Petite Abruzzini

Petite Abruzzini

Date of Interview: July 9, 2008

Interviewers: Ken Taplin and Susanne Salvestrin

Date of Interview: July 9, 2008

Ken Taplin:  This is an interview with Petite Abruzzini on Wednesday, July 9, 2008, at her home, 1633 Vineyard Avenue, in St. Helena.  I’m Ken Taplin with assistance from Suzanne Salvestrin. So, your father and family were early arrivals in the Napa Valley.   Please tell us about their arrival in the Valley and when, how, why?

Petite Abruzzini: I wish I could tell you all that.  But I don’t know — I don’t know my father’s — my mother and father came over from France, just near the Swiss border. And its dates and things like that I do not know. 

Ken Taplin:  They came to the Napa Valley in 1929 and I think he (indiscernible).

Petite Abruzzini: Yeah, could have.  I mean, just, could have.  Not 1929.  No, it would have to be earlier than that, because I was born in ’28.  Yeah.  It’s got to be earlier than that, my goodness.

Ken Taplin:  My math must be wrong then. 

Petite Abruzzini: No, it would have to be, like, the — because she raised my father — my grandfather passed away here when he was 50.  And she raised the four boys on the ranch.  They have the winery out (indiscernible).  Let’s see if there’s (indiscernible). 

Petite Abruzzini:  You have this book? 

Susanne Salvestrin: Ghost Wineries? No, I don’t think I do.

Petite Abruzzini:  For sure, it’s this right here, it was — well, wait a minute, no, that’s different.  Let’s see, Franco-Swiss Wines were being exported from the foreign markets as early as 1883.  So, what (indiscernible) is where the winery was, is where my, my parents — my grandparents owned that, including (indiscernible). 

Ken Taplin:  Was that on the Silverado Trail ?

Petite Abruzzini: No, it was in Conn Valley.  Where the Perlite Plant is?

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.

Petite Abruzzini: And at (Indiscernible) Winery Mill.

Ken Taplin:  (Indiscernible).

Petite Abruzzini: (Indiscernible).

Ken Taplin:  But there were four?  Four brothers and —

Petite Abruzzini: Four brothers, right.

Ken Taplin:  And they were all in Napa Valley?

Petite Abruzzini: All Napa Valley.  Uh-huh.

Ken Taplin:  What were the other brothers’ names?

Petite Abruzzini: The oldest one is Jules.  He was — and then, Charlie, Louie — Louis, and then Albert.  So —

Ken Taplin:  And they —

Petite Abruzzini: They were all born here. 

Ken Taplin:  How did they — did they live in this area?

Petite Abruzzini: Yes, let’s see, Jules moved to San Francisco after, you know, being — I don’t think he went to college.  (Indiscernible).  And he worked for the telephone company in San Francisco.  And he married a girl from San Francisco. (Indiscernible). Anyway, and then, my father, and Louie, and Charlie all, we worked the ranch. 

Ken Taplin:  (Indiscernible)?

Petite Abruzzini: Yeah.  And we had the winery (indiscernible) it was called the (indiscernible), the Bedster (ph) — Bredmidster (ph); Charles Volperand Fred (Indiscernible) of the Swiss/Italian Wine Company.

Ken Taplin:  (Indiscernible).  I’ve never heard —

Petite Abruzzini: And there was also another one, it was called George Kushaw (ph).  (Indiscernible).  I remember my parents talking about it.  But I didn’t — he may have (indiscernible) and the company, Franco Swiss Winery, that’s what it was called.  It was a (indiscernible) stone winery and in Conn Valley.  How long they had it, I wish I knew all that stuff.

Ken Taplin:  And you —

Petite Abruzzini: You know we never talked about things like that.  I don’t know why.  Because we didn’t. 

Ken Taplin:  Were you born on the Trail.

Petite Abruzzini: I was born on the Silverado Trail, Zinfandel, right there.  Now, this one here.  And Mary Louise was born in San Francisco. 

Ken Taplin:  Oh, she was?  Okay. 

Petite Abruzzini: San Francisco.  And I was born there and so was Albertine.  And we moved into Saint Helena, when Albertine was six months or seven months. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  And your maiden name?

Petite Abruzzini: Volper

Ken Taplin:  Petite, can you tell us something about growing up in Saint Helena?

