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Legacies Project Oral History: Fred Lang

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 10:03am

When: 2020

Ernst Frederick “Fred” Lang was born in 1916 in Detroit and grew up on Van Dyke Avenue. As a young man he played ragtime and jazz piano in Detroit speakeasies. He attended the University of Michigan LSA and the Medical School. After graduating in 1941, he married his longtime sweetheart, Virginia, and they raised four children. Lang was a radiologist at Harper Hospital in Detroit for 40 years and served as editor of the American Journal of Radiology. He passed away on September 26, 2014.

Fred Lang was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2008 as part of the Legacies Project.

Transcript

  • [00:00:10.05] LYNETTE SCORE: My name is Lynette Score, and I'm interviewing Dr. Fred Lang. Dr. Lang, if you could please just answer a few demographic questions for us first. Please say and spell your name.
  • [00:00:24.84] FRED LANG: The whole name?
  • [00:00:26.69] LYNETTE SCORE: Yeah, that would be helpful.
  • [00:00:28.12] FRED LANG: Ernst Frederick Lang, E-R-N-S-T, that's the German way. Frederick, F-R-E-D-E-R-I-C-K L-A-N-G.
  • [00:00:42.93] LYNETTE SCORE: Thank you. What is your birth date, including the year?
  • [00:00:48.38] FRED LANG: December 16, 1916. That was a good year.
  • [00:01:02.66] LYNETTE SCORE: How would you describe your race or ethnicity?
  • [00:01:10.48] FRED LANG: I'm a Caucasian apparently. My parents were American citizens. My father was born here of German immigrant parents. My mother was born here of parents whose lineage was in the United States.
  • [00:01:41.23] LYNETTE SCORE: Thank you. Do you have a religious affiliation?
  • [00:01:46.22] FRED LANG: Do I have--
  • [00:01:47.40] LYNETTE SCORE: A religious affiliation.
  • [00:01:51.17] FRED LANG: No. I was brought up in a congregational church, and I wasn't active. I don't have strong religious feelings. I think it's faith that I lack, and I object to no religion that's nonviolent, but when I'm pinned down, I say that I'm lapsed and further questioning shows that I'm lapsed from paganism.
  • [00:02:44.15] LYNETTE SCORE: What is the highest level of formal education that you've completed?
  • [00:02:54.90] FRED LANG: High school, four years of literature, science, and the arts, LS&A school in Ann Arbor and four years of medical school in Ann Arbor, but that was during the war, and the last year of lit school, and the first year of medical school were combined. That was standard at the time so that it was a seven year college experience.
  • [00:03:26.05] LYNETTE SCORE: Wow.
  • [00:03:26.85] FRED LANG: After that, after finishing the training in radiology, that was four years. About a year later, I realized that I was uncomfortable because I wasn't studying for some kind of an examination. So I signed up for some correspondence courses in calculus and number theory and spent three years at those. But that was non-credit.
  • [00:04:04.37] LYNETTE SCORE: So that's 11 years of education beyond high school?
  • [00:04:10.36] FRED LANG: 10 anyway.
  • [00:04:11.66] LYNETTE SCORE: Wow. What is your marital status?
  • [00:04:16.87] FRED LANG: What is my--
  • [00:04:17.94] LYNETTE SCORE: Your marital status.
  • [00:04:21.25] FRED LANG: My wife died about 18 months ago about Christmas time of 2006. Would you like the story?
  • [00:04:34.79] LYNETTE SCORE: Sure.
  • [00:04:37.73] FRED LANG: We met-- Virginia and I met in 1931 in the 8th grade. We traded rings in the 10th grade. She waited until I finished school, and then we were married in the week between the last examination and the commencement exercises when we had our honeymoon then, too.
  • [00:05:12.86] She worked those seven years while I was away here in Ann Arbor. We lived in Detroit, and she worked so that we could live together after we were married. The moral atmosphere was a little different back in '31.
  • [00:05:39.17] LYNETTE SCORE: I imagine.
  • [00:05:41.30] FRED LANG: Than I here than it is now. But I remember saying happy birthday to her face to face in 1931, and I said happy birthday to her face to face every year between then and 2006, so that we had a long relationship. We were dependent on each other, and that helped. I remember that we learned soon that we would have disagreements and that the winner of the disagreement was the one who first said "Maybe you're right, dear. Maybe we should do it your way."
  • [00:06:38.11] She died quietly and really rather suddenly in 2006. She had been sinking into dementia, and her 90th birthday was in August, and we had a birthday party with all four children there. It was done here at Glacier Hills. All four children and all eight grandchildren and seven of the eight great grandchildren were here with their spouses when it was appropriate. And she had a great time, wonderful.
  • [00:07:34.34] But she may have been waiting for that because afterwards, she deteriorated more rapidly. We went to the ER one morning because she had rapid irregular pulse. The autopsy said that she died of pneumonia. She had no cough, no fever, no chest pain, but she had a rather well-developed irregularity in breathing called Cheyne-Stokes. And that's where she breathes rapidly for a few minutes and gradually slows down until there's almost no breathing and then it builds up again to the rapid rate.
  • [00:08:39.19] She died when she was on the elevator between the emergency room at the University of Michigan and the room she was going to be in. I'll never know whether she helped things along then with a pillow over her face when she was in the apneic part of Cheyne-Stokes. I don't know. But the autopsy said pneumonia.
  • [00:09:13.83] LYNETTE SCORE: Well, it sounds like you guys had a really wonderful time together.
  • [00:09:18.22] FRED LANG: Tell me--
  • [00:09:18.82] LYNETTE SCORE: It sounds like you guys had a really wonderful time together, though.
  • [00:09:21.35] FRED LANG: Oh, it was a very happy marriage.
  • [00:09:23.95] LYNETTE SCORE: From 8th grade until she was 90 years old. Let's see. How many siblings do you have?
  • [00:09:33.34] FRED LANG: I'm the oldest of four children, and I have three sisters. The youngest is-- oh, I guess she's 81, maybe 82. And we see each other regularly at the birthday of the eldest, which is in May.
  • [00:10:00.50] LYNETTE SCORE: And I heard you mention your children. Did you say--
  • [00:10:04.61] FRED LANG: We have four, a boy and three girls.
  • [00:10:13.04] LYNETTE SCORE: What would you say that your primary occupation was during your lifetime?
  • [00:10:19.04] FRED LANG: Oh, I was a radiologist. I worked in medical X-ray for 40 years at Harper Hospital in Detroit.
  • [00:10:35.59] LYNETTE SCORE: And at what age did you retire?
  • [00:10:40.02] FRED LANG: We had a contract, and at 65, you were asked to retire, and they could hire you for a year at a time after that. But I was not interested in that. I prefer to work out closer to home at a hospital where we had trained almost all of the radiologists, and it worked out fine. I was the one they called when somebody was on vacation or somebody was sick. But I retired at 65 and didn't do any real work after that.
  • [00:11:32.46] I was advisor to the editor of a medical dictionary for a year and little things like that.
  • [00:11:43.09] LYNETTE SCORE: Little things. Let's see.
  • [00:11:47.18] SPEAKER 1: Are we entering part one now?
  • [00:11:49.03] LYNETTE SCORE: Yes.
  • [00:11:49.68] SPEAKER 1: Could we pause tape real quick?
  • [00:11:55.23] LYNETTE SCORE: OK. Now I'd like to ask you a few questions about your childhood years. Where did you grow up and what are the strongest memories you have of that place?
  • [00:12:10.14] FRED LANG: Was the first word where did I grow up?
  • [00:12:12.36] LYNETTE SCORE: Yes, where did you grow up?
  • [00:12:14.56] FRED LANG: I was born nine months after my parents were married, and I think that I was delivered at home. I'm not sure. If I run my hand like this on each side, there is a little valley there. And I wonder if that doesn't mean that it was a birth with forceps at home, and that was in Detroit on Van Dyke, and then about a year and a half later, my sister was born, and by then, my father, who was a building contractor then, had built a house opposite a small park in the Indian village in Detroit. And I grew up there until I went to Ann Arbor for college at about 18 or 19.
  • [00:13:49.92] And it was not a poor neighborhood. It was middle class but not upper middle class, and my father was a little-- looking back, I think a little domineering. He ran things. And my mother ran the house on a generous allowance, but it was an allowance every month. And he kept his business activities separate. I don't really remember a lot of things from my childhood.
  • [00:14:52.66] I was small and not really very aggressive. We had friendly neighbors. I didn't participate in sports. I did a lot of reading and eventually did well in school. I don't know whether you're interested in that. The fact that at the age of 12, I had found somebody that I was interested in and that we were an item until we were married in the Puritan days of 1930s and '40s
  • [00:16:19.10] LYNETTE SCORE: So how did your family come to live in Detroit?
  • [00:16:24.64] FRED LANG: What about living in Detroit?
  • [00:16:27.64] LYNETTE SCORE: How did your family come to live in Detroit?
  • [00:16:51.23] FRED LANG: My grandparents, my father's parents, who were from Germany came here in I imagine 1908, or something like that. And-- no, long before 1908. They must have come in 1850 or '60 and stayed for two years, had two children. Both of them died, so they went back to Germany. And then a year later, they returned to the United States and stayed here then.
  • [00:17:36.06] They had six children. My father was the eldest. He didn't speak English until he went to school, and he built them a house when he built his wife and him a house. And that was six or seven blocks away so that it was a close family. Oh-- oh, yes. My mother had come from Boise, Idaho, and every other year my father would send the family-- and by then, there were three children-- and would send them to Idaho for the summer.
  • [00:18:40.67] And he would come back, he'd take us out there and come back and work. And then, we'd come back to Detroit in the fall. One year, I think after the second child they had, I think-- I don't know what happened. I think they had a little problem together, and she went home to mother with two children and stayed there for a year. I went to school in a one room schoolhouse, and I was in the third grade then. Second grade, maybe. And after a year, we came back home and stayed there.
