Kenneth Grant Cairns

Kenneth Grant Cairnes

Interviewer: Susanne Salvestrin
Interview Date: February, 2007

Susanne Salvestrin: This is Susanne Salvestrin and I’m pleased to welcome Kenneth Grant Cairns who I am interviewing on behalf of the St. Helena Historical Society’s Oral History Program, “Voices of St. Helena”. We are conducting this interview at 10:25 a.m. on February 8, 2007 at the St. Helena Public Library upstairs in our History Center Office. Welcome Grant. Can you tell us how you first came to St. Helena?

Kenneth Grant Cairns Okay, my name is Kenneth Grant Cairns. I was born at the St. Helena Sanitarium on the 2nd of June, 1920. My mother was Margaret Rosser Grant, nickname was Greta Cairns, and my father was Kenneth Steven Cairns. He was born in Skowhegan, Maine on the 14th of February 1893. My mother was born near Madison in Yolo County on the 6th of February, 1892. Want to break for a minute?

Susanne Salvestrin: I can. Okay. We’re continuing now.

Kenneth Grant Cairns Now, what did you want next?

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay, well your family background. So, you gave your mom and your dad. When did they come to America? How did they get to St. Helena?

Kenneth Grant Cairns My mother’s parents were Philo Celle Grant and Mary Hall Grant. Her nickname was, she always went by the name of Mamie. Philo Grant was a son of Joel Nielson Grant who was a ship’s carpenter out of Bangor, Maine on clipper ships. He was in San Francisco Bay you know on three different trips when it was still under the Spanish flag. He left the ships sometime in the mid-1880s and established a hay and grain business with a cousin in San Francisco.

In 1874 he traded several lots on Twin Peaks in San Francisco for a 10-acre property on Dixon Hill where the Wine Country Inn is now located. The property was between the Lodi Schoolhouse and the railroad tracks and from Lodi Lane adjoining what was the Korte Proper or is the Korte Property. My grandfather went through the entire grade school in the Lodi Schoolhouse; went through high school in Turner Hall where Lyman Park is today. When he got out of high school he went to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad and was a fireman and later an engineer on smaller engines. He met my grandmother when he was firing the railroad from Oakland to Sacramento. They were married at the Town Hall Ranch near Madison and then lived in Oakland and my grandmother went from Oakland by train to Madison to have my, where my mother was born, because in those days the daughter always went home to mama to have their first child.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns Therefore, my mother was born on the family Town Hall Ranch near Madison just west of Woodland, California. My grandfather, in 1894, was firing a freight run from Oakland to Mendota division point where the crews change. It was a nine-hour haul that he would shovel 33 tons of coal in nine hours.

Susanne Salvestrin: 33 tons of coal?

Kenneth Grant Cairns Yeah. That’s right. He said the engineer would spell him off occasionally to give him a break.

Susanne Salvestrin: He must have been a big strappy man.

Kenneth Grant Cairns No, he wasn’t. He was about 5’9” probably weighed 165/170. It was 1894, they had a railroad strike and people were getting shot and there was much trouble in the Oakland railroad yards and my grandmother insisted that he get out of the railroad business. So, they came to St. Helena in 1894, back to St. Helena in 1894, and he opened a bicycle shop. And with the advent of automobiles, why the bicycle shop graduated into a garage.

Susanne Salvestrin: And can you tell us where that garage was on Main Street?

Kenneth Grant Cairns In the, 1903 John Money, a local contractor in St. Helena contracted him to build an automobile or a self-propelled buggy which he did and the drove in the 4th of July parade. I believe it was a 1903. In 1910, he built what became Grant’s Garage at 1370 Main Street in St. Helena. That the building went from Main Street to Railroad Avenue with a drive-through. They did all mechanical work, construction, and they also had a rental car or rental business or a taxi, what would be a taxi as it is today, this building was done in 1910 by the way and they, I digress, the head carpenter on the job was paid $2.50 a day.

Susanne Salvestrin: You remember who the head carpenter was?

Kenneth Grant Cairns I don’t know the, I don’t know what his name was but the building was a clear span of 55 feet across, and it still is today. Wooden trusses, the trusses were laid out and constructed on the floor and then elevated between two concrete walls, parallel walls. And those trusses today are still true level across the top.

Susanne Salvestrin: Isn’t that amazing.

Kenneth Grant Cairns And anyway, the garage had a storage or a parking area where the some of the local people stored their automobiles during the day. Doctor Booth across the street, Doctor Leslie Stern were two that I recall off-hand. There were several others. They had their permanent parking spaces in this garage.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, St. Helena had a parking garage way back when.

Kenneth Grant Cairns Yeah, they probably had a half a dozen stalls where they parked cars, a portion of the garage area.

Susanne Salvestrin: That makes sense.

Kenneth Grant Cairns And let’s see, you want to break it for a minute.

Susanne Salvestrin: Uh-huh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns Let’s see. In my grandfather’s garage one of his early employees was Eddie Bonhote, who spent practically his lifetime in the garage. There was Joel Cheli who was a mechanic.

Susanne Salvestrin: And do you spell C-H-E-L-L?

Kenneth Grant Cairns C-H, C-H-E-L-I.

Susanne Salvestrin: L-I, okay one L? G Cheli, or Kelly.

Kenneth Grant Cairns There was Bill Hotts.

Susanne Salvestrin: H-U-T-Z?

Kenneth Grant Cairns Worked for him for some time. H-O-T-T-S.

Susanne Salvestrin: H-O-T-T-S.

Kenneth Grant Cairns Yes.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns Warren Stanford was a mechanic at one time. Wesley Jakes Jennings.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns Worked off and on for my grandfather. There is a story behind that. Jake’s father was great on gambling and card-playing and he would sleep during the day and arrive at Mickey’s Saloon across, across Main Street from the garage, and join the poker game around midnight. At night he was fresh as a daisy. The rest of them were getting pretty well-loaded. One night, Wesley’s father had a particularly good poker, good poker game and when it broke up in the mid-morning why he went across the street and bought a bicycle from my grandfather for Wesley. Wesley was about 10 year’s old. And he gave the bike to Wesley, who was there at the time and told him to go across the street and thank Mr. so and so for the bicycle. Wesley did so and the story goes, the poker game loser damn near killed him.

Anyway, and this Grant’s garage, my grandfather built some first school buses for St. Helena from scratch. In other words, he would buy Chevrolet trucks chassis and engine and build it from the, built the school buses from the frame up for wood construction and canvas curtains on the side. And it was those school buses that served St. Helena until about 1930 or ’32 when Ford came out with the first flathead V8 and they started, Ford started building school buses. And my grandfather and his son, Philo, went east to Detroit and bought two school buses and drove them out to St. Helena. That was the first factory-manufactured school buses that St. Helena had that replaced the home-built school buses.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, you don’t have any of those school buses or one of those school buses on your property, somewhere do you?

Kenneth Grant Cairns No.

Susanne Salvestrin: No?

Kenneth Grant Cairns Long gone.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns And my grandfather had the school bus contract for numerous years and when he retired around 1930, why my uncle Philo and his wife, Ramona, took over the business and then operated it for a number of years after that. Better bring a break.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns When my grandfather built the school buses for St. Helena, it gave him the idea of building a house car, which he did. And he had a new Rio Truck chassis, today it would be about a ton and a half truck chassis. They built that up into what would be today a motorhome, which included a gas hotplate that would bed in the rear, running water in a small sink, and a big plush bucket-seat for the driver and screwed down to the floor, a platform rocker for my grandmother to ride in. In the 19, early 1930’s they toured the entire United States in this house car. In later years, he gifted the house car to my eldest cousin, Reid McDonald, who used it in some of his travels for searching for bones, prehistoric deposits.

Susanne Salvestrin: Is this the cousin you said was a paleontologist?

Kenneth Grant Cairns Yes.

Susanne Salvestrin: A paleontologist. Yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns Pursued him in his paleontology.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns Okay.

Susanne Salvestrin: Is that still in archives somewhere this wonderful house car? Is that preserved some place on your ranch?

Kenneth Grant Cairns No.

Susanne Salvestrin: No?

Kenneth Grant Cairns You mean the house car?

Susanne Salvestrin: The house car.

Kenneth Grant Cairns No, my cousin he sold it somewhere.

Susanne Salvestrin: He sold it somewhere.

Kenneth Grant Cairns I don’t know why.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, on their travels around the United States, did they get a lot of comments about this?

Kenneth Grant Cairns Yes, they did. In those days, they didn’t even have auto courts, they had campgrounds and that’s about the time that they were developing auto courts where you drove in and they had little cabins. The forerunners of the motels. But primarily it was campgrounds, you would rent a space and pitch a tent and that was it. And they drive in with this house car and they are in business without pitching a tent or anything else then they were, they were the envy of everybody they ran into.

Susanne Salvestrin: I’m sure they were. How long  do you think it took them to do their travels?

Kenneth Grant Cairns They spent a couple of years traveling back and forth out of St. Helena. They covered practically the entire United States.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s really amazing in that day and age.

Kenneth Grant Cairns Yeah it was. It was really.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns And they didn’t have propane then so, he had a small acetylene generator where you add a chemical and water to this container and it produces acetylene gas. Then that, and that’s what fired their little cooktop. They didn’t have refrigerators then, and so they had a small icebox. You could buy ice almost any place. St. Helena had a pretty good size ice house itself at one time.

Susanne Salvestrin: Where was that? Do you remember?

Kenneth Grant Cairns That icehouse was on Madrona Avenue, opposite Spring Mountain Road. I believe it is apartments now.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes, it’s that really funny-looking apartment section right there.

Kenneth Grant Cairns It sitting right there.

Susanne Salvestrin: It is set back.

Kenneth Grant Cairns Back.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns That was the local icehouse.

Susanne Salvestrin: I wondered what that used to be.

Kenneth Grant Cairns And soda pop manufacturing plant.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, for goodness sakes. Do you know who owned that or?

Kenneth Grant Cairns The last owner I know of was Fred Abruzzini. That’s, that was I believe after it went out of business as an icehouse.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well that is fascinating.

Kenneth Grant Cairns But they used to roll out chunks of ice, must be three or four hundred pounds of ice in one big chunk. So, it was a pretty good size plant.

Susanne Salvestrin: They must have had some interesting trips.

Kenneth Grant Cairns Anyway, to get back to my grandmother. She was born in, on a family ranch about six miles out of Madison in Yolo County. My grandfather met her when he was on his railroad ride. I don’t know what the circumstances were, but, never the less, it wasn’t too long of a courtship and they were married in 1891 on the Hall Ranch. They moved to Oakland where my grandfather was working on the railroad at the time. I covered the portion where she had insisted that he get off the railroad during the strike period. In St. Helena they moved into their longtime home on 1515 Main Street. I believe it was around 1897. They remained there until they both died.

My grandmother had breast cancer in 1934 and had a radical mastectomy, right mastectomy. The nurses at the sanitarium, Doctor Wood was the surgeon. And the nurses at the sanitarium told her she would never be able to comb her hair again with her right arm because they had taken so much muscle to ensure that they got all of it. Three months after the operation she was combing her hair.

Susanne Salvestrin: Strong woman.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: She was a very determined farm girl. And this was Mamie Grant all her life. She was industrious and if she wanted to do something she did. We would have family gatherings on the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. They had a large table that they would pull out of storage and put up, set up in the front room and we would have, I remember, as many as twenty-two sit down at this one table for Christmas dinner. And Roy McDonald would carve at one end and my father would carve at the other, one of them had a ham and the other would have a turkey. My grandmother would cook the entire, the entire meal and I mean it’s from soup to nuts.

Susanne Salvestrin: Do all the baking and everything?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s right. And she would dry figs from a tree in the back yard. In the old days, every back yard had a privy and there was always a fig tree branded alongside the privy. So, that was the source of figs. They had walnut trees on the lot on Main Street and she’d dry walnuts and she made fondant fudge and stuff dried prunes, pitted dry prunes and dried figs with fondant and top them with a walnut half.

Susanne Salvestrin: Nothing left to waste.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, nothing left to waste. My Uncle Philo was a great hunter and he inherited that naturally because the Hall family were market hunters in the 1800s. And it was nothing to shoot six or eight hundred ducks and geese and field-dress them and take them to the railroad in Madison where they would ice the ducks down. They shipped to San Francisco area for the restaurants. They didn’t have slaughter houses in those days and their meat supply was dependent on hunters. That’s why the tule elk population was decimated because that was a meat source for the 49ers and for the growing urban areas.

When my grandmother was a girl on a ranch, she had five sisters and three brothers. And they grew wheat and barley and most of that went into hogs because of shipping. There were markets for the grain so they would convert it into pork and they had a smokehouse on the ranch that they could probably hang up ten or twelve hog carcasses at one time. And it was a pretty good size operation. At its peak, the ranch was about 340 acres. Anyway, the threshers, threshers, they didn’t have combine harvesters then, they had a stationary thresher that was driven by a steam engine which was a forerunner of the tractor. But the steam engine was self-propelled to travel from one ranch to another. So, the farmers would pull together and buy a thresher and then all the neighbors would pull together and they would move from one ranch to another to thresh the grain. And whosever ranch they were on had the responsibility of feeding this crew. And the crew would be as many as 16 men. My grandmother tells stories about when she was a girl feeding these threshing crews and it was nothing to have two dozen chickens and maybe that many pies alone, let alone the rest of the meal for one meal.

Susanne Salvestrin: Running a restaurant she was.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yep, running a restaurant is right. Sixteen hungry young people.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That had been working can consume a bunch of food.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow, amazing.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, she raised four kids and six grandchildren, so she did her part.

Susanne Salvestrin: She did her part.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yep. And there was never a recurrence of the malignancy and she died of a heart attack in 1946.

Susanne Salvestrin: She had a good life.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Hard life, but a good life.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Do you want to break it for?

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: In addition to Philo S. Grant, my grandfather, he was born in San Francisco in 1867 and came to St. Helena with his parents in 1874 when he was 6 years old and entered school at the Lodi Schoolhouse. His wife Mamie was born on the Madison ranch in Yolo County, I believe in 1869. And didn’t leave the ranch until she married her husband, Philo.

Susanne Salvestrin: And now?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Now to change the subject and get on myself, Kenneth Grant Cairns. I always went by the name of Grant in St. Helena because my father’s name was Kenneth and I used the name Grant to keep us separated. Grant was also my mother’s maiden name. This may be a throwback to some of the Spanish influence of my grandfather Cairns, which we’ll get into later.

Being born at the St. Helena Sanitarium and raised on the family ranch, which at that time was on Big Tree Road in the same house address today is 3683 Silverado Trail, opposite the Crystal Spring’s road intersection. The school bus, when I first started grammar school, ran on what is now Highway 29 to Big Tree Road and that was a turnaround point. That existed until 1934 when the bridge went down on Big Tree Road and we couldn’t, the only way we could get out of the ranch to St. Helena was via Crystal Springs Road. And Big Tree Road now terminates at Napa River, where it used to go through what is now our ranch to what is now Crystal Springs Road.

I went to kindergarten and first and second grades in a little red schoolhouse in St. Helena. I don’t recall kindergarten teacher’s name, but my first-grade teacher was May Wells. The second grade was Julia DuFour. The third grade was Wilna Mitchell. Fourth grade was Julia DuFour again. The fifth grade was Wilna Mitchell again. The sixth grade was Julia DuFour again. Seventh grade was Katie Dowdle and the eighth grade was Ms. (blank tape).

Susanne Salvestrin: First, for your elementary school grades that’s totally amazing. You must have loved school.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: What?

Susanne Salvestrin: Did you love school? Going to school?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Not really, I hated, I never did homework. I couldn’t be bothered.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, my goodness. I’m not going to tell my grandson that.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I had better things to do.

Susanne Salvestrin: That was up to the eighth grade.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Okay.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, and.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I just that enumerates the teachers.

Susanne Salvestrin: I know that’s wonderful. I’m glad to have those names. And what, so what year did you start school in kindergarten?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well, I’ll get back to that.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay, all right. But I want to ask you about the little red schoolhouse. Where was that?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The little red schoolhouse was on Adams Street between what is now the elementary school and the corner where the backstop was for the ball diamond.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. So, it was in-between. It wasn’t where the elementary school is today?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The little red schoolhouse was west of Kearny Street.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And the third and fourth grades were spent in the old stone grammar school, which was on the corner of Adams and Oak Avenue.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And across from the Gray Gables Hotel .

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: When I was in the fifth grade, they condemned the stone building and they scattered the classes all over town. I went to the fifth grade and the sixth grade in the Presbyterian Church. The American Legion Hall was more classes and I believe the Methodist Church had some classes, some other classes. And at the end of the sixth grade I believe it was, or the commencing of the seventh grade, we moved into the new elementary school which is the same building today. And I graduated from grammar school in 1934.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. Do you remember why they tore the… do you remember why the first stone building was torn down?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It was an earthquake, unstable. It was, it survived the, whether it was built before the ’06 earthquake or not, I don’t recall. But it was determined to be unsafe. It was a two-story building and beautiful stone.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Like so many other stone buildings in town.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right, yeah some of the old pictures of the first elementary school was, it was a beautiful building.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, it was. It was, yeah. And May Wells.

