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Interview with Linda (Mack) Smith, June 30, 2004


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Narrator affiliation: Deputy Manager Nevada Operations Office, U.S. Department of Energy; Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation

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Smith, Linda. Interview, 2004 June 30. MS-00818. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Nevada Test Site Oral History Project University of Nevada, Las Vegas Interview with Linda Smith June 30, 2004 Las Vegas, Nevada Interview Conducted By Mary Palevsky © 2007 by UNLV Libraries Oral history is a method of collecting historical information through recorded interviews conducted by an interviewer/ researcher with an interviewee/ narrator who possesses firsthand knowledge of historically significant events. The goal is to create an archive which adds relevant material to the existing historical record. Oral history recordings and transcripts are primary source material and do not represent the final, verified, or complete narrative of the events under discussion. Rather, oral history is a spoken remembrance or dialogue, reflecting the interviewee’s memories, points of view and personal opinions about events in response to the interviewer’s specific questions. Oral history interviews document each interviewee’s personal engagement with the history in question. They are unique records, reflecting the particular meaning the interviewee draws from her/ his individual life experience. Produced by: The Nevada Test Site Oral History Project Departments of History and Sociology University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 89154- 5020 Director and Editor Mary Palevsky Principal Investigators Robert Futrell, Dept. of Sociology Andrew Kirk, Dept. of History The material in the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project archive is based upon work supported by the U. S. Dept. of Energy under award number DEFG52- 03NV99203 and the U. S. Dept. of Education under award number P116Z040093. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these recordings and transcripts are those of project participants— oral history interviewees and/ or oral history interviewers— and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U. S. Department of Energy or the U. S. Department of Education. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Linda Smith June 30, 2004 Conducted by Mary Palevsky Table of Contents Introduction: born Inglewood, CA ( 1940), family background, death of father and move to Whitney ( Las Vegas), NV ( 1949), childhood and education 1 Isabel Ethel Mack ( mother) starts Whitney Wins column for Las Vegas Sun, family moves to Henderson ( 1952- 1953), Isabel Ethel Mack becomes Henderson correspondent for Las Vegas Sun, involvement in incorporation of Henderson 5 Education ( Basic High School), comparison of Henderson and Las Vegas communities 7 Memories of Harry Reid, Mike O’Callaghan, and Robert Broadbent, and involvement in Nevada politics 8 Reminisces about mother Isabel Ethel Mack 11 Education ( journalism) at UNR and UNLV 13 Hired as clerical worker ( GS- 2) for Bureau of Reclamation [ BOR], Boulder City 15 Goes to work at Nellis AFB as flight line technical file clerk, later in Base Public Relations Office as journalist 16 Meets and marries Theodore George Smith ( 1960), moves to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, IN and then to Stuttgart, Germany, takes job as researcher with 513th INTC Group ( 1961) 17 Consciousness of the USSR and the Cold War during the 1960s, travels in and observations of East Germany 21 Return to the U. S., brief stay at Fort Hamilton, NY, move to Las Vegas, NV 23 Memories of atmospheric testing at the NTS during childhood; Takes GS- 4 position in Personnel Security Division at AEC ( 1965), talks about investigations for Q- clearances 25 Promoted to GS- 5 position in Operational Security Division 27 Discussion of women’s roles and advancement within AEC 30 Women in the AEC bureaucracy, promoted to GS- 6 position for Director of Organization and Personnel Division, talks about organizational relationships within the NTS 31 Robert Miller and James Reeves as NTS managers 34 Conclusion: hiring of Charles Eugene Williams as deputy manager, and her promotion as secretary to Williams 35 UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Linda Smith June 30, 2004 in Las Vegas, NV Conducted by Mary Palevsky [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 2, Disk 1. Linda Smith: OK. Do you want me to say my name and rank and serial number? Actually, I was born in Inglewood, California— that is in southern California, in Los Angeles— in 1940. So it was before the war. And my father owned a wholesale candy business. And my mother was a stay- at- home mom, as most moms were in those days. And so I was pretty much raised in a middle class atmosphere in southern California until 1949. I have a younger sister who was born in Vallejo, California because during the war my father went to work for the war industry and gave up his business for a short period of time. He owned it with his brother. And in 1949, my mother and father and sister and I decided we would take a vacation to Las Vegas, Nevada to see my mother’s older sister, who owned a motel in Whitney, Nevada. Mary Palevsky: Where’s that? Whitney, Nevada is now east Las Vegas, and as you’re going out