John J. Page attended 13 schools before graduating from high school in the Ozark Hill Country of Oklahoma. Although he engaged in no combat, he was drafted into military after completing two years of college at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. After his discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he helped his wife, Reitha, finish the credits she needed to complete her degree, and he then worked to complete his in Norman. Following his graduation, the couple relocated to Las Vegas in February 1959, when Reitha found a job at Washington Elementary School. In Las Vegas John completed his practice teaching under master teacher Lamar Terry at Twin Lakes Elementary School and under supervision of Dr. Holbert Hendrix at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. John held his first teaching assignment, fifth grade at West Charleston Elementary School (later called Howard Wasden Elementary School), for 27 years before transferring with his principal to Helen Marie Smith Elementary School. For a time John and Reitha rented a small house at the comer of Bonanza Road and First Street that was owned by entertainer Horace Heidt. They bought their first house, a Pardee Park Home one block north of Tom Williams Elementary School in North Las Vegas, because Reitha taught there, and she and the children could walk to school together. In 1973 they bought their current house on El Cortez Avenue in the Westleigh tract. Page not only worked in Ward 1 for 27 years of his 36-year teaching career (1959-1995); he and his family also lived in Ward 1 for more than forty years. As a teacher in the school that served the wealthiest Las Vegas families, Page witnessed the many ways that generous donations of time, money, and talent matter to schools, students, and teachers. As an early resident of Westleigh tract, Page saw dramatic changes to the area's built environment. And as a longtime educator, Page observed several cycles of experimental instmctional techniques and philosophies.
[Transcript of interview with John Page by Lois Goodall, April 16, 2014]. Page, John. Interview, 2014 April 16. OH-02130. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
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AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN J. PAGE An Oral History Conducted by Lois Goodall West Charleston Neighborhoods: An Oral History Project of Ward 1 Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ©The West Charleston Neighborhoods: An Oral History Project of Ward 1 University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Editors: Maggie Lopes, Melissa Robinson, Barbara Tabach, Stefani Evans Interviewers: Claytee D. White, Barbara Tabach, Lois Goodall, Shirley Emerson ii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Harold Boyer. 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 the university 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. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project. Claytee D. White, Project Director Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada, Las Vegas iii PREFACE John J. Page attended 13 schools before graduating from high school in the Ozark Hill Country of Oklahoma. Although he engaged in no combat, he was drafted into military after completing two years of college at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. After his discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he helped his wife, Reitha, finish the credits she needed to complete her degree, and he then worked to complete his in Norman. Following his graduation, the couple relocated to Las Vegas in February 1959, when Reitha found a job at Washington Elementary School. In Las Vegas John completed his practice teaching under master teacher Lamar Terry at Twin Lakes Elementary School and under supervision of Dr. Holbert Hendrix at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. John held his first teaching assignment, fifth grade at West Charleston Elementary School (later called Howard Wasden Elementary School), for 27 years before transferring with his principal to Helen Marie Smith Elementary School. For a time John and Reitha rented a small house at the comer of Bonanza Road and First Street that was owned by entertainer Horace Heidt. They bought their first house, a Pardee Park Home one block north of Tom Williams Elementary School in North Las Vegas, because Reitha taught there, and she and the children could walk to school together. In 1973 they bought their current house on El Cortez Avenue in the Westleigh tract. Page not only worked in Ward 1 for 27 years of his 36-year teaching career (1959-1995); he and his family also lived in Ward 1 for more than forty years. As a teacher in the school that served the wealthiest Las Vegas families, Page witnessed the many ways that generous donations of time, money, and talent matter to schools, students, and teachers. As an early resident of Westleigh tract, Page saw dramatic changes to the area's built environment. And as a longtime educator, Page observed several cycles of experimental instmctional techniques and philosophies. iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with John J. Page April 16,2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Lois Goodall Preface iv Recalls childhood in several towns and elementary schools in the Ozark Hill Country of Oklahoma and Arkansas; discusses family history in Tenessee and Oklahoma 1-7 Talks about high school in Claremore, Oklahoma, and playing an American Legion baseball game against Mickey Mantle 7-10 Reminisces about being drafted during his second year of college into the U.S. Air