Hansen and Bonnie Thoreen
Date of Interview: 2/12/2011
RUDY: Gosh for at least, for thirteen years at the bakery, was it thirteen years? And thirteen years at the new bakery. But he was with me at the old bakery for thirteen years. He was a great baker, ya.
MARIAM HANSEN: What was his last name?
BONNIE THOREEN: Mario
RUDY: Mario Buozzo.
MARIAM HANSEN: Buozzo, like with a B?
RUDY: Buozzo. B-U-O-ZZ-O. Buozzo. They called it the Model Bakery. When I bought the place, I bought it as the Model Bakery, but then I changed the name because it didn’t look like a model after all these years. So that’s why I changed it to the Sugarhouse Bakery, you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, they didn’t call it the Model Bakery when this (looking at a picture).
RUDY: No, no, I think I got ready to…I have it in the back here. There’s something marked in the back. Ya, it’s… Must be another one here.
BONNIE THOREEN: Be careful.
RUDY: Ya. Here. Here is the main story here.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, Parnesari.
RUDY: Ya. Parnesari. He was the one actually that opened it. Buoniseri, what was his partner’s name? There were two guys.
MARIAM HANSEN: I remember Emma Parnesari.
THERESE: Ya. She was Ernie’s sister, wasn’t she? Ernie the butcher? Navone.
BONNIE THOREEN: Navone. Mmhmm.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, yeah.. So Barberi and Buoniseri were the ones who built the ovens?
RUDY: Ya. Right. Because it was Thorsen, a cement contractor, that built the building. He was one of the first cement contractors.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, the business was separate from the building. You didn’t own the building.
RUDY: No, I never owned the building.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, did Thorsen keep the building?
RUDY: Thorsen kept the building until…
THERESE: The son.
MARIAM HANSEN: The son. I met the son. Yeah. Nice. So why did you leave that location and move to the highway?
THERESE: They tripled the rent.
MARIAM HANSEN: That’s what I thought. I thought it was something like that.
BONNIE THOREEN: They tripled the rent?
RUDY: Ya. And then I said no, I’m sorry, I can’t afford that.
THERESE: I mean, he was from like $700 to $2,000. In 1984! That was a lot of money.
BONNIE THOREEN: That was a VERY lot of money.
MARIAM HANSEN: Was he trying to get rid of you, do you think?
RUDY: Ya. I think so.
THERESE: Don’t worry about that.
RUDY: I think so, because I have to clean it up afterwards, you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: A little dusty in here. I’ll leave that one alone. Yeah, any other pictures?
RUDY: Any other ones? Do we have any other pictures?
THERESE: Don’t we have one with Mario shoving the breads?
RUDY: It’s already here.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, we got that one. Is this your town in Switzerland?
RUDY: Ya. Uh-huh.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, pretty.
THERESE: This, too.
MARIAM HANSEN: Is this Aarau?
RUDY: It’s an old town.
MARIAM HANSEN: That’s why it says that on your Volkswagen.
RUDY: It’s about 700 years old.
MARIAM HANSEN: Here, you can see the city wall was built right in there.
RUDY: Right, right. Exactly.
THERESE: That’s where… oh here on this side….
RUDY: No, no. yeah, ok.
THERESE: You can just see the tower. My parents had a bakery there.
THERESE: I have a picture upstairs. That’s where I went to church. That’s where we got confirmed. We have a Protestant Church, and where’s the Catholic Church? The tower.
RUDY: No. This one. This is the tower here. This is the Catholic Church.
THERESE: Two churches.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, did your parents have a bakery?
THERESE: No. He worked for my dad.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, did he work for your dad after your training, or before.
RUDY: Before. Before and after. Ya. I worked for him afterwards again.
MARIAM HANSEN: The training in Europe is different than the training in the U.S.
THERESE: Ya. You bet! It takes three years. And it’s hands on.
RUDY: Between three and four years, if you do manual work, you know. If you go to the university, it’s a different story.
THERESE: But then you have about two days a week, of night school while you have your apprenticeship.
RUDY: That’s where you learn all the business part of it, you know, writing business letters and doing the accounting and all that kind of stuff.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, they teach that too; it’s not just learning to make pastry.
RUDY: Oh yeah!
MARIAM HANSEN: You have to learn the whole thing.
RUDY: Two days a week you do that, and the rest of the week you work at the job.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, you did all this training at Aarau?
RUDY: No, no, in the French Part.
THERESE: It’s a little complicated.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, you left Aarau for the training?
MARIAM HANSEN: I know from my German friends who have done their Meister Brief, that it’s long and very difficult study.
THERESE: But they know what they are doing when they are done.
MARIAM HANSEN: They can make art, you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: I look at those cakes they make in Safeway, sometimes…ffft, ffft. There you go! Strawberry cake!
RUDY: I used to work for Safeway once, and I used to make the cakes like I learned it in Europe. They couldn’t believe how nice and smooth I was able to make it, you know. But the rest is history.
MARIAM HANSEN: Nice. OK. Let’s go sit down.
RUDY: That’s my wine making business here.
MARIAM HANSEN: All your prizes! Oh my Gosh.
RUDY: Look at all of those.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, this is from your little vineyard here?
RUDY: Well, we used to get the grapes from our neighbor, Laurie Wood. So that’s some of it. We got some up there.
MARIAM HANSEN: Rudy’s cellar. Look at that! So, you don’t do that anymore?
THERESE: He died. The source.
RUDY: We lost our source of grapes.
THERESE: See, they were free. We didn’t have to pay for them.
MARIAM HANSEN: This is your diploma.
RUDY: Ya. Humble Schule.
THERESE: This is mine.
RUDY: Ya. I didn’t say it was mine.
MARIAM HANSEN: Hiddegar? That was your maiden name?
MARIAM HANSEN: So… Wait a minute. This is a business school, right?
MARIAM HANSEN: This is not pastry making.
THERESE: No. no. I don’t bake. I hate baking. (Laughter)
MARIAM HANSEN: Good thing you got him, then!
THERESE: You know, sometimes people called and they said they’re making a bread or a cake, and it doesn’t come out right and they say, “What do you think I did wrong?” “You have to wait till he comes to work…” (laughter)
MARIAM HANSEN: So, you had your business Humble Schule and you had your bakery… What a pair!
THERESE: Ya. He still doesn’t know how to write checks. (Laughter)
RUDY: That’s why I married the Humbles diploma.
MARIAM HANSEN: And you got your English diploma here too.
THERESE: That’s business.
MARIAM HANSEN: Café Hedica.
THERESE: There’s a shop down here and the coffee shop. Here where he baked, and the kitchen, living room, bedrooms. Five stories, but they were all small stories. But the typical old house from hundreds of years ago. We remodeled it inside.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, ‘cause you can’t touch the outside, right?
THERESE: No, they tell you what color the shutters have to be, the windows have to be, and then it depends on who’s on the planning commission, you know. Now, torn down. A modern… something like Safeway. “Dinners”. It’s called “Dinners”, a supermarket.
MARIAM HANSEN: They tore it down?
THERESE: They tore it down, ya.
MARIAM HANSEN: And here’s the seawall, huh? The gate?
THERESE: Yes, the gate.
RUDY: The last gate.
MARIAM HANSEN: And the tore it down? Terrible!
THERESE: Here’s the church from the other direction. And that’s the tower again, from the other side with the gate. And here’s our house again.
MARIAM HANSEN: Neat.
THERESE: What is that?
MARIAM HANSEN: This is your diploma from the…
RUDY: That’s the diploma for the trade exams, you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: It’s written in three different languages.
THERESE & RUDY: Everything is written in three languages in Switzerland.
