[BEGIN TAPE 1, SIDE A]
Reiff: This is Sandy Nevills Reiff and I'm interviewing Evelyn Greene
at Greenehaven, Arizona, on February 10, 2001. This is for Cline Library,
Special Collections, at Northern Arizona University. And I am so tickled,
and we thought we would talk about Evelyn meeting Bill Greene who was the eldest
child, is that right?
Greene: No, almost the youngest.
Reiff: Oh, I lied? Almost the youngest?
Greene: [Ruth?] was the oldest, and then Grace and then Bill, and then Irene. So Bill was next to the youngest.
Reiff: Okay. And they are of the Greene Dynasty that was Northern Arizona's premier family in opening tourism to the area. Evelyn is going to share how she met Bill and give dates, if you will, kind of.
Greene: Okay. It was in February 1945. I had been briefly married and I had a baby. So I had gone back to Paducah because it was a very unhappy marriage, and got a divorce at that time. I was working, selling cosmetics in Walgreen's, and Bill had tonsillitis, so he had to go to St. Louis to have his tonsils out. He came in the drugstore to get some supplies for that, but he saw me, and so he walked right over to me and said, "Would you give me a date?" And I said, "Well, certainly not! I don't know you. I don't give boys dates I don't know." And so I got busy and didn't pay any more attention, but kept seeing him standing there out of the corner of my eye. He had on his uniform, you know, and was just standing there like he was contemplating, and pretty soon he walked back to the back of the drugstore and talked to the young lady who was the pharmacist. She was a friend of mine, and I worked with her, of course. So he explained his problem to her, and she thought it was very funny. So she brought him up front and introduced him to me as if she knew him, you know, because he told her his name was Bill Greene. And so he said, "Now, you've met me, will you give me a date?" And I said, "Well, I've been married and I have a baby." And he said, "I love kids!" And that impressed me a great deal. But I thought, "Well, I'd better wait and be sure." So I said, "Well, I'll let you know." And he said, "Besides, I've been married, too." And I said, "Oh, I'll bet," because we were both very young and that seemed like an excuse for him.
Reiff: How old were you guys?
Greene: He was twenty-three, and so was I, at that time.
Reiff: And he was in the Coast Guard?
Greene: He'd been in the Coast Guard since he was eighteen.
Reiff: Oh, my gosh!
Greene: So anyway, I told him that I would tell him tomorrow, that if he'd come back tomorrow, I'd let him know. Meanwhile, some fellows from his ship that I happened to have met before, came in, and I said, "Who is Bill Greene on your ship?" And they said, "We don't have a Bill Greene on our ship." So I thought he had lied to me about his name, and of course that really made me mad. I thought, "Well, I thought he was so nice, and so upright and everything, and he lied even about his name!" So anyway, the next day he came in and he had some papers in his hand and he said, "Okay, will you give me a date?" And I said, "Absolutely not! You didn't even tell me the truth about your name. Your name isn't even Bill Greene." And he explained to me that his name was Arthur Haywood Greene, Jr., but his dad was called Art, and his dad wanted him not to be called Junior, so he said, "Let's just call him Bill," when he was first born. So it absolutely stuck with him. Nobody ever called him anything but Bill, even though it was not a part of his name--just a nickname. So that sounded reasonable to me and I thought, "Well, I think...." And besides that, the papers in his hands were annulment papers, and he really had been married for a short time. So I believed that too. So I gave him a date. And he showed up at my house that night. He found out that I liked gardenias, and here he came with a gardenia in his hand, and that was sweet, too, because I always was a romantic, I guess, and I thought that was real sweet. But he immediately walked over to Judy and picked her up--my little girl was just eighteen months old, and she was just a toddler and had long, dark hair, and was very, very pretty--I thought, of course. And so he just went over, picked her up, and put her on his lap and started talking to her. He had very blue eyes, and they seemed to fascinate her. She wasn't used to blue eyes, you know. And so she was just sort of staring at him, on his lap, and suddenly she raised her hand and she had a bobby pin in her hand. I don't know where she got it, probably off the couch, and it was probably mine. But she just went like this and poked him in the eye with a bobby pin! And of course his blue eyes were red, they were just fiery red in a second. And I jumped up to grab her, I was really angry. And he said, "Oh!" And tears were running down his face, and he said, "Don't be angry with her, she's just a baby. She didn't mean to do that." And I thought, "That's for me, right there!" I thought if he is as good as he sounds, I'm really for that." And so he was as good as he sounded. We met in February, and we were married in July.
Reiff: Oh, my! And when did he get out of the Coast Guard?
Greene: He got out of the Coast Guard--see, that was '45, so he got out in October. But from July until October, I was going to stay with my mother. He was sent almost immediately after we got married to Dubuque, Iowa. So I was going to stay with my mother and continue to work until he was mustered out, or until the war was over. But he didn't want that to happen, he wanted us to come to Dubuque. So I did go to Dubuque and we were there from August--we were married the latter part of July, and I guess it wasn't more than two or three weeks later that I went to Dubuque. So it was in August. And the war ended, you know, then, and so he was mustered out in the last of October in St. Louis. And then we came out here, and his folks were at Marble Canyon.
Reiff: Can you talk a little bit about how they developed Marble Canyon and how they got there, et cetera, ____________.
Greene: Yeah, they had come there while--Bill had been overseas quite a while …during those years the family left Denver and came to Harry Goulding’s at Monument Valley. Harry was Dad's first cousin. And so Dad and Bill's mother, Ethel, and the two girls, both of their husbands were in service, too. Now, Ruth didn't--her husband was also in service. But they were in Washington, Bellingham, or someplace in Washington. And so it was just Irene and Grace. I think the four of them went to Monument Valley to help Harry. And they hadn't been there too long, until Ramon Hubbell, who was from the Hubbell family, you know, out of Winslow, and he wanted Dad and Mom and the girls to go to Marble Canyon, and they would be partners with him and they would run Marble Canyon. And so that was just exactly what they had sort of been looking for, you know, because Dad wanted to have something for the boys--the sons-in-law, and Bill--to have when they got back, to get started.
Reiff: So they went to Marble Canyon. What year was that?
Greene: So they went to Marble Canyon. Of course I didn't know them then, but it had to be in, oh, '43, I think, because they'd been there several years. First they were in Blanding, and had a restaurant in Blanding.
Reiff: Oh, my gosh! I forgot about that.
Greene: They went to Blanding.
Reiff: Blanding, Utah, San Juan County.
Greene: Yes, see, because they were near Harry. And they did that for a while, in between helping Harry too. And the girls worked in there. And they were there just a short time, and then that's when they went to Marble Canyon. And so that's where they were when we married, you see. So I came out, though, to meet them before I married Bill, because I wanted to be sure, since I had a baby, that that would be something they would accept. I didn't bring her with me, but I could tell they would just treat her like everybody else in the family. And there were a lot of babies in the family. So that's true, they were just wonderful, and they treated me like I'd known them forever. So I was sure it would work out all right. Travel was always by bus then, because nobody had any tires, you know, and couldn't get any.
Reiff: Because of the war rationing?
Greene: Yes. So we went right back on the bus, and of course I was still working, so I had to get right back. But at least I met his folks and knew what to expect. And I thought the country was beautiful.
Reiff: Was that your first time west?
Greene: First time west! And I really--you know, it was just so different from all the trees and everything in Kentucky, and all the rain and all that, but I thought it was just beautiful.
So anyway, we then came out here as soon as he was mustered out. And of course this time Judy was with us. So we came on the bus like everybody did then. When we got there, we stayed in the old honeymoon cabin. Remember the old honeymoon cabin?
Reiff: Yeah, out on the edge of the ___________.
Greene: That was our living quarters then. And so I started--of course this was all new to me, you know, and the only thing I had ever done was sell cosmetics. I had started to LSU. That's when I married the first time, I was going to LSU, and I met my former husband.
Reiff: Is that Louisiana?
Greene: Yes. And I met him and I married him. At that time, I didn't go to college. So this was what I knew how to do, was just cosmetics (laughter) and that didn't fit in there. So what I did was, I could type and I could keep books. And so I started in. I also waited tables. I learned all kinds of new things. I started waiting tables at six o'clock in the morning, and of course Judy and Bill were still asleep. So Bill had to dress her, and he hadn't the slightest idea how, but he was really good at it, he tried. From Day One, he was the best father. I've never known a better father, he was wonderful. And of course Judy just adored him. And so if he would dress her, I'd go ahead and wait tables until about ten o'clock. And then Irene and I were a team, and we would then wash and mangle [i.e., iron] ninety sheets. It was the same every day, because that's how many cabins we had then.
Reiff: Where were the people coming from? And I'd like you to describe the roads in 1945.
Greene: The roads were not paved, but they had asphalt, and they were not bad. But most of the traffic was bus. We had bus stops for breakfast, bus stops for lunch, and bus stops for dinner. And of course there were about forty people on each bus. So that was a lot of people to feed.
Reiff: And about how long would it take, say, from Kanab, which from Marble Canyon is how many miles?
Greene: I really don't know the exact number. It's about seventy, because it's about the same from here.
Reiff: Yeah. So how long would it take a bus in those days to get from Kanab to Marble Canyon, say?
Greene: About two hours is all.
Reiff: So it was that good a road?
Greene: Yes, it was a pretty good road, yeah. It wasn't a bad road, but it was just narrow, and there wasn't a lot of traffic because people didn't have access to tires enough to go on a lot of vacations like they did after the war ended, you know. I mean, because it took a while for them to be able to get rubber products and things like that.
Reiff: So buses were really your livelihood.
Greene: Buses were the main thing. So in between waiting tables then, we'd do these--because you couldn't get your laundry done in Flagstaff, that was the closest place. And you had to do it yourself. And we had a big mangle--you know what that is.
Reiff: Oh, yes!
Greene: We mangled those sheets, and then when we got through that, it was lunchtime. So then I waited tables for lunch. I didn't get to see Judy all day long, and Bill was sort of looking after her, but he was busy too. And Butch was there--he was the same age, approximately, as Judy. And Betty Jo was older, and she was there as well.
Reiff: And Butch and Betty Jo are?
Greene: They're brother and sister.
Reiff: And their parents are?
Greene: Their mother was Grace. Her name was Grace Williams then. She was married to Ira Williams, called "Bud." So she had the two children. Betty Jo was about, I guess, four years older than Butch. They just played by themselves and learned. And also Linda, who was the daughter of Ruth, the oldest daughter, and her name was Baker. Ruth was married to Vern Baker. And they came back because he had been in the Coast Guard also, but he was stationed in Washington, he never went overseas. So Linda was a few months younger than Judy, so there were quite a few little kids there.
Reiff: Who did the cooking?
Greene: Bill's mother. Oh! she was the most wonderful cook in the world.
Reiff: Well, the Greenes have a reputation. It started with Ethel.
Greene: Oh, I know. Ethel was renown for her cooking. She made homemade buns for the hamburgers, homemade bread for everything else. And those buns were as big as about ten inches. You can imagine the size of the hamburgers. I don't think they ever made any money off of their food, because their steaks would lop over the side of the plate.
Reiff: I remember. And you must have had a powerplant then (Greene: They had a powerplant.), because you weren't connected with electricity.
Greene: Not yet, no, it was a powerplant. But the electricity was later. There were no telephones. And so your only means of getting messages in and out, other than letters, were telegrams, and they were sent to Flagstaff, picked up by the bus driver, and the bus driver would bring them out to you. And that's the only communication you had with the outside world. So I was, of course, this was totally, totally new to me, but I loved the whole family, I just fell in love with them immediately because they treated me wonderful. And I don't know if you knew Aunt Molly.
Reiff: I didn't, I don't think.
Greene: Do you remember the name?
Greene: Well, Aunt Molly raised Art and Harry Goulding, and Charlie Goulding. Their mothers died when they were two years old--Charlie and, well, Harry--but I guess Charlie was about five, and Harry was two, and Dad was two when his mother died. And so Aunt Molly was the sister of the boys’ mothers, and she raised those three boys. So they were like brothers, you know. And Aunt Molly called him Arthur, the only one who didn't call him Art. And Arthur was her pride and joy. And so she lived there too at Marble Canyon. So there was quite a big family. Of course the family was very hospitable to everyone who came there. And every night they would have like dancing and they played poker. And Mom, after cooking all day long, would sit there and play poker half the night with the men. I never saw anything like it. She was just terrific.
But Bill had a little problem, and his problem was that he was extremely jealous. (laughter)
Greene: It was so bad, it was really, really bad. So he would stand in the doorway with his arms akimbo, like this, you know.
Reiff: Folded across his chest.
Greene: To see if I spoke to anybody I waited on--you know, any man. (laughs) So anyway, that was the only bad thing. And everybody talked about it. Did you know J. H. McGibbney?
Reiff: I don't think so, who was he?
Greene: He was a very well-known photographer, very famous for his pictures of especially Navajos.
Reiff: Say that again.
Greene: J. H. McGibbney. It was M-C-G-I-B-B-N-E-Y, and you'll see a lot of his pictures in the old Arizona Highways. Anyway, he was there all the time. He was a close friend, and he was there constantly. And he absolutely couldn't get over the way Bill was. He really insisted that he thought he should go to a psychiatrist, because he had been in a very tough war, and he'd been injured, too, and he'd been through a lot in his life already. And he just couldn't quite trust anybody--especially me. And so finally I just couldn't stand it any longer. I was there almost a year, and there was a very famous artist there--a lot of artists used to come there. (Reiff: Yes, I remember.) And her name was Nora Cundell. She was from England, and she was an artist who drew animals, mostly dogs. But she was very, very well-known for that. And she was a real dear lady, and she watched me quite a bit. She was there a couple of weeks at least, and loved that country. So she finally came over and she said, "My dear, I think you need a friend. Could I help you in some way?" I said, "Could you mail a letter for me in Flagstaff?" She was leaving the next day. And see, we had to mail the letters, put them in a big basket, and Bill always got my letters and opened and wrote more on them, because they were to my mother or my sisters or whatever. So I didn't want him to see this one. So she mailed it to my sister. And I just said, "Get me out of here!" (laughs) Because I just couldn't stand that anymore. It was really oppressing. But I loved him very, very much.
Anyway, so my sister.... See, there were no telephones out there, so she sent a telegram and said, "Come at once, Mother going to marry...." What do you call it when somebody's trying to get your money?
Reiff: Like fly-by-night?
Greene: No, well, like a fortune hunter. And my mother was a nurse and lived at the hospital in Paducah, Kentucky. So she was not so loaded with money, but that's all my sister could think of. So she said, "Come home at once." So that gave me enough courage to say, "I've got to go home, [there's a] problem." And Bill said, "Oh, no, we're going to Tuba City and call your sister." So Tuba City was the closest telephone.
Reiff: How far?
Greene: It's sixty-four miles, out on the reservation.
Reiff: And then, how long would it take you to get there?
Greene: Well, it would take a good two hours, because the roads were not too good. And so we drove all the way over to Tuba City, and the phone lines were horrible. They crackled all the time. You've probably had that experience, too, when you were younger.
Reiff: We didn't have [telephones] in Mexican Hat.
Greene: When you ever got them then, the phone line crackled. And so Bill would yell "Hello!" and then she'd yell back "Hello!" and then crackle, crackle, crackle. You couldn't hear a thing. I was saved. So he finally gave up and he said, "Well, I can't understand her, she can't understand me. So I guess you need to go home then." Because I kept saying, "Oh, no, something really bad has happened!" So I did. Judy and I went on the bus back to Paducah. I knew it wasn't a mistake, because I knew we loved each other dearly, but he had to have something wake him up from that, because he had to trust me or we couldn't go on. So he followed me. I got back to Paducah, and then I went to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to my aunt's, because I figured he wouldn't be able to find me there, but he did. He went to my grandmother, and she told him where I was. I wouldn't even talk to him [and talked to my aunt?]. He knew then that I had not planned to come back unless something changed. So I finally went back to Paducah then--it wasn't very far--maybe seventy-five miles or something like that. I went back on the bus to Paducah, and he was at the Irvin Cobb Hotel. See, that was Irvin Cobb's hometown. And so everything's Irvin Cobb or Barkley--Alben Barkley was from there, and he was the vice-president, before your time. But he was the one that started the VIP deal.
Reiff: Very Important Person?
Greene: Yes. And they used to call him "the VIP." So in Paducah everything is either Barkley Avenue or one of the other of those guys. So he was staying at the Irvin Cobb Hotel and I was staying at my grandmother's when I got back, because my mother and father were divorced and my mother lived at the hospital. My dad lived in a hotel. So I couldn't live with them. So anyway, I stuck by my guns and I said, "No, I just couldn't do it. I know it's important to your family to have you," because Bill was the businessman, he was the money-raiser, and the one who knew how to develop a business. And so that was his main purpose. Dad was loveable, and everybody adored him, but he couldn't handle money at all, and didn't even try to, it wasn't his thing. And I knew it was very important for Bill, and I said, "I don't want to stand between you and your family, but I cannot be there when you treat me like I'm in prison." And so, oh, he would change. But he said, "I realize that I shouldn't have brought you there first. I should have.... You know, bringing you out there with the baby and you neglecting the baby...." She got lost almost twenty-four hours one day.
Reiff: Oh, my land! Tell me about that.
Greene: We couldn't find her at all, and that's what made me decide to leave. So Butch was used to it, and he would go.... One time some people picked him up off the road. He was asleep in the middle of the road, and brought him back and said, "Does this child have a home here?" And he could have easily been killed, but Butch survived all those things, you know.
Reiff: How many cars went by, would you guess, in '45, during the day?
Greene: Maybe fifty, at most.
Reiff: And that's including the buses?
Greene: No, there was probably fifty cars, and they always stopped, and they'd get gas and everything.
Reiff: Can you tell a little bit about that, between Flagstaff and Kanab, wasn't Marble Canyon at that time....
Greene: Marble Canyon was the only place.... Well, no, Richardson's at Cameron, you could get gas there too.
Reiff: Oh, that's right.
Greene: And then you could get gas at Flagstaff to Cameron, to Marble Canyon, and then from Marble Canyon there wasn't really anything to Kanab.
Reiff: So Jacobs Lake wasn't developed at that point?
Greene: They didn't have gas, I don't think.
Reiff: That's what I was thinking.
Greene: It was just more primitive for hunters and things like that. But the people didn't really come down through Jacobs Lake, you know, even if there had been. So when travelers saw that Marble Canyon was the first and only place for miles around to get gas, food, etc.--they all figured they'd better get gas while they could--and a meal too. So they stopped at Marble Canyon.
Reiff: So how did Judy get lost for almost twenty-four hours?
Greene: We just couldn't find her. I figured, I just knew she'd walked down--because she loved to--she was kind of a tomboy, and she was walking--by that time she was two years old, but she couldn't walk very far. So I figured she'd gone and fallen over, because it wasn't very far to walk down there and fall over 350 feet.
Reiff: So you were afraid she'd fallen into the Colorado River?
Greene: I was afraid she had fallen, and I was just hysterical. And so anyway, everybody kept looking every place for her outside. Well, what had happened, she had gotten tired and gone in one of the cabins, and it wasn't rented, and it was made up, and she just got on the bed and went to sleep. And she'd been asleep in that cabin. I don't know where she'd been in between, but that's where somebody found her. And that's when I decided I just couldn't stand that. I felt like I was neglecting her and everything. But see, Butch, being a boy, and he was really very much a boy--you can imagine. (laughter) He got bitten by scorpions so many times, he was immune to them. Mom would put just plain old ammonia on the bites, and it worked. You didn't have access to anything else like that.
Reiff: Did all your own doctoring, didn't you?
Greene: All of our own doctoring. There was a doctor in Kanab, and when anybody had a baby, or when anybody had something serious--like Bill's mother had had tumors and she had to have surgery up there--and there was a doctor there. I guess he was a good old country doctor, seemed to be popular with people. But out there, there was just nothing. And so anyway, what Bill said was, "I realize I shouldn't have brought you out there that soon. It was so different from where you'd been and everything. I promise I won't be that way anymore, I won't be so bad." So he got a bunch of pots and pans and things from his mother, and some sheets and stuff like that. And he took them--I had not said I'd go back yet, and I was still in Paducah--and so he took them to Phoenix and he stayed at the "Y." He had already planned to go to Tucson to school anyway, the following September, but he didn't get up there. He couldn’t go back to school. Bill was very smart, very smart, and he had had some college at.... Let's see, what was it? It was at the Colorado School of Mines. But see, he went overseas, so yeah, he didn't get a chance [to graduate (Tr.)]. So anyway, he wanted to go on to college. So he got us a place to live in Phoenix and everything before Judy and I moved to Phoenix, and he'd write these letters, "Daddy has this for you," and "Daddy has that...." And Judy just worshipped Bill. I couldn't do that. And I didn't want to make another mistake, and I knew I loved him very much, and I knew he loved me, and I knew Judy loved us both. So here I came back, and I went to Phoenix and he said he had a place for us across from a beautiful school. It was just really nice, and I was going to love the location because it was across from this beautiful building and everything. (chuckles) It turned out to be the mental hospital, the state mental hospital, and he didn't know it. (laughter)
Reiff: At Twenty-fourth and Van Buren?
Greene: At Twenty-fourth and Van Buren. They had more cabins then, you know, than they did motels.
Reiff: Was that out in the sticks then?
Greene: It was out in the sticks, Twenty-fourth Street and Van Buren.
Reiff: Was it paved?
