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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 104

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effect, “ I don’t care who she is; if she comes to Reno for a divorce, I will not meet her.” The lines were only a little less rigid among the men. Obviously, every woman was entitled to work in the Red Cross, and everybody did. Some were savagely snubbed, though many of these women were of unexceptionable social position. Gradually, devotion to the cause, excellent work pursued silently under difficult conditions, good manners, and generosity eroded the prejudice. The process was slow, but when the war ended, the barriers were no longer discernible. There is an episode from the war years that was an exciting experience for me. When tanks were first perfected, people were very curious about them, so the government sent a few tanks touring the country as stimulus for the Liberty Loan Drives. They lumbered from city to city, hopping long distances on flatcars. On the morning a tank was due in Tonopah, I received a telephone call from one of the loan drive committeemen telling me the tank had been inadvertently sidetracked at a distant junction and couldn’t be hauled in until the next morning. But the three young officers who manned the tank were in town. Would I entertain them for the day? After lunch we went over to Goldfield, visited some of the famous leases, the handsome homes that had been built there, and a notorious saloon, as well as the little plot of grass that cost the owner forty dollars a month to keep green. In the late afternoon we started back to Tonopah. Desert roads were never very well defined. A road would be used until the rains cut into it; then a new road would be carved out along- side the old one by autos turning out to avoid mud holes or high centers. The two roads ran side by side for long distances, so that a driver couldn’t always tell whether a car was in his groove or another until it was practically on top of him. A turn in the road would show him whether he or the other fellow would have to turn out. This afternoon I was coming along at my usual desert clip - sixty or seventy miles an hour, since there was nothing to fall off, hit or run into. Suddenly an oncoming car loomed up in our path. I could no more have jumped the rut at the rate I was going than I could have lifted the car out of it by hand. Luckily, the auto approaching happened to be in a spot where the driver could turn out. Calmly he shifted into the next lane, and I flashed by like a comet. Not a person in my car had moved. For a long time no one spoke. At last the khaki- clad, square- jawed lieutenant sitting at my right, his arm resting negligently along the back of the seat, drawled, “ Well I spent eight months in



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