MARIAM HANSEN: Certificate of Capacity… (reading in German, Italian, French)
RUDY: Here are the…
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, so you had to go to Lausanne for your studies?
RUDY: Ya. No, Lausanne is where I had to go for the trade, the final exams. I went to trade school in Montreux.
MARIAM HANSEN: Nice! I bet you had some good customers there, huh?
RUDY: Oh, yeah, oh yeah.
MARIAM HANSEN: People with money.
THERESE: That was just the school. The place where he worked was in Aigle, which was how many miles away?
RUDY: Thirteen miles. I used to go by bicycle. In the summertime I used to go by bicycle, in the wintertime I took the train. The train stopped in… That was the Orient Express.
MARIAM HANSEN: OH!
RUDY: That went up all the way from Switzerland to Istanbul.
THERESE: And it stopped at Blackstadt, these famous resort places.
RUDY: Gstaad, Leysin, because, yeah, that’s where the resort people came, you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: Montreux is famous for the music festival.
RUDY: Montreux is, ya, uh-huh.
MARIAM HANSEN: Was it famous at that time, for the music festival?
RUDY: Oh ya, Jazz Festival. That was one thing.
MARIAM HANSEN: Around what year was that when you were there?
RUDY: That was…
THERESE: For us, it was in the 50’s.
RUDY: Ya, what year did I have my apprenticeship? 1950… Well it should show in there.
THERESE: Six, seven, eight? Something like that.
MARIAM HANSEN: (reading) “From 1953 to 1956.” Oh, and so your dad was his liameister, huh?
THERESE: No, it just happened to be… This guy has an “n” in the name. “Hedinger”. Mine was just Hediger. Wasn’t that a coincidence?
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, it looks like Hediger. Was that the town? Aigle?
THERESE: Which is “an eagle”.
MARIAM HANSEN: How far is that from where your home town is?
RUDY: Oh, that’s a long way.
THERESE: Our house was a long way, like three hours by train?
MARIAM HANSEN: Which cantons are…
RUDY &THERESE: Aargau.
THERESE: And the river that flows by is Aare. It’s all double a’s.
MARIAM HANSEN: Were you both born in Aarau?
RUDY: She was born close to Aarau.
THERESE: I was born in Aarau. Raised in another… until 5th grade.
RUDY: Oh, yeah, in the hospital, that’s right.
THERESE: In a village, more or less.
MARIAM HANSEN: Were your parents in Aarau for many many generations?
RUDY: Ya., Well, not many generations. No, my… how shall I put that…
THERESE: Where did they grow up. Your dad grew up in Aarau, didn’t he?
RUDY: My father grew up in Aarau, yeah.
MARIAM HANSEN: What was his name?
RUDY: Frey F-R-E-Y (laughter)
THERESE: Here we go.
RUDY: And his name was Rudolf, and I’m the fourth, Rudolf the 4th. He grew up… They had flour mills. My grandfather, and his brothers, before that great grandfather. They were in the milling business.
MARIAM HANSEN: So back how many years? Into 1800’s? 1700’s?
THERESE: Is it that far back?
RUDY: Ya. 1900 and nothing. It’s in the 1800’s
MARIAM HANSEN: So, were they using water power at that time?
RUDY: They were using water power in the flour mill, ya. Then later they put a canal in to harvest electricity. And they were milling electrically, you know. Hang on a second.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, Therese, you were born outside of Aarau, in a small..
THERESE: In Aarau, in hospital, same hospital …
MARIAM HANSEN: But you lived outside.
THERESE: But we lived like 12, 15 miles away in a smaller town.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, was Aarau the big town of that area?
THERESE: Ya, right.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, you’re really a little village girl.
THERESE: Ya! I remember, you know, in those days we wore aprons all the time, over our clothes, so you didn’t get dirty.
MARIAM HANSEN: Pinafore.
THERESE: All my girlfriends said, “Oh, now you’re going to Aarau. You won’t have to wear an apron any more.” And this is true. In the city they didn’t wear aprons. It was a big deal.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, if you had, it would have marked you as a real provincial. A farmer’s daughter or something.
THERESE: Yes. Sort of, ya.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, your parents were in this smaller town. What was the name of it?
THERESE: They had a bakery there too. But then my dad wanted to go to the bigger town.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, he moved the business then into Aarau.
MARIAM HANSEN: Did his father also have a bakery?
THERESE: Rudy’s father?? Oh, my grandfather. No, he was a farmer.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, your father learned the bakery trade.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, did your mother also help in the bakery?
THERESE: Yes, yes. She worked very hard. ‘Cause we also had a coffee shop that closed at midnight. And she was up till… she used to get up at 7:30 in the morning, and well, she was the last one to close up.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh my.
THERESE: We served little meals, and she and we had one help in the kitchen. Two in there cooked lunch every day. Lunch was the main meal, see.
MARIAM HANSEN: But a baker has to work from… What time did they start?
THERESE: They start at sometimes 2:00.
MARIAM HANSEN: In the morning?
THERESE: Me and my dad. He started at midnight.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, your mom was closing the shop at midnight and your dad was going to work…
THERESE: Two hours later.
MARIAM HANSEN: It’s a wonder they had any kids, you know!
THERESE: Ya, ya, yes. I tell you they didn’t have much time for us. But that’s how it was.
MARIAM HANSEN: Really. Did you have any…
THERESE: And then the same thing happened here. Sometimes I wish I had had more time, but that’s how it is when you have a small business.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, you have to keep it going.
THERESE: Ooo. That’s right.
MARIAM HANSEN: Did you have brothers and sisters?
THERESE: One sister, one brother, ya. And we have our stories from those days.
MARIAM HANSEN: I bet you do. So what year were you born then?
THERESE: Me? ’38.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, you were too young to remember World War II.
THERESE: Ya. He talks as if he had been in it. Oh, he remembers everything. He was only two years old. He heard the bombs going down in Germany. It’s close to the German border, Aarau. It’s maybe 20 miles.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, across the border, what town do you come to? Is that near Neuschwanstein?
THERESE: Basel, and then on the other side is…Pretty soon you have Stuttgart.
MARIAM HANSEN: Is that Allgäu ?
THERESE: Rudy, what’s the next town in Germany? Koblenz?
RUDY: Ya, right across the River Rhine.
THERESE: The Rhine, ya. The Swiss go shopping there. It’s much cheaper in Germany.
MARIAM HANSEN: Koblenz. I thought Koblenz was more up the Rhine than downstream. Oh well, I don’t know my geography very well, I guess. So how did the two of you meet?
THERESE: Well, at my Dad’s place. I was 14 and he was 16.
MARIAM HANSEN: When you met?
MARIAM HANSEN: Oy, that’s young!
RUDY: That was my grandfather (showing a picture).
THERESE: They didn’t really… They soon found out, uh oh, something’s going on. That’s why they let him go.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, this was… Oh!
RUDY: This was my grandfather, and then my father, here, and his sister.
MARIAM HANSEN: Very nice. Handsome family. So, this is also Rudy, ya?
THERESE: His dad. The other one is Rudolf too.
RUDY: Ya, ya. He’s Rudolf too. I’m mean like I said, I’m the fourth.
THERESE: And who was the first one? Your great grandfather?
RUDY: Great grandfather.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, that would be correct.
THERESE: You know, people from here, they look the same, from a hundred years ago, it seems to me.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh yeah. You can imagine these faces on the street.
THERESE: Except sometimes they wore more hats, men and women, here.
RUDY: And this must have been my great grandmother.
MARIAM HANSEN: Everybody is dressed very warmly. It looks like it was pretty cold.
RUDY: It’s always cold over there.
