To the victims of the Sago Mine disaster, I say God bless you and rest in peace. My sympathies are with your families and friends, whose lives are forever impacted by nature's folly.
Pictured at the right is my grandfather Antone Giovanni Brachet holding my father John Brackett. Since my father was born in July 1914, this picture is probably from 1915.
Tony and the family, which consisted of my grandmother Aurelia, my Dad and his siblings lived in Manhattan, Nevada where Tony worked as a gold miner in the White Caps Mine. As a teen, my father also worked in the mine.
On May 29, 1933, the mine alarm sounded signaling an accident-- Tony had been electrocuted when his miner's lamp hit an overhead wire.
Life changed forever for the Brackett family that day. My grandmother, also an Italian immigrant, was left with five children, Louis, 22; John, 18; Blanche, 13; Tony, 12 and Madaline, 8, and a thousand dollars in debt (in the height of the depression!)
My grandmother, by reputation, was a fabulous cook so she rolled up her sleeves and took in boarders for meals to supplement the small widow's benefit she was given. In four years' time, she was able to move the family to Reno and purchase a house on Lake Street for $4,000 cash (where the Ramada Inn now sits). In Reno, she rented out parts of her home and also served meals to boarders to support herself until her death in 1945 at the age of 58.
I never knew either of my father's parents, but they live on in family stories and treasured recipes. The watch chain my grandfather wears in this photo was given to my son on his first birthday by his Poppi, my father.
I hope that the families of the Sago miners will treasure their family memories and stories so that the miners may live on for the children and grandchildren they will never know.
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