CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- She easily would have stumped the panelists on the vintage TV show "What's My Line?" In an era when most working women were teachers, secretaries or shop clerks, she worked for the federal government as a cartographer.
For 30 years, in a building with blacked-out windows, she made hand-drawn, top-secret maps used by foot soldiers in such conflicts as Korea and Vietnam.
When man first photographed the moon, she mapped that, too.
Sworn to silence for 60 years, she didn't tell one soul about her work, not even her husband.
She recently received a Remember Me Award from the West Virginia Health Association.
"I grew up six miles south of Scotsville, Ky., in Petroleum. My father was a pharmacist and the postmaster. We had this little country store, the Petroleum Mercantile and Drug Co. It was big for the community. It had a drug store, but it was like going into a big place to shop instead of just a drug store.
"It had everything you would expect as far as groceries go. The women would come and get material to make a new dress. We had one of those brown rolls of paper to fold their clothes in.
"I was there all the time. When customers would come in to buy something, my daddy would say, 'You know where they are, go get them.'
"During the Depression, my dad took care of a lot of people. Everybody respected him.
"We were close to the grade school and high school. Now all the schools have been boarded up. Our house burned. Several houses burned. They were struck by lightning. We didn't have any fire department.
"Everyone would go to Western Kentucky, a teachers college. Who thought you would do anything else? You were just going to get married.
"A lot of people were getting married before the men went overseas. Nobody had big weddings. I met Edgar in college. We got married in 1944 and he went to war immediately. I taught for two years until he got back and then four years more. We were married for 67 years.
"One Sunday afternoon, we visited a friend in Louisville. I was going to Nashville the next day to go to Peabody and get more of a degree. I only had two years. This other boy had come to Louisville to take an art course.
"He mentioned this job with a map-making agency. He thought I would like it. He called me the next day in Nashville and said if I wanted that job, I'd better get back because they were hiring. The next morning, I went back to Louisville on the Greyhound bus.
"I got the job. That was 1952. Coming in just off the street, I had to take a test, but not much of one. It was top-secret work. We were based in the post office downtown. They occasionally had an open house, and a few people got to go in, but my husband and daughter never did.
"The windows on the ninth floor were blacked out. There were high-powered cameras at the telephone company across the street, and they didn't want anybody looking at what we were working on. I wasn't allowed to tell anybody anything.