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Transcript of interview with Jo Mueller by Claytee White, August 26, 2011


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Jo Ann and Hal Mueller arrived in Las Vegas in 1956 when he accepted a meteorologist position. In addition to raising their two children, Jo was active in PTA, worked for Weight Watchers, and was a volunteer with League of Women voters. She tells the story of meeting Hal and their whirlwind romance to the altar, moving to the Caroline Islands and eventually choosing Las Vegas over Seattle as their next career assignment. Las Vegas became their permanent home and Jo reflects on life and experiences here.

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[Transcript of interview with Jo Mueller by Claytee White, August 26, 2011]. Mueller, Jo Interview, 2011 August 26. OH-01347. [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 Jo Mueller 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 ©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: Claytee D. White Editors: Barbara Tabach and Gloria Homol Transcribers: Kristin Hicks and Laurie Boetcher Interviewers and Project Assistants: Barbara Tabach and Claytee D. White ii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Harold Boyer. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank the university for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project. Additional transcripts may be found under that series title. Claytee D. White, Project Director Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada, Las Vegas iii 1 Table of Contents Preface Interview Index 1 - 2 4 2 5 Illustrations Photos Mueller children, artwork commemorating Hal's retirement, and Jo with her sisters After page 11 iv Preface Jo Ann and Hal Mueller arrived in Las Vegas in 1956 when he accepted a meteorologist position. In addition to raising their two children, Jo was active in PTA, worked for Weight Watchers, and was a volunteer with League of Women voters. She tells the story of meeting Hal and their whirlwind romance to the altar, moving to the Caroline Islands and eventually choosing Las Vegas over Seattle as their next career assignment. Las Vegas became their permanent home and Jo reflects on life and experiences here. v Oral History Research Center at UNLV Ti-ri- Shake, Rattle & Roll: Stories of Nevada Test Site Wives and Children Oral History Project Use Agreement Name of Narrator: Jo M <JI e- (I er Name of Interviieewwecrr:: flittfTZe 7). WiliTe We, the above named, givetmhe Qfal Histoid' Research Center oflJNLV, the recorded interview(s) initiated on fid/,I£o/i _ along with typed transcripts as an unrestricted gift, to he used/for such scholarly and educational purposes as shall be determined, and transfer to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, legal title and all literary property rights including copyright. This gift does not preclude the right of the interviewer, as a representative of UNLV, to use the recordings and related materials for scholarly pursuits. I understand that my interview will be made available to researchers and may be quoted from, published, distributed, placed on the Internet or broadcast in any medium that the Oral History Research Center and UNLV libraries deem appropriate including future forms of electronic and digital media. Signalui iere will be no compensation for any interviews. Sf / J I j /f ur^if Narrator Dale £0// Library Special Collections 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 457010, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-7010 (702) 895-2222 This is Claytee White. I am with Mrs. Jo Mueller. It is August 26th, 2011. We're here in the Reading Room of Special Collections at UNLV. So how are you this morning? I'm fine. Thank you, Claytee. Jo, I want you to give me your full name and spell your last name for me. J-O, capital A-N-N --1 go by Jo - Mueller, M-U-E-L-L-E-R. Wonderful. Thank you so very much. Now, when we officially put your name on this transcription, do you want us to use Jo? Yes. Okay, great. So, Jo, we're going to get started with you just telling me about your early life. I'd like to know where you grew up, what that was like, and describe your family. Well, primarily I was born (and raised) in Hollywood, so I could be near my mother. She was an extra in Mack Sennett movies. It was a time that was not memorable to me because I was young. We left Hollywood area and wound up in Eureka, California. I remember Eureka because my folks took me to a boxing match in a big auditorium, and I couldn't imagine why people were standing around hitting each other and people were applauding and thinking that was fun. So I remember that very distinctly. And I remember leaving Eureka, being towed in a trailer, a small trailer, over a bumpy road and leaving Eureka. We headed for Denver, Colorado. I spent the pre­war years in Denver. One of my little sisters was born in Denver. It was a big deal. My dad said we have a new baby and I thought, oh, great. My mother had always tinted her hair. She was always a red-head. From being in the movies then, it was the thing to do. My little sister was bom in a Catholic hospital and my dad took me down to see. They showed this thing. I said, oh, that's it? The nurse who was a nun had brought to my mother this beautiful little red-headed baby and