  • [00:19:37.91] Let's see. Childhood.
  • [00:19:42.05] LYNETTE SCORE: Would you like another question?
  • [00:19:44.67] FRED LANG: I beg your pardon?
  • [00:19:45.17] LYNETTE SCORE: Would you like another question?
  • [00:19:48.50] FRED LANG: Well, no. I was just thinking about something more I could tell you. It might not be of any significance now. I was an average student in elementary school. I blossomed in high school, and for the four years of high school, my final grades-- I got one b.
  • [00:20:18.32] LYNETTE SCORE: Oh, wow.
  • [00:20:19.62] FRED LANG: The others were all as In the four years. And that b was in physical education, because when they picked teams in the gym, nobody picked me. So I got a b.
  • [00:20:40.91] LYNETTE SCORE: I can relate. So you said your father built the house that you lived in.
  • [00:20:48.60] FRED LANG: Oh, yes. He built the house. It was, as I said, across from a park. There was a school in the park, and I went to elementary school there. And then at the other end of the park across a Main Street, there was another school, and I went to school there until I went to high school.
  • [00:21:14.21] LYNETTE SCORE: So what was the house like? Was it a big house? A small house?
  • [00:21:19.74] FRED LANG: It had two, three, four bedrooms upstairs and one bathroom. It had one washroom toilet and wash basin downstairs. It had a dining room, and mother had a bell put under the carpet so that she could hire a cook who could come in and serve dinners. Mother did a lot of cooking. And I remember we had hot rolls every night for dinner.
  • [00:22:11.40] My father was in charge. He carved the meat always. And let me see. Yes, each of the children had a bedroom, and there was a library downstairs. The basement wasn't finished. And my mother wanted me to take piano lessons. So I did, and she had dreams of a concert pianist. And when I was in the eighth or ninth grade, I decided I'd like to study popular music-- jazz piano instead, so I did. And then, I worked and played piano in Blind Pigs before 1931 when Prohibition was repealed.
  • [00:23:32.56] And afterwards, a beer garden sprang up on every other corner in our neighborhood, and they wanted music on Saturdays. So I played piano in beer gardens then, and that was legal.
  • [00:23:56.64] LYNETTE SCORE: How many people lived in the house that you grew up in? How many people lived with you in the house where you grew up? And what was their relationship to you?
  • [00:24:11.43] FRED LANG: There were three girls younger than I-- my sisters and my parents, and we all lived together in the house. There was no live-in maid, but we had a maid that came every day for the years when there were four children there until-- well, maybe it was only six or seven years. The children were happy and well except for the youngest daughter had a congenital dislocation of the hip, and she was on a pipe frame for a year when she was maybe two or three. And that made us aware of the disease and taking care of people.
  • [00:25:34.79] It was, I think, helpful to everybody except her. And let's see. We vacationed usually frequently at a family camp near Port Huron for three or four weeks, and my father would come up for weekends, and it was a close family. We didn't do much traveling except to Idaho. Then, I left when I was 18 to go to the University of Michigan, and I didn't live at home after that.
  • [00:26:50.07] LYNETTE SCORE: Now, you said your mother was a housewife, correct?
  • [00:26:52.39] FRED LANG: She didn't work. She was a housewife, correct. She had finished high school and had not gone to college.
  • [00:27:00.86] LYNETTE SCORE: And your father, was he a builder, or did he just know how to build houses?
  • [00:27:08.64] FRED LANG: My father--
  • [00:27:10.24] LYNETTE SCORE: Did he build houses for a living, or did he just--
  • [00:27:16.13] FRED LANG: He graduated from the University of Michigan as an architect. He went to the school of engineering, because that's where the taught architecture. But then in his last year, they established a school of architecture, and there were eight engineers who were in that school. And his name was lowest in the alphabet so that he was the first graduate of the school of architecture from University of Michigan.
  • [00:27:57.14] But after he came to Detroit to work, he decided against architecture and did building contracting instead, and he built many houses. He built churches. He built the powerhouse at Eloise, which was a job, and because of that, he met a man whom he saw a couple of days a week with a report or something. And during the-- oh, I guess it was a couple of years before the depression, before 1929, that man, who told my father that he enjoyed seeing him because he was always happy, told him that there was a company making corrugated paper boxes run by a man and his son.
  • [00:29:18.76] And they were running it into the ground. They were not making the money that it should make and that he should offer to buy a share in that. And he did during the depression and eventually bought them out and had what he thought was a good moneymaking proposition. And he wanted me to go into it with him, but I'm not a business man. And so he had stock in the company that he gave to his children, and that paid dividends, and that helped to pay some of the debts. But he was interested in making money, and he did in the stock market and did well.
  • [00:30:31.39] LYNETTE SCORE: So when you were growing up, what was a typical day in your life like for you?
  • [00:30:38.58] FRED LANG: When I was growing up--
  • [00:30:39.81] LYNETTE SCORE: When you were growing up, what was a typical day like for you?
  • [00:30:49.57] FRED LANG: When I was in-- we'll say the eighth or ninth grade, I would get up, and I think it was probably around 7:00, because school started at 8:00. And then after school, I came home, and I had to practice an hour at the piano every day. And then, there was homework at night. My father helped with some of the homework, but I didn't have a lot of friends.
  • [00:31:55.79] The neighbor next door was not very friendly. But on the other side, there was a doctor's family, and we were close with them. The name was Higley, a Swiss name, and that was where I spent most of my time. Playtime, that is. But the playing outside was playing tag or stuff like that. We had alleys then, and we played in the alley. It was paved, and I remember spending a lot of time hitting a tennis ball against the back of the garage, because in the ninth grade, I would go to school early and have a half an hour of tennis with Virginia, the young lady I was interested in.
  • [00:33:23.95] Saturdays we walked four blocks up to the movie. Oh, yes. There was a friend in school with whom I was closer, and he and I would walk to the library, which was another three blocks regularly, and we had a little project. He was going to read all the books on this wall, and I was going to read all the books on the other wall. Well, we got halfway through. And we also walked up to a YMCA at another-- oh, that was about eight blocks away and played chess.
  • [00:34:30.01] Our interests were mainly school, and there was no television, of course. The radio was not a great big thing in our house so that I grew up quietly and bookish.
  • [00:35:02.09] LYNETTE SCORE: So can you tell me about any chores or duties you had around the house? Any chores you might have had to do?
  • [00:35:11.54] FRED LANG: Oh, yes. At that time, we had a coal burning furnace. And the coal would come by truck and come down a shoot onto the floor in the furnace room, and it was my job to shovel that coal into a closed big closet that was the coal bin. I shoveled the coal into the coal bin. That happened-- oh, we'd get coal maybe once every six weeks. That was a chore.
  • [00:36:06.43] I cut the lawn. I didn't have kitchen duties. I don't recall washing or drying the dishes. There were no dish dryers, dishwasher machines then. Oh, yes. And about the coal, so I shoveled the coal. And by the time I was almost through high school, we had changed it to an oil burning furnace so that there was no more coal, but that had been an important one of my jobs. We didn't have play equipment out in the back. I do remember a spare tire swing.
  • [00:37:21.33] Oh, and there was a sandbox. There was a sandbox next to the garage that I had to take care of. There were cats around. That was part of my job to sift the sand, and we found some Indian Flint arrowheads there, and I will never know whether they really were there or whether my father planted them.
  • [00:38:01.96] LYNETTE SCORE: So I know you enjoyed reading. I know you enjoyed reading a lot. And tennis. Were there any other things that you and your friends did for fun specifically?
  • [00:38:23.92] FRED LANG: I don't recall playing in a group. It was always just two or three of us, and it was never anything extensive. That was knocking a tin can off a stone in the alleyway, things like that. I don't remember much about playing. My spare time was spent reading. There was one unfortunate problem. My parents gave me a b.b. Gun when I was 11, maybe 12, but I think 11. 10 or 11. An air rifle.
  • [00:39:36.20] And the barrel of the gun unscrewed to put the b.b.s in, and then you screwed it tight and you used it. You pumped it up with air and shot a b.b. The b.b. stuck in the barrel once, and so I thought I should unscrew the barrel. And so I did. It was very carefully out here so the b.b. Would go there. But I was young and not strong enough to unscrew it, so I kept getting it a little closer and closer until I finally got it, and the b.b. Went up into my eye.
  • [00:40:28.26] It was a wooden porch, and I heard the b.b. drop out on the porch. It tore up the iris, damaged the lens. But I noticed no difference in the eyes. So I saw a doctor, and it was bandaged, and I had drops for six weeks or something like that. And my father read to me, Dave Dashaway. Well, I noticed no problem until I was in medical school and then in a microscope, I noticed a brown spot up in one corner, one part of the eye piece, and that was the beginning of a cataract that didn't really mature until I was long retired. [INAUDIBLE]. First, Grosse Pointe we lived at Grosse Pointe by then, so [INAUDIBLE] lens do.
  • [00:41:52.56] And then we moved to Ann Arbor, and I didn't know anybody here. A young lady at the Kresge Eye Institute.
  • [00:42:02.31] LYNETTE SCORE: So while you were in school, we're talking the 1920s, about?
  • [00:42:10.47] FRED LANG: I started school in '22 in kindergarten.
  • [00:42:15.63] LYNETTE SCORE: Do you remember any interesting fads or slang words from the time?
  • [00:42:28.03] FRED LANG: [LAUGHTER] No.
  • [00:42:34.31] LYNETTE SCORE: If something was really neat or really cool, how would people describe it then? Do you remember?
  • [00:42:45.23] FRED LANG: I don't recall using much slang. I can't think of the words that-- I'm interested in words. I can't think of the words that would have come along then.
  • [00:43:14.41] LYNETTE SCORE: How about like certain clothing items or hairstyles or dances that were popular? Do you remember any of those?