Susanne Salvestrin: She was your first grade.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: First came to St. Helena when my grandfather was on the school board and May applied for a job and my grandfather thought that was great. And some of the other trustees thought that May Wells was too frail of a person to manage some of the big kids that were going to school then. A lot of these, a lot of these kids were eight, nine, maybe ten years old before they went to first grade. And most of your school teachers were pretty, pretty husky women in order to physically…

Susanne Salvestrin: Contain the energy?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Maintain order in the classroom. Anyway, my grandfather prevailed and they hired May Wells. Some of the others thinking that she would never make the grade that she was too frail. May Wells wound up teaching three generations of the Grant family including, including my son went, was in her first grade.

Susanne Salvestrin: I’ll be darn.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And my Uncle Philo was a student of hers. Anyway, they started a band when I was in the seventh grade, the first instrumental band in school. May Wells had a rhythm band: triangles and tambourines and you name it, which was the first introduction to community rhythm. We developed the school band you know when I was in the seventh grade. During all of this entire grade schooling of mine, Tom Street was the Principal. In addition to being Principal he taught manual training, which was a big item in those days and I don’t know if it still is today or not, but it was a great asset to be constructive and imaginative. Seventh and eighth grade and grammar school band prepared a lot of students for band in high school, and that was a big boon to Nemo Debley who was the band master.

Susanne Salvestrin: And what did you play in the band?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I played clarinet primarily. My last year in high school band I played tenor sax.

Susanne Salvestrin: You still have your saxophone?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: No.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, it was a school sax.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, it was a school sax.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I had, my folks my first clarinet and I think one of my cousins have got it now. I think Tom may have wound up with it, with him while in band. But anyway, I don’t have it anymore. In high school I took a full college prep course, four years of English, all the math they had up to solid, through solid geometry. There were three of us wanted in my last year in high school tried to get the school to provide trigonometry but there were only three of us to enter. Kenny Taplin and Pete Nagle that they couldn’t, couldn’t make it. So, the highest we went in math was solid geometry. Our high school staff, let’s see I said four years of English and all the math they had, two years of French, Ancient, Medieval and Modern history. Three years of history.

Susanne Salvestrin: For someone that was in the elementary age that never did any homework, had other things to do, you certainly were some student. You were a good student to do all those things that you just said you did.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: My goodness.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: But I was satisfied with B’s and C’s.

Susanne Salvestrin: Hey, that’s okay. You learned it.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway. And we were, we were lucky and all through school, I was lucky in having teachers of the caliber we had. I think in grammar school the reason that we got Julia DuFour three times and Wilna Mitchell twice was that Barbara Booth was in my class and her father, Doctor Mike Booth, was President of the school board. And I have a hunch that Mike Booth engineered this because his daughter liked these teachers. Never the less, we had some real good teachers and in grammar school let’s see, when was I? I was in the sixth grade. Nili and Matt Zopfi came to St. Helena straight from Switzerland and they only spoke German was the only language they spoke. So, Nili was a year older than Matt a year younger, but they kept the two kids together because of the language and put them in the sixth grade. You got Julia DuFour spoke a little German. She had, she was capable and adequate in German and also Frieda Brim, longtime classmate of mine spoke German. This was a transition year for the Zopfi kids and it worked out great. Now, I don’t know that you knew Nili?

Susanne Salvestrin: I recognize the name but I don’t recall.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, I don’t know that Nili was ever married or not.

Susanne Salvestrin: Do you remember how to spell their last name, Zopfi?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Z-O-P-F-I.

Susanne Salvestrin: Z-O-P-F-I?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. German.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: N-I-L-I and Matt.

Susanne Salvestrin: Nili and Matt, okay that’s great.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Nily passed away two or three years ago. But anyway, the high school teachers Nemo Debley, I think was one of the most talented guy I ever knew. He was a math/science. He taught, he taught chemistry and physics among other things, and he excelled in all of these subjects. Plus, he was a tumbler. He used to have; I don’t know what they called it but anyway it was kind of an extravaganza gymnasium.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, he was a gymnast?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Tumbler.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. And he was on the tumbling team at UC Berkley. And his tumbling buddy would come up, apparently, he stilled lived at Berkeley, he would come up and the two of them with no practice or nothing, could would put on a tumbling act that wouldn’t quit.

Susanne Salvestrin: I didn’t know that about him.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Nemo Debley was, he was, his father was a miner in Arizona and Nemo grew up in the mines and was a skip operator, but he had a skip get away from him. This is the hoist that carries miners up and down, and he says once you drop a skip why you’re out of business. You’re terminated, period. So, unemployed, young, he went to school and wound up at UC Berkley and put himself through school as a reader and playing in an orchestra.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well he wasn’t meant to be a skip operator that’s for sure.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s right. And he was an extremely talented man. And Bessy Long  who taught French and Latin and all the histories. And to learn French she had to live in France for two years as a post-graduate, I guess. Let’s see, who else do we have on the staff? (INDISCERNABLE), George Query was the Principal. Sanborne was the typing and bookkeeping. What else? I can’t remember the titles of the courses he taught but he had a full schedule. That was one of the very valuable things I did was one semester of typing class. I use that frequently. And its little things like that have paid off in the long-run. Our athletic coaches, Butch Mattson,  who also taught photography. I took a photography class under him. And biology and Jack Reynolds was track and, let’s see Butch was football and baseball primarily, and Jack Reynolds was primarily track and basketball. And Jack ran the mechanical drawing and shop classes. I took mechanical drawing. That’s another very useful manual course that pays off. Let’s see, who else do we have in there? Oh, we had trouble keeping English teachers. These young teachers would move into St. Helena and they would teach one year and get married.

Susanne Salvestrin: I bet (INDISCERNIBLE).

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, we went through our English teachers periodically. Sabia Rear was one of them, Kelly, Kelly, I can’t think of there was more.

Susanne Salvestrin: Did you play sports at all during high school?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: It sounds like you were too busy. You were too busy with your classes, yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I tried football. I was second-string quarterback until I wound up with a little concussion. My mother said that’s the end of this.

Susanne Salvestrin: Good for your mom.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, I tried to run the 880 in track. I never got anywhere with that. I was manager of the basketball and, basketball and baseball teams. So, that kept me with my friends. There was about 34 of us that graduated from high school.

Susanne Salvestrin: Uh-huh, do you remember.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: We went all through school together.

Susanne Salvestrin: Really.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, you mentioned Ken?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Do you want some names?

Susanne Salvestrin: I would love some names, yes, I would.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: There’s Pappy Eisen who became my brother-in-law, Dwight Harrington, Ray Bartilucci, Charlie Acquistapace, Dan Taplin, Leland Sears graduated with us but he had, he was a year ahead of us and dropped out of school, out of high school ,and then had second thoughts. I think his mother had a bit of influence, so he came back to high school and finished with our class. Pete Nagle, Laurie Wood, Leo Nachbaur, the girls Mary Jane Mercier, Madeline Alexander, Freedom Rim, Emma Cartoni, Liz Lightner, Nola McMillon, Fern Critchley (ph). There’s more.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s great. It is good you remember all those.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah. And so, then after, what about some of your social things during high school? You know, did you have groups that stayed together or did you, you know kind of palled around with certain?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Not too much.

Susanne Salvestrin: Not too much.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The last couple of years some of the guys got together a little (INDISCERNIBLE), but one I forgot Joey Delaser (ph) was a classmate of mine. He was a born musician and played accordion professionally later on. Anyway, some of them got together, who is it Marshall Sears on trumpet. See, what was it, Carl Hilker (ph) I think was on trombone and maybe George Rutherford on trombone, Bob Wood on drums, and Joey Delaser on clarinet and accordion. And they would get together and jam at the noontime dances at the high school. Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s great. So workwise, did you work during, during your school years, your high school years?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. I always had chores to do on the ranch. I grew up with a team of horses and I had my own saddle horse, and I was always around horses. Let’s see. In 1930 or ’31 my father became manager of the Krug Ranch, which was owned by J.K. Moffett and Blake Moffett in town. J.K. Moffett was, he was on numerous boards of corporations and banks. He was a regent at UC and the UC Moffett Hospital in San Francisco is named after his brother. Anyway, J.K. owned a Krug Ranch which included large acreage on the west of Highway 29 behind the Greystone and above the lower reservoir. That whole ridge back in there was Moffett’s. Anyway, my dad became manager of the ranch around ’30 or ’31, somewhere in there, and J.K. had a couple of saddle horses and I would ride the horses during the wintertime to keep them tamed down a little bit, exercise them. And then I would ride with him when he would be up on weekends or, and he allocated himself two weeks every summer there to live on the ranch and so-called vacation. And we would ride up in the hills on the west side of 29. Anyway, J.K. was, he was quite a guy. In those days, why they had a labor camp at a campground. And this was before motorhomes again.

Susanne Salvestrin: Uh-huh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And they would have about 40, 40 pickers that would live, lived on Krug Ranch where the lawn is now.

Susanne Salvestrin: By the carriage house?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The carriages house was a barn.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Actually, it was for carriages and box stalls and stalls. I put a bunch of hay up in that upstairs at that point. But anyways, now the barrel storage and they call it the carriage house. But anyway, the lawn area alongside of that was the campground and they had a four-hole privy with the campground. And one of J.K.’s projects one summer was putting a new shingle roof on the privy. Here is up on the roof and putting shingles down and some guy came by that was looking for the ranch owner or manager…some business man. And saw J.K. up on the roof and he asked him where he could find the owner or the manager, and J.K. pointed him over to the office where my father had and never said a word.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, he should have said it’s me, what do you want? Oh gosh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, my first job… this is where we started out. I was 14 year’s old and there is a little nepotism here. My father gave me a job of uncovering St. George in front of Chisel Catalina who was a top budder. He as fast too.

Susanne Salvestrin: Really.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And I was uncovering in front of him and then covering up behind, and yet he worked my tail off. Nine hours a day, at 14 year’s old, on the business end of a shovel at 20 cents an hour.

Susanne Salvestrin: Try to get a 14-year-old to do that now.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And when they, when they repealed prohibition why Louis Stralla leased the Krug Winery and it started the Napa Wine Company. And Louis Stralla and my father shared the office which became part of the tasting room complex, and that was their joint office for the whole Krug Ranch and the Napa Wine Company when it was originated. And then when Mondavi’s bought the land, it must have been World War II, and that’s when my father left the Krug Ranch. I would shake prunes and haul grapes and keep empty boxes in front of the pickers, dip prunes, spread prunes on trays, and lay the trays out sundried.

Tony Baldacci was the foreman on the ranch and his wife, Louise was Louise Cheli, the sister of Joe Cheli who was a mechanic for my grandfather. And their parents lived over four houses next to Highway 29 between Greystone and Deer Park. It’s all blank now, but there used to be three houses. I’ll tell you about three homes across there. The Cheli’s lived in one of them. That’s where Louise and Joe Cheli were raised. And those houses are all gone now. Another one of those houses, at one time, that was when my father had the Krug Ranch with Wesley Jennings and his wife lived in one of them. I don’t know who lived in the third one. Eva Jennings, Wesley’s wife, was a noted LVN, I guess you would call it.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: She.

Susanne Salvestrin: Took care.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Took care of a lot of people in the valley: very, very highly thought of. Anyway, I don’t know what became of the Baldaccis after Mondavi’s. They lived there for quite some time and then they were forced out because they tore the house down and built their house was as you drive in to Krug, you go past the tasting room and across the railroad tracks to get into the back complex. Well right adjacent to the railroad tracks were one of the big winery buildings is where the Baldacci’s lived at that time. And let’s see.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, work-wise, after it was graduation and summertime, then you went, did you decide right then to go right on to college or?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: You did?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I graduated from high school in 1938 and that fall I went to Davis and           I majored in Animal Husbandry. Actually, that was, it was a pretty well-diversified course. It was non-degree. Initially in high school I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then it turns out that my senior year in high school looking forward to college, you had to be fluent in German, because all your technical manuals at that time in the 1930s were in German. There was practically nothing in English and you had to be fluent, both read and speak German as a pre-req to get into aeronautical engineering. So, that blew that.

Susanne Salvestrin: Uh-huh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And I was getting ideas in my head of getting married and so that’s why I went to Davis and went into Animal Husbandry. Went four semesters at Davis. I completed 84 units in four semesters. My average low was 21 units a semester. Kids, some kids today are think they are overworked by 12. But anyway, I lived in West Hall at Davis and my last year and a half my roommate was Ed Kellogg who was the younger brother of Barbara Shock, Nikko Shock’s mother in St. Helena. You know that?

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes, I know the name.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And his other sister was Ann Dearborn.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Ed Kellogg was my roommate for a year and a half at West Hall at Davis. He was raised in Berkley. This is coincidence.  And his parents had a cabin at Echo Lake that my parents… I had been going since 1928. And so, we, a year and a half, we had a lot in common. And we both wound up in the service of World War II. Ed was a skier and he wanted to ski so he went to the mountain troops and he wound up on the Kiska Expedition to kick the Japanese out of Alaska on the end of the Aleutian Islands. And then from there he went to Italy and he spent the rest of the war looking up the behind of a mule. He never did get to ski. Anyway, I completed four semesters at Davis and I kept real good books on it. And it only cost me $250 a semester, total.

Susanne Salvestrin: Total for all four or your semesters?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s tuition, tuition, books, lab fees, room and board, and entertainment. That was 1938 to 1940.

Susanne Salvestrin: Certainly can’t do that now.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, no. Anyway, I had four years of English in high school and you had to take Bonehead English and Bonehead Math, one semester each. There were only, I don’t know, maybe two or three units per each one. And the math I got an A in and that was a snap. And on the English, I figured that four years of high school English, I didn’t have to spend time. I had a big enough load as it was without fooling around with this, and I had an old maid English teacher, the old, old type.

Susanne Salvestrin: In college?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: In college.

Susanne Salvestrin: In college.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And we were supposed to, she insisted on writing an essay and I wasn’t about to write something unless I had spent enough time and do it right. So, I didn’t turn in an essay. I refused to and I told her that with four years of high school English, I didn’t think             I should spend time fooling around with her stuff. She took a dim view of this. So, I got a D.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well, at least you passed.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, I could care less. Anyway, got out of Davis. I graduated in 1940 from this non-degree course and in commencement exercises the booklet with the roster of    all the graduates there were in that May of 1940. There was Oliver Eisen who later became my brother-in-law, Pappy’s older brother, Louis Martini, and there’s more. But these are people, well I knew Oliver of course, but I didn’t know Louis Martini then. We were all in that same.

Susanne Salvestrin: All in that same class.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The same class, yeah. Anyway, I came back to the ranch and got into the hog business in a small way. And I had a 1B deferment from the draft for farming and that was great until Pearl Harbor. And as soon as Pearl Harbor started or occurred, I started putting my package together to apply for aviation cadets instead of getting drafted into the walking Army. And so, I got that all put together and turned in my application to Hamilton field in January and February I took a written. I had the two years of college but they thought it best that I take a written examination as well, which is the equivalent of about a GED as I have found out later.   It was 150 multiple choice exam. You had three hours to do it. And there were about ten or twelve of us that particular day that took this written. I was in the habit of using all of the time that I was allotted, if I needed it. This is from college and from other things. So, anyway there were a couple of guys turning in their papers in less than thirty minutes and I thought, these guys aren’t going to make it. And anyway, I took my full three hours and turned it in and I got a 138 out of 150.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And so, the guy, the Lieutenant, thought that was passing. 90 was the minimum. And I felt pretty good about that one.

Susanne Salvestrin: I guess.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, I passed my physical, finally. I only weighed 133 pounds and 137 was minimum. The flight surgeon looked at me and said there is nothing wrong with you. I was hard as a rock from working on the ranch. Some of these guys have been pushing a pencil.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And were a little flabby. So, he gave me four pounds.

Susanne Salvestrin: Gosh, plus you were tall.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pardon?

Susanne Salvestrin: You were tall, so I mean you know so that.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Your height.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well, that was it. Age and height. But anyway, so I’m all set and accepted. I was in a pool waiting to be called up to active duty. On a Thursday I received a notice in the mail from the draft board. It says, they’re questioning whether, why I wasn’t doing some work. Anyway, they had changed my classification and I had known this in the meantime. After Pearl Harbor they had changed the classification. And it said, if you aren’t somewhere by Monday, you’re in. This is on a Thursday. And so, Friday I go to Hamilton Field and show them this notice and they kicked it around for a minute and says, come back tomorrow morning, which I did. They enlisted me on the spot on that Saturday morning, 6th of March. It said Buck Private in the Army and sent me home on leave. They had lost any number of qualified aviation cadets to the draft. The draft would just snatch them out from under them to fill their quotas. And so, they saved me from the draft. So, my first 42 days in the service I spent at home on Madrona Avenue. And people in St. Helena were looking cross-eyed at me and saying, why aren’t you in the service?

Susanne Salvestrin: So, where did you go to training?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: So, the 17th of April, I shipped out to Santa Ana for boot camp and we were only there about three or four weeks. Then primary training at Visalia. Basic training at Merced. It’s great. I’m working, working towards home. I thought, I’ll make Stockton next and that was a plus because Sonny Box, Ernest Box, was an instructor there. He was a couple of years ahead of me in high school and he and Wally Twitchel had joined the Air Force Air Core then, maybe a year and a half or before. And Sonny Box was an instructor at Stockton and I thought that would be great. But I wound up in Luke Field in Phoenix. So, anyway.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well, what was that like during a war? You’re taking air training and what was it like being in basic training and training for your field?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well, like Santa Anna, all you had was the clothes on your back when you went, civilian clothes.  We went about three days before we got an issue of clothing. And you’re all in the same boat. I remember one guy, Lee Pfeiffer was a desk clerk at French Lick Hot Springs in Arkansas. I think it was Arkansas. Anyway, he was a real fair-skin redhead. And one of the first things he got a haircut that was pretty close and he was a little sparse on top to begin with, red hair and a fair complexion and no issue of clothing and no hat or anything. And they had us out drilling in the hot Santa Ana sun. And he got a sunburn on his scalp that wouldn’t quit. It just puffed up. That is just one of the things.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And we had a little case of dysentery go through the company and we had a 120 guys trying to get on a ten-hole crapper is something else.

