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Marguerite Wunsch's Autobiography (submitted 5/17/06)

Red and Yellow Memory

First job out of high school--1942--wartime--working at New Jersey Bell Telephone in Camden--rating operator recordings of tickets that would dole out profits to Ma Bell--I was a young girl at a job that people said I was lucky to have.

However, the top brass gave the employees rules. One rule, not to be broken, was that no food could be left overnight in desk drawers.

I'd inadvertently left an orange in my drawer and my peers constantly questioned me about this forbidden fruit that remained in my drawer. I countered with the excuse that gradually went around the office, "Oh, I'm keeping it until the war is over."

I knew that someone might have objected to this orange, but the subject of World War II was sacred and heavy on our minds. So, the orange stayed!

Weeks, months, and, yes, even years seemed like centuries to the bored Bell Telephone lassies whose only goal in life was to get me to "forget the orange and toss it!" But, I held out and held onto my treasure.

August 1945

Factory whistles and sirens blowing into our open windows -- everything got quiet, work ceased. Car horns blowing -- it must be -- THE WAR IS OVER! Tears and laughter!

"Where's the orange?" About forty employees, ran to my desk and crowded around as I retrieved the very dried up orange. Still orange in color with no mold or loss of color! Just a very thin skinned orange who joined us in celebration of the end of World War II...

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