Agonia, Robert "Bob" Interview, 2018 September 6. OH-03464. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
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AN INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT “BOB” AGONIA An Oral History Conducted by Marcela Rodriguez-Campo Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2018 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV – University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcribers: Kristin Hicks, Maribel Estrada Calderón, Nathalie Martinez, Rodrigo Vazquez Editors and Project Assistants: Laurents Bañuelos-Benitez, Maribel Estrada Calderón, Elsa Lopez, Nathalie Martinez, Marcela Rodriquez-Campo, Rodrigo Vazquez iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iv PREFACE Robert “Bob” Agonia (1938- ) was born in Garden Grove, California on a migrant camp made up of Filipino and Mexican-American workers. Agonia’s father was a farmer on a 70 acre farm owned by the Beggs family. Agonia did not spend much time living on the migrant camp, as his father moved the family to a private residence when Agonia was four. Agonia attended school, during an era of school desegregation in Garden Grove. He recalls that his mother dealt with segregation during her schooling, being forced to attend a school miles down the road from her home despite living across the street from another school. Agonia recalls his community being very diverse with families sharing Filipino and Mexican-American heritage and his neighbors being Japanese Americans. Agonia participated in a multicultural Boy Scout troop. After high school, Agonia joined the Peace Corps and served in El Salvador. While there, Agonia worked in an agricultural research center in Santa Tecla where he helped local farmers select the proper insecticide for their crops. After the Peace Corps, Agonia had his choice of government jobs, ultimately selecting to work for the Internal Revenue Service. Agonia’s work with the IRS is what eventually brought him from California to Las Vegas. He quickly realized that the type of IRS cases he would be handling in Las Vegas were completely different from the work he was accustomed to in California. One of those unique cases required him to close the doors of a downtown casino. Since moving to Las Vegas, Agonia was critical in establishing a Las Vegas LULAC chapter, an American GI Forum, an EEO council, and the UNLV Engineering school. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Robert “Bob” Agonia September 6th, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Marcela Rodriguez-Campo Preface……………………………………………………………………………………………iv Describes Garden Grove; gives an overview of his schooling; time spent with the Boy Scouts; plays tennis for Orange Coast…………………………………………………………………...1-4 Discusses desegregation in Garden Grove in 1950’s; tells story of mother having to attend the Mexican school in Colton, California; father’s immigration story from the Philippines; becomes president of United Filipino Community of Orange County; talks about negotiating between Anglo, Mexican, and Filipino cultures; talks about family cooking……………………………4-8 Joins the Peace Corps discusses the training process; Is sent to El Salvador to work on Peace Corp agricultural project was stationed in Santa Tecla; talks about experience as a Mexican-American in El Salvador; becomes friends with the grandson of a former Salvadorian President…………………………………………………………………………………….....8-11 Returns to Long Beach State to explore career options; becomes an IRS revenue officer; requests a transfer to Las Vegas; first day in Las Vegas repossess a car; shuts down a casino for back taxes…………………………………………………………………………………………..11-14 Transfers from IRS to Atomic Energy Commission; starts a LULAC and GI Forum chapter in Las Vegas; hosts a national LULAC conference at the Aladdin hotel……………………….14-16 Starts an EEO officer council; discusses the role he played in starting UNLV engineering school; helps start a Minority Engineering Program at UNLV……………………………………….16-19 Project 150; speaks about Latino community involvement in Las Vegas Valley; UNLV approves an EEO policy in 1969; reflects on the neighborhoods he’s lived in; investigates family heritage; returns to Garden Grove and discusses the changes he has seen……………………………..19-23 El Sombrero restaurant; Doña Maria restaurant; describes favorite pastry marranito; discusses the Takahashi’s return to Garden Grove after being interned; Kenny Guinn………………..23-27 vi 1 My name is Marcela Rodriguez-Campo. We're at the Oral History Research Center. We're with Robert Agonia. You go by Bob? Either one. Let's go ahead and get started. Can you spell your name for us? A-G-O-N-I-A. And then Robert, right? Robert, right, R-O-B-E-R-T. To start off, I wanted to ask you if you could just tell us about your childhood. I'm a native of Garden Grove, California; that's where I was born. As a matter of fact, I was born on what today you would call a migrant camp, where my parents and all their friends lived—my father—worked on this farm in Garden Grove, California. The farm was owned by a family, the (Beggs) Brothers family. It was about sixty or seventy acres and they raised basically what we used to refer to as truck crops: Tomatoes, string