Junior Achievement, Inc.


After I left my job as  Catering Manager of Jack London Inn.  I could not find a job.  In the late sixties I was one of three women to hold a job as a Hotel Executive in California.  I was a member of  the Advertising and Marketing Club of the East Bay.  I went to one of Ad-Mark’s lunches and stood up and announced my plight and asked for their help.  Three of the members came up to me after the meeting.  George Clark was V.P. of Marketing for PIE a big Trucking Company.  He said they were on the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement.  There was a job opening  as Asst. Director.  They said they would use their influence and get me the job.  I was delighted.  I did not know what Junior Achievement did,  but I was desperate for a job and was sure I could learn anything. As my wonderful Mentor; Otis Preston use to say;  “If  you have not done something , that means you do not know that you can’t do it.”

I soon learned about Junior Achievement; a Learning by Doing program sponsored by Corporate America, {not the government) to teach High School Students about the Free Enterprise System. It is a great program. We took High School Students and formed Junior Corporations. They sold stock for $1.00 per share. They selected a product, manufactured it, sold it , kept corporate books and completely liquidated them at the end of the season. Each Corporation donated $600. and supplied us with six executives to act as advisers to each Junior Company. It became my job to recruit the students by holding High School Assemblies and presenting the program. Also my job to recruit the Corporations and the Executive Advisers.

Ken McLaughlin was the Executive Director. He had held the job for 19 years.  He had a secretary; “Chris”, she was very protective of him and had been with him for many years.  Ken had 19 Junior Achievement Companies.  He had three centers.  Oakland, San Leandro and Fremont.  He had a very comfortable job.  He mostly went around to civic lunches and spread the word about Junior Achievement and garnered support from the business community.  He also did not want a woman in the Assistant Executive Director position.  He instructed Chris to close all files to me and offer me no assistance.  They would together force me out.  He then decided to have a long put off back surgery.  Leaving me on my own.

I was sent to San Francisco for a five day training course given by  Junior Achievement.Inc.  When I came back I found Ken McLaughlin had gone for his surgery and his Secretary Chris had opted to take her vacation.  Their office was locked.

I called George Clark who had pressured Ken McLaughlin to hire me.  He smiled and said;  “Well, well,  I don’t think their little sabotage is going to work.  My wife Elenore was Ken McLaughlin’s original secretary and she trained Chris.  I think she needs to come out of retirement and be your Secretary.”  And she did.  We got a lock smith to open the locked office and the files.  We went to work.  She made the appointments for me to recruit the High School Students at the High School Assemblies.  Armed with a 1950 very dated all White Student film of Junior Achievement I set out to convince these often very rowdy, disinterested challenging students that they wanted and needed to meet three times a week to learn about business.  Elenore also made appointments for me to recruit the business executives to act as advisors to the JA companies.

We were very successful.  With Elenore’s tutelage I increased Ken McLaughlin’s measly 19 companies to 44  JA companies.  I had fifteen hundred students and 600 executives in my program.

Ken McLaughlin decided to take early retirement as did his Secretary Chris.   I don’t think either one of them wanted to work that hard. George Clark said they retired in embarrassment.    So basically,  I became by default;

Executive Director of Junior Achievement of the East Bay.

The first  woman in the nation and internationally to hold that position. 


McClymonds High School in East Oakland was all Black and had not had an assembly in five years. The students were so unruly no one would confront them. I insisted on them booking me. The teachers had no control. They cowed from the students and allowed them to run a muck.They said they could not guarantee my safety. I went any way. I stood on that stage for one full hour and waited and waited for the students to quiet down and give me the respect of hearing what I had to offer. I signed up 400 students. I could not get a male Program Director to run the Oakland Down Town Center. They were intimidated by these unruly punks. So, I doubled back after working 9-5 doing my Administration duties. I worked three nights a week from 7-9 pm as Program Director. It was never dull. One night I took a knife away from a drunk in the hallway. I recruited the Gang Leaders to be my Hall Monitors. They wanted attention so I gave them positive attention and some power and authority. I am proud to say my kids from the Oakland Center won the best Speech Contest , All the Sales Contests and best Attendance. Note I had 1500 students in my Bay Area Programs. One day several years later I walked into a Bank in Oakland and this young Black man came from behind his desk and said; “Mrs. Smalley, I was in your J A Program from McClymonds High School. I am now Vice President of this Bank. Thank You for teaching me to believe in myself.” This I count as one of my greatest rewards. I am 77 years old and have lived long and hard. It is situations like this that makes me so grateful to all my many mentors that believed in me. Which enabled me to pass it on to others.  These are the true rewards in life.



