Memories of a Crested Butte, Colorado Coal Miner’s Son

THE SPAGHETTI GANG is the delightful memoir of Richard Guerrieri, a coal miner’s son who grew up in the rough mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado. . . during the Great Depression and World War II. Guerrieri’s stories of his boyhood are wildly entertaining. . . Readers are treated to vignettes about “strap-on ski’s,” “no bathing suits,” “a horse named SOB,” “the dreaded catechism,” and many other hilarious stories. . . Guerrieri’s account of his early life and his family’s transition from coal mining in Crested Butte to cattle ranching in Gunnison, shows that amidst the economic woes of the time there was fun and adventure to be had. His stories read very well and are brilliantly written. . . The Spaghetti Gang tells a unique and heart-warming story of an ethnic coal town in American history. Crested Butte was, and still is, a great mountain town with a rich history. The Spaghetti Gang brings it to life.

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I’ve still got scars up and down my legs from that ride. Crested Butte, 1937.

A Wild Ride

THE FIRST YEAR WE LIVED AT THE GRAVEYARD RANCH we had a big 4th of July barbecue, with all the family in attendance, which I can tell you meant a lot of people. Aunts, uncles, and cousins galore. Too many kids to keep an eye on. My cousin Eva and I started messing around the cars, looking at them and such. We stopped at my uncle Jim’s Chevy and she got in the driver’s seat. “Pretend like you’re a hitchhiker and jump on the running board,” she said as she went about twisting the steering wheel this way and that, as if she was really driving. I went along with the game. Sure enough, that car jumped out of gear and started rolling down the hill…