Huerfano County, Colorado
Oral Interviews

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Pete Timone

Scanned by Dick Chenault
Edited by Dick Chenault
Interviewed by Frances Daher
Date of Interview - 7-23-1979

Q: What is your name?

A: Pete Timone.

Q: How old are you?

A: I'm 94 years old.

Q: Mr. Timone, 94 years old. Would you tell us how it was when you first came to this country? Where did you come from?

A: I came here in 1905.

Q: And from where?

A: Loreeda, Italy.(?)

Q: What year was that?

A: 1905.

Q: Did you come with your parents?

A: Some friends.

Q: Where did you come to?

A: Walsenburg.

Q: Right here you lived, all this time?

A: No. I was in Nevada and Alaska.

Q: And what did you do there?

A: Worked in the coal mines.

Q: You worked in the coal mines all your life?

A: Yes, all my life (shakes his head, yes), 57 years.

Q: 57 years, that's a long time. I'll bet you've seen a lot of changes in them from the time you started.

A: Nothing in Walsenburg at that time. The sidewalks were made out of boards. When Jeff Farr was here you don't remember, but I've heard my father-in-law speak of him. He was kicking the people off the street into the mud and (he measures about a foot and a half) it was that deep. What else you want.

Q: What were the mines like when you worked there? Did you have mules or what kind of, you know, how did you work when you were in the mines, or did you work with a pick and shovel? And the mules also?

A: The last few years was pick and shovel all the time, work.

Q: I bet it was hard work and not too much pay, what did it pay in the old days, when you first started? What did you make?

A: Let's see, I worked for $2.56, $2.56 a day, and that was from sun-up to sun-down

Q: Right, that was a long day. (He shakes his head yes)

Q: What mine did you work in?

A: Lester, Pryor, I worked in Ravenwood, Alamo, Ravenwood. I worked in different mines.

Q: Did you work in Maitland too?

A: Yeah I worked in Maitland, Pictou? No, not Pictou, and not Big Four. Morning Glory.

Q: What was the last mine you worked in? The last mine you worked in? Rapson?

A: That's where I got hurt.

Q: Uh huh, you get hurt there in 1950.

A: I got hurt. My wife said either you quit the mine or I'm quitting you.” She said “You can get the miner's pension.” I had to quit the mine cause I can't work no more. I was crushed from my hip all the way to my chest. I was crushed.

Q: Your back?

A: Uh huh yes. What else?

Q: Let's see' how did you get along with the neighbors? In those days did you live in coal camps?

A: Yes.

Q: Did everybody get along pretty well in those days, no big fights?

A: I worked in Ravenwood for a long time, I got married in Ravenwood.

Q: And what was your wife's name, before you got married? What was her name?

A: Mattieoda.

Q: And what was her first name?

A: Antionette, Antionette Mattieoda.

Q: And what year were you married?

A: 1927

Q: I'll bet that was a big day, right?

A: We had 47 years together.

Q: What kind of games did you play?

A: What?

Q: Did you play games?

A: No, No games. No I never play games, I never drink.

Q: Just work hard all your life?

A: Now I can't work no more now. That's right, just work, work for all those years. Then I was in hospital 4 weeks, I had an operation. One day I fall on the sidewalk, I bust all my face.

Q: That's too bad.

A: I was in the hospital. He patch me up. I want to come home the same day, but the doctor says “no, no.” He says, “No, you stay. We gonna hold you for a few days.” It's my heart.

Q: You had a stroke right? You have to take care of yourself, you know?

A: Since then I don't feel good, after that stroke I see the doctor.

Q: But it's good that you keep track of your health you know you have to watch.

A: I just rest and take care of my yard.

Q: Take care, that's right, you have to take care. He says the most important thing for you to rest, just rest, not work too hard out there in your garden, right? He says, “Take a rest a day a week or a month. Don't do any hard work.” And your yard is beautiful, it's just beautiful.

A: Not no more.

Q: Oh, it's still pretty. It's prettier than mine, and I have more time than you do.

A: I can't take care of it no more, the flowers are all gone. Well it takes time. I got the 3 places to take care of. I got the front. It's a big yard. It's too much for me right now. But it's a little different.

Q: What kind of transportation did they have in those days? When you first came here?

A: What?

Q: How did you get from place to place? Did you walk or have a horse, a car, how did you go?

A: You mean?

Q: You, when you first came in this country?

A: Oh was, I don't remember. I think when I came we walked.

Q: Most of the people walked, didn't they?

