Alice Ward Boyer arrived in Las Vegas from Oklahoma in 1937. Her brother and former husband came earlier to escape the dustbowl depression and get settled. In the middle of the summer, just at dusk, she emerged from the train at Kingman, Arizona with her two small children to meet her family and drive through the darkness to her new home in Las Vegas. Although she missed the trees of the Plains, she soon became accustomed to her desert home. Her recollections revive the older Las Vegas when community life characterized the small town. At the heart of her story is the Mesquite Club. The non-partisan civic activities of the Mesquite Club are part of a national history of women’s club voluntarism in the nineteenth and twentieth century United States. Founded in 1911, this pioneer Las Vegas women's club played an essential role in the development of the growing town. When few cultural or social services existed, the club raised funds for the first public library, developed parks for the city, and provided services and funding for the aged and youth. The Mesquite Club, along with the Parent Teacher Association, scouts, and church activities formed a network of community relations commonly found in developing towns and cities, but not ususally associated with Las Vegas. Alice Boyer joined the Mesquite club in 1944. She first served as the chair of the Garden Committee, then "went right up through the chairs," and was elected President of the club for 1958-59. (See Table of Offices Held). Speaking about the Mesquite Club founders, Alice Boyer said, “They were very forward-looking women. They knew that the town would grow and they wanted the best for the town.” As one of the second generation of members, she has found the club to be a continuing source of congenial social life and civic community building. Born in rural Oklahoma, she spent her early years on a ranch. Her parents met there shortly after "the run to open Oklahoma" around 1892. They met, married and had twelve children, nine of which survived. Alice came right in the middle. She spent her early years riding horses, wearing “overalls," and spending as much time as possible outside. The family moved into Clinton, Oklahoma for better schools for their children when she was in the fifth grade. Alice graduated from high school just as the Great Depression began and worked briefly at a newspaper before marriage. At the time of the interview, Alice Boyer’s vivaciousness, gracious manner, and sharp memory belied her 82 years. This interview has been produced with the assistance of the Mesquite Club and the History Department of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It is part of a series on women community builders in Las Vegas. The transcript has been edited only slightly for clarity while the syntax and style of the narrator were retained.
Boyer, Alice Interview, 1996 June 26. OH-03479. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1jm23t8n
Alice Ward Boyer interviewed by Joanne L. Goodwin 26 June 1996 University of Nevada, Las Vegas ii ? 1997 Joanne L. Goodwin All Rights Reserved iii iv v List of Illustrations Alice Ward Boyer, Mesquite Club President, 1958-59 Collection of Alice Ward Boyer frontspiece The following illustrations can be found at the end of the text Alice Ward Boyer (right) with Delphine Squires (center) and Frances Farnsworth (left) in front of the first club building at 607 S. Fifth Street, Las Vegas. September 28, 1958. Collection of Alice Ward Boyer Alice Ward Boyer (left) with Carol Channing at the one year anniversary celebration of the Joseph Magnin department store on the Las Vegas strip. June 1958. Collection of Alice Ward Boyer vi Preface Alice Ward Boyer arrived in Las Vegas from Oklahoma in 1937. Her brother and former husband came earlier to escape the dustbowl depression and get settled. In the middle of the summer, just at dusk, she emerged from the train at Kingman, Arizona with her two small children to meet her family and drive through the darkness to her new home in Las Vegas. Although she missed the trees of the Plains, she soon became accustomed to her desert home. Her recollections revive the older Las Vegas when community life characterized the small town. At the heart of her story is the Mesquite Club. The non-partisan civic activities of the Mesquite Club are part of a national history of women’s club voluntarism in the nineteenth and twentieth century United States. Founded in 1911, this pioneer Las Vegas women's club played an essential role in the development of the growing town. When few cultural or social services existed, the club raised funds for the first public library, developed parks for the city, and provided services and funding for the aged and youth. The Mesquite Club, along with the Parent Teacher Association, scouts, and church activities formed a network of community relations commonly found in developing towns and cities, but not ususally associated with Las Vegas. Alice Boyer joined the Mesquite club in 1944. She first served as the chair of the Garden