said, oh, Mrs. Fifer, she looks just like you; she has red hair. And my mother said, Sister, if you're trying to give me a red-headed baby, you've made a mistake because this hair came out of a bottle. To this day we always said we should have kept the red-head because my middle sister, you know how middle sisters are. We should have kept the red-head; we always say that to her. But she does look like my mother, so we're sure we finally wound up with the right one. 1 So how many children? Well, my mother had seven. She only had four survive. I had an older sister who was born in Hollywood who died from spinal meningitis before I was born. My brother Ronald was born in Modesto, California. He was the only boy she had out of seven. He drowned at his high school class picnic, the graduating picnic in Big Sur. It just almost destroyed my mother, and us as well, because it was just so unfair. I was pregnant with my son, Bob, at the time in 1953. So it was really devastating to lose my brother, just before his graduating. When we left Denver, we were on our way to Key West, Florida. My father was an upholsterer and he could work anywhere. We were in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Pearl Harbor day and I was reading the funny papers on the floor when my father said, they've bombed Pearl Harbor. Who bombed Pearl Harbor and what does that mean to me? And they said we have to cover our windows—we were on the bay—with sheets so that no light will show. I said, well, why do we have to do that, pop? Because there may be Japanese or German submarines who want to shoot us. Well, why would they want to shoot at us? What did we do to them? Anyway, that was my thought on that. My father applied for a job for the federal government. We were on our way to Louisiana and had stopped in Port Arthur. My youngest sister Patty was born in Port Arthur while we waited. The funny story there was I stayed out of school so I could help my mom. And my dad decided that the laundry was the easiest thing. So my mother got up out of bed. When you had a baby in those days, you kind of pampered yourself. You don't do that anymore, but you did in those days. She went into the bathroom and found my father in the bathtub with diapers and jeans and clothes and a washboard and a cake of soap, doing the laundry, saying, you know, this is easy, what are you complaining about doing the laundry? She never, never let him live that down. We had scrub boards. Oh, this is easy. Doing the laundry is no problem. And I get a bath as well. So before you left Denver, did he already have a job with the — No. No. He just was a wanderer. We could do that. He owned a business in downtown Denver with another fellow and they did upholstery in downtown Denver. My memories of downtown Denver was going to the movies on Saturday and stopping at the tamale cart because that was a big deal. And we would spend all day in the movie. 2 Yes. What was your sister's name, the red-head? Roberta should have been the red-head. Her name is Roberta. My little sister born in Port Arthur is Patty. And she's in California and Roberta lives here in Las Vegas. Wonderful. Now, give me your parents' names as well. Well, my birth father was Lee Dromgoole. He and my mother were together and ran a restaurant in Venice, California, right on the beach. Then my mother spotted my father somewhere or my father spotted her — this is my pop ~ and they ran off together. My father, my pop, left two children and a wife, because he was married. And my mother left my father — Your birth father. — my birth father and ran off. They lost contact with their family. They wouldn't contact them because everybody knew the story. So I grew up not having aunts and uncles and grandmothers and grandfathers. And I've missed that. Every time Thanksgiving would come around, I'd say, why can't we go to grandma's house for Thanksgiving? Well, you know. But I did know from photographs that my mother had two brothers and that they had lived in Oklahoma. She was bom in Missouri and they lived in Oklahoma the last time she knew about them. When we moved from Port Arthur to work for the government in Louisiana, Camp Polk is where my dad worked and we lived in DeRidder, which is a ride down the road. We lived in housing. I had a family move in next door to us and she was from Tulsa. I asked her, I said, do you by any chance have a phone book from Tulsa? And she said, oh, I do. She said, I do because I brought it because I wanted to be able to write to my friends. I said, would you mind if I look at it? She said, well, no. So I looked up Breese, which was my mother's maiden name, and there was a Breese there, Jack Breese. So I wrote - and it was a big deal - I wrote a special delivery letter. Dear Uncle Jack, if you are my uncle, I'm not sure if you are, but you had a sister named Jean and you called her Yeanie, which is what she said, and you had lots of adventures together. If you are my uncle, it would be really nice to hear from you and this is our phone number in Louisiana. And I sent it special delivery because I had been baby-sitting and I had some money. And a special delivery letter was something, really, in those days. We were sitting at the dinner table and the phone rang and I picked it up. He said, is this JoAnn? And I said yes. Well, this is your Uncle Jack. And I started tearing up and I handed the 3 