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Audio clip from interview with John Wanderer, May 9, 2016

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In this clip, John Wanderer discusses how his family came to Las Vegas, Nevada.

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John Wanderer oral history interview, 2016 May 09 and 2016 May 18. OH-02691. [Audio recording]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Tell us a little bit about family heritage, the foundation and relocating here. My mother, my two brothers and myself came to Las Vegas in the summer of 1946. My mother drove across country in her 1938 Ford. We came from Yonkers, New York. My mother was an attorney; my father was a practicing physician. My middle brother, Phillip Wanderer, was an asthmatic and was terribly ill in New York. The doctors told my mother that she needed to get him out of that climate and get him to a dry climate. So my mother abandoned her legal practice in New York; put my two brothers and myself and some belongings in her car and drove west. It was in the summer, so she took the northern route and we ended up in Yellowstone Park in the middle of the night. The story was related to me that?because I don't exactly remember it personally; I was six years old?that it was stormy and bad weather when she pulled into the Yellowstone Lodge and went inside. They didn't have any rooms available, but she refused to leave and sat down with us in the lobby of the lodge. At that point management went and found some cots for us to sleep on. So we spent the night there. When we left there, apparently, we came down through Utah. I remember that my brother Phillip and I?I don't remember whether it was myself or which of my brothers?but we were apparently fighting in the front seat of the car and it caused my mother to drive off the road and damage the engine in the car. We ended up in a little town, in Moab, Utah, I believe. We spent a few days there while the mechanics rebuilt the engine on the car. Apparently, it knocked the oil pan off the car and the engine burnt up, but that was all taken care of. Then we found our way into Las Vegas. We were actually headed to Phoenix, Arizona; it?s where my mother intended to go. We got to Las Vegas. We stayed at the little motel on the southeast corner of Gass and Las Vegas Boulevard, and I can't remember the name of it. I don't think it's still there. But my brother got severely ill again and was in the hospital here in Las Vegas. At that point, the doctor, Dr. [Harry] Fightlin, who became the family doctor and was a member of the Jewish community, told my mother not to go to Phoenix because there was a lot of humidity there because of all the irrigation. With that, she decided to stay in Las Vegas and make a living, study for the bar exam, take the bar here and practice law, which is what she did. She was admitted in 1947.