Nuclear Museum Logo
Nuclear Museum Logo

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Winston Dabney’s Interview (2003)

Manhattan Project Locations:

In this interview, Dabney discusses what it was like to live and work at Los Alamos. He describes working conditions, recreational activities, and housing for military members, briefly touching upon religion and the quality of food. Dabney also discusses how he met his wife, Jean, and shares several amusing anecdotes involving the scientists who worked at Los Alamos.

Date of Interview:
September 12, 2022
Location of the Interview:


Winston Dabney: I’m Winston Dabney. I was born in Virginia, near Richmond, Virginia. I was inducted into the service on July 4, 1941. I was warned as I was going in, “Go for one year and then get out.” And it so happened I had about six months before the war actually started and I received my basic training. I went in at Fort Belmont, North Carolina because I was working down in North Carolina at the time.

I was assigned to the Corps of Engineers and transferred to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, which wasn’t too far from my home. I received my basic training at Fort Belvoir. We were completing our basic training when they shipped out the entire brigade from Fort Belvoir, and they left me at the Headquarters Company sitting on my backpack. For some reason I missed the orders to go overseas. Most of the fellas went over to the Philippines, which was unfortunate, because I have heard from only a few of them since that time.

But anyway, shortly after they moved out, someone from the headquarters company engineering training center in Fort Belvoir came over and picked me up and took me over to the Headquarters Company, where they assigned me to Personnel and Classification Section. So I was in Fort Belvoir for maybe six months or a little bit longer, in the classification section primarily.

Then after that, they needed cadre of certain military specialists to start an engineering training center down in Camp Claiborne in Louisiana. So I was placed on orders to Camp Claiborne, and down there I was staff sergeant, again working in Classification Section. My background and so forth was in business administration and accounting, and I think that was one reason that they selected me to move over to the Headquarters Company. There’s always a lot records and and reports and so forth that you have to make out for military people. It’s just a requirement that you have to have a morning report, you have to make the payroll, and things in order to know what to keep up with all the military people. So this is partly what I was trained for and could take of.

In Camp Claiborne, we had a special setup down there with two officers, two typists, and one other enlisted man and myself, and we would go out and meet the train—either one carload of soldiers or it may have been three or four or five carloads of soldiers coming into Camp Claiborne. So we would go out to meet that train out in maybe fifty, seventy-five, sometimes even 100 miles out depending on the number of soldiers—enlisted personnel coming in—to pick up the records and so forth. So that by the time they got into Camp Claiborne we would have their rosters, the men assigned according to their specifications and so forth, and have the rosters all made out for them so that when they got off the train in Camp Claiborne we could assign them to the various units. It was Special Engineering Companies, Truck Companies, Pipeline Companies and this type of thing that they were assigned to. And they would come in and that’s where they’d get that basic training and they’d ship out as a company to mostly overseas.

After about six months or so of classification work, I then was made First Sergeant of the Headquarters Company there at Camp Claiborne. Well this consisted of what they called “cadre,” people that trained the soldiers that came in there in the different units and so forth out of Headquarters Company. They would train them. Therefore I had something like 1800 men that were considered cadre, and that means that they were probably sergeants, book sergeants, tech sergeants, or at least had some rating. After about six months I was assigned to the Headquarters Company as a First Sergeant. From that point on for a while I was at First Sergeant.

Of course the other thing we had to do every now and then, we would get people in who were not able to go overseas and so forth. So these people had to be screened and then they were generally separated from the outfit and so forth and put into what we called the Casualty Company. So I also had those particular enlisted people too. And of course with the First Sergeant, there again, it was a matter of keeping the record, putting people on sick people, and making what is known as a morning report. which is really just a report of where the people are and what they are doing and so forth.

[Conversation with cameraman]

Dabney: You’re back. Well, that lasted until the early part of 1944. And the later part of ’43 and the early part of ’44 was when the Manhattan Project was beginning to get organized and so forth. And there was a number of stations that they needed certain specialists to do certain jobs. At Claiborne they sent down a notice to the Headquarters Company that if you had a certain military specialist’s number, which is MOS, you could apply to be assigned to the Manhattan Project. Well it was a number of us in the Headquarters Company that actually applied and we were interviewed, checked for security and so forth, and finally received secret orders to be transported to Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

[Conversation with cameraman]

Dabney: At Oak Ridge we spent about two weeks being indoctrinated to the ways of the Manhattan Project, what was required and this type of thing. From that point we were shipped out to various Manhattan Projects. Of course if you knew where the projects were, they were in Washington State, Hanford, Washington, University of Chicago, University of California, Oak Ridge and New York. And from Tennessee, that’s where they shipped out the first people.