beans, strawberries. They provided housing for all of the workers. The majority of the workers were Filipino, and their wives were mostly Mexican-American. That's where I was born and we lived there for about four years. Then we moved to a private residence. My father started farming and also worked in the canneries in Long Beach and San Pedro, California. I first went to school in Garden Grove kindergarten and went all the way through grammar school and high school. I graduated in 1956. Then I matriculated to Orange Coast Community College, which is about a fifteen-mile drive from Garden Grove, and spent two years there and received my associate in arts degree in liberal arts. Then I transferred to Long Beach State in 1958 and I graduated in 1961. So I spent all those years in Garden Grove. What was it like there? What sorts of things did you do? This is early 1940. This is just after the war. We moved into Garden Grove from this other home that my parents had purchased in 1949. We moved basically into town. Garden Grove was a very small town of probably no more than fifty thousand people, one high school, and a couple of grammar schools, and that was about it. It was a very small town. I don't know if any of you are familiar with the small towns in Northern Nevada: Pioche or Ely. I spent a lot of time in Ely as a result of my employment for the Internal Revenue Service. The first time I drove into Ely, I figured, my God, I'm back in Garden Grove. All the buildings, the stores were all built in the 1930s, late thirties, early forties, so they were basically all the same. 2 Some parts of Fremont Street back when I moved here in 1968 were kind of the similar architecture. That's where I spent my time. There were orange groves all over the place, so we spent a lot of time in the orange groves having orange fights and trying to stay out of trouble, and we managed to stay out of trouble. Who is we? All my friends. It was kind of a unique town because it was very integrated. I grew up with a family, my brothers and I, with another family of Japanese Americans. Their older sons were our same age and they had just moved back to Garden Grove after having spent a couple of years in Poston, Arizona which was a place, I don't know if you're familiar, where Japanese families were interned during early World War II. We became best of friends. We all went to the same church. It was within walking distance of our home and their home. That's where we spent a lot of our time. We played sports. There was a park that we could walk to, and the schools were not that far away, so we spent a lot of time doing that, riding our bicycles all over the place. That's basically what we did as kids. My brothers, the Takahashi, Corpos, Hibbs and the other families, we all became best of friends. The Methodist church in Garden Grove existed for years. I really credit the church leadership for starting a Boy Scout troop in 1949 and 1950. By the time I was old enough, I became a member of that Boy Scout troop. We didn't hear the word integration. We didn't know what integration was. This Boy Scout Troop 70 was multiracial. We didn't use multiracial back then. There were Mexican-American kids, the Japanese kids, and myself and my brothers, we are Filipino and Mexican American. As a matter of fact, just two months ago I had lunch with one fellow, Carl Lindstorm, who lives here in town, we went to high school together and another fellow, George Allen that was coming back through on his way to California that I went to grammar school and high school with. All three of us were members of that Boy Scout troop. Bill Yosioka was here a couple of months ago. We grew up together and we were in the same Boy Scout troop. We even talked about some of those trips that we took in this old school bus. We were extremely lucky to have been mentored, which was another word we never used, by the scoutmaster, Dr. Robert Null, and some of the other members of the church because almost without fail once a month we went someplace or we did something as a Boy Scout troop. You could do that in Southern California. The weather was not that bad. During December or January it was kind of cold and we would go out to the desert, out to The Palm Springs Area. Palm Springs was not what it is today in terms of a tourist attraction. 3 Thanks to the Lord, I've been very lucky, extremely lucky with what I have managed to do or what I managed to participate in, because I just completed my eightieth birthday yesterday, as you can see by the notes that I put there. Happy birthday. Yes. Thank you. What do you think united you and the group members that you had in your Boy Scout troop? I think really what it was, was the leadership, the mentorship, using that term; that Dr. Null and the others brought us together. We were there to have fun, but also to learn various things and participate. In Boy Scouts there's a lot of competition between the various troops. There were jamborees and those kinds of things. We managed to be one of the top troops in Orange County during that time. When it came around to 1953 for the National Jamboree that was held at the Irvine Ranch, there was a couple of us from our troop that became members of troop number One of all of the Boy Scout