Committee, then "went right up through the chairs," and was elected President of the club for 1958-59. (See Table of Offices Held). Speaking about the Mesquite Club founders, Alice Boyer said, “They were very forward-looking women. They knew that the town would grow and they wanted the best for the town.” As one of the second vii generation of members, she has found the club to be a continuing source of congenial social life and civic community building. Born in rural Oklahoma, she spent her early years on a ranch. Her parents met there shortly after "the run to open Oklahoma" around 1892. They met, married and had twelve children, nine of which survived. Alice came right in the middle. She spent her early years riding horses, wearing “overalls," and spending as much time as possible outside. The family moved into Clinton, Oklahoma for better schools for their children when she was in the fifth grade. Alice graduated from high school just as the Great Depression began and worked briefly at a newspaper before marriage. At the time of the interview, Alice Boyer’s vivaciousness, gracious manner, and sharp memory belied her 82 years. This interview has been produced with the assistance of the Mesquite Club and the History Department of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It is part of a series on women community builders in Las Vegas. The transcript has been edited only slightly for clarity while the syntax and style of the narrator were retained. Joanne Goodwin, Associate Professor, History Department, UNLV. viii Table of Offices Held General Federation of Women's Clubs Board of Directors, 1966-68, 1968-70 Corresponding Secretary, Western State Conference, 1972-74 Nevada Federation of Women's Clubs, President, Past Presidents Club, 1987 President, State Federation, 1966-68 Treasurer and First Vice President, 1964-66 President, District Three, 1962-64 Founder, North Las Vegas Women’s Club, 1964 Founder, Junior Mesquite Club, 1962-63 Mesquite Club President, 1958-59 First Vice-President, 1957-58 Second Vice-President, 1956-57 Third Vice-President, 1955-56 Recording Secretary, 1954-55 Garden Chairman, 1953-54 Alice Ward Boyer interviewed by Joanne L. Goodwin 1 This is Joanne Goodwin. It is June 26, 1996, and I'm interviewing Alice Ward Boyer at the Boulder City Community College. We have just read and signed the agreement on use and do you agree that you have read it and understand it? Yes, I do. Thank you very much. I am very pleased to be here to meet you and to hear about your impressions about the area, and your work with the Mesquite Club. Yes, thank you. What I'd like to do is begin with your early childhood years. I'd like to know a little bit about where you were born and when. I was born in Elk City, Oklahoma, November the 24th, 1913. My parents were not living in Elk City at the time, they were living on a ranch in Cheyenne. However, my mother had been very ill, and I think I was the only child to be born in a hospital of our large family. How big was your family? There were twelve in all. Two young babies died shortly after birth. And then my youngest sister died, I guess of something they could not cure in that time. It was a stomach ailment and eventually pneumonia. It was a very sad time for all the family. So how many sisters and brothers? I had four brothers and four sisters. That you grew up with? Yes, and I was the fifth. I was number five of the sisters. My oldest sister, of course, I don't remember too much about her being home because she was a great deal older than I. And of course by the time I got up in years and was able to visit with everybody, why, of course, she 2 was married, married during World War I. And my parents disapproved of the marriage. It was very important that we all become well educated and of course they felt that my oldest sister should have gone on, though she had graduated from the Catholic school. Tell me a little bit about your parents. Well, my father was called Joe Purdy [Race Steven Purdy]. It was a nickname that he had acquired when he came from Iowa on the wagon train with his mother and brother and sister. And they eventually settled in Dallas, and it was there my father became a cowboy. He worked for the [Texas] Rangers. He also worked for the Indians. My mother was Olive Anne Painter. Her mother had been married three times. She and her first husband had three children and they passed away. Her second husband was Mr. Painter, and he was a Methodist missionary and of course, so my mother traveled with him and my grandmother. When he died, he was buried in Tolar, Texas. The old church still stands. And then my grandmother married again. She married a Mr. Bates. And he also was in the run to open Oklahoma. And that's where she and my father met. He had the adjoining section of land. What do you mean the run to Oklahoma? Well, when Oklahoma was opened for settlement, of course everybody was on the borderline to come into the state. My father had been in western Oklahoma a great deal, so he knew where he wanted to go. So he made the