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Women’s March 2017


I am 77 years old this year. I have been a Woman Libber way before it was popular.
I was one of three women to be a Hotel Executive in the state of California in the 60’s. I replaced three men and was paid half the salary of one. They kept reminding me I had a “Business Card and a Title”. This was much coveted for a woman.

I became the only woman in the Nation and Internationally to be Executive Director of Junior Achievement. A learning by doing organization that takes High School Students and puts them in business for themselves. It was completely supported by businesses. No Government funds. I had 1000 students and six hundred business executives acting as mentors and advisors in my program. Junior Achievement of the East Bay.

I married my Airline Executive husband and continued my “Women’s Lib” platform at every opportunity. As I traveled around the world with him. He was very proud and supporting of his “out-spoken ” wife. It helped that I was cute and young.

I made a stand at Sequoia Country Club. I did a sit in and forced them to remove the “Men Only” sign from the men’s bar and open it to the women. They announced that on Wednesday, which was “Ladies Day” on the golf course, that the women would have to park in the parking lot furthest from the club. Because Wednesday was the day the Doctors played and when they arrived in the afternoon all the closer to the Club House parking spaces were taken by the women. I stood up in front of all the men and declared; “BULL SHIT”! The whole room gasped. Women did not speak such profanity in the hallowed halls of the Country Club in those days. “Let those big strong men tote their heavy golf bags from the upper lot. First come, First Serve”. The women stood up and gave me a standing applause. One by one the men stood and joined them. I reminded the Golf Pro that it was the women that did the most shopping in his pro shop. And he should keep that in mind when we called and arranged our tee-off times. We then got better starting times.

I opened my own Antique business while I was married to my world traveling husband. We had free air transport for all the antique treasures I found on our travels. I never showed him my books. At tax time I would give him my tax forms for my business. He would ask if I had the books to back this up. I would smile and say; “Guess you will find out if they audit me.” Every year they would audit him. Never my part. He asked me why and I replied; ” I don’t lie as much as you do.” 🙂

When I was widowed, I liquidated the estate and bought a Yacht. People thought I had lost my mind.

I was the first woman to own and operate a Yacht Charter Business on San Francisco Bay. I was written up in 1500 newspapers across the nation and interviewed on TV. several times. I paid dearly with my wallet to learn all I did not know about the Marine business. The men delighted in teaching this; “Little Lady” a thing or two about boats and doing business in a “Man’s World”. My Yacht was in the boat yard on the ways. I got a phone call saying that the reason the boat was still there after three days was that they could not get the prop off. It was frozen. It was costing me a thousand dollars a day for this delay. I was on my way to the opening of the Opera in S.F. when I received this news. I had on a long gown and a to the floor black mink coat. I told them to wait for me. I came tripping down the gang plank in my high heel shoes and my formal attire. Three coverall greasy workers stood there with their mouths agape. I assessed the hull and the prop. They showed me as they leaned on a massive wrench that it was stuck.
I said quietly, but firmly; “Hand me your welding torch”. I put the torch to the bolt. Then told them to try it again. Walla! The prop came loose. I smiled sweetly and said over my shoulder as I navigated up the gang plank; “I expect that three days taken off my bill.” One of my finest hours.

The stories go on and on. I did not march in the streets demanding women’s rights. I was in the trenches.

I am upset with these women’s marches today. It is full of propaganda; “Hate Trump”. This is being financed by George Soros. It is World wide. Only he with his great wealth and power could organize something this vast. I would be so proud if it was about women. But alas, women are being used as pawns. To further the Hate Trump movement. So sad.

