon Schmitt by Lois Goodall, April 30, 2014

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2014-04-30
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In 1905 a twenty-two-year-old second-generation Swiss American left Los Angeles with a friend for Lincoln County, Nevada. Edward "Ed" Von Tobel (1873-1967) and his friend Jake Beckley had heard about some land that was going up for auction. Together they purchased a parcel on the second day in the new desert town of Las Vegas, where they established Von Tobel's Lumber Company, which served Southern Nevada from 1905 until it closed in 1976. In Las Vegas Von Tobel met and married fellow German-speaker Mary Hameril, and together the couple raised four children in the city: Jake, Katherine Elizabeth, Ed Jr., and George. Many Von Tobel descendants live here still. Margaret Carnell, granddaughter of Ed Von Tobel and Mary Hameril and the oldest of three daughters of Elizabeth Von Tobel and Kenneth Zahn, was born in Las Vegas in 1939. After attending Arizona State University Margaret married in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1958 Margaret raised two children in Scottsdale, Arizona, before returning to Las Vegas in 1983. Margaret manages the Von Tobel family properties and in her spare time likes to travel. Patricia "Patsy" Brinton is the second daughter of Elizabeth Von Tobel and Kenneth Zahn. Like her sisters Patsy was raised in Las Vegas, where in 1972 she married real estate broker Robert Brinton. The Brintons raised two daughters and a son. Like her cousin Sharon, Patsy donates considerable volunteer hours through Assistance League of Las Vegas and Junior League of Las Vegas. Patsy enjoys traveling and playing golf and tennis. Sharon Schmitt, the second of four daughters of Edward Von Tobel Jr. and Evelyne Leonard, was born in Las Vegas in 1940. In 1963 in Las Vegas Sharon married Larry Schmitt, an agent for Allstate Insurance. Besides enjoying traveling and playing tennis, Sharon has long been an active community volunteer through Assistance League of Las Vegas, Junior League of Las Vegas, and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. Together the Schmitts raised a family of three children, who still live in Las Vegas and are raising the next generation of the Von Tobel family.

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Brinton, Patsy, Carnell, Margaret & Schmitt, Sharon, Interview, 2014 April 30. OH-02258. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada

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ct 1^7 E7$} %0/JL AN INTERVIEW WITH PATSY BRINTON, MARGARET CARNELL, AND SHARON SCHMITT GRANDDAUGHTERS OF ED VON TOBEL, SR. An Oral History Conducted by Lois Goodall The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ©The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2012 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Editors: Stefani Evans, Barbara Tabach, Melissa Robinson, Maggie Lopes Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers and Project Assistants: Lois Goodall, Barbara Tabach, and Claytee D. White ii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Harold Boyer. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to gg eniecrraatiee xthniiss sseelWecttii™on ooff fri rs*t- person narratives. The participants in this project thank the university for the sunPPn ort gmivvpenn tthwat aalili~ow edA an i-dje a .t1h e opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The tol lowing interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project. Claytee D. White, Project Director Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada, Las Vegas iii PREFACE Three of Ed Von Tobel Sr.'s granddaughters, from left: Margaret Carnell, Patsy Brinton, and Sharon Schmitt in the Brinton home, April 30, 2014 In 1905 a twenty-two-year-old second-generation Swiss American left Los Angeles with a friend for Lincoln County, Nevada. Edward "Ed" Von Tobel (1873-1967) and his friend Jake Beckley had heard about some land that was going up for auction. Together they purchased a parcel on the second day in the new desert town of Las Vegas, where they established Von Tobel's Lumber Company, which served Southern Nevada from 1905 until it closed in 1976. In Las Vegas Von Tobel met and married fellow German-speaker Mary Hameril, and together the couple raised four children in the city: Jake, Katherine Elizabeth, Ed Jr., and George. Many Von Tobel descendants live here still. Margaret Carnell, granddaughter of Ed Von Tobel and Mary Hameril and the oldest of three daughters of Elizabeth Von Tobel and Kenneth Zahn, was born in Las Vegas in 1939. After attending Arizona State University Margaret married in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1958 Margaret raised two children in Scottsdale, Arizona, before returning to Las Vegas in 1983. Margaret manages the Von Tobel family properties and in her