run with a horse. Many people had wagons and buggies or whatever transportation they had. And he came across the Red River into Oklahoma and settled on the Washita. That run was April the 22nd, 18 and 92, I believe. And then that's where he met my mother, when he settled on his claim where he had established a ranch along the Washita River. Her stepfather and mother had settled on a claim further down the river. She was very beautiful and there was a great deal of difference in their age. 3 When they were married she was only sixteen years old. But of course she was a woman in those days, at sixteen. So they were married, they had eight children. They had twelve children. They had twelve children. And there were, three of them died; two, long before I was born and then the other baby in the family. All of my brothers have passed away. And my oldest sister also passed away. So there's just me, [of the] four girls. Tell me what it was like to grow up on the ranch. Well, I just have short memories. I know my parents sold the original ranch and moved to Elk City because they felt that the country schools -- they were not getting a good enough education for their children. My father opened a picture shop, but then he did not particularly care for that, having been a rancher all his life. So he ran this huge ranch of Mr. Thurmond’s whose brothers were all bankers. And it was fun. I was rather like a middle child. My oldest sister was a young lady, and my two younger sisters were quite close in age, and I was rather in between. So I had a great deal of time to spend to myself if I wanted to. So, I wandered the ranch and I loved to ride horses. In fact my father had given orders to all his cowboys and everyone that they were never to leave a horse saddled, bridled, and tied where I could get it. My first school was a one-room school house. It was not very far from the ranch. Some of my older brothers and sisters went up to the eighth grade. They had to board in town when they went beyond that until the Roger Mills County High School opened. So I started to school, and then my teacher became my sister-in-law. I loved her and I enjoyed it. But I only went to the one-room school house for two years and then they had the consolidation. Then they had a high 4 school and a large grade school. So we rode the bus probably six, to seven, to eight, to ten miles into town. And, of course, school started in those days at nine o'clock. And it got out at four o'clock. We had a forty-five minute recess in the middle of the day and a forty-five minute recess in the afternoon, and an hour for lunch. Everybody who did not live in town took their lunch, because we didn't go into the city. It was a very small town. So that's where I went to school. Did you have responsibilities on the ranch as a child? Did you have jobs, chores? Oh, not really, I don't think. It was such a huge place; there were so many hands and so many helped to run the ranch. My mother always had to have help to do all the work, the cooking for everybody. Until we moved, I probably did maybe gather the eggs or something like that; maybe go with my mother to the garden. Or I can remember one interesting incident. The garden was a little ways from the house and we went late in the evening and my mother was looking at her watermelon patch. And as we walked down it, I saw this little snake. I guess it was a garden snake and it had a funny bulge, so my mother sort of chopped the head off and out jumped a little frog. And he just went trotting on, and I tell you all my life I have been terrified of snakes. Where do you think your parents got their commitment to educate all of you? Well, I would assume from their own parents. My father was born in New York; Jasper, New York, upper New York state. His father was a mill owner. The original family came to the United States in the early 1700s. They were all committed to education and he had attended an academy. So wherever my mother lived with her step-father, who was a Methodist, with her father who was a Methodist missionary, why she of course attended school. My father spoke Latin, and wrote and spoke Latin. And he spoke many Indian dialects. My mother also was very well read and well educated for her time. And they wanted their children to be also. 5 Did your religious training emphasize education? No. My father was not a Methodist but he was high Episcopalian. And so there were no Methodist churches where they lived and they both decided that we needed religious backgrounds so the two together joined the Baptist church. And then both my parents attended the Baptist church. My mother was a very dedicated Baptist all her life. So you moved into town and finished your schooling in the town school. We moved. We lived on the ranch until I was about the fifth grade. Then we moved into town. We moved into Clinton. All my brothers had left home by that time except my youngest brother, so my father could no longer manage and maintain those many of hundreds and hundreds of acres. And my mother did not feel able. I