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Couple makes gnomes for market

by Mellisa Murphy, staff writer

Selling hand-crafted lawn ornaments at the weekly Lampe Park farmers’ market seems a quiet alternative to the romantic past of two European natives.

The Fasels – Reynold, from Switzerland, and Margaret from England – met while they were coworkers at a machine shop in England.

“We got some new machinery from Switzerland, and five men along with it. I didn’t care for any of them, really,” Margaret said. “Reynold and I were both invited to the same home for Christmas, where we sat on opposite ends of the sofa.”

However, love blossomed.

“He took me into London one New Year’s Day, where we saw “South Pacific” and went shopping,” Margaret said. “He decided to go to America, and told me that he would write me and once he got established, he would send for me.”

Two weeks after Margaret arrived in America, the two were married by a judge who was in between trials.

“We didn’t spend a lot of money for the ceremony, but we’re still together,” she said.

That was 41 years ago. They lived in New Jersey for 39 years before moving to Nevada in 1998.

“We like being closer to our two children, who live in Santa Cruz, Calif., and Tacoma, Wash.,” Margaret said.

The gnomes that the Fasels produce originated in Germany, where they are placed in yards and homes as good luck charms.

“We started with plaster of Paris just to test out the molds, which Margaret bought in England,” Reynold said. “Now we use a white cement, so they’ll be durable for outdoors. I mold them, and Margaret does the painting.”

The Fasels have encountered some interesting reactions selling at the farmers’ market. Some people have mistaken the gnomes for “tommyknockers,” legendary gremlin-like creatures that were considered bad omens for Virginia City miners during the Gold Rush.

“We were surprised at the response of people who believed these creatures existed,” Margaret said. “Our gnomes are exactly the opposite. They’re intended to bring good luck.”

Margaret also makes and sells beaded jewelry at their booth.

“I think it’s terrific when senior citizens stay productive,” Margaret said. “I don’t sit still until about 9:30 p.m.”

The Lampe Park farmer’s market is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday.