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Transcript of interview with Mary Jo Sheehan by Claytee D. White, July 14, 2009

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2009-07-14
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Mary Jo Sheehan shares detailed memories of her family's early history, her father's search for work in mines in Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, and her education through high school. She recalls with clarity the family's move to Henderson in 1945, her first job at Nellis Air Force Base, and their home in Victory Village. Mary Jo recalls bowling at the Emerald Casino, joining a sorority, and dining at the Frontier Hotel as part of her social life. She also remembers where she and her husband met in 1963. They were married at a friend's house first and later recommitted in a ceremony at St. Peter's Catholic Church. In recounting her career, Mary Jo talks of working at Nellis Air Force Base, then RFC War Assets Administration, the Colorado River Commission, and Basic Management Incorporated. Most recently she has done volunteer work for St. Rose Hospital and the Clark County Museum. Mary Jo shares many memories from her long history in Henderson, Nevada. These include events such as the PEPCON explosion in 1988 and the renovation of downtown Henderson beginning in the 90s; people like Hal Smith, Pat McCarran, and Selma Bartlett; and places such as the Swanky Club, the Emerald Casino, and the Black Mountain Golf Course. The fascinating end result is an overview of all the growth and changes in Henderson since the late forties.

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Sheehan, Mary Jo Interview, 2009 July 14. OH-01687. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada

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An Interview with Mary Jo Sheehan An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ©The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2007 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director and Editor: Claytee D. White Assistant Editors: Gloria Homol and Delores Brownlee Transcribers: Kristin Hicks and Laurie Boetcher Interviewers and Project Assistants: Suzanne Becker, Nancy Hardy, Joyce Moore, Andres Moses, Laura Plowman, Emily Powers, Dr. Dave Schwartz ii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Harold Boyer and the Library Advisory Committee. 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 (housed separately) accompany the collection as slides or black and white photographs. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project. Additional transcripts may be found under that series title. Claytee D. White, Project Director Director, Oral History Research Center University Nevada, Las Vegas iii Table of Contents Mary Jo Sheehan born in McAlester, Oklahoma; father was coalminer; family moved to Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico as father sought work in silver, coal, and potash mines; cave-in convinced dad to get out of mining; family moved to Kingman, AZ; WWII came to an end and family moved to Henderson, NV, 1945; description of early schooling; mention of siblings; mother was active in church and schools; Mary Jo started working at Nellis Air Force Base at age 17; description of family home in Victory Village; mention of Carver Park, bowling alley in the Emerald Casino, joining Beta Sigma Phi, a social sorority, and hanging out at the El Rancho on the Strip 1-5 Attending dinners and shows at Frontier Hotel; introduced to future husband at Swanky Club in Henderson; married in 1964; mention of Rainbow Club on Water Street and proximity to senior center; comments on farmer's market on Water Street; mention of dates and date bread from Tecopa (near Death Valley); further comments on career; worked for RFC in War Assets Administration; executive secretary for Colorado River Commission; corporation (Basic Management Incorporated - BMI) oversaw fire department, water, sewage; purchased town-site home from Galbraith Company; details of 1964 wedding in friend's home; follow-up ceremony in St. Peter's Catholic Church; discussion of political activities by Father Moran and Father Caesar Caviglia; memories of racial divisions in Texas 6-10 Detailed recollection of explosion at PEPCON, May, 1988; mention of Gibson family, owners of Pacific Engineering, including Jim Sr., senator, and Jim Jr., mayor; discussion of political work in Henderson; mention of Julian Moore, Pat McCarran, and Alan Bible; comments on John Ensign and Hal Smith 11-15 Changes in Henderson since the 50s; mention of Green Valley, Hank Greenspun, neighbor Hal Smith (senator); comments on Lake Las Vegas, the renovation of downtown Henderson, and volunteering at St. Rose Hospital; mention of Betty Lou Anderson and Selma Bartlett; working with Clark County Museum on Boulder Highway; details of daughter's education and career 16-20 Opinions on future of Henderson; mention of old attitudes towards Henderson (the "boonies" or "Hooterville"); comments on how new aspects of Henderson surprise people who don't live there 21-24 iv Preface Mary Jo Sheehan shares detailed memories of her family's early history, her father's search for work in mines in Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, and her education through high school. She recalls with clarity the family's move to Henderson in 1945, her first job at Nellis Air Force Base, and their home in Victory Village. Mary Jo recalls bowling at the Emerald Casino, joining a