Force and training as a tail gunner on B-29 bombers at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado; explains transfer to Randolph Field, Texas, and bombing runs to Utah, Nevada, and Florida; discusses transfer to B-50s at Biggs Air Force Base in El Paso, Texas, where he and wife Reitha had an apartment at the end of the runway 10-14 Discusses life as young married Air Force tail gunner and disappointment with Air Force Aid Society; recalls volunteering for service on Matagorda Island, Texas, as part of a new secret unit for the Eighth Air Force; discusses making targets to test radars for B-36 bombers and end of Air Force service 14-18 After Air Force discharge recalls wife taking 21 credits in one semester to complete her degree, borrowing $1,400 to live, and returning to the University of Oklahoma to complete his degree; reminisces how he and Reitha came to Las Vegas, Nevada, in February 1959 because she found a teaching job at Washington Elementary School 19-20 v Discusses arrival to Blackjack Motel, Las Vegas, and going downtown on Saturday nights; recalls first rental house owned by entertainer Horace Heidt at corner of Bonanza Road and First Street; describes Washington Elementary School 20-26 Remembers moving to apartment and neighbors; discusses being hired at Clark County School District, practice teaching at Twin Lakes Elementary School, and arriving at his first job at West Charleston Elementary School; describes the West Charleston school buildings and grounds and socioeconomic area 26-30 Recalls the ways local parents supported West Charleston Elementary School, its students, and its teachers; discusses interactions with children of wealthy families 30-35 Explains West Charleston Elementary School change of name to Howard Wasden Elementary School; recalls how some Wasden teachers had to move to the new Vegas Verdes Elementary School; discusses first house purchase, a Pardee Park Home in North Las Vegas, and describes neighborhood of second house purchased in 1973 in Ward l's Westleigh tract 35-39 Introduces his six children: Ann Kathleen, Loy Covington, Caroline, John Mark, Jane Elizabeth, and Rebecca Grant; recalls family picnics and sleepovers at Mount Charleston 40-48 Recalls buying a goat for a class fundraiser for Betty Honn's Animal Shelter and coaching basketball after school; discusses transfer to Helen Marie Smith Elementary School after 27 years at Wasden; and tells of motivating students with trophies, contests, flights over the city, tennis ball machine games, and production of a morning television show for the school 49-53 Recalls influence of Lamar Terry; discusses educational philosophy and teaching of skills; describes passion for collecting, restoring, and repairing clocks 54-60 Index 61-62 Appendix: Photographs captioned by John J. Page 63-64 ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH CENTER AT UNLV West Charleston Neighborhoods: An Oral History Project of Ward 1 Use Agreement Name of Narrator: Name of Interviewer: / L a t S 1£tO_OJ2AI Wc, tlie above named, give to the Oral History Research Center of UNLV, (lie recorded intervicw(s) initialed on /jjC7r*t ( Un along with typed transcripts as an unrestricted gift, to he usecf for such scholarly and educational purposes as shall be determined, and transfer to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, legal title and all literary property rights including copyright. This gilt does not preclude the right of the interviewer as a representative of UNLV, nor (he narrator to use the recordings and related materials for scholarly pursuits. I understand that my interview will be made available to researchers and may be quoted from, published, distributed, placed on the Internet or broadcast in any medium that the Oral History Research Center and UNLV Libraries deem appropriate including future forms of electronic and digital media. There will be no compensation for any interviews. Dale 1 Library Special Collections 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 457010, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-7070 (702)895-2222 Good morning. My name is Lois Goodall. Today is April 16th, 2014. Today I'm in the home of John Page. John, would you spell your name for us, please? My name is John J. Page, P-A-G-E, and I was a fifth grade teacher at Howard Wasden [Elementary] School in Las Vegas, Nevada. Was it called Howard Wasden at the time you were there? No. My first year there was in 1959 and the junior high had just moved up to Von Tobel [Junior High School]; it had just been built. It was called West Charleston Elementary [School], Was that the first year that West Charleston Elementary was open or had it been there prior? No, the first year it was open for just an elementary school, kindergarten through sixth grades. Okay, very good. Let's go back a bit and start with a bit of your family background. Tell me where you were born. Tell me your parents' names and things like that. My ancestors moved from Tennessee to Oklahoma in the 1890s. My mother's father was a doctor in Tennessee and owned a large plantation below the Shiloh Battlefield on the Tennessee River. He was killed around 1900 by being thrown from a horse. This happened in Oklahoma. My father's father left home in Dyer, Tennessee, when he was sixteen, rode a horse to Texas, and joined a large heard of cattle being driven to Kansas City to market. He then rode back to Oklahoma Indian Territory and started a ranch in what is now Osage County. Oklahoma became a state in 1907 and the town of Hominy grew up. My grandfather was the first mayor. My mother's maiden name was Kathleen Petty and my father's name Loy