  • [00:43:23.08] FRED LANG: Oh, yes. Yes. Of course, the Charleston, and the-- oh, the Lindy Hop was later. And the two-step. And I think that we even did some old time dancing. What is it called when you are for and around and somebody is calling off do-si-do?
  • [00:44:08.53] LYNETTE SCORE: Oh, square dance.
  • [00:44:10.27] FRED LANG: Square dancing. We did some square dancing in school. In junior high, they had regular dances once a month in the daytime, and I remember I was the shortest one in the class. And I was not aggressive, so that I didn't dance much. But I remember the music, "The Sheik of Araby," and that was in honor of-- [LAUGHTER] now, the present is getting in the way. I forgot. The music was-- "I Want to go Back to Michigan," "Back on the Farm" or the "Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbing Along."
  • [00:45:38.82] Those were things that were there that were popular before I played the piano for money. We had a Victrola, which you had to turn a handle by a hand grinder to get the spring enough so that it would play a whole record. And they were wooden needles at first, because they saved the records. After that, the records were improved, and they developed metal needles for the Victrola. But there were songs then that I learned.
  • [00:46:43.14] "Dapper Dan," and "I'm Going South," and "Valencia" Oh, and "Alexander's Ragtime Band."
  • [00:47:03.02] LYNETTE SCORE: How did people dress back then? What did they look like?
  • [00:47:06.29] FRED LANG: How did we dress?
  • [00:47:07.54] LYNETTE SCORE: Yes, young people.
  • [00:47:10.31] FRED LANG: I wore knickers that fastened around below my knee above socks that went just to both the knicker hem, knicker elastic leg, so that my entire leg was just covered with a sock. And a belt. And I think mainly sweaters. I don't think I wore jackets then with the knickers, and I wore those until-- my first long pants weren't until I was 12, maybe? 13? The shirts were long sleeved and were ironed. I didn't wear a tie except on Sundays.
  • [00:48:31.73] LYNETTE SCORE: And girls, did girls wear dresses all the time?
  • [00:48:34.55] FRED LANG: Yes. Yes. In the summer they wore shorts but the rest of the time, dresses.
  • [00:48:46.70] LYNETTE SCORE: Now, when you think back on your childhood and the time when you were in school, what important social or historical events do you remember?
  • [00:49:04.70] FRED LANG: Very few. I remember the first time that a president spoke on the radio, and that was Calvin Coolidge. And I think it was 1924. I'm not sure. My father had bought a crystal set so that we could hear that, and radio improved quite rapidly after that. And I've forgotten-- there was a long, fancy name for the next radio that came out with tubes, and that was much better.
  • [00:50:16.94] And we had radios since then. Now, let me see. Calvin Coolidge talked on the radio. I remember Sacco and Vanzetti were being tried, I think, for treason. I remember the thrill killing by somebody and Lobe-- two Chicago boys who were both in prison. One died in prison. The other was eventually released.
  • [00:51:07.84] And I remember Clarence Darrow, who was the attorney for the Scopes Trial against William Jennings Bryant, who was in favor of the Bible and quoted it regularly. That was the trial of the teacher in Kentucky, Tennessee who taught evolution and who was convicted. I don't remember any president, really, other than Coolidge.
  • [00:52:12.88] And I remember visiting Verner's Ginger Ale Plant.
  • [00:52:23.86] LYNETTE SCORE: Did any of these historical events impact your life as a child? Did any of these historical events impact your life as a child?
  • [00:52:34.44] FRED LANG: No.
  • [00:52:35.07] LYNETTE SCORE: No?
  • [00:52:35.82] FRED LANG: No. I wasn't changed by any of them. I lived a rather isolated life, I guess, if it wasn't affected by things like that.
  • [00:52:53.58] LYNETTE SCORE: When you think back to your childhood life, what memories stand out the most to you?
  • [00:53:17.81] FRED LANG: I think the memories of traveling by train. Now, when you say a child, this means 12 or younger.
  • [00:53:31.22] LYNETTE SCORE: Or even when you were in high school.
  • [00:53:33.32] FRED LANG: Oh, that's different. OK, I didn't think about getting up to high school. That's up to 1930. By then, one of the memories is a memory of the depression and my father's financial problems. People were poor. The man who lived next door to us who had been a real estate dealer used to sell pencils and apples from boxes that he would walk around in the shopping centers with. I remember encountering him once and being surprised that that was the way he was getting enough money to feed his family.
  • [00:54:44.74] I remember the depression. That was the times when we didn't have money. As a matter of fact, I'm sure that's why my parents let me work in beer gardens playing piano so that I could get at that time, oh, maybe $10, $15 an hour. And that was good. That was a lot of money.
  • [00:55:22.49] LYNETTE SCORE: That's good money now.
  • [00:55:28.47] FRED LANG: Let's see. What else do I remember? Well, by then Franklin Roosevelt had had his first term. And so I remember that, and I don't remember accidents. There is-- oh, yeah. One thing I did remember was-- I think it was in 1928, maybe earlier than that. There was a drought in China, and 25 million people starved. I remember that.
  • [00:56:46.02] But no, I was not interested in the surrounding the things then.
  • [00:56:59.09] LYNETTE SCORE: How about the depression? How did that affect your daily life?
  • [00:57:02.01]
  • [00:57:08.30] FRED LANG: Really, not very much. We ate three times a day. We had clothes. And at the end of the depression, '34, was when I started in college. And there was an expense. I was told that it was an expense. But my father went to work every day. By then, he was working as a box maker. And in the summertime, I would substitute in the office. And I didn't notice any unusual activities because of lack of money.
  • [00:58:26.65] We had a car every year, and I think that the depression really didn't influence me very much. At that time, of course, I was interested in a young lady, and our dates were every Saturday, I'd go over, and we'd play double solitaire and then walk three blocks up to [INAUDIBLE] and have a Wilson Sunday and then go back. Occasionally, we would spend Saturday afternoon taking a streetcar downtown to the Fox or United Artists Movie House and see a movie.
  • [00:59:42.56] But there was no car. There was no driving. I don't recall going to a museum. We may have. Oh, we listened to the radio. That's what it was. There were dramas on the radio Saturday night.
  • [01:00:22.94] LYNETTE SCORE: We've got another set of questions here. This next set, it covers a relatively long period of time, from after high school and then throughout your working years until you retired. So it's a fairly long amount of time, but it's just about your working adult life. So after you finished school, where did you live?
  • [01:00:54.84] FRED LANG: We lived in an apartment across John R from Harper Hospital. I was an intern at Harper Hospital for a year, and we were paid by being given a white uniform and laundry for that. And we got $25 a week in food checks. That was the payment the first year. And we would use those food-- I used them for lunch, and then Virginia and I would eat dinner at the hospital in their cafeteria with the food checks, and the young ladies who were cashiers, who counted the food-- it was a cafeteria-- who counted the food and charged you were on the side of the interns, and so we managed.
  • [01:02:09.02] And that was the pay. We lived across the street in an apartment with a living room and a kitchen and a bedroom and a bathroom. And we had a child there. The day was spent, of course, working at the hospital. And Virginia, at that time, before she had a child worked at Packard Motor Car Company where she had worked while I was in school working for the physician there in his office. And she took the street car to the office and came home the same way.
  • [01:03:12.47] And we lived on the first floor, and a doctor lived up above us, a doctor and his wife. I never met them. The first three months I was an intern at Harper, I was assigned to Herman Kiefer Hospital two months and Children's Hospital one month, so I didn't get to the home office until after I had been an intern for three months, and I had heard wonderful stories about the resident, the older-- after our internship, there's residency-- of the resident in X-ray, Dr. Belanger.
  • [01:04:13.05] He was six feet tall, and women adored him. Men respected and liked him. He did everything well. Had charisma. I heard about this for the three months. Then, my first day at Harper, it was a Sunday and I had to help somebody with an emergency operation on a wrist. And I was down at an alcove in the hall, a patient's hall, writing orders on his chart. And at the end of the long haul on asphalt, they heard some leather heels.
  • [01:05:04.32] And the nurses, there were two nurses. They looked around the corner and said, [GASP], Dr. Belanger. So they stood up and straightened their uniforms and stuck out their chests. He came in and sat down next to me, and I kept on writing, and without looking up I said, you must be Dr. Belanger. And he said, do I know you? And I said, no. But I live in the apartment below you and I recognized your footsteps in the hall. I really didn't, but I said that.
  • [01:05:51.12] Well, that was the beginning, because for the next 40 years, we were friends. We were more than friends, really. We spent our New Year's Eves together, except for maybe six of those 40, when he was in the army and when they had other things to do. But otherwise, we were socially and as families very close. Just how close it was-- I had bought a Buick station wagon with the new transmission, and it was about three or four weeks old.
  • [01:06:42.18] And Dr. Belanger and his family, three children, were going to drive west to Yellowstone. And he wondered if he could borrow that car, so he did. But that was the type of relationship it was. So I was an intern and had already signed a contract to have a residency to go on studying at the hospital in internal medicine. That's where they make the diagnoses. That's what I was interested in, just the problems and puzzles.
  • [01:07:32.73] But George Belanger was in X-ray, and he talked me into X-ray. So I broke that other contract, and I spent four years in X-ray there and never regretted it. But at that time when we lived in the apartment across from the hospital, one day they had some problems out on the west side and ended up with the race riot. And John R. separated-- the street John R separated us from the hospital, so I had to cross that dividing line a couple times a day.
  • [01:08:28.23] And there were people out there all day every day beating other people, stuff like that. At that time, Virginia was at term, and one morning she said that her cramping, her pains were close enough so she should go into the hospital. And it was about 6:00, and at 7:00, the regular day shift would come on. They had an abbreviated shift. There were fewer nurses on between 3:00 and 7:00 in the morning, 3:00 and 8:00. So I told her, it would be nice if she washed her hair.
