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My American Story
by  Edwin David Rauzi

My father's name is Peter (Pietro) Rauzi.

He left val di Non, Brez-Arsio, Trento, around 1906. He emigrated to America and settled in Superior, Wyoming. He worked in the coal mines for the Union Pacific railroad until 1927. His job included passing out blasting powder to the other miners, as well as digging coal. He worked more than ten hours a day in the mines.

In about 1908, my father took some of the money he earned in the coal mines and returned home to bring back my mother. Her maiden name was Josephine (Giusippina?) Corazza. She also lived in Brez-Arsio across the street from my father's family. She returned to Superior, Wyoming and life as the wife of a coal miner. Along with her other duties, she also helped my father by running a boarding house for ten miners. This included all of the cooking and laundry for the men. They used to tell stories about the snow coming through the cracks in the boards of the walls and waking up with snow on the blankets in the morning.

During the time that my parents were in Wyoming, they had two sons and adaughter. The eldest was Americo (usually called "Mick"), Ernest (Ernesto) and Perina, the daughter. Perina died of pneumonia at the age of ten. My brothers Mick and Ernest are still alive.

After working in the mines for about twenty years, my father had saved enough money to "retire" to a farm in Ogden, Utah. (This involved a move of approximately two hundred miles.) The original farm was about twenty five (25) acres. In 1940, he purchased another farm with about 40 acres. My brother still tells stories about my father's difficulty in coming to grips with the uncertainty of farming and the lack of a regular paycheck.

I was born in Ogden in 1928. At time, my mother was forty six. We worked hard on the farm. On our small 25 (and later 65) acres we grew wheat, barley and alfalfa for the animals and sugar beets, tomatoes, potatoes and peas for "cash" crops. Our animals included five hundred chickens, fifteen milk cows, the heifers and steers that we grew for meat and for sale, three pigs per year for sausage and meat, and three work horses for the farm machinery. In 1940, we added a gasoline tractor, but continued to use the horses for certain jobs until about 1960. Over time, the farm became more and more devoted to producing milk for dairy products and the occasional cows for slaughter.

My father passed away in 1955 at the age of 77. My mother lived until the age of 96, dying in 1979. She spent most of her final years making beautiful crochet work that is still much prized by the family and helping out around the farm. Everyone always looked forward to Nona's polenta, ravioli, gnocchi and other foods from the "old country."

My older brother, Americo (Mick) loved farming. He stayed on the farm with my father and finally inherited it. The division of labor that evolved meant that my father concentrated on the crops and my brother concentrated on the dairy and farm animals. Mick married Lena Rizzi, daughter of Albino and Maria Rizzi. They emigrated from Cloz in the val di Non. Her family also started out in the coal mines and then moved to a farm near Ogden, Utah. Lena, unfortunately, passed away two years ago.

Mick and Lena had three children, twin girls (Joyce and Janice) and a son, Kenneth. Ken still lives on the farm with Mick. Ken is married and has four daughters.

My other brother, Ernie, did not want to be a farmer. He went to Utah State and Wyoming Universities, eventually getting Master's degree in education. He became a principal of a junior high school before retiring. He married Melba Hansen and they had four children: Robert (Bob), Judy, Eileen and Diane. Melba passed away a few years ago.

I grew up in Utah and graduated from Weber High School in 1946. I was drafted into the army in 1952 during the Korean War. I served in Thule, Greenland, in a group that supplied stations on the ice cap. I was discharged in 1954. I then learned a trade as a custom truck body builder, which requires lots of welding. I attended night school to earn a two-year college degree from Weber State College.

In 1957, I began working for the Bon Marche, a department store that is part of the Allied Store chain. I worked my way up to becoming a shoe buyer for ten stores. My job took me to Seattle (Washington), Boise (Idaho), and eventually to Eugene (Oregon), where I now live. In 1978, I switched companies and began working for the Emporium stores. For that company, I became divisional merchandiser for shoes. I am now semi-retired, and am devoting myself primarily to working in my wood shop and gardening.

I have three children and am married to the former May Jane Beatie. My eldest son, Ed Jr., lives in Hawaii and is a lawyer. My daughter, Denise, lives in Darmstaadt, Germany, where she works for the European Stars and Stripes newspaper. My youngest son, David, lives in Grangeville, Idaho, and is editor of the Idaho County Free Press, a weekly newspaper. I am proud of the accomplishments of my children, particularly that each has graduated from college.

And those are the people and places that have been touched by the descendants of val di Non.

Nos American Pages

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