Greene: It was paved, yeah, but it was definitely out in the country, kind of. And it was tough to live there. (laughs) Anyway, the first night I was there, I heard this screaming about four o'clock in the morning, and that was every night after that, we would hear that lady scream. And then he went to work. He had gotten a job with a heating and cooling.... See, he had some training with that in the service. And so he just went in and asked this guy--it was the biggest one in Phoenix then, D. S. Horrall--and he asked Mr. Horrall for a job. And he said, "Sir, where have you been?" He said, "Well, I just got out of the service." He said, "You know you have to belong to the union before you can even ask for a job. I admire your guts, so I'm going to give you a job," but of course he had to join the union. And Bill never was cut out to work for somebody else, but this was temporary, and we knew it.
Reiff: What was the population in Phoenix then?
Greene: Oh, my gosh, it was so much smaller. I imagine it was maybe not over 200,000. Probably it was that big, counting Mesa and all around, you know. It's twenty times as big as it was then. So we stayed there in that place, and Bill was always looking for something better. He wasn't planning to do that very long. Well, Ramon Hubbell really liked us, and he had the biggest collection of Indian rugs in the world.
Reiff: Oh, I didn't know that.
Greene: Still, I'm sure the Hubbell estate at Ganado still has them--unless they've sold them all, I don't know. But they had the largest collection of Navajo rugs in the whole world.
Reiff: And they were housed in Winslow?
Greene: In Winslow, that was where their home was. And so he wanted to know if we would like to start a shop in Phoenix, and Ramon would supply everything on consignment to us. Then I would run the shop, and Bill would continue to work with Horrall. He would also work at the shop when he could at night, he kept it open until about nine o'clock at night. So we fixed up an old home, right on Central, in a real good location, but it was an old home. And we fixed it up and painted all the shelves a different color and had it just really nice. And then Bill built a hogan out in front of it. And Ramon sent a Navajo weaver down. In the back of us there were some old cabins--been there forever, I guess. And so Nanebah Clah stayed in a cabin in back of us, and of course we fed her. She had a stove in there, too, when she wanted to fix something, because she didn't like some of the things that we ate.
Reiff: And she was a Navajo from where?
Greene: She was a Navajo from Pinon, and he had a trading post at Pinon. And at that time I probably weighed 94-95 pounds. She weighed about 300 pounds, but she had a baby, a brand new baby, and his name was Hubbell Clah. A lot of people named their kids Hubbell, or whoever the trader was--they did that. Anyway, she had this baby in a cradle board, which appealed to the tourists. So she would weave out there by that hogan that Bill [had built (Tr)]. And this was right on Central by Macayo's, if you know where [that is (Tr.)]--right down the street. It's a big, tall office building now, but anyway, it was quite unusual for Phoenix. We didn't speak Navajo then, Bill and I didn't--of course we didn't know how to do it, and especially me, from Paducah! And so Nanebah, every night, would come in after we'd close the shop at night, and Bill had a pencil and a little pad in his pocket. And so she named him Hosteen Bee ‘ak’e’elchihi, which is "the man with the pencil." And I was always called ‘Asdzani Yazhi, even after I got on the reservation, which is "little woman." And then they called him Hosteen Tso, which is "big man," afterwards. But she called him Hosteen Bee ‘ak’e’elchihi.. And so anyway, we would point to things, and she would say it in Navajo. She couldn't speak a word of English. And she would say the word, and Bill would write it down the way it sounded. So we learned nomasii for "potatoes," to totilchosee for "pop," and chloe-chin [phonetic spelling] for "onions." And words like that. We learned about, I'd say, twenty words very well--we knew those real well, but they didn't make any sense--and mostly items from the kitchen or whatever.
Bill continued to work [doing heating and cooling (Tr.)], so I was with her during the daytime, and she had an understanding with me--we understood each other. I took her to the dentist and got her teeth pulled--she had some bad teeth. And that's right by the Indian School, so they did it for her there at the Indian School Hospital.
Reiff: Talk about that. A lot of people don't know Indian School [Road (Tr.)] was named for....
Greene: Because there was a school there, and the children could go. And it wasn't just Navajos, it was all tribes in Arizona, and there are a lot of tribes in Arizona. So it was a big, big school there on Indian School [Road]. It is still there, but it has changed quite a bit. They sold part of the property, and I don't know how many students there are now, but then there were a lot of them. But any Indian could go in and get medical attention, free. And so I took her there. And things like that, so we got really close to each other. And I'd have to hold her arm like she was the child and I was the mother. It was kind of funny, because she was so much bigger.
But anyway, we got to love each other. And so what I would do is, the tourists would come and just swarm around, watching her weave her rug, you know. It was very interesting. So I would go out there, and the people would say, "Oh, this is so exciting! I'm seeing somebody weave a rug! I never saw anything like that before! I would love to have that rug." They'd say, "Could you tell her that I'm from near Lake Erie," or wherever, you know. And so I would say, "Nanebah," and she'd look at me wisely, you know, and I'd say, "chloe-chin nomattsee " [i.e., nonsense "kitchen" Navajo (Tr.)], and I'd use emphasis on the words, and she would nod wisely. (laughter)
Reiff: Now translate that. ____________
Greene: I was saying "onions, potatoes...."
Reiff: I kind of thought you were! (laughter)
Greene: So anyway, they had no idea, of course. And so I would go all the way through all my little repertoire of about twenty words, and I'd use different emphasis on it, you know, and she would nod. And when I would quit talking, she would then start saying Navajo, and looking at me real wisely, and telling me all kinds of stuff in Navajo, but I had not the slightest idea what she was saying! (laughter) So anyway, then she'd stop, they'd say, "What did she say?" and I said, "Oh, she said, it sounds so beautiful where you come from. And she's never been away from this part of the country, and someday she hopes to go and see your beautiful country too." And then they'd say, "I've got to have this rug. I mean, I talked to the lady that is weaving it." So they'd buy it before it was finished, and we'd make a deal that when it was finished, I would notify them, and I knew how much it was going to be, because we charged about the same for every rug, whatever size it was.
Reiff: What was the markup then on rugs?
Greene: Oh, (laughs) none of your business!
Reiff: About a hundred maybe?
Greene: Yes. And so anyway, because now on the reservation they weren't quite that much, but about like that, and that's what Ramon told us to do. Anyway, I'd sell those rugs like hotcakes, as fast as she could make them, because people would see it. And later, oh!, a young person thinks they can do anything. And I wouldn't do that now for anything! Oh, I'd be scared to death, because Phoenix is full of retired Indian traders who speak very fluent Navajo, which I learned to do myself, later, but not then. Say, if Clarence Wheeler, who we later were with, if he had stopped by there, finding it interesting that there was a Navajo, weaving there, and listened to our conversation he would have had a good laugh.
Reiff: Tell me who Clarence Wheeler was.
Greene: Clarence Wheeler was the dearest man. He was from the area over near Blanding--the Wheeler family was--and they had been Indian traders for many years. I think there were three Wheeler boys, and Clarence was in with his brother, Lon Wheeler, and then a brother-in-law--and I can't think of his name right now, but he had Sunrise Trading Post at that time, the brother-in-law.
[END TAPE 1, SIDE A; BEGIN SIDE B]
Reiff: You were just going to tell me who Clarence Wheeler was, so go ahead and pick it up there.
Greene: Clarence Wheeler was a very, very dear man, and one of the most wonderful Christian men I've ever known in my life. He was a trader. They were originally from the Blanding area, I believe--the Wheelers were. In that area, at least--maybe not Blanding, but close by. And they had quite a number of trading posts. After working for Ramon Hubbell a few years we met Clarence Wheeler whom we worked for later at Rough Rock. People left Phoenix in droves in the summer, because there wasn't much air conditioning then. And so they would go home. That summer [Ramon] asked us if we would go to Oraibi to his place there. And so we decided to do it.
Reiff: Can you tell me where Oraibi is?
Greene: Oraibi is on the Hopi Reservation, and this was New Oraibi, so it was very--it was the oldest continuously inhabited place in the country, really.
Reiff: In the United States?
Greene: In the United States, yes. And the Hopi people are very different from the Navajos whom we had become acquainted with then. By that time we knew a little about Navajos, having been with them at Marble Canyon also. So Hopis were new to us too, but we went out there. And it was quite an experience.
Reiff: Can you talk a little bit about the differences that you saw then between Navajos and Hopis?
Greene: Yes, there was a lot of differences, and mainly the Hopis were not nomads like the Navajos. Navajos moved from hogan to hogan somewhat, and they'd take their sheep to the different locations. But Hopis were like we are more. They have their pueblos and that's where they stayed all the time. And their ways were much more like Anglo people. And so they were not quite as jolly and fun people as the Navajos, but they were very dedicated people. They were very dedicated to their religion, too. And they were very interesting to be around. We stayed there for some time, and of course it was a really old, old trading post, and it had been the original Juan Lorenzo Hubbell Trading Post. He was the first Indian trader on the reservation.
Reiff: I didn't know that.
Greene: So then his son, Lorenzo, took over, and he was a very loved man by the Navajos, by everybody. But Lorenzo had passed away by this time. Ramon was the only one left, so he had all these trading posts he had inherited.
Reiff: So Ramon was the grandson of Juan (John) Lorenzo?
Greene: The son of Juan.
Reiff: And Lorenzo was....
Greene: His brother.
Reiff: And Lorenzo's home trading post was Ganado, wasn't it?
Greene: Yes, it was. Ganado and Oraibi. They had all kinds of interesting things, like for example Oraibi had been run by some Navajos that didn't really understand the value of the paintings they had there, and so when we got there, they were just piled, and some of them had been mutilated.
Reiff: Were these paintings on canvas?
Greene: They were on canvas, and they were called "red drawings." Have you ever heard of those?
Reiff: No, I haven't.
Greene: Well, they're very famous paintings now if you ever go to the museum there in Ganado. They have all of them there. And that was the ones that were at Oraibi when we went there, and they were just piled in big old piles in the corner. And the mice had been in there, you know, and they just weren't taken care of at all, because Lorenzo had died, you see.
Reiff: Why were they called red drawings?
Greene: They were all done in red--it wasn't ink, it must have been charcoal, but it was red, and they were all red paintings.
Reiff: What was their topic, usually?
Greene: It was all Indians, faces. They were all types of Indians, with their hats on or whatever.
Reiff: And who had drawn them?
Greene: His name escapes me, I'm sorry.
Reiff: That's okay, we'll come back to it.
Greene: At Oraibi. And very, very expensive drawings now, because there'd be no way to replace such things. And they were very good, but they were all done in red, and so they were known as the red drawings. Anyway, when we got there, everything was just a mess. There wasn't even any indoor toilet or anything. So the first thing we did was--Bill knew how to do that, so he put in a bathroom. Then we cleaned up everything as best we could. It was extremely interesting, especially for Judy who was very small, a little girl then. The kids would all come and stand in the window and say, "Judy! Judy!" And then she'd go out and play with them. So she learned to make piki.
Reiff: Native bread.
Greene: Yes, with blue corn and all. They made it on a stone. They'd just pour out this blue corn [batter (Tr.)], and real thin, and so it was almost like a potato chip texture, you know, that had a wonderful flavor. They still, of course, make that. And she learned to do that, and she loved the children there at Oraibi. But we'd been there about, I guess almost a year, and what we did was, we wanted to learn all about the culture and everything, so we went to their dances all the time. We went to the Snake Dances, we went to the Butterfly Dance, which is beautiful. The local missionary then, who was there at that time, didn't think that was right for us to do that, but we wanted to learn all about it. We were going to be in the Indian business, we loved them, and if you're going to be there, you should know about their beliefs and habits and culture, I thought. So we did it anyway. And we went to all of those dances, and we got to know all of them. And they're lovely people. They are not drinkers and all, like some of the other tribes. They're much more conservative. They had peculiar names, though: Sekaquaptewa and things like that. It's a little hard to pronounce.
But anyway, we stayed there about a year, and then Ramon suddenly needed somebody at his Pinon store. And since we were more involved with Navajos than with Hopis, and we had been there long enough to clean it up and everything, and he, I guess, found someone who could--I think it was another Navajo, but he found someone who could take it over there, but not at Pinon. So we went to Pinon.
Reiff: Which is....
Greene: It's on the Navajo Reservation. It's about, oh--it's near Black Mountain--it's about fifty miles, I guess, from Oraibi, but on very bad roads. (both talking at same time, neither discernable) But wonderful compared to what it was then. So when we got up there, then the roads were so bad that we couldn't get out a lot of times, at all. And so Bill learned to fly, and we got an airplane, because that's the only way we could get out. First we got a Jeep, but sometimes they were too bad for even a Jeep.
Reiff: And this is what year now?
Greene: That would be like '51.
Reiff: And was Judy school age at that time?
Greene: She had reached school age, but I tried to teach her that first year with the international thing, you know.
Reiff: Calvert System?
Greene: Calvert System!
Reiff: Yes! I was taught through the Calvert System!
Greene: And it is advanced over [public (Tr.)] school.
Reiff: Extremely advanced.
Greene: But I didn't have enough time to get through it. So we then had to--what we did was get an apartment in.... Well, first she lived a year in Ganado, went to school there, that first year. My mother came and stayed. They had a great big hogan-- you've been there, haven't you? (Reiff: Yes.) Outside of their store there's a big hogan that's really a home. And it was a gift to us. That's where my mother and Judy stayed that winter, and she went to school that first year there. But then we got an apartment in Gallup, and my mother would just leave Paducah at the hospital. She'd come out here in the winter and keep Judy in Gallup. And so she went to school from then on in Gallup. But we couldn't even get in to see her half the time. That's why we got this plane, and Bill used to fly sick Navajos to the hospital, and things like that.
Reiff: Nearest hospital was Ganado?
Greene: Was Ganado, but he would even fly--there was also a doctor at Keams [or Kings?] Canyon, and he'd take them there, if they wanted to go there.
Reiff: What was the airplane?
Greene: The first one we got was a wide-winged.... Oh, starts with an "S."
Greene: Stinson, yeah. Real wide wings. And then after that, we had a fellow who came to work for us, and he could fly. So Bill let him fly some supplies over to Cliff Dwellers, and there was a big old windstorm, and he didn't have it tied down good. And those big, wide wings, just flipped [the plane (Tr.)] over, and it was demolished. So then we got a Tri-pacer [phonetic spelling], and the Tri-pacer worked great. And so that's what we had from then on. And so he would, you know, fly not only Navajos--that was helpful--but also he would--not only when they were sick, but if they had any kind of.... I mean, we'd have things like murders and a few things like that out there.
Reiff: Do you remember any of those events?
Greene: Oh, yes. Well, our first experience, if you really want to hear about all of them, we had just barely gotten out there....
Reiff: To Pinon?
Greene: To Pinon. And we never locked our door or anything. And I wore cowboy boots and Levis all the time because I had to climb a ladder--you know, they built very high, great big shelves. So I wore those all the time, and I always had the cowboy boots by my bed. I also was a railroad retirement agent. And I was a notary public. So I had to sign all the men up for unemployment every Thursday. And of course I was employed by the government, and I was bonded, I was under a $10,000 bond to tell the truth about any of them that might lie or anything like that. So (chuckles) anyway, what was my original thought, I forgot!
Reiff: The murder.
Greene: Oh, yeah. This is not quite a murder, this one, but it was the most traumatic thing we'd had, because we--it got worse, but we were more used to it after that. This fellow came in and he said that his daughter had been raped, and oh! we just fell apart.
Reiff: A Navajo?
Greene: Navajo. And it was a very young girl, I think she was fifteen. So of course we were just devastated, we thought it was just terrible. And so Bill was trying to question him about it, if we could do anything to help find him or do something about it, and certainly take the little girl to the hospital. He didn't want us to take her to the hospital, and he told Bill if he would give him fifty dollars, I think it was, he would tell him who raped her. He knew who raped her! And that was the worst experience of our lives. We couldn't get over it. My mother happened to be there at that time, and she was just.... Oh! she just couldn't understand it. It was just devastating. And Bill told him he certainly wouldn't do that. Told him if he knew who it was, to tell him, and he'd see that he was punished. And do you know that that fellow would not tell him, unless he gave him fifty dollars.
Reiff: What's he going to do?
Greene: So we just tried to.... My mother looked the little girl over, because she was a nurse. But there were nurses at the school over there, too. They had a boarding school over there, and they looked her over, and she was harmed, too. She was bruised. And the father wouldn't tell who it was unless somebody paid him. So we had to leave it up to them to do it. We couldn't take it any further than that. But we just let him know that we were willing to help in any way we could to find him, and certainly to protect the girl in any way.
So then after that we had.... Oh, one night, the reason I told about the cowboy boots, we left the door open at night, and one night, in the middle of the night, a Navajo walked in and he was just standing by my bed, and he said that he had killed his wife. Well, I quickly pulled on my boot and something was tight in there, so I kept pulling. I thought, "Well, maybe that's my sock." So I pulled it off and it was a mouse! (laughter) We had a lot of mice up there. You could never get rid of all of them. I had killed that mouse in my shoe! (laughing obscures comment) It was really, really interesting, to say the least.
Well, the guy said that he killed her, and Bill said, "Well, are you sure she was dead, and he said, "Yes, there was blood coming out of her head." [Bill] said, "Did you feel her pulse?" He said, "Oh, I didn't touch her." They don't touch them, if they're dead, you know. So anyway, Bill called the police....
Reiff: That were where?
Greene: At Window Rock.
Reiff: How far away?
Greene: Oh, it was at least eighty-five miles west.
Reiff: And bad roads then?
Greene: And bad, bad roads then--terrible roads. And the policemen would sometimes arrive there in as bad a shape as what we called them for! (laughter)
Reiff: These would be Navajo police?
Greene: They were Navajo police. And so anyway, it took hours and hours. He was perfectly willing to wait there. And Bill kept trying to get some more information. He wanted to know.... He said he was just drinkin' and he was mad, and he hit her in the head and killed her. So when the police finally came, why, they did take him off, but they didn't do a thing with him--nothin', at that time. They're more strict now.
Reiff: Had she died?
Greene: Oh, yeah, she was very dead. She'd been dead several hours by that time. So that way, we didn't have to participate in the arrest of him, except that they arrested him at our house, but they didn't do a thing. He didn't have to stay in jail or nothin'. But now, they do. And jail is the worst thing a Navajo can have. They cannot stand to be cooped up, you know.
Reiff: Was that an area that had a lot of witchcraft?
Reiff: Can you talk about that?
Greene: They didn't call it witchcraft, of course.
Reiff: No. What did they call it?
Greene: They had medicine men. The medicine men were very revered, really. And we knew who the medicine men were, and we knew that they got things in the mail. It was peyote, and you could smell it. So we got to know. Of course we had the post office right there in our place, and we handled all the mail. And so we knew what it was, but you don't interfere with somebody's culture unless it's something that's hurting somebody, and something that you have authority to do it with. And actually, the medicine man, the most prominent one, he was crippled, he had a bad leg.
Reiff: Do you remember his name?
Greene: I don't at the moment. I'll think about it and get back to you.
Reiff: You bet, _________.
Greene: I may think of it, because I usually do that way, if I haven't thought of anything for a long time. But anyway, he was a sweet little man, real sweet natured. We could find no fault with him. But we had a fellow from Johns Hopkins University come out and spend a summer with us to study peyote groups, and his name was David.... [Oh, I forgot?] There again, I'll have to think about that. But he has written books about it, and they're available now. His first name is David, and I will think of his name before--because he stayed with us all summer, lived with us. He was Jewish, but he didn't object to having--because we didn't have a lot of sources of meat, you know--and he would eat bacon and things like that. He wasn't an Orthodox Jew. But a really nice guy. And he went out to the peyote clans' meetings, and participated, because he wanted to understand what peyote did. There had been rumors about infanticides, there had been things like that happen at some of their meetings when they had had peyote.
Reiff: Was that rumored, or fact?
Greene: It was rumored. I didn't know any fact about that, but it was rumored among the other Navajos, very much so, because they weren't all Peyote Clan, you know. And perhaps a lot of it was exaggerated. But the ones who were not Peyote Clan would tell all these stories about it. And of course we were there, you're learning everything new, so you listen to all of it. But David went and participated. They make like kind of a tea, and they pass it around. You know, they sit in a circle in a hogan. He said that there was very mild hallucination, but it was pleasant, it wasn't anything that would cause anybody to become violent, in his opinion. And so that's the way he saw it. You know, the book he wrote was something that he had been given a grant to do.
Reiff: So he was a researcher.
Greene: A researcher from Johns Hopkins. And he wrote the book with that, and I'm sure you could find it. Aberle! David Aberle, A-B-E-R-L-E, Aberle. Isn't it funny! I haven't thought about that in years. But anyway, he wrote the book, that he thought it was more or less harmless, and he didn't think it was anything to try to arrest them for, for using drugs, or anything like that. So I guess maybe it calmed everything down, because there were getting to be so many rumors about it, that I guess the police were wanting to try to confiscate all of the peyote. And it was coming from.... Let's see, I believe it was Alabama. Anyway, it only grows in a few states. And this would come in the mail to the medicine man, see. And of course he was of the Peyote Clan. So it was very, very interesting.
Reiff: For sure!
Greene: I have so many stories that you don't even want to hear all of them.
Reiff: Oh, yes I do!
Greene: Do you? Well, anyway, I could write a book about just the things that happened out there. But see, Bill was flying over to Cliff Dwellers. At that time, it wasn't going well over there. The family had left Marble Canyon then, in the middle of while we were on the Reservation. Roman was a very, very poor businessman. I don't know if I should say that or not, but he was, everybody knew it. He was going bankrupt. So Dad wanted to buy it--Cliff Dwellers, as you know.
Reiff: And that's about ten miles up the road?
Greene: About ten miles up the road, right. And it had all those balanced rocks, and very interesting. Of course it was very primitive.