  • [01:09:28.52] So she washed her hair, and then by then it was 8:00, so we could go to the hospital. And she delivered. Then, we lived there in the apartment for three years. Three years. And then by then, the war was on, '41, '44, yeah. Harper Hospital supplied the physicians for base hospital, and Belanger was one of the men in X-ray, so he was away. And during the war, his mother had a duplex, and she and her daughter-in-law and their own child lived there.
  • [01:10:51.29] And the other place, upstairs was empty, so we rented it from them and moved out of the apartment near the hospital. And this was out in the east side of Detroit. And we lived there with Dr. Belanger's mother, a widow, and his wife. Then, when he came home, we still lived there awhile. And I took a lot of pictures when our children were growing up, and I took pictures of the Belanger's children, too. I used to send him overseas pictures of his daughter growing up, and he appreciated that.
  • [01:11:45.79] When he came home, they lived there for awhile, and nine months later, they had a baby. And the baby was born at Harper and was in the nursery with a band around her wrist with the name Belanger on it. And I took a picture of the baby for the Belangers. And when I printed the picture, the only thing was that showed on the wristband, the B-E was hidden by a curve, and the E-R was hidden by a curve. So all you can see on this first band was L-A-N-G, after he had been away for a couple of years.
  • [01:12:51.13] It did test friendship.
  • [01:12:55.60] LYNETTE SCORE: Oh, my goodness.
  • [01:12:57.31] FRED LANG: Anyway. And days were spent working, 8:00 to 5:00 with a 45 minute drive each way. And I tried to spend as much time as I could with the children, but George played golf and was away frequently. I noticed that and tried to avoid it. After I finished my residency of four years, I could go out and practice radiology somewhere, but I was being trained by an organization, a partnership. And they knew I didn't play golf, and they needed somebody to work there on Wednesday afternoons, traditional doctors' golf days.
  • [01:14:06.17] So they offered me a job. And I took it, of course, and stayed there for 40 years. But at home, I tried to be with our children instead of on a golf course. And owning a house, there were lots of chores. Changing the screens-- in those days-- changing the screens, taking care of the faulty lawn sprinklers, cutting the lawn.
  • [01:14:57.34] LYNETTE SCORE: You lived in the apartment for a while, and then you moved to the duplex, and then--
  • [01:15:04.83] FRED LANG: We moved to the duplex. And then after that, we bought a house. By then, we had three children. The fourth was born when we moved from that house. So three children. We bought a house. It was within half a mile of the duplex. It was near the border of Detroit that faces Grosse Pointe.
  • [01:15:42.63] So the house we bought had been empty for maybe a month. It was owned by a family with six or seven children. They had moved out, and it was an old house. And I remember that the price was $12,000. The price is now for that house, I noticed, is 200,000. But anyway, we bought the house, which had five bedrooms and two bathrooms, and when we started to move in, we noticed that there were lots of little black spheres on all the shelves of the kitchen, in cupboards.
  • [01:17:06.85] Those were from mice. We got rid of the mice and lived there for, oh, maybe 10, 12 years. After that, we I had saved enough money so that we could buy a house in Grosse Point, so we did and lived there for 25 years. But our children grew up in this old house, and it was comfortable. And we had swings in the back, and we had a wading pool and just a regular middle class family growing up.
  • [01:18:25.68] LYNETTE SCORE: And for each time that you moved houses in your adult life, what was the reason for those moves?
  • [01:18:40.91] FRED LANG: The reason for moving out of the apartment to the duplex was because we needed more room for a baby. The reason for moving from the duplex to a house was, again, more room for more children. And the reason for moving from the old house to the house in Grosse Pointe was elegance. We had saved enough money. Obviously, Virginia and I had similar ideas, and one of the important ideas we had was the idea of postponed gratification.
  • [01:19:36.24] That is, that living for the future rather than for now, so that we had saved or money and bought this house, which was kind of expensive and moved into it. That had three bathrooms upstairs and four bedrooms and lots of space downstairs, so that was a nice place. But the other two times, we'd moved because we needed more space. This time, we moved for more comfort.
  • [01:20:26.27] LYNETTE SCORE: And how did you get from Grosse Pointe to Ann Arbor?
  • [01:20:30.43] FRED LANG: Oh, children again. Our youngest daughter, the one who manages me, was a nurse at the-- she went to school here. She worked at the U Hospital in the ER and ran the Poison Control Center. Eventually, she married a resident in gynecology. The rest of the world says, gynecology, but Ann Arbor says gynecology. And he was a resident, and they were married, had a baby, and she wanted to continue working as a nurse.
  • [01:21:22.43] So we came out here to help along that line. We took the baby to the hospital at 11:00, when it was time for his feeding, nursing. She nursed him, and we helped take care of him. She did most of the work. But we eventually decided that the house we had was too big for us. This was after our last child had left home, and there were just two of us in a big house. So we moved to Ann Arbor to a condo, what's it called? A separate condo.
  • [01:22:27.01] LYNETTE SCORE: A townhouse?
  • [01:22:30.04] FRED LANG: Unattached condo?
  • [01:22:31.75] LYNETTE SCORE: Townhouse?
  • [01:22:33.31] FRED LANG: No, not a townhouse. No, it was a separate building. But a condominium part of a series. It's called a detached condo, or something like that. Anyway, we moved out here to Stonebridge, and we moved because we could help take care of Barbara's children. And now, the children are-- the youngest one's in the eighth grade, so we're fifth wheels again. And we were fifth wheels again.
  • [01:23:33.17] LYNETTE SCORE: All right.
  • [01:23:33.92] FRED LANG: Have at you, sir. Ma'am.
  • [01:23:38.09] LYNETTE SCORE: Yeah, there we go. That's better. Let's talk about Virginia a little bit. So you said that you guys met when you were in eighth grade, correct?
  • [01:23:49.58] FRED LANG: Yeah.
  • [01:23:50.45] LYNETTE SCORE: How did you meet her? Do you remember?
  • [01:23:56.50] FRED LANG: My sister, my oldest sister, 18 months younger than I, was in the same grade. And Virginia was one of her friends, and she had, oh, five or six that used to come over to the house now and again. And I saw Virginia then, and I've forgotten. I do remember one time when they were having a party, and they wanted me to join them. There were some other boys there, and they were playing spin the bottle.
  • [01:24:48.60] LYNETTE SCORE: Uh oh.
  • [01:24:50.13] FRED LANG: I remember that. I-- oh, I know now. But I had seen Virginia maybe for six months. Then, there was one evening, there was a play put on by the teachers of the school for the pupils and anybody else who had $2. And so that was in the evening, and there were two or three boys with me. And when we were leaving, Virginia and some girls were up here, and I've forgotten how it was started. But the end of it was that Tom said-- that was his name, Tom Guthrie-- said, I dare you to walk home with Virginia.
  • [01:26:14.55] So I did. She lived about 12 blocks from school beyond Cadillac, and so I walked home with her. And then, we became more friendly after that. And I think the next step was that I was assigned to corner duty. When the children left school, I was supposed to stand at the corner and shout at them, now, it's time to cross. And so I had to leave class early, and the doors to the classrooms were wooden with a large glass pane, and I always looked back as I left to beyond the door, looked back and Virginia was looking at me.
  • [01:27:36.42] And so that went on, and that kind of cemented things. Then, after that, we occasionally had dates, taking a streetcar downtown to a movie. And then, later, I walked over to her house regularly. It's still the 12 blocks. And as I say, after a couple of years of that, we decided this was it, and we exchanged rings. My mother was not really happy with the arrangement. She said, why don't you find some girl who lives closer to school?
  • [01:28:35.03] Because I lived a block and a half from school. And it didn't work out that way. Virginia's father worked at Packard. He wasn't on the line, but he handled the supplies, or something like that. It wasn't a big administrative job. And so that's where she worked when I was away. The relationship developed slowly, because we're slow people. We're not prim, but we do share postponed gratification. Anyway, then when I was in school out here after high school-- oh, in high school, there was no question about it. We were an item.
  • [01:29:57.89] When I came here to school, I would hitchhike to Detroit, I think, pretty much every weekend, I'd go home and take my laundry home and exchange it and see Virginia and come back. But this was during the depression, and hitchhiking was less dangerous then, although not entirely without danger. And then eventually, my mother would let Virginia take her car and come up here to Ann Arbor on a weekend.
  • [01:30:56.01] And we found a room for her, and then she'd go back. But we exchanged letters every day. But it was a long, slow process.
  • [01:31:15.21] LYNETTE SCORE: What was it like when you were dating?
  • [01:31:17.70] FRED LANG: What was it like when--
  • [01:31:19.50] LYNETTE SCORE: You were dating Virginia?
  • [01:31:21.63] FRED LANG: Dating her?
  • [01:31:22.83] LYNETTE SCORE: Yeah.
  • [01:31:28.61] FRED LANG: I remember that when we first held hands, it was a big step. Our dates were usually in her parents' living room playing cards together. And as I say, having a walk and a Sunday afterwards. Two Sundays. And they were not particularly demonstrative dates I remember that sometimes when I came home on a weekend, I would have a car, and Saturday night we would go to Eastland land when the clarophone player was there. Not Benny Goodman, but the other one.
  • [01:33:09.83] Who's the other clarinetist? Artie Shaw. Anyway, we had dates like that. We would go to Bob [INAUDIBLE] and I think it was somebody-- not Goldwin. Somebody whose name began with a g. And then, Ben Bernie was out there once. And so those were our dates. Oh, yeah. When I came home on a weekend and had a car, we would drive someplace and dance.
  • [01:33:54.97] We ate out together occasionally. But we were slow.
  • [01:34:20.53] LYNETTE SCORE: Tell me about your engagement and your wedding.
