Interview with Paula Viola

Toryn Miller-Stevens 2005

This div will be replaced by the JW Player.



Interview Participants
TMS
unidentified interviewer, interviewer (male)
Gwynne
Gwynne Langley, interviewer (female)
PV
Paula Viola, interviewee (female)
TMS
So today is March 12th and I'm here with Paula Viola in Judge Jackson's office and um, so we'll do a little background... When did you two meet. How did the relationship start and how did you get together?
PV
Well, I was working in the courthouse in Cambridge. I started working there in 1972, and um, when Judge Jackson was appointed to the Cambridge court. And when I started I was working in the criminal department and eventually I went to the judge's lobby and started working with her. And um, that's how I met her and, she, we always got along great from the beginning. I used to do things for her and she would tell me how well I did them and so I was always proud of that. Ever since then I've known her. Ever since we started working at the court house together. And luckily when she was appointed presiding she came here to Woburn, but I was still working in Cambridge, but the woman Marge, that worked here, was retiring so there was going to be an opening. So I applied for the job and she hired me.
TMS
Ok, Could you maybe describe the first day when you met her... what you thought of her? Maybe how she acted?
PV
Wow... the first time I met her, She um, You just get a warm feeling from her the first time you meet her. She's just very warm and inviting. She's just a real people person. And she can read people very well and she like, just takes you for who you are. She is just very warm and friendly and outgoing... you don't feel intimidated by her.
PV
I think at that time we had she would come off the bench and I had an earlier lunch then and if she didn't go outside we'd be in the lobby together. My office was here and her office was directly across and at lunch she'd talk and I remember that back then she was on some sort of diet. She was eating tuna, I remember she was eating tuna and listening to music and off the bench.
PV
And Oh, she's so funny because like even back then, even though she's a judge... you know we have a refrigerator in our lobby and it would get all filled with ice and I go out to get something and I come back and here's the judge on all... practically on all fours cleaning out the refrigerator and defrosting it and I'm like, "Oh my God, Judge, what are you doing?!?" and she said, "I worked many a day through law school for this, she goes, It's not beneath me at all." And so she'd be cleaning it out and vacuuming her own lobby. You know, she's just a regular down-to earth, she's knows,
PV
She's been through all different walks of life through her own life, through her own life. so she can associate and relate to all different types of people and I think that's why so many people think she's such a wonderful judge because when they go in front of her and they say, You know Judge I can't afford $300 a month for this rent or something, she can relate to that or do what she can to help them or she not above anybody, in her life, she's been through all different kinds of things herself and that's why so many people love her because she's totally honest and herself with everyone, you know.
TMS
Yeah, she seemed that way.
PV
Yeah, she is.
TMS
She seemed great... just when she spoke, we were there for like three hours that afternoon and she's just very warm.
PV
She is. She's terrific, she's just a wonderful person and you can tell her anything. I've told her things I wouldn't even tell my mother. You know what I mean? You just get that feeling... And she'll keep it with her.
TMS
You can trust her.
PV
You can trust her 100%, you know.
PV
If there's anything, She can read, Like she can read me like a book. Like I could come in She'd be in the office, I'd come in, and she could just look at me and say, "Now OK what's wrong?", Just by a look. I don't even have to say anything, She would just know, she can just pick it up like that.
PV
She's really wonderful. She's done alot for me. She's taught me, the one thing I could say about her, what she taught me was to have more confidence in my self. Like she always had more, She learned how to push me to do things that I didn't think I could do and I could. you know.like , she'd give me a project or this that or the other thing and I'd be like, How am I gonna do this? but she had confidence that I could do it and I proved to my self that I could, and she's brought out a lot of my own self confidence. She's taught me how to be more self-confident in all walks of life. She's taught me a lot of things like that, She goes, "Well you can do it." And I'm like "well I don't know". whether in here or out in life...
TMS
Do you have an example maybe?
PV
Even when I first applied for this job, I was like, well, I don't know if I can do all the things, She would say you know like budgets because I didn't do that in my other job, but she had confidence in me that I could.
PV
Or like different projects that she would give me.Like one time another judge gave me a big project and I said gee, that's a really big thing and she had confidence in me. Or she gave me projects and I'd be like, how do I even do this? but I did them because she just like she can draw the good confidence in you.
PV
She just is that way. She's is just a remarkable person. And she's still isn't finished doing, she still has a life plan for herself. You know, That's remarkable. Right now she's a judge. In her past - I don't know if she's told you - but She's been a professional photographer.
TMS
No
PV
Yeah, she takes beautiful pictures. And she used to work for the governor's office and at one point she was the one who had to fire people, which is no fun. But I mean she's been through, Yeah, She's done a lot of thing with her life. Even with her life, And right now you know she's the presiding judge and she's in law. She's not done doing what she has planned to do in her life, but I'm sure she's going to go on still even from this eventually when she's done with you know, this and do other things.
PV
Because she's destined to do so much. And she can do so much. You know, and like I was telling Gwynne earlier, she's interested in all different things. She loves to learn. And like I was telling her the example of sitting in that office and I hear this forgien language and I come in here and she's learning Japanese, or she would pick a book on whatever just something she didn't know about and she'd start reading. She was teaching herself Spanish. She just loves to learn things. she'll read all these different articles.
PV
Even when she was helping OJ and Miriam, you know. She learned not only about like their illnesses, but everything that had to do with elderly care and options, and what happens to elderly or even in the law or like with placement in nursing homes.Or She just didn't take care of them, she learned all about Alzheimer's. At the time my father was still - you know, he had Alzheimer's - so she would finds out things and then she'd pass them on to me and say, you know, here's an interesting article about Alzheimer's or I'd find things and teach her. She's like a sponge to learn things,She just keeps learning and she remembers them once she learns them which is terrific. But she loves to learn and that's the other thing what love to do is read and she loves books, that's why she has all those books. She's just like a sponge of knowledge. She loves to learn things. Yeah...
TMS
Um, ok, that was great... um... what kinds - I know, you said you've been with her for now almost 25 years, 30 years?
PV
Yeah, I've known her for that long.
TMS
What kind of struggles did you see her go through? or maybe like you two together?,whether it was struggles as a woman, struggles as a black woman or just struggles in general just trying to make her way for herself, make a name for herself. What kinds of issues did she have to deal with?
PV
Well, the judge um, another part of her personality and who she is that she's an inbred caregiver, okay? Struggles, her life is so multi-... she's a judge, right well obviously she's a judge. But she takes on any one of her friends who's sick, her family. She always, always in her life been taking care of someone else besides herself.
PV
You know, and like when her dad was sick, this was like maybe ten years ago... everyone always calls Marie and family, friends. she's always always there for them. So her life, Even when she comes in here. Besides all the work she does.
PV
It was like, when Ana was little her, you know she has Ana and she has the grandchildren... when Ana was going through trouble she'd brought Ana in because Ana was her sister's child and her sister was having mental problems. So She took her in and raised Ana and there were the "Ana years" and she took care of her and made sure she was okay. This that and the other thing. Then she took care of... and then she had her second husband [chuckles] which is a whole different story.
TMS
GQ?
PV
HQ
TMS
HQ.
PV
HQ... and we kinda just watched because you're not gonna you know. And she helped him too. She did everything that she could for HQ and she wasn't thinking for herself. She helped him in his music career, she helped him financially, she helped him in any way that she could. So once again she's helping, helping, helping somebody else until we used to say to her, you know this isn't going right for you and you have to start thinking about yourself. And eventually, And okay, HQ finally gets out of the picture and whatever.
PV
And then the Phillips' come along and her father, she took her father back from down south and she brought him back to her house, and once again she cared for him. She'd come to work and it was hard because it was her father and he was very sick and plus she learned all about his illness and what she could for him. She's alway learned.
PV
But she's never just lived her own life. Her life has always included other people. I remember like every time she planned to go on vacation... for as long as I've known her, for as long as I've known her, she would plan to go on vacation and every time that vacation for some reason she wouldn't go because of a family member being sick or a church member needing help her she'd never go.
PV
Once again, She'd forget about herself and be always there for everybody else, all the time. And then when Ana couldn't wasn't taking care of her kids right, the Judge had the kids. She brought these two children into her. At the time, The baby was maybe four or five months old and Gaby was like little the toddler,and that was the past couple of years. And she raised them. And besides, she has a lot of health issues, but she puts all her health issues aside, because she has chronic fatigue syndrome...
TMS
Oh, that's what she has? she's very vague about...
PV
Yeah, but she has it in check, and she has everything but she'd puts it all aside and she'd be the first one to help anybody. She's a natural care giver and she's gone through everything she's done. She's a terrific judge and she's extremely intelligent but everything she's done has this attachment of multi-hats that she wears all the time. And I think lately, It's the first time in ages she finally went on vacation with her latest friend David, I think they finally, and it's cool because they kinda hit it off and they're like a really cool couple. Which is really great. you know
TMS
Yeah, she was talking about how sweet she is.
PV
He is. So I said, gee, you've finally, you've finally... we're always kidding each other because in this office we're all divorced. [chuckles] All of us are divorced in the office except for Francine. But it was funny becasue we all have that in common too, And ever time I used to have a problem when I was going through things. I could say anything to her. And She's just that way. You know, so she has always, always, her whole life. And not just she comes in here and been, 'Marie the judge' but there's always been all these attachments, with everything that she does.
TMS
So, do you think that as a woman, as a woman like you said that she's one of the first women in the state...
PV
Yeah, and probably one of the first black women.
TMS
Right, right, So do you think you know all the other outside, the fact that she was always giving of herself, that she didn't even really pay attention you to the fact that you know she was one of the first in all these areas and that it could have been really difficult for some people? Do you see a difficulty there?
PV
Um, I don't think it was difficult for her. I think she probably realized she was one of the first. But, uh, I don't think it was difficlut for her. She's probably set a lot of good examples for people after her. But she's uh, I don't think it was difficult for her. You know, because I think she could handle it. She, you know like I said, she did the juvenile for a long time which is hard, difficult to see all these children out there.. But I think that she's a very strong woman. And she knows what she can or cannot do. And I don't think it was ever like 'oh my God, I'm the first woman judge never mind woman black judge. I don't think that ever entered her mind. She's was just you know, strong and confident in who she was.She always is. I think yeah.
TMS
Did she have any difficulty balancing her career and motherhood and all this?
PV
No, she handle it all. She Never had any, I don't think. I'm sure it was tiring for her, but I mean one never really interfered with the other.
PV
You know I mean she did her job. she was always here. and then she'd go home and take care of the kids or you know. It didn't like interfere you know either way. She took care of so many kids, not only her own kids. Foster children that she took care of and somebody else kids. Her whole life, you know, yeah.
PV
I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere down the line she decides to changes careers. I wouldn't be surprised to see her open up an elderly home or something, Old people or children or something. She can do whatever she wants to do because she's that intelligent and because she learns about everything. You know.
TMS
That was one of my questions I was going to do as a follow-up. What, You talked about you know that 'her work isn't done'...
PV
No, I think that she other. I can see, because she's such a remarkable woman.And I think right now she's into law and judgship and all that kind of stuff. But if she decides, I think maybe one day she will decide to do something else. I think she will always be doing something.
TMS
Like an elderly home or something? Any other ides of what she'd do?
PV
Well, I know she still loves photography. I don't know, who knows. maybe she'll be a judge forever. But I just know She's always thinking about I'm not done yet. I still have other plans. Plus she loves music, we have CD players in here. and she love jazz and gospel and all different kinds of music. She's just remarkable! You know, you met her. You talked with her.
TMS
Yes, and she's so modest.
PV
I just so blessed to have known her for this long and she's done so much for me, you know. And right now she's sitting in Cambridge for a month and I miss her!
TMS
Yeah she said she was going to be in Cambridge for a little while.
PV
Yeah, so that's where I came from too, we orginally both started in Cambridge. So I'm a little jealous. Like I told her the other day, you're back with all our homies! Becasue that's where we both started. But, uh I like it here too, but there's just something about the first place you work and the first people that you grew up with.
PV
But she's something else, she's incredible. She really is you know. You just meet her. And it's funny because when she first came to Woburn, and the presiding justice that used to be in here he was not so much of a people person, so all the people that worked here was kind of conditioned that this was like an inner sanctum. no one ever came to the judge's lobby. nobody did.
PV
And his desk was way over in the corner and when we first came here the judges desk was right there. so when people used to come in. I used to say to them come to the lobby. At first they were like, "What? Come into the lobby? Nobodies ever allowed in there!" So there coming in. And Judge Jackson's office was right there, but we had to move it because of a bad draft, but anyways...
PV
People would come in and she'd be like, "Hey, how you doin'? how're the kids?" And they would be like, "Is that the judge?" They were like amazed that the judge was like taking interested in them as like a person.She was like, "Come in" And eventually people said, "I wanted to show the judge my baby pictures." She is just that kind of person. And everybody was like flipping out, they were like, "Oh my God, it's never been like this before!" She's just so like a real person and I'm like, "Yeah". She knows everyone's name and people came in and she knew who their kids where, this and that thing. And people would come up with their problems and talk to her just like she was a regular person, not like she was a judge. You know. Because that's just the way she is, you know. But eventually we did have to move her desk here there was some kind of problem over there, but she's just a people person.
TMS
OK, Let me switch gears just a little bit about where this is like a 'West Medford Remembrance Project."
PV
Oh yeah, right.
TMS
So how, Could you describe maybe, how she talked about West Medford, if she talked about it, the way in which you know about it from her. I know she lived there for a chunk of time,
PV
Yes, she did, she did.
TMS
That's why she's part of this project.
PV
It's funny when I went to the um, the first meeting at the church, I had heard these people's names for so long. Because she was also, another big part of her life was the church and the community itself, West Medford. So like I said everybody would call her if anyone had a problem or just wanted to say hi. So for the longest time people would call her and I knew their names but I never knew a face. Because she was very involved in the West Medford area as far as through the church or the community or whatever. I knew alot of these people through their names and like talking to them on the phone. You know, because she was such a big part of the community. I think it started in the church and then, you know, mushroomed out from there. She did live in West Medford. And a couple of times I'd go to her house and I'd always get lost because I'm the worst. One time I got lost with her in the car.
TMS
Could you maybe describe her house a little bit? Because she said it was a bigger house, like her house now.
PV
In West Medford?
PV
Yeah, It was bigger,What kind of a house? it was like two... It was a nice house, how can I describe it? It was in a really nice area, Made for the governors something or another
TMS
Brooks' Estate?
PV
Yeah. And even though it was bigger it was still like a home. Because she had the dolls in it and her dogs. Zack has since left us. But she had her dogs there. And it was a bigger house, I think it had a porch around it. As a matter of fact, someone sent me a thing on the computer once, it was as scene of Christmas and they had this big house and it had porch around it, and I was like, Oh my God, it looks exactly like the judge's house looked ! It was a nice house, it was bigger. I don't know it was nice.
TMS
And she always said that like kids were always running in and out of the house all the time.
PV
Yes, always... that was her, that was her life. Her life is her and she's always surrounded by people because they know if they need anything or She just draws people.You know I can't even tell you how many people she's helped and still continues to help, besides people on the bench, professionally you know helping that way. I mean she's amazing, I mean there's always people in her life that she's helping and learning about and genuine help. And, you know, that's the way she is, in and out
PV
And she loves animals. I'm sure you've met Amelia.
TMS
Yeah
PV
Now she got Amelia. She has this a really close friend that moved, Amelia was up here, that had to go to Mississippi and left her here with the judge and we kind of called her a swamp mutt dog, because it was a real mutt from the swaps of Mississippi or somewhere.