Then in the meantime, I had gotten married. That was another episode. These hotrod lieutenants who were running the, recruiting all of us at Hamilton Field. When I first applied for cadets you had to be single. And then they changed it. They would accept married people so, I trotted down there and asked them if I could get married. And this wiseacre looked down and  asked me, “Don’t you think you ought to ask the girl?” I could have killed him. They affirmed that it was legal. So, Dottie and I hurried up and got married.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. Tell us a little about Dottie.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well, when we started dating, she was two years behind me in high school. She was born Dorothy Donna Eisen. She was born the 15th of June, 1922, in St. Helena. She was raised on the Eisen Ranch out on Sulphur Springs Road. And I guess we started dating on…  I don’t remember if she was a freshman or a sophomore in high school. But anyway, we had dated for at least the last year of high school and maybe more and then through college. We got married the 27th of January of ’42 in All Soul’s Church in Berkeley. Like I say, that was in January and I’m still waiting to get called up.  Then in March, I enlisted for protection so, we were married from the end of January and lived in St. Helena until the 17th of April. And then         I went on active duty and she moved back with her parents. At the time she was working for the telephone company. When she was in high school, she clerked at the Five and Dime Store.

Susanne Salvestrin: Is that the Kirkpatrick’s?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pardon?

Susanne Salvestrin: Kirkpatrick?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Up at the end of Main Street?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: At what was it… next door to Goodman’s?

Susanne Salvestrin: Goodman’s, okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. The old Goodman’s.

Susanne Salvestrin: The old Goodman’s, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. She clerked there and I think she started out at 15 cents an hour or something like that. Just something awful. And then she went to work as a telephone operator at the telephone office back on Oak Avenue. And Effie Baber was the head telephone operator and her daughter, Effie’s daughter, Ramona Beringer,  was an operator with Dottie. The two of them worked together a lot Did you ever know Effie Baber?

Susanne Salvestrin: I didn’t know her.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, did you know Ramona?

Susanne Salvestrin: I knew Ramona.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Ramona and Dottie became great friends as telephone operators. And Dottie in later years, Dottie used to help her out in the tasting room at Beringer’s.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And anyway, she stayed home, as we went, as I went through the training phase. And then when I moved to Phoenix, it was pretty well guaranteed that I was going make the grade as a pilot. And so, she moved to Phoenix and there half a dozen of us cadets got together, married, and our wives shared a large house in Phoenix, the town of Phoenix itself. There’s five or six, I think there was six of them all together. McManes was one of them, Cash, Willy Cash. We had the same instructor. It was all alphabetical. And Willy Cash and I had the same instructor and our wives were two of those that lived in this house. The Cash, Willy Cash is a C in JCPenney.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, for goodness sakes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, he was he was part of the JCPenney clan.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s amazing.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: You meet a lot of people in the service.

Susanne Salvestrin: I guess you do.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Our base commander in India was Dick Morgan of the Morgan Trust Family. You would never know it but he was a regular guy. He was a pilot, Bird Colonel. Yeah. Anyway the gals lived together and then when we graduated on the 3rd of December of ’42 and I was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, 120 of us got two weeks of special twin-engine training. The Luke Field is a single-engine fighter, actually preparation for fighter pilots. And 120 of us got twin-engine training for it be P38 pilots. Dottie found out that I was going to P38s. She had a fit.

Susanne Salvestrin: But you didn’t have a choice?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Huh?

Susanne Salvestrin: You didn’t have a choice did you?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, I figured I didn’t. Dottie shopped around and found the guy that had had twin-engine training but hadn’t been selected for it. She got me to make a swap with this guy. And the powers that be went along with it. They had no objections. So, he wound up going to P38s and I wound up going to the 7th Ferry Group in the Great Falls, Montana. And so, we left Phoenix in a 1938 Oldsmobile Coupe. This is in December yet, and we went straight north from Phoenix to Great Falls, winter time. And we hit a blizzard that Malad Summit in southern Idaho. In Salt Lake City we hit the hotel there and for an overnight. We dropped the remark that we were newlyweds and they gave us the bridal suite.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well, that’s nice.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And we’ve been married almost a year, but anyway just wanted to.

Susanne Salvestrin: First anniversary.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: We hit this blizzard in Malad Summit in Idaho, southern Idaho. The heater in the car wasn’t really adequate. We wound up using a little aspirin tin to scrape the ice off the windshield so we could see out. We tried a tobacco plug and you name it to keep the ice off the windshield. We wound up in Great Falls. My reporting date was the 10th of December, which I did. And we lived in the main hotel in town. We tried to find an apartment and finally, our first answer was no and then Dottie soft-soaped her and we wrangled around and we got an apartment at 6th and Central. And she stayed there for our entire tour in Great Falls. Anyway, that’s was a commencement of my career as a pilot. I spent thirteen months in Great Falls. My lasex is catching up with me.

Susanne Salvestrin: I’ll put it on pause.

Susanne Salvestrin: We’re back now.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Okay, we’re in Great Falls and the 7th Ferry Group. I was crewed up to  fly B17s with a service pilot who would, named Saseem who had learned to fly a 1926 at Mines Field in LA, which is now LA International Airport. And he flew there for about ten years and as a charter pilot and among others, he flew the Hearst Family up to San Simeon from LA on charters. Then he went to Alaska and flew the Bush until World War II started. He was quite prominent in the early flying days in Alaska.  Then he joined the Ferry Command as a civilian to ferry aircraft and then they made it mandatory that they would be commissioned. So, he was commissioned to 1st Lieutenant, pilot, service pilot, and that was when I was crewed with him. And I was a 2nd Lieutenant. Here this guy had all kinds of experience and I learned more from the four months that I was crewed with him then I learned in all of the aviation cadets. I was extremely fortunate to have him. To be crewed with somebody that knowledgeable. Anyway, I spent December ’42 through January of ’44 in the 7th Ferry Group and most of the time I was ferrying a B17s out of Boeing, Seattle to Modification Centers at either Cheyenne or Denver.  Occasionally I’d have an airplane out of those modification centers to deliver to some training outfit or bomb group or whatever somewhere in the States. And the latter part of ’43, when I wasn’t flying B17s, I was ferrying P39s to Fairbanks, Alaska from Great Falls to Fairbanks. These P39s had red stars on them and were consigned to the Russians. The airplanes were built in Buffalo, New York, in an eastern ferry outfit brought them to Great Falls where they, that was a shakedown flight. Then they were given a thorough inspection at Great Falls and we got them to fly from Great Falls to Fairbanks. And at Fairbanks the Russians accepted them and the Russian pilots flew the airplanes from Fairbanks out to Nome and then across the Bering Straits to Siberia and then into the World War II fronts. Anyway, I ferried ten P39s and two C47s that were going to the Russians. And then in February of ’43, when I was still with Saseem, we had a P25 going north for cold weather tests. Fairbanks was the center for cold weather testing of aircraft. This P25 had a 75 millimeter cannon mounted to fire forward, and there were warning placards that are restriction placards all over that airplane and right at the entrance in great big print was, this airplane is guaranteed for not more than 25 rounds. Anyway, that’s another story there that was quite an experience.

Susanne Salvestrin: I bet.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: We got at Edmonton, whether this was preplanned or not I don’t know, but at Edmonton they teamed us up with a three-man photo crew out of the 1st photo squadron from LA that had been formed to do the photography work in historical and in training film for the Army Airforce. Paul Manse was the CEO of the squadron at Burbank and the photographers that had teamed up with us with a 35-millimeter movie camera in the nose of the B25 was Will Kline who was the head photographer on “Wings” and “The Captains of the Clouds” that were the two first aerial or aircraft movies. And so, he was a forerunner of the aerial photography. He was a captain and 1st lieutenant team with him was Al Nicholan whose specialty was travel logs. And this was an ideal team because, and then they had a staff sergeant who, you know, did the paperwork and recording for them to identify each various shots. The purpose of the assignment was to photograph the route, the ferry route from Edmonton to Alaska for ferry pilots for a training film. And to give pictures of all of the approaches to the various runways, emergency strips, and you name it, along the way. And there was a bunch of them. So, we got a lot of low level…

Susanne Salvestrin: Low level flying.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: on this photo mission. We spent several weeks with these two guys. As a coincidence, when I was stationed in India in mid-1945, this is more than two years later, who walks up to me in the officer’s club but this Al Nicholan. He was over taking pictures of the Hump. And he recognized me and we had quite a get together.

Susanne Salvestrin: Some reminiscing to do.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Anyway, that took care of the ferry business. And then from the end of January, first of February of ’44, I was transferred to Miami, 36th Street Airport ,which is now Miami International, to join the first foreign transport group which was equipped with C87s which is a strip B24 cargo version. This transport run started from Chabua Airfield, India, at the beginning of the Ledo Road and we were hauling some critical supplies and an occasional passenger. The aircraft kept moving and we had stage crews along the way. We’d stop in Puerto Rico for fuel. We would fuel at either Trinidad or Atkinson Field in British Guiana, which was a crew change, and refuel at Belém at the mouth of the Amazon, and then to Natal, Brazil, which was a crew change. And then from there to Ascension Island, crew change, Ascension Island to Accra, British Guiana which was crew change. And then across Central Africa to Nigeria and the various others to Khartoum, which is a confluence of the Blue and White Niles. It was crew change there and from there to Aden, which is now I think part of Yemen. It was a British holding station but Aden was a crew change, and to Karachi and then to Agra, which is the Taj Mahal and New Delhi and then Chabua, India. Then you turn around and go back.

Susanne Salvestrin: You had quite a flight pattern.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Typical trip was I’d be out a month. Anyway, I got to Miami and got established and knew what we were going to do. Dottie was still in Great Falls and our son had been born the past October. By the way, I was ferrying a P39 north when he was born and apparently, I was at Fort Nelson in British Columbia when he was born. When I got to Watson Lake, the next stop, they met at the airplane and said, “I think your wife had a baby. I’m not sure whether it was a boy or a girl. And the Red Cross says you’re supposed to go home.”

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, my goodness.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: So, they took the airplane away from me and put me on a transport back to Great Falls and then I got a ride home. I got a couple of weeks leave out of that.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well, that’s good.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: But anyway.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, what year was that again?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: ’43.

Susanne Salvestrin: ’43.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: October of ’43.

Susanne Salvestrin: October of ’43.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Then we went back to Great Falls and then when I got established in Miami, here’s Dottie with this baby in diapers, and I told her don’t leave Great Falls until you have reservations all the way through. Airlines were impossible because they were all booked up with military. As was the train. So, she takes off with reservations to Chicago, period. And she had delayed overage in Chicago six hours to catch a train south. And then some woman took pity on her and gave her a break sitting with the kid for a few minutes. But when I met her at the train in Miami, she gets off the train and says, “Take it.”

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s a tough trip. I know, I’ve made that trip with my mom all the way across country on the train, when we were little and it is a tough trip.”

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Is that right? Yeah. Anyway.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, you made it with your new son to Miami?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. I had rented a house and it was the best I could find. So, anyway set her up there and you know it was only just a very days now and out on a trip and I was gone almost a month before I got back. When I got back why, I had received some mail along the way somewhere and I knew that she had moved. So, I didn’t know where the hell I lived when I got back off the trip. Anyway, she had moved a couple of blocks away in a much nicer house. There were some nearby neighbors who were people that we had known in Great Falls.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, for goodness sake.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Who had been transferred, transferred to Homestead Air Force Base out of Miami as he was an instructor there in the transport school, which I went through. I was flying co-pilot on the C87s out of Miami and then in late October or early November they sent me to the transport school at Homestead Air Force Base or Air Base. It was a C54s and B24 types. After, other than the P39s and the C47s at Great Falls, I flew all four engines. It was four-engine record I hold.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And anyway, I went through the transport school at Homestead and when I got out of that they gave me a check ride on Fireball, which was a transport run and checked me out as 1st Pilot. So, I was Air Craft Commander on the C87s until the end of January of ’45.

Susanne Salvestrin: And obviously, you must have loved flying?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, I did.

Susanne Salvestrin: You did?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah. Did you ever have any scary, scary things happen to you while you were in the air?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh, always.

Susanne Salvestrin: Always. I think every pilot would probably say yes to that. Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, I don’t have but maybe a couple of close calls.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, how long were you ferrying overseas? Till you got out or?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well this, this was the transport run.

Susanne Salvestrin: The transport.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Based in Miami and then in the end of January of ’45, in January of ’45 my grandmother Cairns passed away. And then very shortly after, I don’t remember the exact dates, but we got notice that Oliver Eisen was missing.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, that’s right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: This is Dottie’s brother.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pappy Eisen’s brother. He was a lead navigator on the first B29 group that went overseas, and they were stationed in India. And they would make a couple of runs to Shabwa or not, Chengdu in northwestern China to stockpile the gas and bombs, and then make a run to Japan from northern China. And then come back and refuel at Chengdu and then back to their home base in India. So, it was while I was still in Miami that they nailed him over the Yellow Sea. He went down in the Yellow Sea, apparently after a bomb run. And by coincidence my grandmother Cairns and Oliver passed away in the same month. Anyway, I put Dottie and Kenny on the train at Miami and that was either right at the end of January or the first part of February. And Howard Costello and I, another pilot from Fireball, we had orders transferring us to India. And so, Howard was from San Juan Bautista and so we decided that we would drive my car back out to California and Dottie would take the train. Howard’s wife lived in San Juan Bautista. So, we put Dottie on the train, Dottie and Kenny, and then Howard and I cleared the base and took off and we drove nonstop from Miami to home. And we started out driving an eight-hour shift and that got to be too much, and we wound up the most we could stand was about an hour and a half. Then we would have to switch off. And one guy driving and one sleeping or you name it. Anyway, I delivered him to San Juan Bautista and then came home to St. Helena and got a night’s sleep and I met Dottie at the train at Martinez or at Crocket rather.

Susanne Salvestrin: You beat her home?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I beat her home.

Susanne Salvestrin: So how much longer were you in the service then after?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Then I was in India from March until what? Was it, it must have been in December.

Susanne Salvestrin: So that was it? Is that when you left the service then in ’45 or?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Was what?

Susanne Salvestrin: Was ’45 the year you got out of the service?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: No.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: ’46.

Susanne Salvestrin: ’46.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well ’45 was my last year.

Susanne Salvestrin: That was your last year. But you got out in ’46?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, because I guess I got a discharge, I can’t remember the exact date. I know I was home for Christmas. I think I got home; I think it was the 19th of December.

Susanne Salvestrin:  And now we are going to ask Grant to talk about his Cairns’ side of the family. Good morning, Grant. I’m happy to have you hear again today, and if you’d like to start talking about the Cairns’ side of the family, we would love to hear it.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Okay. My father, Kenneth Stephen Cairns, was born in Skowhegan, Maine on the 14th of February of 1893. He was the son of Frank Steven Cairns. who was born in Boston, the date I’m not sure of but I think it was around 1865 {1858-1926}.  And his mother was Lillian Anne Murphy Cairns {1865-1945}. He was recruited as a millwright at some of the first sugar mills in Cuba. He left his wife in Boston with some friends.  While in Cuba, apparently Frank’s mother died and the family took care of him for several years. His father {Stephen} made arrangements with a ship’s captain to bring his son to Cuba to join him. And my grandfather was 9 year’s old was signed on as a cabin boy to qualify him as a crew member in order to get passage to Cuba to join his father. In the meantime, his father remarried this Spanish woman and my grandfather was raised by a Spanish stepmother and his father while in Cuba.  He was educated in Barcelona, Spain and became fluent in five languages. I don’t have    a lot of information on his comings and goings but he joined the Treasury Department, the United States Treasury Department, sometime in the 1890s and was on the Secret Service Detail of McKinley. However, he had been pulled off the McKinley detail prior to  the assassination. Right after the sinking of the “Maine” in Havana harbor, he was sent to Cuba as a special agent because of his past history in Cuba and (INDISCERNIBLE). He apparently did some investigative work for the government on the sinking of the “Maine”. From there, long after the Philippines, after the Spanish American War, and again, still with the Treasury Department and actually became a Collector of Customs in Manilla. He was there until 1911. His wife, Lilly, and my father joined him in the Philippines. My father spent his entire grammar school years in the Philippines, primarily in Manilla. Every summer, he and his mother would return to the States on a ship, which was the only transportation then. And they would vacation, summer vacation, in Skowhegan, Maine. Therefore, my father would have fourteen crossings of the Pacific in the early 1900s. They did spend a short tour in Yokohama, Japan and (INDISCERNIBLE). And then in 1911, he was reassigned to the Treasury Department and left the Philippines to return to the States. My grandfather accompanied a man by the name of Schuster from Treasury Department and was sent to Persia to help the Persians established a Treasury Department. My grandfather, acting as a Secret Service Agent, was his bodyguard. The Persians eventually took a dislike to their presence and my grandfather had to commandeer a stagecoach at gunpoint to get he and his charge, Schuster, out of Persia with a whole hide. Shortly after that he retired from the Treasury Department and spent a short time in Pasadena. He had heard about the Napa Valley and St. Helena and bought property at 1902 Madrona Avenue. It was approximately 20 acres, mostly half vineyard and half walnut and almond and prune orchid and the large home that had been built in the 1880’s by a family named Craft. That house today is the head office for Spottswoode Winery.

