Sunday Stories: Claretta (Shuler) and Peter Laboranti Family (Class of 1945)

Excerpted from the Sutherland Centennial 1891 – 1991, published in 1991.

Peter Laboranti was born June 24, 1925 to Angelo Laboranti (1899-1966) and Mary (Dolf) Laboranti (1899-1973) in New York City. They emigrated from northern Italy and married July 20, 1924. Peter grew up on the streets playing a game called stick ball. He attended Aviation High School, then began work for United Airlines in 1944. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force (1945-1947) stateside and in Germany, returning to United Airlines following discharge.

Claretta (Shuler) Laboranti was born December 21, 1926 in the living room of Oscar and Nora Shuler. Their farmhouse was built on ruts of the Oregon Trail southwest of Sutherland.
As mentioned in the earlier Shuler story (see link above), this is the house my (Seifer) family moved to when we moved to "town" from the Sandhills in the early 1970'2.

Claretta spent her first 14 years attending school, doing evening chores of picking cobs from the pig pen for the kitchen cook stove, carrying wood for the heating stove, putting grain in the horses feed box and hay in the mangers and checking to be sure the windmill was running to fill the tank for the evening’s rush of livestock that lowered the level fast. Our goldfish swam near the bottom.

Social activities were few. Sunday school and 4-H club that helped teach us cooking and sewing, were held in the schoolhouse. It was usually a long walk to these activities as the saddle horse was not always available.

The four Shuler children, Mervan, Cleo, Merna and Claretta, attended District 18 – West Fairview School as did an older cousin, Helen Stedman, who lived with them after the death of her parents. Once a year the students put on a program which sometimes ended with a box social. The money collected from this auction would buy much needed supplies or a new bat and ball.

Summers were spent working in the hay fields. Large hats shaded our faces, our arms were covered with old cotton stockings to keep us from getting too sunburned. The burlap covered water jugs were nearly always empty by the time the haystack was topped and we headed home in the two wheeled cart that was used to pull the stacker cable that lifted the stacker load of hay, dropping it onto the haystack.

When Claretta entered Sutherland High School she resided with the E. H. Adee family for four years. She worked in their honey house during the summer.

Saturday night entertainment was either a dance at Jeffers Pavilion in North Platte or attending the Sutherland Theater after having a malt at Arnold Drug. We then walked home on dark streets as World War II brought the blackout and the ten o’clock curfew.

After graduation from S.H.S., Claretta spent a short time in Denver then moved to North Platte with her mother. Her father had passed away in 1942. She worked at O’Conner’s Dime Store for a time then attended a Communication School in Omaha. Ultimately she was employed by United Airlines at La Guardia Field in New York in 1946.

It was here she met her future husband, Pete. They were married in North Platte on October 30, 1948, returning to Woodside Long Island for the next eight years.

Pete continued to work for United Airlines. Claretta was employed by TWA for nine years. She commuted by subway into Manhattan to work on the 52nd floor of an office building.

In 1956 they moved to South Floral Park where Darla Marie was born January 19, 1959. In October of 1959 they moved to Garden City, Long Island, New York, where they resided for 25 years as Darla was growing up. After her graduation she attended the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Here she and daughter, Jennifer Marie (March 15, 1981) make their home.

In 1983, Peter and Claretta transferred to the San Diego area, moving into their Poway, California home. Pete retired in September 1984.

According to online obituaries, Claretta (Shuler) Laboranti passed away on July 22, 2006, and Peter P. Laboranti passed away on January 25, 2011 in Poway, California. 


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