Reiff: Was there anything there?
Greene: The only thing there was that little shack built in the rocks, that's still there. And we still own it.
Reiff: Whoa. So nothing was there, except ____________ cleaned that up one time ___________.
Greene: At the moment, I am devastated by that. It was in a picture in the paper recently, and a story written by a man named Mark Schaeffer. Maybe you know Mark. He's at NAU. Anyway, he's a professor there, but he writes, too. And the picture he had in there, somebody had really trashed it over there. And Johnny Schoppmann’s son went over and repainted it. He thought that was the original color, and he had turquoise on it! It is hideous-looking. And besides that, some of the roof had blown off, so we're going to completely renovate it and fix it up, because the family wants to keep that forever.
Reiff: Was that the original?
Greene: That's the original. It was Blanche Russell and her husband had that.
Reiff: And who was Blanche Russell?
Greene: Well, Blanche Russell, she and her husband had come from New York, and she was originally with the Follies in New York. (laughs) They came out in this old car. And of course this was many, many years ago.
Reiff: So about what time?
Greene: That would have been, I guess, about 1920, back then, you know, when there were almost no cars on the road. I could get the exact dates. It's in our archives, by the way. We have archives that would give you other things than what I'm telling you—they are at ASU and at the Heard Museum, and it's on line, and you can get it. You know how to do that. Through NAU you could get.... See, that's where all of our pictures, we have McGibbney's pictures, we have priceless things in there. And most of the things at ASU are all about all of this country. But the things at the Heard Museum are mostly about Bill and I, because it was Indian. Dad couldn't speak Navajo. He could say yah-tah-hey. But the Navajos he came in contact with over there were English-speaking more or less, and it was a little different situation than being right out on the reservation and then learning to speak Navajo, and having to speak Navajo. And also we're the ones--McGibbney would come to our trading post and stay about a month and get these wonderful pictures. He set up a studio right in the trading post. So we have some wonderful stuff that you'd love.
Reiff: You're right, I would.
Greene: And you could certainly have access to it, because you're working at NAU. I would have to ask Judy and check to see if I could do that over the phone. She can tell you--you know a lot about computers, I guess, don't you?
Reiff: Not a thing.
Greene: That's the way I am too. That's why I can't work my computer very well. I have one now, they gave it to me for Christmas, and I'm learning, but Judy knows all about them.
Reiff: Yeah, Special Collections.
Greene: Judy taught at ASU. She's an artist, and so am I. These are all my paintings.
Reiff: I didn't know! I wondered who the artist was. Oh, my gosh!
Greene: Mine are just the way they look to me, but hers are abstract. She taught weaving, she's a wonderful weaver. See, that's what she did when she was a little girl, watched women weave in summertime, so she got interested in it, and she's a really good weaver.
Reiff: That's wonderful.
Greene: So her pieces, like, would cover that whole wall there. And in sections. So they're mostly in hotels and lodges. They're too big for most homes. And expensive. And they're all different things: they're weaving, they're acrylic. I only do oils, and she does everything except oils. She does watercolors. And she mixes them in.
Reiff: So she does mixed media?
Greene: Yes, five different media. And I've never had any training. She has a master's degree in art. So she did teach there for a while, and she's freelance. And she has a website that's beautiful, you'd love to see that. Let me call her for a second. (tape turned off and on)
We stayed at Pinon about a year, and we had a little female dog there. (laughs) Oh boy, I tell you! We had a real--I almost had a fight with a whole bunch of men. My little dog got out, and she was in heat. She was a little bitty dog, named Inky, a real black dog. So she got out and I heard a commotion out front, and these men were all laughing. Of course these Navajo dogs had gotten to her, and I just went bananas. (laughs) I ran in and got a bucket of water, and threw it on the dogs, and it didn't do any good, of course it was too late. But they were standing there laughing, and they wouldn't help me, because they thought that was fun-nee! And so anyway, she had some pups. I believe there was four of them, and we kept one of them and that was Cle-Cha. I told you we had him. He was black too. But he was built real funny, I had no idea what-all he was. He had legs about that long.
Reiff: Little short ones.
Greene: Yeah, that was appropriate for me, I guess. But he was really short. He was real full of life. We somehow adopted, without knowing it, another dog, a Navajo dog, that looked just like a skunk. You know, he had that stripe and he was black and white. So we named him Skunk. He didn't come in the house, but we fed him all the time. And he was Cle-Cha’s buddy. Of course we shortened it to Clay. And here was this big ol', tall, ugly dog, and little ol' Clay down here. So Clay would jump in a bunch of mean dogs. They were in gangs. And he'd go right in the middle of them and start a fight, and then he'd run out, and old Skunk would have to fight the fight. So one day--he was old, I guess, and nobody claimed him, 'cause they're not very kind to their dogs. And so we went out one day, and there was old Skunk, layin' under a tree, dead. And that just broke our hearts, even though he wasn't really our dog. But then Cle-Cha was with us at Pinon, Rough Rock, and finally at Cliff Dwellers.
Of course Bill was a pilot, you know, and we had a plane, so he could get in and out of there easily and go visit Judy in Gallup.
Reiff: Did you have to put in your own airfield? That's what my dad did.
Greene: Bill always put in his own airfields. He'd drag it and drag it and so on. Anyway, we finally had to give Clay to Ruth and Vern over at Cliff Dwellers, he was over there.
Reiff: And Ruth is Bill's sister?
Greene: Yes, Ruth is Bill's sister, and they were running Cliff Dwellers in about 1957. And of course at that time we were starting Canyon Tours and Greenehaven. We had really no way to take care of Cle-Cha.
Reiff: So you were talking about the airstrips.
Greene: Oh, he put in the airstrips everyplace. He put in the airstrips at Marble Canyon too.
Reiff: Oh, I didn't know that. And then you said that Clay went over to Cliff Dwellers. And I'm not sure, for the people who are listening, if we made the transition from Pinon, or from Marble Canyon, actually, how long were the Greenes at Marble Canyon?
Greene: They were at Marble Canyon until, let's see, it must have been 1949, I guess.
Reiff: And they moved ten miles up the road?
Greene: Yes, the family bought that property up there. Bill and I were at Pinon at this time. Bill's mother died in '57, so without it being written down, it's hard to remember those dates, but as I recall they were building new Cliff Dweller’s in 1950 and were using old Cliff Dweller’s as their home and base of operations until the new one was completed.
Reiff: Okay, so in 1949 the family moved up there, you were saying earlier, the only thing that was up there was the little building in the rocks. And did you use that as your trading post?
Greene: No, Mom cooked in there, and she served--she had big groups. Can you imagine that?! They had benches and long tables.
Reiff: How big would you say that little building was?
Greene: There wasn't enough room at all inside for anybody to speak of--maybe three couples. But they took tables outside and they had like Boy Scout troops and stuff like that.
Reiff: Oh my gosh!
Greene: And she would just have all that good food. And of course the stove was very hard--it was just a wooden stove. And she baked her own bread, made her own buns for the hamburgers.
Reiff: And did they live in tents, or what?
Greene: They lived in the rock building and two smaller buildings that were on the property.
Reiff: They actually.... Oh my!
Greene: Bill and I were on the reservation, so we did not live there, but he was over there a lot, because he'd fly supplies over there to them. See, Grace had married Mel Schoppman and moved to Kanab, so she wasn't there. So it was Ruth and Vern and Irene and Earl and Mom and Dad, during that period. But of course we were there an awful lot, but we just didn't live there, because we were making a living on the Reservation at that time.
Reiff: True! So when did the building start ________.
Greene: The Cliff Dwellers Restaurant? They started it pretty much right after they bought it from Jack Church from Kanab. His dad had purchased it from the Russells.
Reiff: And about how big a piece of property was it originally?
Greene: It's a section.
Reiff: Which is how much?
Greene: Six hundred and forty  acres.
Reiff: Okay, now I know. I'm not familiar with that.
Greene: See, it's all layered. Some is up on the top, and that's what I was telling you about.
Reiff: Oh, ____________.
Greene: There were quite a few....
Reiff: Hollywood actors.
Greene: Yes. Dennis Hopper is a Hollywood actor and he's very well-known. He usually plays weird parts, but he's a very good actor.
Reiff: Wasn't he the star in "Easy Rider"?
Greene: He was one of them, yes. It was the Fonda boy and him--or, man. And he also has made movies over at Cliff Dwellers.
Reiff: Oh, I didn't know that.
Greene: And Brooke Shields was with him in the movie made at Cliff Dwellers. But anyway, Dennis Hopper had moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I think he still has a home there. But at that time, he was kind of out of favor in Hollywood because he had a problem with drugs, and it was a well-known problem, so I don't mean to be telling anything I'm not supposed to. He loved this country over here, so he bought forty acres from us over there. And he was going to build a place. He wanted to be away from the world, and all his friends were the same type friends, so they bought over there too--____ quite a few of them. And among them was a fellow named Ed Abbey. Have you heard of him?
Reiff: I've heard of him.
Greene: He was the first one to buy forty acres, before Dennis Hopper. In fact, he finally ended up with eighty acres, before he died. So anyway, Dennis Hopper wanted us to come over so that he could buy forty more acres. This event occurred around 1976. He wanted to walk it and look at it and be sure what he wanted and everything. So we went over and he had his little girlfriend with him, so she and I kind of visited while he and Bill tramped the ground and everything. And he was making his decision, but the whole time he was doing this, he and Bill were really drinking. He, in addition, had had some kind of drug, you know. So he was getting extremely loaded. When we got back to the restaurant, the Cliff Dwellers Restaurant, he didn't last very long, he passed out in there. And this little girl was such a young girl, and she was from Santa Fe too, and she made jewelry, designed jewelry. Sweet little girl, but she was helpless, and he was laying there passed out. So we decided that we had to come home, because we had a fifty-mile drive and it was in the winter, and very cold.
Reiff: After you flew in?
Greene: No, we drove a big Suburban, a great big Suburban. I had never driven it, because it was so big. All we could do was tell the little girl to tell Dennis to call us over at Greenehaven and get back in touch with us over at Lake Powell about the land. But as we walked out of the restaurant, walking down the steps, (Bill himself had put these in, and it was a stone front porch, and then there were three stone round steps--you know, different diameters. And it was slate-like rock, and so a piece of it was loose). Bill always wore rubber-soled shoes, and also he'd had a few drinks. (laughter) As he stepped on that piece of broken rock, he fell, and his whole body landed on that one leg, and it was twisted under him. He could not get up to save himself. He tried and tried. And of course I was too small to lift him at all, or try to get him up. So I finally got him a little bit up, and then I went inside and got Chuck DeWitt and his wife, who had bought the place from us in around 1974. I got them to come out and help me, and I got him in a sitting position, and then Chuck and I put our feet on his behind and she took him by the arms, and I opened the door to the Suburban--they're very high, you know--and we pushed him in. I knew his leg was broken, because it was so--he never complained about pain, and he was--actually, tears were coming down his face. And so we got him in that way, but I had never driven that big Suburban. The back window was down, and it's in the middle of winter and it was very cold. It's about 10:30, 11:00 at night, you know. So I asked Chuck and his wife to call over at Lake Powell, where we had a home there. At that time we had a mobile home down there with Grace and Mel. And I wanted Grace and Mel to meet us when we got here at Lake Powell, Greenehaven, because they could help me get him out of the truck. I could not get him to go to the hospital. I tried and tried all the way over here. And also we were freezing, because I didn't know how to close that back window, and he couldn't tell me. So we had a terrible trip home, but we finally got here, and Grace and Mel helped me get him out at our house, and his leg and foot were swollen three or four times the normal size, and they were black-looking. I mean, it was black-looking, so I knew it was broken, but he wouldn't go in there. So he said he'd go in the morning. So that's what we did, we waited 'til morning, and of course it was terribly cold. Took him to the hospital, and they X-rayed his leg and it was broken in about four places.
Reiff: Oh, my gosh!
Greene: All down around his ankle there. They put a temporary cast. It was not the kind he needed, because being diabetic, he had to have an old-fashioned cast. So they put this softer cast and told me to get him to Phoenix immediately. So that's what we did. Meanwhile, Dennis had come over to pay, he was going to come out and talk to Bill. See, he was passed out, he didn't know about Bill's leg. (laughter) So he started driving over to Greenehaven, and had still been drinking, and he got picked up and put in jail! (laughter) And to top it all off, he had an eagle feather in his hat! and they got him on that one too. (laughter) We have not seen Dennis since.
Reiff: Is he still on the land?
Greene: He's still owns the land and loves it, and he....
[END SIDE TAPE 1, SIDE B; BEGIN TAPE 2, SIDE A]
Reiff: We're with Evelyn Greene, 2/10/2001, Side 3. You were just mentioning Dennis Hopper, and you said you haven't seen him since.
Greene: No. And he will never live over there now, the way he wanted to at that time, because he's into much bigger.... You know, he's in a big estate now. At that time, he was at a low point in his life, and he wanted to get away from everybody. But in order to make the kind of money he makes, he has to do it in Hollywood. So he'll never move here, but he loves it.
Reiff: I want to ask you, Evelyn: I always knew that Bill was considered the brains, as you said earlier, of the family, good businessman. And it sounds like financially, that you guys were absolutely essential to developing both Cliff Dwellers and Wahweap, is that right? Can you fill me in on that?
Greene: When the family started at Wahweap and we formed Canyon Tours, Cliff Dwellers became a part of the Canyon Tours assets. Cliff Dweller’s was owned by the family (not us) and that was their contribution to the Canyon Tours assets.
Reiff: When you say their part....
Greene: The rest of the family. That's what they had as an asset to put in. And we had the cash. And so that was okay, because it became an asset of Canyon Tours.
Reiff: And you guys originally bought how much land?
Greene: We didn't buy any land--that was a thirty-year lease. The government will always own it.
Reiff: Okay. And it was a school section?
Greene: No, it was owned by the state. It was originally for grazing lease. We purchased the lease from a Navajo. His name was Curly Tso, T-S-O, and he was an old friend. So we purchased all that grazing lease from him, and we did have some cattle to put on it, because Mel was a cattleman, so it was a family deal. This was around 1957.
Reiff: How did you know where the dam was going in?
Greene: Because of Bill's flying over it to bring supplies over to Cliff Dweller’s all the time. He picked, and he said, "I know it has to be this spot." You could tell from the air.
Reiff: Okay, so I want you to really get into that, because people may not know that the Greene family literally built and actually created the tourism on Lake Powell, because there was nothing on _______.
Greene: ______________. You know, the rumors had been flying for quite a long time that they were going to put a dam in here. And Bill flew directly from Rough Rock over to Cliff Dwellers, so when he did, he passed all that area, and he'd make a little whirl around and look it all over real good. And he took Dad up in the air, and they decided that was it, that was where it was going to be. So that's why they wanted to make sure they got the lease on the land that was there. So Greenehaven was part of that lease too.
Reiff: Greene Haven?
Greene: Greene Haven was also part of that original lease that they got from Curly Tso. Actually, we got six sections from him.
Reiff: And six sections is....
Greene: Each section is 640 acres.
Reiff: Okay, so lots of acreage.
Greene: Lots of acreage, and there was nothing here at all.
Reiff: Were there even roads up here then?
Greene: No, nothing but just some pathways for the cowboys, just to get to their cattle and stuff.
Reiff: So close to 4,000 acres.
Greene: Yes, but we didn't use all of it. This was a section, which was 640 acres, but we could not purchase all of this. Do you want me to finish about the Canyon Tours tours?
Reiff: Sure, however you....
Greene: So anyway, that's how we got the land, was from a Navajo originally. Then it had to be presented to the State Land Department that we were the ones that everybody thought should be able to get the concession. It was very difficult because we had a lot of people fighting us.
Reiff: And talk about what a concession is.
Greene: A concession is the right with the government. You have a contract with the government to have the exclusive.... You supply everything that's needed at a resort, that they have the land on. And so they have control, they tell you what colors you can put on it and all those different things, but everything on it is yours.
Reiff: So the competition was really strong?
Greene: The competition was very strong when we were trying to get it. And one of our biggest, biggest helpers was Barry Goldwater. He was a dear friend of Dad's--and Bill too. But he was a tremendous help.
Reiff: And at that time he was....
Greene: He was a senator. Also, there were quite a few politicians who helped us. But he was the one ____________, same thing Babbitt is now.
Reiff: Secretary of Interior? Oh, Stu [Stewart]Udall?
Greene: Yes. Anyway, Stu Udall was a big help too, and his brother.
Greene: All of them helped us, because they all knew Dad was an old-time river runner, and he knew this area, and it was just kind of a thing that should have been an old-timer that knew what they were talking about, concerning the land. But the people who tried to get it from us were people who had a lot of money, and they would throw up the fact that we were just a family and that we couldn't really afford to do it, that we were not going to have the money to do it. So we had to go to court and fight the battle. But the land commissioner was a man named Obed Lassen, and he fought for us, and he had the final say. So he would say, to the one trying to get the lease from us, he asked them how long they had lived in Arizona. And the guy got all flustered, and he said, "Well, six weeks." (laughs) Because he knew it, 'cause he found out. And what he did was, just get an apartment in Arizona. He was from Utah. Of course part of the lake's in Utah, but the concession had to be awarded to an Arizonan. And so it was in Arizona. And so anyway, he just said, "Leave the Greene family alone. They get the concession." And so we got it. And it was really hard for the river runners as the change essentially stopped their livelihood on the river. It was really something, because Dad's business would be, at that point, which would have happened to your dad, too, would have been at a standstill.
Reiff: That's right, because in the meantime Dad, Art Greene, had started taking boat tours.
Greene: Oh yes. The last of Dad’s river trips was in 1969 with Gene Fannin.
Reiff: Can you tell about that?
Greene: He got boats with an airplane motor on them, because they were going up the river. They weren't going over the rapids or anything, from Lee's Ferry down. They were coming up river to Rainbow Bridge.
Reiff: From Lee's Ferry to Rainbow Bridge?
Greene: Yes, from Lee's Ferry. But it was very difficult, because it was so noisy with those airplane motors. They had to put plugs in their ears and everything else, to stand it. But then they changed from that and finally got the boats that were compatible with the people, because it wasn't quite pleasant. And then they had stashed--or cached, I guess you call it--gasoline all the way. There was no way to get gas. And of course those motors used a lot of gas. So they cached gasoline all the way up to Rainbow Bridge.
Reiff: And what year did he start running those tours, that touring ________?
Greene: Directly after we went up to--in fact, he ran some of them when he was at Marble Canyon. So he actually started them when he was there, and that would have been in '49, along in there. He was doing it then.
Reiff: And did it for how long, Evelyn?
Greene: Well, he had done it before, even before your dad. He had done it when he lived in Telluride. Was it Telluride? No, he was born in Telluride, but he lived in Aztec, and he started doing it way back then when he was around 18 years old.
Reiff: Oh, my gosh! So in about what year?
Greene: Oh, he was born in 1895, so I guess that would have been about 1913, something like that. But he just did it once in a while, you know. He was just a young kid trying to get some income started. And then, of course, he lived in Denver meanwhile, after he left Aztec. Then he started again when he moved to Arizona and when he went to Marble Canyon, which was in about 1943. Well, he went there in 1943.
Greene: Yeah, '43, I think, yes. So he was doing it once in a while then, but he had to have a special boat built by a man called Seth Smith, who was the best boat builder in Phoenix. Seth built all the boats for Dad, to be used on the river trips. Dad wasn’t initially happy about the dam being built but he needed to make a living for his family. And so Dad did not exactly think Lake Powell was going to be liked by everybody. He knew there were going to be people who didn't like it. But he thought, "It's going to happen anyway, so go with the flow." And that's what we did. Of course the people who love Lake Powell, it's created such a sensation with people that they love it so much that's all you hear about in Phoenix. Everybody I talk to wants to know all the details.
Reiff: Before you move any further into your Lake Powell experience, I would love--you mentioned briefly to me off tape about Shine Smith. And I would love to know about some of the local characters who evidently populated Lee's Ferry and Marble Canyon. Would you do that, Evelyn?
Greene: Shine was a defrocked Presbyterian minister. He came out here as a Presbyterian minister. But he used.... People didn't understand how to get converts with Navajos--or any other Indians, for that matter, at that time--because they didn't understand their culture. And so Shine used his own methods, because he understood them better. So he got converts. He didn't put down their beliefs, but he just talked to them like a child, and they really listened to him and believed in him, and he had more converts than anybody. But the Church would hear about these different things he'd have, and the converts and how he'd get them.
Reiff: Can you remember some examples of what he did? I can see by the look on your face you do remember! (laughter)
Greene: Well, you know, I wasn't here when he first came out or anything, but he would join in with the Navajos, if they had anything to drink or anything like that. He'd join in and be in their group and party like that. He would take that opportunity to talk to them about Christianity and about the Lord and everything. And _______ they listened to him like a little child would listen. And other things that he would do, he would, for one thing, he had such a following, people just adored him. He was such a very good.... So he had a lot of very wealthy people who backed him--especially after the church let him go, because he wasn't doing ethical things, the way they wanted it done ______. So then all of these people--and one of them I remember was a man who had a blanket factory, and beautiful, big, wool blankets. Well, the blankets that were not finished--you know, they'd have satin fitted around the edge of it, a border, and if they weren't finished correctly, where they had a defect in the trim, he would save them all up at his factory, and at the end of the year, send them to Shine for the Navajos for their Christmas party. So he had these famous Christmas parties.
Reiff: How did he end up in the Marble Canyon area?
