Sandra’s Occasional Newsletter – May 2021

Sandra's Occasional Newsletter, Publicity photo of author Sandra V. McGee


A little bit of news… but not too much. 


My Word of the Month

Recently, someone in a Zoom meeting used a word new to me: “meh”.  Defined as an expression of indifference or boredom, “meh” must be spoken with a shrug of the shoulders. The word can be traced back to the 1928 edition of the Yiddish-English-Hebrew dictionary.

This month, I find myself in a “meh” state of mind – not so much indifference and boredom, but more like a lull or a pause. It’s not my first lull or pause. I’ve been through many. Most have been followed by a burst of creativity or problem solving. So I’m embracing my current “meh” moment, giving into it, and trying to enjoy it. Because I know that one of these days, when I least expect it, ideas and solutions will start to flow and my “meh” vacation will be over.

Shameless Promotion: Operation Crossroads 75 Years Ago

Operation Crossroads - Imperial Domain of the Golden Dragon

I’m amazed at the Operation Crossroads memorabilia that has accompanied Bill McGee on a multitude of moves since 1946. Such small items of memorabilia could so easily have gotten lost over the years, but thankfully, didn’t. Click on an image for its story


Operation Crossroads - chit for two beers

Letter Home, Operation Crossroads 75th Anniversary

Read the full account of Bill’s participation at Operation Crossroads in his naval memoir…

Divorce Western-Style: It’s Just an Old Tin Ashtray, But the Stories It Could Tell

Reno Divorce Ranch Era - Ashtray Del Monte Dude and Guest Ranch

When fellow Reno divorce ranch history buff, Jerry Garrity, spotted this old tin ashtray from the Del Monte Dude and Guest Ranch in an antiques bazaar in Reno, he knew if anyone would love to have it, that would be me. Indeed, just imagine the stories this ashtray could tell of a divorce seeker contemplating their future while smoking a Camel.  What circumstances brought the divorce seeker to Reno for a “quickie” divorce? What was their story? Happy? Sad?

The Del Monte had its heyday in the 1930s and ’40s, and attracted divorce seekers looking for a place to call home for six weeks. Located 3-1/2 miles south of Reno, the dude ranch sat on property once owned in the 1800s by Myron Lake, Reno’s founding father. The historic ranch house, dating back to 1874, offered divorce seekers at the Del Monte an old West experience.

In 1947, the ranch house met an untimely end. In the early morning of September 2, the ranch house caught fire. The fire was started by a cigarette smoked by a 33-year-old divorce seeker from New Jersey. She died in the fire when she refused to leave her second-floor room without any clothes on.

In the room with her at the time was the 23-year-old bartender who worked at The Strip, a nightspot adjoining the Del Monte. The bartender jumped to safety stark naked from the second-story window and was arrested for indecent exposure.

The historic ranch house was a total loss. All that remains today of the site is a tall, spindly evergreen tree in a parking lot near the corner of South Virginia Street and Del Monte Lane in Reno.

True story.

Yellow Page ad for the Del Monte Guest Ranch, circa 1947.

From the 1947 Yellow Pages

More True Stories…
The Divorce Seekers – A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler
by former Flying M.E. divorce ranch wrangler Bill McGee and his co-author/wife, Sandra McGee


Thank you for reading this month’s missive and take care…

– Sandra



7 thoughts on “Sandra’s Occasional Newsletter – May 2021

  1. Pingback: Sandra's Occasional Newsletter - June 2021

  2. The two left in the fire was interesting in how we make our choices in the heat of the moment! Goodness.

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