Petite Abruzzini: It was wonderful.  It was a small town.  We knew everybody; never locked our doors, windows.  I don’t think we even had a key.  I know we had; I think we had a skeleton key.

Ken Taplin:  Where did you meet Jack?

Petite Abruzzini: High school.  Well, I saw him before.  He used to — well, he went to Ursuline Academy.  But I did know him until much more — later (indiscernible).  Riding down the (indiscernible).  You know that road that (indiscernible).  He’d ride his bike down there and our house backed up to the back yard.  I said, “Oh, he’s cute.”

Susanne Salvestrin:  Do you remember the year?

Petite Abruzzini: Oh, my gosh.  (Indiscernible), probably ‘50.  And we got together to high school.  So, the — in those days, you didn’t really date.  You just sort of pushed together (indiscernible).  And there was hunting and fishing, you know.  I hated to go to the school dances and whatever.  Very upstanding and straight.  We would ride our bikes all over and we knew the police names. They’re always friendly to us.  And, Mr. Guigni would throw eggs at us.  One of my — no, it wasn’t my first job.  My first job was with Jo Anne Smith.  We delivered the Napa Register all over town. It took us forever.  He took us way down on Pope Street, you know, Dowdell Lane and up to Sulphur Springs  And then we’d go back to Guigni’s and lay on the cold floor.  And he’d give us something cold to drink.  And then after that, after I got my license, I delivered groceries for him.  Oh, it was — the single life was great. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Do you remember some of the people that you delivered to?

Petite Abruzzini: Sure, Elsie Wood, Palmers, Grafs.  I would always bring groceries into the houses.  There was this elderly lady on Stockton.  We would bring it in and unload it.  She asked if we would put things away for her and I did, you know.  I’d do things, like, that.  They’d tease me about it.  Worked at the cemetery; raked leaves for years.  All weekends.  Yeah, we did the (indiscernible), before they have a Memorial Day and all that John Smith and I, and Mark Alexander, we’d go out and rake leaves.  Pile them up and burn them.  In fact, that’s where I learned to drive is at the cemetery.  What do you call them?  Solid rubber tire, I guess you might say. And you double shifted.  You know, you had your pedals, like, it was a good time then.  We didn’t have a lot of things, but we — and we’d all, from Alexander Court we’d go to — went down the alley to Madrone.  And wait for my father to come home and bring (indiscernible).  Every day and you’d ride on the Old Jalopy.  He’d call it an Old Jalopy.  Those were, you know, good times.  Good times.  I like those times better than these times for raising children.

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.

Petite Abruzzini: And things were safe. 

Ken Taplin:  And your first child was —

Petite Abruzzini: Nancy.

Ken Taplin:  Born in?

Petite Abruzzini: February, ’51.  In the St. Helena Hospital.

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.  Next?

Petite Abruzzini: And that was Bruce, ’53.  March of ’53.  St. Helena Hospital.  It wasn’t St. Helena Hospital then.   Yeah.  It was all wooden and —

Ken Taplin:  And you’ve spent some time as a beautician?

Petite Abruzzini: Uh-huh.

Ken Taplin:  When was that?  Right out of high school?

Petite Abruzzini: No, I went to school in San Francisco first,  in ’47 — ’48.  And then came back and had to get my — had to work a year to get your license.  Well, you pass the test, the State Boards, and then you get your license.  We had to work a year.  Then you could manage a shop.  So, I worked it out.  (Indiscernible) plenty of — quite a few years, but then, Nancy came along, so she was (indiscernible).  Then managed it for a while, you know.  It’s hard to get people in those days.  It’s not like now.  It was real good.

Ken Taplin:  Where was the shop?

Petite Abruzzini: It was right there on Hunt Avenue.  Let’s see, what’s — (indiscernible) used to be in there.

Ken Taplin:  Oh, yeah.

Petite Abruzzini: What else?  (Indiscernible).  Of course, I’m not — what was the name of them?

Ken Taplin:  It was the closest one to the parking lot, isn’t it?

Petite Abruzzini: Correct.  Actually, what did I charge, $2.50 for a haircut and wash.  Hair cut was $1.75.  

Susanne Salvestrin:  Not anymore. 

Petite Abruzzini: It costs $50.00.  Manicures were $2.00. 

Ken Taplin:  The hotel?  Now, that was called the?

Petite Abruzzini: Valley Hotel.

Ken Taplin:  It was the Valley?