MARIAM HANSEN: Is this the house you lived in?
RUDY: No. My grandmother lived in that house.
MARIAM HANSEN: But this is a typical construction of those areas.
RUDY: A real bauernhaus.
MARIAM HANSEN: Did they still have the animals in the bottom somewhere?
RUDY: Ya. The animals were on the lower floor.
THERESE: Today, you know that breed is dying out, those small-town farmers.
MARIAM HANSEN: Ya, ya. Well, you know, you just can’t make it, you know. And it’s not fashionable anymore to have your cattle inside your house.
THERESE: No, no.
MARIAM HANSEN: Nice. I love that construction. So solid, you know.
RUDY: My great grandfather.
MARIAM HANSEN: My, my. Very handsome. Handsome people.
RUDY: Here is an old one of my father. When he was a little… about the same age I guess.
MARIAM HANSEN: He’s the guy with no coat on, right?
RUDY: Ya, right. Then here, my siblings. That’s me, my sister, and my younger brother. He passed away about two, three years ago.
MARIAM HANSEN: And your sister? Is she still around?
RUDY: She’s still around, ya. I think she’s, how old is she now? Seventy-seven?
THERESE: She just had her 80th birthday.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh my gosh. Hard to believe, huh?
THERESE: Yes. Aren’t we all getting old? What happened to the time, you know?
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, I know. I’m starting to think that myself, and I’m only 59!
RUDY: (Showing another picture) My father and my mother. I guess when they got married.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, were they from the same village?
THERESE: No, your father and mother were not from the same village.
RUDY: No, no. She is from Italy, or actually…
THERESE: The Italian part of Switzerland.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah. Ticino?
THERESE: Ya, Ticino.
MARIAM HANSEN: Did she grow up speaking Italian?
RUDY: She talked Italian.
THERESE: Ya, but they didn’t learn Italian.
RUDY: We didn’t, because my father married… who?
THERESE: A Ticinese?
RUDY: How does this work now? Who married whom?
MARIAM HANSEN: Listen, if you don’t know, you’d better start writing this down.
THERESE: He had a stroke, and since then, it doesn’t quite work anymore. They didn’t like that he married one from the south of Switzerland. Is that what you wanted to say?
RUDY: No, no. They didn’t object to that. But mom, because part of the family didn’t speak Italian, and the other part spoke just German, so we just grew up speaking German. (Another picture) That was my grandfather, too, there.
MARIAM HANSEN: Wearing a suit. Must have been a wedding or a funeral, huh? Did he always wear a suit?
RUDY: No, we visited Grandfather. Ya, where was that?
THERESE: Was it the hospital?
MARIAM HANSEN: 1968
RUDY: No, it wasn’t in the hospital.
MARIAM HANSEN: Adolf, 9 May 1968.
RUDY: Like I said, I took those pictures.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, this is Adolf Frey.
RUDY: This is Rudolf Frey.
MARIAM HANSEN: It says, “Adolf”.
THERESE: That’s wrong.
RUDY: Where does it say “Adolf”? Oh, that’s probably a guy we visited at that time.
MARIAM HANSEN: OK, so not a relative.
THERESE: So, it’s not your grandfather.
RUDY: I think that was in San Coin.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, the two of you met when you (Rudy) came as a helper to your (Therese) dad’s bakery.
MARIAM HANSEN: And you were 16.
THERESE: He was 16 and I was 14.
MARIAM HANSEN: And before you know it the sparks started to fly, and there was a little attraction there.
RUDY: I don’t know. (laughter) Well, we didn’t know any better.
THERESE: And then he had to leave. He was too old. He was out of school and I was still in school, see. We get out of high school at 16 see. That’s when he went to Aigle, then.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, your father didn’t want the new apprentice to go off with his daughter.
RUDY: I guess so.
THERESE: He used to write me letters, but he couldn’t send them to my address. My mother would have opened them.
RUDY: She went through everything.
THERESE: So, every Wednesday at 7:00 in the morning, his brother… He was just here with us in Spring…would bring me a letter that he sent home. He brought it to me. That’s how I got them.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, you were sneaky, sneaky.
THERESE: And we met again later on, about 1960. He was working on British ocean liners, as pastry chef. And then he came… You were home on leave, right? And I had come home. I was away in Argentina for a year and a half. That’s how we met again.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, by this time you could make your own decision.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, what year were you married?
RUDY: (Looking at a picture) That’s my father again. My grandfather, my father and his sister. And here they are when they were a little younger.
MARIAM HANSEN: Very sweet. ,ou got married in your home town, in 1960? What did your father think then?
THERESE: Well, when we announced our engagement… You see, my mother… actually, she got us together again. She thought when I came home from Argentina I wouldn’t have any friends left. And when she saw him, he came to visit in the shop, you know where we used to have the bakery… He told me that later on that she suggested he take me out to the movies once in a while. Well, we did that. And when we told her that we would get married, she said, “I didn’t mean it that way!” (laughter)
MARIAM HANSEN: So how did this decision come about, to come to the United States?
RUDY: (showing picture) That’s my grandmother. Know that she was waiting here.
THERESE: No, we wanted to go… we were not ready to settle in our hometown. We wanted to see a little bit more of the world. And there was one famous restaurant in town, and the owner’s sister had a restaurant in Aspen, Colorado. And that’s how we got a job. That was our first job, from Switzerland to Aspen.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, you went from Montreux to Aspen!
THERESE: That’s right! (Laughter) Ya, we were always in the right places. After that, Lake Tahoe you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: So that was your first stay in the United States, in Aspen. How long did you stay in Aspen?
THERESE: Just the winter season. In April everybody left. Everything closed then.
RUDY: Just a few months. (showing picture) This is my grandmother. She was an officer in the Salvation Army.
THERESE: And then this Swiss man from Tahoe was looking for summer help, so we signed up with him. He was the guy with the Swiss Chalet. Are you familiar with that place on Hwy. 50 in Tahoe? We worked there for a summer.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yes, yes. It’s still there.
RUDY: It’s still there. I think it has changed. Hans died.
THERESE: The father died and the young ones took over, and I don’t know.
MARIAM HANSEN: So how long were you in Lake Tahoe?
THERESE: Eight years. After the Swiss Chalet, we both worked at the casinos.
MARIAM HANSEN: Really? You worked at a casino?
THERESE: Ya, he was a pastry chef and I was a blackjack dealer. People are always surprised. They have the wrong ideas about…. This is an honest profession.
MARIAM HANSEN: It seems so out of character. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the profession. It’s just not something I would expect.
THERESE: I even… I liked it.
MARIAM HANSEN: Were you in Harrah’s?
MARIAM HANSEN: Harvey’s. Harvey’s had the better view, right? Wasn’t Harvey’s on the lake side of the state line.
THERESE: It’s on the left.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, it’s on the lake side.
THERESE: It’s not down on the lake though.
MARIAM HANSEN: No.
THERESE: No, you only look out on Hwy 50.
MARIAM HANSEN: Was it Harrah’s where you used to go up, and they had this really nice dining room on the top?
RUDY: Well, Harrah’s has one. They came afterwards, you know. They built that hotel afterwards where you used to go up high.
THERESE: Ya, it’s called “Top of the Wheel”. That’s where you have the beautiful view.
RUDY: Harvey’s was the first one that had the high-rise, and then Harrah’s came later on. Harrah’s had just the bottom part before. The old Harrah’s.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, you stayed eight years in Tahoe, doing this and that, and then what happened?
THERESE: Then we came down here and somebody who worked with him said… We wanted a business, but we didn’t want to go to a big city, and not in a shopping center.
RUDY: We got tired of the snow, you know!
