View of Mary Jane Hutsell Williams
I worked for
the Weather Bureau from December, 1942 to October, 1947. My duty stations
were at Reno and Winnemucca, Nevada, Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona.
I learned about the Weather Bureau opening from a newspaper ad. I
was looking for a more interesting job and the Weather Bureau opportunity
came at that time.
a high-school graduate, and, before working for the Weather Bureau,
I had been employed as an order and file clerk for Hallmark Company
and a payroll clerk for an Arizona construction company.
the name of Hutsell when I started, then Williams after my marriage
in 1947. I left the Weather Bureau in October, 1947 to return to school
(Arizona State). To the best of my knowledge, my starting salary was
around $100 a month and in 1947 when I resigned I made $2770 a year.
Weather Bureau provided six weeks (six days per week) of training
at the Weather Bureau school in Los Angeles, California, city office.
received with some reluctance and much skepticism at my first station.
After that I was received well. My first impression of the Weather
Bureau was that employees were very dedicated to the job. I was impressed
with the accurate information given to pilots and the general public.
On-station morale was generally good.
duties included observations, PIBAL, map plotting, equipment maintenance,
climatology recording; in Winnemucca - teletype use; in Phoenix -
RAOB and Adiabatic charts.
were mostly round the clock on a rotating basis in Reno and Phoenix;
in Tucson, mostly evening and midnight; in Winnemucca, night shift.
I worked eight hours a day (except in Winnemucca where it was ten
hours). At first we worked a 48-hour week. This changed, before I
left, to a 40-hour week. There were five or six other persons working
at the duty station in Reno, two in Winnemucca, five in Tucson and
eight or nine in Phoenix.
only low point that I remember from my Weather Bureau career was being
sent to Reno as my first duty station instead of Phoenix as I had
expected. Being transferred to Tucson was definitely a high point,
as well as being promoted from Observer to Meteorological Aide. Looking
back, I think there were more advances made and the Bureau greatly
upgraded during World War II? Would I do the same work again? Yes.
I feel it is a needed service and it is also very challenging since
it is always changing.
working for the Weather Bureau during World War II, we released men
to enter the service, and by proving our capabilities it opened the
door to women in the field of meteorology. There were some interesting
experiences. All the Weather Bureau staff in Phoenix had a chance
to fly in the Goodyear blimp when they tied down for several days.
The pilots received weather information from our office and thought
we would enjoy a ride. It was an exciting experience. I remember one
time in Tucson when, due to vacancies and illness, the staff fell
to three (including the Meteorologist in Charge) which meant we had
no days off and I filled the swing shift for over a month. Needless
to say, we were greatly relieved when we got back to a full complement
the Phoenix office we were plagued by black widow spiders, which we
got used to, but one day I almost panicked when I started to reach
into the thermometer shelter to moisten the wet bulb and found a spider
sitting on the water cup. Since time was important to get the observation
out I decided to dispatch the spider by spraying him to death with
fly spray. It worked and the observation was in on time.