phone to my mother. She said what's this, what's this? And then she got the phone. Then she started crying. She was afraid to ask about her mother and father because she was afraid they might be dead, and anybody else. And everybody was fine and everybody had wondered what had happened to us all these years. It was a marvelous reunion. They came down. In those days you couldn't get gasoline and you couldn't get tires. Because this was after the war had already started? This was in the middle of the war, yes. This was in 1943 or '44, maybe '43. They scraped together. They scrounged and they got gasoline and they got tires. I think they had truck tires on this little car they came down with. And they had to come down. So who came? My aunt—his wife—and my uncle. And they had to hear all the stories. I could never leave any of my family. I said how could you possibly have done that? Well, I didn't know the story; that they had both run off and left family behind. But it was a wonderful reunion. Wonderful. Now, did you ever get the father's family together, your father's family, pop's family? I have contact with a cousin of mine. The Dromgooles have a reunion every June, the second or third week in June. I have not been able to make that because it's only been a few years that I found this out. But I have stopped and visited with my cousin. And her mother, before she passed away, I saw her. She said, oh, I'm so glad we found you; you don't know how long we've looked for you, and that sort of mushy thing. But it was a marvelous time. Wow. This is wonderful. So did you finish high school in Louisiana? No, California. I graduated from Pacific Grove in 1948 and met my husband (Hal Mueller) on a blind date in 1950. In fact, I introduced him to my girlfriend. We e-mail every day because she was supposed to be his date and I was with a fellow who wanted to know if I wanted to introduce a couple of fellows from naval line school to a couple of girls. And I said, oh, sure, that would be fun. So I wasn't with him. But he pulled up in my driveway in a little Ford convertible. He got out of the car and took golf clubs out of the backseat. He was in civilian clothes. He was in the navy. And he put golf clubs in the trunk of his car. He was 15 minutes late and he walked up to the door. I was watching all this. He walked up to the door. And I said, you know, I usually don't 4 have anything to do with people who come late; when they say they're going to be at six, then they come at 6:15. Oh, I'm really sorry. So then we had to go and pick up (the others). He adjusted the review mirror and I sat behind him because, of course, I wasn't his date. We picked up Maurice and we picked up JoAnn. Her name was JoAnn as well. She lives in Palm Springs and we e-mail every day. But I just celebrated ~ August the 1 Oth was the anniversary of our meeting. She said it was so obvious love at first sight. And it really was because those things really do happen. I can attest to that, and so can JoAnn. We had just the wildest meeting. And that was August the 10th. We were engaged September 30th and married December 4th. He got orders to go overseas. It was during the Korean conflict. We were going to be married New Year's Eve and he called the first of December and said I've got orders; I won't be here New Year's Eve. The printers had called that day and said your invitations are ready. And my mother had laid out the white satin and tulle and she was going to start cutting out my dress, which she was going to make. I called and said don't do that; we've got a problem. The printer said, oh, don't worry about it; we have things like this happen all the time. I should have gone and picked up one of the invitations, but I didn't. He said, oh, no, it's not necessary. I worked for the chamber of commerce and I was a lecture hostess on a tour bus in Monterey in the 17-mile drive in the Pacific Grove. He called and he said I'm sorry. I said, well, we'll wait till you come back. Oh, no, no, no, we won't wait until I come back; we'll go get our license right now and we'll get married. I said well. We went and got blood tests, which you had to have in California prior to it, and license. He said I have to have permission from my family because I'm not 21. He was 20. He was going to be 21 in February and this was in December. He said I've called my family and they are sending permission for me to get married, and when that comes we can get married, according to the laws of the navy. So he called and said ~ oh, he said I got permission. And I said, oh, good, we'll get married tomorrow. So I called my church and said could you possibly marry us tomorrow? Oh, yes. I worked at the chamber of commerce. And I called the Butterfly Lodge and said would you have room available? Oh, JoAnn, of course, my pleasure to do that for you. Then he came out because he 5 worked 24 hours and then off 24. He came out. Out from where? From the naval postgraduate school in Monterey, he came out to the house. He walked in the door, and my mother said change those socks. He was wearing white navy socks with no elastic in them and they were hanging down over his shoes. She said you're getting married today. No, we re getting married tomorrow. No, it's silly to wait until tomorrow; we'll get married today. This is my mother. I said, well, Yes, you're right. Why waste a day? So I called