PV
And then she had Zack. Zack was her other dog. He was a beautiful standard poodle.She loved Zack. In fact it was incredible, once in awhile when she lived in West Medford, During her lunch she'd take Zack to the groomers you know so she would bring Zack in.and once in a while he'd come in here, not very often but once in awhile. What a nice dog. And she see all the people that were like in to animals and dogs, She always has life around her, you know. Something like yeah. Zack was a wonderful dog. He'd come in. We wouldn't even know that he was here, He had to behave so she took him to the groomers. And I'd be typing and he'd put his head right on my lap like this and I'd be typing. Nice, nice dog. and she's always life, plants or happy things
TMS
Um, Just a little bit more about the community, I don't know if, uh, she talked about anything about the atmosphere of the community. um,She mentioned to us that she wanted more of a racially mixed town like her town back home outside of Pittsburgh and so she found that in Medford. Did she ever talk about, you know, why she moved there or the people there?
PV
West Medford No,because when I met her she was already in West Medford so I don't know how she actually got to West Medford to honest with you and I know that she moved to Woburn because she became a judge here and wanted to be more of a part. I assume that it would be probably the same kind of reason. Because she wanted to be part of the whole where ever she was. And that's why she moved to Woburn because she was a presiding here and she wanted to support the communnity. And she moved down here to Woburn from West Medford, yeah.
TMS
OK, um. Do you know what kind of community involvement she had. You said like she was involved with the church and involved with the community. She just kind of, like she talked about how she was on the committee in the church and, but she didn't really get into detail because she was very modest about all of accomplishements.
PV
Oh yeah she has ton... I gave you a...
TMS
We just didn't know if there was something more that we were missing.
PV
I know she did alot of that, plus you know, like at the time she was doing a lot for HQ and getting his career and like she set up a whole music studio for him and you know, so she would play like the musician's wife thing too, and he was into music and all that, so she'd do alot of that too. And she loved plays, and cultural type museum things, and things like that, you know.
TMS
Could you talk a little bit about you know about OG and their connection and what you know about it?
PV
Well, I met OG through, obviously, through the judge and when obviously they needed some kind of help, You know, she was right there, you know, right there. and she kind a like adopted them, they were almost like her parents, and she was there for them all the time. She took them through when they were sick and they needed anything at all she was there for them, you know so. And like we used to once in awhile have little court parties here like at the holidays and stuff and OG and Miriam would come, so met them through that. But I first met them because She obviously, like I said, if anybody needs help she's there and at the time they needed help. And she became like their daughter. It was just like she was their daughter. She did everything they needed, you know. She helped them tremendously. Anything you know. And that's how I met them through her. Because she was right there. And he used to be a pastor, you know. So, Once again she was right there.
TMS
That's pretty much all I have. Is there anything specifcically that you want to add? Anything, Maybe a story about her that you think would be pertinent that you'd love to share with people? Maybe anything else?
PV
Well, I think this is kind of a funny story. I don't know if I should tell it or not, but When Anna was having, Here's an example about how she trusts me... Now when Ana was having Gaby, when she was getting closer and closer to the day, the judge was going to be her coach in the delivery room.
PV
Well, I think this is kind of a funny story. I don't know if I should tell it or not, but When Anna was having, Here's an example about how she trusts me... Now when Ana was having Gaby, when she was getting closer and closer to the day, the judge was going to be her coach in the delivery room.
PV
And I was like, And I go into the room and I'm like, I don't know nothin' about delivering no babies! 'cause I don't even have any kids. And she says, Don't worry just call me, and I all the sudden became like the expectant father. I was like, oh my God, I'm gonna have to deliver this baby!. And I'm like the worst when it comes to following directions; believe me I get lost no matter where I go. And I knew Ana's hospital was in Boston, so besides having to deliver this baby, I was like, How the heck am I gonna to find... So I call the court offices, and I said, Here's the deal, If this girl has to deliver this baby, someone else has to drive because I will A: get lost. And so this kid Mike McLaughlan who was her neighbor at the time said Okay, I'll drive, don't worry about that, if it indeed happens.