troops from all over the country. We spent a couple of weeks down at the Irvine Ranch, which is now a very palatial, expensive part of Orange County overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Newport Beach. As I said, we were very lucky with what we managed to do. I want to go back because you mentioned your schooling a little bit. What was your schooling like? I can still remember—as a matter of fact, one of my friends George Allen and I were in this same third-grade class. I still remember Mrs. Evans. She was just a wonderful teacher. The only bad part about it, about halfway through the year one morning when we were all venturing out, she said, "All of you be quiet. I've got something to tell you." She was leaving. She didn't tell us—if she did tell us, I don't know why she left—but she moved out of town, and so we got another teacher. Mrs. Evans, she's still...And even I said, "George, do you remember in third grade what our teacher's name was?" He said, "Mrs. Evans and she left halfway through the year." I had some wonderful high school teachers and one of them was Mr. Winters. He was a sponsor of the Photo Club and I became a member of the Photo Club. That's probably the reason why I must have a million photos, un-sorted that I have not converted to digital. I played sports. I had played basketball and football, but I had never played tennis. One of the coaches basically said you're selected, you guys go learn how to play tennis. Well, okay, so we went to learn to play tennis. I took up tennis and became pretty good at tennis. My sophomore year I went out for the varsity team and I made the junior varsity team, but by my junior year I played varsity tennis. I got a letterman's jacket, at five foot three, gee whiz, I wore mine just like this, just like you would have worn yours. 4 When I went to Orange Coast, I played on the tennis team. I was telling George Allen—pardon the term—but the rich kids in Newport Beach, they all had real nice tennis shoes. We'd see those and go, oh my goodness, gracious. Well, those tennis shoes cost twenty-five bucks, so forget it, we were never going to have any. When I went out for Orange Coast's tennis team, the guy says, "Okay, go down to the equipment office and they're going to give you all your equipment." I said, "Okay." So I went down there and the guy said, "What size shoe do you wear?" I said, "Seven." He said, "What do you want? Do you want US Keds or do you want these?" I said, "What's that over there?" He brought it and I said, "I want those." That's the ones that the kids on Balboa Island wore. When I went home and met my brother, I told my brother, "Hey, I got my tennis equipment today at Orange Coast." He said, "Yeah, what did they give you?" I said, "You'll never guess." I told him and he said, "Oh my God, I've got to go to Orange Coast, too, and play tennis." Well, my two younger brothers did. All three of us, including my sister, we all graduated from Orange Coast. My younger brother played on the tennis team. He obviously learned a lot from me and my middle brother because he was a very good tennis player. He played against USC and some of the better colleges in the conference. From some of the reading that I've been doing, I know that during that time period there were big conversations happening about desegregation and integration in California. Could you tell me about what it was like to live in that era? At that time, at that age, I don't know that we really knew what it meant, but there is a couple of significant things that happened during that time. Within a mile of where we lived, before we moved into Garden Grove, there was a colonia. The population, I guess maybe five hundred. Basically Mexican Americans lived there and they call it the colonia. There was a school, Hoover, which had been built for the Mexican-American kids, so that's where they went from kindergarten, elementary, up to the sixth grade. That's where they went to school. We lived a mile south of there and Garden Grove was two miles up the road. I don't know why, but I guess where we lived, I'm not sure, but I caught the bus every day to go to school right in front of our house. In 1950 or '51, the superintendent of the Garden Grove school district decided to close that school, so all the Mexican-American kids would go to the regular schools in Garden Grove. That was at the same time that LULAC, League of United Latin American Citizens, was involved in a discrimination suit. I can't remember the name of the Mexican-American family. But LULAC and that family [Mendez] sued the Westminster School District and that case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and this was before Brown. You can go back and read that. I don't know, maybe fifteen or twenty years ago it must have been the anniversary of something. I don't remember her name, but she was the same age as my mother. My mother's family knew that family from Westminster, which was next door to Garden Grove. 