Okay, back to Frank and Lillian Cairns, my grandparents. After arrival in St. Helena, he had lived a very active life, was pretty much a goer and had to have something to keep him occupied. He wound up on the draft board in World War I, during World War I, and this didn’t contribute to his popularity too much in St. Helena among the draft-age group. Anyway, he helped establish or was a charter member and helped established the Red Cross in Napa Valley. And when they voted in Prohibition there was no home for the grapes in the valley. They had to shut the wineries down except Beringer and Christian Brothers, which still produce sacramental wines only. And so, my grandfather in partnership with Fred Mariam established the Cairns and Mariam shipping. I don’t know if it is the title of the company or not. But they shipped grapes to ethnic centers on the east coast for home winemakers. And this became quite a thriving business, but I believe my grandfather was among the first. Another shipper was Jack Riorda. There was another man, I don’t remember who it was, that shipped out of St. Helena. At one time they shipped as many as 100 railroad cars a day out of St. Helena. These are refrigerated cars, refrigerated with block ice. Sometimes the load, the shipments were red-inked because of bad sales procedures on the other end. Hijacking, you name it but on a whole there was a market for the grapes during Prohibition. My father, grandfather passed away in 1926, my father took over the shipping business and continued it until they repealed the prohibition in 1933 I believe it was. And when I was about 12 years old, my father made me Deputy Weigh Master and I was running the scales at the SP Depot, weighing grapes. Some of these old-time vineyard growers would come by and say they had seen this little kid running a scales and it looked a little cross-eyed but there were no errors.

Susanne Salvestrin: Amazing.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, the block now occupied used to be Forestry, it’s now St. Helena city buildings. The block bordered by Fulton Lane and Railroad Avenue, the railroad tracks and the parking lot of the present office complex was a grove of olive trees. There was a small building in that grove, which was my father’s office and about a month before shipping time, the box makers would come in. Ray Brill was the name of one of the box makers that worked for numerous years for my father. And that entire olive grove would be stacked ten and twelve feet high with twenty-five pound LA Lugs which my father would distribute to the grape-growers which they packed and put lids on at the depot and loaded it into freight cars for shipping it East. That grove of olive trees was completely covered with newly manufactured twenty-five pound lugs at the beginning of the grape season.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, ranchers would come and buy the boxes or?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, the boxes were furnished by my father.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, they were furnished. So, he would get the boxes back?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That was part of that was part of the shipping contract.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And a lot of the grapes were, I presume most of them were probably shipped on consignment. In other words, the sharer, shared deal rather than a cash buyout. I believe that’s the way it worked.

Susanne Salvestrin: How long did he do that?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Until they repealed the Prohibition.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s right, you said the repeal.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: ’33.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: About 1930 or ’31 my father became a manager at the Krug Ranch for a James K. Moffett. Did I cover this in the last session?

Susanne Salvestrin: You did talk a little bit about it, but if you think of something else…

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, well, yes, the Moffett Ranch which is now the Krug Ranch was extended from York Creek to what is now Deer Park Road and from Highway 29 to the river. Fairly sizeable acreage. The winery was not operated during prohibition and when repeal was voted in, Louis Stralla leased the winery from J.K. Moffett and established the Napa Wine Company. Louis Stralla and my father shared an office in a small building at Krug which is now part of the tasting room at Krug. I think I covered this the last time. Yeah. In those days, this is in the early 1930s, the middle of the Depression, and there were a lot of hungry people.         And I remember people joining the grape-picking crew. We had a picking crew of many as 40 people which was a sizeable in those days. And they were from all walks of life, anywhere from homos to I know there was one man and a daughter from the Middle West and his profession was a horse trainer. And he was more of a white-collar person than anything, and his daughter was about 15 years old, and they were trying to make enough to eat. And grapes were being picked in those days for five cents a box for a 50-pound box. And these people had never picked grape before and they would, almost pitiful to see them trying to make a living. But it was better than nothing.

Susanne Salvestrin: Do you remember some of the ranches that were, that were being picked at that day and age?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That were being shipped?

Susanne Salvestrin: Shipped, uh-huh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, Beringers. I remember the Beringer account on a scale books. Offhand, I can’t think of any names in particular. There were, we were running about, there were about 20 different scale books. Each ranch had its own scale book for bookkeeping purposes, and there were about 20 accounts in the scale house.

Susanne Salvestrin: And you were 13 when you did this?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh gosh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: My first paying job working outside of the family was at the Krug Ranch, a little nepotism there because my father was manager. When I was 14 years old , it was 1934, and this nine hours I worked nine hours a day on the end of a shovel digging and covering for Chisel Catalini. And 14 years old,  20 cents an hour.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, where do you want to go from here now?

Susanne Salvestrin: Let’s see. 13 years old you were helping with this budding.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, 14.

Susanne Salvestrin: 14, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: 14 when I first paying wages outside of the family.

Susanne Salvestrin: Outside of the family.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I have always had chores since I was about 5 or 6 years old on the ranch.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right. So, I mean if you were, if you were weigh master at 13 and you were working in the vineyard at 14, what did you do after that for work?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: For work? Mostly at the Krug Ranch. I was shaking prunes, dipping prunes, we had to (INDISCERNIBLE)dipper and dry lot at Krug. Tony Baldacci was the foreman and his wife, Louise Cheli Baldacci, they both lived on the Krug Ranch. Tony and I would shake the prunes.

Susanne Salvestrin: And now you’re going to talk about a little bit about your home.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Okay. I was raised on, in fact, I was born at St. Helena Sanitarium. I think I gave that before, and I grew up on a family ranch at what is now 3683 Silverado Trail, North. The center of the ranch is approximate center of the ranch is the intersection of Crystal Springs Road and the Silverado Trail. My parent’s home, where I was raised, is about a hundred yards south of that intersection. I grew up in a hayfield and a prune orchid and a vineyard. I grew up with a team of horses. I had my own saddle horse. I was out pitching hay when I was in my early teens. One June, early June, Harry Varney, he and I, he was a hired man on the ranch, we thought it was a little warm out in the hayfield. We were shocking hay so we came in for a drink of water and it was 113 in the shade. So, we had our warm days.

Susanne Salvestrin: I guess. And that was June you said?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That was in early June.

Susanne Salvestrin: Early June.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, and we sold a lot of wood. Harry Varney was a native of Vermont. He would come West and in the winter time, in the slack season. He would cut wood. We had a large area down near the river that was overgrown with post oak and he made stove wood out of that. I delivered a lot of wood in St. Helena. People were still using wood burning cook stoves. Some of the older families and so this was small 12” stove wood for cook stoves. And we were selling it for $7.50 a cord delivered. Today you can’t get the 12”. You got a 16” fireplace wood is as small as they go and you’re paying $300 and up for a cord. A little different.

Susanne Salvestrin: Little bit different.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Some of these deliveries to old Italian families that still had the wood stoves.

Susanne Salvestrin: Do you remember?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: In fact, my grandmother Grant had a wood stove until probably 19, early 1930s, when they converted over to a gas stove. Most people that had wood stoves in the summer time had a kerosene stove that was out on the back porch or like we had, because it was too darn hot to fire up a wood stove in the summer.

Susanne Salvestrin: I doubt whether you delivered to Emma and John Salvestrin? They probably used their grape wood for their wood stove.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Sure.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Sure.

Susanne Salvestrin: I was going to ask if you did.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, these were town people.

Susanne Salvestrin: These were town people.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Again, I can’t recall the names offhand. Tony Regal, I think I delivered to him. He had a barn down on Main Street, but his home was up in a neighborhood of Adams and Allen, somewhere in that neighborhood. That is just one that I recall. And let’s see, we had the firewood and hay. I used to deliver hay in the 1930s.  People still had horses to work some of their vineyards. We did. We still had a team of horses in the ‘30s. And I delivered hay to Jack Kelly, which was now on the Marston Ranch near the, right next door to May’s on the Silverado Trail. Across the road from the County Corporation Yard on the Silverado Trail, Jack Kelly, who, I was a skinny little kid about 15/16 years old and a 135-pound bale was.

Susanne Salvestrin: More than you weighed, probably.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It was that. And here this old duffer that I had figured had one leg in the grave was Jack Kelly. He helped me out. He was rolling those bales around like they were nothing. Jack Kelly was an old teamster, used to drive four and six horse teams over the          old Oat Hill Mine Road. That’s where the ruts came from for the wagon tires and he drove some of those wagons. But this guy was still wrestling bales in the 1930s and good at it. Another one is a place I delivered was Albert Klotz up on Diamond Mountain, who had a vineyard. They were friends of my parents.

Susanne Salvestrin: Was that K-L-O-T-Z?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: K-L-O-T-Z. But anyway, that was another old timer that helped the little kid unload. The truck I used to deliver those was a 1929 Chevrolet, about a one-ton flatbed truck and the last time I used that in the vineyard was about 1966, I believe.

Susanne Salvestrin: Do you still have that vehicle?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, I just love asking that question because they are so unique.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It’s, I’ll tell you where it is. A guy by the name of White in Pope Valley bought it to restore it.

Susanne Salvestrin: Do you know if he still has it?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I presume he has.

Susanne Salvestrin: Do you know him?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pardon?

Susanne Salvestrin: Do you know him?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, I don’t know him.

Susanne Salvestrin: You don’t know him?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: It just would be fun to get a picture of it.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Do you have pictures of it?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I may have.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, that would be fun to have.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It is possible.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah. What year was it did you say?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: What?

Susanne Salvestrin: What year was the truck?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: About 1929 Chevrolet.

Susanne Salvestrin: 1929 Chevrolet truck.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: My father bought that primarily to haul grapes for the shipping business and that truck had many, many tons and miles on it.

Susanne Salvestrin: What was this gentleman’s first name, do you remember?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Who?

Susanne Salvestrin: His first name, White?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I don’t know.

Susanne Salvestrin: You don’t know.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Bill White.

Susanne Salvestrin: Bill, okay. I’ll try to find out.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: And let you know. So, maybe we could get a picture with you at it or something, you know. That would be kind of a neat thing to have.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, you used this truck in your?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That truck after prohibition, I hauled a lot of grapes to the wineries in it. In fact, after World War II that was our primary truck when I got out of the service. The end of ’45, my father anticipating me coming back to the ranch had leased several prune orchids and we had six different prune orchids from Dunaweal Lane to Conn Valley to West Salvador Napa. That kept me during prune picking, let’s see that was three prune orchids plus prunes on the Madrona property and we had twenty acres of prunes on Zinfandel Avenue. Anyway, spread out like that really kept me busy keeping boxes in front of the pickers. And on hauling grapes, like at Freemark Abbey, the Aherns had just opened Freemark after World War II and Montebello Winery on Hudson Avenue was operating. And they both had small crushers and you drive up to the crusher and dump these grape boxes direct into the hopper of the crusher. If you really got with the program, why you throw five boxes at the crusher real fast and it would stall it out so you can get a little break. But at Montebello, I would unload 105 boxes and stack the empties back on the truck in seventeen minutes.

Susanne Salvestrin: You didn’t have any trouble sleeping at night, I’m sure.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, that’s two and half tons of grapes.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: You worked in those days.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right. Quite a difference from now the way they did it then and now. It is mechanized, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Which isn’t to say that is not good, you know. I mean it’s called, get everything done quickly.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Right. Well.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, what was?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Speaking of mechanized, we thought we were pretty hot stuff at the Napa Valley Co-Op where we had sixty ton per hour crushers. That’s a ton a minute for a crusher. And then you go down to Gallo’s at Livingston, their Livingston plant which was built in the 1970s and they were seven thousand tons a day. And a truck with a load of bins would roll into the winery and practically no waiting line. This is at Gallo’s and they would weigh in, dump their load, and when they weighed out, they got their check for the grapes.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, you belong?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: So, these have changed.

Susanne Salvestrin: Things have changed and you’re family belonged to the Napa Valley Co-Op?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pardon?

Susanne Salvestrin: Your family belonged to the Napa Valley Co-Op also?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yes.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right. Right. Can you tell us a little bit about the Co-Op?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. My father joined the St. Helena Co-Op which is now Markham. Let’s go back. After prohibition was repealed that was what stopped the grape shipping business to the east coast. And my father became a broker and knowing a lot of these vineyards and acquainted with their quality and you name it, was a grape buyer for Taylor Whiskey Company. Taylor, the whiskey people got into this wine making business. They created a disaster because they paid too much for the grapes. They were only in it for two years and they weren’t making their 20% per year increase. And so, they bailed out and they left wineries, like Beringers, with a bunch of high-priced inventory and the wine market hadn’t developed where they could get rid of it at a reasonable price. It took a few years to get over that. But my father was as a grape broker was buying grapes for Taylor who was one of them, and there were some others that he purchased grapes for. And in the Co-Op, he joined the Co-Op for the ease of marketing and having a fulltime home for the grapes. Then he passed away in June of ’64 and    I came and I was stationed at Travis at the time luckily, so I was able to commute. I only had six months to go in the service. And so, I was able to commute from St. Helena to Travis for that last six months and run the ranch for my mother. I’m still running the same ranch today.              I wound up with the Co-Op account, the St. Helena Co-Op, and they had a vacancy on the board and they drafted me to become a Board member. And I didn’t volunteer. I got over volunteering when I was in the service. The famous cry was, “You’ll be sorry.”

Susanne Salvestrin: Isn’t that true still today? When you’re asked to be on a Board?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: But anyway, I wound up Secretary of the Board in the St. Helena Co-Op when Heublein stole it. And this was the second round of conglomerates, non-wine makers, coming in, jumping in to the business escalating the price of grapes beyond what they could command on the wine market. Anyway, Heublein wound up with the St. Helena Co-Op and I moved to the Napa Valley Co-Op, rather than leave the grapes in St. Helena Co-Op for Heublein. About half of the membership left the St. Helena Co-Op and moved to the Napa Valley.

Susanne Salvestrin: To the Napa Valley.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And I have been in the Napa Valley Co-Op about a year and I got drafted again to be on that Board.

Susanne Salvestrin: Trade one for the other.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, the funny thing about the deal on the St. Helena Co-Op, the Co-Op was contracted to Gallo. And Gallo had a say on who was on the Board and who wasn’t, and Milt Moss had brought Julio Gallo out to my house unannounced or practically unannounced. It was almost zero pre-warning. We were in the midst of remodeling the house so it was a disaster. So, Gallo came in and Greta fixed him a lemonade. The lemonade sounded good to Julio. Greta was real liberal with the vodka.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wasn’t just plain old lemonade.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: She served these great big glasses of lemonade to the three of us, Milt Wallace and Julio Gallo and me. And Julio took a sip and then his eyes lit up. I was dying laughing. But that was Julio’s interview with me to see if I was accepted as a Board member to Co-Op.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well, obviously you were.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I became good friends with Julio and his son, Bob, first name acquaintance. We got along great. Yeah. And anyway, that first meeting with Julio Gallo was something else.

Susanne Salvestrin: And you were talking about outgrowing your home and having to reconstruct, kind of redo your home or make it larger. You were talking about it like you out-grew it and you had to add on to it or something? When did you do this?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: This was my grandparent’s home on Main Street, the 1515 Main Street in St. Helena. And they moved in to that home around, in the mid-1890s. And a little after 19 by the third or fourth child was coming up, I guess their final was coming up, fourth. So, they needed more bedroom space, more living space. So, they jacked the house up and poured a concrete slab underneath it and then built the lower floor. Well this was in mid-summer and they got the house jacked up and came deer hunting season and the contractor took off on a two-week deer hunt. And the only access to the house, they were still living in it, up on jacks or on blocks, was a ladder. And my grandmother was fit to be tied because she, the only way you could get in and out of her house was on a god-damn ladder.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, my goodness, oh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, that’s just one of the things that happened.

Susanne Salvestrin: One of the funny things, right. Yeah, I don’t think I’d like climbing a ladder to get in the house. How long did that go on?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Two.

Susanne Salvestrin: During the two weeks.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The two-week hunting season.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right, right, oh my gosh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, they owned the two houses on Main Street, 1515 and 1523 and then those lots went back and joined lots on Oak Avenue. It was a sizeable piece of property.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay, and it’s between 15, where is 15?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s the second house from Pine Street.

Susanne Salvestrin: From Pine, oh, I know those houses.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Next door, next door to Dr. Wood’s home on the corner.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It’s a bed and breakfast now.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right. Oh yeah 1515, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah and they brag about who is the writer that?

Susanne Salvestrin: Robert Louis Stevenson?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: No?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, anyway. This was in, after the house had been elevated.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That this guy lived there. He was not, he didn’t own the place. He didn’t, they are telling all kinds of stories about it. He rented a room. He didn’t even board there. He just rented a room, period and that was it for about a month. And they are making a big blow about it as a sales gimmick. Anyway, he was a well-known writer of articles for the newspaper and magazines, you name it.{Ambrose Bierce}

Susanne Salvestrin: Not Herb Cane?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: He wound up in Mexico and disappeared.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh. Okay. So back to the Co-Op, Napa Valley Co-Op. You became a board member and how long, were you still in it when they dissolved or?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No. No. I wound up with a hypertension problems and my wife insisted I get off the board. So, I didn’t run for the next election and I got off the board in the early 80s.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And that’s about the time they started to go downhill. Yeah, there is a story behind that but probably I’d get sued for liable probably if I expounded on that.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well, yeah then maybe we better not. I don’t want you to get sued for anything.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I got some tales on that one.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, I’m sure you do. I’m sure you do. I remember attending some of the meetings because Eddie’s dad belonged to the Napa Valley Co-Op.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: His mother was.

Susanne Salvestrin: Emma. Do you remember Emma?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I’m really enjoyed that lady. She was really nice.

Susanne Salvestrin: She was a feisty little thing.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: You better believe it and one of the best things that happened to the Co-Op was when Corley Mills became ours.

Susanne Salvestrin: Corley Mills, yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Became our office manager and I had Corley lined up to become manager of the Co-Op when I left the board. I was pushing that to put her in charge of the whole shebang. And I was being shot down on that by the powers. Eventually one of the first things they did was fire all of the good employees because they couldn’t stand to have somebody around them that was smarter than they were. It just doesn’t make sense. But anyway, Corley, when she was organizing Gallo, had the annual banquet.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And the grower meeting and they got the little combo, Laurie and           Cantonya. Lauri and Jim Cantonya. Her husband he was a drummer and she played organ. And a little combo and I don’t know, they had somebody else with them. But anyway, this was Corley’s idea. I’ll never forget the first time when they cranked that little band up after dinner and your mother-in-law was just dancing up a storm.

Susanne Salvestrin: She did love to dance.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh boy.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, she did.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yep.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, they loved those meetings. They just, I can remember when the helicopter would come with the Gallos in it and we were so close to the Co-Op.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Sure.

Susanne Salvestrin: They would, “Here they come, here they come,” you know. She was always excited about when the Gallo’s came for the meetings and the picnics. Yep. The dinners, yeah. Those were the days, huh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yep. What about the Co-Op did you?

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, I was just going to see if you could remember some of the people that belonged before it dissolved? I remember a few names and I think we do have a list of names of people that belonged to the Co-Op that had you know, took their grapes there so.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: It was long gone, are those days, now aren’t they?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s right.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah. So, I’m going to pause this just. About how you found St. Helena as you were growing up and in your later years. What businesses you might remember and some of the old-time stories you might be able to tell us?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well one of the impressive things was the electric railroad which ran up the middle of Main Street. The depot is where the Wells Fargo parking lot, Wells Fargo Bank parking lot is now next to Mitchell Drive. It ran up Main Street and across York Creek and parallel the tunnel of Elms, paralleling Highway 29 up till almost Lodi Lane, and then it went around Dixon Hill and ran on the Southern Pacific tracks for a short distance around Dixon Hill and then went back to its own right-of-way, when it got up to about opposite Ehler’s Lane. And then it had a separate right-of-way all the way to Calistoga.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Some of the electric railroad tracks are still in Washington Street in Calistoga and I hope they keep them.

Susanne Salvestrin: I hope so too.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s history. And anyway, that’s the electric railroad. A classmate of my mother’s was Selma Wagner of the Wagner family on Rutherford Crossroad that became Caymus Winery now. And Selma used to catch the train at Rutherford and ride it to the high school to attend St. Helena High School. And the little waiting shelter, stone waiting shelter for the electric railroad I believe is still at the entrance to the south entrance to the high school.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Do you remember at one time another little building that might have been there called “The Shack”? That was like where people could get something to eat, do you remember any kind of?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Near the high school?

Susanne Salvestrin: Near the high school?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: No. Well, I’m trying to find out.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Before my time.

Susanne Salvestrin: It probably was before your time. I’m trying to find out where this, we have the little building.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh, is that right.

Susanne Salvestrin: It’s on the back part of our property and I’m trying to find out some information on that just to see.  I’ve never come across a picture or anything, so. Anyway, that’s just a little digression here.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, I don’t recall it. Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: On Main Street, at one time, I counted in recollection thirteen saloons in town going down Main Street on the west side, on the right going from York Creek to Sulfur Creek. They had George Rivers Saloon on the corner of Adams and Main, which adjoined the City Hall and the Fire Department.

Susanne Salvestrin: You said, what was that name again on Adams and Main?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Adams and Main, George Rivers.

Susanne Salvestrin: George Rivers.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And like I said, that was part of the building complex which included the City Hall and the Recorder’s office and the Fire Department.

Susanne Salvestrin: That was a good place to have a bar.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And the fire bell was up on top. Anyway, you go down Main Street on the opposite corner of Adams and Main was the grocery store and when I was a little kid, preschool, Hayden Rule was a clerk and he used to give me I’m told, a big (Tape stops).

Susanne Salvestrin: So, he was another person like Ernie Navone, giving out salami and hot dogs to children.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well that was tradition.

Susanne Salvestrin: That was tradition.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: In a butcher’s shop.

Susanne Salvestrin: In a butcher’s shop, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And the grocery stores with cookies.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Anyway, that one is now Vasconi Drug Store was a grocery store then. And then it became B.L. Taylor had an electrical business in there. And I think Kovacevic bought that from Taylor. Then I don’t know, I kind of lost track of it. That’s when I got into the service and things started changing like crazy.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, they did.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: On Main Street. But then as we go down Main Street next door was the Post Office. Oh. the upstairs of what is now Vasconi’s Pharmacy was doctor offices; Doctor Booth and Doctor Stern.

Susanne Salvestrin: He was my dentist.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Who, Wesley Stern?

Susanne Salvestrin: Uh-huh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Or his son?

Susanne Salvestrin: Son, probably.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, they were upstairs. Then you had the Post Office. Then you had Mickey’s Saloon.

Susanne Salvestrin: Is that saloon where Micheli’s is?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: Post Office, then Mickey’s Saloon.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And let’s see, then the model the Model Bakery now is in that area but that used to be down next door to Brown’s Auto.

Susanne Salvestrin: The Model Bakery used to be down there, okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yes. But anyway, and that’s when, oh heck. Names?

Susanne Salvestrin: I know it’s hard. We’re doing a little timeline of we’re trying to fill in where businesses used to be on Main Street. So, this really helps us.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Well, it was next door to Brown’s Auto Parts or the next door up about where St. Helena Electric used to be, what was in there was the Model Bakery. And then we’re going down Main Street and we’ve got Beyer’s Barber Shop was in there.

Susanne Salvestrin: I remember that.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That became part of today’s Model Bakery. And then they had the Masonic Building, I don’t know who was in Buchanan’s before but anyway, then what is now Goodman’s was Caiocca’s  Grocery Store.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then next door to that was the old Bank of America and before that the Bank of Italy. And then it became a liquor store, oh heck, what was the guy’s name? Had White Sulphur Springs. Anyway.

Susanne Salvestrin: I can’t remember.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, it was Bank of America then in the old days. And then you had what Galewsky’s Five and Dime.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Joe Galewsky. His home is next to the post office where the bank is now. That was Joe and Sarah Galuski’s home.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And they moved the house, I don’t know where the house went but they saved the house. And when some son of a bitch cut down that big magnolia tree in the front yard just a few years ago, that was criminal. That should never have happened.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: But that was a big tree in front of the Galuski home. Oh, we can go back next to Galewsky’s home which is now the bank, then you had Wheeler’s Garage, which is now the? What’s the furniture store? Vintage, Vantage? V something. Vandenberg’s?

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Vanderschoot ?

Susanne Salvestrin: Vander, yeah that was Sear’s Furniture store.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It was.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s where Sear’s.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It was later a Sear’s Furniture.

Susanne Salvestrin: And also, it was a jewelry store.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh Ewing.

Susanne Salvestrin: No Baldi, remember Primo Baldi?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Primo Baldi had a jewelry store there too.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, well the guy by the name of Ewing had a novelty store in there too. But it was Wheeler’s Garage in the 1920s and 30s.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And it was operated by Art Schroeder.  Dick Schroeder was in my class in school.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: But anyway. We’ve backed up Main Street.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, that’s okay. Vanderschoot, I think it’s Vander Shute.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, I think that’s right.

Susanne Salvestrin: Vanderschoot’s store was Primo Baldi’s, Ewings, Wheeler’s Garage and even Sears.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Vanderschoot then.

Susanne Salvestrin: I don’t have them in the right order.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It was Wheeler’s Garage.

Susanne Salvestrin: In the 20s? Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: When automobiles first came out.

Susanne Salvestrin: Uh-huh so, there was a garage there and then just cattycorner from that was Grant’s Garage.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, there was a few garages.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh, there was more than that. We’ll get to them down Main Street.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. All right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Then we, where were we? We’re at Galewsky’s.

Susanne Salvestrin: Galewsky’s, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Galewsky’s and then we’ve got Hotel St. Helena? And there was bar in the Hotel St. Helena and then on the corner of that building, next to Telegraph Alley, was the Sweet Shop.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes, I remember the Sweet Shop.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Now that was a hangout for all the kids.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, wasn’t it ever.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Do you remember who all owned the Sweet Shop besides? The only one I remember is Betty Kinlinger.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Who?

Susanne Salvestrin: Betty Kinlinger. I remember.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Before that?

Susanne Salvestrin: But before that?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Beyer’s was.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh Beyer, right. B-E-Y-E-R I think I remember that.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well she was the soda jerk) and an older guy who owned it and they wound up getting married.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. All right. I remember that name, Beyer.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: That was.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Paul Beyer’s sister.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Paul Beyer was a barber, inherited a barber shop from his father.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, up there where the Model Bakery is?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yes.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Ethel Beyer.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Ethel Beyer was, but she married the owner of the Sweet Shop at that time.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then next to Telegraph Avenue Alley was Goodman’s. And then the next building was the Five and Dime.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh right, Five and Dime. That’s where Art Nicholson and my friend, Ann Heights ran it at one time.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Is that right? Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right, before she passed away.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Stetson, Earl Stetson was the manager for there at one time.

Susanne Salvestrin: And of course, Guigni’s. It’s been Guigni’s for?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then you’ve got Corbella’s.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, Corbella’s.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Corbella’s, a meat market. I sold my hogs to him twice.

Susanne Salvestrin: Did you?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Twice, when the service called, I had to liquidate the hog business.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right, so you went in, you went in. You were in twice?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s right.

Susanne Salvestrin: During the war, World War II, and then you went in again later?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, I was out for three years and then I went back in.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. We haven’t covered that.

Susanne Salvestrin: We haven’t covered that yet, no.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No. And let’s see we’re at Corbella’s and then Guigni’s.

Susanne Salvestrin: Guigni’s.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then The Toggery.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh Mel’s.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Before Mel’s it was Matucci, Ted Matucci.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Ted Matucci.

Susanne Salvestrin: Probably didn’t spell it right, but I’ll check that out.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Ben Matucci, I guess he was an older brother, Ben and Marie Matucci were in my class in grammar school. Anyway, then we had Rossi and Anderson’s.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh Rossi, can you tell me anything about Rossi and Anderson?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Joe Tazetti was one of the owners and his home was the house next to the Post Office that is becoming a senior center.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh right. They call it the Rianda House now.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That was Joe Tazetti’s home.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. And Anderson, do you know what the Anderson?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Rossi and Anderson were apparently previous owners before my time. And then.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes, they were.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: A partner of Joe Tazetti was Poggi, John Poggi.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Now we get to John Poggi that you mentioned before.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes, because I just got a question from him a Poggi relative who said her grandmother said that they had the corner where Buloti’s was and next to that she called someone in St. Helena and said that they were never here. They were never here and she is so upset. I emailed this lady back and I said, you tell your grandmother I know the Poggi name and they were here.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, I have to do some research on the Poggi name.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. John Poggihad two kids, Jack Poggi was older than I and Rose Poggi, Jack’s sister I think she was older than I also a year or two older. And their home, their home was on Scott Avenue at the very end of Scott on the west corner. It’s a big two-story home.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It’s the last house going out Scott.

Susanne Salvestrin: On Scott. She mentioned a hotel. She mentioned that there was a hotel that they owned too on Spring Street.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The William Tell ?

Susanne Salvestrin: I don’t think it was the William Tale, because no because William Tell is on Main Street.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, William Tell.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh no it is on Spring.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, I’ll have to find out about that.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: We’ll get to that in a minute.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Where are we? We’re still at Rossi and Anderson.

Susanne Salvestrin: We’re still at Rossi and Anderson, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And John Poggi, Joe Tazetti was on the grocery side of the store and John Poggi was on the hardware side and plumbing. He did plumbing work outside.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, that was Poggi and?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That was Poggi.

Susanne Salvestrin: Grocery was Poggi. And the hardware store was his partner, Tazetti.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Joe Tazetti. Between Tazetti’s home and Joe Galuski’s home on Main Street is now the post office.

Susanne Salvestrin: Now the post office.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Before that it was a large mansion set back from Main Street with a rod-iron fence around the front and that in the 1930s became, 30s or early 40s. Late 30s I guess it was, became a funeral home where Caskey and Morrison first set up business.

Susanne Salvestrin: I love it.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Digressing.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s okay, that’s okay. This is great.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. And then I don’t know, when was the Post Office built? In the late 30s?

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes. It was either that or the early 40s. {1940}

Kenneth Grant Cairns: But anyway.

Susanne Salvestrin: It was late, yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s the piece of property that became the Post Office. But it was a large, not Victorian. {The Carver mansion}. It was more on the style of the Beringer’s.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. We have pictures of that house still, yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: You’ve got that.

Susanne Salvestrin: I have pictures of the house, but we always like to know I’m not sure about the names. You know, the funeral home information, I don’t know if we have all of that.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah but for a short time it was a funeral home. And in competition with Wards, Harry Wards Funeral Home which was across the street. It later became Morrison’s.

Susanne Salvestrin: Ward. Okay. Let’s see, okay we went all the way down that side of the street.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: We got down to Rossi and Anderson.

Susanne Salvestrin: Rossi and Anderson, uh-huh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then we got Blacky’s Saloon.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Which is now Anna’s Cantina. Then you get on the corner was a grocery Buloti’s Grocery Store.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh yes. I remember Buloti’s very well. I  just loved that store.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: The wood creaky wood floors when you went in.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s right.

Susanne Salvestrin: And just, I mean it felt like you were walking back into the 1800s when you went in there.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s right.

Susanne Salvestrin: I mean it was wonderful and Bill and his dad, I mean just…

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well Bill, I remember him when he was about that high and look at him now.

Susanne Salvestrin: I know, I know. I just love that store. And they, they would take credit.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: You know you could go in and put it on a little tag, you know your groceries on a little tag and pay once a month.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: It was just unbelievable. I wish.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: They had delivery.

Susanne Salvestrin: And delivery, yeah. Yeah. I just loved that store.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: I’m sorry the kids this day in age can’t visualize that or see that somehow, you know. It was just amazing. And Buloti’s. And that was a grocery store for long time.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. It was.

Susanne Salvestrin: Long time.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yep.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then around the corner was William Tell Hotel.

Susanne Salvestrin: There were bars on that street too?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That was a bar.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes. But there were other bars on that street across the street I think too.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Martini’s?

Susanne Salvestrin: From some of the, from some of the pictures I’ve seen.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well, there was on Main Street.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I haven’t got that far yet.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah. Right. And it was funny to see some of the pictures?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: You see this Spring Street you see these and Main Street you see these bars and then you see church steeples.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. That’s right.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s funny.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, then I don’t know what was on the corner where the Exon Station was now. I can’t remember but then the next place down was Tony Ringo’s Bar (ph).

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. And this is where Texaco and then something else beyond that. This is still on Main Street or is this on Spring?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah this is where Sunshine Parking Lot is now.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Tony Ringo and then we got to Twitchell’s Garage.

Susanne Salvestrin: Whose garage?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Twitchell.

Susanne Salvestrin: Twitchell.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The Twitchell brothers, they were twins. And Wally Twitchell was the son of one of them who was a year or two older than I. And Wally Twitchell and Sonny Ernest Box this is digressing a little, joined the Air Force and went through pilot training about 1940 or ’41. They had two of them from St. Helena. When I was in pilot training Sonny Box was an instructor at Stockton. And Wally Twitchell was kicking around somewhere and he wound up in the Far East in the Philippines and I think flying P38 and the last I heard is he is retired now I’m sure was he was a Bird Colonel. And Sonny Box after World War II, I ran into him at Hamilton Field once and he was flying for Pan-American. A lot of pilots came out of St. Helena.

Susanne Salvestrin: I guess.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. I mean when you start adding them up. There is a bunch. But anyway, that was I digress on that on the Twitchell Garage.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s good.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then, then you had the electric train depot.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s all in that same section there where Sunshine Market is?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Nipshield’s dehydrator.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh. Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Next to Sulphur Creek.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right. That was a quick teardown.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pardon?

Susanne Salvestrin: Remember when they tore that down?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The day.

Susanne Salvestrin: Early one morning?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The day before it was to become a historic place.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That was a shame.

Susanne Salvestrin: That was a shame. That was a shame.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. I,t never has made a go.

Susanne Salvestrin: No, it hasn’t.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Never made a go.