PV
So poor Ana, every hour I'm calling her, Asking her, are you ok?, are you ok? You know. And she's like I'm all right and finally 3 o 'clock comes and she says, I think it's time. And I'm like oh my god and I put on my sneakers and I'm running out the door and I say to Mike, Okay, It's time! and I'm running out the door and no sooner am I at the door than the judge comes through and I'm like, turn around, Ana's having the baby and I push her out the door.I was like oh my god And the next day, after everything went well, I say to her, now I didn't seeon my resume in the fine print 'delivering any babies' you know, and it's like, I know she asks a lot of things to me, but this I can't believe. But at least she had confidence in me that I could help Ana deliver her baby. And I'm like, Oh my God! So, yup [chuckles]
TMS
That's great.
PV
Yeah well
TMS
Well, that was perfect. Anything else
PV
Well, she just thinks of things like that, that Paula will be able to do it and I'm like, Ok alright.
PV
Like, one of my very first times I went into the judges lobby in Cambridge she was planning a get-away or something like to a spa and I said I'd help her like uh, during my lunch hour to make calls to coordinate her and her girlfriend to uh, they wanted. It was funny because it was like I was trying to get time for these two people to get massages at the same time and have their feet done and all this kind of stuff. And it was one of my first thing I did in the lobby. Even though it was like part of my job, I did it on my lunch hour and stuff for her, you know. Let me see if I can do it. So I was so nervous when they went away like, did they get there okay? Were their reservations there? Was Helen having her pedicure at the same time as the judge was having a manicure?
PV
But it was kind of funny because right away she just kind of took... she had confidence in me in things that I could do and she kind of always pushed me to do things that I could, but I didn't have the confidence that I could do. So after that, I said, how was your weekend , I was like I was just expecting them to say, Ohh, they didn't even have our reservation and then she said, no, it went fine and I was like, phew!. You know, she'll give me projects that she obviously thinks I can do. And she's just taught me to have more confidence in myself as a person.
TMS
That's great
PV
Yeah, yeah. She's great, she is..
TMS
[to Gwynne] Do you have any follow-ups?
Gwynne
I was just, you worked for her for so long. What is the day-to day routine, how does that work?
PV
Well, I come in and she usually comes in a little bit after me because I come in early. I come in about 7:30 and the judge usually comes in about 8:30. And it's funny because like I always have and I give her a cup of coffee. And it's funny because I do that and people thinks it's like old -fashioned like it's like the boss gets the secretary to make her coffee, but it's not like that because or I'll give her tea. And it's becuase she's my friend too. And I know that she'll enjoy it. And some people say well I wouldn't do that and I say well Why? It's like, she's my friend too!
TMS
And if you were there early she'd probably get it for you!
PV
Yeah., it was just how I was brought up. It has nothing... at that point there's no 'secretary' and 'boss' type thing. It's just like.
PV
So she'll come in and I'll give her her messages or what not. And she'll go on the bench and she'll come off the bench and we'll bombard her with more of stuff. Because even though when she comes off the bench she still working because she's like the administrator of the whole court so there always different things. And its funny because at lunch hour she'll still work. And one time the doctor told her, you know, just kind of like ease out during your lunch hour. And I have to come in at yell at her, now stop working during your lunch.
PV
But she's just great! We've just, like I've said, We can read each other, like if I come in and I'm not feeling good or somebody's really innoying, like when I was going through my divorce or whatever,you know. She can just read and you know, she's go, now what's up. I don't know, We just have that kind of relationship. Even though I see her once in a while outside of work, we just have that connection. And she's just really cool to work for too.
PV
You know, She's um, I just know her so well and she knows me so well and it just works. And the biggest reason I think that I'm here is because she can trust me and I protect her... anybody in this building who tries to say bad. Or tries to find out things about her. I'm like a protector, too. You know, I wouldn't let anybody hurt her or try to harm her or say anything about her or get information out of me that they shouldn't have, you know. I'm always there... I'll do anything to protect her as well. She can tell me anything and it doesn't go any further then that. And she's open that sometimes we have to tell her not to say too much to other people, we're like, what are you doing?!? You know, not everybody in here is your friend! You know, what are you doing?