the church, and she said, oh, \ es, Yes, come on down. I called the motel, and she said, oh fine, I'll be ready tonight; I'll be ready; everything's fine; don't worry about anything. We had already bought our going-away outfits for our honeymoon. So he had a suit there at the house. So he put his suit on and I put my suit on, my going-away suit. We rushed down and got a marriage license. At 5:30 we were at the church, which we had asked the minister if he could be there. We went in and my mother said you're not marrying that guy. I said huh? He didn t change his socks; look at him; he's all dressed up in a suit and he's got those crummy white socks on. And I said, well, I'm sorry; I'm going to marry him anyway. He had been wearing my wedding ring around his neck and we went rushing downtown when we got marriage license and things, and I said, oh, you have to have a wedding ring. So we rushed in the jewelry store and found a ring that he liked. And we rushed back out. Then I said, oh, 1 ve already called Jim and Mickey about standing up with us tomorrow. Well, Jim worked for the city of Monterey and he was hanging Christmas lights in downtown Monterey. We said there's Jim now; call and see if he and Mickey could come tonight. He hollered, Jim, can you and Mickey come tonight to the church? Yes, Yes, we'll be there tonight. 5:30. Okay. This was after noon. So we decided at noon to be married and we were married at 5:30, with all the rushing around we had to do. And it was marvelous. It lasted until he passed away. We were married for 45 years. Celebrated our 45th anniversary in December and he passed away in February, two days before his birthday. It was just a marvelous time. But we spent the first year of our married life on the island of Truk. Where's Truk? 6 Out in the Caroline Islands. He was in the navy — The Caroline Islands are in the South Pacific, Micronesia. Because he got orders to go out. He was on Guam. And then United Nations had taken over the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and they needed somebody to go to Truk. So they put out the word. And Hal said, oh, my gosh. And he sat up nights. Somebody was going to come to interview anybody. He was in aerography, which is meteorology in the navy. And he sat up and studied and read. And this guy came and interviewed him. He passed it. So he said I'm going to Truk and I can bring you out now. That was when I found out my legal history, when I had to get a passport. But we lived out on the island of Truk the first nine months. So what was Truk like? Well, Truk was a fantastic experience because I had never been on a South Pacific island, but if you're going to have a honeymoon. When I arrived there — I flew into Guam first. And then from Guam to little Truk made once-a-week trips. They took the mail and then they'd come back to Truk, Koror, Yap and Ponape. They delivered the mail. And when we left Guam, we were up in the air and the pilot said we have some sort of engine problem. There were ten of us onboard that were going to the different islands. He said, now, we can go on or we can turn around and go back and you'll have to wait. And there was a sister, a nun, and a priest. Those are the ones I remember. They said, no, no, no, we'll go without the radio or whatever it was because we've got to get where we're going. And I said yes. So I got there and my honey picked me up. The island of Truk had been surrounded by the navy. And we sunk the Japanese merchant vessels in the lagoon. It was a marvelous experience. Even to this day, people who like to scuba dive go out there because everything is pristine. These fantastic ships, you can see them looking down because the lagoon is beautifully clear water. The water was beautiful. So we landed. Truk was our first stop. And everybody was happy that we landed okay. I didn't know what was wrong. My husband had been allocated a Quonset hut, a piece of a Quonset hut for us. Describe that, the Quonset hut. Well, during the war the Quonset huts were all the thing because they were easy to construct in a short period of time and they were a corrugated metal. It's shaped like a dome. And then around 7 the bottom for circulation of air was screened in. In fact, if you sat on the toilet, the animals would come look at you. I'd say, well, okay, but I'm not used to this, but it's all right; they're not bothering me. So how much space on the inside? Well, it did have a bedroom and it did have a sectioned-off piece of kitchen and a little living room. But the hotel, the Truk hotel was where we spent most of our time. It was an adventure. We had a maid. Her name was Nesepage. She was from one of the outer islands. I went to work for the government. I had a wonderful helper whose name was Yosida. He came in one day and said, oh, Mrs. Mueller, I went to my island for the weekend. He said, well, I'm getting married. I said, oh, that's marvelous, Yosida. He said would you like to see her? And I said, oh, I'd love to see her. Well, she's coming to the hospital later today from the island. And he said I'll come and get you when she comes. So Yosida came in and said, oh, Mrs. Mueller, she's coming, she's coming up the road. Well, the Trukese didn't hold hands boy-girl. They held hands girl-girl. And here she came up the hill, three girls holding hands. I said which one is she? She's the one in the