Susanne Salvestrin: It’s a bank.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Then let’s go across the street and back up.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay, and back up.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Taylor’s, that came later. But anyway, next between Pope and Sulphur Creek was Anderson Brother’s Service Station and Tire Shop.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And they were the first outfit I think in Napa County to vulcanize tires. In other words to cook on the retreads.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: There is Anderson Brothers next to Pope, and across Pope and corner of Pope and Main was Vogle’s Ford Garage.

Susanne Salvestrin: Vogle?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Vogle. V-O-G-L-E or E-L.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. Vogle?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Vogle’s Ford Garage. And Warren Stanford and Phips Thompson worked for him and various other people.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Then we got the garage and then there was a blank in there and then there was a Shell Service Station where the bicycle, Eddie Bonhote, the bicycle shop.

Susanne Salvestrin: And that was a Shell Station?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yes.

Susanne Salvestrin: Shell Station where and that’s now Peter’s?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, that’s the bicycle shop.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, that’s where the bicycle shop is, of course.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Next door?

Susanne Salvestrin: Right, yeah. Right, Shell Station was where the bicycle shop is now.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I can’t remember what was in where Nieman’s Auto is now?

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, I don’t. I don’t know that. And Brown’s Auto Parts had been there for a long time.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Really?

Susanne Salvestrin: Brown’s?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Coming up and then they’ve got the Galleron Building which Roy Mercier had a furniture store there one time. It must have been in the early 30s.

Susanne Salvestrin: And then Fashionland.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Then Brown’s Auto Parts and the Model Bakery was along in there. And then the corner of Main and Hunt was a bar, the Oaken Bucket, or something like that. Bucket something or other.

Susanne Salvestrin: And, of course, Geegee’s was down on Hunt.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, well we’ll get to that. You want to go down there?

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, I don’t care.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh, I know on the, on Hunt Avenue next to the bar was Herdle’s Harness Shop.

Susanne Salvestrin: Herdle, H-E-R-D?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Hurdle.

Susanne Salvestrin: H-U-R-D?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: H, H-E.

Susanne Salvestrin: H-E?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: H-E-R-D-L-E I think it was.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay, Herdle.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Harness shop.

Susanne Salvestrin: Harness.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Harness and leather, saddles you name it. It was primarily a leather shop.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And that was also, let’s see later on Eddie Bonhote had.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right. Yeah, he had a little bicycle fix-it shop in there.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Yeah and that became a nail salon or something or other.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then we get to Geegee’s. You wanted to get to Geegee’s that was (INDISCERNIBLE)but that’s Matuzi’s again.

Susanne Salvestrin: I was going to say.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: They never should have torn that old brewery down.

Susanne Salvestrin: I saw a picture in the newspaper when they were tearing that down.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Is that right?

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes, I saw. I saw it had a picture of them, Matuzi’s demolishing that building and there was a stone. There was a stone building next to it. There was, there was something next to it.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It was all stone.

Susanne Salvestrin: It was all stone.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And that was the old brewery.

Susanne Salvestrin: The brewery.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s a shame.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s too bad.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, Gee Gee, Gee gee opened that up, Gee Gee’s home was where Doctor, where Doctor Wood’s Clinic is now on Pine Street.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: He was a backdoor neighbor of my grandparents.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And at night during prohibition you could smell burning rubber tires all over the neighborhood to cover up.

Susanne Salvestrin: To cover up.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The stills and you name it, but anyway. Gee Gee still lived there when he opened, opened the bar after prohibition at Gee Gee’s and his wife used to put out a blue plate 50 cent lunch and boy that was good. And I used to eat lunch there every once in a while. And she had a noon trade that wouldn’t quit. One plate, one item a day. And another place that did the same thing was, was in Rutherford, Ernie Navone’s in-laws. What was Ernie’s?

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh yes. What was her maiden name? I know it.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, but anyway they had a little restaurant and bar in Rutherford about, oh where there is a high-class restaurant now. The name started with a B didn’t it?

Susanne Salvestrin: It will come to me.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well anyway.

Susanne Salvestrin: Because I can remember the funeral and I remember seeing the family there.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. But anyway, they served a noon meal like that, the same deal.

Susanne Salvestrin: Good old Italian food.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: You don’t have that anymore.

Susanne Salvestrin: Uh-uh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, that was Gee Gee’s and then we go up Railroad you got the Miramonte Hotel was another bar.

Susanne Salvestrin: That was, yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And let’s see, the Miramonte and then the Hatchery. That used to be a foundry at one time. And then it was, in the 30s was actually, was a hatchery for chickens. Then there was Grant’s Garage and then a vacant lot which later became Whiting’s Nursery on the corner.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Now a bank.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And you had the Pritchard Building and then another bar. That little stone building next to the parking lot across from Lyman Park, across from Lyman Park and at the south end of the parking lot for the depot. There is a little stone building there. That was Mori’s Bar.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Mori, Al Mori that had the.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh right, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Had the chicken, well his ancestors had a bar there. And when they were, during prohibition they had this near-beer, low alcohol beer you know was, it was the only thing legal. And these guys that were loading freight cars, a 100 cars a day, there’s a bunch of people employed at that depot. That depot platform and they used to really patronize that bar.

Susanne Salvestrin: I was going to say, kept him in business.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Railroad people are noted for boozing it up pretty good anyway. Anyway, that covers about the bar department. Then we get back to Main Street on Hunt and Main, Arighi Drugstore.

Susanne Salvestrin: Arighi’s Drugstore.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Which later became Greta’s and I don’t know what it is now.

Susanne Salvestrin: It’s another dress shop.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Dress shop, and then going up the street there was a Railway Express along in there somewhere.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. There are so many little…

Kenneth Grant Cairns: About where there’s two restaurants, little hole-in-the-wall restaurants side by side. It’s about in that area where there was a Railroad Express Agency.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then there was along in there, maybe what is Keller’s now.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, a little bit more on the personal side, I want to see if you can remember and tell us, who are some of the people in St. Helena that you have associated with most over the years, some of your close friends and business acquaintances, etc. etc.? Can you give us a few names?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh boy. There’s a lot of them.

Susanne Salvestrin: I’m sure there are.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Gosh, I don’t know. I used to trade at Buloti’s Grocery Store.

Susanne Salvestrin: Did you know Old Man Buloti?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh yeah, yeah. Bill.

Susanne Salvestrin: And his son, Bill?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Bill’s father. And his mother, she was a Battini.

Susanne Salvestrin: A Battini.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. And the Battini family lived on Hudson Avenue about midway between Madrona and Pine and they looked at my grandmother Cairns, after my grandfather died, in a kind of neighborly thing. And my grandmother lived alone at the house at 1902 Madrona. And so, the Battini family was close to us really.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Almost part of the family?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well almost. And oh, let’s see, that’s the Buloti’s. Julius Caiocca had a grocery store in the Masonic building where Goodman’s is now located. Goodman’s, we traded there.

Susanne Salvestrin: Can you tell us a little bit about Julius Caiocca? He was kind of a town character wasn’t he?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh yeah, Julius, he wound up as county supervisor. And he was really cut out for work like that.

Susanne Salvestrin: Very political?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: He always had, always had a story to tell. Every time you’d run into him, he would have some little anecdote or little story to tell.

Susanne Salvestrin: From the whole valley probably?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Well, he was raised in, I believe, in the grocery business to begin with in Rutherford. Didn’t the Caiocca family have a grocery in Rutherford?

Susanne Salvestrin: Probably so.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I think so. So, he came by the grocery business naturally. That was one of his careers. Later he was in the insurance business. See, he was with Vasconi in the insurance business. Later on, that must have been after World War II.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, I’m sure, yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Let’s see. Another trader was Smith’s Pharmacy when it was on Main Street. Walter Metzner was the owner of that.

Susanne Salvestrin: He was another great character of St. Helena.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Walter Metzner was the mayor for many years.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Song leader, at the Rotary Club, and he was pretty much an extravert. My future brother-in-law, Oliver Eisen, started working in the drug store for Walter when he was in high school, and Walter thought a great deal of him. Oliver went to pharmacy school, went to UC School of Pharmacy in San Francisco

Susanne Salvestrin: I remember that.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And when he got his pharmacy ticket, he didn’t take a full four years to get a bachelor’s degree. He took, completed the course in pharmacy but he had put himself through school. And with very, very little outside help, which is to his credit. And he was a goer. He was an Eagle Scout among other things.

Susanne Salvestrin: Really.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, Oliver came back to St. Helena after he got his ticket and was in line to take over Smith’s Pharmacy when World War II came along. So, Oliver wanted to get into the Air Force, in pilot training. Some of the other people, Wally Twitchell and Ernest Box, had gone that route before World War II started. Oliver got in and got the pilot training but before he would start flying he discovered eye defect of some sort, which disqualified him as a pilot. So, he became a navigator. And he flew various airplanes in the Pacific to Hawaii and down I guess as far as Australia during World, 1940 late ’42 and ’43. Then they opened up the B-29 program and he joined that as a navigator and he was group, Lead-Navigator on the first B-29, navigator on the first B-29 to overseas. And his outfit was stationed in India. They flew their missions to Japan from India where the refueling midpoint refueling in Chengdu in Northern China. And they did a couple of runs to stockpile fuel and then make their long run in Japan and then they would stop at Chengdu on their way back to refuel enough to get home. He completed 25 missions and was eligible to come home. He continued to fly missions and I believe it was about his 5th extra mission that they got him. And he went down in the Yellow Sea. They never did recover any of the crew.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, that’s Oliver Eisen. He was a potential.

Susanne Salvestrin: Pharmacist.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Heir and owner of the Smith’s Pharmacy.

Susanne Salvestrin: Smith’s Pharmacy, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: What else we got up here? On the other side of the street we got Leo Keller. Keller had a grocery store and a meat market. He had a slaughterhouse out on the Silverado Trail, which is now a winery. Let’s see, the other butcher in town was Ray Corbella.

Susanne Salvestrin: Corbella, yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Ray’s father was the originator of Corbella’s Butcher Shop. And then Ray took it over. I was in the hog business twice in 1940 and ’41 when, after I got out of Davis. I got started in hogs and when the war came along and I went into the Army Air Force why, I sold all my hogs to Ray Corbella. When I got back home in ’45 or ’46 rather, I started hogs again and I had to sell out the second time in late ’48 and they went to Corbellas again. So, I did business with the Corbellas selling hogs to them. Let’s see. I guess, well what the heck is his name? Brocco, Al Brocco apprenticed with Ray as a butcher. And he brought, spent a tour in the Navy in World War II and then was back with Corbellas and the butcher shop and then Brocco, I guess when they closed the butcher shop, he went to work at the Veteran’s Home and retired from it. He was in the Food Service Department at the Veteran’s Home. And he died recently, well within the last year I believe.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Al Brocco.

Susanne Salvestrin: I remember the name.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Anyway, then George Graff was a plumber. He had a shop on Main Street. Where in the heck was it?

Susanne Salvestrin: One time up north on the west side, wasn’t it up there?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It was on the west side, oh, it’s long in there where the Model Bakery is now.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right. I remember it.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Somewhere in there.

Susanne Salvestrin: Do you remember?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: George and his brother Gene.

Susanne Salvestrin: George and Gene.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Worked for, George’s, their father originated the business in St. Helena and then when he passed away why George took over the business and Gene took it over from his brother after, after George passed away.

Susanne Salvestrin: Do you remember Judge Palmer?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Who?

Susanne Salvestrin: Judge Palmer?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Palmer?

Susanne Salvestrin: Palmer, yeah. The judge.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Lowell Palmer.

Susanne Salvestrin: Lowell Palmer?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, sure. He was our attorney.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: He was our family attorney.

Susanne Salvestrin: He was another St. Helena character.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, he was a character. You better believe it. But the judge before him, well ,he wasn’t. Yeah, he was judge. But before him was Louis Vasconi as a municipal judge, and before Louis was Judge Blake, who lived on Main Street, the second house down from Madrona Avenue on the west side of Main. The big house that is still there. And his son, Perry Blake, was a city clerk for a long time I believe. Let’s see. Who else we got on Main Street? Well Purity Stores came to St. Helena must have been during, right after World War II or during World War II. I don’t know the exact time. I wasn’t here then. And they set up shop in what used to be Grant’s Garage.

Susanne Salvestrin: Grant’s Garage, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then, he must have done it in the middle ‘60s, Purity built what is now Sunshine Foods, and then moved their store over there. Then the former Grant’s Garage was leased by Mori, Grindheim, and Biagi and became Food Land.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, that’s right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Al Mori, Grindheim, I can’t remember what his name was. Reverse name, I knew him too.

Susanne Salvestrin: Maury, Grindheim and who else did you say?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Mel Biagi.

Susanne Salvestrin: Biagi.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: B-I-A-G-I. Now, it’s his brother that owns the Biagi Trucking

Susanne Salvestrin: The trucking, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That does all the hauling for Beringer.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Then we had the Star office, was Lola Mackinder.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Who inherited that and let’s see, she was the mother of Star Baldwin, right?

Susanne Salvestrin: Uh-huh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And there was a picture published in the Star, large photo of my grandfather in my grandmother’s 1907 Rio automobile.

Susanne Salvestrin: Really? Do you remember when that was?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It had to be, I think it was in the late, sometime in the 40s.

Susanne Salvestrin: In the 40s, I’ll have to look.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I think it was probably ’46,’45,’46.

Susanne Salvestrin: This was a picture of your grandmother?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, my grandfather.

Susanne Salvestrin: Your grandfather?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, and he’s parked in front of the Star office and Lola Mackinder is in the window of the Star office.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. I’ll have to find it.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And that’s something that would be worthwhile from the archives,           I think.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes. We have the old Stars here.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I’ve got a copy of it at home somewhere, and I looked for it the other day and I couldn’t find it.

Susanne Salvestrin: You can’t find it?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I’ll find it.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay. That would be great.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And let’s see, then the Star office had Ed Paulson as printer for years and years. And he kept the weather records for St. Helena for, I guess all of his life at their family home on Pope Street.

Susanne Salvestrin: I remember, Eddie never missed looking at the weather report by Ed Paulson.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, that’s right.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah. Everybody else.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Now Ed Paulson had a brother by the name of Jay, Jay Paulson ,who was, the whole family was musical. Everybody played something, some musical instrument. And Jay was just a natural on the piano. And there used to be a little black and white sketch, etched and it might have been drawn by Ethel Dickenson. I’m not sure, but it was a little, about 5 x 7, black and white etching. It used to be on the wall and it had a little border, Angelo Borla’s OK Barbershop on Main Street.

Susanne Salvestrin: By Ethel you said, Ethel Dickenson.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Ethel Dickenson.

Susanne Salvestrin: Dickenson.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: She and her brother lived on Spring Mountain Road.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway.

Susanne Salvestrin: And it was in a barbershop?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pardon?

Susanne Salvestrin: In a barbershop?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The picture was in a barbershop. In this picture of the St. Helena Jazz Band is getting back to the Paulson and musical, the Paulson’s. This little black and white was a picture of the St. Helena jazz band. And there was Ed Paulson on the piano. Angelo Borla on the banjo, and Ed Paulson was, I don’t know where he was on trombone or trumpet and Jenks Jennings was on the drums. And there may have been somebody else that I don’t recall, but that would be something else for you all in the archives if you could find that picture.

Susanne Salvestrin: Is that the picture, is that the barbershop that was up next to north end town, uptown or the one that is still in now?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s still there.

Susanne Salvestrin: It’s still there? Maybe they have it.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Between, next to Guigni’s.

Susanne Salvestrin: Next to Guigni’s right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yes.

Susanne Salvestrin: We’ll have to go in and see if they still have that.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I would doubt it.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well, you never know.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. I would guess that Angelo Borla took it.

Susanne Salvestrin: He probably took it with him. It was B-O-R-L-A, Borla?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yes. And their Borla home was on Main Street, mid-block on the west side the 1500 block. Let’s see, where were we?

Susanne Salvestrin: Let’s see.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: We’ve been skipping around pretty bad.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s okay. Skipping around is good.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: We covered Rossi and Andersons?

Susanne Salvestrin: Uh-huh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, we did, we covered a lot of Main Street itself. How about other people, not on Main Street, that were close to you as a family? Do you have any in particular old-timers that you were, you were friendly with?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well yeah, my parents belonged to a bridge club. Dr. George Wood and his wife, Bess Wood, and Frank Wood. Frank and Betty Wood, that’s Laurie Wood’s father and mother. Harvey and Minerva Money, Leslie, what’s her last name? Mariam. He was on the schoolboard when I graduated. That’s Mariam, Jackie Gloves Williams, Gladys William’s maiden name was Evie and their home was at the end of Evie Road north of Bennett Lane in North Calistoga.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Evie was an old, old time family. Who else? Scott and Helen Nagle. Helen was my mother’s sister.  Scott Nagle at one time had Standard Oil ……….plant here in St. Helena until World War II. Scott had done a tour in Annapolis in the Navy. He never completed it, why I don’t know but his mother and sister, two sisters lived on Sulphur Springs Avenue and Scott came back to St. Helena to take care of them and to support them. And then when World War II came along, he had maintained a reserve commission and so he was recalled during World War II. And that’s the sideline on why Uncle Scott, Scott Nagle. Let’s see, who else was in that bridge club? How many tables you got?