THERESE: And somebody that worked with him said down here it is nice, and we had never heard of Napa Valley. Except the commercial, maybe you remember… SoNapanoma. What was it for? Wine country?
MARIAM HANSEN: It was for Inglenook, when Hublein had it, I think, or Gallo or you know, some terrible wine.
RUDY: What was it? Napa Sonoma…
THERESE: Or Sonoma Napa…
MARIAM HANSEN: SoNapaNoma. That’s right.
RUDY: And something else.
MARIAM HANSEN: It was Heublein, or Gallo or some big… There were just two types of wine then, red and white.
THERESE: That’s right! And Krug and Almaden, oh, they were top. And it cost like $5 or something.
MARIAM HANSEN: CK Mondavi in the gallon jug.
THERESE: Paul Masson. And we used to buy Liebfraumilch from Germany. And Blue Nun!
RUDY: Blue Nun! (Laughter)
MARIAM HANSEN: So, somehow you came to St. Helena and the bakery was for sale?
THERESE: And then we looked at it and it was kind of discouraging.
RUDY: Ya, A hole-in-the-wall, it was, you know.
THERESE: But anyway, we talked to the owner. It was Rossi.
MARIAM HANSEN: Constantino Rossi.
THERESE: Uh-huh. And then he said, well, he was going to put it in the paper. So, we bought it at the right time.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, right before he was going to list it for sale, you showed up?
THERESE: Ya, so he never listed it then. He took us home for dinner, it was in April, and then June first, we started.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, wow! But you immediately called it the Sugarhouse then. I mean, you never called it the Model Bakery.
RUDY: No, no.
THERESE: At the moment, it was strange.
RUDY: It didn’t look like a model bakery. Everything was old inside, you know. All the machines were old, and everything else was old, so we slowly got rid of the showcases, and bought new ones, used ones, but from another bakery. We bought some new machinery. Slowly, slowly, whenever we had money, we invested a little bit more, you know, brought it up to date. But it always…. Till it started to look good.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, June 1st of what year would that have been?
MARIAM HANSEN: 1971. And Harold Thorsen still owned the building at that time?
THERESE: At that time, his mother was still alive, and she was nice. But then he was a little…
MARIAM HANSEN: Was that Willa? Wasn’t she a teacher?
THERESE: Oh, I don’t know. She was already old then. She didn’t work.
MARIAM HANSEN: We had a Mrs. Thorsen in high school. I don’t know if it was… which one it was. So, Mrs. Thorsen was the owner and then Harold was her son?
THERESE: Ya, and he was an adopted son.
RUDY: Ya, he was an adopted son and he turned out to be one mean son-of-a-bitch.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, I think his father was a cement contractor.
RUDY: Yep, ya.
MARIAM HANSEN: And he helped to build the high school.
RUDY: That could be, uh huh.
MARIAM HANSEN: I have a picture. It’s in our book, our St. Helena book. He did the stonework on the high school. His name was Harold Thorsen.
RUDY: Harold Thorsen, ya, right.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, did you make the lease with Mrs. Thorsen?
THERESE: Ya, right.
MARIAM HANSEN: And then he took over after she died?
MARIAM HANSEN: So, at first it was nice between Mrs. Thorsen and yourselves, and everything was going well.
RUDY: Oh yeah. Uh huh.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, were you the only bakery in St. Helena at that time?
RUDY: At that time, ya, we were.
THERESE: Well, there still is only one.
MARIAM HANSEN: For a little while there were two.
RUDY: There were three bakeries. There was Pagendarm down the street, then Pagendarm moved up when the other guy went belly-up, the guy that started it.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, Parnesari?
RUDY: That was during the Depression. That’s when they couldn’t hold on to it any more. Then Pagendarm moved in and they had it till…
THERESE: You know, Rossi said he had it 15 years. So ’71 minus 15, what was that? ’71, ’61, ’56.
MARIAM HANSEN: He still had it in ’57. We have these city directories in the library, from the County, so I went through it before I came over here, and what I found was, in 1950 it was called The Model Bakery, and Bruno and Ruth Pagendarm, Jr. had it.
We don’t have every year of the books, so, in ’54 he still had it. In ’56 he still had it. He lived on Madrona. In ’57 it’s shown as Constantino and Inez Rossi. And Bruno and Bob Bicker opened the Silverado Sports Shop on Main Street, which is where the St. Helena Cyclery is now. And there was like a sporting goods business. Then in 1963 it was still Constantino and Inez, and then we have a gap in the books. We don’t have another book until 1978 and by that time it was the Sugarhouse. In 1971 it became Sugarhouse.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, the equipment in there… was it just worn out or was it old-fashioned or it was badly taken care of?
RUDY: No, no. Some machines were… they were huge machines. They were making mainly…. What do you call the damn bread?
RUDY: No, no, no. not baguettes. The sandwich loaves. I mean I still have tons of, I don’t have them any more… tons of baking tins to make sandwich loaves. And that use to be the main thing.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, they used to be sliced…
THERESE: Uh-huh and plastic wrap. I think Rossi started with the French bread.
RUDY: Ya, I think so.
THERESE: And he had quite a following. Even then when people would come, all the tourists bought his French bread. He had short fat ones, and also longer ones and then he had baguettes. Anyway, he said the long ones are sourdough, the short one is the sweet French. It was all the same dough, but people asked, “is it sourdough?” “ Oh, get the long one. The short is sweet.”
MARIAM HANSEN: So, was this like the traditional San Francisco sourdough recipe that you were making?
THERESE: He didn’t make sourdough. Just crusty bread.
RUDY: We just called it sourdough, because it has a different shape.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh. And you did the same?
THERESE: Ya, and then we said, “Well, nobody complained” so we did.
RUDY: Nobody complained. (Laughter)
THERESE: Until one day a guy broke off a piece. “This isn’t sourdough,” he said.
RUDY: But it had a good crust, you know. I mean it was baked the right way.
THERESE: In those days people thought, if it doesn’t have a crust, it’s not sourdough French bread. They only knew sourdough French bread. And then German people would come, tourists, “Oh no, we don’t want sourdough. No, no.” I would say, “We have a sweet one, too.” Which was true, but the words, they didn’t like that word “sweet”. It was just regular French bread. They thought it was sugar sweet. Oh, it was a battle sometimes.
MARIAM HANSEN: Now what did you bake besides the bread?
MARIAM HANSEN: So, you had the cakes and the sweet pastries…
RUDY: We made cakes, Danish pastries. We made puff pastries, all different kinds of shapes, whatever.
THERESE: Then the drier cookies: Almond macaroons, coconut macaroons. We had everything a Swiss bakery has, which is quite an assortment.
RUDY: In the wintertime, for the holidays we made gingerbread and lakkerli and all those spice cookies.
MARIAM HANSEN: Special order.
MARIAM HANSEN: And, of course, everyone wanted pumpkin pies and yule logs.
RUDY: Ya, we made pumpkin pies too. Then one day a lady was standing in front of the window looking in.
THERESE: A German lady, a tourist, and I heard what she said. “Kuck mal” she said to her husband. “Das ist ause eine grinden scheise.”
RUDY: Like somebody pooped in there. Ya, it looked like it you know, those pumpkin pies.
THERESE: It must have been a warm day, like now, in November, because the door was open. And I could always hear what people said outside.
RUDY: Ya, well we worry sometimes.
MARIAM HANSEN: Well, when you deal with the public, you know, you get everything.
THERESE: Ya, ya.
RUDY: But it used to be entertaining you.
MARIAM HANSEN: Not bad. And people would really take this very seriously, cause it’s their food. The Germans have their traditions and things they know, and you know, when it’s different… “Look, Hans!. It’s not like at home!”
