Oral Histories

Dorothy R. Rossignol


Dorothy Rossignol

Q: What happened to the sewing plant; where did it go?

A: It went back to California.

Q: Where was it located?

A: It was first located when we were in our training, up where the old senior center was on the hill. We were in there. Then the Legion wanted it back. Let’s see, we had Moab Sportswear, we had Fritzi of California and Fritzi of Utah, we had Pykettes, we had Browning, we had J C Penney. A lot of people we sewed for and they were getting too big for that place. We had to look around we moved from there to the basement of JR’s. That little place kind of across from where the Circle K was out there. (South Highway 191 by the Comfort Inn) It’s that long place, but anyway, we were in the basement. And then they decided to build us a brand new building. You know where Nelson’s Heating and that big place where Ricks Glass. That was a huge 24,000 sq ft building. It was all open except for the office and a little store.

Q: So that was originally your sewing plant?

A: Yes, that was what it was built for. They had room for 300 machines. They could have employed 300 people. The most we ever had working was 75. The hours were great. 7:30 to 3:30. Benefits you wouldn’t believe. It was ideal for people that had kids in school. 5 days a week. But they couldn’t keep people to work.

Q: Is that what eventually closed them down?

A: Well, that and when Fritzi of California bought it, they looked at the map and said “Oh the railroad runs pretty close to that Moab. That would be good freight.” Until it came out that 30 miles is not close. Our station out there could not handle tons of material and tons of this and tons of that. Everything had to be trucked and that went down the drain. And they couldn’t get people to work. But it was a good place to work. Everything. Moab has this reputation or something that people don’t want to work. They don’t want to put their time in to something that might make a few dollars for the town. That would have been the ideal thing.

Q: Sounds like it would have been a nice industry for Moab.

A: It was. And we got Saturday mornings we got to go out and do our own sewing. A bunch of us would go. We’d cut things out and get them ready. The ones that put on buttons, put on buttons for everybody else; the ones who make buttonholes; I put on cuffs on shirts. I can put on a cuff in a hurry. So that anybody that needed cuffs on a shirt passed it to me.

Q: And you still do a lot of sewing, right?

A: Yes, because I got one of those machines.

Q: After you were no longer working there, or at the Westerner, was that when you started at the museum?

A: When my husband had his strokes, I had to stay home. I couldn’t work a lot. I did work some at the Westerner Grill again, but just a day or two, when somebody needed time off. He had seven strokes altogether. Taking him to Grand Junction, taking him to Salt Lake to the Veterans Hospitals, I couldn’t work. After about the third stroke and they took his Drivers License away, I had to lock up the cars.

Q: He wasn’t ready to quit driving?

A: No. The day that they took it away, he had gone to town and coming home, he came home in a police car and no car. I thought “Oh Boy,” so I went out to see what the policeman said and he said that because he’s had so many strokes, he was driving kind of.. and we had to come by the school everyday. He says I pulled him over and I told him he could not drive anymore. So he brought him home. He wasn’t ticketed or anything, he could see that he shouldn’t drive. In Moab, small, everybody knows everybody’s business. The policeman took me up to get the car and bring it home.

Q: Did he die from a stroke, finally?

A: Uh huh.

Q: What year was that?

A: 1990. The first couple of strokes, he was paralyzed just on one side and through rehabilitation he got so he could walk and his speech was kind of slurred. He walked with a cane. Like the doctor said, he could have them at night, ministrokes at night, and the only way you would know he’d had one was in the morning. A lot of times when he would get up, he would not remember which way to the bathroom. Good old Dan Provonsha was really good to help. He would sit with him at lot of times when I had to go to the store or go someplace. He would come over and sit with him and they would have a good old conversation. They were both old miners. Dan was a wonderful, wonderful babysitter for him.

Q: So then, did you go back to work or just working part time since then?

A: When I got on Social Security, I didn’t work until prices went up so high that I couldn’t live on Social Security. I came in here one time, Virginia was here. Detta and I came in to see it and we joined the museum. Through Jean, mostly, pretty soon I got involved. When we had the store is when I got involved.

Q: You worked in the store?

A: Yes, that was strictly a volunteer. Instead of working just 2 hours at a time, like you were supposed to, I worked 2 days at a time. Pretty soon I was filling in for Virginia, now I’m more and more.

Q: You work Saturday and Sunday?

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