Greene: Well, he had chosen this area to come to. I'm not sure how he got to Marble Canyon, but he chose the Navajo Reservation as his field. And so then after the Church no longer was subsidizing him, he was given money by people who lived around here, to keep him going, and had a place to live, and a home and all that stuff. And that's how he got to stay over there, at Richardson's or whoever--they all helped him. They used to help him all the time, including our family.
Reiff: Approximately what year did he come out here, and do you know where he was from?
Greene: I don't really know that. I think it was from Pennsylvania. It was back east, but I have no idea what year because at that time he was an elderly man when I first came here. So it had to have been fifty years before that, that he came.
Reiff: Where did he live?
Greene: He lived anyplace he could live. He lived at the folks' place, he'd be there three or four months. Then he'd go down to Richardsons' and be there for three or four months. Anybody, wherever. I think they kept a place for him there at Richardsons' that he could always come to.
Reiff: And Richardsons, can you explain who they were?
Greene: They were the ones who owned Cameron. And so Cameron was more or less his headquarters, I guess you'd call it.
Reiff: _________ Richardson. And is that __________.
Greene: _______ was the older man, and I really don't know the names of the rest of them. They're all gone now. But anyway, those families. And then also there was Gray Mountain, he would stay there some, too.
Reiff: So he had a route almost.
Greene: He had a route, oh absolutely. Just the whole year around, he'd be here three months, and then two months, and just went around like that. And every Navajo knew of him, and they all--you know, any of them would be a convert if he was there, because they really loved him. So he had a Christmas party at our place at Pinon one year, and it was the largest one he'd ever had.
Reiff: A revival?
Greene: No, a Christmas party to give them things. And that's why they loved him so, because.... I mean, other missionaries never thought about their physical needs. They were thinking about their spiritual needs only. And that was hard for them to understand, because they wanted to be comfortable first, in just the basic things. So Shine, with all of these friends all over the world sending him things all year round, by the time Christmas came.... And he stored them at Cameron in a storage place there. So this is the largest one he had ever had. We had almost 4,000 Navajos.
Reiff: Oh, my land! Oh, Evelyn!
Greene: And so what we did....
Reiff: What year?
Greene: That was in, let's see, 1954. I believe it was 1954, I'm sure it was.
Reiff: And how many days gathering __________.
Greene: It took us--Irene and I sorted the clothes, and Bill built bins in the stockroom, and we had these bins. We would put women's coats, women's loafers, men's coats, men's shoes, or whatever. And we had them all bins. And children's bins. All separate. It took us three weeks to prepare for it. And we worked hard, because we had to do it at night after we closed the store. So anyway, we had all those clothes done, but what we did then, we hired this really very good chef, that Harry Goulding had at Monument Valley, to come over. You know, in a trading post you always had those big zinc bathtubs--I think they're zinc.
Reiff: Yes, or _________.
Greene: That's what we cooked beans in, and stew. They had never been used, they were new. He made stew and beans. The fry bread, I had outdoor things that he just built, because he had cooked out a lot over at Monument Valley, so he knew how to do that. We had quite a few helpers from the school there, that helped us.
Reiff: The school?
Greene: The school at Rough Rock. This was all at Rough Rock.
Reiff: Now the party took place at....
Greene: The party took place at Rough Rock. See, after we left Pinon in 1951, what happened was, Clarence Wheeler came to Pinon. He came and he had heard about us, because if a Navajo liked a trader, everything's great, and all Navajos will hear about him. But if they don't like him, he might as well leave the reservation because you're not going to do any good with any of them. And so he had heard about us. And we were just in our twenties, you know, so that was pretty young for a trading post. And so he came over and asked us if we would go with him to Rough Rock, and we would be partners.
Reiff: And that was what year?
Greene: That was in, let's see, 1950, I believe. No, I think it was '51, because we'd been at Pinon, and we'd been at Oraibi. And so most of our time out there was spent at Rough Rock, because his offer was so much better than what we had had with Roman.
Reiff: Can you tell us in terms of those days what the offer was?
Greene: (laughs) Ramon Hubbell paid very small salaries, and he paid it to us as a couple, and we only made $150 a month, and room and board.
Reiff: And did you get any overrides?
Greene: No, not with him. None. Very unfair, because.... But anyway, he quite often would make a comment that so many of his people that worked for him stole from him. Of course that really didn't make Bill happy, or me either, because Bill said, "We don't steal, so we would like to make a good living." He hadn't gotten around--so see he was about to go bankrupt, but we didn't know that. Of course that had nothing to do with us. He had gone into the car selling business in Winslow, and he knew nothing whatsoever about cars, and that's what got him in trouble. But anyway, so this man [i.e., Clarence Wheeler] comes in and offers us the moon to us, and a partnership.
Reiff: And "the moon" meant?
Greene: The moon meant that he would give us a bonus at the end of the year, if we did well, which was what we liked, because the harder we worked, the more we made. We would be making like $30,000 a year, and that was a real big salary in those days.
Reiff: Lots of money.
Greene: And we had nothing to spend it on except sending Judy to school in Gallup, because we couldn't ever leave the reservation. How much are you going to spend on the reservation? So that's how we saved so much money, to be able to start Canyon Tours. We did even better than that after the first year, because the more money he made, the more bonus we got. And I was a railroad retirement agent--also that brought in more money, because all of the signers. And I had 144, and I was the only woman on the reservation at that time that did that. The signers would go out and get drunk every Thursday.
Reiff: Tell me, if you will, about what railroad retirement is.
Greene: Well, the railroad pays an agent to sign Indians, and I suppose other communities that have very little work--they let them sign for unemployment when they're not working on the railroad. They do labor on the railroads, you know. They lay ties and do repairs, railways and things like that. Of course the Navajos have no way to make money way out on the reservation like that at all, except that. So they would sign up for unemployment. Then I would fill out their forms and send it in for them, and the checks came to the store. So they would pick up the checks at the store. And of course what they bought--their clothes, everything is purchased at a trading post, because that's where they lived. And so it's a very good thing to have in your trading post.
Reiff: Yes, brings trade in.
Greene: Brings trade in that you couldn't get otherwise, because the young ones don't have anyplace to work. However, they did--see the uranium was found at that time. We also had uranium, but it was on the Navajo Reservation where Bill would find the uranium, so we couldn't do anything about it except we could own it if we owned it with the Navajos. So we had several Navajos that had places. That didn't amount to much, but we found uranium over by Marble Canyon area, or Cliff Dwellers area, and we did sell one of those mines over there, so that helped some. That was after they and we were already in Canyon Tours.
Reiff: "They" being the rest of the family?
Greene: The rest of the family, yes. And we put the cash in. And Bill also had a lot of associates who'd been in real estate in Phoenix. Bill was the original builder of Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix. So he knew a lot of places to borrow money or whatever. And the family didn't have that advantage--the rest of the family--because they didn't live [in Phoenix (Tr.)], or weren't in that kind of business. So that made us as necessary as anybody was to the family enterprise. And it was definitely a family enterprise.
Reiff: So with Shine Smith and his ministry....
Greene: Shine by that time (1957) had passed away, by the time we got Wahweap.
Reiff: I want to pick up that thread. I don't think people know that there were huge--that trading posts sponsored parties, because I did that when I was at Marble Canyon. So can you tell me about the 4,000 Navajos?
Greene: Oh, it was unbelievable! Pictures of that are in the archives.
Reiff: Are they in the Heard Museum?
Greene: No, they're at ASU.
Reiff: How did most of the people get there?
Greene: Oh, wagons. There were some trucks then, but what they'd do, the family might have one person with a truck. (phone rings, tape turned off and on) ... family, that one of the young men might have a truck, and usually they had a big long-bed truck, because then everybody could get in the back of that truck and come to the trading post--and in this case to the party that we were talking about. And if they couldn't all get in there, then they came in wagons. So I'd say 80 percent were in wagons, and the other 20 percent had trucks. Nobody had a car. A car was foolish out there. That's the way they got here. And they came from all over. They came from Black Mountain and Navajo Mountain, and anyplace that heard about this Christmas party. I may have a picture at home, I don't know. And Judy made copies of a lot of those. So maybe we'll try to get pictures. But we're all lined up, and we have all of these tubs full of stew and beans, and then we had, of course, frybread by the ton. And the school helped with the frybread--the boarding school across the street from the trading post. And then we had fruit and Christmas candy and things like that for the kids. So they lined up. Four thousand Navajos lined up, and they let the children and the women first, and then the men. So we had to stand there and try to help them find the clothes they needed, etc., but we sort of let them pick it out.
Reiff: Their clothing?
Greene: Their clothing. And they would all get a coat and either a dress or trousers. And some companies sent tuxedos.
Reiff: I know! We had them at Marble Canyon.
Greene: Tuxedos! And it was friends of Shine’s, and they just kept sending them every year. And we had a friend finally that had tuxedos, and by golly, if he didn't send them to us, and then we had to get them out to people in need. But not recently. So we just gave them to somebody in Page, and they took them out on the reservation, I'm not sure where. But anyway, tuxedos and a Navajo. And they loved them. They just loved them.
Reiff: I got them too, at Marble Canyon.
Greene: Oh, those young men would pick out the tuxedos. We laid out a choice of clothes, you know. And there were a few fur coats, and oh, they went fast. (laughs) And there were high heels, ankle strap shoes. (laughs) Stuff that was of no use out there, but it was from all over the country. People had no idea who was going to get them, you know. And so it was fun. It was just a really wonderful time.
Reiff: How long did the party last?
Greene: Well, it just lasted the one day, once we got it started. What we did, we had--oh, some of them played a few games and things like that, you know. But it took so long to run them through. And after they got all their clothes, then they had to come back and get all their food. And so it took all day to do that. But then that was the happiest day for them. Oh, they were just.... And it just gave you a really great feeling, because they were really pleased. And this was all Shine Smith, so no wonder he was so well-known, you know. And they all wanted to follow his lead and become Christians. So that's how he got his converts. And it was a good plan, because you have to, when you're dealing with people who have a different culture from yours--and that was very different--you have to make allowances and not go by the strict rules that you follow in New York City. And he knew that, so he was successful with them. He had more converts than all the rest of them put together.
Reiff: That's interesting. Tell me about some of the other people at Marble Canyon, and who was down at Lee's Ferry at the old Lee Ranch.
Greene: Johnsons. They grew watermelons down there.
Reiff: And they were a Mormon family?
Greene: A Mormon family, yes. That Johnson man had the best watermelons in the world down there. You'd go down to visit him, and he'd just go out in the field and get a watermelon and bring it in and break it, and you'd have big chunks of watermelon, that's what you had.
Reiff: How long did it take, do you remember, to drive down there? Because I remember the road was terrible from Marble to Lee's Ferry.
Greene: We had a big old--it wasn't even a suburban then.
Reiff: Was that a World War II....
Greene: It was a World War II....
Reiff: Ambulance or something.
Greene: It was some kind of a war surplus vehicle. It took a long time--I would say, well, it took at least two hours to get down there. And that's not very far, you know.
Reiff: It's approximately seven miles?
Greene: About seven, but you had to go very, very slow. But of course all along the way were those balanced rocks, and you were looking at such beauty that it didn't matter if it took that long. We made a day of it, and went down to Johnsons' and had watermelon. It was a wonderful day, you know.
Reiff: Was Vermillion Cliffs built then?
Greene: Yes, it was. His name was Rodgers.
Reiff: Oh, was that Buck Rodgers' place?
Reiff: You know, I didn't know that. I'm going to talk to Betty Rodgers.
Greene: Yeah, that was his place.
Reiff: I do remember, yeah.
Greene: You're going to talk to young Betty?
Greene: She bought this house right up here at Greenehaven. Her name is Myers or something like that now.
Reiff: I don't know, Joanie got me her phone number.
Greene: I believe it's Myers--it starts with an "M." Moyers or Myers, I'm not sure which--maybe Moyers. But you know there's a spec house here at Greenehaven. They just bought that. The mother must be almost a hundred.
Reiff: Oh, I believe it.
Greene: Because she was friends with Bill's mom and dad, and Dad was born in 1895. He'd be.... Let's see, five years added onto a hundred, he'd be a hundred and six years old, wouldn't he?
Reiff: Yes. Buck Rogers was an early Indian trader, and he married Betty Rogers, who was an adopted Navajo child of the Wetherills in Kayenta.
Greene: That's correct. And they had, oh, I believe--I'm not sure, but I believe it was four children.
Reiff: Two boys, maybe two girls.
Greene: Two girls, I believe, yes. Betty's the one I know best.
Reiff: And they didn't do any tourism. Now, Vermillion Cliffs is five miles from Marble Canyon toward Cliff Dwellers, and they had no tourism stuff going on, did they? They were just traders at that point, do you know?
Greene: They had some tourism--very little. Buck liked his privacy.
Reiff: That's what I remember, yeah. You have a twinkle in your eye. Can you talk about him a little bit?
Greene: Well, you know, there was no place for people to go to the bathroom traveling through, and so quite often they'd stop there, because it was kind of--it had a few things for sale and all that. But he didn't have a bathroom for the public. So this one guy stopped there, and just decided--he didn't think anybody was there, so he just decided to go out in the yard, you know, and Buck caught him, and he almost killed him! (laughs)
Reiff: No, you're kidding!
Greene: Don't tell Betty, though, she doesn't know it. But he really did really hurt the guy, but the poor guy didn't really know, and out in the tules like that. You wouldn't do that in town, I suppose--most people wouldn't. But Buck wanted privacy. They were a lot of fun, because one time Bill and I went with Dad and Mom and Betty, the girl Betty.
Reiff: Senior Betty.
Greene: Yes. We went with them, and they had, I think it was young Betty who was alone. One of the girls lived alone. And Bill and I had never been to Mexico, deep sea fishing or anything, at that point. So we all went together. We had a ball! We really had a good time. Both Betty and Buck were a lot of fun. And Dad knew the man that had the Cavern, I believe, or the Cave down there, the restaurant.
Reiff: Down in Mexico?
Greene: In Mexico, yes. This was at Rocky Point, Puerto Penasco. Just this side of it is this big famous restaurant there, and it's in a cave. It's always real cool in there, underground. Really underground, if you have claustrophobia. But Dad knew that man that owns it. So we would get there, and oh gosh, we just had a wonderful time. I think, I'm sure I have a picture of that, if you're interested in it. The food was excellent, but it was stuff like turtle soup, stuff you don't get normally here, you know. But it was very, very good. So anyway, that was my only time to go anyplace with them, but they were great. I liked Betty. One of the boys was married to a lady that has a beauty shop up here. Bill and I used to own that building where the beauty shop was. I don't know who owns it now. I can't describe it to you. Where the movie theater is.
Reiff: Oh, yeah. Any more you want to fill-in about either Marble Canyon or Cliff Dwellers, that we ought to know?
Greene: Well, I really can't think of anything. See, the thing that I remember most about it, it was a wonderful experience, but of course in those days we went arrowhead hunting all the time.
Reiff: You guys are famous for your arrowheads. (laughter) Do you want to tell us about your arrowhead collection?
Greene: Earl is the one with the collection. Oh, man! But see, he and Irene were there all the time, and Bill and I weren't. We were working out on the reservation, so we didn't get to do it. But see, we did it mostly on our own property.
Reiff: Tell us about the famous arrowhead collection.
Greene: Oh, it was just wonderful. If you had a big wind, then the next day you'd go. No matter how many times you'd been in that spot, there would always be more arrowheads, because the wind would blow. You know, the sand blows tons of it away when the wind blows hard. So the best arrowhead hunter in the family was Irene. She was excellent, but Bill wasn't far behind her. And they were quite competitive. And of course Earl got better and better. And Earl made the displays. He loved to do that. And so we had some really good arrowheads. And the only one that didn't come from there is this one that I'm going to show you here. That's the only one that didn't come from that area. And that was given to Dad from an Indian--oh, what do you call it? Not a shaman, but a medicine man, in Oregon, I believe it was. The color is completely different from anything here.
Reiff: It is. When you were on the phone, I went over and looked, and I thought, "No, that's not from around here." It's a very deep cranberry color.
Greene: Isn't it beautiful?
Reiff: It is beautiful, _____________.
Greene: See, all of these are from there, and look how perfect those bird points are.
Reiff: Oh, they're lovely.
Greene: Of course I had never done anything like that, being from Kentucky. Some parts of Kentucky probably have arrowheads, but not where I came from.
Reiff: But most of these are Anasazi, are they not?
Reiff: They're very, very old, beautifully displayed.
Greene: And you can tell, Earl just really was good at that.
Reiff: Yeah, he's very gifted. Yeah, I remember them at Cliff Dwellers.
Greene: So that's the thing that I remembered most when I was over there. Now, you were here.... In talking to Betty Jo, you will probably hear more about--because she was a little girl who lived there all the time, you know, at that time. So she probably has stories about Marble Canyon and Cliff Dwellers that I am not cognizant of.
Reiff: Do you know what I hear from you, and have heard all day, which has made it so delightful, is your sense of excitement, even after all these years.
Greene: Oh! I think it's the most wonderful country in this world. I love it up here. I just can't imagine anything more beautiful. We had a man from Paris, who's a very well-known man there. He has a television show, and he is an author. He bought two big lots.... (phone rings)
Reiff: Here in Greene Haven?
Greene: Yes, here in Greene Haven.
[END SIDE TAPE 2, SIDE A, BEGIN SIDE B]
Reiff: This is Side 2, Tape 2, of the Evelyn Greene interview on 2/10/2001, in Greene Haven, Arizona.
Greene: This gentleman bought two lots in the estate part that had the largest and the best lots. And he made the comment, he has homes in Monte Carlo and he has a home, of course, in Paris, and he has a home in, I believe it's the Italian Riviera, and New York. And he said he has been all over the world, and never, ever has he seen such beauty as we have here. He said, "You people don't realize, because you live here, the beauty of this country." And I said, "I realize the beauty of this country. I think it is spectacular" And so did Bill. We just felt like--actually, we felt like we were a part of it, a part of the country. That's what makes it difficult now, because he's no longer a part of the country, but I know he's looking after it, to see that it's okay. (chuckles) When it's a beautiful day like it is today, there's just nothing in the world so beautiful as this. Do you agree? Okay. And so, now what?
Reiff: Well, it strikes me that you have known many, many famous people.
Greene: A lot of them, yes.
Reiff: And I don't think people know that, Evelyn, that this was a small country in the sense of there weren't that many people here, so everyone knew everyone. So maybe you can touch on some of the significant people that touched your lives, or you touched theirs.
Greene: Well, probably maybe the most interesting one, because it was the most unusual one, we had a friend who had been the ambassador to Great Britain, and his name was Douglas, Louis Douglas--Lou Douglas they called him. He had a patch over his eye. He's famous for it, his pictures. He always had a black patch because he had accidentally--he loved to fish--and the fishing [lure?] got caught in his eye, so he was blind in that eye. But he was a very striking-looking man, and he was a dear friend of ours. In fact, he was such a good friend that he wanted to become a part of our program up here at the lake, because he loved it so. But of course it was a family thing. But meanwhile, he called us in Phoenix and he said.... He had been in the Court of St. James and he was the ambassador, so he had lived there many years, and in living there, right by the queen and everything, his daughter was raised with Princess Margaret. So they were pals together when they were kids. So Princess Margaret was coming over to visit Sharmyn and the Douglases. The Douglases were, (his dad was the one Douglas, Arizona, is named after), living in Douglas, Arizona. And as you know, Douglas is a very small community, and not much to entertain a princess, and her husband at that time was Lord Snowden. And they had a big entourage--big.
Reiff: When you're saying big, how big is big?
Greene: Forty people, at least forty. Because all of their Scotland Yard people were with them, and a lot of other movie people that I'll tell you about, that we happened to know, so that made it nice. But anyway, he said, "Can you and Bill help me out? Can you entertain them for three days, and be host and hostess to them, and we'll come up to Lake Powell? There's no place I'd rather take them than Lake Powell." And so we said, "Absolutely." So he was the host, he was their host, and we were their hosts while they were here. So we agreed to that, and so he gave me a little instruction about what to do. And he said, "Now Evelyn, wear something very bright, because she always does. Wear gloves when you meet her." And he taught me how to curtsy, or his wife did. So I did the whole bit. I got a watermelon pink knit suit, and I had white gloves. And this was in November.
Reiff: Of what year, do you remember?
Greene: It was '64, I believe. And so I had the white gloves and did the whole thing. So they had this big plane that was coming in, and it was a twin engine, it wasn't any small plane. And there were about forty people. But as I said, it was several movie actors, and among them was Roddy McDowell, who was a friend of Lord Snowden's. He was from England too. And Roddy McDowell we had known when he made the movie here, "The Greatest Story Ever Told." We had already met him, so that made it nice. And then another one who also had made a movie here was an old-time actress named Dorothy McGuire. She was a lovely person. And her husband, his name was John Quinn or something like that. I'll think of it in a minute. Then there was another young lady from England originally, named Hope Lange, and her husband, who was gorgeous. (laughter) He was so good looking! And Hope was cute, too, just cute as a button. Then there were quite a few others, but they were not people that maybe you'd know about. Then of course there was all of the Douglas family. The rest of them were more or less to protect her. She had so many you would not believe it. So we didn't have the big lodge yet. All we had was Lake Powell Motel.
Reiff: Which is on the now highway.
Greene: It was there, it was on the highway as you go in. Now it's used just for overflow, or for people who don't want to be in a big place or whatever. But at that time, see, we had a service station, and we had a restaurant, and everything there, because we didn't have another one at that time.
Reiff: Were the Greene girls still cooking?
Greene: No, no. In fact, see, Irene was working at the boat tours, and....
