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Transcript of interview with Sara Denton by Claytee White, July 13, 2015







Sara Denton loves life, laughter, and wonderful adventures. She is the mother of four children, a Distinguished Nevadan, lover of books and art, political campaign organizer, community activist, and friend. Sara is one of the founders of Boulder City’s most successful philanthropic fundraisers, Art in the Park. Denton was born in Paducah, Kentucky, into a family of readers and thinkers. Therefore, when the opportunity arose, at 18 years of age, to move the Washington, DC to work in the Signal Corps, she seized the opportunity. From the vantage point of her apartment, she could see the Secret Service assisting Franklin D. Roosevelt into his limousine at the back door of the White House. His polio was hidden from the public but this diversion allowed Sara and her friends to greet and be greeted by their hero. While in DC, Sara worked for General Hayes and one day struck up a conversation with a young soldier, Ralph Denton. Soon they married and moved to his home state, Nevada. After several years in Elko, NV, the Dentons moved to Las Vegas where Sara worked in the campaigns of Grant Sawyer, Howard Cannon, and Alan Bible. Moving the family to Boulder City though, was the wisest relocation by the family because the children grew up in a caring community with good schools. And the city provided the opportunity for Sara’s creativity to flow in many directions including travel, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and community building efforts. This interview is filled with laughter. I enjoyed the conversation.

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Denton, Sara Interview, 2015 July 13. OH-02452. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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i AN INTERVIEW WITH SARA P. DENTON An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2012 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV – University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Editors: Shirley Emerson, Stefani Evans, Bette LaCombe, Maggie Lopes, Claytee D. White Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers and Project Assistants: Barbara Tabach and Claytee D. White iii 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 iv PREFACE Sara Denton loves life, laughter, and wonderful adventures. She is the mother of four children, a Distinguished Nevadan, lover of books and art, political campaign organizer, community activist, and friend. Sara is one of the founders of Boulder City’s most successful philanthropic fundraisers, Art in the Park. Denton was born in Paducah, Kentucky, into a family of readers and thinkers. Therefore, when the opportunity arose, at 18 years of age, to move the Washington, DC to work in the Signal Corps, she seized the opportunity. From the vantage point of her apartment, she could see the Secret Service assisting Franklin D. Roosevelt into his limousine at the back door of the White House. His polio was hidden from the public but this diversion allowed Sara and her friends to greet and be greeted by their hero. While in DC, Sara worked for General Hayes and one day struck up a conversation with a young soldier, Ralph Denton. Soon they married and moved to his home state, Nevada. After several years in Elko, NV, the Dentons moved to Las Vegas where Sara worked in the campaigns of Grant Sawyer, Howard Cannon, and Alan Bible. Moving the family to Boulder City though, was the wisest relocation by the family because the children grew up in a caring community with good schools. And the city provided the opportunity for Sara’s creativity to flow in many directions including travel, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and community building efforts. This interview is filled with laughter. I enjoyed the conversation. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Sara Denton July 13, 2015 in Boulder City, Nevada Conducted by Claytee D. White Preface…………………………………………………………………………………………..iv Topics discussed Pages Sara’s memories of family life in Paducah, Kentucky, importance of reading, college, Signal Corps in Washington, DC 1 - 3 Living in Washington, DC during the WWII, living arrangements, Signal Corps, working in the office of General Hayes, meeting Ralph 4 – 7 Senator Patrick McCarran, wedding, the cross country drive to Nevada, Living in Elko 8 – 10 The move to Las Vegas, living in John S. Park, Grant Sawyer, County Welfare Board, St. Anne’s Catholic School 11 - 12 Boulder City, Neighbor having tea with Sally, County Welfare Board explained, campaign work, job with Howard Cannon 13 - 19 Boulder City Hospital, Art in the Park, the Boulder Hotel, Hoover Dam