This Week’s Everyday People
Place of Birth: Oakland, California
Occupation: Oh…oh…what I’m getting paid for?
Well, we always put down what your main career objective is or was..
Ok…(pause)…sorry I’m hesitating here because I’ve had several careers…my 1st career was Housewife and Mother, that’s basically what I did for 25 years and I was very happy with that, I had 5 kids and a husband and, so that’s what I did, I was a Housewife and Mother
A full time job!
Oh yes! It was the hardest job and most rewarding job I ever had..of course, during that period, I was married to a truck driver, so, we were not what you would call really rich with 5 kids ok? (of course) so, at that time, I worked part-time jobs at McDonalds, I was a telephone solicitor, I delivered hand-outs, uh, I babysat of course, I had many many part time jobs during that period..but, my husband died, and, he was only 50 (ugh!) and, all of a sudden I’m sitting there with a 12 year old kid, a high school degree and no way to make money…I needed to support myself, so I went back to college, got my degree and I became a computer programmer, and then, when I retired from that, or excuse me, got laid off cause they shut down the main frames, then I went to H&R Block and I became a tax preparer and then I went to (present job) and I am still there!
Wow Gayle! and do I understand, you volunteer for the police? Or fire department?
I am a member of the Manhattan Beach Police department’s Victims assistance team and have been for the last 35 years. What we do, is we are 2nd responders. The police department will secure a scene..traffic accidents, a natural death, a crime victim..and once they have secured the scene and there is a person there, the victim or the spouse of a deceased person, we stay with them until the family gets there. As soon as we can release them to family or friends and they’re secure, then we leave.
Oh! And I also sing in the choir! And I do one other thing…something else I volunteer for..but I forget what it is now. Anyway, that’s what I do!
Amazing, just amazing! Ok, Gayle W, what kind of kid were you?
(chuckles) Well, I was the eighth one of nine children, ok? And, according to my Mother, I was a very good little girl, I was very quiet..and she said she could be mopping the floor and say “Now you stay in the doorway”, and I did, how bout that?
(laughs) Fantastic, but wow eight of nine!
Yes, I had a little brother, just one little brother…of course he’s 6”4’ but that doesn’t make any difference, he’s the only little brother I have. I have 3 older brothers and I have, let’s see, 4 older sisters, but, just my one little brother.
Now you have 5 children, but I wanna get in, how many grand and great grand children?
I have 5 children, 14 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren!
Amazing! Who’re the 2 in the photo? They’re so cute
Ok so that’s Wes and Eli. They’re cousins. Born 3 months apart. I have one brand new one born 6 weeks ago and I haven’t seen him yet, this stupid corona virus has got in the way! I had planned to go see him and then this..his name is Knox Luke Henry W…he’s got 2 angels in heaven already!
That’s so nice. I hope you get to see him soon. In person. Ok Gayle, if you were to win 1 million dollars in the lottery tomorrow, what would you do with it?
I’d take all my kids and all my grandkids, all 30 of us, and we’d go on a trip someplace, either a cruise or…just so I could get the whole of them all together. As they get older, they tend not to see each other anymore, like the 2 little cousins, who are so far apart, so I would do something where I could gather my whole family together.
That’s so great…what’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for you?
Oh golly! (chuckles) That’s a hard one..I don’t know, to be perfectly honest…um..everybody’s nice to me! It’s just, uh, ok you want me to think of one in particular?
Well, it could be anything, maybe not THE nicest thing, but just A nice thing..
Uh, actually I don’t know if it was considered nice or not, but one of the best lessons I ever learned was when I was in, I believe it was third grade, and I went to catholic school and the Nun said “Ok, what I want you to do is to do something nice for somebody, but you can’t tell anybody.” Do you know how hard that is? (laughs) It is almost, and a kid, I was, like 8 years old!…I did it..ok! And I’ve pretty much lived my life that way ever since!..That’s probably one of the nicest things that’s ever happened to me.
That is a great story. It really is..Ok lemme ask you. Who’s the funniest person you’ve ever known?
(chuckles) Well, let’s see, probably my Father. (your Dad!) Yeah, he was a 1st generation German in this country, and he hardly ever spoke at all. He did not speak much, uh, he had no accent, he was, he was actually a bona fide genius, but he, his sense of humor was unbelievable! Because his first language was not English. Whenever..somebody would say something and he would come up with the darndest things..(chuckles) just, I mean, dry, subtle wit..and you’d never know it because he’d never said anything, except with family..but I gotta say..to me..I still laugh at what he does, and he’s been dead for what? 40 years! (chuckles) More! Oh golly no, almost 60 years! But no, he had, and I love subtle, dry humor, that was my Dad!