Greene: Oh no, not at that point. Let's see, '64.... We did have the boat tours started, but it wasn't on a very large scale yet. Grace, at that point, working at the family Trailer park. And Ruth was over at Cliff Dweller’s. We had the fellow from Kanab, Whit Perry. You know Perry's Lodge? We had Whit Perry at Lake Powell Motel Restaurant. And he was the first manager we had. And Ken, his nephew, Ken that has Ken's “Old West”. He was the bus boy--he and another friend. He wore a little red top. Oh, he was so cute, both of them. And so those two boys came down from Kanab, and they worked over there. But what we did was, we had turned the public away for those three days and four nights. So the whole place was taken over by the Royal Entourage. And the FBI was there, the local authorities out of Flagstaff, the sheriff. We had so much police coverage, you just couldn't imagine. I didn't dream she had to be that protected. But anyway, when she got here, I did my whole bit. I did the curtsy, and you're supposed to say, "Your Royal Highness," the first thing you say to her, and curtsy. So I did that. And Bill did his thing just right. But Dad, you know Dad called everybody ma'am, so he said, "Howdy, ma'am," and she just loved it. She loved it. Coming from him, he can get by with anything. And after you call her Your Royal Highness the first time, then you do call her ma'am. She has to be called ma'am. I hate to be called ma'am. But in England, royalty is called ma'am. Her husband, Lord Snowden, even calls her ma'am.
Reiff: Oh my gosh!
Greene: And you're supposed to walk—Lord Snowden even walks three steps behind her at all times. So anyway, it's kind of silly to us, you know, but that's the way it was. So anyway, when she got here, oh, there were photographers, television, there was everything. And they were all watching when she got out. And here I had my watermelon suit and all, just as bright as could be. And she had on a beige coat, beige shoes, a beige dress, not one bit of color did she have on. So they got us mixed up. We looked exactly alike.
Reiff: Oh, my gosh!
Greene: The same size, hairdo the same, everything!
Reiff: She's short!
Greene: Yeah. And so they got us mixed up. And what she did was borrow my clothes, because she had no rough clothes, and I had boots and I had a raincoat that had a fake, probably a rabbit fur on it, that you could remove. And she liked that, so she wore that. And all of this was in the paper, headlines in The New York Times.
Reiff: Oh my gosh!
Greene: And The Washington Post, and everything, because we had no control over what the employees and other people were telling them. And so anyway, that was the headline in the Phoenix paper, about the clothes she was wearing of mine. But I thought that was fun to have that in there. I had a lot of pictures of those that I can show you. And you can see we're in the same line, and he's in between us.
Reiff: Lord Snowden.
Greene: You really cannot hardly tell us apart.
Reiff: So she was beautiful.
Greene: Well, I don't know if she was beautiful!
Reiff: Well, yeah, because you are.
Greene: I don't know, but we sure did look alike. I saw a recent picture of her, and bless her heart....
Reiff: Yeah, she has not aged well.
Greene: We took care of them at their parties and everything, you know. She is a very heavy drinker.
Reiff: Oh, I didn't know that. God bless her heart.
Greene: So this is one of her problems. And of course she was very uninhibited, and the press didn't care for her very much.
Reiff: No, I knew that.
Greene: So there were some stories that were told that hurt me because there was nothing said against us, but there were things said against her taking advantage of these poor people out there--you know, way out in the tules. And she isn't paying them anything, and it's costing them a fortune. That was all a lie, because Lou Douglas paid for everything. And besides, it was the best publicity, and Lake Powell had just started, and nobody knew about Lake Powell much. So between movies and her, and people like that coming here, is the way we got people to hear about Lake Powell, because they would instantly hear about it, or read about it in the paper. "Where's Lake Powell? We'll have to go there!" And so it was probably a million dollars worth of publicity. But it wasn't all good. Some of it was, like this was really in Timbuktu Land and stuff like that.
Reiff: That's when it was pretty _________.
Greene: It really was. (laughter) Well, then The New York Times came out with a story that she had not paid her bill, and she was really taking advantage, and she thought she was so uppity and all that kind of stuff, you know. And I cried, because I'd never had--I didn't realize that newspapers ever had lies in them. (laughs) And so Lou Douglas said, "Evelyn, you're just getting started, and you're going to have a lot of publicity. You've gotta get thick skinned right now because I'm going to send a telegram to my friend," whoever owned The New York Times, because he knew him real well, and he said, "I'm going to ask him for a retraction." It was a lady named Maxine Cheshire that wrote it.
Reiff: Oh, yes, I remember her.
Greene: Her husband was a writer also. And she's an excellent writer. And you know, he said she was too good a writer, and he would not retract the statement. He said, "She has never made a statement yet that we've had to retract," and that was that. And it wasn't anything that big, but it just hurt my feelings, because I didn't want her to go away feeling that we had said that, because we hadn't. And of course it didn't say that we said it--it just said that she had done that to us. And so anyway, she bought a pair of boots just like mine over in Page, and everybody was thrilled about that. All kinds of things. She had two children, a boy and a girl, and she bought things here to take back to them. Also, their favorite thing to do was--see, everybody handed them flowers every time they saw them. So the wife of the governor of Utah came down. I think it was the lieutenant governor. Anyway, this lady had a big bunch of flowers, and she presented them to Princess Margaret. And this was a nice thing, and Princess Margaret was very sweet about this encounter. A little Navajo girl--you remember Dora Knight?
Greene: Dora and Royce, her husband. It was the airport they owned where the royal family landed. So Dora and Royce were there, and Dora had this darling little Navajo girl, all dressed in Navajo clothes, and with a chonga.
Reiff: The traditional hair bun?
Greene: Yes. With kind of a figure eight in the back, sort of. And she had a purple velvet outfit on. And she had this beautiful bouquet of roses. And she was very, very sweet to that little girl. And that was the first flowers she received. But every time she stepped out, somebody gave her a big bouquet. So what they did for fun at the parties was--it was kind of like this game where you act out. What do you call it?
Greene: Charades--it was like charades. And they would just howl and laugh, and think that was so funny. So what she did was, they would pretend--and especially Hope Lange--pretend to be giving her flowers. And they picked up these old weeds out in the yard, you know, and they were just a bunch of old weeds and straggly-lookin' flowers. And Hope had this bunch of stuff in her hand, and she handed it to Princess Margaret, and then she'd get down lower and lower and lower, 'til she's clear down on the ground. And they played that game and laughed, but you know, I don't think it was very nice, because these people sincerely wanted to give her the flowers and everything. So anyway, we laughed along with them because we had to.
I had some beautiful music picked out for dinner music to play. We just had a stereo to play while we had dinner, only the main ones were there. I thought it was just gorgeous music. It was romantic tunes and slow and stuff. And she asked if it would be okay if she put her own records on. And I said, "Sure!" And it was the Beatles! That's all she had was the Beatles. Oh! They were really popular then. And of course that was what she loved. She was really charming, but she was, I guess, a wild child as far as they were concerned. She didn't want to follow the rules. And I could understand that, because they were absolutely silly, some of them--you know, some of the rules.
So then what happened was, we took them up the lake the next day and we went on a picnic. And of course there was probably a hundred boats following us, and they were all police of some kind--either FBI or hers were the closest. And four guys stayed right on the boat with us. And of course then the television showed me as her, because I was on the back of the boat with Hope Lange and those others, talking to them, and she got inside and stayed in the cabin part.
Reiff: She probably was glad, Evelyn.
Greene: I guess it gave her a break. And so I had a whole bunch of television coverage! (laughter) It was really funny. But anyway, we got up there, and my brother-in-law, Earl Johnson.... Yeah, he's a sweetheart. He was the boat pilot. Well, when we got up there, though, her husband wanted to slalom ski. So we had to locate a single ski. We got everything all prepared, and we had this wonderful picnic. And of course we all had to go to the bathroom behind a rock, because there wasn't anything then, at all. So when she would go to the bathroom behind a rock, all four of those men would go with her, and stand around the rock, while she went to the bathroom.
Reiff: Oh my! That poor gal!
Greene: I thought, "Oh! I'd hate that!" Wouldn't you?
Reiff: Oh, yeah!
Greene: She paid no more attention to them than if they were a piece of rock standing there. She had been born to that, and never knew any different. So she just ignored them as if they weren't even human. And that's the only way you could do it, I guess.
Reiff: I think so.
Greene: So anyway, then we all came back to the picnic area, and he was going to go skiing. Earl was going to be the pilot, and Bill was going to be the lookout. So the three of them walked down to the water, we're up on a hill. Anyway, it was Dorothy McGuire's husband, John, asked me where the can opener was, because he wanted to open something. And the last time I had seen it, Earl had had it. So they're all down below. I yelled down there, and I said, "Earl!" He didn't hear me. So I said it louder, "Earl!" And they all looked at me in utter shock--all of them. And Earl said, "What?" And I said, "What did you do with the can opener?" (chuckles) And when he answered me and said, "What?" they all said, "Oh!" And Sharmyn said, "Ma'am, you know Mrs. Greene wouldn't do that." And she said, "Oh, I know it." But Earl is a very bad thing to call him, because he's the Earl of Snowden. It's like saying, "Hey, Guv!" to the governor.
Reiff: Oh! so they thought you were....
Greene: They thought I was addressing him! I yelled "Earl," because Earl is not a given name in England. They thought I was calling out to Lord Snowden.
Reiff: No, it's a title.
Greene: It's a title. And I had not the slightest idea of that, because his name's (my brother-in-law) Earl, so I call him Earl. So that was headlines in all of the papers. Serious! Oh! I didn't like that one too well, but they did it, and made it sound funny. So it didn't make me look too stupid. But we had some very unusual things happen while she was here. They liked us real well, so they invited us to--they gave us their home address and they invited us to come over. We did go, but by the time we went over, they were divorced.
We only got to make one trip to England. We went on a trip around the world after we sold Wahweap because we had never been on a trip, and we'd been taking care of tourists for so many years. So we decided we deserved a trip, too.
Reiff: Good for you!
Greene: We started in England, we did go see the changing of the guard and things like that, but we didn't try to make any contacts, because she, by that time, was on some island, and really getting bad publicity. I don't know if he ever married. I think he married again. But their two children are grown and married now. She's had lung cancer.
Greene: But anyway.... Life hands us some funny things sometimes. But she smoked constantly too, so that's probably what led to the cancer. I'm talking about three or four packs a day, constantly. She had one of those holders, you know, and she always had a cigarette. So those things didn't help her health any. But it was an exciting time. So the Park Service took hundreds of pictures, and I have some of those pictures.
Reiff: Oh, how wonderful!
Greene: Harry Gilliland gave them to me. He was such a sweetheart. Did you ever meet Harry?
Reiff: You know, I didn't know him. That's the same Gilliland in Flag, right? No?
Greene: Harry's been in Page almost as long as we have. And he was with the Bureau of Land Management, and he was their PR man. So every important person that came in, that had anything to do with the Bureau, or the government, he had to take care of them, and see that they got.... And so of course he relied on me to see that they got a room at the lodge.
Reiff: So who were some of those people that you met?
Greene: Oh, I've met many more, but I'm not sure that I remember exactly any that Harry brought particularly. My very favorite of all of the people that we had, my favorite guest.... And talking about friends, then I'll tell you that. But this is my favorite guest. He's a writer, a very famous writer, and I have books that he gave me and everything, and I can't even think of his name.
Greene: No, he was a writer.... (tape turned off and on)
Reiff: And your favorite guest was....
Greene: My very favorite guest was Lowell Thomas. He came here, he had been skiing. He was eighty-seven years old at that time.
Reiff: And he had been a significant radio ________.
Greene: Oh, very, very, very much so. And his son was the lieutenant governor of Alaska. His name also was Lowell Thomas, Jr. But Lowell Thomas to me was the epitome of someone you just dream about meeting. And I just loved him. And he was so dear to me. And his wife was with him, and she had Alzheimer's. And they had a nurse with her. But he took her on a skiing trip to Utah. He took her every place he went. And I thought that was so dear for him to do that, rather than leave her at home, even though she really didn't even know what her surroundings were, or anything much. We had dinner together every night. Bill was busy with some other thing, and so I had dinner with them by myself. So it was just Lowell Thomas, his wife, and her nurse. And we would have dinner, and she would sit there with a sweet smile on her face, and not say one word the whole time. But you'd look at her and couldn't help but smile, she looked so sweet. And he was so kind to her. And he would order for her, and pat her hand. It was just the dearest thing to me. So he stayed, we comped him [i.e., gave him complimentary accommodations]. He didn't know this was coming, and he was so pleased with that. And he was so used to it, I'm sure, but he seemed as pleased as a little child almost. So he went back to New York, he was from Pohawk, I believe it is, New York, because I have a letter and books and things that he sent. He gave us a million dollars' worth of publicity on his radio show. He told how wonderful Lake Powell is, and how great Wahweap Lodge is, and the people, and the trip to Rainbow Bridge, and all that stuff, you know. So it was worth it to have him stay there.
And then the most outstanding friend and guest that we had was this one.
Reiff: Milburn Stone.
Greene: Yes, Doc.
Reiff: And he was Doc on "Gunsmoke." James Arness.
Greene: James Arness was there, too.
Reiff: And Miss Kitty?
Greene: Well, we knew her in Phoenix, and she married a Phoenix man. They had a boat up here all that time. And they did "Gunsmoke" up here quite a few times. I became--well, Bill and I became very friendly with John Mantley who was the producer of that show--one of my very favorite people. And so I had dinner with him a lot, because Bill was entertaining somebody else. So John and I had dinner alone a lot. And so one night I said, "Why did Amanda Blake quit after twenty-two years on that show?" And he said, "She didn't quit, I fired her." I said, "You fired her?! You fired Miss Kitty?! How could you do that?!" And he said, "Because she got too fat." And boy, I don't know what I had ordered, but I nibbled on a piece of lettuce for the rest of the night. (laughter) He had told me earlier that her coloring was so beautiful that that's why she looked so wonderful on there. Her coloring was just perfect, you know. They did have a boat up here, and she had taken Frank Griffin, I believe, and he was from Scottsdale. He was a wealthy cattleman. So she and Frank did come up quite often. We had a place that we like real well, that we used to exchange employees with. It's called El Charro. Have you ever been there?
Reiff: Where is it?
Greene: It's in Scottsdale.
Greene: And it's not a Mexican food place. It sounds like it, but it's the oldest and the best-loved place in Scottsdale for the snowbirds. They love it, and it's El Charro. The owners' names are Joe and Evy Miller. Of course I'm Evy too--most people call me Evy. So we are close friends of theirs, and that's where Frank and Amanda Blake ate all the time too, because they lived close to there. And so we'd see them quite often, and I must admit she was wearing muumuus all the time. She had gained quite a bit of weight. But at his ranch she had made, I guess you'd call it a menagerie, almost like a zoo. She loved wild animals, and she had special permission, but she had like tigers and wild animals.
Reiff: Wow, exotic animals.
Greene: Exotic. And she loved them, and that was her big love in life. So that's what she did when she was married to Frank, and looked after these animals. If any were hurt or anything, she'd take them in. So she had a wonderful heart. But she divorced Frank and she had cancer--she had mouth cancer. And they did surgery, and it sort of made her face look different, so she never tried to make a movie anymore then. After she had divorced Frank and she had this surgery, she married a very wealthy man from Texas. He was extremely wealthy, but he had AIDS. And that's when nobody knew what AIDS was. So it was so sad. But that's how she died, of AIDS. She married this guy and hadn't been married very long and he died first. And that's when she found out what he had. So it was sad. And Frank's still around.
Reiff: And so Doc became a friend?
Greene: Yeah, Doc. Oh, he was a dear friend. His wife's name was Jane, and she became a close friend, but she was not into fishing. I mean, he was an avid fisherman, so he was up here all the time--not just to make "Gunsmoke" or anything like that--just came to fish. However, they did make "Gunsmoke" up here about, oh, two or three segments of it. James Arness was nice, but not real friendly like all the rest of them. Ken Curtis had a brother here in town, and so he came pretty often too.
Reiff: And he worked on....
Greene: He was "Festus" on Gunsmoke. So they all came up. I mean, he was here at the same time Doc was here. And we became pretty close to him too, but his brother lived here in Page for a long time. And he died, too, not very long after. I think he had a heart attack. But when they had Doc's funeral, it was in San Clemente, and we went over and sent flowers from--I believe we put on there, "All of your friends at Lake Powell," or something like that. And that was the only flowers Jane let them put on the grave. I thought that was nice. There was a stream right by his grave, because he loved fishing so. And then our flowers, and that's all that was on there. He used to bring a friend over who was.... Let's see if I can remember. Can't remember this man's name, but you'd know him. He's been on so many westerns, but it was his ex-wife and her present husband, and they were real close friends of Jane and Milly over in California. They had two funerals for him, and the first one was the one where he was actually buried.
Reiff: This is Milburn?
Greene: Yeah, M-I-L-B-U-R-N. And that's the one we went to. But then the following week they had a memorial service in Hollywood for his Hollywood friends. He had had a quadruple bypass, and he had done real well with that--I mean, Milburn had. And then when he got.... He had had an implant, you know.... What do you call those things?
Reiff: I know what you mean.
Greene: Pacemaker! When he got the pacemaker he didn't do well at all, and he died soon after. I don't know why, because it usually goes the other way around. But anyway, Ken was at the funeral, and we got to visit with him and everything. But they had this other service the next week, and this man that I'm telling you about, the lady and man that they brought over quite often with them. Anyway, he dropped dead at Milburn’s funeral.
Reiff: Oh my gosh!
Greene: At the memorial service.
Reiff: Oh my land.
Greene: And what they had done, Jane said they used to call each other every morning, they'd say, "Well, how is it?" "Well, I'm still breathin'. I put my foot on the floor." And so this guy was old and he was.... Of course Milburn Stone was pretty old then--he seemed old to me. (laughter) But this fellow was too. But Milburn was the dearest man I have ever met, to just meet and not have a reason for being nice. You know what I mean? Just because he was purely sweet. But he had a temper, and if anybody interfered with his fishing, he had a really bad temper. I've seen him mad a whole bunch of times.
Reiff: What would he do?
Greene: Well, if someone asked him to go fishing on his boat with him--free, you know, like another actor or something--he would just blow his stack! _________ "If you want to go fishing, you get your own boat! No, you're not going with me. I don't allow anybody to go fishing with me," except the fishing guide. He got Red Barrett.
Reiff: I was going to say, he liked Red Barrett.
Greene: Oh, yeah, he loved Red.
Reiff: Red was one of the great characters.
Greene: He really was, wasn't he? And Lois. Lois died not long ago.
Reiff: Did she? I know she moved to Oregon.
Greene: Close to Earl's daughter. She was very fond of Jodi.
Reiff: Red was a legendary fishing guide on Lake Powell.
Greene: He surely was.
Reiff: And Lois was delightful.
Greene: His wife. She then moved to--it's near Bend, it's just outside of Bend [Oregon], and that's where Jodi lives, Jodi Johnson. She teaches school there.
Reiff: You mentioned Ed Abbey earlier.
Greene: Ed Abbey. Ed was a well-known author, and his books were controversial, you might say, because he liked to put down any progress. He didn't believe in some progress, and Lake Powell was [one?]. (laughs) We didn't know anything about Ed Abbey when we first met him, and he wanted to buy forty acres from us. So we did. He bought first forty, and then another forty. So we had been very friendly with him, you know, because Bill was making the sale, and I was always along usually. So we thought he was a pretty good friend, seemed to be. And then suddenly, one night--he had written a book called The Monkey Wrench Gang, around 1967 or so, that was making quite a hit. It was about this gang that didn't believe in signs destroying the countryside and things of that nature. And so we had big, big signs, you know. That's when we had Wahweap, and there were great big signs. And we also had Paria, and we had signs all up and down, going up toward Kanab.
So on this night Ed Abbey had brought his bunch of people up here, and they had black plastic. I don't know if you ever heard about this or not. But they had these streamers of black plastic, and they dropped it over the side of the dam, and it looked like it was cracked, because the plastic went down like that in curves. And it looked like a huge monstrous crack. And you talk about people really getting scared and nervous when they saw that. And the workers, too, they saw that the next morning, everybody panicked.
Reiff: Was the dam not completed at that point? It was completed?
Greene: Yes. It didn't have, like for example, they put those things up over the bridge where they go way up high so nobody can jump over.
Reiff: Oh, protection.
Greene: So it was easy for them to drop that stuff over the side. But anyway, there was quite a commotion and a lot of publicity about that, because it really did look like a crack, so everybody was, "Oh! the dam is cracking up!" Then the next thing we knew, somebody called and said, "Did you know that that same gang sawed down all your signs last night?" (laughter) They had sawed down.... And here he had just bought property from us, and he sawed down every cotton pickin' sign we had. And they were big signs. So he was quite a character. He lived at a place called--I think it was Wolf Canyon or some such name like that--down by Tucson, and he was going to build up here in this area where he bought the property from us, because he said he didn't want to live near people. He was sick of people. Then he got sick and died. His widow has just recently sold that eighty acres over there at Cliff Dwellers, up above Cliff Dwellers.
Reiff: Yeah, up on the bench?
Greene: Yeah, up on the bench.
[END TAPE 2, SIDE B; BEGIN TAPE 3, SIDE A]
Reiff: This is Sandy Reiff with Northern Arizona University Volunteer Historians Project. I'm in Phoenix, Arizona, with Evelyn Greene, who is the wife of Bill Greene, daughter-in-law of Art Greene, of Wahweap and Marble Canyon and Cliff Dwellers.
We talked a little bit off tape, and we were talking about an incident that happened in 1952 that kind of illustrates some kind of a conflict at that time between the Anglo and the Navajo world. So I'll let you pick up that [pall?] today's story, Evelyn.