THERESE: Ya. One time I had women, two or three, looking and looking and looking and then they left. They didn’t buy anything. Then one turned around and said, “You sure bake the strangest things!” she says.
RUDY: Ya. That was while we had
MARIAM HANSEN: Pumpkin pies
RUDY: No, no. Full-fledged. Everything that went into a bakery.
THERESE: Maybe they were from Ohio or something. Out in the Boonies.
MARIAM HANSEN: Somewhere where they don’t know how to eat. Did you ever have problems with some kind of crime or robbery or broken window?
RUDY: No, no.
THERESE: Nothing like that.
RUDY: Time was still pretty normal in those days.
MARIAM HANSEN: Can you remember some of the other businesses that were around you on both sides, or across the street?
THERESE: There used to be a Sears Catalog Store right next to us, where Alan’s Frame Shop was after.
RUDY: Ya, right next door.
THERESE: No after that was the Shoe, or Western?
MARIAM HANSEN: Roman’s Shoe Repair?
RUDY: No, Roman was down the street.
MARIAM HANSEN: Western Auto?
RUDY: No, no. That’s down the street too.
THERESE: I meant western shirts and stuff. Remember that? Only for a short time. I forgot the name.
RUDY: I forgot it too.
MARIAM HANSEN: What other kind of shops were in town? Where did people shop?
THERESE: For what? What did you say?
MARIAM HANSEN: What kind of shops were in town? Where did you go grocery shop?
RUDY: Vasconi was there.
MARIAM HANSEN: Vasconi Drugs?
THERESE: The doctors’ office was there.
RUDY: The doctors’ office…
MARIAM HANSEN: Dr. Neal, Brignoli, Quirci
THERESE: Right. And then Ed Beard with the…
MARIAM HANSEN: Insurance?
THERESE: Insurance, right. And then the Sears Catalog Store and then also the barber next door.
RUDY: The barber was next door.
THERESE: Karen Mitchell has part of that now.
MARIAM HANSEN: Right. Who was the barber in those days?
THERESE: George something…
MARIAM HANSEN: Barber George. There was a George who shined the shoes…
RUDY: He has a French name.
THERESE: Yeah, he had a French name.
MARIAM HANSEN: Lapierre!
RUDY: Lapierre, ya. George Lapierre.
THERESE: Oh, and then after him came the other guy.
RUDY: Oh, yeah. The Shear Pleasure.
THERESE: Ya, right.
RUDY: Ralph, I think was his name.
THERESE: Ralph, ya. And there used to be a dress shop that was owned by Patty Vasconi’s mother and her sister.
MARIAM HANSEN: Chelini’s Dress Shop.
THERESE: Right. And the… what’s the guy’s…. he’s a lawyer now. The funny one. His dad had either a real estate or an insurance office. What’s his name? You know him too, I’m sure. Hunter!
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh yes. Hunter Real Estate and Insurance. Real estate and insurance used to go hand-in-hand. Yeah, I remember him.
THERESE: And then came Rosenbergs, soon, where Goodman’s is. And then Cook’s Tractor. And what else was down there? I’m not so familiar.
MARIAM HANSEN: Cooke’s Tractor was on Main Street? Really?
THERESE: Um-hmm. Do you know that guy? They just called him Cookie.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, Mel Cookie?
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, Mel
RUDY: Ya, Kook.
MARIAM HANSEN: Cookie the Kook.
RUDY: I don’t know, they remodeling his house, up there on Main Street…
MARIAM HANSEN: They’re moving him back in. Long story, but anyway… The Rosenbergs owned Goodman’s but they never changed the name.
THERESE: That’s right. It was always called Goodman’s. Oh, and we had the safe in the old bakery with the name “Goodman” on it.
RUDY: It’s still sitting in the Goodman’s store there.
THERESE: Ya, he bought it… What’s his name?
MARIAM HANSEN: Jack Paulus bought it? You had that in your bakery?
MARIAM HANSEN: So, did you keep your money in there?
THERESE: No, because we couldn’t close it.
RUDY: I closed it once and it got all my 8 fingers in there.
THERESE: He left his fingers in there.
RUDY: Because the door was so heavy, I slammed it.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, you put your fingers in there.
RUDY: I had all my fingers in there.
THERESE: I had to go to Emergency with him.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh my gosh! Those are your baking fingers.
RUDY: Yeah, right, right!
MARIAM HANSEN: Owww! (Laughter and pause) So what do you remember about City politics? Who was the mayor?
THERESE: Oh, Aquila.
RUDY: Aquila was there for a long time.
RUDY: Oh, Lowell Smith.
MARIAM HANSEN: What was the big deal in those days? What were they fighting about?
THERESE: You know, I don’t really know. I never paid that much… I only know… What’s his first name, Smith.
MARIAM HANSEN: Lowell.
THERESE: Lowell Smith, he came once and asked what I think. What our customers are… mostly tourists, or mostly locals… Well, it was about half and half because tourists are a big item.
RUDY: Ya, that’s where the… but that’s where we made the money.
THERESE: They were always a little bit anti-tourist, you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, that’s why they made all these different ordinances about “local-serving”, and you can’t have too many jewelry stores, or you’re not supposed to have t-shirt shops on Main Street, or ice cream stores.
RUDY: Ya, ya.
THERESE: I remember when there was a dress shop that had been remodeled and two sisters, their dad bought it for them, on our side.
MARIAM HANSEN: Toil and Spin?
THERESE: No, it was on our side. Toil and Spin was across. That was the first time a new owner came into the business, and I was wondering, “Now is this going to be a T-shirt shop”, you know. But it wasn’t. They had kind of unusual clothes, and I don’t…
MARIAM HANSEN: Hmm. Were they local people? because Cheryl Emmolo had a dress shop.
THERESE: Oh, I know that, sure. But it wasn’t her. And it was across the street.
MARIAM HANSEN: It wasn’t Greta’s.
THERESE: No. They were two young girls in their 20’s that had it. And I think the dad was in Pope Valley? I’m not sure. And they didn’t have it very long. I forgot what came in afterwards. But we used to have another butcher down the street, where the antique shop is. Angelo.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh yeah. St. Helena Meat Market.
THERESE: And then he moved to Foodland, across from us, where…what’s now? Steves.
RUDY: Steves Hardware.
THERESE: My gosh, things change around.
MARIAM HANSEN: Kellers. Was he inside Kellers?
THERESE: No. That was Ernie. Foodland.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh yeah. Where Steves Hardware is now used to be the Foodland Grocery Store.
THERESE: Right. And we used to have… what was that store, a clothing store, in the Galleron Building. What was it called?
MARIAM HANSEN: Fashionland.
THERESE: Fashionland, Right!
RUDY: You got it!
MARIAM HANSEN: That’s where we got a lot of our clothes. Wasn’t there a butcher at St. Helena Meat Market in those days?
THERESE: Meat Market? Well there was Ernie’s and Angelo.
MARIAM HANSEN: Ernie was in Keller’s. And Angelo was in Foodland.
THERESE: First he was in where the antique shop is now. Then he moved to Foodland.
MARIAM HANSEN: So then before him was Corbela’s.
THERESE: That I don’t know.
MARIAM HANSEN: They owned the meat market. Corbela and Haus.
RUDY: That sounds familiar, but…
MARIAM HANSEN: Because my parents bought their property from Corbela, over there on the Trail.
RUDY: Slaughterhouse over there.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, that was their slaughterhouse. The Health Department closed them down for unsafe, unsanitary conditions.
RUDY: Oh my.