spare time likes to travel. iv Patricia "Patsy" Brinton is the second daughter of Elizabeth Von Tobel and Kenneth Zahn. Like her sisters Patsy was raised in Las Vegas, where in 1972 she married real estate broker Robert Brinton. The Brintons raised two daughters and a son. Like her cousin Sharon, Patsy donates considerable volunteer hours through Assistance League of Las Vegas and Junior League of Las Vegas. Patsy enjoys traveling and playing golf and tennis. Sharon Schmitt, the second of four daughters of Edward Von Tobel Jr. and Evelyne Leonard, was born in Las Vegas in 1940. In 1963 in Las Vegas Sharon married Larry Schmitt, an agent for Allstate Insurance. Besides enjoying traveling and playing tennis, Sharon has long been an active community volunteer through Assistance League of Las Vegas, Junior League of Las Vegas, and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. Together the Schmitts raised a family of three children, who still live in Las Vegas and are raising the next generation of the Von Tobel family. TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Patsy Brinton, Margaret Carnell, and Sharon Schmitt Descendants of Ed Von Tobel, Jr. April 30, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Lois Goodall Preface jv Patsy, Sharon, and Margaret introduce themselves and talk about their grandparents, Ed Von Tobel Sr., an original purchaser in the 1905 Las Vegas land auction, and Mary Hameril, who met Ed in Las Vegas when she came to visit her sister. The two were introduced because Mary spoke only German, and Ed, a second-generation Swiss American, also spoke German. Ed and Mary raised four children in Las Vegas: Jake; Katherine Elizabeth; Ed Jr.; George 1-3 Margaret and Patsy recall their mother, Elizabeth Von Tobel who married Kenneth Zahn. Sharon talks about how her outgoing Mormon mother, Evelyne Leonard, converted to Catholicism to marry Ed Von Tobel Jr. They discuss the Zahn family duplex on South Fourth Street, where Zahn showed movies in the backyard during the summer, and the Ed Von Tobel Jr. house on South Seventh Street; also recall attending Saint Joseph Catholic School and Las Vegas High School and playing in the Main Street Von Tobel's Lumber store after hours 3-8 Describe the Von Tobel lumberyard, which was unique because it was the first enclosed enclosed lumberyard and the first to sell appliances and housewares; recall businesses where the families bought food, books, clothing, and entertainment on running tabs. Talk about their friends on Pinto Lane and west of Rancho Drive who had horses and swimming at the Old Ranch Pool and the Twin Lakes Park pool 9-15 Recall Helldorado Days and Helldorado Village and marching in the Helldorado Parades; describe watching atomic bomb tests at the Nevada Test Site; and discuss Clark County school desegregation in Sixth Grade Centers 15-20 Talk about going away to college: Sharon to Gonzaga and Patsy and Margaret to Arizona State; Patsy and Sharon give brief updates about their children, who all were raised in Las Vegas, and talk about their volunteer work with Assistance League of Las Vegas and Junior League of Las Vegas 20-24 Margaret talks about managing the Von Tobel family real estate holdings. The granddaughters discuss why their German-speaking Von Tobel grandparents did not teach their children German. They talk about ways they have noticed that Las Vegas has changed and places they have visited in and near Southern Nevada. Sharon recalls her husband, Larry Schmitt, and Patsy talks about her husband, Robert Brinton 24-30 Index. .31-32 vi ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH CENTER AT UNLV West Charleston Neighborhoods: An Oral History Project of Ward 1 Use Agreement Name of Narrator: PflTs\J fQT&jO Name of Interviewer: J~~ 01 £) £) We, the above named, give to the Oral History Research Center of UNLV, the recorded intcrvicw(s) initiated on t-/- 3D /4^ along with typed transcripts as an unrestricted gilt, to IK- used for such scholarly and educational purposes as shall be determined, and transfer to the I nivcrsity ol Nevada Lis Vegas, legal title and all literary property rights including copyright. This gift does not preclude the right of the interviewer, as a representative ol I NLY, nor the narrator to use the recordings and related materials for scholarly pursuits. I uudci stand (hat my interview will IK- made available to researchers and may IK* <|tiolcd from, published, distributed, placed on the Internet or broadcast in any medium that the Oral I Iistory Research Center and I NI.V libraries deem appropriate including future forms of electronic and digital media. 