Greene: Okay. Well first I need to say that I was a railroad retirement agent, and I signed 144 men every Thursday for unemployment, because the only employment they had then?-Navajo employment?-was the railroad. You know, labor and that type of thing. So when they needed labor, they would send a notice to me that in my area they needed so many. Say, like, you know, the trucks would handle about twenty men apiece. So let's say if they needed forty men. Mostly it was in like Wyoming?-well, wherever they still had a lot of railroads in the West. So Paul T. Begay was a very, very angry man, I think. He drank a lot, and when he would drink he was extremely mean. He had been signing with me, and the railroad retirement decided since they had now put.... I mean, they were mining uranium at Kayenta, and so some of the Navajos were working there, and yet claiming unemployment.
Reiff: From the railroad.
Greene: Yes, but they were lying about it and saying they weren't working, because it was so unusual for them to have any other source of income, you know. And so they decided to test the people.
Reiff: "They" being the railroad?
Greene: "They" being the railroad, yes?-decided to run a test at random, and they picked Paul T. Begay's name out of the hat. So they contacted me and they found out that he had been working at the uranium mine, while he was claiming unemployment. So they contacted me, and of course when you're a railroad retirement agent, you're under a $10,000 bond, and you can also go to prison if you deliberately lie, of course. So they asked me if I had asked him if he was employed, because that's the normal thing. It's such a routine thing, because they were never employed, you know. So I knew if I answered that, that he'd be in real trouble. And yet I knew that I had asked Paul T. Begay. But I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I worried so about it that I lost weight, I couldn't sleep, because a Navajo, the worst thing he could do is be incarcerated. And I thought, "As bad as this guy is, I just can't do that to him." And they said, “Evelyn, if you don't you can be fined $10,000." I don't think they would have done that, but they said, "You could even go to jail, you know." So I still wouldn't sign a statement that I had done that.
Reiff: Sign which?
Greene: That I had asked him if he was working prior to him signing. But we had a young boy named....
Greene: Francis Toya, who was working for us. Francis helped a lot of times, to translate, because I didn't speak fluent Navajo. So he went to Gallup to the Railroad Retirement Board and told them that he had translated for me. And that probably could have been the truth. I'm sure it was, because Paul T. Begay did not speak any English. But anyway, he said that he did ask him if he was working, and he said that he had not. So that meant that Paul T. Begay was going to be prosecuted. And I just couldn't do it, but it wouldn't bother Francis at all, because he knew that he really was a bad person, and that he was lying.
So anyway, I still worried about it, and so they used to have?-in the process of just a lot of red tape, and nothing was happening at the moment?-and they sent out the call for forty men. So I thought, "I'll send Paul T. Begay, and that'll get him away from here, and get him off the hook." (chuckles) So he was one of the men I sent. And they went to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Paul was so bad, I guess, that he just couldn't wait to where he could get something to drink.... In Wyoming, I suppose he could. So he evidently got drunk when he first got there, and never reported for work. And so they couldn't find him. About, oh, I guess a day-and-a-half or two days later, they found him lying by the railroad track, dead. He had been murdered, and his head was caved in. So he probably got smart with somebody, another one of the workers?-perhaps a Mexican one, because they just weren't very kind to each other. So anyway, they found him murdered. So that meant they couldn't prosecute him! (laughter) That was the end as far as the railroad was concerned. But anyway, the mortician in Cheyenne would not handle his body unless we promised that they would be paid. So Bill called the mortician in Cheyenne and told him that we would be responsible for any monies that needed to be paid to send his body home. And so that's what we did. And they put his body in just a pine box, you know, and shipped it to Gallup. Then the.... (inaudible) I can't think of the word!
Reiff: That's okay. The fellow who does the _________?
Greene: No, it was the fellow who lived with us.
Reiff: The missionary?
Greene: The missionary. Couldn't think of the word missionary! Gee. Anyway, the missionary was going to go to Gallup to get his body. So I told him that they didn't have regular funerals, and the Navajos didn't handle the bodies at all.
Reiff: Can you talk a little bit about that?
Greene: They depended on the trader or the missionary, if there was one in the area, to take care of anything like that. Except, I mean, in the old days when there weren't any traders around, and still then, they did, but there was nobody around, they would just collapse the hogan on the body, and that would be the burial. That way they didn't have to touch it or anything, and it protected it from animals. And these were all older people in that area, most of them, and they still went by the old rules. So anyway, the missionary was going in to get Paul's body, and I told him to get some recordings of sacred music. He had made a connection between his trailer and the trailer that they used as a church. And they had an electric wire, so they could have music. And he had done that, so I told him to get some sacred music, and that would be our donation in lieu of flowers, to the funeral. So he did that while he was in Gallup. He got some records and brought them back, and he came back with the casket. So he had no place, no room, for the casket, so he brought it to our storage room at the store, because it was a big one and it had a lot of room in there. Bill was gone. He had gone over to his dad's place, and he had flown some supplies or something over, and so he happened to be gone. So it was just the missionary and myself. So he pried open the casket, he took the top off, and when he did take the top off, Paul's arms flew up in the air (laughter) because the mortician had not properly taken care of his body, because he had rigor mortis. And I'm not sure what they usually do, but I believe they have to break bones or something. He didn't want to do that, it would be too costly to him, and too much trouble, I suppose. So here his arms were sticking straight up, and I mean the missionary almost fainted and so did I. (laughter). But we stood there and looked at [him] a little while, and I said, "Well, we're going have to take care of that problem." And he said, "I wonder what we can do?" So we decided together to take his jewelry, because his family had gotten it out of pawn to put it in the casket with him, so we took like his heavy bracelets and necklaces and put them on his arms. You know, laid them across his arms, and that was heavy enough to hold his arms down. So that worked. And not only that, it looked real elegant, with all that jewelry. And they had gotten him a new hat, and we put the cowboy hat in there. So all in all, it really turned out okay. But then we had the funeral that next day, and still Bill was gone, so I went.
His mother was a very large woman, and at that time I was extremely small. So she would walk in with me, and of course she was very sad?-it was her baby, you know. So I was trying to comfort her. But where the funeral was going to be held in the trailer that was the church, it was extremely sandy. I mean, it was very sandy. So she could lean on me, I'd sink down in the sand. I had a heck of a time getting to the church in the first place, because I was sinking in the sand. It took us quite a while to get up to the trailer, but we finally made it, and we went in and all sat down, and all was going, I thought, pretty well. But then he gave the signal for somebody at the house to turn on the sacred music that we had, but they had it on the wrong speed. And so it came out like rock music. It was really fast. It was on 75 [rotations per minute] instead of 45 or whatever. So they quickly had to run up to the house and change that. That took a little while, so we were just kind of sitting there listening to rock music for a little while. And then we got over that crisis, and it was a brief but very nice service. It was the first funeral that had ever been held in that area like that, because the missionary hadn't been there that long.
Reiff: The missionary and his wife lived with you at that time?
Greene: They had lived with us, but at this point, their church had gotten them a trailer, so they were living in a trailer. And so anyway it was a nice service. And then we went out to bury him. And of course out there, there's no equipment to lower a casket. They just had the hole already dug for the grave. And then they had several people?-and they were reluctant. So one of the people who volunteered was a black man who was a teacher at the school there. And he was a dear person, he really was sweet natured and everything?-great big guy.
Greene: That was the Rough Rock Boarding School, and it was strictly for Navajo children who were being boarded there. But now it's a much more modern school, and it's the largest, probably, on the reservation. But at that time, it was a boarding school. And he was a teacher there. So he had not gotten much respect from the young people there. I mean, not the students, but people in their twenties who just didn't have much respect for black people, because they use knives in fighting, and so do the Mexicans. So their name for a black person was naka-koginagee, because naka is "Mexican," koginagee is "black." So it's a black Mexican, and that's the way they described it, black people. So they just really didn't pay that much respect for them. They didn't like them. I think they were a little intimidated by them. So anyway, he took the foot of the casket. He was such a big man, you know, and they had the straps around the casket. So his hand slipped, and the casket dropped down at the end, and of course you can imagine that that didn't make him too popular, even though it was an accident, with the family. And so what they did then was gently lower the head down [to the foot level?], and we got by that crisis all right. He also volunteered to put the dirt in and all that, over the casket. They got the grave all filled in. It wasn't like we do it, where you leave and then somebody does it. They did it right then. And he did most of the throwing of the dirt on the grave. So a couple three of the young fellows who were his buddies had disappeared. Nobody noticed really at the moment. But as soon as the grave was finished, we heard this little commotion and looked up, and here was the horse, his horse. And the missionary had warned them ahead of time....
Reiff: Warned who?
Greene: Warned the Navajo boys, his buddies, that they could not kill his horse and put it on the grave, which was the way they normally did, so they'd have something to ride in Paradise. So anyway, he said, "No, this is dry and it's very hot." And this is right by the trading post, and right by the church. This is the beginning of the cemetery here, the first one in it. And he said, "No, you can't do that." So they just nodded and didn't respond very much. But here was the horse, and it had gotten away from them. They shot it, but they missed. They just hit it in the head, but it just stunned him. The horse, of course, ran away from them, and ran right over near all of us. But they shot again and did kill the horse. And of course the missionary reiterated to them they could not leave the horse on the grave. So finally, after much persuasion, they got together and took the horse on a truck and took it away. I'm not sure what they did with it, but they didn't leave it on the grave, because they just couldn't do that. So it was a very unusual funeral.
When Bill got back that night and he said, "How did it go?" I said, "Bill, of all the days you were gone, this one was the one you should have been here. It was quite a day!" (laughter) Paul T. Begay's funeral, and the fact that he didn't have to be sent to prison, which would have been worse than death for him.
Reiff: That took place at Rough Rock, and ___________.
Greene: Well, we were running a trading post for Clarence Wheeler, and we were also actually partners with him. And his brother, his name was Lon Wheeler, they were an old, well-known trading family, and they were from New Mexico, just past Mexican Hat. Someplace in that area, that's where they were from. So anyway, they also had a brother-in-law who was a partner, and his name was Clyde Thees and he owned Sunrise at that time. So they were the ones we worked with, and they were really, really nice men. We enjoyed it very much there. We loved Rough Rock.
Reiff: How long were you there?
Greene: We were there six years.
Reiff: From what year to what year?
Greene: From '51 to '57. We weren't there quite six years.
Reiff: And did you participate in.... You had, I know, told one story, and I think that's on tape, about the wonderful Christmas party.
Greene: Oh, that took place while we were there, and that was about Shine Smith. He had been a Presbyterian missionary?-I believe it was Presbyterian?-but they had, I guess you'd call it defrocked him, because he had an unusual way of getting converts.
Reiff: "He" being....
Greene: His name was Shine Smith, and he was very, very well-known, and loved by everybody. He was kind of a character, but he had more converts than any other missionary, because his methods he had learned after he came out on the reservation. His methods were almost childlike. He didn't try to force beliefs on them, and he didn't tell them that they were wrong for believing the way they did, and that was not the way to be, that they had to believe the way he was telling them. But first of all he would help them physically. He would provide things that they needed badly. And that would draw them to him. After all, I mean, they had to think about their body before they were interested in talking about their soul, because they needed things for their welfare at the time. So he provided that. He had a lot of connections who sent him things all the time.
Shine was very famous for his Christmas parties. He'd have them all over the reservation, different places, you know. His headquarters was at Cameron, more or less. He kept a place there all the time, but he'd travel all over the reservation and then go back to his headquarters at Cameron. So he had a place there that he stored these things that came to him all year, and then as it neared Christmas, they would send lots and lots of things. So we had it this one year. We started receiving things from his stored supply for weeks and weeks ahead of Christmas. So Bill built stalls in our storage department, and he had stalls for men's clothes, stalls for men's shoes, stalls for women's clothes and women's shoes, and children's and so forth, so that we could just put them there. There was so much of it that we would just put them in each of these stalls as we thought it would be?-it'd be a little bit organized, you know. And that's the way we did it. After we closed the store at night, we would work for hours and hours, go weeks of it, to get that organized, and the clothes all in there. Shine had a friend who had a tuxedo company, and there was a lot of tuxedos for the Navajos, and they loved them. The young men loved those tuxedos. You'd see ruffled shirts and everything else all over. A lot of people sent high-heeled shoes and things that weren't really useable. The women would take them anyway. Most of the things were very good, and one of the best providers was a man who had a blanket factory, and he made real good, all wool, heavy blankets. And he sent Shine every one of his that were seconds, if they had just a slight place where the threads didn't go just right or something. But they were very, very useable, and very wonderful for them. That was something they really needed. So we had dozens and dozens and dozens of blankets.
So then in order to provide the food, because we knew there were going to be a lot of people, we got the chef from Monument Valley, because Monument Valley was owned by Bill's cousin, Harry Goulding. So they supplied us with this man. He was a black man, and he was a really, really good cook. He was their chef, and he came over. He decided how he could make this work. So we got all the new zinc tubs?-I guess they were zinc, because that's what we sold in the trading post.
Reiff: LaForsh tubs? [phonetic spelling]
Greene: LaForsh tubs, yes, that you bathe in, that kind. He cleaned those out really good?-they were new anyway?-and that's what the stew was made in. And there were, oh, I'd say ten big tubs, and I don't know how many gallons they held, but an awful lot of gallons. We provided the meat. So we got that from?- the Navajos that had cattle. And so he made the stew with that meat, and then of course money had been given, so he, in Gallup, went and got all of the vegetables and things like that, through the store, you know. So he started cooking the day before the Christmas party. We had 4,000 Navajos. Four thousand! It was the largest one they'd ever had at that point.
Reiff: Did you keep the store open, the trading post open, during the Christmas party?
Greene: Not really, no. If somebody needed something, of course we would, but we were out there working, so there wasn't anybody to be in the store. So it took everybody. We had Irene and Earl, Bill's sister and brother-in-law. They helped us for the weeks ahead. In fact, Irene almost had a nervous breakdown over it. We really, really worked hard. It was just the greatest experience in the world. They were so thrilled. And we gave candy in addition. We had fry bread and the school did the fry bread for us. They had a big kitchen over there anyway, so they did the fry bread, and we did all the stew. Of course it had the potatoes and the vegetables and everything in it. And of course that's what they liked. They really liked stew anyway. They liked mutton stew or lamb stew. But in this case we used beef, because there were so many of them. It was very, very successful. There were fur coats, there was everything in the world. First the elderly and the children, and then the women, and then the men. And what a line we had! going through to pick out their things. They'd come out with just their arms loaded. Then some of them would help the children carry theirs too. So we have a few pictures of that. I wish we'd had someone with a movie camera, but we didn't have. It was just pictures. And of course it was cold, so we're all bundled up out there working, and we had all these fires going under each of those cooking pots.
Reiff: Did you play games and have races?
Greene: They didn't really. It was like a social dinner. They didn't really have a place to play games. They loved rodeos and things like that. But that day was just given to getting gifts for them. They had so many gifts, their trucks were loaded, and their wagons were loaded because actually there were a lot more wagons than there were trucks then.
Reiff: In 1952?
Greene: In 1952, around there. This might have been a little later than '52, I'm not sure. But it couldn't have been more than '53 or '54. But it was the largest one they'd ever had then, and it was just a wonderful experience. And I do have a few pictures?-just ordinary photographs that were taken at that time.
Then, let's see.... Incidentally, one of Shine's dear friends and donators was a man named Fry who owned TWA, and he was there, he came to help us?-he and his wife. They lived in Sedona part-time?-I guess in New York most of the time, but in Sedona too. So they came up and were there, and it was kind of an interesting thing, because people really love to help when they know that it's a good cause. And so many people were interested in helping the Navajo then. They still are, but now they're not as needy as they were then, because they didn't have other sources of income like they do now. So thank goodness their life is better now.
Reiff: Did you go to traditional weddings while you were at Rough Rock?
Greene: We went to one, and we went to the traditional ceremony where the girl reaches marriageable age called Kenallda. And then they dig a big hole in the ground and they put a big pot down in there, and then they put coals at the bottom, and they put a sweet cornmeal cake to bake in there. And then they take the dirt off and everything, and that thing is all baked. It's kind of like sweet cornbread.
Reiff: And how long would it take? How long would the ceremony last?
Greene: Oh, I thought you meant the cake. They'd leave it like overnight, in the coals. The ceremony lasted just the one day. The little girl was given traditional rites by the medicine man, and he would sprinkle her with pollen and things of that nature. It's very interesting. And it was an honor to be allowed to go to them. They have to like the trader, or they're not invited to anything like that. And so fortunately we loved them, so they loved us back. So we did get to do a lot of things.
And then one of the things that we got to do that was unusual, at that time Walt Disney was making natural movies, just the way it was in nature. Nothing was doctored up or anything. And they were quite popular then. So he made one at our place, called "The Navajo." The photographer and his daughter stayed with us for almost two years, off and on.
Reiff: Who were they?
Greene: His name was Joe Conner and his daughter was Betty Conner.
Greene: Anyway, they stayed with us off and on. He was a tall man who looked like Anthony Eden. I don't know if you remember Anthony Eden, but tall with graying hair.
Greene: Very distinguished-looking. And his daughter just adored her dad. He was actually a leading photographer with Walt Disney. But she carried all the equipment. (laughter) She was real small but very kind of muscular and wiry. And he let her carry. She carried all of the cameras and everything. It was so funny. We just got so close to them that they felt like they were part of the family, I think. And they found it fascinating, the things that happened while they were there making this movie. See, Bill had to make the arrangements, but because they respected him, they let him bring them. They photographed the Squaw Dance, and that normally would be a no-no. And they photographed a medicine man with a patient, and that was part of it. So they were given permission, and they would come back. They would do one segment, and then they'd come back and stay with us again.
Reiff: Where would they stay?
Greene: They stayed with us.
Reiff: Did the store you lived at?-can you tell us about the trading post?
Greene: Oh, the trading post was a very old one, and this is the way they were made in those days. There was a trading post at the front, and then there was in the center part of it, a very long building. In the center was the storage?-everything like potatoes and whatever. And then the last part was the home. So it was all one big long rock building, and the home was at the very back.
Reiff: And you had guest quarters in the home?
Greene: Yes. Well, we had....
Reiff: Extra rooms?
Greene: Yes. It was a three-bedroom home. And of course Judy was large enough to go to school then, and so my mother had to come out from Paducah, Kentucky. Mother was a nurse and she would leave the hospital, come out in the winter, and keep Judy in Gallup. We had an apartment there, and she kept her in Gallup so she could go to school. So her bedroom was free, and then the other bedroom was free. So they stayed.... Oh, we had people staying there all the time.
Reiff: Who fed all these people?
Greene: I did. (laughter)
Reiff: That's what I thought!
Greene: I'd run in and cook things, and then I'd run back out to the store. We would eat in relays. We fed the Navajo who worked for us. He ate every meal there. When I first started with him?-his name was Frank?-I would fix fancy things. We didn't have access to fresh meat then. The only meat we had.... But we later got a walk-in refrigerated box. But at first we didn't have it, and so all we had was either mutton or lamb when they would bring it in, for fresh meat. So I fixed tuna fish in about 50 million ways. But I did get things, I'd have things like eggplant parmesan, or something like that. And then I'd think, "Oh, I don't know if Frank's going to like this." So I'd say, "How'd you like that Frank?" And he'd always say, "Not much." (laughter) It is kind of funny. (laughter) His name was Frank Todachini [phonetic spelling] and he was one of the code talkers. He really got to love us, and we did him too. Bill gave him a paint horse. It was the only paint horse in the area, and he was the proudest man. He absolutely would have walked off the earth if Bill had asked him to, after that. He loved that horse, and loved Bill so much. We had an airplane, because the roads were so bad we couldn't get in to see Judy. See, we would close on Saturday night, fly into Gallup on Saturday night, and come back Sunday about noon, because we had to open Monday. And so we had to have an airplane, and Bill was a very good pilot. Frank would even fly with Bill, and that was something that most of them were very wary of. But Bill would fly and take sick Navajos to the hospital at Ganado or wherever. So it came in handy for a lot of things. Frank became so used to doing things a little more modern than he had been used to, so he finally got so he liked my cooking, but for a long time he always said, "Not much," and that was it. So I started fixing more things that were more to his liking, I guess. I never made mutton stew because the mutton was tough and it was blah! and it was greasy. But I made lamb stew when things were tight.
Reiff: Frank, being a code talker, did he have any compensation from the government? Can you talk a little bit about the code talkers?
Greene: He didn't discuss it very much. He just was one of the code talkers, and there's only, I believe only about two of them left on the Navajo Reservation now. I recently saw a picture. I thought Frank was still alive, but I guess he isn't, because he was not in the picture. He kept in touch, and he used to come to Page to see us without letting us know, and so we missed him several times. And he'd leave a note, and he would say, "Dear Friends...." because he was a dear friend, and we loved Frank very much. He had ten children. He wanted us to adopt one of his children because we didn't have any son, we just had Judy.
[END TAPE 3, SIDE A; BEGIN SIDE B]
Reiff: You were saying he wanted you to adopt.
Greene: He wanted us to adopt one of his little boys. We knew that it was just because he thought so much of us, and we didn't think it would work very well, so we didn't do that, but we were good to the family and gave them things and all that. Frank had heard about Bing Crosby being a good singer, and I guess he'd heard him on the radio or something, so they wanted to name him for Bing Crosby, but they misunderstood and named him Sping?-they thought it was Sping. So his name was Sping Todachini. Now, of course, he's a grown man and I don't know what has happened to Sping, but at the time I'd take him in and give him a bath once in a while, and a really good, warm, soapy bath. We grew to love him very much, and all of the kids, and we did keep in touch with the family for many, many years.
