I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, for those of you who missed the memo on that. It’s a funny place and it’s changed a lot since I was a kid, and even more since my mom was a kid. My grandparents landed there in 1945. America was at war, goods were rationed, and my grandparents–on their way to Los Angeles in pursuit of a job for my grandfather–ran out of gas stamps in a dusty valley with little more than a couple of small casinos and a train stop. Ultimately, my grandfather found opportunities in Las Vegas, which is how my family wound up staying there.
A few weeks ago, I was Googling my way around Nevada history and accidentally came across my grandfather’s name, Philip N. Partridge, in the UNLV Library Special Collection. It was an entry for an oral history given by my grandfather and recorded in 1976. I wrote to the director of Special Collections and requested a copy. Yesterday, I opened up my mailbox and found a yellow package with three CDs inside. For the first time in my memory, I sat down and listened to my grandfather’s voice. Things not heard in these recordings: he worked at Mercury, Nevada on developing radio detonation technology for nuclear bombs and was (allegedly) a code-breaker during the Cold War.
*Update, June 11, 2016: I uploaded the history in three parts, as they were generously provided to me by the librarians at UNLV, to SoundCloud.