It so happened that I was one of those they shipped out to New Mexico. Ended up in Lamy and was brought up the Hill by a WAC driver. It was one other fella and myself that came up at that time. And there were a few enlisted people here that had already been inducted into the service. They were here but they had no control, so to speak. They were doing certain jobs in the Tech Area, what part of Tech Area that had been completed. But other than that no one was keeping track of sending in any reports to Oak Ridge, which did all the payroll and needed all the morning reports and so forth. So that’s where I started out in the Manhattan Project.

I had no help in what we called the orderly room because they didn’t send anyone with me at all to help me take care of getting out these reports and taking people to sick call and anything like that, so I had the whole works. I had to make sure I had the morning report, I had to order supplies and so forth. I didn’t have a supply sergeant. I even had to take the laundry down to Bruns Hospital, which was in Santa Fe. Take it down one week, pick it up the next week. In other words, I had to do all these housekeeping chores, so to speak, in order to get the military kind of on record and to know where they were and what they were doing and so forth.

Shortly after that, I was made Master Sergeant. I came here as a First Sergeant and was made Master Sergeant, which was a Sergeant Major then. And of course we were continuously getting people transferred into Los Alamos. Most of them were coming from the Army Special Training Center, which is ASTP. They were men that were in college that had not been inducted into service at that particular time but most of them were a little bit later, and they had skills in mathematics and engineering and physics and so forth that could help the scientists out to do some of the household chores and this type of thing. And of course some of them were far enough along as to know how to help them with certain engineering problems and physics problems and so forth.

The company finally grew to something like 1800 men. I thought I was coming into a unit that would be a normal company, which is something like 125, 150 men. But no way—they just kept sending them in here as fast as they could to help with the various household chores. And of course they had a number of organizations here at the time. I guess the WACs were one of the first organizations that probably arrived. My present wife came in August of 1943. I didn’t arrive till March of 1944.

The WACs did a lot of the paperwork, so to speak. They acted as secretaries, and some of them were technically trained and could do electronics work and fill in a number of various jobs in the Tech Area themselves. A lot of them were drivers. I don’t know, they had maybe eight, ten, twelve drivers that used to pick the scientists up in Albuquerque or Santa Fe, depending on how they arrived or where they arrived from. And they also had to go down a lot of times and pick up the enlisted men if it was just two or three or four. Sometimes we had to send a bus down to pick up the enlisted men from Lamy and drive them up to Los Alamos.

So far as the military is concerned, we had very little recreation. Of course most everybody was working at least six days a week. Some of them were even seven and they were working anywhere from ten, twelve, to eighteen hours a day without even breaks. I even had some of my enlisted men that actually had cots out at the work area, and they would catch a few hours maybe during the night at some time while the experiment was running and then continue on the next day. We didn’t really need a whole lot of recreation because most of it was spent during the working hours that nobody had much time for anything else.

We did have, finally had a couple of theatres, one which maybe we’d have a movie maybe once or twice a week at night. It was used for other different recreational types. It was even used for a church on Sunday, finally after we got a—I think a priest came up maybe from Santa Fe or something after a while and was used as a church before the church here was ever built and so forth. Any recreation that we had on Sunday, maybe a group of us would get together and we could go to the mess hall and draw our rations of food and take it down to what is now the skating pond—if you’ve been down in that area—and we’d just have a little picnic. Maybe they were having fried chicken for Sunday so we’d get so many pieces of fried chicken and maybe a little cheese and bread and what have you, and have a picnic and just kind of relax and lay around and talk and just have a little fun on Sunday for a few hours.

And of course that went on quite awhile before they even had the priest to come up and have the church services and so forth. I guess there was no particular denomination—it was more or less a Catholic service or united service, and everybody went that wanted to go to church.

A few of the soldiers liked to hike and they could hike a certain distance but we had the MP detachment, which was the security for the whole area. And of course at all the entrances were MPs, which you had to check in through whenever you went out of Los Alamos or when you came back in. You had a picture pass, which you used to get in and out of Los Alamos. They had MPs on horseback patrolling the outside area, which was partly fenced and partly wasn’t, but they made continuous patrols around the outside area of Los Alamos, so we were pretty well secured in that respect.