But Frank was our only help for quite a while, and then we later got a white couple from Phoenix. His name was Sprague Graham, and his wife Peggy. So they both had snow white hair, but they weren't all that old. We were much younger, so they were used to us. And I remember Peggy, the first day that she was there, there was a young girl?-her name was Evelyn also. There are quite a few Evelyns on the Navajo Reservation. I don't really know why, but it seems to be a popular Navajo name now. They named babies Evelyn at that time, so her name was Evelyn. And she ironed for me, because of course that was one thing I didn't have time to do. Then the cotton things had to be ironed, they were not really polyester. So she was ironing in my kitchen and Peggy came in. She had just arrived. I said, "Evelyn, this is Peggy Graham. They're going to be working here with us." And Evelyn looked up and was ironing, and she just looked at her real casually, and she said, "How old are you?" And Peggy said, "How old do you think I am?" "Oh," she said, "about seventy-five." (laughter) Peggy claimed to be thirty-nine. She was a little older than thirty-nine, but she was not insulting her. Peggy was horrified. And I explained to her that they respect age, and that was a compliment. That really was a compliment, but she didn't take it that way. We had quite a few things like that happen until they got used to it. And they grew to really love the Navajos too. So they were with us several years?-I believe about three years?-and then they went on a vacation and they were driving over near Albuquerque at Grants, New Mexico, and somebody ran into them head-on, and they were both very, very badly hurt. So they were unable to work at all after that. We went over to see them. They were so bad, she was so bruised that I didn't even recognize her. She looked like she was black, because her body was bruised totally. So they couldn't do that kind of work anymore, and they came back to Phoenix, and so we lost them. And they were very, very good help.
Then we got another couple. You do need help when you're out there, because you're working all the time. I was a notary, so we left our door open all the time. I mean, that was the way you did then. So quite often in the middle of the night somebody would just walk in, and I'd suddenly look up and see them standing there. I don't think I have told this before, have I, about the man coming in and wanting me to notarize papers to get his son out of the army. No, this was the one who came in?-the first one?-the one who came in and I looked up and he's standing by the bed in the middle of the night, and he said that his wife was dead.
Reiff: Yes, you told that one.
Greene: About the mouse in my....
Reiff: ______ the shoe. (laughs)
Greene: Yes. And then another time a man was standing by the bed, and it was kind of.... You know, it makes you a little nervous to see somebody standing there. And he wanted me to notarize papers to get his son out of the service because it was a hardship. And it really was, so I had him fill out this form. Of course he couldn't write, so I typed the form out, and he signed it, that it was a hardship for his son to be in the service. So he got his son back, and that was okay.
But anyway, when you're out there, you had such interesting things happen to you.
Reiff: Did you write letters for people, Evelyn? Was that part of?-did Navajos come to you to write letters?
Greene: Only if it was something like that. A few times, but not?-I mean, they didn't write letters to correspond with anybody, because all of them lived out there then. There were very few.... The children were sent away to boarding school when they got a little older, here to Phoenix, to the Indian School here, but they didn't correspond because the parents couldn't write, and there really wasn't any.... Well, they could pick up their mail at the trading post, but they just didn't do that. They just waited 'til the children came home, and then heard all about it. So I believe they still do somewhat the same, but the boarding schools are not used by everyone now, because there are still.... I mean, for example, the schools in Page have very wonderful schools for those children. Someone told me when I was there this time that it's more than 50 percent Navajo children. So now they have much better educational facilities, and opportunities.
Reiff: Now, you left Rough Rock in approximately 1957, correct?
Reiff: And you guys went where from there?
Greene: Well, we came to Phoenix. Bill's mother had passed away, and we came to Phoenix. We had a real estate?-we joined with, well, our friend, Mr. Wheeler. At that point it was Eaton, Wheeler, and Weed, I believe. And then Bill joined it, and then I did too. I got a real estate license. But meanwhile, we were ready to start getting the place up at the lake. So he was flying back and forth. Greene and Weed built?-it became eventually just Greene and Weed, the real estate office?-so Greene and Weed started Deer Valley Airport. We did things that were real estate things, but meanwhile we were trying to get the concession at the lake, because we knew where it was going in and all that.
Reiff: And at that point the lake was not in?
Greene: No. And so we knew that this whole area.... See, Bill could judge when he had been flying over from our place at Rough Rock to his folks' place at Marble Canyon or Cliff Dwellers at that time?-they had left Marble Canyon. So he would fly over so often that he could judge where it was going to be, because we knew it was coming. Everybody knew that it was being negotiated and stuff. So what we did, that land was all leased to a Navajo for cattle, for grazing. And the Navajo sold us the lease. And we had a lease on I believe it was four different sections there in that area. But it was originally a grazing lease, and we got it from a man named Curly Tso, T-S-O. We had that lease on that land.
Reiff: What were the first buildings that went up, and where?
Greene: But first we had to get it. We had to get the concession, and that was really, really tough.
Reiff: You mentioned big money.
Greene: Yeah, they would say, "The Greenes are just a small family. They're not big enough to do this." And one of them actually took us to court. They were from Salt Lake City. I don't recall the name now. Anyway, we had to go to court on that one. Everybody.... Well, what happened was, when they put up this big talk about the Greenes can't afford to do it because they don't have enough money, and they don't have enough money in back of them and all that stuff. And so the land commissioner was Obed Lassen in those days. So during the trial, or hearing I guess it was called, he said, "How long have you lived in Arizona?" And the guy stuttered and stammered around and finally he said, "Six weeks." Because what he had done was rent an apartment here so he could give an address here. But he had to tell the truth, he was under oath. And so Mr. Lassen stood up for us, boy. He was right there. And Barry Goldwater. We had a lot of people helping us, which was wonderful to have them on our side. And he said, "I think the Greenes can handle this." That made it final, we got the lease then. But we did really have a hard time.
Reiff: And you as a family all worked together and had separate functions.
Greene: We did.
Reiff: Maybe you could start with that, and then talk about what was built first, how the beginning was _______.
Greene: Well, Bill's dad's function was, he was the PR man. He was so loved and such fun, and was quite a character. Everybody loved Art. And so his function was that. And also he was going to be the one who sent out the brochures and let people know about Lake Powell. And there were thousands of them, so he had a secretary to do that. But he hand wrote a note on every one of them, which was very popular with people, because they knew who he was. And Bill's function was all of the business end of it, raising the money, just being sure that it was all?-and being in rapport with the banks, and things like that. And his function also was being the general manager over everything.
Reiff: What was yours?
Greene: Mine was the hotel. I managed the Wahweap Lodge, the big hotel.
Reiff: Now, before it was built, I remember three little cottages.
Greene: Yes, the first thing we built was the trailer park, and we had little stone cottages. At that point, I was still here in the real estate (Reiff: In Phoenix.) and Bill was flying up all the supplies for that. He had to drag a heavy log and make a place to land up there. That was the only way he had to do it.
Reiff: _______ airport __________.
Greene: Sure did, but it worked. And we had a Tri-placer at that time, so it was easier to land than most planes, and in a smaller space. And so anyway he built that, and then he would fly supplies up for everything. And then stone cabins were built....
Reiff: Who built those?
Greene: Navajos mostly, did the rock work. Of course that was something we knew. We brought in some that were really good rock workers. There was one also from Marble Canyon, who was very good. So they made these stone cabins for us, and one of them was a restaurant. We had a little restaurant there. It was small, but it really was full all the time, because the workers on the dam had started, and there were high scalers, particularly, who stayed there in the little cabins. The cooking was done by different ones. I did it one summer. (laughs) But mostly it was whichever sister that was takin' a turn over there. And it was mostly Grace or Ruth, but mostly Grace. And then she had help, of course. But she did most of the cooking. Everybody sort of took a turn at that. Would you like to hear about when I was doing it?
Reiff: Well, yes. (laughter)
Greene: I don't think I've told you this story. When I was there, we decided that Grace's daughter, Betty Jo, would work with me. She'd be the waitress and I'd be the cook. And my daughter, Judy, would work with Grace, because we thought rather than mother and daughter, it might work better to do it that way. So Betty Jo was the waitress and I was the cook. And all of the bosses from the Merritt-Chapman-Scott were flown in and landed on Bill's airstrip that he had put in. And they had their own pilot and their own plane, so they would land there. And of course they always ate there. But he would take them across to Page where the offices were, and they were doing whatever work they had to do, you know?-the pilots.
Reiff: (both talking at once) __________ Page _______.
Greene: Page consisted of nothing but trailers at that point, and there were quite a few trailers, but it was like a trailer town. And then they had this walk thing across the river. It was a river then, you know, and a lot of people were really scared of that. So sometimes Bill would fly them across the river.
Reiff: Which is a distance of....
Greene: Eight miles. It just takes a few minutes, but it makes a big difference to people who don't want to walk across that scary bridge. But anyway, this pilot loved to eat there. He wore the uniform, you know. He was their full-time pilot for Merritt-Chapman-Scott. So he wanted to come in. He made himself at home. (laughs) We had an old stove that was really, really pretty ancient, and was not in very good shape. And I would make him a big ham. I was baking a big, big ham in this oven, and the oven was down low. You know, it was down below, and then the burners up above. It was really an old stove. So he came in and was talking to me, and wanted to see what I was doing, just being friendly and talking. I opened the door to baste the ham?-I think I pulled it out on the door?-and the door fell off, and ham, hot ham juice and all, went all over the pilot’s uniform.
Greene: Me too! But he had on this beautiful, this perfectly ironed suit, like an airline pilot wears. And it was all over him. So [I?] was just mortified, but somebody put the door back on, and I put the ham back in. The ham didn't get on the floor, it just splashed when it fell. So we did that, and then I got somebody's pants and clothes that would fit him, and he put those on, so I had to wash that suit and get all that oil stain out and iron it, and oh! golly, I never had such a day! It was a terrible day! But he laughed about it, but he could not go and fly those guys back to Salt Lake or wherever with that grease all over him. (laughter) So I got it all fixed up.
Reiff: Was your electricity run by your own generator?
Greene: We had our own generator at that point, yes. We had a big generator. It was sure noisy, too. But we had had that on the reservation, so I was really used to hearing a generator. Kind of lulled you to sleep at night. We had the refrigerator outside on a platform, because we didn't have enough room. And for some reason, one night I was alone there, and Betty Jo had a new baby, Jerry [Roundtree?]. So they left him in my charge, and I closed up, cleaned up the kitchen, and then I took the baby and was walking over to the cabin we were staying in?-I was going to, at least?-but you see there was no light outside at all, it was very dark, and I misjudged, I forgot about that platform under the refrigerator, and I bumped into the platform and fell and hit my head and knocked [myself] unconscious. But I had the baby and fell this way, and I had the baby in my arms.
Reiff: You fell backwards?
Greene: And I fell backwards. He wasn't hurt at all. When I came to, he was just gurgling on my chest (laughter) and nobody was around. So I took him over to my house and he was okay, but I did have a slight fractured skull.
Reiff: Oh, my gosh!
Greene: So I had to wait and come to Phoenix to have it taken care of, but it was okay. It was this big ol' lump back there for a long time, though.
Reiff: Gee, that's bad.
Greene: We really had some interesting experiences on the reservation, and up there too, at Lake Powell when we were first starting.
Reiff: What was the population at Wahweap at this point that you're talking about? I know we talked about you being the only one there ________.
Greene: Well, actually we were the only ones at Wahweap then?-I mean, across the river. There were just people at Page. That has all been cataloged, and I'm not really sure. The man who had all of that information, and it is?-I'll take a guess and say that there were probably 600 people there, because they all worked there, and they all had trailers, so probably there were that many, because there were a lot of workers. And what they had done, this man had put up a big metal building like they used in the war, you know.
Greene: Quonset type thing. And that was the restaurant for everybody to eat, for all these workers and everything, for the majority of them. The ones that lived in those cabins and some of the others too, ate at our old place, but it didn't hold very many, and we couldn't cook big amounts like he could. He was from?-I believe he was from Provo, and he had it up there for years. It was cooking on a big scale, because he had a big scale to cook for. And of course some of the people in town cooked in their own trailers, but they were not really called mobile homes then?-they were just trailers. They weren't all that convenient, either. But many people still are in Page who came in at that time: Mac Ward [phonetic spelling] and quite a few people who were there at the very beginning.
Reiff: What's your most outstanding memory at the very beginning, Wahweap and Page? What stands out to you?
Greene: Well, actually, I didn't.... You know, when I came up there and stayed, by that time we had the lodge, and I lived in the lodge. And so my experiences were more in the lodge, rather than in Page.
Reiff: What year? And was that Glen Canyon Lodge, or was that the Wahweap Lodge?
Greene: Lake Powell Motel was up on the hill. We built that first.
Greene: I was not living up there all the time then?-just part of the time we were going up there.
Reiff: You moved to Wahweap full-time in what year?
Greene: When we built, which was '62, I believe.
Reiff: Okay, and that was the Lake Powell Motel?
Greene: No, no, the Lake Powell Motel we built two years earlier. See, when Princess Margaret was there with all of her entourage, we did not have the lodge, we just had Lake Powell Motel. And so we just took the whole lodge [i.e., motel (Tr.)], and it couldn't have anyone [else] stay there, and that was completely occupied by her party. She had a party of forty, I believe it was, and they flew in on a big plane, and they were guests of Lou Douglas, who was the ambassador to Great Britain.
Reiff: I remember you saying that.
Greene: And that's how his daughter?-this was his wife in this picture that I'm showing you. And this is with his daughter, her name was Sharmyn, and she was the same age, and was raised with Princess Margaret, because he was at the Court of St. James at that time. So that's why they were such close friends. In his plane they flew in. And they wanted to go over there and just be his guests, so he called us desperately and needed our help.
Reiff: What did he say?
Greene: He said, "Bill, could you and Evelyn entertain Princess Margaret's party? There's nothing to do in Douglas, and I don't know what I'm going to do with them." But he loved Lake Powell. He loved that whole idea. In fact, he wanted to buy into it and be a part of it, you know. But anyway, he said, "Do you think you could do that?" We said, "Absolutely!" because what better advertising could you do for something that's just getting started, and nobody knew about Lake Powell much at that time?-hardly at all. So we thought it would be wonderful advertising.
Reiff: I remember you telling that story.
Greene: We did everything. I brought flowers from Phoenix. You couldn't get anything up there much then. And so I got roses and all that stuff, and we fixed the rooms all up for them. And then of course Bill and I had to stay with them as host and hostess for the three days, without really being away from them, except for sleeping and things, and we had to do all of the entertaining and food preparing. I mean, we had someone else doing that, but see there was a restaurant there at Lake Powell, so food was no problem. But we had to keep them in a sequestered room and everything, when we were having dinner, and things like that, because they partied a lot. We had a stereo, and so our only way of having music was the stereo that I took there. I had beautiful dinner music, beautiful, I thought, and soft?-what I like [for] dinner music. So we had just barely.... This must have been in sixty.... Well, anyway, it might have been.... What did I say, '62? I think it was a little later than that?-maybe '63.
Reiff: Was this when Princess Margaret [wanted to play] the Beatles [records]?
Greene: Yes. I was trying to think when the Beatles?-they had just started. She asked me if they could have their own music, and I said, "Sure." Everything they had was Beatles?-everything. And she, I don't think, ever lost?-and that's true of most people from Great Britain?-they think the Beatles were the greatest thing that ever happened, you know?-still do. So we listened to the Beatles, every day, every meal (laughs) while they were there.
Reiff: When you built Wahweap Lodge, that was in what year, and how many units did you start out with?
Greene: We started out with 128 units, and we built them in segments. There was a connector in between them, with just open [walkways (Tr.)]. Each building was separated. So we had 128 units.
Reiff: And now how many are there?
Greene: After we sold?-we still had 128 when we sold?-but they have added some now that are?-they're not prefab, but they were sort of like that. And so now I believe they have something like 225 or something like that.
Reiff: And when you folks owned Wahweap Lodge, that's where you lived?
Greene: We lived there. We had a little apartment by the water tank. (laughter) It was a little bit noisy. It was between the lobby, and it was right in back of the lobby, and between where all of the power and everything was.
Reiff: And was the big dining room there yet?
Greene: Big dining room. We didn't build the big dining room at first. We built the room that's at that front end that faces the lake.
Reiff: Okay, gotcha, where the bar is now?
Greene: No, at the other end. When you first go in, there's a small restaurant. It's open now in the winter most of the time, instead of the big one, because it's so large. It seats 500 people. Bill designed that room. It's a rotunda, and it's beautiful because it allows everybody to see the lake, because it's round, you know. That worked out really well, but we didn't have that until later. Of course we started with just the smaller restaurant.
Reiff: And what functions?-I asked you earlier, then got you to skip right past it?-what functions like Mel and Grace Schoppmann?
Greene: Mel and Grace had the trailer park, they ran the trailer park.
Reiff: And Earl Johnson?
Greene: Earl Johnson was the head boatman. He was really a good boat pilot, and so he was the one who did all the hiring, firing, and taking care of the boats and all of that. And then Irene did all of the paperwork and sold tour tickets and things like that. She was very good at that.
Reiff: And Vern and Ruth ___________.
Greene: They stayed over at Cliff Dwellers and ran Cliff Dwellers.
Reiff: On the Arizona Strip. Can you talk a little bit about that, the terrible thing that happened to Vern, and what year it was, and what.... Let's see, I came out in '68 and it was quite a bit before that.
Greene: That it happened. I believe it was '67 that it happened. I believe it was, because.... Vern and Ruth ran the Cliff Dwellers. Ruth ran the restaurant, she did the cooking, and then we had Navajo girls, and then Betty Jo and Linda, when Linda got old enough, did some of the waiting tables.
Reiff: And can you tell everyone what the closest neighbors to Cliff Dwellers is, how many miles?
Greene: Ten miles. That's Marble Canyon, Marble Canyon Lodge. And that's where they were originally, Marble Canyon.
Reiff: And did they have a phone at Cliff Dwellers at this point?
Greene: Yes, by this time they did have. In the beginning, Marble Canyon didn't have one, or anybody. The only place that had a phone on the reservation was Tuba City, and it was not very good quality phone. But by this time everyone had gotten a phone.
Reiff: So the time we're talking about, when Vern had this terrible thing happen to him....
Greene: There was a phone.
Reiff: There was a phone, and it was in the winter was it?
Greene: It was in the spring. He ran the service station and the store, which was a separate building. It was close to the road, being a service station. And then in back of that, oh, maybe fifty yards, there was this other building, and it was kind of on a rise. They had communication between them only with like an intercom. So there was some cowboys from Kanab eating in the restaurant at this time, and Vern was at the service station and the store. He had just taken a deposit to Page, so there wasn't a lot of money there, but these two boys from Philadelphia, they were brothers, and they stopped there, and they had their own oil. Vern was very, very neat and meticulous about the service station. And these boys stopped and pulled their car in there, and used the station, but they were putting oil?-they had an old car and it used a lot of oil, and they were putting oil in the car. They were dripping it on the cement, you know, the driveway. So Vern came out and gave them some cloths and things, and he told them not to drip on that, that he didn't allow that. So I guess, I don't know if it made them angry or not, because Vern could be pretty stern, but then that was his place, and they were not really doing what they should be doing anyway. But regardless of that, I'm sure they had intentions to rob him in the first place. And so after they put the oil in, they came in and asked for something, candy bars or something like that, and he gave them the candy bars and rang up the sale, and when he rang it up, and when the drawer opened, both of the boys hit him from behind, when he had his head turned. One of them used a lug wrench, and the other used some other?-what do they call it? with a "V" shaped thing on the end of it. Anyway, some kind of a big heavy iron tool. And they fractured his skull in nineteen places. And of course he was totally helpless and dying, and they took off. Well, when they took off, the cowboys noticed that this car pulled out really fast, headed toward Kanab. Of course they thought they were in the tules and it'd be real easy to get away. But the fact is, it's harder there than anyplace, because you only have two ways to get out?-either toward Flagstaff or toward Kanab. And so they were headed north, and the cowboys saw, and they suspected something. So they ran down there and found Vern. Well, they took out after those guys and it's a good thing they didn't catch them, because no telling what they would have done. But they didn't catch them, but the police did, of course, because they immediately notified the police, and of course they called for an ambulance and everything.
Reiff: And where did that ambulance have to come from?
Greene: From Page. They were going to take him to Page. And we were notified, Bill and I were in Phoenix. And we were notified to come. Earl called us and?-my other brother-in-law?-and said, "You guys better get here, because they say Vern is dying." So we took out immediately to go up there, but we were stopped by the police when we got, oh, maybe thirty miles out of Phoenix. They told us to turn around and come back, because they were flying him to St. Joe's, for bad head injuries. So we turned around and came back to St. Joe's. Well, we had just sold our home here in Phoenix, and we had a little apartment, just to be down here to take care of the business end?-everything was in Phoenix. We had had this home on Camelback, but we couldn't be here, and the pool would dry up and short out and everything, so we just sold it. And we had a two-bedroom apartment over by Thomas Mall. And all of Vern's family came, and all of everybody. He was having seizures, one a minute?-seizure after seizure. And so of course they had him in Barrow's [phonetic spelling] Neurological Department, so he was getting the best of care that was possible. But we could only?-people could go in just five minutes out of every hour. So we were taking turns, and all of his family were staying in our little apartment. And we would take turns and go to the hospital and stay. And then the others would sleep, and it was just really a mess. Dad had a home here, and so Ruth and Linda were staying at Dad's house, but the rest of the family lived at our apartment. He then was there for, I believe it was two months.