1 here will lie no compensation for any interviews. /fcfj- / // a sniffy ~ /Y Sigmturc of Narrator l)alc ' Y-JO- /V Library Special Collections 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 457010, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-7070 (702) 895-2222 vii ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH CENTER AT UNLV West Charleston Neighborhoods: An Oral History Project of Ward 1 Use Agreement Name of Narrator: Z77/9 ^ ££T OA/IjC>E / J N a m e o f I n t e r v i e w e r : / L .O I OC ?Q r j L - C — We, the above named, give to the Oral History Research Center of UNLV, the recorded intcrvicw(s) initiated on - ,3(> ~ / ^ along with typed transcripts as an unrestricted gift, to l>c used for such scholarly and educational purposes as shall l>c determined, and transfer to the University of Nevada las Vegas, legal title and all literary property rights including copyright. This gift does not preclude the right of the interviewer, as a representative of UNLV, nor the narrator to use the recordings and related materials for scholarly pursuits. I understand that my interview will be made available to researchers and may l)c quoted from, published, distributed, placed on the Internet or broadcast in any medium that the Oral History Research Center and UNLV libraries deem appropriate including future forms of electronic and digital media. There will l>c no compensation for any interviews. Library Special Collections 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 457010, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-7070 (702) 895-2222 viii ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH CENTER AT UNLV An Oral History Project of Ward 1 West Charleston Neighborhoods: We, the above named, give to the Oral History Research Center of UNLV, the recorded intcrvicw(s) initiated on ^ ~ along with tyjrcd transcripts as an unrestricted gift, to be used lor such scholarly and educational purposes as shall be determined, and transfer to the University ol Nevada las Vegas, legal title and all literary property rights including copyright, i his gift does not preclude the right of the interviewer, as a representative ol UNLV, nor the narrator to use the recordings and related materials for scholarly pursuits. I understand that my interview will be made available to researchers and may be quoted from, published, distributed, placed on the Internet or broadcast in any medium that the Oral History Research Center and UNLV Libraries deem appropriate including future forms of electronic and digital media. There will be no compensation for any interviews. v/So jJ y Library Special Collections 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 457010, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-7070 (702) 895-2222 ix Today is April 30th, 2014, and I'm in the home of Patsy Brinton. I'm here with three ladies who are all descendants of Ed Von Tobel. So we will be talking today about their growing up in Las Vegas. Let's start with Patsy. Patsy, would you tell us your name and spell your last name for us? It's Patsy Brinton, B-R-I-N-T-O-N. Very good. And next we have Sharon. Sharon Schmitt, and it's S-C-H-M-I-T-T. And Margaret. Margaret Carnell, last name is C-A-R-N-E-L-L. Thank you. Let's go back to the first person in your family that came to Las Vegas. Margaret, would you like to start out by telling us a bit about the first member of your family to come? Meaning our grandfather? Yes. MARGARET: Okay. Our grandfather was Ed Von Tobel Sr. He came to Las Vegas in 1905 and established Von Tobel Lumber Company, which remained in business for many, many, many years. Yes. Sharon, tell us how he really came to Las Vegas, about how he first came. SHARON: He came because he and his buddy were in California and they saw that there was a land auction and the railroad was first coming through. And anybody correct me if I...The railroad was coming through and they were a having big land auction here. It was in May. So they came here. The first day they didn't buy any land because it was pretty expensive. But the second day they both bought land, and that was with—Jake Beckley. MARGARET: Boy, I don't know. I get them mixed up. One of the Beckleys. SHARON: I do, too. Jake Beckleys, originally. Then eventually they both came here, the Beckley boys. So he was with them and they bought this land and started a lumberyard. I just want to add, you want to make sure it's Ed Von Tobel Senior because my dad was Ed Von Tobel Junior. So we don't want to get them mixed up later on. Now, Patsy, it sounds like he was not married at that time. PATSY: That's correct. But he did meet our grandmother here in Las Vegas because she was here visiting her sister. Tell us her name. MARGARET: Mary Hameril was her maiden name. PATSY: Yes. Thank you. MARGARET: She was actually from Germany and spoke very little English. Ed spoke German. So somebody introduced them because they both spoke German and that's why they introduced them. They later married. Very good. So tell me about their children. Patsy, let's start with you. Who was your direct descendent? Who was your mother or father? My mother was