The location was very good so far as security was concerned, too. Our mail was censored. If your letter said something that wasn’t supposed to be said or sent out, the security would cut it out of the letter. If you had too many cut-outs he would send the letter back to you and tell you to rewrite it. I don’t think I’ve ever had one sent back to me because there wasn’t much news you could give anybody anyway. I mean, you could tell them a little bit about the weather or maybe that the country was beautiful or something like that, and that’s about all you could tell them and you were okay. So that was kind of a restriction that was up here at that time. 

Cindy Kelly: Were you able to tell your family that you were in the country?

Dabney: So far as the family knew, you were only at Post Office Box 1663 Santa Fe, New Mexico. That was all you could tell them. In fact I had one daughter that was born in Post Office Box 1663, Santa Fe, [laughter] but she but she was born up here, so it’s just one of those things that we had to put up with.

[Conversation with cameraman]

Cynthia: How’d you meet your wife?

Winston: How did I meet my wife? [Chuckle] Well we were both in the service. She was in the WACs and we were both Master Sergeants. The grades kind of mashed together to a certain extent. And oh, I don’t know, a friend I think kind of introduced me to her because I didn’t know her when I came up here. [He] kind of introduced us and we started going in together a little bit. I mean, you know at night, maybe we could see each other a little bit, maybe we’d go to a movie once in a while. And then we would get together and go on these picnics and this type of thing. So it was really through another friend actually introducing us. We were both Master Sergeants so we couldn’t pull rank on each other and we got along pretty well for quite a while.

I guess I was here maybe six months, a little bit longer, before I actually met her. She was working in the Technical Area. She had worked for the Zia Company as an electronic technician and she happened to be in one of the groups that were doing a lot of electronic work, so she managed to get into the Tech Area to do a lot of electronics work. Then she was involved with some of the testing shots with the HE and various things that they were doing at that time. And a lot of times we’d go several days before I would even see her, because she would leave early in the morning and then they would stay out late at night, and wouldn’t get in ‘til midnight or something like that if they had a shot going that they had to finish. They’d get it to a certain point and maybe they could leave it, but a lot of times she worked eighteen hours in the Tech Area.

Near the end, shortly after the bomb dropped, we decided we’d get married in August. And really when we decided it we didn’t know that the war was going to be over on the 14th and originally we’d planned for the 14th, but our friends in the service would not let us. That happened to be a Tuesday and they would not let us get married on a Tuesday. They said, “You have got to wait till the weekend,” so we had to move it out to the 18th. And we were married down in Santa Fe at the Catholic chapel and we had our reception at the La Fonda.

But before the war was over, we had arranged to furnish everything—before it was actually declared over—and we had to take down practically everything that we needed down to Santa Fe. But they were kind enough to let the WACs—Jean had five or six or seven close friend WACs that went down with her, and they went down the night before. They let the WACs in the kitchen to do hors d’oeuvres and so forth. I had to get the spirits to have the bar open, which one of the officers was able to secure that for me, but we still had to take it down to Santa Fe.

I had to borrow a car to go on a honeymoon. Her sister came out so we had to drive her part of the way so she could catch a train or something to get back home. And then my officer was kind enough to let me have two three-day passes for both of us and we stayed up at Red River for six days.

And then when we came back, we couldn’t get housing in Los Alamos. She had her dorm room and I had my dorm room because we were both Master Sergeants, but we both had to stay in the dormitories until we could manage to get some kind of arrangements for where we could live together. We did manage to get a dormitory room, which was about half the size of this room, and that’s what we had. And actually, when we walked in there, there were Army cots—bunk beds, wooden bunk beds—so we had to shift things around to get those bunk beds sitting side by side [laughter]. And then we could do a little cooking and stuff with a hot plate or oven was something that we had.

So I guess we had that dorm room for something like two or three months at least. What we’d do, some of the scientists would go on vacation or something for a couple of weeks and they were kind enough to let us use their house. And at Christmas, one Christmas, one of the scientists went back to England and he was gone for a month, so he let use his place for a whole month. And that was a Christmas of 1945, which—we hadn’t been married very long, but that Christmas was the time when the water pipe froze and we had no water in Los Alamos. They were running tankers up from the Rio Grande and they were rationing water out. I mean, you could take a jug or a gallon jug or a bucket or something like that, but you were maybe allowed a couple of gallons would be maximum that you could have.