C. Page. I was born in Hominy, Oklahoma, on January the 21st, 1931. I was raised on ranches and farms in Oklahoma and Arkansas and my granddad and father bought and sold ranches and 1 farms throughout both states. Now, your father's name was one that I'm not familiar with. Loy, capital L-O-Y, C, Page, and the C was for Covington because there's a Covington, I understand, in Tennessee. So you had a variety of places you went to school, then? Yes. I started to school when I was in the second grade in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. My father during the Depression had lost the ranch and lost all the cattle. The only thing he could do at that time without an education was to sell used cars. So he got a job in Oklahoma City at that time. I was probably three years old, four, and we moved to Oklahoma City and he sold used cars. That was right during the severe part of the Depression. Did you have brothers and sisters? Yes. I had two sisters. I was the middle child. My older sister was nine years older than I was and her name was Margaret Page. My younger sister was about nine years younger than I was and her name was Mary Jean Page. Then after you left Oklahoma City, where else did you go to school? My dad moved over to Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was real close to Hominy, where I was born, and most of the relatives still lived there. He got a job on a used car lot. I can remember my first soda pop. It was a hot summer night and Mother had kept the car and we drove down to get Dad at the used car lot. A man by the name of Scatter Wadell—now, that's an odd name—but he was a used car salesman. So he walked across the street. I think this was a '36 Ford. I was in the back seat. And he said, "My, it's hot tonight, isn't it?" And my mother said, "Yes, it's very hot." Then he looked in the backseat and he said, "I bet this boy would like a pop." 2 My mother looked back and she said, "Yes," so I shook my head. She said, "Just bring him a strawberry." So that was my first memory of soda pop. And we used to call it soda pop then, didn't we? Yeah, soda pop. Tell me about how school was in the time that you were going to school, elementary and high school. Right. After my father was working on the used car lot—my grandfather worked real hard. He worked for 30 dollars a month. Before the Depression he was a millionaire and lost all of his cattle. Then a banker helped him and he took a job for 30 dollars a month and worked himself back to enough money to buy a ranch. So he [my grandfather] asked my father to come back in business with him and we moved to just a very small town. Actually, there was no buildings there. It was just a school. It was called Phillipsburg and it was about 30 miles from Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It was a one-room school. The school master lived on the grounds of the school. It was a white school, white-boarded school. I can remember the first day of school. My dad took me to the school and showed where the barn was for the horses and he told me to be sure and take the saddle off the horses and I was going to ride the horse to school every day. Make sure that I took care of that horse and be sure to put out water, take the saddle off. So he told me everything about it. So I walked over a stile. Now, later on in teaching the fifth grade I used that word, "stile," asking the children, "What did it mean?" Of course, most of them refer to their mother's dress or hat. That was a way that I could introduce another meaning of "stile," the ladder that went over the fence and let you crawl up and over. So the first day of school I started on—to show you how times have changed—I started, 3 got up over the stile, and I was walking along and I heard this big man. I found out his name was Ernest Valentine Hoopengardner. That's quite a name. He was the master of the school. His house and family lived on the grounds. He had two boys by the arm and he said, "Take down your pants." And he said it real loud and I stopped and watched. And he took his belt off. And one of the boys was his son, I found out later. But he said, "I told you boys there would be no fighting on this playground and that's what I mean. Do you understand?" And they both said, Yes, yes. So he didn t hurt them. He didn't hurt them. He just hit them and kind of—well, it was a little harder than just a switch. But he hit this one. Then he said, "Now, you pull up your pants. Now you bend over and pull down yours." And he hit his son like this. That made a believer out of me, I'll tell you. I'm sure it would. And to make just a long story short, when my wife and I got married, or right before we got married, she was working with the Osage County superintendent going around to schools and collecting testing material and grading them. She walked into a school over close to Tulsa and Mr. Hoopengardner was the head master. I was probably about 22 years old at the time. So you had something in common. Yeah, yeah. It was a short time. I still believe that he was teaching school. Now, as I recall those old schoolhouses, the one-room schoolhouses, the teacher had to light the stove for heat and bring water in. Is that correct? Yes. This school burned down during the winter of my second year. It burned down because they built too large a fire. Snow was on the ground, about a foot deep, and they built too large of a fire. He had one of his boys doing it, build a fire in the stove. The flue touched the rafters up above the room and it heated up and it caught the schoolhouse on fire and it burned down. 4 Were you in the school at the time? I had already gotten there and all the children