Katherine Elizabeth. She was the second child born to them. The first one was my Uncle Jake and then my mother came along, then Sharon's father, Ed Junior, and then the youngest was George. I see. Was your mother also a Las Vegan? Oh, yes. Yes, she certainly was. Actually, she wasn't born here, I guess. Right, Margaret? She was born in L.A. MARGARET: I don't really know where she was born. 2 PATSY: I don't think she was born here. MARGARET: Probably not. SHARON: I heard that, too, that she was born in L.A. PATSY: Yes, our grandmother went to L.A. to have her. I don't know why. She was the only one she did that with, but she did. MARGARET: Because she was born in the summer. PATSY: Born in the summer and it was so hot. Oh, yes. So your mother was the daughter of Ed Von Tobel Senior? Yes. Now, Sharon, tell us about your parents. SHARON: My parents...my dad was the third child. Jake was the first and then Aunt Betty. My dad [Ed Von Tobel Jr.] met my mother—she was originally from Utah. She was the youngest of nine. She came here to visit her brother who had moved here from Utah. She came here and she met my dad. She worked behind a soda fountain and my dad came in there. It was on Fremont Street. She had a very outgoing personality, I think that's what attracted him. Her name was Evelyne Leonard. Her last name was Leonard? Leonard, yes. She came from a Mormon family and then she became Catholic for him. Very good. Now, when you girls were born, where did you live? Let's start with Margaret. What was your home in Las Vegas? 721 South Fourth Street. It was built as a duplex because then—I guess when they built that I was the only child. Renting out the other side of the duplex gave them enough money, then, to pay off the house. So that's why they did that. And then as their family expanded they just cut 3 doors through and it became our home. We were in that home until 1958. We were all raised there, all of us girls. Very good. Sharon? We lived at 520 South Seventh [Street], right down from [Las] Vegas High [School], My dad built the house and added on to it. It's funny because we were there until 1958, when we moved across Charleston [Boulevard] to 1475 South Seventh. I was 18 at that time, so then I left [for] school and different things. But my sisters all were raised there. I have three younger sisters. Tell us about your younger sisters, their names. Katherine and Susan and Gretchen. We were like four years apart—four and three years apart. So my youngest sister is ten years younger than I am. They all went to [Bishop] Gorman [High School], I went to Vegas High because we lived half a block from Vegas High. And we went to Saint Joseph's. So we would walk down to Saint Joseph and walk up to Saint Joan of Arc Church. And now it seems like it's really pretty far. PATSY: I know. I agree. MARGARET: Oh, yes, we would walk to school in the pouring rain and snow. In the snow, yes. [Laughing] SHARON: My mother didn't feel sorry for me because she's from Utah. MARGARET: Until my sisters started going to Saint Joseph's, then all of a sudden my mother would drive. And I was so furious because I had had to walk. SHARON: Did you walk to Saint Joseph's from Fourth Street? MARGARET: Yes— SHARON: I thought from Seventh—it was on Thirteenth [Street], So that was quite a ways. MARGARET: It was! 4 SHARON: It was easier for you to go to church. PATSY: Yes, Saint Joan of Arc. MARGARET: But yes, we walked. Did you have friends to walk with? MARGARET: Yes, I did. We just had, as kids do, certain girls and boys that you'd walk by their house and pick them up on their way. SHARON: You knew everybody in town at that time and families. That's when you played outside and you knew everybody on your block. Now, Patsy, tell me about where you went to elementary school and then high school. I also went to Saint Joseph's. Then I went to Las Vegas High School, also, because it was just much closer to our home than at that time Gorman was. As it happened, in 1958, when we moved to Sixth Street, my younger sister was just starting high school. So she went to Gorman because it was, of course, closer at that time. Patsy, I think I forgot to ask about your other siblings other than Margaret. Oh, okay. Yes, we have...Margaret's the oldest. I'm the middle child. And then we have a younger sister; her name is Loretta Smith. Tell us about your home. You told us a little bit; that it was a duplex and that type of thing. MARGARET: Yes, it was. Were there a lot of duplexes in your area or was that unusual? MARGARET: No. That was unusual. They were just all homes on our street. I don't remember any other duplexes. And we played in the street or wherever, roller skated and rode bikes, et cetera. We never went past Charleston because there was nothing there. It was just dirt. 5 SHARON: Charleston was still dirt. MARGARET: Yes. So most of our roller skating or bike riding was more