have known her to cook breakfast for as many as 40 men and that was just breakfast. And then of course, the noon meal was taken to the fields if they worked far away. They would fix it and they would put it in the wagon, and my sister and brother and I'd go along. I loved to ride my pony and take the water out to the hands in the field. So they would take the lunch out there and hands would stop and eat lunch. Then they would come in and of course, then they wanted supper. They had worked hard all day. So we had a huge, I think it was a ten gallon ice cream freezer, and I'm sure that we made that every day full of ice cream. How many people were helping your mother with these cooking chores? Well she usually had one or two to help. That's a lot of work. Yes, but then that was life in those days. Then you moved into town and you completed what grade of school? 6 I went through high school. And when did you graduate from high school? Oh, I knew you were going to ask me that, and do you know, I've forgotten. But it was a long time ago. When you graduated? I think it was 1930. What expectations did you have? What did you think your life would be like when you graduated from high school? Well, I really don't know. I graduated from high school and it was in the midst of the depression. It was just really beginning and there were not too many opportunities available. I did have some typing and this type of thing, a commercial course. I also had journalism in my years in high school. So my first job, I went to work for a newspaper. What I did, was when all the little communities around sent their little articles in to be published in the paper every week, I edited those articles and made any corrections that needed to be made. I also sold some and took care of the classified advertising. In fact I was working for the newspaper when the Lindbergh baby was found. That was a very exciting time in the newspaper office. We had to make a special edition to get it out on the street. Was this in Elk City? No this was at Clinton, where I graduated from high school; Clinton, Oklahoma. You said you'd taken a commercial course. 7 Yes, there was a little business college there and I'd had typing in high school, and everything. But I would have loved, perhaps, to have been a journalist. I don't know. How long did you do that? Oh, I did it for about a year. And then what turn did your life take? Well, I was married when I was nineteen. At that time not all married people worked. I worked a little "five and dime," I think it would be, for awhile. And I enjoyed it. My first marriage was July the 9th. When did you marry Mr. Ward? We were married on July the 9th in 19 and 32. And his name again? Olin S. Ward. And how did you meet him? Well, I had known him through high school. And so we had become friends and then of course, it developed into a romance. And then we were married. But we were both young. My son was born in May in 19 and 33, and my oldest daughter was born in April 19 and 36. What are their names? My son is named Olin S. Ward, Jr., and he has been known as Sam all of his life. His grandfather was Sam and we didn't want two Olins, so grandfather called him Sammy and 8 eventually it became Sam. And here in high school, at Las Vegas High School, he was known by all his friends as Sam. And he's still known as that. And my daughter, Joann, as I say was born in 1936. The depression was very bad then and one of my brothers had decided to come out here to go to work for the Six Companies. He had intended to do that; he was building the [Hoover] dam. That's an interesting story within itself. He had his own automobile agency in Oklahoma. So he stopped at Pop Simon's filling station, which was on the corner of Third and Fremont. It was a Texaco station. And of course, Pop Simon is a historic figure around here and so he was talking to Mr. Simon and he had decided that he [Simon] wanted to go back to his mine out at Nelson [Nevada]. So he asked my brother if he would not take the station over. So he did. And my former husband and I came out. He came out first to work for him. And I had another brother who had worked for my brother, but he wanted to go into business for himself. And he went to Caliente [Nevada] and operated the Coca Cola bottling plant. It was owned by Otto Underhill who had operated the Coca Cola plant here in Las Vegas for many years. So how many of your family, in the end, came out here? My two brothers, myself, and my oldest sister. One of her daughters had come out and she had married a lieutenant at the air base. So my oldest sister came out. And she had sold her farm in Oklahoma and came out. She had a nursery for a while and then she went to work for, believe it or not, for the telephone company. She had worked during World War I for the telephone company in Fayetteville, Arkansas. And she worked there for many years until she retired. When did you come to Las Vegas? I came to Las Vegas, we came out here in 19 and 37. July. And for the intervening five years were you still in Oklahoma? 