Interview Date: 5-17-2006
Interviewer: Susanne Salvestrin
SS: Susanne Savestrin
MD: Marie Del Bondio
SS: This is Susanne Salvestrin. I’m pleased to welcome Marie Del Bondio, who I am interviewing on behalf of the St. Helena Historical Society’s Oral History Program, “Voices of St. Helena.” We are conducting this interview at approximately 10:15, May 17, 2006, at the home of Marie. Welcome, Marie. Can you tell us how you first came to St. Helena?
MD: Well, I was born in 1925 at the St. Michael’s Villa on the highway between St. Helena and Calistoga. My parents both were born in Calistoga. My father was employed in the wine industry by Charlie Forni who had a small winery in Calistoga. He and my mother lived for a short time at one of the houses on the St. Michael’s Villa property, just a short distance from where my father grew up, on the highway between St. Helena and Calistoga. My parents were married in 1924. I was born in 1925. We moved to St. Helena when I was about four yours old.
SS: That’s all?
MD: So by then I had a sister. We lived on Tainter Street in St. Helena. We lived in the little red schoolhouse down the highway next to Sutter Home Winery.
SS: Was that the Vineland School?
MD: Yes. And we became acquainted with the Lewinburgers who lived in the home that is now Sutter Home. They had a chauffeur, Mr. Peters, who drove an outlandishly long car.
SS: Was that like a limousine, or a Cad–?
SS: It was a limousine, uh huh.
MD: Growing up in the area was kind of fun. New peole were sort of coming to town, and we eventually evolved to Main Street, across the street from Alexander Court, and –
SS: On that corner of Pratt, or –?
MD: No, it’s right on the corner of Crinella now, because our house was removed. There were two house exactly alike right across from the Alexander house. They took one of the houses down to put in the driveway to the apartments that are now on Crinella, so our house eventually was torn down.
MD: I grew up there.
SS: Do you remember any neighbors, or anyone–?
MD: The Benettos (sp?) were neighbors of ours. The Harrisons, Frank Harrison.
SS: Oh really.
MD: And his family were down the street, and I babysat Frank Harrison.
SS: Oh, for goodness sakes.
MD: –when I was a kid. My sister babysat Leroy Anderson, wholived just also down the street. We were across the street from Martha Alexander and her sister.
SS: And that was the Paul Alexander family?
MD: Yes. Mary Louise Volper and her sisters andher parents were all iving in the Alexander Court area. It was just a nice time, really a nice time.
SS: And you lived there for how long?
MD: Until I was married.
SS: Oh! Oh.
MD: I was born in 1925. We were married in 1947. We lived there all through my going to Ursuline Convent for eight years and then (attending) the high school for four years.
SS: Umm. And how did you meet your husband? What then – tell me—
MD: St. Helena High School
SS: Ok. And your husband’s name is—
MD: Al Del Bondio.