A: If they wanted to go to town, they got on the road and walked. When I was working in Lester we'd catch the train to town.

Q: You'd catch the train and ride it?

A: Yes' ride it in and out.

Q: It's been a long time ago hasn't it M. Timone? That's a long time isn't it?

A: (Shaking his head yes) a long time, since 1905. 1905 a long time.

Q: Did you go to town very often in those days?

A: Once a month.

Q: Once a month and you'd get all your supplies and things, and just stay home the rest of the time?

A: When I was living in Ravenwood, walked once a week, once a week, that's a long way, over three miles.

Q: Did you have a company store there in Ravenwood?

A: Yeah, oh yeah, they have. But sometimes they don't have what you want, or they get it for you.

Q: You had to come to town and get what it was that you wanted yourself.

A: Yeah, everybody would get together and go with the one that had the car. Alright, my wife never learned to drive. She was scared. She never tried to learn. She wouldn't.

Q: She didn't want to, huh?

A: She can't drive a car. Well sometimes that's the way it is.

Q: What kind of medical care did you have; a doctor in camp that took care of you?

A: Oh yes, a company doctor.

Q: A company doctor and he took care of everybody? Were there any diseases that anybody, did you go through that flu when they had the big flu? Did anybody you know have the flu?

A: No, nobody. A lot of people die. Where I was staying nobody got it.

Q: That's amazing nobody got it there in that camp. See you were all pretty healthy then, weren't you?

A: Yeah, right.

Q: What kind of chores did you do when you were in Italy? What kind of chores did you do? Did you live on a farm or what? Before you came to this country?

A: I just worked in the mine.

Q: Before you worked in the mine? Before you came here, where did you live? Were you a little boy there? Did you live on a farm?

A: I was working in a factory.

Q: What kind?

A: Making pots and pans out of copper.

Q: Oh, out of copper huh, and how much did you get paid for that?

A: 20 cents a day.

Q: 20 cents a day?

A: I saved for years my money. I come to this country.

Q: So you came to this country! It took you a long time to save it at 2O cents a day? Right? A long time. 2o cents a day, my goodness. What kind of chores did you do when you lived over there? Did you like haul in the wood and coal? Or what did you do? When you were a little boy? You don't remember?

A: When I was there?

Q: Uh huh?

A: Do my own cooking. Right, do my own cooking, washing, ironing. I do everything

Q: Everything? Yourself, that's wonderful. You did that when you were a boy too. Your mother taught you.

A: Yes.

Q: You had your mother and father. What was your mother and father's name?

A: My father, my mother, Mary. Marie.

Q: Marie?

A: My father Sesfeno.

Q: Sesfeno? And that's Timone?

A: My father was in this country too.

Q: Oh he came to this country too?

A: Yes, Course I remember when he came home.

Q: What do you call then?

A: Something wrong with the blood.

Q: High blood pressure?

A: Uh huh. And he died.

Q: Did your mother come to this country too?

A: No. No, she didn't come. That first year she stayed home with the kids.

Q: The other children?

A: Uh huh.

Q: Were you the only one in your family that cane to America?

A: My sister& my brother went to California. Course I don't know him. We didn't get along.

Q: Uh huh.

A: And my sister was in Minnesota.

Q: Minnesota?

A: Minnesota. She got married there. He got killed in an accident.

Q: A car accident?

A: Uh huh she went back home. She was older than I am. They're all dead, all of them. I'm sure they are.

Q: Do you remember what it was like during the depression? 1930?

A: Uh huh, 1930. It was pretty bad wasn't it? It was no work, no money. Eggs were 8 cents a dozen.

Q: But you didn't have the 8 cents to buy the eggs right? So what did you do during the depression, did you work?

A: Well yes, I was lucky enough. I had a job.

Q: You were lucky, cause so many people didn't have. I'll bet you didn't make very much even then did you?

A: Sometimes $3.00, $3.50 sometimes. Yeah.

Q: I'll bet it was even hard to live on that wasn't it?

A: Everything was cheap to live. You buy a pair of shoes for $2.50 or $3.00 and these shoes now you got to pay $25.00 for a pair.

Q: Yeah, right. Did you fix your own shoes in those days?

A: You fixed them yourself, shoes or anything.

A: With a last. I know my dad had one of those things where you fixed them and put the soles on them for yourself. Going to the store, an old shed down by his, Hobeika's store.

Q: Uh, huh. Do you remember it?

A: I forgot his name. His son was working in the bank. His name was Steve, Steve something.

Q: Uh huh.

A: He worked in the bank, but not no more. He died too.