Boulder Highway toward Henderson, it’s one of those little communities that you pass before you really get to the Henderson area. And I’m not sure you could even distinguish it now as a separate political entity. And as I said, my aunt and uncle owned the Whitney Motel, right on the highway. And my mother, sister, and I took the train, the only way to travel, from Los Angeles to see my Aunt Helen. Then my father was going to come and pick us up in a week because he was very busy with his work and he was driving up, then, to come get us and visit and then we would all go home together. The day he got to my aunt’s house, he said he didn’t feel well. By the way, he UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 2 was forty- one years old at the time. And by that evening, I can remember waking up and seeing them carry him out on a gurney, because he had had a major coronary thrombosis. [ Pause] And he was in the Rose de Lima Hospital in Henderson. [ Pause] Do you want to stop? [ 00: 02: 47] End Track 2, Disk 1. [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 3, Disk 1. He was in the hospital in an oxygen tent for about a week. And we thought he was probably doing better and went to the hospital to see him. And at that time children couldn’t come into the hospital if somebody was in an intensive care situation. So we walked around to the back of the hospital and could see him through the screen, and he was there and he waved, and the very next day he died. And my mother was in her late thirties and, again, a woman who had really no profession at all other than homemaker. And she was a pretty accomplished pianist and could do some things like that, but certainly nothing that would carry her through raising a family. So after some pretty traumatic moments, months and even years, she decided that she would sell everything in southern California and move to Whitney, Nevada, a very tiny little town out in the desert. Did you go back for a while? So we went back long enough to get a few things done and sell the house, and it was going from a very metropolitan community to one of these very small desert towns. What was your father’s name? Donald Lynn Mack. And your mom? Isabel Ethel Mack. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 3 And then you have a sister? And I have a sister, a younger sister. And her name is? Is Karen Helen Mack. So I was nine, Karen was five, and my mother was in her late thirties with two children. Well, we moved to Whitney and lived, if you would believe this, in kind of a very small, you couldn’t even call it an apartment, but it was part of the motel complex. But at least it had a kitchenette and it had a bedroom and it had a living area. And it was winter and it was 1949 and it was the coldest winter in the history of Nevada, probably. It was so cold, you couldn’t believe it. I think actually— well, I know the temperatures were below ten degrees, and that is incredible for this country. And it was bleak, and it was a very traumatic change. And coupled with that, I went from a pretty sophisticated school where I had been— at that point in southern California, you were either in high fourth, middle fourth, or low fourth, depending on your ability to progress, and I was high fourth and I was getting a lot of encouragement from my parents toward educational accomplishments. We wound up in a two- room schoolhouse in Whitney, Nevada, which to this day I wish it were here, but I think the building is gone, but it was four grades in one room. And we went from grades one through eight. And it was an incredible experience. You were sitting in rows and you were listening to each of the classes, starting with first grade through the fourth grade. And so when I came, they decided that perhaps I should be in a little higher grade, so they tested and decided I should be in the sixth grade, so I moved from one room to another room, actually. I mean I had skipped the fifth grade. And after you get used to it, it was kind of fun because you’d be amazed what you learn when you’re in the sixth grade and the eighth grade is being taught. All those wonderful UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 4 things. And the teachers that we had were outstanding. We had a lady who had never been married, and she was an excellent teacher and I was very pleased with her. What was her name? Gosh, it was Miss Wilson, and I can’t remember her first name. If you remember it, we can put it in. Yes, and I just can’t remember her first name. But it was Wilson. Well, who ever knew their grammar school and high school teachers’ first names? A lot of times, it was just Miss Wilson or Mr. Smith. [ 00: 05: 00] Oh, yes, it’s a blur. Yes, you’re right. And the friends that I made in that community are friends still to this day, those that are still here, because we were like a very, very tight knit family. One of my best friends, her father was a business owner in the community, and he was divorced, so Dorothy didn’t really have a mother. This would be not the usual situation. So she had this what seemed to be a very large home all to herself. Well, we became fast friends and to this day we’re fast friends, and we almost lived together, you know, it was one of those situations where you’re very, very close. Another very close friend is a lady who is now a county commissioner [ Clark County, NV], Mary Kincaid [ Chauncey]. Her family had moved to Whitney and lived in a very similar situation to the motel situation that I described. And they had several children, I can’t remember how many, and Mary was the oldest and a very lovely young lady, and we became very good friends, too. So we were all very close. And we would listen to the radio, I mean all the things that you can’t believe now— I Love a Mystery, oh, I mean every week we would sit around that radio and listen to that. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 5 And so it was a special time. Also traumatic, though, because my mother— I don’t think she ever fully recovered from the death of my father. And I became the adult in the family, probably the adult male in the family, if you want to know the truth. And so she relied heavily on me and yet, as I look back, she was an incredibly self- sufficient person, even though she never thought of herself as self- sufficient. And the skills that she had, she mastered. She was a good communicator, a good writer. She was a poet, a natural poet, which I did not inherit one drop of that talent. But given those writing skills, she decided that she would see if she could write a column for the newly emerging Las Vegas Sun that would talk about Whitney. Whitney Winds, I think she called it. I don’t know. It was something rather poetic. And she talked to the Las Vegas Sun. There was a connection there somewhere and I’m not even sure how that happened. But they said, yes, that’d be a good idea. So she started a weekly column, and then before long it became obvious that she was doing well and they wanted her to move to Henderson, Nevada, the industrial community down the road, at that time population twelve thousand. That would’ve been in the early fifties. That would’ve been in 1952 or ’ 53. And so she decided that she would go to Henderson and buy a home, one of those very small, old town site homes. It was old even then because those were built during the war, actually. Town site? Yes, the town site houses were actually built as a temporary dwelling for industrial workers who were coming in during World War II for Titanium Metals, Inc. That’s the big BMI, is that right? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 6 Yes, Basic Magnesium Incorporated. And of course, at that time the BMI complex was not in the incorporated city of Henderson, if you will. Actually, Henderson wasn’t yet incorporated but the town was in a county governance. And you only had these older wood town site homes, little square boxes. You didn’t have the newer stucco homes that were built a little later. And we bought a [ house]— if it was eight or nine hundred square feet, I would be surprised. Two bedrooms, living room. But it seemed pretty good after Whitney, Nevada. And she started her career with the Las Vegas Sun as the Henderson correspondent to the Las Vegas Sun. Well, that meant that she was very much involved in the evolution of that town, [ 00: 10: 00] of that community. And it was attending town board meetings at first, because the town board was the political entity under the county, and then there was a decision to incorporate, a very political decision that was highly controversial. And the first mayor of the town was a doctor from Boulder City, Nevada, James French. A very dashing man, by the way. And the city council was elected, obviously there to support him, too. And she attended those council meetings and, Mary, I attended every one that she attended because I was sort of her support base. So I saw that all evolve, you know, and there was so much controversy and so much— What was the controversy, Linda, that it—? Well, it was primarily that Henderson would probably be better off as a county entity, being so small. And what would incorporation bring? It would bring more bureaucracy, it would bring more taxation, it would bring— of course, all of those things obviously would occur, but the size, and of course, Vegas at that time probably had fifty- five or sixty thousand people, I would guess. And we were pretty much distanced from that. So one of the things that they did was charter a master planning activity, and they hired a very, very sophisticated master planning firm from UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 7 southern California and brought them in. And that was also controversial because here we are spending money on this thing called master planning. What does this mean? I still have that first master plan. I think I told you that. And as I look back and read that, I cannot believe how prescient they were, because right at that point they were saying, Henderson, you need to go out and annex. You need to annex, annex, annex. You need to get the plants, the BMI complex, in the city limits so you have a tax base. Then you need to start thinking about things like resort areas that you can develop yourselves, like Lake Las Vegas. I mean they actually described a concept in that document that did not materialize until thirty or forty years later. That’s really amazing. It is. And Henderson, then, was on that track. And of course, my mother was right there. And of course, also, she was very involved in covering the youth activities. I was writing a column for the Sun at that point, too, because I was at Basic High. Actually, when I went there— yes, when we went there, I was a freshman in high school, and I was in a high school that no longer exists now. But then during my freshman year, our high school moved to a new building, which wasn’t too far from where I lived. We walked to school, you know. There again, it was a very close knit community, even though it was much larger, from my standpoint I mean, I was used to Whitney. I think there were four or five hundred kids in the school. That was quite large to me. And the beauty of Henderson was the egalitarianism of Henderson, because everybody was pretty much on the same economic level. They worked for the plants. You had a true blue collar community. You didn’t have the haves and the have- nots. And you did at Las Vegas High School. That was going to be my question. So there would have been more of a social stratification at Las Vegas High? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 8 Indeed. Oh, very, very severe social stratification at Las Vegas High School. I just don’t know. What were the sort of categories of people that would—? Well, casino owners. And we would kind of chuckle and talk about the kids in Vegas that would drive their cars to school, and some of them would drive their very expensive cars to school. I mean we didn’t have, none of us, and I mean we didn’t ever have an issue at Basic. You hoofed it, I mean, or you rode your bike. Very blue collar and, as I said, very lacking in the issue of social strata. And it affects your dress, obviously. We were concerned about what we wore, obviously, but you didn’t have us going to the very expensive stores. We just did Sears or whatever you do. But we loved cashmere sweaters. Oh, my gosh, we loved them. Yes, that was the era. [ 00: 15: 00] Oh, bat- wing sleeved cashmere sweaters. Bat- wing sleeved? Oh, yes. What? The ones that— oh, right, absolutely. And, you know, you’ll see pictures of us in the yearbook with our little rabbit fur collars with— oh, we were darling. I’m sure you were. I think I was telling you that it is amazing in that kind of a community that there are so many people who did well, politically, in the state, or financially. Especially out of the class that I was in. I was in the class of 1957 and, of course, [ U. S.] Senator [ Harry] Reid, I think I told you he was in that class. He and his brother moved to Henderson from Searchlight, Nevada when Harry was a sophomore. And his parents had decided that they had to get them out of Searchlight in order for them to be able to function, because traveling back and forth to a high school would’ve UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 9 been almost impossible from Searchlight at that time. You’d have been traveling most of your life. And I think that’s still a problem in some of the rural Nevada areas. I’m sure it is, as I had just finished a trip across Highway 50 and seen Austin, Nevada and Eureka. I mean golly. That’s kind of the situation you would have in Searchlight. Wow, I’ll have to do that. Oh, yes, you must do that. You must do that. In fact, as an aside, I saw Senator Reid last night at a political function here in town, a small one that was put on at the home of a friend, and he still looks like he can’t believe he’s in his position. He looks like he’s pinching himself all the time. Excuse me. But I mean it’s like, How did I get here? And I can remember that look, that kind of deer- in- the- headlight look, when he came to that high school. And Larry, too, his younger brother. I mean it was like, Here we are. And of course, he had a wonderful personality from the standpoint of being very— he wasn’t what I would call an extrovert. In fact, just the reverse. He might be a little introvertish. But very warm, very much a person who had— you could tell that his core values were very much aligned with the 1950s culture and he was sure of himself, but not terribly egocentric, I mean, and he fit in beautifully. He had a wonderful sense of humor. Wonderful sense of humor. So he became popular very quickly. And we were all involved in the student government, a lot of us, you know, again, the egalitarian thing, I guess. You didn’t really have the stratification that you have, so we were all pretty close friends. And he became very, very close to Mike O’Callaghan, who wound up being the governor of the state of Nevada, who was a teacher that had come to Henderson right after he had graduated from University of Idaho at Moscow and had already served in Korea and lost his leg. So he was probably in his mid- to- late twenties, Governor O’Callaghan, when he came to teach us. And that is where we learned Politics 101. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 10 Really. Oh, wow. And to this day, I often wonder. I come from a family that was politically pretty involved, and I say “ involved,” they were in the Democratic Party. My aunt was a national committee person for the Democratic Party. And so I was kind of raised, in a sense, with politics, although nobody ever ran for anything. But he brought an inspiration to us about what it really means to be involved, and he would actually get us involved, you know, we would actually be doing things. There was something, and I think to this day there is, the Las Vegas Sun sponsored a youth forum. And as high school students you would participate in it and you would deal with weighty community and county issues. And we were all involved in that. Harry was involved, I was involved, all of us, you know, and we loved it, and Mike was our mentor in that regard. And I think that’s where Harry learned his love for the political. Plus, he [ Mike O’Callaghan] taught him how to be a boxer, because he was a