MARIAM HANSEN: And my father went and bought it. (Laughter) My mother was ready to go back to Germany. (Laughter)
THERESE: Poor thing.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, you were on Main Street in this nice location for about 13 years, until then Mrs. Thorsen died. So, Mrs. Thorsen died, and now Harold is the boss. And what, he just came to you one day and said…What happened?
THERESE: No, It happened with that garage in the back. It was a wood building, but it was part of our, whatever we were leasing.
RUDY: It was the lease we had.
THERESE: And we parked our car in there. And did we have other stuff in there? I don’t know. But one day, he starts tearing it down. And then they were working and then he went out and said, “What are you doing here ? This is our, my garage.” “Well,” he said, “Go ahead. Tear it down,” you know. We didn’t like that.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, all of a sudden the space you were leasing was now very smaller.
THERESE: Yea, right.
RUDY: Actually, the building where we had the garage
THERESE: It’s where Karen Mitchell has now her white building, behind.
RUDY: And then there was another…Behind that garage there was another building, where you could park two cars lengthwise.
MARIAM HANSEN: Because the alley was different then, or the alley didn’t go through.
RUDY: Ya. No, the alley went through all the time.
MARIAM HANSEN: But it looked different.
THERESE: It looked different at that end. But then, well, they got into an argument, and then he said, “Well at least you should lower the rent or something.” And then it was time for us… we always closed after President’s day weekend. It was a good weekend, then it was a slow time after that. So, we always closed for a month. And when we came back, that year the lease was up, and the new rent was going to be $2,000. And it was obvious he wanted us out. I mean we even had a lawyer fighting him.
RUDY: That didn’t help.
THERESE: It didn’t help, no.
RUDY: You know those lawyers, they…
MARIAM HANSEN: So, this was February of what year?
THERESE: Well, that was when we… the lease was up in June, but we started once on June first.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, in June you left that space.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, what year?
THERESE: When we came back, that’s when all the trouble started.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, was that around ’84?
THERESE: Yes, exactly. ’84.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, you didn’t immediately move over to your new space…
RUDY: No, no, no.
THERESE: That’s another story. They kept us waiting. You know, the permit. It took a year and a half for the permit, and then six months to remodel. Two years we were out of business, and a lot of people thought we went back to Switzerland.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, June of ’84, what did you take from there? Were you able to take your equipment and things with you?
RUDY: Ya, everything. Except the ovens, I had to leave them behind because they were built with bricks. So, I had to buy a new oven. That was, what was it, about $30,000
THERESE: A little bit more.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, everything besides the ovens went with you. I noticed something else that you did. You took the phone number with you.
RUDY: Ya, ya.
THERESE: We did? I don’t remember that.
MARIAM HANSEN: You did! Because on the directory, in the city directories, when I looked, the number was always 963-3424. And then when Karen Mitchell opened, she had to get a new phone number. 963-8917. So, your Sugarhouse phone number was the old phone number, same as the old. So, if people were calling you, if someone was calling you, they might not have known. You kept the phone number so your customers could find you for something special.
RUDY: Ya, ya.
THERESE: You know, even after, after we retired, yeah. I was working in the yard, in those days I had a cordless. Phone rings, I answer, say “Hello.” “What time do you close?” (Laughter) I mean, after we retired! So, this guy, he probably wasn’t a very good customer. He didn’t know it.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh gee, yeah. That’s a small town, when they… you call the baker at his house.(Laughter) So the building down there where you moved to, which is now the site of Press, and Dean and DeLuca.
THERESE: It used to be a bowling alley.
MARIAM HANSEN: It was the bowling alley, right. And then there was “The Spot” restaurant.
THERESE: Before “The Spot” was the French restaurant. The first French restaurant.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, did the Tripolis own that whole complex?
THERESE: Yeah, he was a good landlord.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, tell me how you made the lease and you talked to him… How did this come about that you leased that space?
THERESE: You said once that you knew about that place…
RUDY: Well, the bowling alley, and The Spot was rented, and part of the bowling alley, they used it as a warehouse for Sattui…
THERESE: Oh, Sattui had wine in the back.
RUDY: And before Sattui, I think, Krug was before that. They used it for wine storage. And then when Al Mori, that actually was my landlord then, he let me use that one part at the end of the building. That was part of, actually, the restaurant next door. But they divided it up…
MARIAM HANSEN: And made you a space.
RUDY: And I got 2,000 sq. feet in there.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, you didn’t deal with Tripoli, you dealt with Mori?
RUDY: Ya, with Al Mori. I think Tripoli was gone by then.
THERESE: Bautista Tripoli.
MARIAM HANSEN: He was Christine Montelli’s father.
THERESE: He was what?
MARIAM HANSEN: Christine Montelli’s father.
RUDY: Ya, he was quite a character. Oh my, Tripoli guy… I remember we went once to Sons of Italy dinner.
THERESE: You ever been to Sons of Italy dinner?
MARIAM HANSEN: I did go once, yeah.
RUDY: He was on that committee, you know.
THERESE: And they all wore a carnation. It looked like Mafia to me.
RUDY: And I remember when he said, “And we got money!”
MARIAM HANSEN: They still have it, you know.
THERESE: I’m sure. Oh, the dinners!
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah.
THERESE: Yeah, I’m sure.
RUDY: I haven’t gone in years.
THERESE: Actually, I was thinking once in a while we should go to one. They’ve still got some old-timers.
MARIAM HANSEN: They have a crab-feed, I think, or something, no? So, then you got the 2,000 sq. feet and you moved all your equipment except you had to buy a new oven. But then you had a nice modern oven. And that’s a $30,000 item?
THERESE: No, it was $50,000.
RUDY: Ya, it was probably more than that.
THERESE: I remember that. And it was even cheaper because we found it at the trade exhibition in Las Vegas…from Italy.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, so it was used.
RUDY: No, it was brand new.
THERESE: It was to show. And they were so happy that they didn’t have to move it back to Italy.
RUDY: So, we took it off their hands.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, who makes that type?
RUDY: Forni, in Italy. Where is that town?
MARIAM HANSEN: Augi Forni because Forni means oven, in Italian.
RUDY: His name was Abogaro. And then that’s why he came up with the name Augi. Abogaro and company, or something.
MARIAM HANSEN: So then in June, let’s see, around ’86, you reopened.
THERESE: That’s right. July 4. You made it July 4.
MARIAM HANSEN: OK. Opened July 4th, ’86.
MARIAM HANSEN: But then Karen Mitchell came on the scene around that time, and reopened…
THERESE: I think the same year we moved out, she opened, but late in the year. I’m not sure.
RUDY: No, no. It was later because they had some remodeling to do. I don’t know if it was the Fall… at least half a year later.
THERESE: Yeah, like November or something.
MARIAM HANSEN: What kind of relationship did you have with her? Were you friendly, or was it like really a competition.
RUDY: In the beginning, ya… No there never was any competition. We used to be friendly. She used to come borrow things from us.
THERESE: Ya, she had a catering kitchen back there. She used to sell… you could buy salads, and stuff like that.
RUDY: Ya, back in the alleyway there.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh yeah, she had that other building in the back. I remember that now.
THERESE: See that must have… I think that started the whole thing, that building.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, she had the catering business back there first, and then when the bakery was empty, she came.
RUDY: She moved over, ya.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, did she have to pay $2,000 a month?
THERESE: I don’t know.
RUDY: That we don’t know. We never found that out.
THERESE: We heard they were very, very good friends, so I don’t know.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, did your balance between locals and tourists change when you were out on the highway? Did you get more tourists?
THERESE: Well, they were happy we had a parking space. Uptown there was no parking space. Where do we park? Which is true, you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: It’s still a problem.