Museum, Boulder City Chautauqua 20 - 24 Education for children 25 - 26 Green Valley Athletic Club, the Fat Club, Guadalajara, Distinguished Nevadan 27 – 32 1 [This is Claytee White. It is July 13th, 2015, and I am with Sara Denton in her home. Sara, could you please pronounce and spell your name for me? S-A-R-A; P-I-T-T-A-R-D; D-E-N-T-O-N. Thank you so much. I'm going to start just by asking you about your early life. So tell me where you grew up, how many kids in the family, what your parents did for a living? I was in born in 1924 on a farm in Paducah, Kentucky, at home with a country doctor present. My two older brothers, Robert and Joseph, Bob and Joe, were asleep in the room next to my mother's bedroom when I was born. My father had worked for the Illinois Central Railroad. He went out on strike and they never recalled him. So he struggled and he and my mother bought a small farm. It was about 12 miles outside the city of Paducah, Kentucky. They raised enough food on the farm to feed the family. We had an orchard—a cherry orchard, a peach orchard, an apple orchard. We had cows, goats, chickens, and horses. It was an idyllic childhood because we made our own fun on the farm. My brothers always helped with the outside chores, but my mother would never let me learn to do anything outside. She said, "If you learn to milk a cow or do the gardening, you'll marry a farmer and you'll be doing that the rest of your life." Smart lady. So she always insisted that I stay inside and help decorate and paint and do crocheting and [she] taught me how to knit and to sew and quilt and do all of the inside things. All of the time we were growing up, my brothers—Joe was four years older and Bob was six years older. And my parents had lost a daughter that I didn't know; she died before I was born in the flu epidemic. So I was like a gift to my parents that they got a replacement for their first 2 child. My brothers were very protective of me always. If I was playing with somebody that they didn't approve of, I had to quit playing with them. I did learn to ride horses and I had to take care of one of our horses, Trixie, groom her and learn how to ride. We had a pond for the animals to drink out of and that was our swimming pool. We had a creek running through the property which we swam in also. It was interesting to me as I grew older that segregation was something that I didn't know anything about because our farm backed up to what had been slave quarters in the early days and my parents were very friendly with the descendants of the slaves that were on the back of the farm and we always communicated and played with their kids. So there was never any feeling or discrimination by my family, even though it was in the South. A lot of people were prejudiced. We never had that experience because my parents were very religious, Baptist, and they saw people as people and not whether they were black, white or different. A lot of my memories...My dad would take the produce to the city to sell on Saturdays and we'd all go along. While my dad and my brothers were selling the produce, my mother would take me to the library and we would check out a lot of books that we could take home for the week. She'd go home with a stack of books. So one of the funny things that my brother and I always laughed about was the meeting place where we would meet my father when he got through with his produce sales; we'd go to the courthouse. There were water fountains for the black and the white. My brother and I would sneak over and we'd taste the black water to see if it tasted different. [Laughing] After we grew up we used to laugh about that because it was like a game we'd play. I wonder what they've got that we don't get. Anyway, we'd get home from the trip to Paducah. Back then it was not cars; it would be horse and buggy or wagons. I think the first car we had was...Oh, I must have been six or seven 3 years old before we had an automobile. But we would get home and we didn't have electricity; we had either gasoline or kerosene lamps. After dinner every night we'd sit around the table and read our books. So it was like we'd read our books and play checkers or later on, Monopoly. We always had some kind of game that we were playing. Did your brothers read, also? Oh, yes. Oh, yes. We all had books that we had to read. Then my mother on the next Saturday would go back and return them and bring home another stack. Then during school session after we did our homework, we would read books. It was a simple life. But I look back and the fact that we had to read all the time, it wasn't a chore; it was something that we looked forward to. Summer of 1925 – 1 year of age 4 June 4, 1926 - Pulling her brother in a wagon Sara at 12 years 5 Sara, second