middle. Now, this woman in the middle was about eight months pregnant. And I said, oh, Yosida, you've known her before? Oh, no, Mrs. Mueller, no, I didn't know her; I just met her on the island. Oh. Oh, okay. So I had to go get my friend, the anthropologist, and said, Frank, you've got to tell me. This guy's married a girl who's obviously eight months pregnant. Now, this is going to be a problem for him. Oh, no. He's so lucky because when we had the island surrounded there was venereal disease that rendered most of the young girls sterile. He said if he's got a pregnant girl, he's really lucky. And I said, well, but, Frank, he's going to say who's the father of this baby? No, he's not, because it doesn't matter. If he marries her, it's his child. I said, well, how wonderful to have that kind of attitude. So you said hospital earlier. Did you work in a hospital? No. I worked for the Supreme Court justice and the anthropologist. I did clerical work. Our dear friend was the superintendent at the Truk hospital, which was a fun experience. One of the things that he did, he asked my husband if he would like to attend a birth. And Hal said, oh, I don't think so. He said, you really should; someday you and Jo will have kids and you'll 8 maybe want to see this. Well, they didn't come to the hospital unless they were having problems. But we didn't know that, or I didn't know that. Anyway, Hal went to this birth and this baby had been dead for some time. It had calcified and it was horrible. They had to operate and he said, we're never going to have kids. Nick said, yes, they usually take care of having the babies themselves, but this woman has carried this baby for 11 months and it's been dead for about five. How horrible. Tell me a little bit about the government of Truk, how it worked. Well, Truk was under the control of the United Nations Trust Territory. It was a marvelous experience. I was paid by the government, and my husband was as well. He got his resignation from the navy in order to go to work for the Trust Territories. He did meteorological work. I didn't know at the time that they were conducting tests out in the South Pacific. Fortunately, we were east of that and we would not have been affected by any of the radiation. But he was doing meteorological work. They send up balloons and they know how the winds are blowing and whatnot. It was a marvelous experience. Unfortunately, I got asthma. We had only been there nine months and I was not doing well. They said I had to leave. So my husband and I left. The hospital administrator, our friend Nick, came with us. I had to spend the night in the hospital on Guam because the plane was leaving the next day. The plane came in and Eleanor Roosevelt was there. She was flying with her secretary back to Washington. She had been in, I don't know, China or somewhere. I'm not sure where she had been. But she came up to me and she said, oh, are you the young lady that we've had to bump somebody so that you could have oxygen? And I said I think I am. And she said, well, I wish you the very best, my dear, and I'm sure you'll get well soon. So that was an exciting experience. Oh, that's great. Now, tell me how you and your husband got to Las Vegas. Well, when we got back to the States, my husband wanted to go to college. Now, he's still working for the U.S. government? He had resigned from the U.S. government. I had, of course, resigned because of my health. We flew back to San Francisco and then down to Monterey. My family lived in the Monterey peninsula area. So we went to stay with them. We bought a non-modem 27-foot trailer, which we 9 parked behind my folks' property. We spent two years. He was at Monterey Peninsula College. I had worked for the chamber of commerce and the tour bus industry before I left for Truk, and so I just went back to work for them. It was marvelous to be able to do that. Then we had an earthquake. And I missed a period and I thought that, oh, well, it's because of the earthquake. Then two months later I still hadn't had a period and I still blamed it on the earthquake. My mother said, you know, maybe you better go see a doctor. We kid my son that he was the earthquake in our life because certainly I was pregnant. So we had our son, born in Carmel, in 1953. My husband was still at the Monterey Peninsula College. Then he got some fellowship money to attend UCLA. He was anxious to further his meteorological career. So we spent two years at UCLA and I worked for Douglas Aircraft, which was walking distance for me. I didn't want him working two jobs and going to school, so I worked nights at Douglas Aircraft. It was exciting. When he finished in 1956, he said we have two opportunities. We can work for Boeing Aircraft in Seattle, Washington, or we can go to work for the federal government in Las Vegas, Nevada. And I said, duh, we're going to Las Vegas; I'm not going to be in any more rainy area and I'm sure that's what Seattle is. So we pulled our trailer— So what did you know about Las Vegas when you made that decision? Well, nothing really. Our friend had said, when Hal was going to graduate, I'd like to take you guys for a weekend to Las Vegas. I said, nah, I'm not interested in doing that; we're too involved in moving and everything and with our son. So anyway, he said, well, you're going to love Las Vegas. And I said okay. When we came there were no