9 Right. Just trying to survive the depression? Right. A lot of people say that if you had a farm or a little country piece of ground to grow a garden that sometimes it was easier to get through the depression, than people in cities. What was your experience in Oklahoma? Well, I didn't -- it was really hard to grow gardens. They had the dirt. It just covered everything. I had cousins who had wheat ranches in the panhandle of Texas and the dirt came in so it just covered the fences. You can't believe this unless you see it. It covered the fences, it covered the plows, it covered their wheat, their farming equipment. It covered everything. The dust storms? And you could see it coming for days. It was just a big black cloud. And you knew what it was. We put wet cloths in the windows so as to keep it away from the children. Sam was a baby then and it was really hard. And you couldn't hang your laundry because it would be covered with dirt. And it just destroyed so much of everything. If there was water available, you could have a little garden. But the farming became almost impossible for many years, for a number of years. People had to just abandon their farms. Did families end up moving in with each other to share resources? Well, yes they did. Some of them did. It was, as I said, very hard. People lost their businesses. There was just no money to buy anything. And in your town, could you see any of the results of the government support programs at 10 that time? Well, yes. It did not affect me because I had no one working on those programs but I did know that there were many, many people that they gave groceries to, flour and different things that they had to have. But I was never involved in that. So when you decided to leave in 1937, it was near the end of the depression. Did it feel like that in Oklahoma? No. It was several years before western Oklahoma began to feel the effect of things getting better. Of course, the government came in and planted trees and helped build ponds, so that if we did get any water they would have ponds and things. I think what brought it all on was in Nebraska. Everything was wheat, wheat, wheat during World War I and after that. And of course, it just took the top soil away and so it just blew away and that's what happened. Some parts of Oklahoma were not as affected as others because they were not the plains and there were more streams and that type of thing. When you decided to come out to Las Vegas, how did travel? My former husband had come first. And so when he had earned enough to rent a small, it was just like a motel room with a kitchen. Housing was very bad out here at the time. Not much, in fact. So that was all he could find to rent and he rented that. So I came on the train with the two children. My former sister-in-law and my husband met me in Kingman [Arizona]. And then we drove over the dam. They met me, I think, just at dusk. I got off the train just at dusk. And it was very confusing to someone from the plains. And of course, I didn't see anything. Except coming across the [Hoover] dam I saw all the bright lights and everything on the dam. But when I got up the next morning -- we came out in July, so it was very, very hot. 11 You came in July? Yes, but I don't think it bothered either the children or myself a great deal, because we were accustomed to the humidity in Oklahoma. It was hot and humid. And this was dry. So after about a couple of months we were able to find a little house on North Seventh Street. And we lived there until we moved over on South Ninth which was closer to the grammar school. And Sam, that was several years later because Sam started to school at the old Las Vegas Grammar School. What were the boundaries of town? Charleston was called San Francisco, I believe at that time. But it was at Charleston and Tenth, that's where the city ended. And then of course, there was only one or two buildings above Fifth Street. And I don't remember. Well, Olan's had a studio there. And there was one or two buildings, you know, between Fourth . . . . Fifth, there up above Third Street with the Elk Hotel and there was still houses in there up to Fifth Street. And where was downtown? Fremont was still just downtown, and most of the casinos and everything, but there was some built off on the side. Like Bob Bascomb had a grocery store, and I think the Safeway was down on Second Street. And there was some businesses and then of course, the hospital, the Las Vegas Hospital was on Seventh Street. But there was very few, most of it was residences, and of course Fifth Street isn't what it is now. Las Vegas Boulevard was Fifth Street. And of course, up on Fifth Street was the grammar school. The two grammar schools. The kindergarten building was there on the corner of Fifth and Carson, and then the Fifth Street School which was the grammar school was next door to it. And that's where my children went to school. 