My wife of two years. Betty, and I left Amherst a day or two after graduation en route to Rochester, N.Y. where we hoped to find work to support ourselves for the summer, at least I'd been accepted into the doctoral program at the U. of R. and would start in Sept. in a Veterans Admin. Training program for clinical psychologists. Betty got job as a secretary in the cashier's office of the teaching hospital of the U. of R. Med. School where she worked until Apri '51 when our son, Dana Mack, was born. Our daughter, Laurie Diane, joined the family in Feb.,'53.
After completion of all the academic requirements but the dissertation, I worked a year on spot welders, punch presses, and manila- folder-making machines to support the four of us while I gathered research data for my dissertation. In mid-May of 54 I became head of the psychology dept. at Rochester State Hospital where I remained until Sept. '65. While at RS.H. I finished my dissertation and took on an additional job as visiting psychologist at Attica State Prison averaging close to 48 visits per year. I terminated both of those positions when I became Chief Psychologist at the Monroe County Mental Health Clinic for Courts and Probation Departments (later to become the M.C.M.H.C. for Socio-Legal Services).
I retired from the clinic in September 1977 with the added title of Assistant Director, Administrative to go into private practice with a group of psychiatrists and psychologists. Twelve years later, I gave up my office to work part-time in an employees' assistance program. Then, five weeks short of my 70th birthday ,viz., 12131/91, I became fully retired.
In retrospect, I often considered myself to be one lucky bastard to have found a career activity I enjoyed doing, did fairly well, and received decent monetary rewards. And yet, I've never for a moment regretted retiring. It was time to move on and enjoy the so-called "golden years".
Both of our kids attended Allegheny College in Pa. and Dana went on to obtain his master's degree in History at Georgetown Univ. He subsequently enlisted in the Air Force Intelligence, completed officers' training in Tex. And was sent to Japan for a tour of duty. When his replacement came there he showed her the ropes of the job and introduced her to the better eating places in the area. He went on to Korea for his next assignment but maintained contacts with her. About year later, she flew to Korea and they had a "paper wedding'' meaning they signed a bunch of military and civilian papers and were officially married without any ceremony. A church wedding took place in Philadelphia about a year later after they were sent to Kelly A.F.B. in San Antonio. They have an adopted son who married a woman with two kids, making Dana a step-grandfather and us step-great grandparents. Currently, he is a major stationed in the Pentagon and will finish out his 20 years in the D.C. area.
Our daughter, Laurie, married another Allegheny grad and about two years later they both enlisted in the Air Force. She didn't re-sign but her husband did and he recently retired as a computer programmer. They and their three kids are coming to this area to live some time in Aug.,'98. Their oldest, an 18 year old young man, is starting his second year at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Their other son is 16 and their daughter is soon to be twelve.
Our kids' being in the service has led Betty and me to visit parts of the U.S., England, & France we might not have seen otherwise. Mountain Home on the Snake River in Idaho south of Boise is one of those spots. Hawaii, Texas, Maryland, Delaware and various places in between were on our itinerary through the years.
London and Paris each had its own unique experiences for us. In London, we danced in Kensington Palace where Princess Diana had one of her residences. We were touring through the Kings' Gallery (portraits of kings hung on the wall, separated from the carpeted tour path by an oak floor).There were two people ahead of us and no one behind and so I ventured to hum a waltz and taking bold of my lady-love danced for 10sec. The woman ahead of us caught our movement and offered to sing if we would dance some more.
So, she bummed [chickened out on the singing I guess] and we danced for another 20 sec. Now, how many other '49ers have danced in Kensington Palace? Let's have a show of hands!
The Paris episode was also dancing but in a less royal setting; viz., in the Follies Bergere. We had orchestra seats at one of the shows and at intermission went to the foyer for a cooling drink. We then returned the theater orpoer where piped music was playing. Another Waltz! You got it! The intrepid (read "brassy") Smiths danced there in a broad area between the last row of seats and the foyer. How about another show hands of all those '49ers who have danced at the Follies Bergere? More damn fun!!
For the past thirty-three years Betty has worked part-time as a secretary; first in the athletic dept. of Bighton H.S. (Brighton is the town where we actually live) for about 20 years and then, in the Psychology of Nazareth College, a smallish liberal arts school nearby. She is still there and says she'll not retire until her boss kicks her out to pasture. She thoroughly enjoys her job and doesn't work when the college isn't in session. That's fine with me because it keeps her out of my kitchen (which has been her kitchen for almost forty years). Actually, we eat out several times a week but now and then I will try my hand at creative cooking. So far, the results have been pretty good most of the time. Betty tells me the results of my efforts rate 9s or 10s. I think if roles wer reversed, I'd rate everything 9 or 10, too, to avoid the risk of being told, "Cook it yourself, Buddy, if you don't like it!"
We're both in good general health, a little osteo-arthritis cuasing twinges now and then here and there. Betty is into yoga classes twice a week; we enjoy evening walks when weather permits and we belong to two dinner-dance clubs which bring us together with friends several times a month. Betty, also, swims one or two times a week. most of my workouts are at the Jewish Community Center five mornings per week for an hour and a half to two hours. These consist of a variety of weight-training exercises on Cybex machines, aerobic walking and riding exercycle machines. I'm sure they are helping me maintain a better quality of health than i would if I were more of a couch potato.
For intellectual stimulation, I play bridge with three guys; two of them have bridging with me for forty years. I read numerous magazines and usually have two mystery books going at the same time (no, Silly, I don't read them at the same time!). A year or so ago I took a course in typing so that I could use our computer more efficently. We bought a new computer a couple of week ago. Betty had some experience in using one at her job. I'm an ignoramus neophyte. But, we're both having fun diddling around with the computer, finding out what it can do. Betty has rescued me several times from the brink of disaster. It is a lot of fun and certainly is a major source of intellectual stimulation. (this autobio is my product. Thank Goodness corrections are made so easily!)
There is another activity I'm engaged in weekly and that is broadcasting on public radio on a special band to people who are reading-impaired. This reading is a service of our local P.B.S. I read the daily paper of a nearby town live for half an hour and then, tape another half hour of USA Today Sports for braodcast later tha day. I've been doing this reading for over six years and find it very rewarding to me.
I am hoping to make it to our fiftieth but we have a scheduling conflict which might not be resolvable. We won't know about that until next April or even May.