apartments available and there was nothing available because Las Vegas was just booming at the time. We had our 27-foot trailer pulled up and parked out where the weekend flea-market thing is there. I can't remember the name of that place. Broad Acres or something like that. We pulled that in there with our two-year-old son. He went to work for the Atomic Energy Commission. Now, what area of Las Vegas was Broad Acres? Just before Nellis on Las Vegas Boulevard. They have a flea market there that - I think they still 10 have that every weekend. We were only at that trailer park for a short while because across the street they had trailer spaces with private baths. You had your own shower and bath and there were two together. You were parked here and the other was parked there, and you each had your own bathroom in this building, which I thought was a marvelous idea because there were a lot of non-modem trailers flitting around the country at that time. And what do you mean by non-modern? It didn't have a bathroom, no toilet. Okay, I see. An old-fashion trailer. Anyway, then we got pregnant there. My husband said we're not going to have another baby in this trailer. So we rented a place, Misty Place. I don't know whether you know where that is. You know where what's his name, the singer who has the property out — Wayne Newton. He came to town as a teenager and performed. Mr. Las Vegas. Mr. Las Vegas, yes. Anyway, Newton's property was right across from where we had rented a place. And a pilot owned I don't know how much of the property. But he came over and asked my husband, because we were renting this little house, he asked my husband if he would be interested in buying his property. He had a one-bedroom and a magnificent tree, because that was a wonderful « still is. It has ground water not far below. There were lush trees and there still are on Newton's property. My husband went over and looked at it and he said, honey — less than $10,000. He said, honey, we can't do that because it's only one bedroom and we can't afford to buy the property and build at the same time, so we can't have that place. I never even looked, but I've got to write Wayne Newton a letter and say I'm happy that you're going to have to tours because I'm really curious about what that place was like inside. But anyway, then our daughter, Susan, was bom (1957) in Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital. Susan is a graduate of UNLV and has memories of me waking her up so she could sit on the floor and feel the shock wave from early morning tests at the test site. Now she lives in Redlands. She had worked for the University of Redlands and now she's retired and is a docent at 11 Personalized artwork to commemorate Hal Mueller's retirement in 1985. Below, Mueller children, Sue Mueller McCue (born 1957) and Bob Mueller (born 1953). the Lincoln Shrine Museum where my son-in-lav* is the archivist It's marvelous. If you've ever been lo Rcdlands, you have to visit it It's made from big money from the cast for people who wanted to winter in California. And they came out and built beautiful mansions and orange groves. Rcdlands still has that. If you ever get to Rcdlands. be sure and go to the Lincoln Shrine Museum. It's one of the finest Civil War collections west of the Mississippi. So they're really proud of it So tell me when you first came how much help did you get settling in and finding a place? Did you get any help from the Test Site? No, because it was not necessary because we had our trailer that we lived in. And then we were looking for places, and my husband said, oh. there's a little house for rent - he was checking the papers — at the comer of Sunset and Pecos that we can have, which was a reasonable price. We lived there comfortably when we brought our little baby home. It was only a one-bedroom, but we had our son fixed up in the living room. But the neighbor down the street, the Badiks, he w orked for one of the hotels. And they got a chance to go to Cuba to work there. They said, would you like to rent our house for the same price that you're paying there? It was a big three-bedroom, beautiful home and w. We said we said are you kidding? Yes. Well, they got in Florida and that's when Castro took over and they didn't make it. So they had to come back and we had to buy a place. We bought a little house on 22nd and Bonanza area. It was a new house that the people had built. The builder had gone broke, which was unusual at that lime because there was such a demand for housing. But we bought a little house on the comer for SI 3,000. And we were thrilled to death to have it. It was in a nice location. We were happy about that. So what were your earliest memories of social life here? Well, the Test Site people, we did get together because we all had the same things in common. We were raising a family and working for the l est Site and our husbands happened lo be gone often. So we would get together So who were some of your early friends? Well. Jan Kennedy. They came early. They weren't there in '56. But Phil Allen and his wife, Jean: he hired Mai They were here. In fact, when Hal took over as head of the organization. Phil 12 had gone to the hurricane center I think in Oklahoma is the reason he took over. They were, oh, such a lovely bunch of people. When you say that Hal was head of the organization, what do you mean?