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, I don’t know. I never did learn how to play.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Four tables, I think there were sixteen.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, I never learned how to play bridge. Any of them still around?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I’m trying to think of who else was, these were all people that I became associated with. Jack William’s son, young Jack Junior, was maybe a couple of years younger than I. I landed at Grand Prairie Road, I guess that is in British Columbia. Its north of Edmonton. It was just a one-time stop. I don’t remember why I stopped there. It was to offload something or pick somebody up or whatever and walked into operations and here is young Jack from Calistoga.

Susanne Salvestrin: From Calistoga.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And he was, he was an officer, a pilot, and he was in charge of the radar station at Grand Prairie in British Columbia. And then later on, I was stationed at Travis and he knew this. So he was transferred from Grand Prairie down to Spokane, Washington. He drops in on us one day at Larson Airforce Base, which is west of Spokane and you talk about small town or small world. You never know who you’re going to run into.

Susanne Salvestrin: No, you really don’t.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: You really don’t. So, let’s see. Have you belonged to any social organizations and which ones?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: No?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, the only one I’ve joined in town was the 20/30 club.

Susanne Salvestrin: 20/30 club.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That was about 1940/41.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay, you were too busy.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pardon?

Susanne Salvestrin: Too busy to be clubbing around, huh?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I had a bid to join the Rotary Club when I, after I retired from the Air Force, but I turned it down because I had a whole bunch of ranch work ahead of me. I couldn’t guarantee being there Johnny on the Spot every week.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, they are a busy club.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pardon?

Susanne Salvestrin: They are a busy club.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Even then I’m sure.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. And to maintain a decent membership you had to stay with it and be current and I didn’t feel that I could do it justice. So, I didn’t accept the bid.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well, you were, you were a busy man. You are a busy man. Other than the Napa Valley Co-Op, have you served on any other boards?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Any what?

Susanne Salvestrin: Any Boards like are you a member of any kind of board for any?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, just the St. Helena Co-Op.

Susanne Salvestrin: The St. Helena Co-Op.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And the Napa Valley Co-Op.

Susanne Salvestrin: And the Napa Valley Co-Op.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, and I’m on the Cemetery Board now as you know.

Susanne Salvestrin: I know. I know. And how long have you been?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pappy is the one that nominated me.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, did he?  Pappy Eisen, huh?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. He is my brother-in-law.

Susanne Salvestrin: How long, how long have you been serving, have you been on it? Do you remember?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Gosh, I don’t know three or four years. Five years or so.

Susanne Salvestrin: Three or four, about five years?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Not very long.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s for the duration.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pardon?

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s for the duration.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, I’m about to get off of it.

Susanne Salvestrin: Are you?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I can’t hear half of what’s going on.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And that’s not right.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well, we’ll miss you. Okay. What are some of your outside interests other than your farming? Are you interested in, well we know you like to fly. How long did you fly? Did you fly at all after the service or?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: No?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: When I, when I retired, I had offers to fly commercial. In fact, in India, when the base was in the process of closing, our base commander was Dick Morgan of the Morgan Trust Company family, the Morgan Family, the finance people. He was a Bird Colonel and the base commander. Well when the war stopped, he bailed out and went home after his bank and he left a major in charge as base commander, who happened to be our control officer at Boeing Plant in Seattle, Major Earl. And so, I had flown airplanes for thirteen months out of Boeing so, I knew Earl quite well. And he approached me in India, while we were waiting to come home, he was recruiting crews for CNAC, the Chinese National Airways. And he invited me to join them as a pilot. I was gone, I was going home. I didn’t want any more of them.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: China. And I didn’t, I got a private’s license: single multi-engine commercial instrument, because of my military record. I had no problem getting that at all. Anyway, when I got out, I had to make a decision of either fly at least once a month to maintain my own currency for myself or forget it. It was either fly enough to maintain a safety ability and I didn’t feel that I could do that. So, I just gave it up.

Susanne Salvestrin: Was it, was it kind of hard to do?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh yeah, sure.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Sure. I still critique some of these things.

Susanne Salvestrin: I don’t blame you. Do you like to fly commercially? I mean, do you fly at all? Not, not you piloting, but?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: Traveling?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I have ridden commercially a couple of times, but I hate that sardine. Like from San Francisco to Seattle, on United, these are packed in there so tightly you can’t wiggle.

Susanne Salvestrin: I know.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And I hate that, even though it’s only an hour and a half ride.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah. And other than that, do you like hunt or fish or have collections of anything? Any other interests besides your farming?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well, Echo Lake our cabin.

Susanne Salvestrin: Your cabin at Echo Lake?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, do you fish or do you just?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: We’ve been going up there since I was eight years old.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And from 1928 to ’32 we had a cabin on the road. My father always wanted to get on the lake. This lot became available so we glommed on to it and built our current cabin in 1932.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I was twelve years old when it was being built.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s 75 years ago.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: So, we’ve maintained it. Because of hospital, I didn’t, we didn’t get up there at all in ’05 and last year we spent a couple of month’s total, three different times, we went up. It’s only a three-and-a-half hour drive.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, that’s not bad.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, one way.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, do you fish at all while you’re up there? Do you fish?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I haven’t fished recently, no but I used to. And I’m going to.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh good, good. So, you got to get out all your old tackle.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, there’s fish in that lake.

Susanne Salvestrin: There’s fish in there, huh? Can you fish from the side?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: A scuba diver friend of mine said there are some really big stuff in there.

Susanne Salvestrin: Really?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And the reason they are big is they’re smart and they won’t bite.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s good. Well, I’m glad you’re going to be able to go back up there and have some fun.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: So.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Traditional opening up there on the lake for the cabins is about Memorial Day.

Susanne Salvestrin: I’ve never been. So, is it a big lake and is it full of people?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It’s about, yeah there’s two lakes. Lower lake is about a mile and a half long and we’re on the lower lake. And there’s a little channel between the two and (tape stops-long pause). Okay. Two Echo Lakes in real beautiful alpine setting and there’s about a 130 cabins on the lakes themselves. The only access is by boat or walk, and there’s no roads access to the cabins. You leave your car at the lower end of the lake and you take a taxi or your own boat, or hike the trail.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, a little bit of heaven there?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And there is no electricity and no telephones. And we use propane for cooking and lights. Got a little wood stove in the kitchen and a fireplace, if you need heat.       We have propane space heater in the living room but we haven’t had that on for twenty years. In the summertime that’s why you don’t need it.  And yes, cell phones solved the communication problems.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s true.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And like I said, we get along without, I got a real small generator to run a T.V. for Greta and she’s stuck with a wheelchair and she can’t get out and around. So, this is something for her. I grew up, a lot of the people that are still there; they are fourth and fifth generation.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, isn’t that fantastic.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s great.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And anyway, let’s see. We have two boats. We got a little Sunfish sailboat. Let’s see.

Susanne Salvestrin: How big, how many people can you have in the cabin? I mean does your whole family go up?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: We can, we can, well now Greta got rid of the two double-beds upstairs and put two large single beds. So, we’re only sleeping two up in the loft and downstairs you got a double rollaway and a single.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well, that’s good. You have a lot of fun I’m sure.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Two, four, five, you can sleep five and then put some out on the deck. You name it. We’ve had, we’ve had six and eight up there.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, that’s fun.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Sleeping on the floor, you name it.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right. How fun. Well that’s great. So, how about your political or religious interests? Do you have any hard and fast political comments you want to make?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, I’m a Republican. Enough said.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s about as far as you want to go, huh? Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I am a very, very strong distaste for government as it is today. We have layers and layers and layers of management and administration.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes, we do.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Not enough Indians. And this just irks the daylights out of me.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, where does it go from here, huh?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Now they are empire builders. I saw that same thing in the service. They are noted for building empires of the military. You get some guy with a higher rank on him and they get greedy.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And this is not good.

Susanne Salvestrin: No.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: An example: in a staff meeting, you know I was the scheduling officer for the 62nd Troop carry or group that had a wing and that vacillated back and forth between wing and group. Anyway, I held that job for a few years and this is scheduling for three squadrons of C124s, the mission scheduling. Anyway, in one of the staff meetings, some guy brought up a subject he had done a little personal research on it. I can’t remember what the subject was now, but it had to do with some military operations. And the wing commander who was, he was a Bird Colonel then and later became a Brigadier General said “That sounds interesting and I’d like to hear more about this” So, they assigned a captain and a sergeant to go full time to put this information together for the old man. Three months later, it had grown to a 130-man organization. That’s empire building.

Susanne Salvestrin: I don’t know. Have you had any role models that stick out in your life? Someone that just really meant a lot to you and you just wanted to?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: There are probably a lot of people.

Susanne Salvestrin:  Just a few that really stick in your mind that kind of help guide your whole philosophy?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: When I came back to St. Helena from the Air Force and my father had just passed away, and never had a bunch of vacant land and I wanted to get some grape for the wine business which was starting to pick up, and grapes were the way to go. And I had, I couldn’t leave it in the hay and so I talked to several people that I thought were responsible, Sat Dal Porto and Steve Navone, Morisoli, Mario Morisoli?

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh Morisoli, huh? I didn’t know him but I know the name.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The Morisolis, he lived on Hunt Avenue.

Susanne Salvestrin: On Hunt Avenue, okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Just down a couple of blocks away from.

Susanne Salvestrin: Couple of blocks away, uh-huh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Anyway, those were the people that I talked to, because they were.

Susanne Salvestrin: And they helped guide you into, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The most knowledgeable about the current grape production.

Susanne Salvestrin: Have you, are you happy you went that route of going into?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh yeah, yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: It’s been.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well, for a guy that majored in animal husbandry at Davis, I got the hog business shot out from under me twice. So, I spent twenty years flying airplanes and then, now I’ve been in the middle of a vineyard since 1964.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well, I grew up in a vineyard and a prune orchard.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well, yeah because right you were going ahead of somebody for Krug’s, remember when you were fourteen?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. I tried.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah. So, how do you think St. Helena has changed, in your opinion, for better or worse in the past years? How do you feel about St. Helena both personally because you’ve lived here all your life and how do you feel about the changes that are happening from long ago to now?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well, it is a rather touchy subject for somebody who was raised here.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Where I used to walk down Main Street and I could call 90% of the people by their first name. But you can’t do that today.

Susanne Salvestrin: No.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And we’re covered up with tourists. All your businesses on, not all of them, but a good share of your business on Main Street today are strictly tourist-oriented. Shoes, dress shops, and…

Susanne Salvestrin: It’s not really local serving.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, and they’re not they’re not local clothing . They are not geared to the local people at all. There are a few stores that are a good service to the local people would be like Steves Hardware, which has an inventory that won’t quit. Their housewares department has a lot of articles that are tourist-attracting but also, they serve the local people in the store. That’s only one store. What else have we got? Your Smith Pharmacy is a typical drugstore today. It’s a little bit of everything. I saw a blurb the other day in the paper where people were lamenting that Buchanan’s was no longer in existence. We don’t have a stationary store as such in St. Helena.

Susanne Salvestrin: No, we don’t.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Which is really a need. But this person writing in the paper declared that Smith’s Pharmacy had all those things.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well Steves too.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And they do, they do have pens and pencils.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Some things like that, but not the true stationary store.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That Buchanan’s was..

Susanne Salvestrin: Right, and our problem I think is St. Helena won’t allow the chain stores in, and in this day and age, Buchanan’s can’t make it any more.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s right.

Susanne Salvestrin: You know, it has to be Office Depot or Staples or those big conglomerations.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: That they won’t let in here. So, we’re out of luck.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, that’s right.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, there is a big change?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: It’s too bad we can’t go back, but we can’t. Can we?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: No, we can’t.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: You’re not going to see it.

Susanne Salvestrin: No. So, what is the legacy that you would like to leave? What would you like to be remembered for in your life? What would you like to leave the legacy that you would like people to remember you by as a person, what you’ve done with your life? Your family, your children and?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Just to be honest, don’t be too greedy.

Susanne Salvestrin: Don’t be too greedy. That’s a great thing.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yep. I can have a big mansion up there to compete with my neighbors, but I don’t need it. I got less than 1400 square feet and that’s enough.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah. How are you, remind me again. I haven’t listened to the tapes. Your children again, your daughter?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: My daughter, Nancy.

Susanne Salvestrin: Nancy.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Who just turned sixty. She was born 6th of March, 1947. And my son, Kenneth S. Cairns, he was named after my father, was born 21st of October, 1943.

Susanne Salvestrin: And he lives here in St.Helena?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: Does he, no.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: He made a pile of money on his own and I tried to consolidate with him a couple of times, but he.

Susanne Salvestrin: He’s independent.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: He didn’t have the patience, let’s put it that way. So, he went out on his own and put a package together and bought himself a 79’ sailboat in New Jersey. And he’s got it down at Miami or Fort Lauderdale now, and that’s where he lives is on his boat.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay, wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Playing the stock market.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well great, good for him. And your daughter is over…

Kenneth Grant Cairns: In Rockland.

Susanne Salvestrin: In Rockland, right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, I’d like to meet her because she’s going to do, she’s going to do the transcribing, I think?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: If I can talk her into it.

Susanne Salvestrin: If you can talk her into it. Well, hopefully, hopefully she can. And if she does come over soon, I’d love to meet her.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, I’d love to meet her.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Okay. Okay.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, that would be fun.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: We’ll try to get that together.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, next time she comes over or something.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: She’s coming over the 20th.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, for when you go in for your surgery?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: When they carve on me.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah. Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: But I won’t be, be able to take her around then. Anyway, we’ll get together sometime.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, we’ll get together sometimes, yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yep.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well, that’s good. So, any other thoughts that you might have about anything that we’ve been talking about or?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No. I don’t know. I’d like to get on record a little bit about some of the things I did in the Air Force.

Susanne Salvestrin: I think that would be fine. We can go back to that.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: My experiences in the Air Force.

Susanne Salvestrin: Your experience, okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: A little out of the ordinary.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay, all right. Well let’s go into that.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: So, anyway, I flew 55 combat missions over The Hump in 1945. I had transport aircraft. I was transporting mostly fuel and occasionally general cargo, but most of the time we were tank and fuel for both the aircraft and ground vehicles. But that was that part of it. Then the previous year of 1944, I spent most of the time flying the South Atlantic in transport aircraft again. Most of it was over water from Brazil to Africa via Ascension Island. Anyway, after World War II, I got out and in 1948, the Berlin Airlift started as well as, and I was in St. Helena in partnership with my father. We had 6 different prune orchids. I believe I told you this, yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Uh-huh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, I was enrolled in a GI class with a bunch of other cadets at the high school. In ’48, a recently retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel joined our class. He had just bought and was establishing a little chicken ranch up on Highway 29, opposite Big Tree Road. Anyway, his last post was at the Embassy in Peking, China. And we had some long discussions because we both had long-term military careers. He was absolutely positive that something was going to happen in the Far East in (INDISCERNIBLE). That there torment and nturmoil and that there was something cooking. And this came from a guy that had just been in an attaché at the Embassy in China, Peking. You were at Beijing recently?

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes, yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, okay.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, my records were in out at Hamilton field in reserve. I must have gotten some literature from them about the Berlin Airlift needing pilots that were qualified in C54 aircraft, well that was me. And I was flying 54s half the time on The Hump. I was an instructor pilot and I’m also at The Hump. But anyway, the Berlin Airlift was getting cranked up and it looked like something was going to happen worldwide. So, I went back in, voluntarily, and they sent me to Great Falls, Montana for a thirty-day refresher course. I hadn’t flown for three years. And I took a refresher course in C54s and went to, was shipped to Germany for the Airlift. And I arrived at Stelle where I spent five and a half months. It’s not too far from Hamburg and it’s in northern Germany. I checked in at 4:00 in the afternoon. They said be on the flight line at 7:00 in the morning. And at 8:00 that morning I was on my way to Berlin. So, we were flying three blocks a day, three roundtrips a day into Berlin. There is an hour in and an hour out, two-hour roundtrip. So, it’s six hours a day. But we were spending fourteen hours on the flight line out of twenty-four. And once a week, the administrative people would fly one shift. That was three shifts a day and the administrative people would fly one shift, so that we would rotate and go from the day shift to the swing to the grave. So, each week we would change shifts. So, somebody wasn’t stuck with the grave shift all the time. So, we did that for, well, I was over there for five and a half months. I flew 196 blocks into Berlin. And there were some days that the only time I saw the ground was when I was on it. It was instant take-off, flat  instruments all the way, and TCA at the end and you didn’t see the ground until you were a quarter of a mile or half.

Susanne Salvestrin: Were you under a lot of stress or did?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pardon?

Susanne Salvestrin: Were you under a lot of stress or was it just kind of?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No, it’s just.

Susanne Salvestrin: Routine?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It was just a day’s work.

Susanne Salvestrin: A day’s work.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Well that’s good.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: But anyway, I brought an airplane home. I brought a C54 home from India also and I think the reason I was selected for it is because I had a lot of over-water experience, long-range days, and then the Ferry Command I was not following a formation. I was on the road alone then. I had to think for myself. So, coming home from India, I had seventeen crew members. They put as many on as they could then to give the guys a ride home, to get home for Christmas. This was in, we got back to, I got home on the 19th of December. But anyway, I brought an aircraft home from the Berlin Airlift and delivered that at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts. And I hooked a ride on the B29 to, you’re coming out to McClellan. Just my luck, and so I got a straight through flight. I came home from India, commercial airlines were back so, another guy on either side we ride the train. So, we rode the train from West Palm Beach to Sacramento.