5 I didn't find out until later, after my grandfather passed away, because my grandparents emigrated from Mexico in the early 1900s when the first immigrants from Mexico started moving into the United States during the Mexican Civil War because of the problems that they were having in Mexico. My mother, her grandparents, lived in Colton, California, that has a very high Hispanic population. Then my grandfather moved the family to Santa Ana and eventually to Garden Grove. It is now Garden Grove; it was unincorporated at the time. He used to manage orange groves and then he would hire the workers to take care of the orange grove. In those days a home came with managing the orange grove, so that's where my mother moved when they moved to—well, it's now Garden Grove. The one thing that my mother did tell me, is that the family was so very happy because there was a school across the street. They moved there in the summertime. When September came along, my grandfather took my mother and my uncle and my aunt, who were old enough to go to the school at the time. He took them across the street to register and go to school. The principal was waiting for them. My grandfather introduced himself. "I'm Mr. Manuel Garcia and these are my children who are going to enroll in your school." He said, "No, Mr. Garcia, your kids need to go to the Mexican-American school that's two miles down the road." My grandfather says, "Okay." So he took them by the hand and they walked the two miles to school and that's where they went to school. I never did ask my mother, but I think she didn't tell me this because she was apprehensive about what my feelings would be towards my grandfather. Why did you do that? In today's world that probably wouldn't happen, right? If that would have been me, I would have said, "Hey, we're going to this school. What are you talking about two miles down the road when I live across the street?" That's one of those things. Now, anyway Mr. Peters who was the superintendent of Garden Grove schools in 1950 or 195, he said, "We're closing the Mexican-American schools." My mother did very well. She was the valedictorian of her eighth grade class. But she didn't go to high school. That was the end of her education. BARBARA: The maternal side of your family is the Garcia side. Yes. How did your father's family get to that area? My father had no family here in the U.S. All of his family was in the Philippines. In the early 1930s, when he immigrated to the U.S., just like the U.S. had done with other populations, they were looking for workers. Hundreds of Filipino men, young men, were basically brought to the U.S. to work mostly in the canneries in Seattle and up in Alaska. There were literally hundreds of them. There must have been at least thirty of them that came as laborers, workers, from the little town, from Albuquerque, BOHOL, in the Philippines. Eventually, as they got older or they 6 decided they didn't want to work in the canneries, a lot of them moved to Los Angeles. A couple of them opened grocery stores. We used to go visit them quite often. My dad moved out to Garden Grove and did farm work along with my uncle and other friends. One of the things during that time period, few, if any, women were from the Philippines. It was just the men. So the great majority of those young Filipinos that immigrated to the U.S. in the 1930s, probably up until World War II, married principally Mexican-American women. They used to have a fiesta once a year in December. All of those families were from Bohol. The men had all known each other, they would have an annual party and they would move it around. You'd go to that party. We had tacos and enchiladas and we had Filipino food; you had rice and fish and adobo, pancit, and whatever else there was. My brothers and I, and not just us, my cousins and others, it is a different form of mestizo, a mixed blood kind of thing, if you're not familiar with the term. Growing up we had to learn—and I don't know that we ever had many problems—but learn how to live both in the Anglo world and the Mexican-American world and the Filipino world. By the time I graduated from Orange Coast and I was going to Long Beach State, Filipino families in Orange County formed an organization similar to LULAC or some of the other Hispanic organizations. I went to a couple of meetings. At one of the meetings they had a big hullabaloo about Robert's Rules of Order. I said, "Well, what...?" These were all farmers, but, man, a couple of them knew Robert's Rules of Order and said, "No, you can't do that, Mr. President. You're out of order." A couple of months later my uncle came over to see my dad. They said, "Bob, come here, we want to talk to you." He says, "You went to a couple of meetings a couple of months ago." I said, "Yes." He said, "We need some help." "Help? What?" He says, "We want you to run for president." I said, "What? I don't want to be president. I'm going to college." Well, I ended up becoming president of the United Filipino Community of Orange County. Our neighbors, there was a Filipino family, Mr. Corpos with a Mexican-American wife. I said, "Angelina (their daughter)... you know what my dad told me." Well, you're going to be the vice president." She said, "What?" Our first inauguration was in 1961 at the Disneyland Hotel. We had the Filipino Counsel General to the U.S. was the guest speaker and the only Democratic congressman in Orange County history up until that time was also a guest speaker. MARCELA: You mentioned having to negotiate