Sandra’s Occasional Newsletter – June 2021

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


A little bit of news… but not too much. 


Lists – To Do or Not To Do

(Photo Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge)

A mentor in my life (you know who you are) has been nudging me to go paperless. So far, I’ve conceded to using Excel for my to-do lists and, I have to admit, I do like the coding, updating, and sorting features.

However, I recently learned that one of my favorite authors does her to-do lists by hand with pencil and eraser.

Bestselling author Denise Kiernan (The Last Castle, The Girls of Atomic City) hosts an hour-long monthly interview called Craft: Authors in Conversation. In May, her guest was Mollye Asher, producer of the Academy Award-winning Nomadland. The ladies discussed creation, collaboration, and adaptation. When the subject of staying organized came up, they dipped into to-do lists and admitted they both wrote their lists by hand. In fact, for Denise, it’s a ritual that gives her time to ponder each task, even the ones “that seem to migrate from list to list without ever getting crossed off.” On the downside, they both said that copying the undone tasks from month to month is a drag.

Surely these ladies juggle a heckuva lot more than I do. But if they’re staying on top of things with handwritten to-do lists, that’s good enough for me.

I recommend checking out Denise Kiernan’s monthly Craft: Authors in Conversation.

Shameless Promotion: Return to Normandy for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day

Normandy for the 50th Anniversary

In 1994, Bill and I travelled to Normandy for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, the landing of the Allies on Omaha and Utah beaches on June 6, 1944. Here is an advance read about this trip from the upcoming memoir, Author, Publisher, Marketing Man by William L. McGee with yours truly. Return to Normandy for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day

Once Upon a Time in RENO: If These Mapes Hotel Champagne Coupes Could Talk

Reno Divorce Ranch Stores - Mapes Hotel Champagne Coupes

Whose lips had sipped from these champagne coupes (saucers) from the Mapes estate in Reno? Fellow Reno history buffs Deb Geraghty and James Stavena found a dozen of these vintage glasses in a Reno antiques shop and – most thankfully – sent two to Bill and me. (Read entire post below or on the Blog.)

One evening, as Bill and I sipped Manhattans from the Mapes champagne coupes, he reminisced about opening night at the venerable Mapes Hotel on December 17, 1947


“The Mapes Hotel had a prime downtown location across the street from the Truckee River and the Riverside Hotel. When the Mapes was completed, it was twelve stories high, the tallest building in Nevada, and the first skyscraper built in the Western United States after World War II. Before the Mapes, the El Cortez Hotel in Reno was the tallest at seven stories. The Mapes changed the Reno skyline.

“I was in my second month as head dude wrangler on the Flying M.E. On December 17, 1947, Emmy Wood (the proprietor), Allie Okie (the ranch hostess) and I escorted two carloads of Flying M.E. guests to the Mapes on opening night. It was snowing and took longer than usual to drive the twenty miles from Washoe Valley to Reno.

“When we arrived at the Mapes, Emmy took a half-dozen guests to the Sky Room on the top floor. Reservations were not taken for opening night, but Emmy, who was by then a legend in the Reno divorce ranch business, had pull, and she and her guests were seated immediately at a coveted window table.  Joe Reichman, billed as “The Pagliacci of the Piano,” and his orchestra were playing and the dance floor was crowded. Emmy said later the views through the large picture windows were magnificent, overlooking the lights of Reno and the surrounding foothills and mountains.

“Allie Okie and I stayed in the cocktail lounge and casino with the guests who wanted to drink and gamble. We spotted actors Bruce Cabot and Johnny Weismuller (of Tarzan movie fame), and the boxer Maxie Rosenbloom.

“Johnny Weismuller was easy to spot with his unmistakable physique and longish hair. He had just begun his six-week residency at the Donner Trail Ranch in nearby Verdi to divorce San Francisco socialite Beryl Scott.  During the next six weeks, Weismuller would spend so much time at the Mapes gambling, drinking and dining, a newspaper reporter dubbed him ‘Tarzan of the Mapes.'”

True story from The Divorce Seekers – A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler
by Bill and Sandra McGee.


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

– Sandra


3 thoughts on “Sandra’s Occasional Newsletter – June 2021

  1. Meant to answer this missive about the Mapes… Three years later the Adams Bldg, an addition to Phillips Petroleum home offices, was finished in my home town Bartlesville, OK. Also 12 stories tall and almost 60′ taller than the Mapes, in a more modern slab style. Still standing and in total use.

  2. Pingback: Sandra's Occasional Newsletter - July 2021 • William McGee Books

  3. Wonderful articles, Sandra. Your trips together sound enviable, indeed! So happy to connect with fellow WNBC folks who know what the Golden Age of Radio was all about, as my writer/parents did!

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