from left – Cheerleader at Heath High School, 1942 Sara on left with Edith Jett – June 8, 1938 Pinwheel demonstration, won second place in the state of Kentucky 6 That's great. Did you go to college? I graduated from high school in 1942 and there was no money for college. I got a job with a construction company. Mr. Katerjohn had a big construction company and he was looking for someone to answer the phone while the crews were out. He was really a sweet guy. I'd go into work and the phone didn't ring that much so I was always cleaning his office and admiring his paintings and collections. I kept that job until some friends of my family who lived in Carbondale, Illinois, where Southern Illinois University is located. They were looking for someone to live in and help take care of their little girl. They offered me tuition to the university and I could stay with them and help with their little girl. I did that for one year. As the school [year] was ending, the war was starting. The Air Force was taking over the university campus to train their cadets. They weren't going to have room for students because the Air Force was going to bring in all these cadets. My mother called me and she said, "Today at the Paducah Junior College there were some recruiters there recruiting people to go to Washington, D.C. for a job with the Signal Corps." And she said, "They're coming over to Carbondale and recruit on campus there and I think you should go and have an interview because if you go to Washington for the summer, it would be a wonderful trip for you and you'd learn a lot." So I went down and I was recruited. I didn't know what I was getting into. I was 18 years old at the time. [Laughing] Actually, my high school graduating class graduated us early because they were coming in with an Atlas powder plant in the area and they were having to take up a lot of the school's area. We've all laughed about this because my mother pinned a hundred dollars in my bra for the trip to Washington, DC. [Laughing] Yes. 7 I got on the train and went to Washington, D.C. from Paducah to Louisville. At that time, my oldest brother, Bob was living in Louisville and he was in a CCC camp. So I stayed over with him a couple of nights and then went on to Washington. I was so naive I thought I would be the only one getting off the train there and they would all be there to greet me. When I got to Union Station it was like a sea of Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, civilians, you name it. There were thousands of people. So you had to get in a queue to work your way up to the desk for housing. There was a sign that read, Signal Corps. So I got in that line and I was standing there with my white gloves and my hat. [Laughing] Because my mother said I had to dress up nicely. And were other girls dressed the same way? Sara Pittard 1945 – Just arrived in Washington, DC 8 January 1945 – “We Three” Left to right – Big Freda, Little Freda, and Me 1946 – Roommates in DC Left to right – Deke, Mart, Marion, Sara 9 Easter Sunday 1947 Left to right - Norma Deacon, Sara Pittard, Marian Glickman Standing in front of the famed Willard Hotel American author Nathaniel Hawthorne observed in the 1860s that "the Willard Hotel more justly could be called the center of Washington than either the Capitol or the White House or the State Department." The new Willard, designed by New York architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh and erected by the George A. Fuller Company, was hailed at its opening as Washington's first skyscraper. Completed in 1904, the new building saw an addition of 100 rooms in 1925, broadening the F Street facade by about 49 feet. The property remained in the Willard family until 1946, closed in 1968, and underwent extensive renovation, again opening its doors in 1986. 10 Pretty much. Back then when you traveled you dressed up. Yes, yes. I was standing in line. And probably one of the greatest things that ever happened to me at that stage of my life — an older lady, also with hat and gloves, came through the line and she picked me. I didn't know why. She said, "I'll take her." Well, it turned out she got to the head of the line and they had a room, but she had to get a roommate. So she came through the line looking and picked me to be her roommate. She was so much older; she was thirty! And her name was Aphrodite Cresand and she was from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Why did she pick you? I have no idea. I guess she just thought I was clean looking with my hat and gloves. [Laughing] Anyway, she took me. This woman out in Arlington, Virginia, had a house with a room that she was renting. We had to go down the stairs to the bathroom and the room was in the attic, no air-conditioning, and