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History of the Forest Products Laboratory

Interview #984: Gust, Dolores (June, 2009)

View all of First Interview Session (September 11, 2008)

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00:27:13 - 00:31:18 Retirement

retirement, downsizing, camaraderie, social activities, parties; Tarkow, Harold

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00:27:13

EJ

Sure. And so you said you retired in, what was it, about '96?

DG

Right.

EJ

And that was just, you just kind of felt it was time?

DG

I retired in, no January of '97. Yeah, I was, I guess, I think I was sixty-four, sixty-three or sixty-four. And the Lab was just changing; it was getting smaller and smaller and it seemed like I had more in common with people who weren't working there anymore, you know?

EJ

Sure-

DG

I'm serious, I mean, we all remember what it was like to be so close. It got so it sort of hurt to see this, there wasn't that feeling as much anymore.

EJ

So it was really just kind of more of a diminishing camaraderie.

DG

That's what I thought, yeah.

EJ

Yeah, okay.

DG

And it was, I mean when you get to be almost sixty-five, it's time if you can and my husband had retired and we wanted to spend some time at the cottage, but then he died of cancer in '98 so we didn't even have, we had about a year. So, that was not good either.

EJ

Yeah, I'm sorry to hear that.

DG

He got really, so he felt the Lab was part of his, you know, he'd go to all the functions and everybody knew him as well as they knew me. And you know how so many husband will not want to do stuff, go to---he never was like that because it was such a close-knit feeling.

EJ

That's great. Did he work in a related field?

DG

Did he?

EJ

Yeah.

DG

No, no.

EJ

Okay.

DG

He was in the glass business; he worked as a glass blower.

EJ

Okay. So it was just a; he just enjoyed the social aspect as well-

DG

He just loved it.

EJ

and supported you.

DG

We'd go to parties. Wood chemistry is where I worked for about six years, or seven, before I quit and it was the first, what they called, goll, I have a mental block, what did they call, they made these gals secretaries who were, didn't do all the grunt work, they were in charge. That's when I was writing those procedural things.

EJ

Okay.

DG

Anyway, the, they were chemists you know, and they were sort of high-brow guys, and they, this one guy, he always through a Christmas party. And he was Jewish, Harold Tarko, in fact, he just at the party about a month or two ago; he must be close to ninety now, but I mean, he was always so good, Harold was, he's a famous scientist. He would travel all over the world for the Lab discussing wood chemistry things, you know? But his wife was a typical Jewish woman, Lisel, and when we'd go to her parties, they'd have Christmas parties, believe or not, the Jewish people did. My husband would walk up---I tell you this because it was so strong in his mind---and his name was Larry, my husband, and Lisel would be standing at the door and she'd say Larry, Larry Larry, how are you? And she'd hug him, you know and it was just, just so warm, heartwarming, you know?

EJ

Sure.

DG

And Larry just loved that. When Harold Tarko, who was, you'll hear his name mentioned, I'm sure, he did some trips overseas and he was gone for like two months. So, the gal who was my assistant in the division at that time, she and I, we hung up clothes lines in his office and hung bras and underwear [laughter] and just all sorts of things so that he was gone so long that someone else had taken over his office, you know. And we have pictures of that in my retirement book. They called the photographers down and it was hysterical, he just about flipped when he walked into his office. But you know, see when we did stuff like that, it was just fun.

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