Dr. Gallup Interview:
This is file 25, cycle 2. This is jean McMillen. Today’s date is April 25, 2016. I am interviewing Dr. William Gallup. He is going to talk about his life as a pediatrician, Sharon Clinic and anything else that tickles his fancy. We’ll start with the genealogical information.
JM:What is your name?
BG:John William Gallup, known as Bill.
BG:27th of December, 1929
JM:Your birth place?
JM:Your parents’ names
BG:Dr. Henry Ezra Gallup and Elizabeth Cate Barron.
JM:You are an only child?
JM:What is your educational background after high school?
BG:Cornell University with a major in chemistry, Tufts medical School 1955 then a rotating internship at Montreal, then a year of pediatrics at Montreal Children’s Hospital. Then 3 years pay back service in the Army outside of Tokyo. We had our older two children there. Then two years as a Fellow of Founding Medicine at a department at Boston Children’s Hospital. Then I joined George Haydock at Sharon Clinic.
JM:When did you come to the Sharon Clinic?
BG:The Summer of 1962. (See tape 125A Dr. Richard Collins)
JM:Was it because of George Haydock?
JM:How did you meet him? Did he go looking for you?
BG:He was looking for help. He was a graduate of Boston’s Children’s.
JM:So it was a medical connection with the hospital.
BG:He was also on the staff of the Children’s Hospital.2.
JM:Why did you want to be a pediatrician?
BG:The last thing I wanted to do in the world when I left home was to be a doctor. Frankly I didn’t want anything to do with medicine when I left to go to college. Of course 4 years being away in the war, I learned there was a lot of satisfaction and service to people. That was all good.
JM:Like teaching, a lot of satisfaction and service.
BG:So I drifted back and applied to med school. I got accepted somehow as my grades in college weren’t the best.
JM:But you applied yourself.
BG:Kids get sick, but they get well very quickly usually.
JM:They bounce back fairly quickly, most of them. When you came here in 1962 to the Sharon Clinic, who were some of the other doctors in the clinic?
BG:Well the originals
JM:Who were the originals?
BG:George Fowler, Fred Geyault, Bob Noble, Bob Fisher came later after he finished his ob training. That was all then. They served in Millerton. Roger Moore worked with Bob Noble and succeeded him in his practice because he was doing chlorestral and metabolic research at the hospital. He was associated with someone at Columbia. He did that before he came up here. George Haydock joined them after he got out of training. He was in practice about 15 years when I came.
JM:You said that he had had no vacation in 15 years.
BG:He had also been called up to serve in the military even though he was declared 4F.
JM:Yes, but they still needed doctors.
BG:They lowered the standards to get him in.
JM:You had offices in other locations other than Sharon.
BG:Yeah, he had me start in an office in Canaan about half time working then.
JM:You were doing house calls at that time too?
BG:Oh yeah we all did.
JM:What was the area that you covered with house calls? You had sort of a circle of places that you went.
BG:Sheffield was the farthest north, East Canaan, Falls Village, not very much in Cornwall, Brad Walker was quite active, Salisbury, Sharon, not much in Kent. There was a good practitioner there. On the New York side I went as far south as Dover, Millbrook, and Millerton. I didn’t go to Pine Plains. In Sharon there was Dr. Walter Wick who was a classmate of my dad’s. He worked out of the Rhinebeck Hospital.
JM:You had a nifty story about Christmas and Dr. Haydock. Was this party at the clinic or was it at the hospital? (hospital Ed.)
BG:I can’t remember who got it started but I think it was Susie Stanton andCarnes Weeks and George Haydock. He would dress up as Santa Claus and go around and visit all the patients, and also the pediatric patients. We would gather in the lobby and give out presents. George was Santa Claus.
JM:You had a story about his stomach and pillows.
BG:George enhanced his figure with pillows. He got his Santa Claus suit strapped on. One time he bent over to hug one of his old friends; his suspenders let go and his pants dropped.
JM:Oh dear, that is a good story.
BG:Much to the amusement of his friend. We were out in the hall and heard this uproar with the reindeer, four or five of us were reindeer led by Dr. Fisher who was the original Rudolph.
JM:Really you did not tell me that before.
BG;Carney Weeks was a reindeer, Peter Reyelt was one for quite a while
JM:But that is fun and everybody enjoyed it.
BG:It kept going for a long time. It stopped a couple of years after I retired when Malcolm Brown took over as Santa Claus. We had a rig for Santa Claus’s sleigh; it was stashed somewhere during the year.
JM:You also had a very kind story about Dr. Jo Evarts. There was a farmer that was sick.
BG:That is a well- known story of hers.