it's July. It was so hot. Aphrodite said to me, "Don't you worry; we'll stay here and we'll go looking for a place on the weekend." So we managed. There was a bowl and pitcher of water in the room. Aphrodite was coming to work with the Signal Corps, too. She had been recruited from Minneapolis. But the nice thing was she had a sister who was married to an admiral over in Annapolis. So they got us in to a lot of social things over in Annapolis and we'd go over there on the weekends. So we set out looking for a place. She said, "You don't have to call me Aphrodite." She was a Greek girl. She said, "Everybody calls me Frieda." So I said, "Okay." So Frieda and I went looking on the weekends and I think it took us about three weeks. We saw an ad in the 11 Washington Post that this lady had an apartment downtown Washington, and so we went to her place. Well, there were two of us. She said, "Oh, I only have room for one." Her name was Freda Thomas. She was a spinster. She said, "I'll take both of you. I'll sleep on the couch and let you girls have the double bed." So she took us in. They just treated me like I was their daughter, both of them; they were very protective. Freda Thomas worked for the government and I think she was in Foreign Service or something. But we were there for, oh, quite some time. I can't remember how many months. But the exciting thing was her apartment backed up to the Statler Hotel with the White House just a block away. And the alley below—we were on the second floor—they would bring President Roosevelt up the alley and put him on the service elevator so no one would see him in a wheelchair. We would wave out the window and call, “Hi, Mr. President." He'd wave and tip his hat to us. I was raised such a Democrat anyway. From the day Roosevelt was elected we had a picture of him in our house. [Laughing] And I still have it in my house. I love it. My mother adored Eleanor. Anyway, we stayed there until Freda got a call to go transferring her to Europe someplace. The lease was in her name, so we had to move. By then I had met a group of girls, one from Connecticut and two from Massachusetts. We had become friends at work and they were my age. Frieda Cresand was getting married. So I moved in with my girlfriends; we got a place over in Arlington, Virginia. Then one by one they got married. Then it ended up the two of us, Martha and me. She was from Massachusetts. We ended up the last two and we got married within the same month. I met Ralph at work. But before I met Ralph I had been engaged to another guy and Ralph had been engaged to another girl. But we became friends at Arlington Hall Station. 12 The Signal Corps was called Arlington Hall Station. It had been a girls' school out in Arlington, Virginia, when the Army Signal Corps took it over during the war, and it was very, very secretive. We were deciphering the Japanese code. That's what we were trained to do. But I was lucky again because the general's secretary came in one day and she said, "Does anybody know how to type?" And I put my hand up. She said, "Come with me." So I spent the rest of my time there in her office as a stenographer, helping type, back then, carbon copies. So I stayed there in the office of General Hayes, her boss. Then Martha took a job with the New York Herald Tribune over in Washington. So I met a lot of different reporters and different friends of hers. I stayed on at Arlington Hall and that's when Ralph came in one day. He was a first lieutenant and he came in and he said, "What are they doing around here?" And I said, "It's very secretive." He was assigned there awaiting orders. He was in field artillery and they were waiting to ship him out. The war was about to end and he was sort of just put there and he didn't know what was going on. But he was taking some classes in law school at night. So we got very friendly. We'd ride the bus from Washington into Arlington every day and take the bus back to DC every morning and we'd talk about where we had been the night before and our dates and where the good bands were and places to dance. So then all of a sudden we just started seeing each other and I gave my ring back to the guy I was engaged to and Ralph broke off his engagement. He came in one day and he said, "I want to take you out tonight just for a nice dinner." So we went out to dinner. And he said, "Would you marry me?" And I said, "No." [Laughing] See, he was still in the regular army. I said, "I don't want to be an army wife." So then a few weeks later he came into my office and he said, "Would you type a letter for me?" And I typed it. 13 He was resigning from his regular army commission. He said, "Now...?" So we got engaged. That was in November 1948. After we were engaged he was like