Q: Uh huh. The stores were different too, weren't they?

A: The stores?

Q Weren't too many then, were there?

A: Yes, there small stores. I'm sorry I can't talk plain.

Q: Well, it's alright. We'll get it. I'll listen. Like I say, I'll listen real close. Do you remember what it was like during the strike? When they had the big strike? When they had the big strike? In 1913?

A: Oh yes. I was down there walking around where the peop1e got killed.

Q: Uh huh. Do you mean down at Ludlow?

A: And I remember down here in Walsen Camp. People that I knew got killed.

Q: They just shot them or what happened to them? That was the union, right?

A: I was in the house.

Q: Uh, huh, just stayed there to keep out of trouble right? How did you manage during the strike? You know, how did you live? Cause you weren't working right? Did you work when they had the strike? You got by just the same, right?

A: That's right.

Q: Did you load, at the company store?

A: Uh, huh. They had I guess, you remember Tom Ugolini.

Q: Yes.

A: He used to go around the camp and get the orders and then he would deliver the groceries or whatever.

Q: Yeah. Uh, huh, the 1913 strike was big and was bad, a lot of trouble? You think it was worth it? They didn't gain a thing; they didn't gain a thing, right?

A: Just a lot of lives lost for nothing.

Q: Let's see what else we need to know. Have you talked to a lot of people?

A: I've interviewed oh 2 or 3 of course they mostly want to know about were there any Indians or anything around. When there weren't any Indians around.

Q: When you were here, just how life was when you came here? Where you came from and what you did when you came here. You know most everybody that came from the old country worked in the mines, right? Your brother didn't settle here? He went to California right? You never worked anyplace just in the mines? Did you have a garden? Did you always have a garden? Like when you were on strike you could at least have your vegetables.

A: No, just since I've been here.

Q: Oh just since you moved here. Your wife has been dead how many years? How long has Antonette been dead?

A: 4 years.

Q: Oh I thought it was 1onger than that.

A: 4 years, it wi1l be 5 in February. I miss her.

Q: I'm sure you do.

A: She was a good woman, a very good woman.

Q: Well Mr. Timione, can you think of anything else you'd like to.

A: No, Pete. Just Pete, no Mr.

Q: You're a sweet man, I can remember all the days when we used to talk over the fence to you. I think you were still working then.

A: That time is dead. I'm too old.

Q: No, you're not too old.

A: 94, I can hardly walk.

Q: You've had it busy, you've had a good busy life. When is your birthday?

A: 17th June, last month June 17th.

Q: And you were born in what year?

A: 1885.

Q: That's a few years ago isn't it?

A: Long time ago.

Q: You don't remember how it was when you were growing up? When you were a little boy, you don't remember when you were a little Boy, how it was when you were a little boy back in the country? Did your parents have a farm or did you live in a town?

A: They had a little farm.

Q: How many brothers and sisters did you have?

A: 1 brother and (?) sisters.

Q: Second World War and what happened to her?

A: I was going to go back for a visit. She said, “I don't want to go,” says, “no want to go, you spend this country, lot of places in this country.”

Q: She didn't want to go? Did you go? No, you didn't go. That would have been nice to go and visit that, to see what it was like, lot of changes.

A: Oh yeah, a lot of changes since the First World War and the Second World War.

Q: You were never in the war; you were never in the army?

A: No, I was a volunteer in the First World War and they send me back and need me they call me.

Q: We need the coal more than we need you huh?

A: So go back and dig some more.

Q: So you did?

A: Yeah all the coal miners went back to work. If we need you we'll call.

Q: But they never called?

A: Never called.

Q: You volunteered anyhow, whether they wanted you or not, you still volunteered, right? It's kind of hard to remember back all those years isn't it?

A: It's pretty hard to remember. Course I remember when I was a kid my mother used to say “you're a devil.”

Q: You're a devil, huh? I don't think you're much of a devil.

A: She died in 1917. I was going to go there.

Q: That's kind of a long way to go back, isn't it?

A: My sister, the younger one, wrote and told me everything what's going on. Maybe I be dead by now.

Q: You've lived a long nice life, Mr. Timone. Pete, you lived a good life, hard work.

A: Too hard. I feel it now.

Q: 0h, you feel it now.

A: You better believe it. That's the whole thing. For these last few years, now I can't do anything. Well, when you've worked that hard all your life, it takes a lot out of you . Since I lost my wife.

Q: It's hard to be alone. I know, I lost my husband too. It's hard, it's really hard to be by yourself, but you're really doing well.

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