  • [01:34:25.25] FRED LANG: [LAUGHTER] After you've been together for eight years, nine years, it was 11 at the end, 11 or 12 years together at the end before marriage, after that length of time, you don't talk about an engagement. She didn't have an engagement ring . We decided that, and probably we didn't decide until my last year in medical school that we would be married in the week between the last final and commencement exercises, and that who can work in a three day honeymoon.
  • [01:35:25.15] So there was no formal engagement. The wedding was at the Grosse Point Congregation. No, the North Woodword Congregational Church, where my mother had gone to church. And it rained while we were in the church but not afterwards. And Virginia's-- I think her mother had made her dress. Let me get you a picture. Well, anyway, when we were coming out the church door, I noticed that Virginia had been perspiring, that her axilla were wet, and I said, oh, are you warm?
  • [01:36:38.56] And she said, don't talk about that. And then the reception was held at her parents' home, and my aunts were there, and Virginia's relatives, but that was all. It was a home wedding then from there on. And I borrowed my mother's car, and we left from there to spend three days driving in Michigan. And we had rice in the car. And then, on our way, we were going to stop at my great aunt's in Alvion. My great uncle was a Methodist minister, and so we stopped there.
  • [01:37:50.45] On the way, we had stopped to buy a can opener to open a can of tuna fish, or something like that. Or a bottle opener. It had both, and I still have that at home. Then, that night, we stayed at their cottage, at my parents in-law's cottage on Vineyard Lake. We had spent weekends there earlier, and we drove up as far as-- oh, we were in the Upper Peninsula. And we had our lunches at the rest stops and stayed at the motels we could afford. And that was it.
  • [01:39:01.24] Then, we came back to the graduation exercises and went home to our apartment across from Harper.
  • [01:39:15.25] LYNETTE SCORE: Tell me about your children and what life was like when your children were young and living at home.
  • [01:39:22.83] FRED LANG: What was it like when I showed--
  • [01:39:24.76] LYNETTE SCORE: When your children were young and living at home. What was it like when your children were young?
  • [01:39:34.76] FRED LANG: What was it like when I showed Rhianne--
  • [01:39:39.05] LYNETTE SCORE: What was it like when your children were young and living at home?
  • [01:39:49.52] FRED LANG: What was it like when you--
  • [01:39:51.68] LYNETTE SCORE: Your children.
  • [01:39:53.42] FRED LANG: Oh, our children.
  • [01:39:54.58] LYNETTE SCORE: Your children. Were young and living at home. Living at home?
  • [01:40:02.21] FRED LANG: At home?
  • [01:40:03.18] LYNETTE SCORE: Yes, in your house?
  • [01:40:06.89] FRED LANG: We didn't spank, except once. I made a mistake and swatted our son once. And it still hurts. We tried to have a home of love and learning and patience. And I made many photographs then, and Virginia and I had done that before we were married. We had used the laundry room at my parents' home to develop and print the pictures. And afterwards, we used the bathroom in our apartment across from Harper to do that. But we made lots of pictures.
  • [01:41:19.16] We have many pictures of the children, and we, as I say, processed them and printed them. And we made a Christmas card, a photographic Christmas card every year for 52 years, or something like that, until we started taking color. But I remember once-- I suppose this might be what you're looking for-- our children's reaction. We were taking a Christmas card picture of-- we had two children then, Bill and Carolyn, and we had them posed at the side of a bed, kneeling there praying.
  • [01:42:23.19] And they were looking up, smiling, and Virginia was over here on a stool standing, reading them a story. And at that time, I had a Speed Graphic, and I was using three flash bulbs per exposure. And so we made the 14 exposures, and then I said, let's make just one more. And so I made that 15th exposure. And then, one of the children was crying by then. They were tired and didn't want any more of it, so that 15th one was the one we used. But they got along well together.
  • [01:43:25.50] I don't recall any-- oh, yeah. One argument. I remember our second daughter storming and stamping her foot and shouting at me saying, I will not take Latin. But she's the one-- well, we had a social life. Virginia played excellent bridge. She had some red points at duplicate. But when we came home at night, we would always look at the children, ad I remember that this second daughter was always smiling and happy.
  • [01:44:26.34] She might not be awake, but she was smiling and happy. That's the one that stamped her feet and said, no Latin. She is now colored green. She is of the earth and lives in California. Those two girls, the older two girls, live in California, and the other two, Bill, and the youngest girl heard our message and both are with their first spouse and happy with the family. And both of the others have been divorced and live in California. And I don't know whether that's a cause or a result.
  • [01:45:28.89] But the middle girl is all green. She is in Yucaipa, where there are forest fires now. And she says that the forest fires are so smoky that she is beginning to suffer respiratory problems. And I tried to tell her that that was nature, and she should accept nature. And she pointed out that she found out that airplane pilots are throwing little pieces of metal out the plane windows to start a snow storm, or to start a rainstorm, or something like that.
  • [01:46:33.18] But these pieces of metal fall on the ground, and they attract lightning, and that's what's causing the fires. It's people are doing it. So she's green.
  • [01:46:45.65] SPEAKER 1: But you told her all the-- did you talk to her in Latin? Did you speak to her on the phone in Latin?
  • [01:46:52.25] FRED LANG: [LAUGHTER] No.
  • [01:46:54.56] SPEAKER 1: Just to drive the point home?
  • [01:46:55.68] FRED LANG: No, no, I don't want to throw salt.
  • [01:47:05.00] LYNETTE SCORE: So you worked from 8:00 to 5:00 when you were a radiologist. When you were a radiologist, you worked every day from 8:00 to 5:00, correct?
  • [01:47:17.09] FRED LANG: That's right. Five and 1/2 days a week.
  • [01:47:20.57] LYNETTE SCORE: Yes. What else did you do during a typical day?
  • [01:47:27.74] FRED LANG: During what?
  • [01:47:28.73] LYNETTE SCORE: What else did you do during a typical day?
  • [01:47:32.15] FRED LANG: Oh, a typical day. I was a bibliophile. I did buy books. I spent a fair amount of money on books, old books. Mainly mathematics books and rare books. I gave them to the Hatcher library when we moved, because there isn't room here. And so I spent some time with books. When I was working, I took care of a house, and that meant the lawn and the snow and the regular things that have to be done to a house. That took time.
  • [01:48:52.54] And I remember once when Virginia told me that-- I said I worked five and 1/2 days a week. I had one afternoon off during the week, and we called that a half day, and that was time off. And I remember Virginia saying once when our boy was four, five, that she heard him tell a friend that he was playing with, no, I won't be able to do that this afternoon. It's my dad's half day, and I want to play with him. So that it worked both ways.
  • [01:49:40.42] We were with the children and reading, and-- oh, I guess by then there was television, and we saw Hopalong Cassidy. But the television was-- we tried to minimize television. I don't think our children suffered for it. We occasionally took weekend trips in the summertime up to someplace like Tawas, East Tawas to swim, above Port Huron. We took many trips to Boblo with the children.
  • [01:50:56.30] On a weekday, we were busy with homework, things like that.
  • [01:51:08.01] LYNETTE SCORE: Tell me about pop culture at the time. Popular culture. Popular culture. Like the music and the clothing of the time and any slang, or anything like that.
  • [01:51:25.60] FRED LANG: Oh, well-- again, maybe we were Puritan. I don't recall a lot of slang expressions. We tried to use the anatomical words for anatomy and medical words for processes, and there was little baby talk. And as far as teenagers go, when our children were teens, they were not extreme. They were modest.
  • [01:52:40.48] LYNETTE SCORE: Are there any special holidays or events that you remember from that time period that were special to your family?
  • [01:52:49.20] FRED LANG: Oh, when we lived in Grosse Pointe, we had bridge playing friends. And on Memorial Day and the 4th of July and Labor Day, we all went to the Grosse Pointe Farms Pier on Lake Eerie and had a picnic. And those were crowded places, so somebody was always assigned to go at 10:00 in the morning and save a table. 9:00 in the morning and save a table. But the children were always there, and we took charcoal and cooked eggs and bacon and hamburgers.
  • [01:53:56.06] And those three days were reserved for a group of, let me see-- there was a blind woman and her husband. There were the Belangers, there was another family with two children and another family with two children, and we were all very close friends. And we spent the day there, but it was spent in talking. And at one time, I had bought a boat, a sailboat which we moored at the Grosse Pointe dock there. But Virginia didn't like sailing, and that didn't last very long.
  • [01:55:01.79] LYNETTE SCORE: How does that compare with when you were a child? When you were a child, what holidays or traditions were important then?
  • [01:55:17.62] FRED LANG: I think that more of our holidays were spent at home when I was a young child. And with our children, we had more people around. And we had our friends and their children around somebody's backyard, or the park. And when I was a child, there were fewer of my parents friends whom we ever saw, so that we were more isolated as young children than we were with our children.
  • [01:56:21.95] LYNETTE SCORE: When you think back on your adult life, your working life, what social or historical events stand out in your mind?
  • [01:56:36.96] FRED LANG: I suppose that really, it's a good example. We had guests, maybe eight families, but adults, to see the broadcast of the first moonwalk. And it was all very exciting for most of those people. But I don't think I quite got up to that level. I was less interested. Oh, I saw them. Did I hear him say-- one step for mankind, or something? A leap for mankind? That's about the way it goes. Let me see. That was the moonwalk.
  • [01:57:54.56] What else? I don't think that the newspaper headlines affected us much. I think that that is part of their needs, if they're going to make money, to make it exciting. And we weren't excited. So that we spent our time together enjoying talking and arguing and playing games together. But we weren't impressed by the boat races on the Detroit River and important things like that.
  • [01:59:02.49] The family went to a couple of the circuses and a couple of Thanksgiving parades but not many. The children watched the parades on television. I took them down a couple times. In the summertime, I had a month's vacation, and our standard vacation would be, we had a station wagon, driving all six of us west and staying for two weeks at a dude ranch. That was what they and we seemed to enjoy most. And the time spent cooped up in a car driving out and back was an important part of it, I think.