north. Then we'd go up to Fifth Street School and you could bike and skate in there forever because of all the concrete and asphalt. Sharon, did I ask you about your siblings? Yes, we talked about my siblings. My dad built the house on Seventh Street shortly after 1 was born. So I think we probably moved in there in 1943 or '42. Then there was the war [World War II] and my dad had to go away. He was in Texas and we went there with him. But we had our house and then we had added on—when we came back he added on a big family room. It was considered big, anyway. But it was a two-bedroom. It's still there. Yours isn't there anymore. MARGARET: No. They demolished our home for a First National Bank parking lot. So when our folks moved in 1958, the house was demolished. Did you feel terrible about that or did it affect you at all? Well, I think that everybody was so thrilled to be moving to the new home that I don't think anybody cared. No, I never lived in the new home because by then I was married and gone. So I think we were just so happy to move. PATSY: Yes, to a nice newer home. You mentioned roller skating and bike riding. Are there any other stories of your childhood that you would like to share, activities that you might have done? MARGARET: Well, one thing we did that people think is so unusual is our dad worked at Blue Diamond Mine and they had bunkhouses out there and the men would stay out there during the week. They had chefs out there and everything. But they would get movies, first-run movies for these men in the bunkhouse. So during the summer our dad would show the movies in our 6 backyard. He had the projector and it was sound and everything. We would have movie night and it was great. It was cool in the summer evenings. The thing is they would get movies for men. So I saw war movies and stuff like that. [Laughing] I don't remember any musicals. We'd always say, "Dad, can't you please get some other movies?" Only crime, shooting and war. But we watched them anyway because it was just such a thrill. PATSY: Oh, it was, so entertaining. Neighbors would come. MARGARET: Neighbors would come over, yes. PATSY: It was a lot of fun, barbecuing. That does sound fun, Margaret. MARGARET: It was. PATSY: It was a lot of fun. SHARON: Did you go to Von Tobels? You probably didn't. One thing we did that's unusual—I mean, otherwise, we just played baseball and hide-and-seek and all the typical ones. But my dad would go up to Von Tobels [Lumber Company] and do some work and we would run the elevator up and down. We'd get to go up there at night and we would play like we were salespeople and everything. • MARGARET: Oh, sure. SHARON: And the housewares department. We couldn't do the telephone switchboard or anything like that. But yes, and we'd play— MARGARET: But we did. SHARON: I know. I'm sure we probably tried. But we would just have the run of the whole place because it was after hours. So we'd go and just play. And we'd love to—it was a freight elevator. It wasn't an elevator for people. So it had a great big wire thing. And then we'd go 7 upstairs and I think that's where they stored everything. So we'd hide up there. Oh, it was fun. It was a lot of fun. It sounds like fun. Where was the store located? SHARON: 217 South First [Street], At that time there was only one store; is that right? SHARON: Right And then later there were more stores, weren't there? SHARON: Was that the original address? It was there for years and years. MARGARET: For years. I think originally it was somewhere else. SHARON: When he first came it was— MARGARET: Yes. It might have been on Main Street, probably on Main Street. SHARON: Probably, yes. PATSY: I agree. And that's where they had the fire. Remember there was a fire? SHARON: Right. MARGARET: Then they built the store on First Street. I see. SHARON: And so that's the one we all remember because it was there for years. It wasn't until—when did they build the one on Maryland Parkway? MARGARET: I'm going to say it was like 1960 something. SHARON: See, I was thinking'68. Was it that late or was it— PATSY: That's too late, Sharon. That's a little too late. MARGARET: Probably '66, you think? SHARON: Kathy was three? 