THERESE: And other people, a German lady, said, “It’s so dangerous to drive out of this. She doesn’t stop anymore. She’s afraid to drive. She had to go to Calistoga. Ingrid. To get out of the parking… Well, she was getting older.
MARIAM HANSEN: You mean when you were here on the highway?
RUDY: I mean, and the traffic wasn’t that bad yet then, so you could always find a spot to move out.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, when you moved there, then, in that little shopping area, you had The Sugarhouse. You had The Spot next to you. And then the Tripoli Market.
RUDY: The Tripoli Market was still there.
MARIAM HANSEN: The Tripoli Market was still there, and that was it.
THERESE: And Ted’s Flooring next door. It got torn down, or…
RUDY: Because of the…
THERESE: The Wine Merchant?
RUDY: No, no.
THERESE: Oh, Flora Springs.
THERESE: Then why?
RUDY: Because of … what is it called… the restaurant, The Press.
THERESE: No that was our place. Ted’s Flooring was on the other side.
MARIAM HANSEN: The south side?
THERESE: Pardon me?
MARIAM HANSEN: On the south side?
THERESE: Yeah, right. I think it might have been where the winery tasting room for Flora Springs, is now.
MARIAM HANSEN: Ted’s Flooring?
THERESE: And the other guy, who could fix everything. What was his name? Everybody had him.
MARIAM HANSEN: Arosa?
RUDY: No, no.
MARIAM HANSEN: The Fix-it guy.
THERESE: I know, and when he passed away, or gave up his business, it was a disaster for the whole town. Wineries and… they all called him. He could fix anything.
MARIAM HANSEN: And he had his shop there?
MARIAM HANSEN: Ooo. Who could that have been? Was he a local guy?
MARIAM HANSEN: Did he live here the rest of his life?
THERESE: Yup. I’m sure. He was already older.
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, Spink’s Refrigeration! I was gonna say Spinks, yeah.
THERESE: But he didn’t fix only refrigeration. He could do other stuff.
RUDY: No, no. He fixed my machines. He fixed my mixers, you know. He was good, that guy. He could do anything.
MARIAM HANSEN: Roger Spink was his son. I remember him in high school. He was a couple of years older than me. Yeah, and his wife’s name was Barbara.
THERESE: Barbara, ya, that’s right.
MARIAM HANSEN: Was he an American guy, or was he a European?
MARIAM HANSEN: Spink
THERESE: Spinks? He was an American.
MARIAM HANSEN: He fixed everything, huh? I thought he just fixed refrigerators.
RUDY: No, no. He was great.
MARIAM HANSEN: How handy for you, to have him so close by.
RUDY: Ya, ya. That’s right. I had to call him several times. Always he was there and he knew what he was doing.
MARIAM HANSEN: Ya, then south of there, there used to be a meat storage locker. That building right on the corner of Inglewood, had like these big walk-in freezers that you could rent. Like for all the deer hunters. They would come back with their kill. And you could store your meat in there. But I’m not sure that was around still, when you were there.
RUDY: I don’t remember that.
THERESE: Would you like a cup of coffee?
MARIAM HANSEN: No thank you.
THERESE: I should’ve asked a long time ago. I forgot.
MARIAM HANSEN: You didn’t bake something for us, huh? (laughter) So, how long did you stay there? When did you actually retire? What sort of brought that on?
THERESE: Well we wanted to sell. We were, all of a sudden we’d had had it. You have time for nothing, you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: You were working all day; he was working half the night. So, what you saw each other at dinnertime?
RUDY: Dinnertime, ya. We always had dinner together, ya, with the kids and everything.
MARIAM HANSEN: And you were raising your two daughters. When were they born?
MARIAM HANSEN: Were they born in St. Helena, or what years were they born?
THERESE: Lake Tahoe
MARIAM HANSEN: Uh-huh, and what years were they born? And their names?
THERESE: One in ’66 and one in ’68.
MARIAM HANSEN: And what was the first one’s name?
THERESE: Susie. When she graduated from high school, she said to me… she said to us, “I have a surprise for you.” On the graduation day, you know. And you know, what they call, the principal called each by the name, and handed you the diploma. They called, “Suzanne Virginia Rudolf the Fifth Frey”. (laughter)
MARIAM HANSEN: That was the name she said she wanted to be called.
RUDY: Ya, ya, ya.
MARIAM HANSEN: And your younger daughter’s name?
MARIAM HANSEN: And where are they now?
THERESE: Pardon me?
MARIAM HANSEN: One of them is up in Seattle or…
THERESE: Ya, that’s Susie. The other one’s in Napa.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, you have grandchildren? In both places?
THERESE: Three boys and one girl, ya. Between the two, you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, that’s nice. One time we were traveling in Seattle and I think we ran into you.
THERESE: That’s right! I remember your mother. Were you there, too? We ran into your mother.
RUDY: Ya, I remember your mother.
THERESE: That’s true.
MARIAM HANSEN: Maybe you ran into my mother. I think I might have been with her.
RUDY: We were in that downtown area.
MARIAM HANSEN: In Seattle.
THERESE: Near the water.
MARIAM HANSEN: Right. Or maybe my mother told me about this, that day. I wasn’t there, but she was.
THERESE: Probably she did. I saw, we saw her.
RUDY: No, I guess so. We saw her.
THERESE: But what was she, on a trip or something?
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, ya. She was always on a trip.
RUDY: I think she was on the trip, ya, on the boat.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, a cruise, or doing Napa Valley College trips and tours. She traveled with them all the time.
THERESE: Oh, did she?
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh yeah. She loved it. She just went on everything.
THERESE: Well, good for her!
MARIAM HANSEN: So around what year did you say, “That’s it. We’re done.”?
THERESE: Let’s see. ’97 we retired. Starting ’95 he was thinking about it. And then, we never… we didn’t really look that seriously for a buyer. We were just keeping our ears open, you know. And then Dean & DeLuca came, and another lease we could not renew. That’s why it was, in a way, I was glad. I mean, we couldn’t sell, but it was time to get out of there.
RUDY: We sold everything piecemeal afterwards, you know. We ended up with that, the ??? . I think the oven went over to Dixon. They had to take… Well, the oven was… What was it?
THERESE: Part of it was built in, and we thought we can never sell this oven without… It can’t be moved.
RUDY: How many tons was it weighing?
THERESE: I don’t remember that.
MARIAM HANSEN: But it was moved.
RUDY: Well but they had to take it apart. Take frame by frame apart and rebuild it over in Dixon again.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, do you know where the bakery is in Dixon? Do you ever go visit your oven?
RUDY: No, it was.. well it’s been a while.
THERESE: It’s called Village Bakery?
RUDY: Village Bakery.
THERESE: And isn’t it Davis, not Dixon?
RUDY: Davis, ya.
MARIAM HANSEN: There is a good European baker in Davis. It’s not in downtown, but kind of on the east side of town. We’ve been there once.
RUDY: Ya, there was a pastry shop there. We used to stop there too. But… and their bakery now is…they moved it.
THERESE: It was small and they moved it, the production out somewhere out of Davis.
MARIAM HANSEN: It could still be there.
THERESE: It’s still in Davis.
MARIAM HANSEN: Ya, ya. I think I’ve been there. And so, the rest of your equipment went somewhere else?
RUDY: Ya, it was sold here and there and everywhere, you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: Did you have like a good-bye party? Or a you know, “Thank you for your support”? Or something like that?
THERESE: Ya, we should have, but we didn’t.
MARIAM HANSEN: So ,when was your actual closing date? You said ’97, but what date?
THERESE: September 30th
MARIAM HANSEN: In ’97?