  • [02:00:25.36] LYNETTE SCORE: When you think back to your adult life, what memory stands out the most in your mind?
  • [02:00:33.08] FRED LANG: In my adult-- now, if I were not so old, I'd have a shorter adult life to consider.
  • [02:00:42.17] LYNETTE SCORE: During your working years, before you retired.
  • [02:00:54.45] FRED LANG: Well, after we'd lived for 25 years in one house, and three of the children were in college, then we built a house. And that took time and trouble, and we had an architect, and that was a big, big project. That is one of the things that stands out. But all our children's development is another part of it, too. One daughter, who went to Albion, the first issue of the student journal had two pictures of her in it.
  • [02:02:02.87] And she left school then before her second year, because she was pregnant. She had fallen in the hands of a minister's son. And I have nothing good to say about him. He finished Albion and then went to medical school at Wayne. I helped with that. And then, he graduated, and told his parents that he was leaving Carolyn. Oh, they were married. His father had married them.
  • [02:03:10.05] And before the child was born. And let me see. Oh, he told his parents at graduation that he was leaving Carolyn, because she was holding him back. He didn't tell us. And so we left. And he was gone for six months, I don't know. I can't tell. I've forgotten. And then he came back, and they lived together for a while, and then they didn't do well together, and he left again. And he came back.
  • [02:03:58.16] But the next time he left, they were divorced. She thought that their son deserved a father and needed a father. So when he came back, they lived together, and they were remarried by his father. They moved out California. He'd worked in an emergency room. Moved out to California, and when his son was 10, we went out to visit them once. And on the kitchen table was a picture, a photograph-- oh, I guess it was bigger than 10 by 12-- of a cowgirl in full regalia in a jacket with the spangles.
  • [02:05:09.39] And she teaches voice. She taught in a school in California that her son went to, and the administration decided that music service was unnecessary, so they were going to let her go. The teachers got together, and they each contributed enough so that she got the salary she would have had and continued to work there. You can't go out and buy that. And now, she still teaches at the same school. But the Board of Education pays her.
  • [02:06:04.47] She has regular choir concerts and gives each of the participants a CD that she has made of the concert with the choir's picture on it. She makes those. She has a couple of-- three church choirs that she is training. And she enjoys life.
  • [02:06:43.90] LYNETTE SCORE: All right, so this last set of questions is about your life after you retired, up until now. So tell me about any moves that you made from the time you retired until you moved here.
  • [02:07:09.85] FRED LANG: OK. Until I moved to Glacier Hills?
  • [02:07:15.74] LYNETTE SCORE: Yes.
  • [02:07:21.86] FRED LANG: We had built a house, and I called it the retirement house, because it had no sash windows. It had nothing but the glass doors for the glass and solid double pane glass windows which opened-- what are they called? casement windows. No other windows. None of the woodwork in the windows. It had a flat roof, no outside wood. It was all brick.
  • [02:08:06.22] It was a retirement home so that it would have minimum upkeep. And we lived there for 20 years. Our last child lived there until she moved to Ann Arbor as a nurse and as a wife. We lived there. After I retired, I did a little temporary work for friends as radiologists, people I'd trained. But after that, I bought a computer and spent a lot of time with that. That takes time.
  • [02:09:04.48] And I did some writing. Wrote many letters. Wrote a few articles and essays. Some were published, and I just enjoyed myself in an academic way. Virginia played bridge. As I say, she was a good bridge player and enjoyed duplicate bridge, and that takes a fair amount of time. I did take care of the automatic lawn sprinklers, and that's a job. They're not automatic. And I spent time with books.
  • [02:10:07.46] One of the nice things about radiology is that they have a meeting once a year, where you can go and see a lot of exhibits and a lot of new equipment and hear a lot of lectures, and we used to do that. Virginia and I would go together and see a lot of friends. One of the friends was the radiologist here at the University of Michigan Medical School. And he has died since, but his widow and I spent an hour together the other day, because she lives here. And we had met at the meetings and had a talk about old times.
  • [02:11:14.72] But anyway, so I spent my time with books and the computer and bridge. I played bridge with Virginia. She helped me along probably two nights a week, and she played in the afternoon, and I collected books. And occasionally, I would do some medical jobs. Blue Cross Blue Shield hired me for three months to investigate places that were charging for x-rays, and they wondered what kind of x-rays they were making. And they weren't exactly fraud, but they were-- where the examination consists of seven films, they were taking one.
  • [02:12:30.21] And anyway, I did that kind of work for one year. I worked as the advisor in radiology to the editor of the Standard Medical Dictionary. I did a little more than radiology, because I was interested in words. For example, they defined in the book-- who brought us fire? Who was the man who showed humans fire?
  • [02:13:15.99] SPEAKER 1: Prometheus?
  • [02:13:17.68] FRED LANG: Pardon me?
  • [02:13:18.09] SPEAKER 1: Prometheus?
  • [02:13:19.30] FRED LANG: Prometheus. They had defined Prometheus as a demigod, and he wasn't a demigod. He was a titan before the gods. And so it was things like that that I found in the dictionary. I enjoy reading dictionaries. And so I did that for a year. That took a fair amount of time. And then, Virginia and I drove west after Labor Day when the children were back in school, and we could hike on the trails in the national parks. We would spend three or four weeks at that in the summertime after the children were in school.
  • [02:14:24.85] Then, Barbara had a baby and needed a little help, because she wanted to work, so we used to come out here regularly, drive out here, and finally decided that it was too much of an effort to do it that way. And most of our friends had either moved away or died in Grosse Pointe. This was by the time we were 78, something like that. And so we sold the house and bought a detached condominium here in Stonebridge, across town from Barbara. But we manage that.
  • [02:15:30.93] We helped her when she needed it. Her husband in gynecology is head of the Gynecology Department. And I can't evaluate his fame, because a prophet is not without honor. But I think he's very famous. Today, she's coming back from Paris. For the past week, the two of them have been in Berlin, where he was giving a couple of talks, and in Paris, where he's giving a couple of talks. She's coming back tonight. He'll come back tomorrow.
  • [02:16:23.10] But he is away talking at least twice a month, maybe three times a month, and she doesn't go all the time. So we were able to help while their children were young. But now, the middle one is through high school, and before Virginia died, we were no longer necessary. Barbara doesn't work anymore. She's a people person and spends her time with people.
  • [02:17:16.62] So then, we were living in the condominium, but we still had to do the dishes at night and buy the groceries and all that stuff. And I had a big office in the basement with a computer, and we decided that we had better find someplace to live before it was too late for us to make a good choice. I signed up for a place here, but I was too late. They had already had enough people in the Meadows so that they weren't accepting any more.
  • [02:18:20.13] So then, Barbara told us that the only place for us to go was Glacier Hills. So we put in a request, and our needs were minimum and moved into a four bedroom apartment. It was a big move, because I had 25 bookcases. I don't have one here. 25 standard four-shelf bookcases with glass covers that open and closed, full of books and other [INAUDIBLE]. We moved some here. I gave some to Hatcher Library, I told you and sold the bookcases partly to a used book dealer here and partly give them to our daughter.
  • [02:19:40.29] But it was a job getting things down to what will fit in our place here. We lived here four years while Virginia was alive. Wonderful place. It's a first class retirement complex. It's not a first class resort hotel. And many people in the Meadows feel that it should be a first class resort hotel. They spend their days complaining about the food. It's unfortunate. I don't believe I have ever issued a complaint about the food.
  • [02:20:43.89] My feeling is it's a short time. Brighten the corner of where you are.
  • [02:20:52.02] LYNETTE SCORE: Do you plan to live here for the rest of your life?
  • [02:20:54.60] FRED LANG: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. And so as I say, my hip is limiting my mobility and motion. I told you that it takes me an hour to get dressed in the morning. And one eye doesn't work. The other eye is going to be operated next week. And if that operation is successful, great. If it isn't successful, then I'm a bed patient.
  • [02:21:35.46] LYNETTE SCORE: How did your family life change after your children left the house?
  • [02:21:45.18] FRED LANG: What were the first three words? What was the change? How did my life change?
  • [02:21:50.82] LYNETTE SCORE: Yeah, with you and your life. How did your lives change?
  • [02:22:01.17] FRED LANG: I don't think it changed very much, because it was a gradual affair. High school children gradually leave and spend less time with others and away. And as you may have gathered, Virginia and I are comfortable together. And reading took care of much of it. As I said, writing. Oh, I'm interested in puzzles, and that has taken a fair amount of time. It's surprising, mechanical puzzles.
  • [02:22:57.64] I have a table covered in them. At one time, I had, oh, maybe 500, 600, but I had to give most of those away when we moved here, because there wasn't room. And one of our grandsons has them. But mathematical puzzles are the cream of the crop, and that type of thing has kept me busy.
  • [02:23:38.86] LYNETTE SCORE: How has your life changed since Virginia died?
  • [02:23:43.24] FRED LANG: Since Virginia died? Not very much. Where I am, she is. It boils down to that. She shared my religious beliefs or disbeliefs, and she realized that she was getting closer to going, to leaving. And nothing sad about it. It's a part of life. This is the way things go. I miss her. Occasionally, I hear something in the other room and think, there's Virginia, but immediately I realize that's wrong.
  • [02:24:57.96] And she's a little farther away than she was for the past number of years but not much. I feel that her heaven is in the minds of those who remember her. She's in heaven. I think that I'll do the same. So I'm a physician and have been noting my swelling ankles, say, with interest and not apprehension. But I just wonder how fast this is going-- that's heart failure-- how far this is going.
  • [02:25:52.64] I've had atrial fibrillation for 50 years, and I am not treated for it anymore. And so it's an interesting thing to watch. It's part of living. Unfortunately, people at the end take more care unless they die suddenly. If they die suddenly, that's fine for them. Hard on the people they've left. If they die slowly, people sometimes remember them more clearly in the last few years than the years before. That's unfortunate.
