Theoretical physicist Robert Oppenheimer diagnosed with tuberculosis
Moves to the high desert country of New Mexico to recuperate.
Two months before the US enters World War II
Franklin D Roosevelt approves the development of the atom bomb
And is of the opinion if the Allies don’t get there first
The Axis powers will, so the race is on.
Oppenheimer is now part of the Manhattan Project
And when looking for a secure location for their top secret laboratory
Has no hesitation in suggesting the area around Los Alamos
Seven thousand five hundred feet above sea level,
North of the state’s capital Santa Fe
Edith Warner, Baptist, teacher, and maker of cake
Came to New Mexico to recover from a breakdown
And is running a tea room at the railway station near Los Alamos
Robert, a regular visitor, looks forward to his slice
Of the best chocolate cake he’s ever eaten.
The US military are concerned with secrecy and security
So they requisition the town of Los Alamos
Closing it to anyone not working there.
Edith and the laboratory workers
Fear for the future of their precious escape.
Thanks to Oppenheimer, Niels Bohr and Enrico Fermi
The powers that be agree to allow
Edith Warner’s ‘The House by the River’ to not only remain,
But for those working on the terrifying destructive power
That will change the world forever,
An extra room is added to serve dinner at $2 per person
And in respect of Edith’s beliefs – no alcohol