were outside watching it. I love clocks. They had a large clock in the entryway. I always think about that clock because I always admired it every time I walked in the door. It had two rooms. We had a music teacher that came out from Bartlesville, Oklahoma. About the only thing I can remember about the music teacher, she came once a week and we started off with a song, "Loch Lomond." All the children gathered around and sang that. Then we had a basketball team and we didn't have enough boys for the basketball team, and we had three girls and two boys. We would go around to the county seats of the counties and play basketball. So that was quite exciting. That sounds like fun. I had a better education for two years than I ever got for the rest of my schooling. Mr. Hoopengardner—I used a lot of his principles—he would call you up to his desk and have you start off with the threes [times tables] and you said those and then you did the fours. He didn't rush you. He just said we would do your fours the next day, and you knew you should be prepared. Also, he had you—I was thinking about this the other day—he had you memorize in the fourth grade 200 lines of poetry. They could be any length. I memorized "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer. Then the next year, when you got to the fifth grade, you had to memorize 200 lines of poetry, but it had to have 50 words in it, 50 words in the poem. So I chose "The House with Nobody in It" by Joyce Kilmer. So in the fifth grade I would get up to introduce "Trees." I could still repeat the poem to them. And then after most of the children learned that I would get up and say, "Well, now, I have another poem by Joyce Kilmer. Was Joyce Kilmer a girl or a boy?" And they would say, "Oh, a girl, a girl." 5 And I would say, "No, amazingly he was in the First World War, and he was a boy." So that got them all excited. So I said, "Now, I want you to learn a poem for me. It's called 'The House with Nobody In It,' that Joyce Kilmer wrote." And they said, "Well, Mr. Page—." And I said, "Let me just tell you a little bit about that poem. I'm going to repeat some of it. When I was in the fifth grade I learned it." "Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track I go by a poor old house with its windows all broken and black. I suppose I've passed it a million times, but I always stop for a minute To look at the house, the battered house, the house with nobody in it. If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid, I would put a group of men to work with brush and saw and spade. I'd buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be And I'd give it to people that wanted a home so they could have it free." Oh, that's impressive that you still remember it after all these years. And I'm sure it helped your children as students to know it. It excited them and they wanted to learn. Now, today the education is much different, and I think that's where we've fallen down a lot in our education. Children could do so much more if you expect them to do it. We'll get to more about the children today and when you retired a little bit later. Let's move on to your high school days to see how things have changed from then till now. » Well, one of the changes I noticed is the treatment of boys and girls together. When I arrived we had a ranch, an open-range ranch in Kansas, Oklahoma, in the Ozark Mountains. I had gone to school there in the seventh and eighth grades. It was just in the Ozark Hill Country of Oklahoma r 6 and Arkansas. I had a good education. So I transferred to Claremore, Oklahoma, because my dad sold the place that we lived in and rented a store in Claremore, Oklahoma, the home of Will Rogers. So as just a country boy, I'd walk to school with country clothes on. I went to the school. I had to walk to the school and it was on the other end of Main Street from where our store was located. I walked up and I looked on one side of the building were a bunch of girls and on the other side—it was a three-story brick building—all the boys. And then there was middle stairs, I found out later, for the adults to go up. So I just walked over and walked up the middle stairs. And I had a teacher named Mrs. Gassett, that I found out later was standing there watching that no boys or girls came up the steps. So she said, "Young man, come here." So I went over. She said, "At this school the boys go in on the side over here and the girls go in on the side over here and you don't get together. The middle steps are for the adults to come into the school." So I said, "Well, I'm very sorry. I just didn't know that; I'm new." And she said, "You're new?" And I said, "Yes," and I told her that I had gone to school in Kansas, Oklahoma. She said, "Well, come go with me. I want to introduce you to the office staff." She took me down and introduced me to the office staff. They were the most polite people I'd ever met. They accepted me. The principal took me in. He was about 60 years old. I had my last report card from Kansas, Oklahoma. He says, "What grade are you in?" I told him I was a freshman. He said, "Well, do you have any paperwork or anything?" I said, "Well, I have this report card." So I showed him my report card. It was in algebra and it had A's and B's on it. So I felt pretty good. He looked at it. Then he got a map down and he found out that Kansas, Oklahoma, was located 7 in the Ozark Mountains, right at the edge of Siloam Springs, Arkansas. So he talked to me and he said, "Well, why did your parents decide to come here to Claremore?" So I told him about my dad just running out of money on the farm and had to sell it and he did find a store to rent