12 It sounds like a town that you could walk around? You could, yes. But not too many people walked because they thought it was too hot. I enjoyed it. Our first little apartment was down, I believe, on Second, and in the afternoon I'd bathe the children. It is what I'd always done at home, you know bathe them and clean them up nice and pretty every afternoon. And then we would walk up to the little ice cream, there was an ice cream factory there. And we would go up and have an ice cream cone or something. You said you didn't have much adjustment to the heat. No. But you had moved from the plains to the desert. And I hated it. I was accustomed to looking up at the sky and seeing trees. And here I looked up and there was nothing but bare mountains. I think it took a little while for me to get used to the mountains. But of course I became very busy. Well I wanted to go to the Baptist Church, the small Baptist Church on the corner of Seventh Street and Fremont. Reverend Charles Sloan was the minister. But it was not large enough to have a Sunday School, so I took [the children] into the Methodist Church. That was a large church, down on the corner, it was on Third Street right across from the Court House. That's where we started to church and Sunday school, and I taught Sunday School there and my children were active in the various activities of the Church. Would you say that's how you began to know people in the community? My friend Vera Sutton and I taught, we are still very dear friends, we taught Sunday School there together for about twelve years. And that's when I began to meet people in 13 the community. My brother was very prominent in the community; in fact he was one of the founders of the Elk's Helldorado. 1 I met through them many people. We had a social life. There were people our own age that we became acquainted with. So this was nice, and then of course when the children started to school, I became very active in the P.T.A. I remember the first year we were here, I had never heard of "trick-or-treating." We just did not have "trick-or-treating" in Oklahoma, and when I heard that Halloween they had "trick-or-treating" I said "what is that?" I couldn't believe it. But anyway we had dressed the children, and all the school kids marched in a parade down Fremont. And then we went over to the Grammar School and people had made chili and all of the other things. I had made a costume for my son, a black costume, and had [my former husband] paint in bright colored paint a devil, I mean a skeleton, on the back. And he wore that costume for several years. My daughter was the more feminine type. It was a very close community. When we moved on South Ninth Street, then I would go down to the school whenever they needed it, and we would take the children for their Easter Egg Hunt up on the football field. The teachers knew that I was always available. Because my children, both Joann and Sam, would say "My mother will do that." So that's what we did. They were active in scouts and in the activities of the church. So I had all the cookies and pies and meatloaf and everything, I think it would go around the world a couple of times, that I provided. And even my youngest daughter would say "my mother will do that." When they needed refreshments, I was always happy to do it. And the children always liked to gather in the yard, and they played "cowboys and Indians." We had vacant lots then. The children loved to play in those vacant lots. When we were on South 1In order to promote Las Vegas's wide-open frontier image and attract tourists, the local Elks Club staged the first Helldorado rodeo in 1935. The following year Helldorado Village was constructed. Eugene P. Moehring, Resort City in the Sunbelt: Las Vegas, 1930-1970 (University 14 Ninth, Jean Boggs,2 In fact her grandson lived with her. She was a very interesting lady, very independent. Of course she was very prominent in town, and her husband Mr. Boggs had been a former chief of police, and the town of Jean is named for her. Anyway, her grandson and my son were very good friends. When she was going to go out, she never thought of calling and saying to do you mind. But she would call me and tell me, "Now you remember Bert can't eat this and he can't do this, and I'll be home by five o'clock." She knew that I was there and that I didn't mind having him stay and play. You would watch out for her nephew? No, he was Mrs. Boggs's grandson. A friend. But we had an interesting neighborhood. Most of my neighbors were Greek families. That was the Pauloses and Adrases and the Sackases and we were all very, very good friends. We truly enjoyed one another, and we enjoyed the children playing together. My son Sam played on the junior football team, and on the baseball teams, all of the junior teams. My daughter was interested in the Girl Scouts and they always went to summer camp. And one year they went to the Methodist camp over in Arizona. Both Sam and Joann were going, and of course, we did not hear this story until they returned. The bus lost its brakes going down across the [Hoover] dam. Fortunately, they had a wonderful driver. And so of course, they were full of news when they got back to tell us all about it. My son's troop then usually went to Utah as they grew older, up around Pine Valley and up in there. Although we ourselves were not LDS,3 he did belong to the LDS Troop 66, which was a very prominent troop. My daughter also went, she used to love to go their primary session. But we had several friends who lived in the neighborhood, Ella Carruth and her daughter, and of Nevada Press, 1995), 29. 