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My best friend died today…

My Dear Friend: Sharon Elliott just died. I am so sadden to know she will no longer be available to me for our phone calls and visits. But, I am relieved that she is no longer suffering. I think of…

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My best friend died today…

My Dear Friend: Sharon Elliott just died. I am so sadden to know she will no longer be available to me for our phone calls and visits. But, I am relieved that she is no longer suffering. I think of the many fun times we had together. My wonderful Ron enjoyed her and we inclued her on many of our vacations. Her quirkiness kept us laughing and she enjoyed being the rebel. We adored her. She was a wonderful friend. When I needed her she was always there for me. She was one of the most generous people I have ever known. I have seen her through the death of her husband and great love of her life. For one year after Richard died I kept her with me. She would go to work and back to me, she would go home on the week-end long enough to check her mail do her laundry, get fresh clothes, then back to me. We would stay up most of the night, smoking, drinking and talking and talking and talking and laughing and laughing. It took a full year for us to talk her pain and grief down to where she could manage it.  God, I loved that girl.

When she had her face lift she came from the hospital to me. Against all advice she refused to wear a hat and insisted on sun tanning her face. She worshiped the sun and kept a tan most of her life. Sharon seldom followed the Dr. instructions or any one elses. She was a rebel and delighted in blazing her own trail. We agreed to not discuss politics. I loved her so much that I closed my eyes, ears and mind to her lack of knowledge and quietly accepted that she was a “dumb Pollock”, when it came to politics. There was no point in trying to change her position on a subject once she had set her mind. I learned early in our relationship, that I could spend hours trying to enlighten her with my vast knowledge, resorting to badgering and conjoling her with my intelligence and verbal skills. She would sit back and allow me my fun and never interrupt as I adnosium lectured on and on. When I had finished she would look up at me with her cool green eyes and say very calmly: “I disagree”. End of discussion. God I loved that girl.
When I moved up to the Delta, she bought a house boat there. She no longer worked so she and I both being single, tore the hell out of that crazy Delta. I would cook and take all the food to her house boat and she would invite everyone she encountered aboard to eat. That is how I met my Ron. Sharon ran into a lady on the dock and invited her to join us. She was a long time friend of Ron’s and was in San Francisco on business. He invited her to spend the week-end on his sailboat before she returned to Portland. So the two of them arrived to dine on my craw-dads. Ron and I started talking about boats and going to Mexico. We never stopped talking and we went to Mexico together a few months later and have been together ever since.
Ron loved Sharon, he use to say she was our great source of entertainment. The three of us had so much fun together. When we moved up to our Ranch, Sharon came often. Now Sharon never came empty handed. She and I both enjoyed gourmet food and cooking so she would come with a trunk load of exotic food from Trader Joes and of course boxes of farm fresh produce from the many farm stands she drove by on the way to our Ranch. I had horses. Sharon loved horses. I spent most of the time she was around them trying to make sure she did not get hurt or her harm them. She had no common sense when it came to horses. Thinking she could read their minds and they would send her messages of what they really wanted.(“No Sharon, they cannot eat a whole bale of Alphalfa each.”) I forbade her from wearing her ever present flip flop shoes around the horses, for fear of her getting stepped on by their hoofs. She had no fear of them and did not exercise common caution when around them. I talked her into volunteering at Saddle Pals in Sacramento. That did not work out so well. They fired her. How does anyone get fired from a volunteer job? Well, perhaps one has to be Sharon Elliott . She told me the horses told her they wanted to eat the nice green grass on the other side of the fence. So she opened the gate and let them all out. It took many hours to round them all up. Sharon laughed and said she knew the horses enjoyed their adventure. God, I loved, that girl.