Petite Abruzzini: Uh-huh.

Ken Taplin:  And how long did you and Jack own that?

Petite Abruzzini: Maybe 20 years.  Most likely, 20 years.  It was 20 years. 

Ken Taplin:  You had a manager?

Petite Abruzzini: Yes, we had some (indiscernible). 

Susanne Salvestrin: The Valley Hotel was on the corner of Hunt and Main.

Petite Abruzzini:  Uh-huh. 

Petite Abruzzini:  (Indiscernible), yeah.  It was nice. 

Ken Taplin:  What was your and Jack’s social life like in St. Helena.

Petite Abruzzini: Our social life? 

Susanne Salvestin: Like clubs and (indiscernible).

Petite Abruzzini:  No, we were not club people. I was a club person when the children were in school to help, whatever.  Jack was not a club person.  (Indiscernible).  And we had in St. Helena to do in those days.  

Ken Taplin:  Did you ever go to —

Petite Abruzzini: Ball games. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Were you ever — did you ever go down to Hunts Grove when they had events down in the Grove?

Petite Abruzzini: No.

Susanne Salvestrin:  No?  You did not?

Petite Abruzzini: Uh-uh.  Not at all.  In fact, I didn’t even know about it.  That was in what year? 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Well, I think they had things in Hunt’s Grove in the brief 30’s — 40’s.

Petite Abruzzini: Yeah.

Ken Taplin:  Probably, you were too young.

Petite Abruzzini: Uh-huh.

Petite Abruzzini:  Yeah.  It was like, music and things. 

Susanne Salvestrin: Uh-huh. The best parties.  Way down at the end of Hunt Avenue.  They, in fact, I think that’s where the Native Sons Hall came from, down at Hunt’s Grove.

Petite Abruzzini: Oh, that’s right.  They said they moved down.  That’s way before my time.

Susanne Salvestrin:  Yeah.  (Indiscernible).  Yes, yes. 

Petite Abruzzini: Well, I mean, (indiscernible).  Look how old I am now.  (Indiscernible).  I mean, just think, that’s many years ago.

Petite Abruzzini: I mean, I might not even remember, so — we’re old timers Ken.

Ken Taplin:  Yeah.

Petite Abruzzini: Oh geez.  Well, anyway —

Ken Taplin:  When did Jack go into farming?

Petite Abruzzini: He went into farming — when he went into farming right after high school.  But before — even before he graduated.  And then he went to Davis.

Ken Taplin:  That’s right.

Petite Abruzzini: And then he just — he didn’t finish Davis.  He only got two semesters in; two or three. There was too many people there. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Did he farm for other people or just —

Petite Abruzzini: Yes, he, no, he, oh, my gosh, he did, a lot of them.  He did his own and he had Jackse.  He did (indiscernible), oh, my gosh, what were those people — Mrs. Riach.  And the one up on the (indiscernible) Street, the Olive Grove. what’s (indiscernible). 

Ken Taplin:  (Indiscernible)?

Petite Abruzzini: No, that’s in town.  Who’s the one up on — Sulphur Springs.  It’s called the Olive something.  He used to do that.  That was his very first tractor job.  And then he went to, people who lived at the end of Madrona.  He did theirs.

Ken Taplin:  Sanders ?

Petite Abruzzini: Sanders.  He did those for years, Sanders.  And who else did he —

Ken Taplin:  Didn’t he do some around Rutherford or Oakville or did you tell (indiscernible).

Petite Abruzzini: No, that would be Oakville Ranch.  Hoping to buy someday. 

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.

Petite Abruzzini: And then we had a ranch down in Yountville.  (Indiscernible) down there; Patton ranch.  And the Jackse ranch.  And I think that was it. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Riach? 

Petite Abruzzini: Riach.

Ken Taplin:  Can you tell me, is it R-I-A-C-K?

Petite Abruzzini: C-H.

Ken Taplin:  C-H?

Petite Abruzzini:   Al Riach.

Susanne Salvestrin:  Oh, I remember that, yes, yes.  And Patton was P-A-T-T-O-N.  Okay.  Thank you very much.

Petite Abruzzini: We had over a hundred acres.

Ken Taplin:  What do you think about St. Helena then and now.