a free bird, out with the boys every night! So I just decided then to go home to Kentucky for Christmas and he sent me a telegram. "When are you coming back?" And I didn't answer it. He sent me another telegram. "I miss you. When are you coming back?" So I finally told him when I would be back and he met the train. I said, "Well, you acted like you weren't engaged. You asked me to marry you and then you just sort of took off with all your friends." He said, "Oh, I was stupid. I've been miserable the whole Christmas because you were gone." [Laughing] So anyway, we got married on July 29, 1949. This was funny because he was working in Senator Patrick McCarran's office. The Senator would let people go if they were getting married. He'd say, "Well, I don't need you anymore." So Ralph said, "I don't know what the senator will say." And I said, "Well, I'm not going to be intimidated." I said, "We'll invite him to the wedding." So I mailed an invitation to Senator and Mrs. McCarran. The senator called me one morning at six o'clock in the morning because he'd get to his office real early. Eva Adams was his AA. He called me and he said, "I understand Mrs. McCarran and I are invited to your wedding." And I said, "Yes, sir. I hope you can come." And he said, "Well, I'd like to meet you. Can you come to my office now?" And I said, "Okay, Senator. I'll call my office and tell them I'm going to be late, but I'll be there." So then I called Ralph and I said, "I'm not going without you." We got to Senator McCarran's office and Eva told Ralph, "You sit here by my desk and I'll take her in." So my knees are knocking. The senator was shaving. "Hello, Miss Pittard," he said. "So you're getting married to a Nevada boy?" And I said, "Yes, sir, and I hope you and Mrs. McCarran are going to come to the wedding." And he said, "Well, what are you going to do after 14 you get married?" And I said, "Well, as you know Ralph's in law school and as soon as he finishes law school we're going to go to Nevada." He said, "Okay." Apparently, a lot of the guys, they'd go to wherever their wife was from and they wouldn't come back to Nevada, so that was his reason for letting them go. The 1949 Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph L. Denton, Washington, DC 15 July 29, 1949 – Wedding Reception The Senator and Mrs. McCarran were at the wedding. Then a friend of mine, actually, the guy that I had broken my engagement with, his mother had the reception at her home for us. She stayed friends anyway. After Ralph graduated from law school in 1951, the senator said that he had a job for him in Carson City. Ralph came out and took the bar and I stayed in Washington. By then I was pregnant with Mark, our oldest child. So Ralph came out and took the bar and when he went 16 back, the senator said, "Now, what are you planning to do?" He said, "Well, I guess I'll stay here until the bar results come out." And the senator said, "No, I have a job for you in Carson City." He had arranged for him to have a job at the Supreme Court in Carson City while we were waiting for the bar results. I'm pregnant, three months or, let's see, six months pregnant because Mark was born on September and this was in probably June 1951. So I went in to see my OB/GYN to clear everything up. He said, "Okay, you're driving?" And I said, "Yes." He said, "Well, drive an hour and stop a half hour so you don't lose this baby, or drive a hundred miles and stop an hour, whichever." So we did that all the way across country. We had a little suitcase between us. We would play double sol for a half-hour by the side of the road. And the doctor said, "I want you to call me when you get to Nevada." I called him to tell him I'd made the trip okay and I told him that we had stopped every hour across the country. And he said, "Oh, I was only kidding!" No. [Laughing] He said, "I didn't dream you were going to do that." Anyway, we only had one federal judge then and that was Judge Roger Foley, Sr. He and Mrs. Foley lived in Reno and he was going to be sitting in Las Vegas for court. So they asked us if we'd house sit for them in Reno. It was as if everything was just laid out for us. Grant Sawyer was district attorney in Elko and Ralph had already been promised a job from Grant as assistant district attorney if he passed the bar. So we moved to Elko in 1951. We moved there and Mark was born in Elko on September 2, 1951. We stayed in Elko until 1955. Ralph had grown kind of tired of the one-judge town. Well, there were sixteen lawyers in Elko and one judge. And the judge, Taylor Wines, had favorite lawyers. So one day it would be this lawyer and the next day it would be another lawyer. There were about three that he 17 constantly ruled in their favor. And Ralph said, "I just