  • [02:27:03.41] And I've tried to avoid that with Virginia. I have a million pictures of her, and they show me the times that I want to remember.
  • [02:27:28.43] LYNETTE SCORE: So what is a typical day like in your current life?
  • [02:27:35.00] FRED LANG: Now?
  • [02:27:35.73] LYNETTE SCORE: Yes.
  • [02:27:36.50] FRED LANG: Right now? Oh, it's tough. It's tough, because my hip limits my activities. I told you that I get up at 5:45, 5:30, because it takes me a long time to do 20 minutes of exercise, shave, and get dressed. It takes 45 minutes for me to get dressed AND get down to breakfast by 7:00, SO that's one thing. Another thing-- I'm old and lethargic. And I find that although I sleep eight hours a night, I sleep an hour and a half during the day. Not all at once.
  • [02:28:31.03] 20 minutes now, half an hour after lunch, oh, half an hour after breakfast. And part of that might be my eye, this one, that's had four operations on it hurts and drips, and it feels better when I close it. That's a good hint. Feels better when I close it. So I do sleep an hour and a half a day, plus eight hours at night. That slows down the day.
  • [02:29:13.85] Another thing is moving from one room to the next. If I am looking for a paper that's in my office, it takes me five minutes to get there and find it and another three minutes to get back, and it hurts, so that I tend to sit a lot of the day. I'm comfortable here, except that it's built for somebody with longer legs than mine. Anything I put on my lap would fall down, and that's not true of yours. Or yours.
  • [02:30:02.45] So anyway. I do spend a lot of time alone. I find I talk to myself, but I listen. After 7:00 breakfast, I'm back at 8:00. Read the newspaper. The Jumble is always the first thing in the Free Press, and I do that without looking at the picture, because that's a giveaway, so that it's more of a puzzle. And then I sleep for awhile, and then I get to the computer. There is bookkeeping. There are bills to pay.
  • [02:31:00.78] I like to write to the grandchildren and great grandchildren now and again, and I find that it takes me time to do that. The social events are breakfast and dinner. I have lunch in my apartment, and that is cold, raw carrots, the miniature carrots that are sold, and half an apple, a gala apple, because their cars are smaller than the other apples. More apple per piece. And a piece of whole wheat bread.
  • [02:31:53.64] The daughter who had the tough life sends me brownies from California, and if I put them in the freezer right away, they're good for nine months. So I have carrots, apple, whole wheat bread, brownie. Oh, and milk. That's lunch. Nap, and then back to the computer. And the other social event is dinner, and that takes an hour and a half.
  • [02:32:36.24] I much prefer to eat with Mel Ravitz. I don't know whether you heard that he was a councilman in Detroit for more than 19 years, 23 years, maybe, and was a professor of sociology at Wayne. And that's the kind of discussion I like to have. And he doesn't interrupt me, and I don't interrupt him. Very important. And his wife is failing a little bit.
  • [02:33:23.51] And then, I'm usually in bed by 9:30. Just for example, my daughter, another daughter in California, calls me with Will Shortz problems. Usually, they're words. The last one was a number puzzle about a man who buys 20 pencils, pays $0.20, and gives the prices of the three kinds of pencils. That's not a straightforward problem, and it took me an hour, an hour and a half to get one answer. And then I thought that this would be susceptible to being put on a spreadsheet, and you could get all the possibilities.
  • [02:34:30.56] And that took another hour and a half to do that. But I managed that, so that's how I spend my time. I can't read comfortably anymore. I hope to be able to after this operation, but I have magnifiers at each computer and each chair I sit at. And with them, I can read, but only one column at a time.
  • [02:35:13.79] LYNETTE SCORE: What does your family enjoy doing together currently? What does your family like to do together currently?
  • [02:35:27.98] FRED LANG: What do they? Well, what did they? What did they like to do?
  • [02:35:33.25] LYNETTE SCORE: Don't get together too much anymore?
  • [02:35:34.73] FRED LANG: OK. They enjoyed the vacations together. They looked forward to the picnics at the Park Piers in the summertime as a family. The family liked to be together. At Virginia's 90th birthday when they were all here together, some of them stayed at motels, some stayed with Barb, but the times they looked forward to was when they could be together and discuss. They get along well together. But it was togetherness, I think, would be the single word.
  • [02:36:31.53] LYNETTE SCORE: Now that you're at Glacier Hills, are there any unique slang terms or social customs now?
  • [02:36:45.14] FRED LANG: Slang. Well, I can't really think of any. As I mentioned, there are several-- maybe not several-- there are a few different types of people here. There are some who are women, widows, who are sure of their ideas and what they're doing and don't want to argue about it, who want to complain about the service, or the food. There are others who are interested in doing something for other people, like writing. The Lark has put out a 12 to 16 page monthly bulletin, and the editor has asked me to write things about a radio controlled clock, or why some months have 30 days and some 31, how did that happen, or how about Where's George.
  • [02:38:40.23] Do you know about Where's George?
  • [02:38:41.68] LYNETTE SCORE: No.
  • [02:38:44.64] FRED LANG: If you examine a $1 bill, every once in a while, you see one that has Where's George written in the margin. That means that that bill has been recorded by somebody with a computer. They have recorded the serial number, the date it was printed, the shape that it's in, whether it's crisp or beaten up, and where it was found. And then, you put it back in circulation after telling the internet all of these things. And there is one $1 bill that has 17 different entries, where it traveled and what shape it was and stuff like that. That's the places that the bills go. That was one thing that I wrote about. Another thing I wrote about was about the chestnut trees that disappeared in-- three and 1/2 billion chestnut trees disappeared between 1920 and 1950, because from Japan, or China, or someplace, the chestnut blight was brought in, and those trees are gone. But they are now growing independent chestnut trees.
  • [02:40:41.87] Well, anyway, this is one of the things that I write about that comes out in the journal. But life here is-- I'm not using at all, because there are book clubs, there are card clubs, there are lectures, there are movies, and I don't attend any of those because of my mobility and disability, so that I'm not a good representative of Glacier Hills.
  • [02:41:25.33] LYNETTE SCORE: Are there any particularly special days in your life here at Glacier Hills? Are there special events or special days?
  • [02:41:34.20] FRED LANG: No, the days are pretty uniform and standard. Sometimes I have a little difficulty wondering whether it's Wednesday or Thursday. Wednesday I don't shave. I shave every other day except weekends, because I'm old and it's light. And but I can look at my sweater and tell what day it is. But no, things have slowed down.
  • [02:42:09.78] LYNETTE SCORE: When you think back on your life after retirement, what social or historical events have impacted your life?
  • [02:42:31.50] FRED LANG: After I retired. I really think that I've managed things the way I expected. Again, postponed gratification. I think that we planned. We didn't have a car until we'd been married for two years, three years. We didn't have a car. Postponed gratification, because I wanted to get out, put my money into life insurance for Virginia and our boy. And so I put things away and have been able to get things I wanted after retirement, because we weren't limited then, and there's a hidden advantage to that, doing it that way. Because after living for the future for 70 years, well, it makes your wants more reasonable.
  • [02:44:02.34] Virginia and I didn't travel. Many people think that that is a misfortune, but I was brought up in a home where the National Geographic came regularly, and Siam, I've been there, done that. Through the Geographic.
  • [02:44:31.43] LYNETTE SCORE: When you think back over your entire life, throughout your entire life, what social or historical event would you say made the biggest impact on you?
  • [02:44:53.11] FRED LANG: I suppose World War II. I was in medical school when it started, so I was given an automatic deferment. And then after I graduated, they wanted me, and in medical school, I was one of the important ones in the class in our sophomore year when we learned to use a stethoscope, because I have a heart murmur, and nobody knows whether it's important or not. But it hasn't bothered me. And it hasn't made the fibrillation better or worse.
  • [02:45:53.94] But anyway, so after I graduated, they wanted me in the service. So I went to Fort Wayne in Detroit for an examination, and one of the examiners-- we were all nude in line. One of the examiners said, oh, Hi, Fred. I remember your murmur. What are you doing here? Anyway, so I was unfit, and then they called me back again. Unfit. The sixth or seventh time they called me back, Virginia was pregnant, about to deliver our third child, I think.
  • [02:46:44.88] This was after the war, and now they needed people for the armed service.
  • [02:46:52.95] LYNETTE SCORE: Lynette Score interviewing Dr. Fred Lang. Today is July 24, 2008. So Dr. Lang, last time we were talking, you mentioned that during prohibition, you used to play jazz piano in speakeasies. Could you tell me a little bit more about that experience?
  • [02:47:14.97] FRED LANG: Yes. Prohibition was repealed in 1931. I was 15, and I had been studying piano for, oh, since I was maybe eight. My mother had ideas that I'd be a concert pianist and stuff like that. But about 1927 or 1927, I decided that instead of the classical music that I was studying, that I would like to learn a little bit about jazz. And there was an upstairs set of rooms on Woodward near the Boulevard, where a man taught jazz piano called the Alhambra Studio.
  • [02:48:35.04] Well anyway, so I used to go there Saturday mornings and get a piano lesson and learn to play jazz. And it was interesting. And he was the source for pianists when they were in demand. Well, after a few years, I was fairly competent. And there was a young man who had dropped out of high school who drove a car and started his own three person band. He played-- I've forgotten what he played-- I think trumpet. And there is a bass player or a drummer whom he got, and he needed a pianist and found me, and we played regularly at various places.
  • [02:49:56.35] And these were the good times just before the depression. So we were making money. I have no idea how much we made. I have an idea that it was something like $10 a night, but in those days, that was a fair amount of money. So because I did that, there were people who called me and wanted me to play at other places. And one of them, the first one, was what they called a blind pig. That was a place where they served liquor, and it was illegal.