I needed $60,000. Sharon said she had it.  She sat down and wrote me a check for that amount.  I said ; “Let me get you an IOU.”  She said:  “Don’t bother,  I know where you live.”  God, I loved that girl.
Ron and I lived together for many years before we finally decided to get married. Of course, Sharon was my Matron of Honor and Kim Grover was Ron’s Best woMan. We got married on Valentines’ Day at the Court House in Oroville. They had it all set up in the Court Yard Garden with an Arch Way, it was lovely. Sharon got lost driving from our Ranch to the Court House. I had to send my son David to find her and lead her to us. She took this honor to heart, she showed up wearing a dress (first time I had ever seen her in a dress) and high heeled shoes that she had bought for the occassion. I think it was the first pair of high heeled shoes Sharon had worn in 30 years. She had great difficulty walking in them and my son David carried or supported her most of the entire event. She finally said; “Screw them”. threw them in her car and went bare footed. We didn’t care, that was Sharon and she could pull it off. We continued on to a Wedding Dinner and Show at Gold Country Casino. Sharon looked elegant in her fancy Matron of Honor Dress and carried herself so well that few even noticed her bare feet. God, I loved that girl.

Sharon always sent me a wonderfully thoughtful Birthday Present and card for my Birthday. When I turned 76 this past March I didn’t hear from her. Her phone message center was full and I could not get a call through to her. When my Birthday came and went with out a word from her, I told Ron we have to go to Sacramento and find her. I found her in a nursing home. I went in and there she was looking White headed, (when had she stopped coloring her hair auburn?) She looked so small and frail and very lost. She had some dementa. She said she had been there a month and she had only been there three days. After getting her home with her Grandson; Joels’ help. Joel and I went about trying to get her affairs in order. I set up a new will and a Quit Claim Deed for Joel. Her son Mark was in the Hospital dieing. Sharon had had open heart surgery and was in declining health. Joel and I expected both of them to die shortly. Mark surprised us all,  made a recovery and returned home to take care of Sharon. Hospice was called in. I called and talked to Sharon often and even more often to Mark. He did an admirable job caring for this difficult woman who liked to challenge everything and disobey all instructions for her well being. Joel loves his Grandma and he tried his best to do right by her. It took a lot of courage for the both of them to deal with her. She was often demented and even more often cantankerous. I would talk to them and then tell Sharon,: “Knock it off! Stop Bullying them. “. She would giggle and admit that she was exercising her power. As their Mother and Grandmother she still had that power over them. When she went into the hospital this last time. I did not feel the need to go to see her or to phone her we had so many hours of talking. We had said it all to each other. There was nothing I could do. I had promised her that I would see to it that her wishes were carried out and would comfort her son and grandson through their grief. That is what a friend does for a friend.
My friend Sharon Elliott died today. God, I loved that girl.


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A Star Shines In Paradise…Sisters and Cancer

Happy Birthday Linda Dunlap…August 18th.


A Star Shines in Paradise…..Sisters and Cancer

My sister; Linda Mae Dunlap born Aug.18, 1941 died of Cancer Aug. 6, 2003. After a fourteen year battle, which she fought gallantly.

My sister and I spent most of our lives at odds either fighting or not speaking to each other. She was an alcoholic and a mean spirited drunk. I was her favorite target. She liked to tell people that she grew up in the shadow of her beautiful sister; “The Star”. She also, would say that I took all of her boy friends away from her. This was far from the truth, as I left home at age 15 and she did not have her first date until she was 18 years old. We were eighteen months apart in age. She told these sad tales of woe so much that I believe they became her reality.

I spent most of…

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Mrs. Binghams Sixty Year Old Secret….

The Government needs to stay out of Women’s Wombs.


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Mrs. Binghams Sixty Year Old Secret….

I believe the Government shouls stay out of Womens’ Wombs.


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The Gift of Time… is well spent.