Well that Christmas, we invited twenty-five of the enlisted personnel that stayed here that year—couldn’t get away for furlough—and we invited twenty-five of the enlisted personnel over for dinner. Jean had never cooked a turkey in her life before. She’d had turkey and stuff but her mother always did it for her. But we got this—I think we got about twenty, twenty-five pound turkey, and I’m not sure we could even get the oven door closed, but anyway, we cooked that turkey. And she bought I don’t know how many loaves, ten or twelve loaves of bread for dressing. Well you couldn’t get that much dressing in a turkey [laughter], but anyway it was fun and we enjoyed it.

We didn’t have paper plates at that time because we used all the dishes that they had in the house. And of course we had no water, the water wasn’t coming through the pipes or anything, so we stacked the dishes into the bathtub. They happened to have a bathtub—I guess that particular house had a bathtub—and so we stacked the dishes in there, and we’d have to wash two or three or four dishes a day or something or other. But we finally got them all washed before they came back from vacation. That was quite an experience, I’ll tell you.

[Conversation with cameraman]

Dabney: To regress a little bit: when I first came up here, I came up on March 31st, ’44, at that time they didn’t have military barracks completed. Housing was very short. I was in one of the green hutments. We had four men in each hutment with a little coal stove, I think it was, in the middle of it. And the night we arrived, we got up the next morning, we had a foot of snow on the ground, April 1 [laughter]. So that was an experience. Of course this was up where the police station—no, not the police station, where Merrimack Village is now—and we had to go from almost down to where the hospital is for the mess hall.

Not too long after that, then they completed another barracks down in the area where the mess hall was so I was able to move down to the barracks shortly after that. So I didn’t stay up in that hutment for too long. And at that time there was no paved streets or anything like this. The one main drag down through town was what is now Trinity Drive. It was a mud street, so when the fall came they would have to push the Jeeps and the cars through part of the mudholes. And they finally built some slab walkways on one side of Trinity Drive so that people could walk up and down Trinity Drive. There were very few automobiles up here at that particular time, so any place you wanted to go, you walked.

I was pretty fortunate myself being the Sergeant Major. I did have a government car assigned to me because I had to go to Santa Fe to pick up enlisted personnel, and I had to go down sometimes to pick up barracks bags, which didn’t come in with the men for some reason or another, and things like this. I was able to take down maybe a couple enlisted personnel with me if I had to go down say late one evening or other, and we’d go down and maybe have dinner down in Santa Fe and then come back to the Hill.

Kelly: It sounds as if everybody is so energetic. I’ve talked to people; try to explain this high level of energy.

Dabney: Well I think everyone was somewhat on a nerve edge to a certain extent, because you had very little time to relax and like I say, you were working anywhere from ten, twelve, to eighteen hours a day. It was nothing for some of those scientists who work forty-eight hours without even stopping because they’d get into a middle of an experiment or something and they would not turn that thing loose until they had completed it, and if it took a week they’d stay with it some way or another.  I don’t know how they really made it, but I guess they’re built different from most of us.

Kelly: Did you feel as a community, that there was a lot of cohesiveness?

Dabney: I think there was a lot of cohesion with the scientists and especially military. We never had any difficulty with the scientists at all. Of course, we didn’t have much opportunity to really be with them unless you were a fairly good friend. If you had worked for and with a scientist everyday and he liked you, you were at times invited out to his house for a meal. Jean and myself—she worked with a scientist, I didn’t, I was in the orderly room most of the time—but she made friends with some of the [scientists] and we had a couple very good friends that we made friends with, and we did have meals with them.

One Christmas Darol Froman invited us with him to go down to Warner’s, a little place down by Otowi Bridge, which you’ve probably heard about. And we had Christmas dinner and we had, oh I don’t know, any number of scientists, she could only seat—I think it was something like about twelve or fifteen people. But Darol Froman and Al Graves was another one who worked with Darol Froman a lot. And a number of the scientists were with them. I remember Jean and myself, he invited us to go down with him because she had worked with him and he used to call her “his right hand man,” and so we got pretty close with him.

To relate one story, coming back one time from Virginia after the war was over, we were driving back and we’d come through Kansas. It was so hot that we had a few rain drops and they hit on the hood of the car and I could never get those rain drops off the car, it burnt right into the paint.

Cameraman: Just a second.

