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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 63

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introduced to the guests of honor. Here the ladies lingered for a few moments and then drifted through the bathroom into the bedroom. The bed had been removed for the occasion, and all the chairs were assembled so that it was a very comfortable sitting room. Then the guests were ushered into the dining room by one of my friends. Here four card tables were set with all our lovely linen and silver, and decorated with a shaded candle in a small centerpiece of artificial flowers, which my mother had sent from San Francisco. Now, why was all this maneuvering necessary? The living room was occupied by musicians! Where could one get musicians in Tonopah? From the Casino Dance Hall in the redlight district. I had violin, cello, and piano, under the leadership of Mr. Jules Goldsmith, an accomplished musician, eagle- visaged, dapper, and dark, with sleek black hair brushed up in a flat curl over his forehead in true gay- nineties fashion. He and his two assistants gave us music-starved women from “ uptown” a rare treat. After listening to Mr. Goldsmith’s music, we all declared we knew now that we really belonged “ downtown.” The invaluable Fong served our guests chicken salad, coffee, and little cream tarts. Fong was an artist with a pastry bag and always eager to display his skill with curls and ruffles and whatnot, so I had tabulated the required number of C’s and M’s and S’s in order that each guest might find her own initial on the top of her tart. Fong’s artistry was received with gratifying enthusiasm and provided a fitting accent to a memorable occasion. Amenities of city life that we thought were lost often turned up unexpectedly in Tonopah. One such surprise arrived at my door one day in the person of a young man carrying a milk jug. He offered me a glass of milk if I would supply him with a glass. I could hardly credit what I heard, for a glass of milk on the desert was completely anachronistic. The man answered my expression of incredulity with a broad smile. He had brought in six fresh cows from Inyo, California, and wanted to furnish fresh milk to us folks up on the hill. Would I give him a trial? The milk was good, and he built quite a trade. It must have been an expensive operation, for all the fodder as well as the cows had to be hauled in by team. I used it for cooking and I drank it myself, but as it was not pasteurized I did not give it to my children. Feeding our babies was something of a problem. My infants never had fresh milk at all. The first one was reared on malted milk and did pretty well, but as I look back with more experienced eyes, I know I took great chances. Young mothers of Tonopah had no pediatricians to advise them. We relied mostly on instinct and the trial- and- error method. When my second boy came along, I was more fortunate, I had an English doctor who, knowing nothing about

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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 63
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