Petite Abruzzini: Well, St. Helena is okay for me.  I mean, it’s just, it’s the way it is.  What are you going to do?  But it’s a shame.  You know, we come from the old days and how great it was, and the people you knew.  And people would do anything for you.  I mean, they, you know, it’s, I don’t know, just — (indiscernible) going uptown to (indiscernible).  And you (indiscernible).  It’s all (indiscernible).  No, it, what can you say?   It’s just, the way (indiscernible).  So, and they (indiscernible) with their places, and I hate to see the mountains torn up for vineyard, but what can you do about it?  Nothing.  So, we go live with it.  And be happy about it.  It’s just; I think it’s hard for other children, like, our children to come back here.  It’s almost impossible.  If we didn’t own property in Napa, Nancy wouldn’t have been able to come back.  (Indiscernible) little houses.  And Bruce moved away, ‘cause — and it’s just crazy.  And it’s just — and it’s not going to get any better. 

Ken Taplin:  Is there anything else —

Petite Abruzzini: It’s okay.  I mean, it’s — like I say, I’m proud of my (indiscernible).

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.

Petite Abruzzini: We do have grandchildren coming up.  

Susanne Salvestrin: Yeah, we do.  And it’s like you say, your children can’t afford to (indiscernible) because they bought property next to ours.  And, you know, the younger generation can’t afford it.  It’s part of the prices. 

Ken Taplin:  Yeah.

Petite Abruzzini: You know, I mean, and it’s sad that they can’t come back.  Yes, it is.

Ken Taplin:  I’m sure they won’t (indiscernible). 

Petite Abruzzini: (Indiscernible).  He’s very happy.  He got there.  Oh, my gosh, he says, relax.  His knees are better.

Ken Taplin:  That’s good.

Petite Abruzzini: Yeah, yeah.  And his place is open. 

Ken Taplin:  So, do you travel?   Do you —

Petite Abruzzini: Travel?  Jack and I did a lot of traveling.  Not a lot, I mean, we just travel in the winter, because we go to Mexico.  We make it to Mexico a lot; different times.  Right, Ken?  And then, Tahiti and Hawaii.  And then with Nancy we’ve gone to — we’ve gone to New York on weekends, and to Hawaii.  But there, you know, (indiscernible).  We’ve gone up to the Dakotas.  And did a lot of — a lot of United States travel.  Not so much here. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Do you remember during World War II what it was like living in St. Helena?  Did you have a lot of hardships or —

Petite Abruzzini: Yeah.  We did.

Susanne Salvestrin:  Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Petite Abruzzini: Oh yeah, we rationed, sugar and the lights, we had to be careful.  And we had to keep things dark and meat was very limited.  And my mother was on the ration work.  And that didn’t help.  And we didn’t suffer, really.  You know, it’s just the, I think when you ration these things; I think you’re taught to be careful. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Uh-huh.

Petite Abruzzini: And then you live like that.  And shoes, that right, you can only get, like, one pair of shoes.  You know, it was, I don’t think they had nylons in those days. 

Ken Taplin:  Sugar?  

Petite Abruzzini: Oh, yeah, sugar.  Yeah, definitely.  I would tell you something about that, but I don’t want it taped. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Well, we’ll turn it off. 

Petite Abruzzini: And Jack had — we first started off with 22 Black Angus.  And then Mr. Martini gave him the bull.  And, uh, it was, down on the ranch in Oakville and we had to get property up in — off of (Indiscernible) Road in Conn Valley for the winter time.  We just looked and (indiscernible).  And Jack would go out the — coming with his truck with the hay and stuff like that.  And you’d go — make a sound and the cattle would come running toward you.   You know?  It was fun.  We used to go up there with the kids, and play and on hikes, and take a picnic, and (indiscernible).

Susanne Salvestrin:  Was Mr. Mardekian — it was Mardekian?

Petite Abruzzini: Mardekian.

Susan Salvestrin:  M-A-R-D-E-K-I-A-N.  And he lived up there on —

Petite Abruzzini: No, he lived over on Silverado Trail, across from Rhodes.   

Susanne Salvestrin:  He’s the gentleman that had Mardekian from San Francisco. 

  Petite Abruzzini: That’s correct.  Yeah, Jack’s father and he were very good friends.