They finally got the seizures stopped, but when he was well enough to leave the hospital, what they did was they got a little apartment over by the hospital, because he had to have constant out-patient treatments, and they were down there for quite a while for that. But he didn't know Ruth, he didn't know anything about what had happened. His brain was so damaged that he just couldn't function very well. But he got better from that, and he was a very healthy man, in very good shape, or he wouldn't have lived through it. But he did get to the point where he could know who Ruth was, that she was his wife, because he was told so much. And so he could function, and they finally went back to Cliff Dwellers, but his personality had changed so much, and he would cry at the drop of a hat.
[END SIDE TAPE 3, SIDE B; BEGIN TAPE 4, SIDE A]
Reiff: This is Tape 4, Side 1, of the Evelyn Greene interview in Phoenix on 2/20/2001. Go ahead.
Greene: He not only would cry without reason, but he also would get very angry at times. And one day they had the Boy Scouts over there. There's usually about thirty-five, forty of them when they come over. Ruth had fixed their meals. They used to come there all the time. Vern went out and told the boys that the meal was ready. He said, "Dinner's ready," just like that. And the boys, kid-like, you know, they were doing something else and they didn't respond immediately. He went in the house and got a gun and shot it in the air, up in the air, and [yelled], "Dinner's ready!" (laughter) And that was scare-eee, because, you know, we knew.... And the minute we heard about it, he could no longer be there in the public.
Reiff: I bet they went to dinner then!
Greene: Oh, they went to dinner! And I'm sure they had a good one, because she was a good cook.
Reiff: Yes, she was.
Greene: But anyway, we then decided to put other people over there, and bring Ruth and Vern?-they had a home in Page anyway?-so they came and they were the ones who took care of the lawn and the planting and stuff at the lodge, because both of them loved that. And they were both really good at it. And he still was good at that, he could do that. We thought that way he would be doing something, and Ruth would be happier having something to say she was doing. Also, he would not have to come in contact with the public, we thought. So we thought it was really going to work out great, because Ruth was happy with it. What happened was, we had these three buildings, and in between each building was a walkway with a cover over it. The ones in the third building have had to walk through two of those sections to get to the main building to go to breakfast. And of course they all came in about the same time, very early in the morning. They were all going on the Rainbow Bridge trip, so they had to have their breakfast and everything over by the time the trip started, which was seven o'clock. So this was early in the morning. And they were all filing over, you know, and he turned the hose on them. He wanted them to not bother, because he was watering the flowers. (laughter) And he turned the hose on this one lady who slipped. I don't know that he turned it directly in her face, but he turned it on the sidewalk where they were walking, and she slipped and sprained her ankle real bad. So we had to take her to the hospital. Our insurance?-in that kind of business you're sued at the drop of a hat, and also something happens almost every day at a resort area, with the terrain that we had going to Rainbow Bridge. If it happened on the way to Rainbow Bridge, it was the [responsibility of the (Tr.)] Park Service, if it was on the path. But otherwise, it was our bit. And so anyway, our insurance company told us not to ever say, "Oh, that was our fault, we'll take you to the hospital." But we of course did take her to the hospital. She owned a department store in Los Angeles, and I thought, "Oh! man we're lost!" But she didn't sue, and it was really okay. But it was a terrible thing for him to do, so I went out and I said in a real kind voice, "Vern, you must not turn that water on people that may come through. Just wait, and you can water your things later, but they all come through at the same time, they have to get in here." And I was trying to tell him that, and he got very angry with me, and started toward me in a very, I guess you'd say menacing kind of way. And Ruth started crying, and she went up to him to keep him off of me. And she said, "You're looking at Evelyn like you want to kill her! You can't do that." And when she did that, he calmed down. But he couldn't be crossed, and it was bad, but they continued to do that for some time. He never did spray anybody anymore, because Ruth wouldn't let him do it. She kept him away until after they were in for breakfast. But he never regained his ability to think properly. He died when a blot clot that had been caused from all of the medications that he took for those seizures were so strong and so bad that it like gave him an ulcer or something. And there was a blood clot in his stomach. It ruptured and killed him almost immediately. They were in the grocery store. He would go with her like a little child. You know how close the grocery store is to the hospital, so she rushed him right over to the hospital, but he was already gone.
Reiff: And what year was that?
Greene: That was.... Oh boy, that's the thing that I can't [remember], unless I've written it down. But I believe that was in '74.
Reiff: Wow, that long.
Greene: He had lived that long following such a trauma. He had had trouble with it. It was a terrible thing. And the boys have both been released from prison.
Reiff: What boys?
Greene: The ones that did....
Reiff: They were _________, yes.
Greene: The police caught them as they were on their way to Kanab. They were two black children?-they weren't children, they were in their twenties?-and they were brothers. The older one had a police record, so the attorney that was assigned to them had the younger one say he did it. They did things like the younger one tried to slash his wrists in jail and everything. They created quite a problem. They gave them five years, but I mean he would have been better off if they had killed him, because his life was so awful after that. And so they should have had a lot more than that, but they got five years, but they got out in two, and were free to go back to Pennsylvania and do whatever. And the judge notified Bill at the time, to tell Ruth. He was so angry, the judge from Flagstaff?-he wasn't even notified that those boys were going to be released from prison. And he was very angry about it, because everybody was just horrified, it was such a.... And they didn't need to beat him. They could have robbed him. And all he had was seventy dollars, I think, or something like that, because he had already made a deposit that same morning. So anyway, just one of those sad things that happened.
Reiff: As I remember, the country was still really backcountry in the years we're talking about. Were you folks up here when the Mackelprang [phonetic spelling] murders happened, or murder happened? Do you know about that?
Greene: We weren't. Bill and I were in Phoenix at that time, I believe. I heard about it, and of course we knew the Mackelprangs. Everybody knew the Mackelprang family in Kanab, because Grace and Mel had lived in Kanab, so we had been around Kanab a lot, and in fact our daughter went to school there one year, and stayed with Grace. Her daughter stayed with me in Phoenix one year when she was small. And so she reciprocated by keeping Judy one year, but it was just too far for us and everything, so we then started her in Gallup instead, and got an apartment. But we did know the Mackelprangs, and what happened was, his wife had died.
Reiff: Mr. Mackelprang's wife?
Greene: Mr. Mackelprang's wife had died, and he was quite ill. And he had a lady who was?-Mr. Mackelprang had....
Reiff: How old was he?
Greene: Oh, he was quite old then, it seemed like. I think he was about seventy, maybe. It seemed elderly to me then. Doesn't now, but it did then! (laughter) So anyway, he was in the hospital, and he had had this lady running one of his ranches. And I can't remember her name.
Reiff: Is that Joyce?
Greene: Joyce Lashbaugh [phonetic spelling] was married to one of the sons. Her name was Joyce Mackelprang, of course. He had two sons, and both of them married. The other one is living in Kanab now, and she was married to Karl McDonald (inaudible). But anyway, they used to have a business in Page.
But this lady was running this ranch for him, and she also was his sweetheart. (chuckles) And so she had heard?-of course she knew he was ill, and she had heard that he was going to die, because that's what they were all told. So the two boys, the two sons, and one of the wives?-not Joyce, the other one?-went out there to check on the ranch.
Reiff: And where was the ranch located approximately?
Greene: I would say it was probably ten miles out of Kanab, like going toward Cedar City or something like that. I'm not sure the exact location. You could get definite answers on that from Joyce. But anyway, the two boys went out there and were saying to her, "Well, Dad's very ill and dying, and we want to see that everything is in good shape out here, and just check on it." And she said.... I don't know if she told them then or not, but her story was that he had told her if she ran that ranch, that it would be her ranch?-the old man had told her that. So she went in and got a gun and came out there and shot those two sons just as dead as they could be, right in front of the wife. It was in the winter, and she did not shoot the wife, but she just let her go. But she had to walk, I was told, in the snow, and go and find help. And that lady just, I guess she just completely went berserk. Her feet were frozen pretty bad.
Reiff: The daughter _________.
Greene: Yes, but she made it into a ranch, I suppose the nearest ranch, and got help. They put the lady in prison, and I'm not sure whether she died in prison or not. I don't think so, I think she did get out, but she was in there for some time. But the details of it, I really can't tell you. Of course the two daughters, both of them had children.
Reiff: The two daughter-in-laws, yes.
Greene: Both left with no husbands. And the old guy didn't die anyway. But he testified in her behalf.
Reiff: And Joyce Lashbaugh is....
Greene: Is one of the daughters-in-law. She was married to one of the sons.
Reiff: What year was that, about? I know it was prior to '68, before I went back, because I remember being told about it.
Greene: I believe it was still in the fifties. But I'm not sure. It could have been early sixties.
Reiff: That was my understanding.
Greene: It could have been like maybe '60 or '61, but I just don't know. There were so many happenings then, and everything. And of course you don't make written note of everything, so I just couldn't tell you, but I know you can get that information probably from somebody else, because mine wouldn't be too accurate. (laughs)
Reiff: I think I asked you on another tape, but I just want to get a brief recollection for me: When did you and Bill buy the property up on the bench above Cliff Dwellers? Was that Art buying that?
Greene: Yes, he bought that. He bought it from Jack Church. You mean Cliff Dwellers?
Reiff: Oh, sure, Jack Church! From Flag.
Greene: No, from Kanab.
Reiff: __________ Church ____________.
Greene: ________. The Church family had purchased it from the Russells, who had it years ago. I'm sure you know that story that she had been?-they were from New York, and she was supposed to have been in the Follies or something, and he had tuberculosis, and so they were told to come out here in this country. They had driven out here, and their car was pretty old, I guess, and cars weren't very good then anyway, I suppose. This must have been 1921 or way, way back there. So their car broke down right there, by those rocks. And so they really didn't have any choice, they had to camp out there. And they decided to just stay. So they built a little lean-to and things, and then they started serving.... I think they got an old gas pump, and so they had some [real good?] gas. And you didn't have to have high octane or anything like that then, I guess. And there were very few cars, but when somebody would stop and need gas, or anything else that they would need, they would ask them to help them lay blocks and rocks, and they made this rock building. He couldn't do much in the way of helping, so these people would help, to pay for their gas or whatever.
Reiff: I'll be. And that's the Russell family?
Greene: And that's the Russells, yes. Blanche Russell I believe was her name. I don't know, I think his name was John, but I'm not sure. So Jack Church bought that from them. John died, and then she was too old to handle it. She knew that she couldn't do it herself. So the Church family bought it from them. And then Dad bought it from Jack Church because his dad had passed away, and he was the owner then.
Reiff: About what year?
Greene: That was in, let's see.... Good golly. It's in our archives, but I just can't remember the year that that happened. Roman Hubbell was leaving Marble Canyon, and it was in the middle of his bankruptcy, so it was about 1949.
Reiff: And how many acres did you guys own up on the bench?
Greene: It was a section, 640 acres.
Reiff: And do you still own land up there?
Greene: We still own land there. We've sold part of it. But see it goes clear up on the bench, up on the mesa. And so we've sold some up there, in fact, one to that writer, Ed Abbey. And then he died and his widow recently resold it. Then there's one to a movie actor named....
Reiff: Oh, you mentioned him. Dennis....
Greene: Dennis Hopper.
Reiff: Bought up there?
Greene: Bought up there. And he still has forty acres.
Reiff: Are there any homes up there?
Greene: There's one home. It's a girl who used to fly a plane
Greene: Her name is Connie Tibbetts. But she was a river runner, but she also flew planes up in Alaska and transported salmon to the canning factories and things like that. [Tr.'s note: See interview in NAU archives Lew Steiger conducted with Connie Tibbitts for the River Runners oral history project.]
Reiff: Is there water up there, Evelyn?
Greene: Yes, there's water up there. See, we have water rights along with the cowboys over there. We still have two-thirds of the water right. Of course when we sold the restaurant and all that, they got so much water right. I understand it's just been sold again. Of course the only thing they couldn't sell was the water right. I mean, they sold their portion of the water right. So we still have the water right, and we will never sell that part where the old rock house is. And across the road we have quite a?-I think five lots there. At the moment, the family doesn't want to sell that either. And then where the rock house is, it goes up on the mesa again, and so we've got that land. You can't use it for much, but you just don't want to get rid of it?-part of the family's heritage, I guess you'd call it. So at the moment, that's what we have over there. Actually, more people stop there at that old rock house than they do at the restaurant, I think.
Greene: People love to look at those balanced rocks, they're so unusual. And it's just unbelievable that there's such a small bottom on that big, big rock. So they're fascinated by it. But as a result of so many people stopping there, and they trash it a lot. And so at the moment it needs some work done on it. And we have had vandals to just really ruin it. So we're going to do some major repair in the near future.
Reiff: You and Bill owned Greene Haven, which is a planned community northwest of Page?
Greene: Yes, it's eight miles (Reiff: Northwest.) of Page.
Reiff: When did you acquire that property?
Greene: That was part of the original?-and that wasn't just mine and Bill's, it was our baby, it was our idea?-Bill loved it and so did I, and we were the only ones who did it. After we sold Wahweap to Del Webb, then we retained this. It was part of that original Curly Tso sale. Remember I told you that we bought the lease from a Navajo? And this land was part of that. And we never did anything with it because we were too busy with Wahweap. But after we sold Wahweap....
Reiff: What year did you sell Wahweap?
Greene: In '76. And we had put in a well, and we got good water at Greene Haven. Bill wanted to name it for his dad. He wasn't naming it for himself?-but it's the same thing?-so he decided on Greenehaven. Some of the family was ill and the rest of them didn't want to bother with it, they didn't have that much belief in it. But Bill and I did, and so we went ahead with it, and we were the ones who actually developed it. Then when Bill suddenly became ill overnight....
Reiff: In what year?
Greene: In '95. He was told that.... I had taken him to the hospital?-do you want me to tell you about that briefly??-because he had fluid in his lungs and you could hear it. And I took him to emergency, and they said that his kidneys were failing, because he was a diabetic and also had high blood pressure, and he didn't take good care of himself. And being a diabetic, I knew that was a dangerous thing for him to have that fluid in there. And so they gave him a room and they told him that his kidneys would probably fail within two years, they failed that night. And so they had to put a shunt in his neck. And of course he had to be put to sleep to do that surgery. He woke up, or came to, later in the middle of the night, and he thought he was at home because he was disoriented, and still had some anesthesia in his body, I suppose. So he wanted to go to the bathroom, he thought. Felt like he had to go [soon]. Tried to get up, and he put his leg down between the metal and the bed, and it got caught, and there was nobody around. So he pulled it up, and then he'd push it down to try to get it out, and pulled it up. And so he tore all the skin off of that leg in a strip, and diabetic. So he ended up in the hospital two and a half months at St. Joseph's, and he got an infection and they had to do four surgeries, so he lost his leg through all that.
And then he had to go to?-they couldn't do any more for him there?-and he had to go to Vencor Hospital, which is sort of a private hospital with only fifty beds, for very, very ill people. I really think Bill was the only one who ever got out of there alive. (laughs) He was there six months. That was eight-and-a-half months he was in the hospital, total.
Reiff: And who managed Greenehaven during that time?
Greene: During that time, of course actually the same night that he was unable to do it?-and it happened that Betty Jo Roundtree, his niece, and Linda Baker, also his niece, and John Schoppmann, his nephew, all happened to be, just at that moment, available. So they took it over and were running it. Betty Jo had been the CEO at the lodge, but they had some problems with batteries being dumped in the lake. You remember that? And all that publicity.
Reiff: I don't.
Greene: Well, it was front page news, and they had a trial and all kinds of things. It was very bad. It's mostly individual owners that dumped their batteries. It wasn't the people at Wahweap.
Reiff: Oh! so there was a trial saying Betty Jo had dumped batteries?
Greene: Well, she had to take the blame, because she was the CEO. And it cost millions to clean it up. And so she, rather than take a very unfair demotion, because she had no way.... How can you control individually-owned boat owners? And that was mostly what it was, and they still.... They may not do it now, because they're keeping an eye on it, but Bill was extremely strict about that. Because you did have to walk a high, steep hill to take your old battery up and get a new battery.
Reiff: That's boat batteries?
Greene: Boat batteries, yes. And there were hundreds of them dumped in?-hundreds. And so they had that cleaned out, but they could not trace any of it back to when we were there, because he was really quite strict about it. But Del Webb and Aramark both had to pay huge money. So Betty Jo....
Reiff: Was available to come.
Greene: Rather than take the blame for something that wasn't her fault?-I mean, take a demotion. So she was available. And Johnny thought it was so unfair to her that he quit too, and he was head of all the construction, and buildings and all, you know, of Aramark at that time. And so he had been for Del Webb also. In fact, he had been the CEO for Del Webb, and then he went into the construction end of it because he knows marinas so well. That's what he does now. But anyway, so the three of them took it over and started.... And of course it was marvelous for them to do that. But their heart wasn't in it, and it wasn't their idea. They did it, though, all the time Bill was ill. He was ill for three years before he died.
Reiff: And he died when?
Greene: He died in '98, February 18, 1998. So let's see, that was three years. So then they wanted to sell. Johnny took a job somewhere else, because he made more?-he has a big family and he took another job and it was a great one that he was well-qualified for. So it was Betty Jo and Linda then. Linda was doing the office work, Betty Jo was doing the running of it. So they wanted to sell it, and they had contacted some people who had an auction, and these people were so thrilled with that property that they really, really told those girls.... They had the biggest response they'd ever had in any property in the United States, when they advertised. It was in the Wall Street Journal, and of course in the Phoenix paper and the Las Vegas paper, and Los Angeles?-everything that would be interested, anybody that would be interested. So they got responses from all over the country, and even out of the country, because they advertised in Hong Kong, too, I think, and places like that. So they had all this interest, and the girls were convinced.... I had just had it appraised, because you have to do that when your husband dies, you know. It was a really good appraisal.
Reiff: Is that a matter of public record?
Greene: I _________ it would be, anybody could find out. It was appraised at almost $10 million.
Greene: So anyway, they were convinced that they were going to get that, no problem?-the auction people were. And I had no choice, even though I didn't want to do it, but I couldn't buy them out. See, they had insurance from?-all of their parents were dead, and they had left it to.... And all the grandchildren, there were thirty-six stockholders?-grandkids, everything, you know. So I agreed that that was?-you know, it sounded really good. They were getting such wonderful response. So they lived in my house for several weeks, the men from the auction did, preparing for it. They brought in fax machines, more phones, etc.
Reiff: (inaudible, both talking at same time)
Greene: My home at Greenehaven. They used it like an office, and that's where the auction was held, too. And so anyway, I had never had any experience with an auction, but what they do is, the people who are actually going to bid, they sent out all these brochures to people who were actually interested. And then there was a bunch of other.... But when it came time for the auction itself, they have to put in a check for $100,000 to bid. And so six people showed up, and they were all from Arizona. So in spite of all the wannabes, it's just money that counts. (laughs) And so anyway, the man who got it?-and he got it for really, really, and he knows he got a really big bargain?-but the man who got it is a man who loves Greene Haven and Lake Powell. And he had tried to buy it from us [prior to this (Tr.)].
Greene: His name is John Bowman, and he lives down here in Scottsdale, and he also lives in Flagstaff. His original building operation was in Denver. So his son runs that part, but he runs the one in Flagstaff.
Reiff: And what do they do?
Greene: He's a builder?-a big building construction company. I think it's just called Bowman Enterprises or something like that. So he bid, and I'm so happy that a man got it who loves it as much as we did. That's the good part.
Reiff: May I ask what that great bargain price was?
Greene: Two million [dollars (Tr.)].
Reiff: Two million?!
Greene: Just a shade over two million. And so that was a really, really big shocker for me, because I had put it in, my portion of it, of course as I said, there's thirty-six stockholders in it, and I had put it in my trust at the appraisal price, which made a huge difference. So I had the most tremendous loss, because I had [the most in it?]. But I'm happy that?-I really like Mr. Bowman, and he loves Greene Haven. So he has big plans for it, and he's doing some nice things up there. Even if he weren't, at least I don't have to worry about it anymore. So that's the best part. But the sad part is, that was our baby. (laughs) It's hard for me. It's hard for me to even go up there without Bill.
But it's so beautiful. I don't think there's a more beautiful place in the whole world?-not that I've been every place in the world. We have a man who bought property from us out there who has a television show in Paris, France, and he has a home, of course, in Paris. He has a home in the Italian Riviera, he has a home in New York, and when he saw that [i.e., Greenehaven (Tr.)], he fell in love with it. And he told us that?-he also is a writer?-he told us that the people who live here just don't appreciate the beauty of this place. He said, "I've been all over the world, I have homes all over the world, and I have never seen such beauty." So I was so thrilled that he felt that way. He still has the lots out there, and he's going to build like an estate out there.
Reiff: The fellow from Paris, yes.
Greene: He has a television show in Paris where people call in and get advice on financial problems. So he does really know what a good investment is. And that made me feel good about it, because a man who has a show on good investments must know what he's doing. He thinks that's a wonderful, wonderful place. So that's about all about Greenehaven. I still have a home there. (laughs) (tape turned off and on)
Reiff: Evelyn, I could listen to you forever, and I have a feeling there are a thousand more stories that you could share. I appreciate your time, as does Northern Arizona University. I'd like you to sum up, if you will, maybe the breadth of what you've given, what you've loved about this country, being a part of this country and the fantastic family you married into.
Greene: Oh, I think I'm the luckiest person in the world, to have been involved in Arizona, and particularly Northern Arizona. I think it's beautiful, I love the country, and I love the family. I think Bill's family were pioneers in everything they've ever done, and so he and I have been too. And it's been a privilege for me. I just can't think of anybody who's had a better life. I love it.
Reiff: Thank you very much. And that concludes the interview with Evelyn Greene.
[END OF INTERVIEW]