can't stay here and practice law like this." Chet Smith and Cal Corey invited Ralph to come down to Las Vegas and they formed a partnership. Cal became the attorney for Union Pacific Railroad and then Chet went back to Washington with Senator Alan Bible. Ralph was on his own. So he went in with Earl Monsey for a while and Jim Rogers. We moved out to Boulder City in 1959. I want you to stop. What was it like living in Elko after living in Washington, D.C.? Well, it was funny because, as I say, we were driving. And Ralph had cousins in Salt Lake City. His mother was born into a polygamous relationship. She had left the church, but all of his relatives were real strong Mormons in Salt Lake. When we got to Salt Lake after driving across the country, we stayed at these relatives all day and I kept saying, "Well, when are we leaving; when are we leaving?" After dinner that night we set out. He didn't want me to see the desert in the day time because it was so bleak. Oh. He wanted me to wake up where there were trees. But Elko was...It took a lot of getting used to. It was a really, really snobbish city. Elko was filled with old rich people. Really? Yes. They had sent their children off to boarding schools. There were a lot of wealthy people in Elko, all very conservative. So mining? Mining and ranching. A lot of the people...It took us a long time to break in. Betty and Grant Sawyer were the only two people we knew there. Betty kept saying, "Oh, they'll come around; they'll come around." And I kept saying, "When?" Then I joined this group of women. We called it the Tri-S Club for...I don't know why or 18 what the S meant. Anyway, the boys' state correctional school was in Elko and we found out that a lot of the kids didn't have shoes or clothing. We went up to the school and took a tour of the place and there were no sheets on the beds and it was just filthy. So this is for juvenile delinquents? Yes. So we sort of formed this little club where we started trying to raise money to buy sheets and curtains and pajamas, just the basics for some of those kids. Then through that I met some of the ranchers' wives. Then pretty soon I was involved with other organizations. By the time we were ready to leave—Sally was born there in 1953 and I was pregnant with Scott when Ralph decided that he wanted to get out of Elko. So we came to Las Vegas. We bought a house over on 715 Oakey. It was just down the street from the Strip and Oakey was the last street before the desert! Near John S. Park? Yes. Mark went to school at John S. Park; that's where he started school. We were there four years, I guess. But after Mark went to first grade at John S. Park, kindergarten and first grade, then we got him into St. Anne's because the public schools were on half-day sessions because of the overcrowding and they weren't building schools fast enough. Ralph always represented most all the priests in the state, but we weren't Catholic at that time. But Ralph asked the priest one day, "Father, you always come to me for your legal work when there are all these Catholic lawyers. Why?" And he said, "Well, if you go to a bar and you ask for a martini, you'd want a good bartender." [Laughing] What kinds of problems did they have? Oh, mostly—not really personal problem, but things for the diocese, obtaining land and when they'd hire construction or something. If they had personal problems it was never revealed to me 19 because my husband never did talk about his clients. But he was always very interested in that faith. Well, we started out in Elko; we took Catholic instructions from this priest there, Father William Devlin. About the time we moved down here he was transferred over to St. Joan of Arc in Las Vegas. [315 S. Casino Center Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89101]. Father Vitale? No, before him, Father Devlin. Anyway, so we stayed friends and he'd come over and visit us often and have dinner. He got Mark into St. Anne's. Then one day the priest at St. Anne's, Father John Ryan, called us in and he said, "You two are Catholic?" And we said, "No, we never have joined the church." He said, "Well, what are you?" And Ralph said, "Well, I was raised a Mormon." And I said, "Well, I was raised a Baptist." He said, "Holy Mother of Jesus and God, what a mess." [Laughing] Father Ryan said, "I'm sorry, but I've got so many people in my congregation trying to get their children in that we can only take Catholic children." Well, we didn't want to tell Mark he was being kicked out of St. Anne's. It was about that time that Grant Sawyer was running for governor and he was running his campaign out of our house because he didn't have any money for a headquarters. So we were building signs in the backyard and I had the kids all over the neighborhood giving out bumper stickers and everything. Dick Ham—did you ever know Dick? Not Ham Hall? No. Dick was in Grant's administration, but he was from Boulder City, and his wife worked for a title company over in Vegas. She knew about this house in foreclosure in Boulder City and they said, "Why don't you move to Boulder City because the kids go to school all day out there? It's not crowded." 