Written History of Doris Elizabeth Nay
We raised good gardens and feed for a cow, this helped out with our living. Ralph managed to get odd jobs around Vegas and we got by. Our ranch was located 10 miles south of Las Vegas, in Paradise Valley.
During the depression, January 21, 1933, our youngest son and child was born. I went to a nursing home to have him, in Las Vegas. We paid for the bill with pork and wood. We raised the pigs and Ralph cut and hauled the wood, from our ranch to the woman who ran the nursing home. She was a widow and was glad to get meat and wood in payment.
In 1935 we bought the Overland Café. We tried running it and continue to live on the ranch, but soon found that this didn’t work out, so we moved into town. The Boulder Dam was being built at this time, so business was good. Ralph cooked the morning shift, and he would come home and I would go down and work in the dining room until evening, then our older children would be out of school to keep the two younger ones and Ralph would come back to help through the evening rush. After it was over, I would go home and he stayed to close up by 10:00 PM. Our business got very good, so I needed to help more hours in the dining room. We hired a housekeeper to be with the children when we had to be at the café. We made good money but indoor work didn’t agree with Ralph and his health began to fail. Also we felt we needed to be with our children more, so we sold out and moved back to the ranch, after two years in the café business. We learned a lot and made many friends. We had some fine steady customers. The older boys had a chance to help out in the kitchen in the evenings and on Saturdays. We paid them the same as any of our help, and they learned how to handle money and buy their own clothes, but they were very happy that we were moving back to the ranch. They got bored living in town. They said there was always something interesting to do on the ranch. They loved to hunt and trap rabbits and quail.
In spring of 1938 Ralph went back to Goodsprings to work in one of the mines that had reopened. We stayed on the ranch as we were sure his job was just a temporary one. Then in the fall he came back to the ranch to farm and drive the Paradise school bus from the valley to Las Vegas, for all the children went to school from the valley. We planted crops and raised hay and grain. Ralph turned the bus job over to me by spring and he put all his time to farming. All our children were in school by then so I was home when they were.
Keith started first grade when I started driving the bus for Paradise Valley to Las Vegas at first. It was a 40 passenger school bus. We went through the eighth grade. By the time he was in the sixth grade, we got schools out in Paradise Valley. But I still had to drive the high school students into Las Vegas. So he went on through the grade school and then high school on the school bus. I drove the bus 12 years.
I enjoyed all the children. It was a fine experience. My children talk about the time when I had to put off one of my own children, my third boy, Bert. I had to see that they behaved on the bus. If I couldn’t get discipline from them, I couldn’t expect it from the others. About 3 miles from home I just put him off. I said, “I’ll see you at supper tonight.” I was able to keep up with my duties as a housewife and mother, as I was able to be home between ten to three during the school days. Then my twin girls were very good to help when they were not in school, and Saturdays everybody pitched in and helped get ready for Sunday.
Ralph worked the year of 1942 at Sloan, Nevada. He worked in the mill. This place was about 10 miles from our ranch and on the UP railroad. In 1943, he started to work for the state highway and continued with them until 1953 when he retired at the age of 60 years.
I’ve always loved horses and dogs. We had saddle horses for the children, but I had never found time to ride, while raising my family. After Keith, our youngest, was nine, he had a nice little saddle mare and rode a lot. Lorraine also loved to ride, so we bought a saddle horse together. I started riding quite often with a dear friend and neighbor about my age. We usually rode two or three times a week, for two or three hours. My, how wonderful it was to be on a horse again. As our ranch was on the edge of Paradise Valley, we had lots of room to ride into the desert without running into fences or anyone’s property.
In 1953, June, Ralph had 10 years in for the highway department and could retire on part time retirement. Las Vegas was starting its building boom by then and we had a chance to sell our ranch for a good price. It was very hard for me to make up my mind to sell as we raised our family there and there were so many memories dear to my heart. But I knew Ralph wasn’t too well and in order to keep the ranch up he would still have to work hard. So I told him if we found a home in the Moapa Valley and I could take my saddle horse and our big dog, I felt I could be contented and agreed to sell. We made a trip to the valley and found a nice home for sale in Overton, with a big fenced yard, plenty of room for our big dog Bozo. I found pasture for my horse, Grey Boy, just above town. We moved in July 1953 to Overton, Nevada. We both said if Saint Thomas hadn’t been covered by Lake Mead we would have like to move back, where we started our married life. We knew many people living in Overton and made many new friends, so we were very happy there.