sorority, and dining at the Frontier Hotel as part of her social life. She also remembers where she and her husband met in 1963. They were married at a friend's house first and later recommitted in a ceremony at St. Peter's Catholic Church. In recounting her career, Mary Jo talks of working at Nellis Air Force Base, then RFC War Assets Administration, the Colorado River Commission, and Basic Management Incorporated. Most recently she has done volunteer work for St. Rose Hospital and the Clark County Museum. Mary Jo shares many memories from her long history in Henderson, Nevada. These include events such as the PEPCON explosion in 1988 and the renovation of downtown Henderson beginning in the 90s; people like Hal Smith, Pat McCarran, and Selma Bartlett; and places such as the Swanky Club, the Emerald Casino, and the Black Mountain Golf Course. The fascinating end result is an overview of all the growth and changes in Henderson since the late forties. v 1 This is Claytee White. I'm with Mary Jo Sheehan. It is July 14th, 2009. And we're in her home in Henderson. So how you doing today, Mary Jo? Oh, I'm doing fine. Thank you. Great. So first we're just going to start by talking about your early life. Tell me where you grew up, what that was like, what your parents did for a living. I was born in McAlester, Oklahoma. My dad was a coalminer. He went into the coalmines when he was 13 years old, as they used to do. We lived there until I was three and then the mine closed. We went to Colorado and Dad worked in a coalmine there. My brother developed rheumatic fever because he had — well, in those days it was his tonsils, you know, that had caused it — so they said we had to go to a warm, dry climate. We moved to Arizona where my dad worked in coalmines, silver mines, whatever. And then most of those closed. So we went to Carlsbad, New Mexico for a year where he worked in a potash mine. And then we came back to Arizona. By that time they had opened up this mine with lead and zinc because they were getting ready for the war and they needed all that kind of stuff. And it was low-grade, so it had closed for a long time. But when they needed a lot of that stuff, then they had reopened it. This was in Chloride, Arizona. It's between here and Kingman. We lived in Kingman first and then we moved to Chloride. And then we went to New Mexico and then back to Chloride. So then that's where we lived. Dad was in a really bad cave-in — he'd been in two or three ~ so he kind of just figured, you know, his time was up in the mines. He got a job at the Kingman Army Airfield doing packing and crating, so we moved back into Kingman. That air base closed down, so we moved to Henderson, Nevada. The plant down here was no longer processing magnesium. They had stockpiled enough of that. They were making shell casings for the army and navy. And he went to work down there. He had worked I think three or four — maybe not even a week — and the war ended and they just shut down everything. Like they turned off a switch, you know. So that was 1945 that you came here? Uh-huh, 1945. What was it like living in a mining town? 2 Well, you know, it was just out in the country. And we kids just kind of ran around in the desert, and perfectly safe, you know. You wouldn't dare let your kids go climb the mountain then like — I had a little girl that would take off and climb way up on the mountain, you know. And we were very poor. But so was everybody else. So, you know, people look at me and I talk about this and say, well, you know, we did not have hot water. We did not have indoor plumbing. And they say, oh, my God, how could you live like that? I grew up the same way. And I said, well, you know, I guess I had a lot of love because I was a happy little kid. Yes. So what was the school like? My school? Uh-huh. Well, in Chloride — I started in Kingman first grade. Then we moved out to Chloride and we had a two-room school. And then they added another room. So we had this great big three-room school then. So that was like first through eighth. So we had ~ what did we have? That would be I guess first and second and third, fourth and fifth, and then sixth, seventh and eighth is the way they probably did it. The teachers were very strict and you learned. And if you didn't do it correctly, you did it again. It had a lot going for it. And then, of course, when I got in high school I had to take the bus into Kingman. And there, again, you know, it was a very strict school and there was a lot of respect for the teachers, which I hear you don't get anymore. But then if you didn't show respect to the teachers and got in trouble, you were in trouble when you got home. I know you've heard this a bazillion times, but it was true. There was discipline when I was a child. Right. So how many children were in the family? I have a sister who's still living here in Henderson. She's 92. And her granddaughter is now with her. She's living with her. And then I had a brother. He was four years older. He was a Los Angeles motorcycle policeman. He was chasing a speeder and somebody cut in front of him. So at the age of 37 he died. So that was kind of ~ I said that's why my hair is gray. Yes. But your hair is beautiful. Well, thank you. 3 So what are your parents' names? My father was Martin Parker. And my mother was Ethel Edna Johnson Parker. And did your mother ever work outside the home? No. Nope. She was just there, you know. What kinds of things did she do in a mining town? Did you have a garden or anything like that, farm animals? No, because we didn't have enough water. Now, in Oklahoma they always had a garden. And up in Colorado they had a garden. But Chloride had limited water. We had a little church there. Of course, she was always active in that and the Sunday school and anything with school, you know, anything we needed at school. Why? Because in a little school like that you don't have all these big organizations. You just have parents. That's right. So what happened in 1945 when the whole town closed down and you guys were just getting to Henderson? What did your father do? He went to work out at what was then Las Vegas Army Airfield, which is Nellis now. I had finished my junior year in high school. And I said, well, I'm not going to go over there and go to a different high school. So I took my last few credits by correspondence from Phoenix and I went to work at the air base at the age of 17. And it was really funny because I had been working there for about a month I guess and somebody from personnel called and they said, you know, you're really not supposed to be working here. And I said, well, why? What's wrong? Well, you're not 18. I said, well, nobody asked me. So then I had to have written permission from my mother to work out there. So, of course, the guys in the office thought that was really funny. So tell me what kind of work you did. I did steno kind of work, secretarial. And I had taken bookkeeping and shorthand and typing in high school. So that's what I did all my 20 years of working here, there and yon. Where did the family live in Henderson? When we first came here we lived in Victory Village. Tell me about Victory Village. What did it look like? Can you remember enough to describe it? Well, it was concrete buildings. I was going to look and see if I had any old pictures. On the one 4 side of Lake Mead -- you know where Lake Mead is -- Oh, yes. — going down towards Lake Las Vegas? There was Victory Village. And it had a big administration building. And it seemed to me like it had a little store in it at one time. And on the other side was Carver Park. You've heard the story of Carver Park I'm sure. Yes. That was in the days where we didn't mix, you know, which always seemed so strange to me. You know, I still can't believe there will ever be peace in the world until people get over that. That's right. That's right. And it looks sometimes as if we're moving toward that and then sometimes not. And then we got a little town site house up in the old town site area of Henderson. Describe those houses to me. Oh, well, of course, coming from Victory Village where you didn't have a yard or any space, it just seemed wonderful. It was a little two-bedroom house. I think they have 900 square feet in them. It had a bathroom. That's right. Indoor plumbing. That's right. Was there anything unusual about the doors? The front door you mean? Uh-huh. It had little square panes of glass in it. Were the hinges on the outside or the inside? Do you remember? It opened in. Oh, it did open in? Yeah. I'm almost sure, yeah. Okay. In the beginning a lot of them opened out because they were so small. Oh. No. I'm pretty sure it opened in. So now, you were the baby in the family. So no one had to go to school once you came to Henderson. Everybody else was already out of high school. Right. So did your sister and brother move here with the family? 5 My sister and her husband had moved here about a year before we moved over here. He had been in the army and had hurt his legs and he got a medical discharge. So they had come over here. He had gone to work. Of course, my brother was in the army. He was a paratrooper. So then he - let's sec. The war ended in December ot '45 I think because 1 remember we waited Christmas until he got home. And then he took a job down at the plant. He said, you know, this is not what 1 want to do the rest of my life. He w ent down and applied to be a policeman. So he w as a policeman in Las Vegas before he moved to Los Angeles. He met this girl - well, he was married first, then divorced. And then he met the girl. She was from L.A., so that's why they moved back to California. And then he was a policeman down there. Tell me w hat life was like for a person probably 17, 18 — 17 years of age when you first came. What was life like for you when it came to entertainment, your social life? Well, they had a bowling alley. You may have heard of that. It was down - what is it? - Emerald, I think they call it Emerald Casino. Have you ever driven down there? Yes. Downtown Water Street, yes. Yeah. There was a bowling alley there. Then I joined this group called Beta Sigma Phi, which was a social sorority, not like a college sorority. And we had meetings and dinners and parties. Then, of course, there was the El Rancho, and we'd go stand out by the pool and sometimes be able to sneak a look at the shows in there. You mean the El Kancho on the Strip? Yes. Okay, good. And the Last Frontier. Okay, good. So did you have your ow n car? My parents and I shared one for quite awhile. I can't remember what year I got one. Anyway. I got a car all my very own. So tell me w hat the El Rancho w as like for young girls your age. Well, you couldn't go in because you're supposed to be 21 to go into a bar. So we'd just kind of go out there and walk around the grounds and kind of go in the lobby and look around. 