20 So I was in Junior League and I was on the county welfare board and several things that I was doing outside the home, playing bridge and whatnot. All of our friends said, "Moving to Boulder City? We'll never see you again." Ralph said, "Well, if the kids have to go half-day to school, I'd rather do the commute and have them go full day." So we got this house. There's a story about this house, which is interesting, because it was still government owned property. It was before Boulder became a private muniei polity But isn't this too big for those houses? Huh? But I thought those houses were little. This was built before the lake filled up. Right. But I thought the houses were tiny. Well, this was the thing. This house and the one next door were the first privately built homes, but the land was owned by the government. You had to pay a lease, a fee. When we got this house we were the third owners. The man who built it had a gold mine in the Philippines and he got tuberculosis and his doctor ordered him to a dry climate. He negotiated with the government to buy this property and he built this house. He thought the lake was going to be right here across the street; that he would be on the lake. He built this house and he had his caretaker in the basement. There was a button on the floor of the dining room when we moved here that you'd push and the servant would come upstairs and take care of everything. Well, I kept pushing it and got no servant. [Laughing] Anyway, when we found out the house was in foreclosure. Ralph, being a lawyer, figured out how to get it because there was a first deed of mortgage and the second deed that had to be paid off. Well, all the people in Boulder City, not knowing that you had to buy both the first and 21 the second, they were just trying to get the second deed and then get the ownership. So Ralph flew up to Reno, talked to a banker friend of ours, Harvey Sewell, and he told him what he was trying to buy. Harvey said, "That sounds like a hell of a deal." He said, "Go for it." And Ralph said, "Well, will you loan me the money?" Which he did! [Laughing] And the house was appraised for twenty-seven thousand dollars. So we paid off the first deed of mortgage and the second deed and we got clear title. All these people were asking, "How did you get it? We've been trying to get that house." So we got the house. About that time the Boulder City Act, making it a private municipality, came about. So then we had to pay the government three thousand dollars for the land. But the man that built this house, after he was here for a while, had a heart attack. So he built the house next door all of one floor. Oh, the house that looks like the same property. Yes. He owned both lots. So he built that house. And that was a cute story. He was dead by the time we moved here, but he had a sister-in-law who lived in Michigan. And Miss Mann would arrive like maybe the first day of October and spend the winter here and then she'd leave around the first day of May to go back to Michigan. There would be a driver and she'd be in the backseat and the driver in the front seat and she had her hat and her gloves, very proper. We got acquainted with her and she gave us the history of the houses and how it came about and everything, which was really nice to have. Sally was just a little girl and every day at four o'clock her servants would serve Miss Mann tea in the dining room. There was no fence between the houses. So Sally would run over and put her face up to the window. She'd come home and she'd say, "Miss Mann is drinking coffee—" She didn't know it was tea. "—is drinking coffee in the 22 middle of the day." So finally Miss Mann would invite her in. I went over one day and Sally was at one end of the table and Miss Mann at the other. Long table? [Laughing] Long table. And Sally was just filthy dirty because she had been playing out back in the yard. That went on for several years, but finally I had a letter from one of her nieces that she had passed away. But by then the house had sold to Bob and Maxine Christian. They were there for years, they had one little girl Sally's age, Jan, and a son, Bobby. So Sally had the two brothers and no sister, but Jan became her sister. And I just had an E-mail from Jan yesterday. She's a Unitarian minister in California and we've stayed very close. She'