Susanne Salvestrin:  Uh-huh.  How many head of cattle did you —

Petite Abruzzini: We had 22;

Susanne Salvestrin:  22 head

Petite Abruzzini: Yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin:  Did Jack grow anything else besides grapes, because in the valley, there used to be lots of (indiscernible) —

Petite Abruzzini: We used to have prunes out in Conn Valley.  We used to lease from Ksplumb.  And —

Ken Taplin:  Would you spell that for me?

Petite Abruzzini: K-S-P-L-U-M-B. 

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.  Okay.  And that’s where you had the prunes?

Petite Abruzzini: Yes.  That’s where (indiscernible).  And then we had walnuts up in Lake County.  We had walnuts in there.  We leased property up there.   And we’d go up and pick them. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Did you bring them back to Ray Lewelling —

Petite Abruzzini: Yeah, yeah.

Susanne Salvestrin:  Have you ever been — ready to dehydrate —

Petite Abruzzini: Yeah, we dried them.  No, we’d take them to — oh, those were the prunes.  That was the prunes.  Yeah, that was the prunes.  No, where did the walnuts go?  Diamond Walnuts in Calistoga. Calistoga,  right, right.  That’s where the walnuts would go.  Then we’d get the walnuts around Oakdale Place, too.  There’s a lot of walnut trees there.  And so — yeah, it was real busy.

Susanne Salvestrin:  Do you remember the prune dehydrator?

Petite Abruzzini: Oh, yeah.  So, we took all these prunes to the dehydrator.  They were (indiscernible).  That was a very good year for prunes.  I think one time we had to check the (indiscernible).  It cost more to write the check.  The good old days, right?  Yeah, it was fun.  You know, it was — you have your hard and your good times.  But that’s what makes life. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Uh-huh.

Petite Abruzzini: Anyway, so, and then — you were (indiscernible).

Ken Taplin:  Pardon?

Petite Abruzzini: Your parents had …

Ken Taplin:  No, we had prunes. 

Petite Abruzzini: (Indiscernible) to any diverse (indiscernible).  It’s all grapes.  Now olives.  We have more olives in the valley now than ever. We had all (indiscernible). 

Susanne Salvestrin:  It was just, see them scattered here and there.  We had nothing to — nothing for commercial — but for our own use.  (Indiscernible).  When there’s no worms in them. 

Petite Abruzzini:  Oh?

Susanne Salvestrin: Now they have worms.

Ken Taplin:  Oh okay.  I didn’t know that.  Is that something new? 

Petite Abruzzini: Something new.  Right. 

Ken Taplin:  That’s why you don’t give me any anymore.

Petite Abruzzini: ‘Cause you have all the trees and they have worms too, right?

Ken Taplin:  (Indiscernible), $30.00 — $40.00.

Petite Abruzzini: Right?  (Indiscernible).  Olives, too.  Oh, my gosh.  (Indiscernible).  Those were the good old days.

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.  I was thinking high school days.

Petite Abruzzini: Oh, high school?  They were fun days.  They were really fun.  We stepped into fun.

Susanne Salvestrin:  Teachers — do you remember teachers — favorite teachers?

Petite Abruzzini: My favorite teacher was Miss Lafile.

Ken Taplin:  Lafile?

Petite Abruzzini: Uh-huh.

Ken Taplin:  L-A-F-I-L-E?

Petite Abruzzini: Uh-huh.  And she taught gym.  Just —

Ken Taplin:  Miss or Mrs?

Petite Abruzzini: Miss.  She had just gotten out of college.  And she was just, like, one of the students. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  All right. 

Petite Abruzzini: And other favorite teachers?  Mr. Ingols.  In gym class.  It was always fun on Mondays when he talked about football games.  Oh, I think he (indiscernible).  I think he (indiscernible) my bookkeeping teacher was kind of (indiscernible). 

Ken Taplin:  Well, was he weird and (indiscernible)?

Petite Abruzzini: No, it wasn’t her.  That was Melany Stanford.   Yeah, no, this was, I don’t know the name. (Indiscernible).  Anyway, no, the high school was good.  (Indiscernible).  And we didn’t have any other activities other than in school.  That’s it.

Susanne Salvestrin:  Any high school buddies you still see?

Petite Abruzzini: Oh, yes.  Lucille —

Susanne Salvestrin:  Lucille?

Petite Abruzzini: Lucille Camhoto.

Susanne Salvestrin:  Camhoto?  How do you spell her last name?

Petite Abruzzini: Camhoto.  C-A-M-H-O-T-O.