Dabney: We were driving back from Virginia after the war was over and our daughter was six months old, and that particular trip we had gone to Niagara Falls. Jean had a sister in Michigan. We went to Michigan and through the edge of Canada and came out at Niagara Falls, so we had to wake her up and show her the falls at night with the colors. And then we drove on through to Connecticut to visit one of the enlisted personnel that we were friends with when we were here. We couldn’t find a place to stay that night; we had to drive all night, and finally the next morning I finally found a motel that we could get for the day. So I slept a few hours and then we went ahead and completed our trip.

Coming back it was so hot we burnt our generator coming through Kansas. I was lucky to find a person that was willing to replace it for me. But after we left Kansas we couldn’t find any gas station that was open and I just felt like were going to run out of gas. And finally— Darol Froman lived down the valley just below here—and so we pulled into his place at night, about two o’clock or something like that, and woke him up to get five gallons of gas so we could get back to the Hill, but he didn’t seem to mind that much. He always had gas, I think he was running a generator for his electricity down there. He had a nice place down there.

But that’s just one instance we had. We made a number of trips back to Virginia but I won’t bore you with those because those were hard trips in those days, I tell you, the two-lane roads and truckers and what have you. The roads were not as good as they are now.

But let me tell you a little bit about the housing when I first came up. I don’t know how this falls into sequence but it doesn’t too much, but I think you need to know. When we first came up, see, they had very little housing that had actually been constructed. They were moving in some prefabs and this type of thing, and then they were moving in what they called Quonset huts, which are the round metal-type huts. Then they moved in the Hanford house, which is a little bit of house from some of the military base or something, and then of course they were still building a few houses. But these houses were scattered around, and part of them were below where the community area is now. They weren’t too bad, but a lot of the houses that they moved in were just kind of shacks.

All the houses were really temporary and they were all camouflaged with primarily green trim and green boards on the outside and stuff, so that supposedly you couldn’t recognize the town from flying over it. Of course flying over it was restricted also; they weren’t supposed to fly over it, but they did once in a while.

We were always short, it seemed, on barracks. The WACs were in the big house for part of the time when they first came in, and that was pretty good because the boys school had used that for sleeping quarters, but they used to sleep outside on the porch summer and winter. So the bedrooms weren’t too numerous, I don’t know just how many they had. Anyway, the WACs had that for just a while, and then they finally built some barracks for the WACs.

And of course the Special Engineer Detachment, they were building those as fast—not as fast as the men were coming in, but at least they were putting them up as fast as they could. And these were barracks that would accommodate normally about thirty men and all of them had double-deck beds, which meant you were sleeping sixty men in a thirty- man barracks. 

There was no permanent housing built at all except the Bathtub Row, and of course the top scientists had those houses. Even the housing that they built, they built what they called Sundt apartments down along Trinity Drive. Those were one and two bedrooms but they’d have maybe about six or eight units together, and they were up and down units. So they were not really the best housing. They gave you a place to sleep and that’s about it.

[Conversation with cameraman]

Dabney: Okay. Finally they built a WAC dormitory, which was not too far—well, it was kind of across the road from here, we had the enlisted men’s dormitory. Jean happened to be in that particular one—getting back to our relationship—so I guess we could look out our windows and see each other at night a little bit, after bed check. We never had bed check in the enlisted men, but the women did. They had to be checked in every night, sort of accounted for.

We did have a PX, which was kind of like a store in the end of one our buildings—what we called the orderly room. You could get candy bars. I think we could even get beer—I’m not sure that they had beer, I know you could get soft drinks and so forth, but I don’t believe you could get beer because it was kind of an Army reservation so they wouldn’t let you have beer and liquor. I’m sure there was plenty of it up here, but you didn’t buy it over the counter. But you could get most anything you needed—shaving equipment and paper and various things from the PX that you needed, and they kept it pretty well stocked.

They also had a Commissary for the civilians, but again they were limited to ration stamps like people outside, but we had no ration office up here so they had to come from Santa Fe. They used them for meats and gas and tires and what have you, but they were pretty hard to come by, by coming from Santa Fe.  So far as the enlisted personnel, we couldn’t buy anything really in the Commissary as long as we were in service.  Any food we received we got from the mess hall, if you got anything like that.

But I was pretty lucky I guess in that respect. Being a Master Sergeant I could go to the mess hall and more or less order what kind meal I wanted, if they had it in stock. If they didn’t have it, I had to take what they were serving that particular day and they did serve pretty good meals. We used to get—like I say for those picnics and so forth—we used to get pretty much what we needed or what we wanted, because they did have butter and sometimes we’d get steaks. But most of the time it would be prepared food, I mean like the fried chicken, whatever they were serving that particular day.