boxer. And he [ Harry Reid] wound up being a very talented boxer, as a matter of fact. [ 00: 20: 00] I didn’t know that. Well, I don’t know how many people know that. I may be giving away a secret. So that involvement in high school, as I said, there were a lot of people in that class that turned out to be very successful. I ascribe a lot of that to Mike, just from the standpoint of having— you know, you’re very fortunate, aren’t you, when you run into someone like that. And I think in a small community like that, an individual that provides the student the opportunity for intense engagement over time can make a huge difference in people’s lives. Huge difference. And if you’re fortunate enough to have your path cross, and today I’m not sure even if the— I think the odds are less. First of all, in Nevada at that point in time, Nevada was small enough that you could know Pat McCarran, Senator Pat McCarran. My aunt interacted with UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 11 him. I always think about Bob Broadbent. We loved Bob Broadbent. He was a druggist in Boulder City and he became a county commissioner and then, you know, he wound up— as a matter of fact, ironically he wound up as an assistant secretary for interior when I was with [ the U. S. Department of the] Interior. And he was my boss. So I mean these are the people that truly made Nevada. Literally. Yes. Made modern Nevada, for sure. Absolutely. Modern Nevada. Absolutely. You would have get- togethers and all of the politicians would be there and they’d literally have their shirtsleeves. I mean nothing phony. They were part of the scene. So that was a very good feeling that I always had about being there. I loved it. I mean we all loved it. And my mother was just in heaven because she found her footing. She was respected in the community. Very compassionate woman. I don’t think she ever wound up with a level of complete self- assurance, but that’s she gained confidence as the years passed. Well, it occurs to me when you say that, it’s a matter of the era, too. She was a pioneer in so many ways that you don’t have enough people around you to get that self- assurance because you’re doing something pioneering. You don’t have other women around you who are also doing those things, so you’re going— Totally. Right. You don’t. And I have often wondered how I never felt in my whole life, I never felt that I was less professional or diminished in any sense because I was a female. And you know, I suppose a lot of it’s because of her. There’s no question. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 12 And I know you have a similar situation. I have never, ever suffered from that, I don’t know if it’s a syndrome, but I mean this thing that says, Because I am a woman, I have to do something different. There was never that sense. What’s interesting about that, really interesting about that, Linda, is that she, from what you’re saying, did have maybe not a strong sense. But just her doing what she did was meaningful to you in a way that you didn’t have [ that sense of diminishment]. You said it very well. Very well. And that’s just so interesting. And as I analyze it— yes, because probably if you were able to read her mind, she would have not been very confident, but it’s remarkable what she was able to do. And well known in the community. I mean to this day, Harry Reid probably would say to me— well, he’s said to me on many occasions, I loved Isabel. Everybody said it. I mean, I loved Isabel. But he knew her better than he knew me, her daughter that went to school with him. Because of her columns or because of who she was in the community? Because they interacted, and they interacted after I left home, too, and that’s probably a major part of the reason. Because when I left, I wasn’t in Henderson that much, and Harry, of course, was very much involved in not only Henderson politics but Clark County politics, and so his path was probably a little more local than mine. Because when we graduated from high school, I had a scholarship. And the other thing that was interesting is I don’t know if they still do, and I think they still do have, Girls’ and [ 00: 25: 00] Boys’ State. That was another interesting exercise, where you elect members of the junior class, a girl and a boy, to be the school’s representative at a what they call Girls’— well, boys go to Boys’ State, girls go to Girls’ State. And you set up a government. You sleep in a UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 13 gym. And all these schools are present, and you actually set up a replica of the federal government. You have an executive branch. You have a legislative branch. And again, the whole political thing. And you have the actual politicians coming in and lecturing you, and you run your little country. And here we all were, you know, working. So you did that. Oh, yes, it seemed like I was always— because I was the tallest, I’m sure— elected to everything. And it’s all so interesting in that in my yearbook, Harry was voted the Most Humorous. I was voted the Most Likely to Succeed. And other classmate, Russ Williams, was voted for the male Most Likely to Succeed. And Harry, being the most humorous, and of course, he’s the one that has outshone everyone. And I reminded him of that last night, and he just grinned. He was a person that you never would have thought would’ve been driven, but as it turned out, he was the most driven of us all. Interesting. It is interesting, and you sometimes don’t see those things at the teenage level, and they don’t even manifest themselves. Didn’t at all. No. No, it was just good old [ Harry], you know. So that was interesting. But I had a scholarship, then, to go to the University of Nevada, Reno. Again, it was a journalism scholarship. A couple of scholarships, actually. And I attended the University of Nevada, Reno for a year, majoring in journalism. And because my mother’s situation was so concerning, I just felt like I needed to be near her, and going back and forth, and it was tough to come up with the expenses without— How did you get back and forth? Bus. Greyhound bus, coming from Reno to Henderson. So that must’ve taken a good part of the day. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 14 Oh, ten hours, I would guess, and it stopped at every little town to dump the mail, and of course, there weren’t that many towns but I mean you’re talking Tonopah and, you know, the whole route. I did that many times. Many times. Decided I wanted to be closer to home and I decided that I would probably go to Nevada Southern [ now University of Nevada, Las Vegas] then on a part- time basis. And as it turned out, that meant I had to give up my scholarship. And I debated on whether to do that or not, and then I got a call from a gentleman by the name of Royce Feour. And I’m telling you this story because it is kind of interesting. Royce went to Las Vegas High School. He was a senior the year I was a senior. Royce was the alternate to my scholarship. And Royce called me and he said, Linda, if you’ve decided to go to Las Vegas, he said, I really want to go to Reno, and would you consider— let’s just talk about you giving up the scholarship, and he was being very nice about it. And I said, Well, Royce, that makes sense. It really does, knowing that he wanted to go so badly. So he went to the University of Nevada, Reno and graduated with a degree in journalism, and he just retired the other day from the Las Vegas Review- Journal as the best- known boxing sports writer on the planet. We’re talking on the planet. Really. See, this is a universe I know nothing about. Journalism and boxing. I know nothing about it either. But here he is. I mean he specialized in that and he’s gone global. And it turns out that he is the brother of a lady I worked with and is a dear friend of mine for years and years. I mean just coincidentally. And at that time, I didn’t know Joanne at all. She was his older sister. And Joanne worked with me at the Atomic Energy Commission [ AEC] and DOE [ 00: 30: 00] [ Department of Energy] for many years. And we have often talked about that. We’re so pleased that Royce, had that money. Of course, he would’ve found a way. Knowing Royce, he would’ve found a way. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 15 Sure. But the fact is, that’s how it happened. But the fact is, that’s how it happened. But anyway, I did start at Nevada Southern [ now UNLV] part- time and I also decided I wanted to go to work. And I lived at home in Henderson. Did you have a major at UNLV or you were just taking courses? Journalism. And I kept that major, for a while anyway. And so I decided I would start the job- hunting process. And then I remembered that I had taken a typing test, when I was a junior in high school, for federal civil service. At that time, they had come around to schools and they were giving clerical tests. Well, I knew I would never be able to pass a shorthand test. So I took the typing test and I did very well on that, of course. And it turned out I was on a register. I had no idea what that meant. Had they come around because of the test site? They were looking for— the AEC or just the feds? No, this was just the feds. It was not AEC, and I’ll talk a little bit about that, but AEC was excepted service, so it was a little different entry process. So I got a notice. I told them I was interested. I was on the register, and I had a call from the Bureau of Reclamation [ BOR] in Boulder City, Nevada. So I went up and interviewed and, by gosh, I was hired as a GS- 2 at the Bureau of Reclamation. And I was just as happy as I could be. So that was really the beginning of the federal thing. I had, when I was a junior or senior in high school, worked at Nellis Air Force Base for the summer, you know, in one of those temporary assignments where you go out maybe for a couple of months and they’re hiring high school kids, and those were kind of fun experiences but nothing too serious. But anyway, I was at the Bureau of Reclamation and I was working for a lady I just loved. She was a GS- 5 secretary, which was a very high grade. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 16 That’s what I was going to ask. That’s a high grade for a secretary, is that right? Well, it was then. I mean absolutely. I’m just learning this whole part of the universe, these different grades. Well, yes, those are obviously all clerical grades. She obviously ran the whole thing. I mean Ina Liebespeck ran the world. She’s still there, I think. And she worked for one of the directors and I worked for her. She guarded me. I mean she was so good to me. And she was very good about teaching all the important things that you needed to know about the Bureau of Reclamation and its ways of doing business. And it was probably less than a year when they had a huge reduction of force at the bureau, probably had a pretty big budget cut, an