between Anglo, Mexican and Filipino. Are there any key moments where you remember having to do that? Yes. Before I graduated from high school, the population really in Orange County, especially in Garden Grove, began to change. I remember the increase. There must not have probably been more than fifteen Mexican-American kids in high school in my same class. But by the time I got to be a senior, the classes behind, the lower classes, the freshmen, the population of both 7 Mexican-American kids and Japanese and Asian had increased. You could see the clash because in my class the numbers of us was so small that I guess it didn't make any difference. I knew one kid—and he was a distant relative, his family—he used to get in trouble all the time as a freshman. I even sat down and talked with him one day. One day I found out there was going to be a big fight after school. There were the Mexican-American kids from the colonia and some Anglo kids from the other part of Garden Grove—not Garden Grove, but the next town over. Man, it got to be really bloody. It was bad. From then on, things were not the same. I know even my younger brothers, because they were still in school. I was at Orange Coast, but I asked them. They said, "Oh man, things have changed so much in just a couple of years." Did you get a sense for what was causing conflict? I never did find out because I was going to college and I didn't spend that much time in town. In my same class, I went to a reunion five years ago and I talked to one of the my classmates, Edward Banuelos. I said, "Do you remember those days? What the heck ever happened?" He said, "I don't know. It must have been those little Chicanos. They didn't know how to behave." I said, "No, come on, it had to have been something else." But I really don't know what happened, why it happened. I know that my uncle, who was a lot older than I was at that time, when he was in high school, I know in Santa Ana he got involved in some fights with some of the white kids. Things changed, obviously changed, the population and everything. By the 1970s, Asians, Vietnamese. Garden Grove and Westminster have this large populations of Vietnamese and other Asian groups. Orange County has really changed a lot. But I've been gone for over forty years. I only go back just to visit friends or family. I have one last question I wanted to ask you about your family. You mentioned your mom. Could you tell me a little bit more about your mom, her family, and maybe where they're from in Mexico? My grandfather immigrated from Durango and my grandmother from Guanajuato. Their families moved to Colton, California, so that's where they were raised and that's where they got married. That's where my mother and my older uncles and some aunts were all born, in Colton, California. My grandmother's family was very large; there were eleven; she had ten brothers and sisters, two brothers and the rest were all sisters, the Gonzalez family. For years, every four or five years, the Gonzalez family would have a reunion someplace or another. It got to the point that about the 1970s is the last one that we had, a large one where the Gonzalez family that lived in Northern California and the Central Valley, there were a couple of hundred, and then after that they all had smaller ones because there were just too many kids. What sort of traditions or foods did you share at these reunions? 8 You name it, we ate it. Beans, rice, chille, and tortillas. I don't know what that is. Cabrito, goat. Did you have a favorite dish that your mom made? Empanadas. What type of empanadas? Because we grew sweet potatoes, they were sweet potato empanadas. Every fall. That's when sweet potatoes were harvested, October and November. Pack them and put them in the shed and they would be there all winter. We didn't lack for empanadas, or strawberries that we raised on my dad’s farm. When I was going to Orange Coast, I didn't have to worry—or when I was in high school or even in grammar—about trying to find a summer job because the job was waiting for me. I learned to drive when I was twelve or thirteen, not on the highway, but on the farm, driving the pickup truck and even the tractors. Garden Grove at that time was very rural, clearly not what Disneyland made Orange County into. This is before Disneyland. After high school you went to college. I went to Long Beach State. By the time I graduated from Long Beach State, President Kennedy became president and he started the Peace Corps. I was listening to his speech. My dad was in there with me. And I said, "Hey, I think that would be a good idea. I think I'll join the Peace Corps." He said, "Are you crazy? Why do you want to go over to some other country? There's plenty of work here." Well, I signed up and joined. It was during the summer. By the time November came around, I was out there mowing the lawn one day and the postman came by in a truck and he got out and he had this great big brown envelope. He says, "Are you Robert Agonia?" I said, "Yes." "Here, I've got a letter for you." And he said, "This is a big manila envelope. What is that?" And I said, "I don't know." I said, "Oh, I think I know what it is," because I looked at the address, United States Peace Corps. So I open it. It was an invitation to go to a training program that would eventually go to Punjabi, which is part of northern India. I put on my application that I wanted to go to a country in Latin America or whatever, because I spoke a little Spanish. Punjabi? So I waited a couple of days and I called them and said, "No, I don't want to go to Punjabi. Put me down for your next opening in Central or South America." 