6 But couldn't you go to a show? Yeah, I think we could, but we didn't have the money. I see. And then later on I remember going to the Frontier. This was part of being in Beta Sigma Phi. We would have these formal dinners and dress up and go out there and go to a show and dinner. And that was exciting. When the other hotels started building ~ oh, even when Bill and I were first married in 1964, when you went out to a show, you dressed, not a long dress particularly, you know, but a dressy cocktail kind of dress and gloves. And it still just sleazes me to go out to these beautiful hotels now and see the way some of these people dress. Oh, yes. How did you meet Bill? I was having lunch one day with this woman. He was working — you know all his history. And he had opened an office out here. This woman was working for him and I had worked with her at one time. And we were having lunch down at the old Swanky Club, which is long gone. What is the Swanky Club? It was a restaurant with the greatest fried chicken in the world. Oh, I guess it was down there about where ~ what is the name of that place now? - anyway, that casino that's down there on Boulder Highway just kind of at the end of Water Street down there. Oh, Fiesta? No, not Fiesta. It's the other way. At the end of which street? Water Street on Boulder Highway. Okay. So downtown. It's not downtown. It's on Boulder Highway. Anyway, that's about where the Swanky Club was. And it was just a restaurant. So Bill happened to be down there and she introduced us. When she got back to the office they were talking and he said, well, I wonder if she'd go out with me? She said, well, why don't you give her a call? So we started going together. And that was 1963,1 guess, because we were married in February of'64. Okay, great. That's wonderful. Your mother was very active in the church when you lived in Arizona. What about 7 the church here in Henderson? Yes, she was active in ~ they called it the Community Church. It's where the Senior Center is now. Have you ever been there? Never been there. But it's off of Water Street. Oh, you know where the Rainbow Club and that street that runs into the Rainbow Club? Yes. Then the Senior Center is just over to the right from that. Okay, good. I think I know where it is. And she was always active in that and the little ladies' association that they had. She had been raised Methodist in Oklahoma and in Kingman they had a Methodist Church. That's what Mom was. One of the things that they have here in Henderson that intrigues me is a farmer's market. When did that start? I don't remember. I rarely go there. But tell me about it. What have you heard about it? They're becoming more and more popular now. Oh, yeah. Well, one friend of mine goes there every Thursday. She just thinks it's great. Where do you get the locally grown goods from? I think probably most of those people come in from California because I don't know anywhere around here they raise anything. Now, there's one -- the one time Bill and I went there was a couple there. And they were from out by Tecopa. That's somewhere out toward Death Valley. I've never been there. And I guess there are palm trees out there and they have dates. They brought dates and date bread, the one time we were down there. Now, I don't know if they're always there or not. I don't know. It's okay, but it's not any better than the grocery store. It doesn't really seem any fresher and it's more expensive. Wow. It's supposed to be fresher. Well, I didn't find it that much. So — Several things I want to talk about. First, tell me more about the work that you did and the 8 job and getting back and forth to work and who you worked for at the — Down at BMI? Well, was it still called BMI? Well, they called the whole complex BMI. And you know it was Basic Magnesium Incorporated. They brought in these different ones like Reconstruction Finance Corporation when I first went to work down there. I worked out at the air base a year and then I came to work out here. The RFC was doing this big audit. They had War Assets Administration. They were selling pieces of equipment and all kinds of stuff like that and trying to interest private companies to come in here. So then after a period of time I worked for RFC and I worked for War Assets Administration. Then the Colorado River Commission of the State of Nevada bought the whole complex and I worked for them as an executive secretary for years. And then — What kind of work did the Colorado River Commission — how did it — so it ran the complex? Right. The fire department, the water. They had their own fire department down there at that time. Wow. So how big of a place are we talking about? Oh, boy, I don't know. And then there were five companies. There was Titanium, Kerr-McGee ~ well, it was Western Petrochemical Company at first. And U.S. Lime. I can't think of the other couple. I was going to write all this down so I'd have it for you. Okay. But no problem. So then they formed this corporation called Basic Management Incorporated. And then they ran the fire department and the water and the sewage and everything, plus the water treatment plant. Then the city took over the water treatment plant. They also had some kind of contract with the city for the fire department. They did away with the fire department because that gets very complex and very expensive. During that period when Colorado River Commission was operating, there were a thousand houses, these little town site houses that you see. They sold those to the John W. Galbraith Company and Galbraith came in and actually sold them to the individual people because BMI didn't want to be in the housing business. 