Kelly: In terms of your knowledge of what the project was about, did that come gradually over time?

Dabney: I had very little knowledge because I wasn’t in the Tech Area. Overall I would say that there were very few people that knew actually what was going on or what they were—oh, I’m sure they knew we were trying to build a bomb, but they didn’t know what kind, what the final results were going to be. Some of the fellows said they thought they knew what was going on, but I’m not so sure that they did. But there was very little conversation between people as to what you were doing in the Tech Area.

I was never real curious, I guess. The only information that I found out about was through Jean, my wife. We would talk a little bit about what was going on and she might tell me what kind of experiments they were running, which was primarily HE type experiments and this type of thing, which was pretty dangerous, really. But we never we never discussed it too much, so far as to what was really going on in the Tech Area.

Kelly: And just for the audience, can you explain what HE stands for?

Dabney: Well, that’s high explosives. They made all kinds of special shapes and forms and so forth to try to get different results and to get them all to work together. Exploding the HE, you could hear the windows rattling and a few things dropping off the walls. That went on even after the war as far as I’m concerned, but during the war you didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it. You knew that they were experimenting and that was it.

Kelly: So if you had known where you were going, would you have signed up?

Dabney: If I had known where I was going at Los Alamos?

Kelly: Yeah.

Dabney: I didn’t have much choice [laughter]. Well, really I guess, yeah, I could have refused. When I was at Camp Claiborne—and if you’ve ever been down in that part of the country, it’s not the best place to be, so far as I’m concerned. Down there we were living in tents, we had tents, and you had a mosquito netting that you slept in that was over your bed. When you get up in the morning, you’d move that netting off so you could get out and you’d get your shower, that’s how wet it was. So I was kind of glad to get away from Louisiana, Camp Claiborne.

So I volunteered, to a certain extent. Well, I didn’t really volunteer either, because they interviewed you—I mean, they really questioned you pretty much. They wanted to know if you could kind of live in isolation for a period of time without having to go off to town or something like this. That didn’t bother me too much either, but that was one of the main things, because when you first came here they’d tell you, “You’re here and that’s it and you’re not leaving.” After I got here, I realized what I was into [chuckle], more or less. And of course when I first came it wasn’t very exciting even then, because the things were so—they were really just beginning to put things together.

They were building the Tech Area. More or less all of it was up close to where the Los Alamos Inn is now. And they had a warehouse area there. The administration buildings were alongside Trinity Drive, they had the chemistry building, they had the graphite shop, they had a regular machine shop, and they built it up close in this area because of the pond. They needed a pond in case of fire. And we did have a big fire in what we call a C-Shop, which was a machine shop, and that kind of slowed things up for a while too. That’s one reason that the area, the Tech Area, was built up in this particular area at that time, except for the areas out and around. The various test areas and certain things had to be done away from the town.

Kelly: Did you have any interaction with the Hispanic or Pueblo population?  How did that relationship between—

Dabney: Well, not too much. We did more after the war. We were able to go like down to San Ildefonso, Santa Clara. We had a maid that was from Santa Clara. She worked for us for twenty, twenty-five years, I guess. This was even after the war and we got a house of our own, which was sometime about early 1946, I guess. Well, we did have one of the Sundt apartments, which we lived in for a while, and then they built the Western Area and I managed to get one of the Western A rea homes, two-bedroom.

I had a number of the fellas, Indians, in my Special Engineer Detachment. One of them was very popular—he was at one time the governor of the San Ildefonso Pueblo. We had a number of pieces of pottery that were made by Maria [Montoya Martinez], but I think we’ve gotten rid of all them [chuckle] for some unknown reason. I guess we gave them to family members or something as gifts, but that’s the way it goes—you don’t know what you’re losing.

Kelly: That’s funny.  Well does anyone else have any questions?

[Conversation with cameraman]

Dabney: A lot of people would give their eyeteeth to have the experience that we had during the war years.  Sometimes it was hard, but you know, we had a good life. After we stayed here after the war for a number of years, we didn’t think we’d really stay here forever, but we did [chuckle]. Right now we’ve been here since ‘44 to ’03—well, it will be sixty years next year, fifty-nine years.

Copyright 2014 The Atomic Heritage Foundation. This transcript may not be quoted, reproduced, or redistributed in whole or in part by any means except with the written permission of the Atomic Heritage Foundation.