9 In about another month I got another envelope, but this was a smaller one. But it invited me to go into training for a Peace Corps project in El Salvador beginning in February of 1962. So in 1962, I find myself getting on my first jet plane to Philadelphia for some psychological testing. There were twenty-five of us from all over the U.S. From there we flew to New York and got on a Pan Am flight and they flew us to Puerto Rico for a training camp that was out basically in the forest or the jungles of Puerto Rico, Camp Hammarskjold. We spent over a month there undergoing a training and education, language training, whatever, but it was based on the English approach of testing your mental capacity to adapt to a new environment using physical tests. We learned how to swim wearing tennis shoes or a uniform. They would push you into the pool. Of course, they showed you how to float. Naturally, the body will float and the water will generally be right above your nose. All you really have to do is just one little tap of the water, and your head will go up and your nose and then you could breathe and you would go back down. Now, mine was right here. Body size and weight as to where. Margaret was a little shorter than I was and probably outweighed me by ten pounds. She couldn't drown if she ever needed to. Her head was always above water. She used to make fun of the guys. "Hey, what's wrong with you guys?" We spent the one month there and then we went to New Mexico State where we spent two months in training, heavily on the language part, and then we were sent home for a couple of weeks. Then we all gathered in Houston and we flew, another Pan Am flight, to El Salvador where we spent about eighteen months. What was that like? It was a wonderful experience. One of the things that happened, we were such a small group and we were all agricultural specialists. We had a couple of PhDs: One from Wisconsin, one from Boston Massachusetts. They ended up working in scientific laboratories in San Salvador. El Salvador's agriculture was patterned after the agricultural system here in the United States where you have agricultural extension agents that would spend time and that lived and worked out of agricultural offices in the small communities just like we had in Orange County. The ag extension agent would come every couple of months and say, "Hey, Mr. Agonia, we've got a different variety of strawberries to plant next year. We'll bring you some and you can test them. We've got a new insecticide and a new fertilizer." We did the same thing in El Salvador because theirs was patterned after ours. I had taken entomology at Long Beach State. I was a science minor. I was assigned to the agriculture research station in Santa Tecla, just outside of San Salvador. We had counterparts, so each one of us was assigned to work with a Salvadorian agriculture technician whether you were in animal husbandry or soil, agronomy, or, in my case, entomology. So I worked with him most of the time. He would go out and I would go with him and change things or say, "No, you guys ought to think about doing this. There is a new insecticide that I know about that you might want to try, and cotton." One of the things that I observed after a couple of months was that a farmer, a 10 campesino, would come into the office and would say, "Hey, I've got some bugs that are eating all of my oranges and the fruit." He said, "What kind of bugs?" He said, "I don't know." He would explain to the agriculturalist what this little insect looked like. He said, "God, I've never seen that kind before." After some time I went back and asked Jose, the guy I work with. I said, "You know what it is." "Yes, I can tell you what it is." I have to train the extension agents how to recognize the insects. He had an insect collection in the laboratory. He said, "I bet that's what it is." I said, "Couldn't we make one of those and put them in every office?" He said, "Well, I think we could." He said, "Where are we going to get the wood? And we need some glass." I said, "We've got to find it someplace." I happened to mention it to Barry who was my roommate, and he said, "One of the things that I know is that all of the embassy people that come in, when they transfer here they move all their household goods and they all come in these great big wooden boxes." I said, "What happens to all that wood?" He didn't know. So I said, "Ask somebody." He did and came in one day and he said, "Hey, I found out where they were. Let's go." We went down to this yard with all these big wooden boxes, and they were tearing them apart. I said, "You find out who in the embassy can get this wood and we can use it." We made arrangements and it all happened. Sure enough, one day I went to work and Jose said, "You aren't going to believe what they're doing out there in the shop." I said, "What?" "They