Susanne Salvestrin:  C-A-M-H-O-T-O?

Petite Abruzzini: Nancy (Indiscernible).  Mary Ann Brendel.(Indiscernible).  Mary Ann H-O-C-K-I-N-G.

Susanne Salvestrin:  Mary Ann Hocking?  H-O-C-K-I-N-G. 

Petite Abruzzini: Yeah, her mother. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Mary Ann Brendel?

Petite Abruzzini: Brendel B-R-E-N-D-E-L.  And Lucille’s married name is Smothers S-M-O-T-H-E-R-S.  Yeah, her kids got the (indiscernible) place in the (indiscernible).  And then, Nancy Morgan — Nancy Palmer Morgan.  (Indiscernible). She was my best friend.  (Indiscernible). 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Okay.  You’re giving me a lot of names.

Petite Abruzzini: Betty Peterman, or Betty Freeman. 

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.  (Indiscernible). 

Petite Abruzzini: Mary, she was a lot older. 

Ken Taplin:  She was?

Petite Abruzzini: Well, not a lot but about the same age.  Well, I can say Martha and (Indiscernible) were about the same age, maybe, yeah.  But we still lived all together (indiscernible). 

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.

Petite Abruzzini: (Indiscernible) now. 

Ken Taplin:  Martha Markado (ph)?

Petite Abruzzini: Martha Alexander (ph). 

Ken Taplin:  Who was Alexander (Indiscernible)?

Petite Abruzzini: (Indiscernible), yeah, right.  Oh, that’s a son.  That’s a good court  Beautiful court. Yeah.  (Indiscernible). 

Ken Taplin:  Did Myers live there when you (indiscernible)?

Petite Abruzzini: Myers?  No.  You know who lived in was Derby Wilson.

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.

Petite Abruzzini: In the first house, right as you’re coming into this — (indiscernible) if you’re coming up Main Street.  You have to first come (indiscernible) second one.  And right after Dr. Burt. (indiscernible). 

Ken Taplin:  Right after Dr. Burt, going north?

Petite Abruzzini: Yeah.  And he — yeah, and he had a beautiful farm out there.  He thought (indiscernible).  (Indiscernible) could never — we used to play in the — oh, my gosh, that — all that dirt (indiscernible) and they had these rising (indiscernible) trees and — (indiscernible) this.  And down at Alexanders they had enormous Magnolia trees; just huge.  And it’s still there.  I think we used to climb it. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  Before we forget, we didn’t get your birth date.

Petite Abruzzini: Oh, August 26th — 28; 1928. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  That’s an important thing to have.  (Indiscernible).  Okay.  And can you think of anything else? 

Susanne Salvestrin: Can you think of anything else? 

Petite Abruzzini:  I’m trying to think. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  We can always go over this.  And we’ll — you’ll be seeing a copy of it, too.

Petite Abruzzini: Okay.

Susanne Salvestrin:  And then, if we can fill in with some things —

Petite Abruzzini: Okay.

Susanne Salvestrin:  We’ll go over — try to make some more questions and —

Petite Abruzzini: Did you put the year Jack and I were married?

Susanne Salvestrin:  No.  The year that they were married, it should be —

Petite Abruzzini: May 8th, ’71.  It was ’69.  May 8th, 1969.  And it was the first wedding in (indiscernible).

Ken Taplin:  Oh?

Petite Abruzzini: Yeah. 

Ken Taplin:  (Indiscernible) of your dad and you (indiscernible)?  No? 

Petite Abruzzini: It was Richard Egan.  He was a baseball player; a famous baseball player.  And they knew my father’s parents and my mother’s parents in San Francisco.  They all — the family often — there’s pictures.  I should show you those pictures (indiscernible) from San Francisco to a ranch with all dirt.  With big hats and big dresses; oh, my gosh, it must have been (indiscernible).  I think I have pictures here.  (Indiscernible).  And then, that’s how they met and it just went on from there.  My father was in the war.  And he became an interpreter in France.  And then he got — well, he met — they met after the second war.

Ken Taplin:  We’re talking World War I, correct?

