Oral Histories

Dorothy R. Rossignol


Dorothy Rossignol

Q: So he kept cooking?

A: He cooked and I worked in the paperwork part of it. Then they decided to shut that down after a couple, three years. They didn’t want to fire anymore missiles. The Germans brought some kind of a German missile over and fired from there. I don’t know where they went; they were not there very long. After they had all the Athena things, then they shut it down, nobody else came and fired any.

Q: Now what happened to the Rossignols?

A: Let’s see. Well, I think we must have come down here. No, we were going to Montana. How did we get to Eureka, Nevada? That was lead and silver over there. That was in there someplace. We moved to Moab in 1969 and my husband worked for W. W. Clyde on I-70.

Q: In construction?

A: Yes, and we lived in Thompson. We moved our trailer over to Thompson. We had bought the property here (in Green River) in 1963 and the trailer was in and out. When we moved to Moab, we bought this place in 1969 and of course we did a lot of in and out moving, but not with the trailer because it was fastened down to the land. He worked out there until they got the bridges done, that’s what they were doing; making the bridges on I-70. Then he went to work for Atlas at the mines out to Atlas. And he worked outside.

Q: And he’s back to mining?

A: Oh, yes. Miners like mining. I don’t know why. It kind of gets in their brain or their system; but most mining is a nice place to be in the winter when it’s cold and it’s a nice place to be in the summer when it’s hot.

Q: Did you ever go in the mine?

A: Oh, yes, but not to work. Back when we were in mines, women did not go underground. There were some of the old timers would not go back in a mine if a woman ever went underground. Even if she just walked around. Back at White Canyon, Deer Flats, there were just 2 guys and the boss in the mine. It was just a little mine. Bob was contract mining and I used to make the primers that set off the dynamite. And I had to do it underground. But they had a little hole cut out – not the main entrance to the mine. Say; if this was the mine and up the street was this little place and I used to go in there. The fuses and the caps and everything were in there. They couldn’t have them in the mine; it would blow up the place. They didn’t worry about me! There was a bench with little notches for short fuses and long fuses, different size fuses. I laid out and held the primer and measure for the short or long and then I had to crimp the fuse on it. And that had to be very careful. You didn’t want to pinch the wrong end or you’d have been out. We wouldn’t have been here. Because they were contract miners, they didn’t want to take their time from mining to make those.

Q: Did you ever do that at Happy Jack?

A: Oh, No. Just at White Canyon because there was nobody around to know that a woman was doing it. They had somebody else doing it at Happy Jack. That was a different kind of place.

Q: He worked all of these years in mining and you never got to see much of his mines that he was working in?

A: No. The only time I would get to go in a mine was on a day off when nobody else was around. He could sneak a little peek and show me what he was doing. When we were at Deer Flat, the little houses were, say, up on this ledge and the mine was down here. Of course, they have bells for what they are doing. Three is somebody is on the cage and they are coming up or something. Bob would come home for lunch and when I’d hear the bells then I’d know just how long it would be until he would come to lunch.

Q: Now we have you in Moab and he is working for Atlas. How many years did he work for Atlas?

A: Not very long; he retired and then he went to work for Arches National Park. It was seasonal. He worked from March until November.

Q: What did he do at the Park?

A: He was the janitor. Everybody liked him. He used to do a lot more things than he was supposed to. Being a cook, he liked clean dishes all the time. He would go in the employees’ kitchen and wash their dishes. He said he went in there one day and there was a note. “Bob is not your Mother, Do your own dishes.” So he lost his job doing dishes. I still have that note.

Q: How many years did he work out there?

A: He worked there 3 or 4 years and then when he had his first stroke, he couldn’t do it and that was the end of the work.

Q: While he was working at Atlas and at the Park, were you working?

A: Oh, yes. I worked at the Westerner Grill. When Moab got their little sewing factory, Fritzie, It was Moab Sportswear to start with. I worked there for 7 years. I worked at the Westerner for 11 years. And I worked at the Atlas Mill. I was a ten-day mill hand. That was hard work. I shoveled the ore onto the conveyer belt that spilled off. Eight hours of that, I could not do. So I was only a ten day mill hand. Then I went back to waiting tables. You’ve heard of ten-day miners. They only work long enough to get one payday and then they are gone.

Q: Did you work at the Westerner until they closed?

A: Eleven years, uh huh, I had three different bosses. I had Margaret Maki, then I had Don Suhn, then I had that last character that didn’t want women working for him. In Moab you don’t do that. How many men are going to wait tables in Moab? Then I retired.

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