in Claremore, and I came here. In all of my schools that I went to I didn't find that I was accepted—I went to 13 different schools from kindergarten in Oklahoma City up to Claremore, 13 different schools—and I had never been treated so politely as at that school. The children accepted me. The teacher that had directed me to the office that was standing on the front steps, her name was Mrs. Gassett. She took me under her wing, and I became the star of the algebra class because the boys and girls in Claremore had not had any algebra and I had half a semester of it in Kansas, so I knew everything. She started calling on me about everything and holding my test papers up. Every time they'd say, "You're the teacher's pet." And I said, "Man, that's a good place to be." I worked hard, and so I made good friends at that school and I went on to be elected to Boys' State. That's an honor. Yeah. I was elected as junior class president. Then I had to move from there because my dad lost the lease on the store. So I moved my senior year, which wasn't good for me, but I had to go- Now, were you involved in sports while you were in high school? Yes. I came there and I ran second my freshman year in the 220 yard dash. I ran it, I think, in 22 point seven or six. I can't remember for sure. But I was offered at that time a scholarship to Oklahoma A & M, which is Oklahoma State University. So I made the football team, and the basketball team, and also the track team, baseball team, all the years that I was a junior and 8 senior. So I was quite an athlete at the time. Ah, that's great. So to be offered a scholarship your freshman year is really quite impressive. Well, I thought it was. But I did good on the basketball and football. I had good write-ups in the paper on basketball and football. I was fast. I was very fast. And that got me the scholarship. So what were you going to play when you went to Oklahoma State? I got the football scholarship. I had another scholarship. I was turned down by Tulsa University. I went over and tried out for that. I was turned down. I was offered a scholarship to Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. Now, my wife—I married her—she was a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University. But I had already accepted this football scholarship. Then, of course, the Korean War came along. I wasn't recognized at all. They had a coach that—one of the players that had injured his shoulder—I don't think he even knew my name when I was a freshman. But he did know the names of all the boys that came from large high schools, Webster and Tulsa and some of the big high schools in Oklahoma City. They got to play every week, different junior colleges throughout the state. He never did call my name, so I was very disappointed. But then I had a coach that came in that was elected that was a retiree, had dropped out of the Minnesota Vikings, and he took a great liking to me. He would come over and talk to me. He said, you remind me of a man that I knew. So that really built me up. So I got to play. I started the Arkansas game that year. That's great. He started me the night before. My dad had called me that night and I didn't tell him I was going to start. It made him a believer—I mean it made him so proud. I'm sure he was very proud. And you told me about a baseball experience that you had 9 that I'd like to put on the tape. Yes. I played baseball and I played for the American Legion team at Claremore. Mickey Mantle, the famous baseball player, grew up in Commerce, Oklahoma. His dad worked in the mines there. He had already made a name for himself in high school. We went up in the evening to play and everyone was talking about how Mickey Mantle was going to be there. So we at Claremore did not know, the boys did not know anything about Mickey Mantle. But the coach told us, "You're going to have to watch him, now; he can bat left handed or right handed." So we all said, "Left handed and right handed both?" Because at that time I didn't know anybody—and I don't think anybody else did, either—that could bat either left or right handed. It was usually right handed, but there were some left-handed hitters. So we started off and Mickey was—looking back on it, I don't know why they had him playing catcher—but he was playing catcher that night. He always played a fielding position when he got into the majors. He started off and he hit left handed and he got on base. I can't remember what he did. Then he turned around and batted right handed and I think he got on third, knocked in the man that was on second. We were all just flabbergasted. We couldn't believe anybody could bat right handed and left handed. At that time I had no idea that I was playing against one of the best baseball players that probably ever lived. Well, maybe we should move on to when you met your wife. Okay. I met my wife—I was a tail gunner. I went into the Air Force. I was drafted in my second year of college. After I had played against Arkansas, I got drafted. So I went in right after the first of the year. I came home. Let's see where I was. I had told the clerk that talked to me about what I wanted to do in the Air Force, I told him I'd like to fly. And he said, "Well, you don't have the education right now to go to pilot school, but we can put you on a bomber and 10 that'll give you some flying time." And I said, "That's okay." So I went to gunnery school in Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. I went through B-29 training and was sent to Randolph Field to crew up for B-29s for the Korean Conflict. MIGs were knocking the B-29s out of the air pretty easy, the Chinese MIGs at that time, but