  • [02:50:55.91] And so went I went there the first time, I was a little surprised, because I went in one house on McClellan in Detroit, and we went to the back of a house and into a room, then downstairs and through a passageway, and then up another flight of stairs. And we were in the house next door.
  • [02:51:28.73] LYNETTE SCORE: Oh, my goodness.
  • [02:51:29.47] FRED LANG: And that's where they served the liquor. That's where the piano was, and they wanted me to play piano Saturday evenings, I guess. And I would play from maybe 8:00 until 11:00 and then go home. I was, as I say, young then and looked young and didn't drink. And as a matter of fact, I never drank at that age, for another 10 or 15 years. But I played the requests, and there were mainly gentlemen there. And I say gentlemen, working gentlemen. Blue collar.
  • [02:52:28.38] And played the requests they wanted. There were a few women, a few ladies, but mainly men. And played their requests. And as I recall, I had one or two 20 or 30 minute intervals where I rested. But that was one. And others were similar. And there weren't many of those. I played in maybe a total of three or four.
  • [02:53:07.22] And there were regular jobs for a short time. Then prohibition was repealed, and in the neighborhood we lived, beer gardens sprouted on every second or third corner. And they wanted some sort of entertainment Saturday nights, so I played there. And that was more frequent work. And I did that while I was in high school and didn't play piano commercially after I left high school.
  • [02:53:59.27] I was busy in lit school. It was a little bit of a problem playing piano, because at that time I was courting Virginia, and she objected when I couldn't take her out New Year's Eve, say, because that was a busy time. Then, it was the beginning of the Depression, and we weren't paid so much, but the money was worth more, and I saved this for school, although my father did most of the paying.
  • [02:54:57.38] After that, my piano playing was desultory. It was just off and on. Now, I don't play piano anymore because I can't hear, and it doesn't sound right.
  • [02:55:19.70] LYNETTE SCORE: So how did you get approached to play in a blind pig, exactly? Was there any kind of secrecy about it?
  • [02:55:28.35] FRED LANG: Yes. The man who ran the place had talked to the boy, the young man, who ran the group that I played with. And he was the one who told him about me. And so the man called me and asked me if I could play for him. And so that's the way it worked.
  • [02:56:06.37] LYNETTE SCORE: What did the blind pigs look like on the inside?
  • [02:56:10.50] FRED LANG: Well, they were usually rather dark. They didn't want to attract attention. There was a bar, there were tables, and it wasn't really very formal or decorative, because they came there for the liquor they couldn't get anyplace else. And they were they were neat but not gaudy.
  • [02:56:49.78] LYNETTE SCORE: And what did the people look like who came there? What did the people look like?
  • [02:56:56.41] FRED LANG: Well, they were factory workers and occasionally people in coats and ties. But this wasn't a deluxe place.
  • [02:57:12.67] LYNETTE SCORE: And what kind of music did you play?
  • [02:57:18.39] FRED LANG: At that time, it was called ragtime. There were many musical comedies being put on in New York, and they were quite popular. They were things like-- oh, I can remember Roberta. That was the time of the one about the Mississippi River, Old Man River. And that was a little bit before Astaire and Rogers, but there were musical comedies. And their music was made by people whose names were famous as musicians then.
  • [02:58:24.79] Irving Berlin. And who was the man who fell off a horse and was crippled after that?
  • [02:58:38.72] LYNETTE SCORE: Oh, I don't know.
  • [02:58:39.60] FRED LANG: Well, it'll come. Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein. Richard Rodgers was from Detroit. His daughter became a singer. Anyway, so that music was the popular music of the day. There was radio, and you could hear it on radio regularly. And it was jazz, and you could buy sheet music of this jazz for sometimes $0.40 or $0.50, an issue, a copy. And there were people in '10 cent stores and other stores where the music was sold who used to work during the day just playing that music to get people to buy it.
  • [02:59:45.42] It was popular and on young people's throats. Tongues. But that was Tin Pan Alley time. And that was the music that we played.
  • [03:00:11.75] LYNETTE SCORE: And how did your parents feel about you playing there?
  • [03:00:17.58] FRED LANG: I was surprised that they let me stay out that late, that they permitted it. But my father was not wealthy, but he was wealthy enough to pay my way through college and the three sisters, too. So it was welcome income, but they didn't need it. And it was a little bit dangerous. Hitchhiking wasn't nearly so bad then as it is now, and people were much more circumspect.
  • [03:01:12.96] But I remember when I would come back on the street car, I would be approached by-- I remember three specific episodes when somebody saw this young fella out late at night. Why don't you come home with me, and we'll have some fun? One was dressed as a clergyman, as a matter of fact, his collar fastened in back. Another one was somebody who was interested in bodybuilding. And a third one was just kind of a young tramp.
  • [03:02:01.38] So those were the only unfortunate three episodes I had, and I didn't go with any of them, of course. But it was more dangerous than I realized. And I was surprised that my parents permitted it, because they were rather straight laced.
  • [03:02:32.86] LYNETTE SCORE: Did you get any kind of admiration from your friends or your peers?
  • [03:02:41.22] FRED LANG: We had get togethers, parties, and if there was a group of more than five or six, why, wouldn't I play the piano and they'd sing? That was another part of it. But I didn't hold that out as my premiere value.
  • [03:03:14.25] LYNETTE SCORE: And so did you tell your friends that you were playing in blind pigs?
  • [03:03:19.52] FRED LANG: Yes. .
  • [03:03:20.51] LYNETTE SCORE: And what did they think of that?
  • [03:03:23.54] FRED LANG: Oh, isn't that great?
  • [03:03:28.10] LYNETTE SCORE: Yeah, so they thought it was cool.
  • [03:03:30.08] FRED LANG: Yeah.
  • [03:03:31.10] LYNETTE SCORE: And how old were you at this time?
  • [03:03:36.52] FRED LANG: 15, 16.
  • [03:03:40.32] LYNETTE SCORE: Very interesting. All right, well there is a piano here. There is a piano here. Do you think you could-- it wouldn't have to be perfect.
  • [03:03:53.74] FRED LANG: No. I had a Yamaha that I moved to Glacier Hills here, but that was four years ago. And I had not played that for a year. And I didn't play it here. We gave it to our daughter. And I haven't touched a piano for three or four years so that although that's a nice skill to have, touch typing is much more important.
  • [03:04:37.84] LYNETTE SCORE: Do you think just for the purpose of the documentary, you can remember a song?
  • [03:04:44.15] FRED LANG: You mean, remember the name of a song, or remember to play a song?
  • [03:04:49.02] LYNETTE SCORE: Remember to play a song.
  • [03:04:57.49] FRED LANG: I would be much embarrassed to play a song.
  • [03:05:02.18] LYNETTE SCORE: OK, all right. We won't make you. It's fine.
  • [03:05:05.74] FRED LANG: I was not-- I was not-- I can't even think of the name of the famous piano player now. I wasn't Teddy Wilson. I was a workman-like pianist.
  • [03:05:31.07] LYNETTE SCORE: All right, well in that case, I think we are done. All right, so go ahead.
  • [03:05:42.86] FRED LANG: So I finished high school and went to school in Ann Arbor, and at that time, it was during the war. They combined the last year of Ellis and A Lit School with the first year of medical school so that instead of spending eight years there, I spent seven years there. Then, I went to Harper Hospital as an intern, and the year before I graduated from college, I went to Harper as an extern. And I wasn't married then.
  • [03:06:34.74] I lived in the intern's quarters, and I still play piano a little bit. There was a resident, one of the older doctors in training, who had come from Iowa and had sung with a band all his time in medical school. He was friendly, and everyone liked him, and smart, and an excellent physician. But when he found out I played piano-- there was a piano in the interns' quarters then-- in the evenings when I lived there, he would get me to play songs for him and he would sing.
  • [03:07:34.00] And so maybe an hour or two hours in the evening, he would sing the music I played. And because I had played piano, I knew the music that he had sung. This was jazz. I was a little surprised. He drank a lot of coca-cola. He would have a coca-cola bottle that he would drink from, and then every once in awhile, he'd have to go up to his room with the coca-cola bottle, and then he came back. And it wasn't until, oh, a month of that that I realized he was drinking alcohol out of the coca-cola bottle. I was naive, I think, as a youth, as a man, because that was when I was through college.
  • [03:08:40.70] And that singing happened when I was an extern before I finished medical school. After I finished medical school, I went to Harper as an intern and played some for him, but much less, because at that time I lived with my wife across the street from Harper hospital. He was, as I say, a fine physician and a friend, and I remember when he finished his residency, he opened an office in the Fisher Building and was well liked by his patients and did a good job.
  • [03:09:43.69] But he developed septicaemia, blood poisoning, because he used to give himself morphine by needle. And once he'd run out of veins, he got into the knee, and it wasn't clean so he developed an infection, septicaemia, and died. And I've wondered whether that had anything to do with his drinking out of a coca-cola bottle, whether this could have been predicted. But anyway, but we didn't drink then.
  • [03:10:30.74] As a matter of fact, when I was first year intern, I referred my brother-in-law to one of the doctors to have his appendix removed, and the doctor thanked me by giving me a bottle of scotch whisky. And Virginia and I drank that in coca-cola. So then after that, my piano playing gradually diminished. There wasn't time to do the practicing that's required, and I did have a piano in our first house but played it less and less.
  • [03:11:25.16] And finally, by the time I was 65, I wasn't playing the piano anymore.
  • [03:11:37.95] LYNETTE SCORE: That's how it went.
  • [03:11:39.25] FRED LANG: So that ended it, yup.
  • [03:11:42.74] LYNETTE SCORE: Well, is there anything else you want to talk about that we haven't covered?
  • [03:11:46.64] FRED LANG: No, nothing else is interesting.
  • [03:11:52.16] LYNETTE SCORE: I doubt that. All right. If we're done then, we'll just--