THERESE: Um-hmm. I think we had something up about our bakery, about the guys that came back, Charlie…they were all there.
RUDY: Ya, right. Our regular customers.
MARIAM HANSEN: Right, because you had a few tables in there, had coffee, could sit and eat your little favorite pastry from Rudy. September 30, 1997.
THERESE: Fifteen years already! Can you believe that?? Or fourteen…
MARIAM HANSEN: So, did you like, go on an around the world trip, after?
THERESE: No, we haven’t done that yet.
RUDY: We were always too busy.
THERESE: First I thought it was really great. On a Wednesday we could go to Santa Rosa, and didn’t have to worry about being back in time so he could go to bed. Which means I have to cook, then you have to eat, then he goes to bed…It had to be a certain time, you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: And suddenly that was no longer.
THERESE: It was great. We could come home at 8:00. It didn’t matter.
MARIAM HANSEN: You could go to bed at 10:00 together, like regular people. But you had to change your sleep schedule then.
THERESE: Ya, he still hasn’t. He goes to bed late.
MARIAM HANSEN: Really?
RUDY: I go to bed at midnight.
MARIAM HANSEN: Ya, so you still got that old habit, huh.
RUDY: That was the time that I had to get up. (laughter)
MARIAM HANSEN: You haven’t taken any trips? Come on, you’ve done some travel, haven’t you?
THERESE: Oh, we go to Switzerland about every two years, and from there we make trips with my sister in Europe. We stay with her. She is our base, and from there we make trips.
MARIAM HANSEN: Now I seem to remember… remember when CalTrans wanted to build a freeway up the middle of the Napa Valley?
RUDY: Ya, I remember that!
MARIAM HANSEN: Now weren’t they going to put it right through here?
RUDY: Yes! My house wouldn’t be here, because that would have been the onramp onto the freeway.
MARIAM HANSEN: Really? So, this…
THERESE: But when we bought the house, was it already decided that there won’t be a freeway?
RUDY: It wasn’t decided yet.
THERESE: Because the other day we talked with Patti Vasconi about home prices then, you know. And I told her Hap Granger, he was the realtor here. He told us, already then, this was a steal. And she said, “Yeah, that’s because of the freeway was going to go through here.” That’s why. They wanted to get rid of it, you know.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, Hap Granger was trying to sell you a piece of freeway-view real estate. (laughter)
RUDY: No but it would have still made money, you know.
THERESE: I don’t know… but anyway…
MARIAM HANSEN: But I thought that CalTrans had already bought some land in this area, and they were already planning.
THERESE: Across the road, across the street here…still belonged to them.
MARIAM HANSEN: It belonged to CalTrans?
RUDY: That belonged to CalTrans until… How long since the Breckinridges built there?
THERESE: That was in the early ‘80s I think when they started to build these homes here. They started with Zinfandel.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, I remember that. I was saying to Bonnie as we came into your street, “Remember, this was where the freeway was going to be. “
THERESE: Do you remember someone by the name of Creasy?
MARIAM HANSEN: Oh, yeah.
THERESE: She used to work at the post office I believe.
MARIAM HANSEN: Paula Creasy.
THERESE: They lived here… I think they were the first owners, before the Wrights. They had a daughter, Victoria. That’s why it’s called Victoria Lane.
MARIAM HANSEN: Right. And their son , in my class in high school. Yeah, they had a big family. They had like four or five kids.
THERESE: I didn’t really know them.
MARIAM HANSEN: And there’s Penny Creasy. I ran into Penny Creasy at the library not too long ago. But, so when you bought your property here, the whole bit about the freeway going through was not going to happen, right? Or was it going to happen?
RUDY: We didn’t know that then. Because after we bought ours, then the neighbor, Bill Pace.
THERESE: He built after ours? Mr. Beamer?
RUDY: Yes. Mr. Beamer, about four years later after we built ours here, he built that one.
THERESE: I mean, four years later, it must have been decided, no freeway.
MARIAM HANSEN: Right. I have some articles in the Historical Society files about this whole controversy because they were predicting, CalTrans was predicting the type of traffic mess that we have now. They were predicting it back then. And the solution was four lanes up the middle of the valley.
RUDY: All the way to Calistoga? Ya, sure.
THERESE: And then what, in Calistoga?
MARIAM HANSEN: Then what?
RUDY: They need to make a tunnel to go over to the other side of the hill.
MARIAM HANSEN: Then, of course, when that was not… The opposition was just unbelievable. I mean everybody in the valley was up in arms.
THERESE: I’m glad.
MARIAM HANSEN: That’s when they divided these lands up into lots and sold them. That’s why they’re so big. I mean it’s not a normal size.
RUDY: They were all one-acre lots.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah. They were big lots. Are they still one-acre lots?
RUDY: They’re still one-acre lots. And then I think there’s two or three of them down the street that consolidated, you know, to make them bigger.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, what would have happened to all those people living in the subdivision here on Mountain View? I mean, they would have had the freeway in their back yard.
RUDY: That’s right! But that was just an old chicken farm anyhow.
MARIAM HANSEN: That’s why they called it “Turkey Acres”.
RUDY: Turkey, oh yeah, that’s right.
MARIAM HANSEN: Yeah, Turkey Acres is still the slang from the old-timers for that neighborhood, is still “Turkey Acres”.
RUDY: Oh, I see.
THERESE: I didn’t know that.
MARIAM HANSEN: How big is your land.
RUDY: One acre.
MARIAM HANSEN: You have an acre. Wow. So, do you have a vineyard in the back?
RUDY: Well, I have a few grapes in the back.
MARIAM HANSEN: Just eating grapes?
RUDY: But not much. What is it, about 20 or 30 vines, just enough to make juice.
MARIAM HANSEN: So, tell me then, how did you start making wine? You said you got the grapes from Laurie Wood?
RUDY: From Laurie Wood. He used to say…well, in the beginning, we became friends, and he said, “Well I think I got some extra. Go ahead, you can pick this row, and this row, and this row.” And then we snuck some other ones. We stole them, to make a nice blend, you know. Because they were mostly Merlots or Cabernet Sauvignon, and then we wanted some Petite Sirah to blend with, you know. And then well, we were pretty successful in what we did, you know. But then I used to bring them over to Raymond’s, and they used to do the testing for me.
MARIAM HANSEN: Did you make the wine here on your property? Or where did you make it?
RUDY: No, we crushed it over at Laurie Wood’s.
MARIAM HANSEN: On Rutherford Crossroad?
RUDY: On Rutherford Crossroad. We crushed it over there, and then we brought the juice home. Or pressed it over there and brought the juice home and put it in the barrels.
MARIAM HANSEN: OK. So, you have a cool cellar back there or a building where you…
RUDY: Ya. Well, I added on to the garage and made a wine room out of it.
MARIAM HANSEN: Nice. You say we. Did you mean just you and Therese, or did you have another partner?
RUDY: No, no. Those other friends of ours that used to make, help me do everything. I couldn’t do anything by myself. Too much work.
MARIAM HANSEN: Well, thank you so much for talking with us. These were such great stories here. Too funny stories. I won’t tell anybody that it was all ???.
MARIAM HANSEN: An Ahnenpaß. Did you ever have to have one?
MARIAM HANSEN: My mother had to have one. An Ahnenpaß was all of the church records of your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, stamped by the church to show that you were not Jewish.
THERESE: They needed that?
MARIAM HANSEN: My mother had to have one.
RUDY: That would be the familian verhounde. There was nothing with …
THERESE: It’s funny how it gets cold the minute the sun goes down.
MARIAM HANSEN: I know. It’s why the nights are so cold.