8 MARGARET: When they had the opening. SHARON: Okay, '66 then. Tammy was—yes, because they were there. MARGARET: Yes SHARON: They were little kids, our kids were. PATSY: Yes. And I understand that the Von Tobel lumberyard was indoors whereas most lumberyards, the lumber was stored outdoors? Is that correct? SHARON: The one on Maryland Parkway, yes. But the one on First Street, no; it was outdoors. But it still had—it had like shelves and the lumber was— PATSY: It was covered. SHARON: Yes, it was covered. Yes, it was kind of covered, but you went through the outside. But then when they built the one on Maryland Parkway, it was actually very—people from China came over to— MARGARET: People came from all over to walk the store because it was the first indoor lumberyard. SHARON: Right, yes. It was more like a Home Depot. PATSY: Yes, it was. SHARON: But it had housewares. It had very nice housewares, too. MARGARET: And appliances. SHARON: And appliances. Well, Home Depot has appliances, don't they? But they don't have housewares. PATSY: And at that time they had TVs. SHARON: Right, yes. 9 PATSY: Yes, when television came in that was a big deal to go get your television. Now, where did you shop for clothing and groceries and things like that? What kind of stores were available, Patsy? MARGARET: When we were kids? When you were kids. MARGARET: Well, Ronzone's [Department Store], PATSY: Yes, on Fremont Street Ronzone's was our nicest store. SHARON: Right. And Johnson's [clothing store]. Johnson's was a clothing store? SHARON: And Chic Hecht's [women's clothing store]. PATSY: Yes, yes. SHARON: And Ronzone's was the clothing store. MARGARET: Groceries, I would think Safeway. SHARON: Was there a Safeway by you? MARGARET: There was a Safeway somewhere that we used to go to. SHARON: What about Mike's Market? PATSY: I only remember those little— MARGARET: Other than Safeway, there was Mike's Market on Las Vegas Boulevard or Fifth Street—it was just a little corner market. SHARON: Fifth Street and Bonneville [Avenue] or something. MARGARET: We all went there. PATSY: It was very small. MARGARET: Mother would just send us with no money. You just went and got bread or 10 whatever she needed and then they just kept track. Then apparently she settled up the bill. They kept letting you get things. PATSY: They kept letting us do that. MARGARET: They had meat counters and everything. PATSY: Yes. SHARON: They did have. And there was downtown, too. We didn't go to that one. MARGARET: I didn't, either. SHARON: What was his name that we went to school with? It was his family that harl one just behind Woolworth's. PATSY: That was on Fifth Street, wasn't it? SHARON: Yes, it was on Fifth Street behind Woolworth's. There was a Woolworth's and a Cornet's across the street. What was a Cornet? SHARON: It's like a Woolworth's. PATSY: Just like Woolworth's. What I used to call a dime store. PATSY: Yes, yes, dime store. SHARON: That's what they were called, yes. PATSY: And we'd go and sit at the counter. We thought that was fun. SHARON: We did go the record store I remember. And there was a bookstore right on Fremont Street and a record store. MARGARET: Garehime's. SHARON: And Garehime's Music [Store], You could go in the room and listen to the 45 1 1 And the bookstore, I always thought it was a treat; I'd get to go buy a Nancy Drew • •> K Do you remember doing that? MARGARET: Yes. M ARON. And you could go—like I could just walk down there and maybe I'm twelve. I could don n there myself from my house and there was no problem with that. I V I S A . Yes, I can remember walking downtown. My allowance was twenty-five cents. lean remember that. MARGARET: Me, too, yes. \ nd enty-five cents went a long way, didn't it? M VRGARET: We would walk into the movies. SH VRON: The El Portal Theatre. M VRGARET: But the thing that I find so amazing, nobody ever checked the time when the mov ie started. You never knew. So you'd just go in and you'd obviously be in the middle, half • he time you'd get in the middle, but that was okay, and see the rest of it. Then you'd stay until the next showing and see the first half. I'ATSY: And stay, yes. We did that. I hat sounds like fun. M VRGARET: Yes, we never checked the time. I don't think they posted them or something. SH ARON: Something interesting, I think, is our grandparents' home that was built right behind Von I obel's on Second Street and right next to their house was the Guild Theater. Guild? It was mcthing else first. P \ ISY: Palace [Theater], s I I A RON: Palace, and then it was the Guild. Our grandmother would just walk right in and go 12 to the movie any time she wanted. MARGARET: Just go in? SHARON: Yes, she didn't have to pay. They didn't charge her. There were other homes on that street, but then there was that theater. PATSY: Yes. SHARON: I thought that was interesting. MARGARET: It was peculiar. Well, thanks, Sharon. SHARON: That's kind of interesting, I think. Did any of you girls have horses? MARGARET: No. PATSY: I don't think anyone in the family had horses. I had talked with someone that did have horses at that time and so I thought possibly you did, too. SHARON: Some friends of mine, the O'Donnells that lived down the street from us on Seventh Street, they moved out on Ashby after Charleston finally went through. I was still like twelve or thirteen, maybe fourteen. So that would be like '54 or something. They had kids my age— Kathleen O'Donnell—and they had horses and so I used to go out there. It just seemed like it was real, real far. And it was just on the other side of Rancho [Drive]. But that was the end. That was