9 Did your family buy one at that point? This was, what, about 19 — Oh, I'm trying to think when that would have been. Were you married or still single? The 1950s because I was working down there. I bought it in my name. Oh, okay. So you purchased the house. Yeah. Okay, good. How much did you have to pay for it? Oh, what was it? Nine hundred dollars I think, something like that. Oh, wow. I think the two bedrooms were 900 and then the three bedrooms were 1500. Isn't that unbelievable? Oh, isn't that wonderful. Some people are still living in them I'm sure that bought them probably. That's right. Wow. Amazing. So you were a homeowner before you got married. Tell me about the day — I want to talk about your wedding also. What kind of weddings did young women have in 1964 here in Henderson? Of course, a lot of them — I was married once before in 1958 and we just went to a JP and got married. But, of course, a lot of people ~ there was always the Catholic Church over on Boulder Highway and there was the Community Church. So a lot of people had big weddings in those. Now, when Bill and I were going to get married, we wanted to get married in the Catholic Church. But it was a bit of a problem since I had been married and divorced. So we were actually married in a house right around the corner here where a dear friend lived. And we were just going to get married with a JP. And she said, oh, no, you aren't; you're at least going to get married in a house with some of your friends. And so that's what we did in 1964. And then — oh, Dana was ~ how old was she? She must have been about a year and a half, something like that. We finally got it cleared to get married in the church. So then we just had us and a couple of other people and then just had a little reception. Now, is that St. Peters? Uh-huh. 10 Okay, good. Was St. Peters ever politically active here in Henderson? Oh, yes. Tell me about the political activity out of that church. Well, the first priest over there — well, he was just Father Moran and then he became monsignor, a real character from Ireland. He was always involved in some political thing or over. And he was always coming down to BMI. Well, can't you donate this to me? Can't you donate that to me? And he did very well with donations. Then we went through a series of priests. Then we had Father Caesar Caviglia. And Father Caviglia was always very active politically, in a good way I think. How much do you know about any of that activity? Any memories of any of the things that he did or was involved in? Well, he worked very hard to get the convention center. He worked on that. And he was always trying to get things done for seniors. That's about all I know that he actually did. What did the convention center mean to the Catholic Church? I don't think it meant anything. I just think Father Caviglia was interested in getting things done for the city and improving the city. He just was one of those hyperactive people. What was the population makeup in Henderson as you were starting out here as a high school senior at about 17 years of age? How did you see the community change when it came to race and race relations? You know, that's hard to say because I never had those kinds of feelings. I have to tell you a funny story. When I was about 15, there were no black people in Kingman, no black people in Chloride. And my mom and I had gone back to Atoka, Oklahoma to visit my grandma, her mother. I was going to go down to Texas to visit these cousins and give Mom a little more time with Grandma. So she took me down to the bus station to catch the bus down to Texas. And I was sitting on this bench and I noticed some of these people kind of looking at me. And I was blond, kind of redheaded color. I got up to go get a drink of water. There was a fountain that said white and a fountain that said colored. And I thought, wow, they have colored water. I really did. I was that dumb. I was that dumb. So I bent over to get a drink of water. And then I started back to where I had been sitting and it said coloreds only. And then I kind of looked around and I saw 11 these white people sitting on one side and these colored, as they called them then, sitting where I had been sitting. And I thought, well, I guess I shouldn't be sitting over there. But, see, I had never been exposed to anything like that. And my mother just always said ~ you know, we had a lot of Mexican people in Arizona. But they were my friends. I just didn't grow up with that kind of feeling. Right. And evidently, your parents weren't that way either. No. And they were from Oklahoma. Dad was born in Texas. My mom was born in Missouri. But they just didn't have those kinds of feelings. So I didn't grow up with it. But it was a gradual thing here, very gradual I think as far as mixing. And you've heard all the stories about Las Vegas. Oh, yeah. Tell me about the explosion. Oh, that was bad. Tell me about that day. Well, my brother-in-law had died the day before, so my sister's in-laws were coming up from Phoenix. In fact, they were here. So I was going to have them up for lunch. I was actually over at the grocery store across on Boulder Highway. All of a sudden there was this huge boom. Then the glass started breaking, the big glass windows at the front. So this man that was beside me ~ we were back in the deli area ~ he said, well, a goddamn truck must have run into this building. And I said, well, I think it was more than a truck. And this one woman that was standing next to me just started screaming, you know, one