Petite Abruzzini:  Yeah, after.  And they met after he came back.  And then they bought the ranch.  And they got married and they took care of the ranch.  And my mother knew nothing about cooking or she couldn’t milk — didn’t — she didn’t know milking a cow.  (Indiscernible) that’s what they did in San Francisco.  And she learned — oh, and her (indiscernible) was, my grandmother would do string beans and get her (indiscernible).  They would string them on — with a needle and thread, and hang them from the ceiling.  And they would dry.  And then they put them in these cotton sacks.  And they would hang them in the cellar.  It was a cold cellar in those days.  And then that’s — and then you have your (indiscernible).  Yeah, it was interesting. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  I guess.

Petite Abruzzini:  Yeah.  And you’d see the string beans all over.  We had a wood stove.  I — like I said, I couldn’t think of cooking out of a wood stove tonight.

Ken Taplin:  We have (indiscernible) crops.  They called it water (indiscernible) in there.  And it was (indiscernible).  Do you know what I’m talking about?

Petite Abruzzini: I do.  (Indiscernible)?

Ken Taplin:  (Indiscernible).

Petite Abruzzini: Well, they could have.  I just remember skimming the milk; the cream off the milk and the cottage cheese, yeah, and homemade butter.  I just like the sweet, well it wasn’t sweet butter, it was salted butter.  And then when we moved to town, we had to buy butter and I thought, oh, this is pretty good.  I lived on the ranch on — just six years.  And we had chickens and cows and some grapes. 

Susanne Salvestrin:  And what did your dad do after he moved to town?

Petite Abruzzini: Then he went to work for a (indiscernible).  She was a (indiscernible).  She was a Russian princess up on Silverado Trail.  And it was — there was a Christmas Tree Farm up there.  Wait, Branchville (ph), no, not Branchville.

Ken Taplin:  Kritchios (ph)?

Petite Abruzzini: Kritchios.  Yeah, well, she owned it first.  And so he went up there and he was (indiscernible).  And he raised (indiscernible) was just (indiscernible).  And then after that, he went to (indiscernible).  And then after that, he retired.  And my mother worked at (Indiscernible) when she first decided to go to work.  And then she went to City Hall, and she was City Clerk for, forever.  And I remember (indiscernible).

Susanne Salvestrin:  The old City Hall?

Petite Abruzzini: (Indiscernible).  I think mother didn’t believe the man that took me out.  (Indiscernible) get the car.  So, I went and got the car.  And here I drove the car and I didn’t even have a license yet.  See, those days were so good.  So, I park it right in (indiscernible).  You know how the City Hall was?  You know the fire department is right there.  (Indiscernible).  I come to pick him up (indiscernible) and everything.  (Indiscernible).  Oh, gosh, I remember those times, I’ll tell you.  I used to play in the creek and I remember Jinks.  Oh, my gosh.  He was something else.

Ken Taplin:  Tell us about Jinks?

Petite Abruzzini: He was a wonderful man; black man.

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.

Petite Abruzzini: And he came, — he’d come to the ranch.  And he taught me to yodel.  And then, he told me how to make worm soup.  (Indiscernible).  We’d go digging for worms and I’d have that little — in fact it was (indiscernible) and it was a little cast iron stove that he had given to me.  And we put paper, and stuff in there, and (indiscernible) little thing.  Oh, my gosh.

Ken Taplin:  Did you eat it?

Petite Abruzzini: I don’t know.  I just remember Jinks.  He was so neat.  We would sit on his lap and he’d yodel and we’d yodel.  I mean, just good times. 

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.

Petite Abruzzini: And his wife, oh, my gosh; she was so wonderful.  She was a nurse.  She was such a beautiful person; just unbelievable. 

Ken Taplin:  Uh-huh.

Petite Abruzzini: Just to hear my father and (indiscernible).  She was just one special person. 

Ken Taplin:  Very kind?

Petite Abruzzini: Yeah.

Ken Taplin:  Very good?

Petite Abruzzini: (Indiscernible).  (Indiscernible) Jinks.  We used to play banjo.  My girlfriend would come from a little town (Indiscernible).  (Indiscernible) would do the piano.  Oh, my gosh.  That was so neat.  You know, on the back of the truck, yeah.  (Indiscernible).  Good times.  Very nice.  I had a good life.  No regrets.  Wouldn’t want to change it.  (Indiscernible).  I’d have to live in a (indiscernible).  You know stuff like that.  Those things are out of our control.  And you know, I have been very lucky.  I have beautiful children, grandchildren, (indiscernible).  Great friends (indiscernible). 

Ken Taplin:  Well, that’s great.