The phone rang and Ron brought me the phone, I was watering the garden. It was Suzette. I have known her since she was a child. She was blessed with stunning good looks and a simple, loving mind. She was a wonderful worker and as an adult she crewed on the Mariner II. She was a talented Hair Stylist and made a good living. But she loved the fun and glamour of the Mariner. She also, loved to party, drugs and booze were her constant companions. I was looking out the porthole in the galley, while prepping for a cruise. Doing work that Suzette was supposed to do. She was constantly late. But, she would work twice as fast and her sunny disposition would make all her tardiness seem unimportant. I watched as she veered from one side of the dock to the other. I gasped as she recovered her balance in time to prevent her reeling body from going into the water. I met her as she was about to board the aft deck. She looked up at me with a big smile and said: ” Well, I made it, Mary.” I said, ” Yes, you did it again, Suzette. But, you are in no condition to work. So turn your pretty little self around and go home.” She looked up at me with her big brown innocent eyes and giggled; “Okay, Dokay, you call me when you need me, Mary.” She saluted me, and turned heel and staggered back up the dock. Shouting over her shoulder; “I love you, Mary.” as she chuckled at her efforts to master her walk down the plank. “I love you too, Suzette,” And I did and do. How could anyone stay upset at this childish woman so full of sweetness and fun? She is now suffering from MS and is in a nursing home after having been widowed. Her speech is very impaired and it is difficult to understand her. But, I manage to get the jest of her dialog. A nurse has put my phone number on speed dial. So, I often get random phone calls from her when I flash through her mind. She has called this time to apologize for the death of a cattle dog I gave her twenty five years ago. She was living on her Grandparents 300 acre ranch in Martinez. I rescued the dog from a city yard and took him out to Romars’ Ranch, a produce farm that Ron and I owned. Unfortunately it was located near a busy highway and I feared that “Shep” would be run over. So I called Suzette and asked if she would like to have him. She was delighted. He was a wonderful dog. He became her constant companion. Unfortunately, her Grandfather backed over him with his truck and he died. Suzette was filled with guilt. So, she was calling me to tell me how badly she felt about his death. I assured her it was not her fault. And we talked for about an hour as she assured me she would be getting out of the Rest home and when she did she wanted a Schnauzer puppy. I said when she got out we would deal with the puppy. She giggled with glee and said; ” I loved working for you, Mary. Because of you, I know what Pate is. I was watching the food channel and they were making Pate. I was the only one here that knew what it was. You taught me so much.” I had finished watering my garden so I ended the call and told her to call me any time she wanted to talk. I am her link to her past that was a joyful time and the least I can do is make myself available when she wants to relive those adventures. smile emoticon heart emoticon

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Merritt G. Smalley,III aka Gordo, my youngest child dies.

Today is my son Merritt G. Smalley III, aka “Gordo’s 46th Birthday. I allowed myself a day in bed. To grieve his death. I slept, went on Facebook and watched Dr. Phil, in between some tears and some giggles as I allowed memories of Gordo to wash over me. I miss him, but most of all I regret what he could have been. He was the brightest of my children and had the most potential.He should have been an Attorney like his Father or Computer Executive as he had a natural ability with computers. I loved his charm and his active mind we would discuss current events, politics and literature. I adored his sense of humor. We enjoyed each others company. Yes, I miss him. God Bless my lost son…. please say a prayer for him.


Dear Folks,

The dogs woke me at 3:00 a.m. with their insistent barking.  I could see the security lights were activated.  The dogs were grouped in a pack at the yard gate.  I went to see what was causing all the upset.  Two Sheriffs were standing there.  My heart skipped a beat.  Only bad news comes delivered at 3:00 a.m. “Please God, don’t let it be Ron.”

They asked if I was, Mary Smalley and I if they could come in, they had some information they needed to give me.  The dogs were jumping up and down around them.  They asked if the dogs bite.  I warned them about “Breezie”,  being very protective of me.  One of the Officers said; ” Oh, they are Schnauzers, they are a friendly breed.”  Just as Breezie snapped at his hand when he went to pet him.  Fortunately his teeth hit his heavy wrist…

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Last Rare White Mini-Schnauzer Puppy Sold..

Molly May was bought by Susan Radcliffe and now resides with her cousin; Mr. Gibbs, bought from me four years ago.  They now all reside in Anchorage, Alaska.  Molly May will go to Susan’s office each day with Mr. Gibbs.  They are a very happy family.

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