JM:But would you tell it because I think it is a great one.
BG:She went out to make a house call on one of the Millerton farms. She discovered that he was quite sick and should not be working so she ordered him into the house and to bed. She gave him his treatment and then she went back out to the barn and finished the milking.
JM:I think that is wonderful. That is why I wanted you to tell that story. How did you get involved with the Salisbury visiting Nurses? Was this through Dr. Haydock?
BG:The well child clinic was started by Dr. Haydock and Phoebe Storm.4.
JM:She was the school nurse in 1967 when I went to work at Salisbury Central School.
BG:When George retired I took it over in Salisbury. Also Eddie Brewer had done it a few years before that as he had bowed out of being the school doctor. So he took on that chore. It ended up at one point with Cornwall, Falls Village, Canaan and Salisbury Central School. When Dr. Anna DeMelle came, she took over Cornwall.
JM:What is a well- baby clinic?
BG:You do exams to see if there are any problems, get them weighed and measured, give immunizations.
JM;How early did the babies come in?
BG:5 weeks was the usual starting time for first shots and to get them on a regular schedule which decreases in frequency as they got older. The pediatrician working with Duchess County wanted to slow down, and we covered Millerton and Amenia. George Haydock took the Amenia one and I did the Millerton one. Eventually a nurse practitioner was working with me in Millerton. We covered the whole Harlem valley: she was a great help to us because she would pick up kids like the in town crew. Somehow she would get them onto care and assess the social situation.
JM: There would be people who would not necessarily come into a clinic that she would know about from her other work.
BG:She was a big help in running the well-baby clinic, Bernice Chatfield.
BG:another helper in Millerton was Gert Winnans; her husband ran a farm in Pine Plains.
JM:Were you ever the town physician?
BG:No, Bill Barnett asked me to be at one point. My dad had retired out here. I was just swamped with work, so I told him I couldn’t do it. Bill Barnett was furious. My dad stepped in and did it for a few years. He got a kick out of it.
JM:He was lovely. And so are you but I knew Dr. Henry a little bit better.
BG:Dr. Hank as his patients called him.
JM:I think doctors have lost some of the human touch.
BG:You look at the way kids come out of med school being $50,000 in debt. A little chart came out on pediatrics a few weeks ago. The debt just drives people into other directions. Primary care suffers. It also puts a financial squeeze on them that eliminates some charity. At one point we were covering a home for retarded children in Gt. Barrington with pediatric care up there because they did not have any pediatricians. We did that for 15 years.
JM:Where was the retarded school in Gt. Barrington?5.
BG:It wasn’t a school it was residential. It was sort of like the Whitridge wing of Noble Horizons. We did the same thing for Lois Carlson in East Canaan when she started up her own place.
JM:So these were private care places.
BG:A lot of it was on Medicaid.
JM:How about the mental health center here in town, do you have any connection with that?
BG:No not until I went of the board in about the 1990’s. George Haydock and Eddie Brewer and I think Bob Noble were the originals who started it over in the old railroad station. Somebody, not George Haydock, but Joe Harvard (?) got somebody down from Riggs as a psychiatrist before John Ashley took over. It was originally just a child’s clinic.
JM:When did you actually retire as a pediatrician?
BG:The fall of 1992, thirty years plus
JM:What did you like best about best about being a pediatrician?
BG:I like kids. They got sick and would be better most of the time. I also liked getting to know the families; I had some second generation patients and a few third generation patients too. The numbers have gone down due to contraception.
JM:When you lived on Prospect Street, there was a sign.
BG:Oh yes. Bill Barnett put up the sign “35 children at play”.
JM;They were all in your back yard.
BG;Well they were all around the block. We lived next door to Fran & Leo LeMoine. The Halloween gathering she established for a long time; the kids just swarmed there about 150!
JM:Is there anything that you would like to add to this that I haven’t covered?
BG:We have been very happy living up here. When I retired I started to pay back some time with SWSA.
JM:What do you do with the ski jumps?
BG:General handy man, shovel a bit. When I started they put me up in the judges’ tower. I would radio the scores down to what they call the birdhouse. We used a piece of plastic pipe. The man upstairs who collected it, the judges, would pass it down and I would ask it to be repeated back to me to be sure. Cicely Hyack was there. That continued until the new judges’ tower got built which was insulated and warmer with a heater. It had reached the point where I was about to give it up because I got so cold and stiff over the years.
JM:But you have given so much back to the community in your care of the children and so forth.
BG:I have never been on any of the town boards; jean has.
JM:But that is alright. Everybody gives in their own way. You have been a special member of the community.
JM:Thank you so much. This has been wonderful.