of those kinds. And I said, well, come on out; I'll help you get out of here; I don't know what's happened, but let's get out of here. And then they announced just leave your cars where they are; just try to get out of the building because nobody knew what was happening. So I came on home. The one dining room window was broken. Of course, the first thing I did — Now, which year is this? 1988, May of 1988. So you found that one window had been broken. That was all. So then I ran down to check on my sister. And she was okay. She didn't have any broken — well, her nephew was here. And he was standing outside smoking and he had the door 12 open. And I think maybe that's why nothing broke at her house because then this air could just kind of go through. Right. The phones were still working for a little while. And Dana called and she said, oh, mom, Mike, which was my brother's son down in California, asked have you talked to your mom? And she said no. And he said, well, they've had a big explosion out there. And both he and Dana were getting ready to fly up for my brother-in-law's funeral but not on the same plane. And he said, well, let's see what we can do. Let's see if we can get there and try and stay in touch. Well, she called right away. And I said, well, Dana, we'll be there to meet the plane, somehow or other. They aren't letting too much traffic go as far as I know. So anyway, she and Mike both got on different planes and got up here. They weren't going to let anybody go. So I think we went down to the police station and told them that my brother-in-law had died and that my sister just really needed to get in there to finish the arrangements. And they said, well, just go and if the police stop you just tell them this is why you're out on the highway. So we did and then got back home. It was just awful, but not nearly as bad as it could have been. So somehow or another we got into the airport and picked up Dana. These people who owned the company, the Gibsons - and it was called ~ what was the name of their company? — Pacific Engineering. And you know where it was down there on Gibson Road? Oh, shoot, I need a map to tell you. I'm not good with directions, but it was right down there where you cross the railroad track. If you're going on Gibson Road towards where all those auto places are now, it was over to the left. And for the longest time it just kind of looked like a volcano because it was just all black over there. So people said, you know, that they were careless and they didn't know how to run a business. But I had known the Gibson family for years and they were wonderful people. They had about five of their family working down there. And I said, you know, they weren't careless. They weren't down there to see their family killed for heaven's sake. And they're good people. So I said don't tell me that they were just being careless. It was just one of those things that happened. And I don't know enough about it yet to this day. Yeah, because some people said it was something with the gas line coming from the gas 13 company or something like that. They had thorough investigations about that. And, of course, the gas company proved it was not. So I don t think we'll actually know, Claytee. What they were working with was a very — well, they use it in rockets. So you know it's very explosive. If it gets wet — there were a lot of little explosions when it would get wet. So then when that happened was they said, well, they wouldn't rebuild. And they actually built a plant up in Cedar City. Of course, a lot of the Gibsons are still around. And I remember the first time I saw ~ we call him Ted. He was Fred D. Gibson, III, I think. And he was in charge of the plant down there. And we saw him at some chamber thing or something. I went up and gave him a hug and he said, you know, that is so nice because some people aren't even speaking to me. And I said, now, how stupid can you be? I mean he needed all the support he could get, not people turning away from him. But it was really bad for that family. Of course, Jim Gibson, who was our senator for so many years, and then young Jim who's been our mayor — Is that the same family? Uh-huh. Okay. So evidently the people here have forgiven them. And they talk about the Gibsons being Mormon. But, see, Jim Senior married a Mormon woman. So he converted. And the rest of the family were I think Presbyterians. It's not an old Mormon family. Now, tell me about politics in the area. I know that you've been here for a long time now. Were you involved in any way in the political situation here in Henderson? Oh, kind of off sides. Oh, good. So tell me about that. You know, I was always a registered Democrat. And Bill's a Republican. And I just kind of go both ways. Yes. Whoever is the best candidate. But I worked for a man named Julian Moore. He was the manager of BMI for years and then he got involved with Frontier Fidelity, a company in Las Vegas. And he went in there and left BMI actually. But he was always very politically involved as a Democrat. We had a senator for years 14 and years and years, Pat McCarran. And he would be in and out of the office. Then Alan Bible, who was our attorney general for years, when we were doing all this transfer of property from the Colorado River Commission to Basic Management Incorporated, Alan Bible as the attorney general would be in and out. We would spend hours typing. That's when you typed documents with like ten copies. Ooh. So that means you had to be accurate. How many wor