Susanne Salvestrin: I bet you thought you’d never get here.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Five days. Anyway, somewhere in Kansas who goes by but Louis Sommer from St. Helena?

Susanne Salvestrin: You’re kidding? Oh, my gosh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Louis is a Captain. I was a Captain then.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, for goodness sakes.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Louis was a Captain in the Medical Core and he was bringing some of his, escorting some guy home: a patient out to the west coast. And Louis doesn’t remember it today.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh really?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, but I do.

Susanne Salvestrin: You have a fantastic memory. Fantastic memory, really good.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I think Bessie Lowell beat that into me. Anyway, we got rid of the Berlin Airlift and I was reassigned to 62nd Troop Carrier at McChord Air Force Base. There were six of us and then as instructor pilots in C54s. I was an instructor on the Berlin Airlift also, as well as the, and then the six of us were to check out the three squadrons there. When I got there, they were still flying C82s, which is a twin engine. It’s small to transport. And they were inheriting a bunch of C54s from the Berlin Airlift and so we got the outfit shut down on that aircraft. At McChord we got a lot of Alaska work, which was down my alley because in 1943 I had been ferrying aircraft up to the ALCAN Highway from Great Falls to Fairbanks. So, I knew the whole routine up in that area.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow, how exciting.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Gosh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then, I was first mate for, did the first mass transfer of fighter aircraft overseas in flight was in June of 1950. And this outfit was moving from either North or South Carolina to Germany. I was in a C54 transport, was carrying spare parts and crew chiefs to maintain these aircraft in flight or in route. And we started out at Selfridge Air Force Base in Detroit. And let’s see from there we went to Goose Bay, then to Newfoundland and Iceland and Scotland and eventually to Munich. And the fighter boys wanted to, as long as they got to Germany they wanted to spend some time so they found excuses to stay there five days.

Susanne Salvestrin: Where did you land in Newfoundland?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pardon?

Susanne Salvestrin: Did you land in Newfoundland?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Where did you land? Was it Argentia or St. John’s?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: It was St. John’s.

Susanne Salvestrin: St. John’s? Yeah. I lived in Newfoundland for two years.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: You did?

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, two and a half years.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Where?

Susanne Salvestrin: Loved it, in Argentina. The base in Argentia.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: You were in the service?

Susanne Salvestrin: My dad was Navy.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh, that’s right.

Susanne Salvestrin: Navy.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Navy?

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, he was in the Navy.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: It was a beautiful place to live.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah. So, you went all over? I mean you just flew everywhere.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well this is only the beginning.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh my gosh. But this is in the ‘50s you said?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And then we laid in Munich for five days and I will tell you that Munich beer is really good.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh really.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, when we got back home, why I dropped these guys off at Selfridge and we had quite a few hours on us already and the crew elected to fly straight through to Kelly Field, Texas. That was, we had recently been transferred from McChord to Texas, two squadrons and a group headquarters. This is right at the tail end of June and when I parked the airplane at Kelly, there was one sick airplane left when there should have been two squadrons, and Korea had started.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: And this was what the.

Susanne Salvestrin: Your friend?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The Lieutenant Colonel.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yes. Knew it was coming.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Well Korea had started the 25th of June and I was en route on this Germany trip at that time. And so, we stayed overnight at Kelly and said hello to my wife and kids and got a change of clothes and shipped out to Santa Monica, where they put long range tanks in my airplane overnight. It’s a rush-up job. And then back to McChord and then when we flew troops from McChord to Japan via Anchorage and Shemya and the Aleutian Islands and then if we had to, we refueled in (INDISCERNIBLE) in Northern Japan and then to Tokyo. And this was not a really efficient deal because we’re only hauling twenty-five to thirty troops or lower. So, we had enough fuel to make long legs and then coming home we were hauling aerovac out of Japan. We would refuel lots of times at Iwo Jima and sometimes go down to Guam and Okinawa and Hickam in Hawaii.  And that’s where we would offload the patients. And in Japan we would pick up a nurse and two medics and we generally have about twenty-five stretcher cases on a C54. These nurse and medics stayed on the airplane all the way from Japan to Hawaii with at least two refueling stops, and we had a crew change at either Guam or…

Kenneth Grant Cairns: These nurses and medics stayed with the patients for the entire trip, which was really a long haul for them.

Susanne Salvestrin: That is a long haul.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: These poor dog gone nurses, they’d give them 24 hours in Hickam, stick them on an airplane, go back to Japan, and do it all over again. They really worked, I’ll tell you. I’ve got a lot of admiration for those military nurses. They worked.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, I spent as much as 160 hours a month on that run. It took us 80 hours at two weeks to make a loop from McCord, Alaska, Aleutian chain, Japan, and back through the mid-Pacific and back to McCord. And this with the crew changes along the way. Anyway, got Korea done with and then the outfit transitioned into C-124s, that’s the “old shaky”, in 1951. We wound up with some Alaskan work there, and many brush fires all over the world at the time. Africa, you name it. We also had — this was in the old Air Force when they were still flying Nash formations. You know, the many, many airplanes and a bunch of tactical ways that’s no longer feasible. In our early training we’d put up as many as 27 aircraft in formation. The 124’s, the Douglas Company that built the airplane wanted airborne pictures of the formation. So, we put up a formation of six aircraft. Two echelons of three, and I was lead of the second echelon. In other words, I was in the slot. We flew a show formation, which was just nose to tail clearance and wing tip to wing tip clearance. In other words, if you overshot you weren’t lapped wingtips. It’s a little tight.

Susanne Salvestrin: A little tight.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: In the 124. Anyway, we flew that for over three hours. They had a movie camera in another aircraft, taking shots from all angles. I’ve got a real pretty picture at home. At any rate. I was wringing wet when I got done from that one.

Susanne Salvestrin: I’m sure you were.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That was one of the nicer experiences. Then I wound up transferred to Alaska to the 54th Troop Carrier Squadron, which is a satellite squadron that belonged to Alaskan Air Command. They wanted to do their own hauling up there. So, I spent two years in Alaska, and the family was with me, lived at the Elmendorf Air Force Base. Most of the people had no previous Alaska experience at all. I had been, flown in 1943, and then had some experience in the 62nd when we had flown on maneuvers with the Army and you name it, in C-54s before the 124s. Anyway, I came back to the 62nd at Larson Air Force Base. I was in Alaska from ’52 to ’54, and it was in 1955 they sent me and a close friend of mine, pilot Earl Chamberlain, who happened to graduate in the same class I did fromLuke Field in Phoenix, Arizona. Anyway, they sent us to an ice school, hot shot school at Wilmette, Illinois. It’s attached to the Northwestern University and it was a Snow, Ice, and Permafrost Research Establishment. We were taught how to determine the strength of floating ice in order to land aircraft on it. We spent a week in Chicago at this school, and we made a tour of what was going to be the DEW Line. This is a distant early warning line, a line of radar sites across the north coast.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: You can walk across two inches of freshwater ice and not go through. Two inches.

Susanne Salvestrin: Two inches is not very much.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. We could land a fully loaded C-124 at 160,000 pounds, that’s 80 tons.

Susanne Salvestrin: Not on two inches.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No.

Susanne Salvestrin: No.

 Kenneth Grant Cairns: On 52 inches.

Susanne Salvestrin: On 52 inches. Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Of sea ice. Which sea ice —

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, but that’s —

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Sea ice is not as strong as freshwater ice.

Susanne Salvestrin: No, because of the salt.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Because of the salt content. But what’s —

Susanne Salvestrin: Wasn’t that a little nerve racking?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: What?

Susanne Salvestrin: Wasn’t that a little nerve racking?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: A little bit.

Susanne Salvestrin: A little bit. Ugh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: We could go as low as 52 inches with temperatures at around zero. Outside air temperatures influence the strength of the ice also. Most of the time, we had well over that 52. Anyway, what our job wound up being for Earl and me was, we worked separately, and was where they had a site where they wanted — the purpose of the 124 landing on ice to begin with was it was the only thing capable of hauling the antennas for these radar sites. There was nothing big enough to do it, and the antennas were too delicate to transport on the surface. The rough terrain and jarring around and all of that. So that’s why we had to haul them in the 124, and it was a tight fit. Because when they went in and went up the ramps — the nose doors opened up and when they went up the ramp there was only two inches clearance on the top. With the nose truck fully extended. Anyway, that was the purpose was to land these antennas. The construction people, they were all civilian. IT&T, International Telephone is the prime contractor, and then they subbed out. They were building all of these sites. There was a site about every 50 miles across the north coast, from western Alaska on the Bering Straights to Greenland. Or actually to Labrador, across the Davis Straights from Greenland. This tied in with Tuli, the radar site at Tuli. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that.

Susanne Salvestrin: I’m not.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I hauled a bunch of stuff into Tuli, also. Anyway, this was the spring of ’56 that the big construction push started on this DEW Line, and I spent four months straight on the Arctic Coast back and forth. I’d hitch rides with the contractors’ bush pilots to get to where they were programmed to make a next delivery. So, I was all across the north coast, certifying these runways before our people landed. I was told when I left our headquarters, by our group commander, or group operations officer, “When you say go, we’ll go.” The bastard put it all on my back.

Susanne Salvestrin: That was a big responsibility.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. So, it wasn’t (INDISCERNIBLE) then it’s all my fault.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right. Oh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Anyway, I had ice runways both on lakes and on sea ice. We never had a problem.

Susanne Salvestrin: Okay.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: No problems at all. Then that was the DEW Line. I got an accommodation medal for that one. The next year, 1957, was the IGY. You know, the International Geophysical Year. Where they had weather stations primarily and atmospheric observations all around the world, worldwide, simultaneous observations. That was the object of this International Geophysical Year. With simultaneous observations they could maybe derive something. I don’t know. Maybe that’s where they found the jet stream, I don’t know. Anyway, Ice Station Alpha was established about 250 miles north of Point Barrow. That’s all water, 250 miles north of Barrow on the sea ice. I was sent up there to make sure the runway would hold a 124.

Susanne Salvestrin: So you do that by boring holes in the ice to see how deep it goes, or radar, or —

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Well, it gets like a snow cover on the ice. We like to get the snow down. We’ll leave only about two inches of snow on the ice. Because you have breaking action —

Susanne Salvestrin: Well you’re — right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Breaking action will be darn near as good as on blacktop, wet blacktop, with a little snow cover on it. But you put a thermometer in under the snow. A snow blanket is quite an insulator. To get the true ice temperature, we’d stick a thermometer in at the base of the snow at the top of the ice.

Susanne Salvestrin: I see.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Also bore a hole to determine how thick the ice actually was, to measure it. Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That’s the way we’d primarily measure it. Then we’d have —

Susanne Salvestrin: So, you would have to go a great distance and do that in lots of different places. Not just in one place.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Generally, for a 5,000-foot runway we’d bore at least three holes. Yeah. Let’s see.

Susanne Salvestrin: So, you did that.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. I was trying to think how many — I don’t know how many runways I had, but it was a bunch. Like I say, there were sites about every 250 miles. Some were small, intermediate sites and then every so often there was a larger (INDISCERNIBLE). The main bases were Point Barrow where they pre-fabbed a lot of the buildings for their section of the DEW Line and then Cambridge Bay was another one. That’s in northwest territories off of central Canada. Anyway, that was on the DEW Line. Back to the Ice Station Alpha. We’d land on (INDISCERNIBLE), we were hauling primarily barrel diesel fuel. The whole camp ran on diesel fuel. The first loads was hauling camp in. They had just minimums that had been air dropped, then we hauled camp in and got all of that material in and then we stocked it for fuel for —

Susanne Salvestrin: So, when you’re saying —

Kenneth Grant Cairns: — about a year’s supply of fuel.

Susanne Salvestrin: When you’re saying haul camp, it’s camp goods for them to survive the time, or —

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Buildings and all.

Susanne Salvestrin: Buildings and all? Right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Yeah.  Jamesway Huts, which were packed in — well, the crates that they were packed in became the floor of the building and their frames were all knocked down. Both frames. They were covered with a thick insulated blanket on the top, and then a weather protector outside of that. They were comfortable. The bolts that went through on the frames, on both frames, if there was a head of a bolt exposed outside to the open air the end of the bolt on the inside of the building would get frost on it.

Susanne Salvestrin: Would get frost on it.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Would freeze. In Argentia you maybe saw something like that.

Susanne Salvestrin: We saw a lot of cold weather in Argentia, but let me tell you. I was young. I was just a little girl, and it was the most fabulous place I have ever lived.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah?

Susanne Salvestrin: Loved it. I loved it.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. Any rate, we got the first camp done and then that winter, it drifted over — I don’t know how far it got, but it broke up. This was expected. What Father Tom Cunningham, he’s a Jesuit priest, whose Parish was all over Alaska north of the Brooks Range, was an ice expert. Because he’d been up there so long. He did the reconnaissance work by air, to select a chunk of ice that was old. Something that had been there for five, six, seven years and would be thick enough to support a long-term deal. But it’s still subject to —

Susanne Salvestrin: Testing?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: — breaking up. It did. The camp broke up the first winter.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The next spring, I was on the advanced party. I wasn’t on the initial party that started the camp on the first one. On the second one, I was invited to go along. There was 16 of us, and they landed us with a C-47 on skis. We piled out of this airplane with what luggage we could carry, that was it. A bedroll and clothes and that’s it. This goonie bird pilot was a little nervous, he couldn’t wait to get off and get out of there. Anyway, we’re sitting on the ice, waiting for my outfit to come in and drop us enough to survive for the first night, which they did. We found the case of eggs all right, but we couldn’t find the bacon. Finally, they had the damned bacon packed in-between the mattresses and the eggs were all by themselves. This is air dropped on pallets. Anyway, we put the camp together and we had a little — the building was probably about 16×16 feet, prefab deal. So, we crammed 16 of us in there, bed down.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, gosh, that was pretty tight.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Pretty darn cozy, I’ll tell you.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah. Well, it kept you warmer probably.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: At any rate, we had a runway in less than a week for the 124s.

Susanne Salvestrin: Wow.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I’ll never forget one time when I went up in the cockpit to say hello to my friend. These were all — all the people flying, I knew. I went up to say hello, and this young co-pilot looked at me and says, “What’s that white stuff on you?” Here my eyebrows and my moustache were all —

Susanne Salvestrin: They were all frozen.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: All frost from my breath. He couldn’t get over it. I told him, I says, “You’re sitting on —  I don’t know, what’d I have? Five feet of ice, something like that. I said, “You’re sitting on five feet of ice, and you’ve got 4,000 feet of water under you. Don’t worry, it’s okay.” They were awful nervous when he — (overlapping conversation)

Susanne Salvestrin: I bet. I bet.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: There was one time when they pulled off in the Ice Station (INDISCERNIBLE). They had an emergency deal. The wanted to open up one of the DEW Line runways. They flew me out from the Ice Station with a bush pilot in a Cessna 180, single engine.

Susanne Salvestrin: Oh, my goodness. What did that feel like?

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Two hundred and fifty miles over the sea ice to Point Barrow.

Susanne Salvestrin: I think I would be a little bit nervous.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I got an commandation medal for that one.

Susanne Salvestrin: I guess.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: What exciting times you had.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah. My experience in the military was a little different than most people.

Susanne Salvestrin: I would say so.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: I would say so. But don’t you think pilots are kind of special anyway?              I mean —

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: I mean for what you had to do in that time, with — I mean, I just — it’s amazing what you were able to do.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: With what we had to work with.

Susanne Salvestrin: With what you had to work with.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Especially the instruments and radios for instrument landings.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s right.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I don’t think you’ll find a pilot today capable of making an instrument let down with a manual loop. I did that to pass a check ride.

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, it’s amazing.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Today it’s all electronics and automatic. These big airplanes, they even land themselves.

Susanne Salvestrin: I know.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: The pilot is just there in case something goes wrong, and he’s there to tell people what happened.

Susanne Salvestrin: Exactly. Exactly.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I don’t know, what have we got from here?

Susanne Salvestrin: Just anything you can think of. I’m finished with my questions. I think that we’ve covered just about everything. I just want to thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. Because we are trying to build up this oral history of all of our wonderful St. Helena people that have been here, and to have done the amount that you’ve done in your lifetime is just fantastic.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Is what?

Susanne Salvestrin: I said the amount of things that you have covered in your lifetime is fantastic.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Oh, yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: It’s good for us to have that written down.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: It’s just —

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Nancy’s been after me to write a book.

Susanne Salvestrin: Right. Well, it’s tough to write a book. It’s hard. You know? I mean, just going about getting your life in order. You know? The Historical Society is working hard. We have probably 200 people we need to talk to.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: That you need to talk to?

Susanne Salvestrin: That we need to talk to, still. You were one of my first that I had on my list.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: What’s that?

Susanne Salvestrin: You were one of the first that I had on my list.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: First? Is that right?

Susanne Salvestrin: Because, as you can see, it’s an involved process.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: Trying to get people to talk about themselves isn’t really easy.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: I have trouble maintaining a continuity. Something recalls something else, and I’m bouncing back and forth.

Susanne Salvestrin: It doesn’t matter, because that’s why when you transcribe things you can put them in order.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: When you write it down, you can put them in order.

Kenneth Grant Cairns: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin: That’s the good thing about the tape, you can stop and go back and all that stuff, so. I want to thank you again. I’m going to close for now. We can get together again. If you can think of some other things, we certainly have the rest of this tape and the other side of this tape that we certainly can fill up. So, thank you.