Wow! He left quite the impression!
So, now, who’s the funniest person you’ve ever seen? Like a funny comedian or actor or…?
Oh..Red Skelton! Above all! Well, he, to me, he could make you laugh, he didn’t use shock tactics, like, you know, foul language. Uh, he did not demean anybody, everything he said was about himself or his character…and he could entertain anybody without using all the props that a lot of comedians do, and I just loved that guy. He was great!
Great choice! Great choice! I can still see him, when he had his show on CBS, swinging from that giant swing, remember that?
Oh yeah! (chuckles) Clem Kadiddlehopper!
(laughs) Fantastic! Ok, you can go anywhere you want to in the world tomorrow, where is that place and why?
(sigh) Hmm….Well, I would say Australia, except…now I’ve been to China. I’ve been to Africa. I’ve been to Europe. Australia was a continent I always wanted to go..but, after that fire! I’d have to wait for a long time..so, maybe I’ll just hop down to Mexico City, that sounds pretty good. I want to see the pyramids down there, uh, I have never managed to get to Mexico for some reason, except Tijuana, and uh, the history there..it’s related to California a lot. I’ve heard so much about the pyramids and the Aztecs, I’d kinda like to see that country..
Yeah, absolutely! Ok, the island questions..you’re going to live the rest of your life on a deserted island. This is an idyllic situation, but you can only take one of each. Which?
Candy Bar? Mmm..Mounds!
Mounds! You’re my first Mounds!
Well, I always was a little different than the average (chuckles)
Ok, which type of food?
Oh food..uh, let’s see…uhh, probably a casserole..and you said I can have them in perpetuity so I can make each one a little different
Good choice! Very smart! One pot meals, no dishes to wash! Ok, which Album?
mmm…uh you know, there’s an album, that uh..oh golly, it’s a Christmas album that they did on television…and I have always loved it..um..not Johnny Cash but who was a good western singer way back when?
He had a TV show....dark hair..
Uhh,,wasn’t Roy Clark?
No, before him..he had a TV show and he did a Christmas special that he did every year with children..
No..uh..see Johnny Cash keeps steppin on me, but that’s not it..and that’s my favorite album, so what does that do for me? (chuckles)
Well, you get to take it no matter what and maybe we’ll come up with it before the interview’s over. Ok, which movie?
It’s a Wonderful Life is my all time favorite movie. Oh yes, that’s always been my favorite because no matter how bad things are, it all comes out right in the end
It sure does. Sure does. A fantastic film that makes you feel good everytime you watch it! Ok, which book? You are an avid reader I know that!
I know. (chuckles) To this day, believe it or not, East of the Sun and West of the Moon..and that is a book of fairy tales I got my hands on when I was probably…8 or 9 years old? And it wasn’t like Cinderalla and all those, this was a different kind of a fairy tale book, but I always loved it and still I do..and getting a copy is impossible!
Ok, you can take 2 people with you. One for conversation purposes only. Who?
Yeah, my sister Dodie. Unfortunately, she’s no longer with us, but I’d take her anyway…she extremely smart, she’s way smart. And she’s also one of the kindest, nicest people that ever existed. So, having her around, and we have everything in common obviously, she’s the sister next to me..I’m eight and she’s seven. But I would take Dodie with me because I don’t know anybody kinder than she is
Aw, that’s sweet. What a lovely tribute. Now is that D O D Y?
Well she likes to be called Dolores. Dodie’s her nickname, but she prefers Dolores..but I’ve always called her Dodie D O D I E
Nice! Ok, so you can take one person for romantic purposes. Anybody you have in mind? for romance only now..
Well I, I have a profile in mind
Well, yeah he’s gotta be in his eighties, he’s gotta be in good health, he’s gotta be good looking..and he’s gotta love me!…Now when I find that person..that will be the one I’ll take with me
(laughs) sounds perfect, that is the ideal person, I’ll tell ya that. Ok Miss Gayle W, final question. What would you like for other people to say about you?
mmm..(pause) Probably that I did my best….that’s enough for me
Yeah, yeah! I think they’ll say that, and then some! You were, as I knew, absolutely amazing. Thanks so much Gayle! (I believe the artist was Tennessee Ernie Ford)