the end at that time. I mean there was nothing else past there at that time. MARGARET: Some family friends, Abe Miller and Helen Miller, they were our parents' age and their dad actually started the Golden Gate [Hotel Casino] downtown. But Abe and his family had horses and they lived on Pinto Lane. You know where that is. It's right in the middle 13 of town. They had horses. PATSY: Yes, they did. MARGARET: And we'd go out there and see the horses. We weren't that enthralled with horses. PATSY: No. At the time they had a swimming pool, which was very unusual. MARGARET: That's true. SHARON: Oh, yes. And the O'Donnells had one. PATSY: Yes, it looked built in. So you didn't have a swimming pool, it sounds like. PATSY: No. Did you go out of town during the hot part of the year? PATSY: We went to Mount Charleston a lot. SHARON: Our family had a cabin up there. PATSY: We'd stay for a week, or four or five days, anyway. And our dad would drive up during the week. SHARON: There was the Old Ranch Pool. Was it Old Ranch, was it called? PATSY: Yes. A public pool? SHARON: Yes, a public pool. And then Lorenzi Park, only it was called Twin Lakes Park. There was a pool there, too. They had a big public pool there. So we used to go swimming there. I can't remember going—. We went to Utah quite a bit, our family. Because your mother was from there, sure. SHARON: And we had a lot of relatives there. So we went to Utah. 14 MARGARET: We went on vacations, obviously in the summer because we were out of school. So we were gone then. Do you have memories of Helldorado Days? ALL: Oh, yes. Patsy, let s start with you. What do you remember about Helldorado? It was just so much fun. Everybody really looked forward to it. Actually, the floats were magnificent at the time. We thought they were just wonderful. A lot of the floats had showgirls on them, which was very exciting. Yes, Fremont Street was just abuzz with excitement. So it was a big deal for us. SHARON: And Helldorado Village, yes, that was very fun. Well, Sharon, tell us about Helldorado Village. I'm not familiar with that. That was the carnival part. So then you would go out there and you'd get to ride on the rides and the Ferris wheel and everything. I marched in the Helldorado Parade. Were you on the Saint Joseph marching team? PATSY: I can remember marching, also riding on a float, but I can't remember whose float it was. But, yes, marching. SHARON: So Mrs. Deluca was the leader. Anyway, that was fun. So when you marched were you with the band or flags? SHARON: Just a drill team, kind of like a drill team. We had our uniforms and so we marched down Fremont Street. PATSY: We weren't very good, though. SHARON: I thought we were good. MARGARET: I don't recall if I did march in the parade, or whatever. 15 PATSY: Okay. You were gone from Saint Joseph's. MARGARET: Probably. SHARON: By the time they did. Maybe I was in eighth grade? Because even though we're close to the same age— MARGARET: We re close to the same age, but Sharon's birthday is in January and mine's in November. So I was a grade ahead of Sharon. SHARON: Because it was like January first was the cutoff. The [Nevada] Test Site is not far from Las Vegas. Do you have any memories of— MARGARET: Oh, my, yes! We'll start with Margaret. We just did more crazy things. Now they seem crazy. But you didn't know at the time. No. They would always alert us in town when they were going to set off a bomb. Our dad [Kenneth Zahn] had a pickup truck and very often he would load us in the back of that truck and then take us and anybody else that wanted to go and we'd drive out really close to the bomb and wait till it went off. It was just unbelievable, the things we did. And also, they had dummies that they set out there by the bomb site, when they set off the bomb. The dummies were dressed in clothing and everything. Then they brought the dummies in and displayed them around the J. C. Penney store downtown. We all went and looked at the dummies that had been blown up. [Laughing] That was our excitement. PATSY: Yes, it was. And the radiation exposure to the dummies. MARGARET: Sure. And we went and looked at the dummies. So I remember that. PATSY: We sure did. That was funny. 16 MARGARET: But we did always go watch the bomb. SHARON: Yes, we always went in the backyard and you could see it from the backyard. And you just watched that and you just— PATSY: We'd say, "Hooray, hooray, it's A-bomb Day!" MARGARET: It's A-bomb Day. PATSY: Because they'd let us out of school to watch it. SHARON: And even though it was early in the morning? Did they let us out? I don't remember that. PATSY: Yes, at Saint Joseph's. And I can remember then finally we were supposed to start wearing those phony dark glasses, the plastic. MARGARET: Oh, because of the flash. PATSY: Because of the flash. MARGARET: We didn't know about the radiation. It was just the flash they said would bothe