they were still putting B-29s up. I had several nice friends that I went through gunnery school that were killed later on that I found out about, probably on their first or second mission. But I went through the gunnery school and went down to Randolph Field and they crewed us up. To get the crew they took in pilots, navigators, radar operators, all the old-time men from World War II that flew B-29s and B-17s. Our training to begin with on B-29s, we all got together and we did touch-and-goes. And that was teaching the commander of the aircraft— Captain Reedy was our commander. He had been a pharmacist back in a drugstore. He owned a drugstore back in Indiana. So they brought him back. He was a fine man. So we started in making touch-and-goes. And touch-and-goes, when you come in, the pilot is learning how to land the airplane. B-29s did not have a nose, so they couldn't use the horizon as a guide to land it, to line it up to the runway. So sometimes we'd hit over on the grass or sometimes we hit on the other side. It was very nerve-racking in that airplane. We were calling off the position of the flaps. We were back toward the side of it and in the top of it and back of it, watching. Then we'd go around San Antone [San Antonio, TX] once and come back in and make a landing and then give it the gas and you go back up again. We did that all afternoon one day, just one right after another, until Captain Reedy got to where he could land the airplane correctly. But a lot of the older men dropped out because they didn't want to fly anymore. World War II was over with and they didn't want any part of war anymore. Captain Reedy stuck with it. So we finally made bombing runs over Wendover Field up here. I think it was in Utah. 11 We came over to Las Vegas. I saw Las Vegas from the air. That's as far as I ever got to it until I came out here and taught school. I was in the tail, I was a tail gunner. It was very cold back there. We made a bombing run on the southern tip of Florida. We were flying max altitude, the highest the airplane would go, and we were going to fly with three other bombers and bomb the end of Florida, just practice bomb. I'm glad it was practice bombing. Yes. The navigator missed the tip of Florida altogether and we went out, kind of, and came around and came back. But it was so cold in the tail, Captain Reedy, the aircraft commander, kept calling me, saying, "John, are you cold, are you cold?" And finally I told him, I said, "Sir, my feet are getting like blocks of ice." So he said, "We're taking depressurize," which you could go on oxygen masks and come down to a certain level where you could breathe. He depressurized, brought me back. When I got back to San Antone, an ambulance was there and the paramedic examined my feet. A doctor was there. I had no frostbite, so that was a good thing. So anyway, I went through gunnery training there. We finally got the day for graduation and all of us got into a great big room. I guess there must have been 200 crews. And some of them went to Korea. If you wanted to go to Korea, you could volunteer for it. Your aircraft commander would volunteer for it. And if you didn't, you wouldn't say anything and you would just take the pick of the hat. So we all voted before we went in there to just not say anything, not vote to go to Korea, but just wait and see where we went. So we were assigned to B-50s, which hauled the atomic bomb, into a squadron in Biggs Air Force Base in El Paso, Texas. And so I went in and we worked. It was a very secret thing. 12 They went back and interviewed all my people in my town as to my reputation and what kind of student was I. They looked at all my records in high school. The principal told me later when I came back one time on leave that he had quite a conversation with them. But anyway, I got the secret clearance. So I crewed up on the team on B-50s. Now, the only thing different between B-50s and B-29s is the rudder—the back part of the—the vertical stabilizer was taller and gave it more control than on a B-29. It had four more powerful engines. So we were assigned to the base. I had just gotten married and we went back and we stayed there for about three weeks. We couldn't get off the base. We stayed on alert all the time. You had so many minutes, and I can't remember how many minutes this was, to get to that airplane and get that airplane in the air. And that would be about ten or 15 of the airplanes in the air the first week we took up. The Cold War was still going on. So we would make runs. We'd have mid-air refueling, which allowed us to fly two days at a time. Captain Reedy—I tried to get an apartment on the base before I got married and they wouldn't give it to me—I talked to him and he says, "John, I'll have an apartment for you when you come back. You just come on back here and we'll have an apartment when you get out here. I'll guarantee it." I said, Captain Reedy, "I hope you do, because we won't have any place to stay." He says, "You'll stay at our house." He had a wife and small children. He said, "You'll just stay with us. We'll have a place for you." So we had an apartment right at the end of the runway. My wife would sit out in the afternoon. We'd be flying all day and we'd come in and land. And she knew when I came home. She could see the tail of each airplane as it came in, the number of it. I think it was 54 was our 13 plane. So when we'd come over, she said she relaxed and went in the house and read a book or something. So she knew I was safe. So when did you get married? And tell us your wife's name. I got married in—I have to get this right. Yes, she's just in the other room. Okay. I got marri