2End of tape 1, side 1. 3The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. 15 she worked and taught and everything. Her youngest daughter went with Joann and Sam to the daily Vacation Bible School at the Methodist Church. So all in all, people were very friendly and of course the Methodist Church, it was at one time the only place where they could have meetings. So all of the churches at one time or another, met there. Was it the largest church in the city? Yes, it was right across the street from the Court House, even the present Court House. And it was a very large church. And the Kiwanis Club, the Rotary Club, but by that time the Elk's had built their own building and they had a building on the corner of Third and Carson. Now are we talking about the 1940s? Yes, This is all during the 1940s? Right. There's a tremendous amount of social life. Yes. Club life, lots of activity, for children as well as adults. Right, you had many things for the children to do. Boy Scouts, there were Girl Scouts at that time? Boy's Clubs and Girl Scouts, right. And the P.T.A. you mentioned, was very active? Yes, very, very active. In fact I was a charter member of the P.T.A. Council that was 16 established at that time. Rosalie Burr was very active in the church, in the Council, in the P.T.A.; and she had two daughters and we became wonderful friends. And so she asked if I would be on the Council, and I went to the first meeting and served awhile on the first P.T.A. Council. What was the P.T.A.'s primary work during that time? Well, I think just to keep in close touch between the parents and the child. We had marvelous schools. I don't think that you could have better schools anywhere, than we had at that time. Our teachers were dedicated. Some of them came from far away and some of them were native Nevadans and from Utah and Arizona, who understood living in the desert. And you knew where your children were and that if there was any trouble, you would be notified first. In fact one of the principals, he was a principal at the Fifth Street School, and he was a coach during [World War II] at Las Vegas High School, D.D. Keller. I later worked for him as his secretary at John C. Fremont Junior High School. Did you have any interaction with Maude Frazier? Not until my children got into high school and then I knew her. I had attended meetings and I had known her through, just through the city, through civic work and this type of thing. What do you think her influence was on education in Las Vegas? I think it was a tremendous influence, a tremendous influence. How would you describe . . . 17 Her? Well, her influence? I think she inspired the children. Because when she spoke to them, it was always such a positive way. She, if they were not doing well in school she always knew it. Of course it was a small enough school then that she could keep in pretty close touch on all her students. And there was a Mr. Brindley who was a tremendous teacher. There were many of them that made such an impression on the children. I thought that we had a wonderful school system. In addition to this wonderful civic life that you've just described, were people involved in politics? Not really. Of course I have been a registered Democrat all my life. My first time I voted was for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And I continued. I was active in the Democratic Party. I attended some of their meetings and everything. But as a small town, everybody was. And I enjoyed politics, very much. Do you mean everyone was a Democrat or everyone was involved? Everyone was interested, involved in politics, whatever their party was, they were involved in it, very much so. So the size, the fact that Las Vegas was small meant you could see the results? Yes, you could. And of course, then came World War II. I wasn't directly affected by that; in that my husband did not have to go with the two children. But we did our bit with food stamps, gasoline stamps, and this type of thing. My older brother had bought and sold the business to my former husband. And he bought a liquor supply, he bought Nevada Beverage. But during the war he eventually sold it. He and my other brother was in the Coca Cola plant in Caliente, but due to the lack of sugar, why they closed the plant there and he went into the 18 service. We didn't mind doing without. I did support the Red Cross, but many Mesquite Club women joined the Gray Ladies, and that sort of thing. What was the Gray Ladies? Well, they went out to the Nellis Air Base and they did entertainment, provided food and things for the soldiers. And then, do you know there on the corn