I actually in Iowa, I was thinking about dropping out some and doing VISTA [the “Domestic Peace Corps”] because I just felt like in Iowa “Why go back to Williams?” Having just been in Appalachia, a black family in Georgia, Iowa was too comfortable for me. Hey, it’s comfortable, it’s middle class, but this is not that different enough. And I started thinking, “Yes, there are people starving, there’s the racism. There’s all that. What am I doing about that?” So I was thinking of taking time off and then I went to Detroit and worked at the stamping plant, Chrysler, on Eight Mile Drive. For eight hours a day all I did, 800 times an hour, was pick a piece of metal up, put it in, hit the button so this little press would come down and put the little nut on the plate. And then it would flip off and I’d do it again and you have the foreman go by and see how many an hour you were doing. After about two weeks of that I said, “You know now I really understand what Marx meant about alienation of people from labor.” Because I was not into my work, you know. It was to me mindless and I started appreciating Williams a little more.

Jeff Thaler '74