Gwynne
Have you seen her on the bench at all, do you know how she is?
PV
Well, I used to... when I worked in Cambridge a long time ago, once in a while I'd be in the session and I'd see her on the bench, and I've gone in there once in a while to give her a message that I couldn't call in. And she's wonderful on the bench! She's, Besides being learned and intelligent and all that, she relates to all different... she's smart on the bench.
PV
I mean some will go in front and say, blah blah and she'll look right at them and say, "you know that's not..., you know." She's very wise and, She can read, She's great at reading people, you know. If you go up there and you say, Your honor, I really didn't mean to steal this or whatever and if you're sincere, she can read that. Or if your true or not. yeah, she can read that.
PV
She's Fair. I've had people to call and say, Is judge Jackson gonna be on the bench? because if they go up in front of anybody they wanna go up in front of her because she's caring and she understands the law and she understands people's lives and why they're there and she can feel, you know, and she's sensitive too, that's she's not. you know 'cause it's a hard job. If you have somebody in front of you who you know, you know, supposedly like stabbed some kids to death or did whatever, like a couple of months ago.
PV
On the bench she's strong, but she's also is a mother and a woman and a human being, so she can come off the bench and be who she is, but when she get back on the bench again she's strong, She's seen so much, especially like I said when she worked with kids. And it's hard, it's really hard, for any one of these judges. You know casue it's a hard job. Cause, like I used to go in the session in Cambridge and watch for awhile and it got hard because it wasn't television, it was real life. You know these different people at the door. And she's been dealing with that since like 1980. Real life, real people, real situations. And it gets to you after a while. She's strong, but it's still hard.
Gwynne
How does she deal with that?
PV
She'll come off the bench when she has a break and besides making all the phone calls that we do. Once in awhile, She'll listen to music or read or that's when she's learn Japanese or something like that. It's funny because once on a while on break... we used to have a law clerk here and they were both into Tetris?
TMS
Oh yeah.
PV
Okay, So when she had some time and when ever she had down time she would do the Tetris and one time when we were in Cambridge, I think it was, and she had a really high score and she was like, oh, I have to on back on the bench, my break is over and I needed to do something on her computer. And once I got on the computer, 'blam' I got rid of the whole Tetris! But knowing her, I was like, 'Ahh, I got rid of her Tetris and she comes off the bench and is like, 'let me see how high I can go. I said, "Guess What?" But she didn't yell at me or get mad or anything because she knows I'm Paula and that I'm going to do that kind of thing, you know.
PV
So, you know, it's just funny things like that. She's just really good at those games because she says it gets her mind off regular things.She used to play the Tetris Or she'll read or learn Japanese or something like that. To deal with it every day, yeah.
PV
See? I on the other hand go out and run which I'm gonna get her to do. And I'm like her protector. Like, when she was on her diet people would always come in here and say I have birthday cake for the judge!' or, I have cookies for the judge! because it was always something going on. And I'm like, no, she's not having any and they would be like, what, you're gonna deny her? and was like, Yeah. And she'd come off the bench and say, Oh, it's so and so birthday! And I'd say, 'and you're not getting any of the cake. And I've literally taken cookies out of her hand, like when she said she wanted to be good.And I say ok that's fine. But that is the kind of relationship we have. People would ask me, Does she get mad and I'll say no, She asked me to do it. Now people don't even come to the door anymore because they know I don't eat it and they know she don't eat it. And once in a while she'll go out and I'll be like, now where are you goin'? and so yeah...
TMS
That's great. Well it sounds like you two have a special relationship.
PV
Yeah I think we do and I mean, like I said,I'm blessed to know her.And it's wonderful to work with her, and like I said I really miss her now because she's like in Cambridge, you know so I don't get to see her.
TMS
Well she said very good things about you. She says that she trusts you with everything.
PV
Well I hope so because I would never say do anything to like harm or have anybody else harm her.And I say very little because I run the whole office by myself
PV
But I don't say anything to anybody, you know. Plus it's my job but it's my nature anyway. So yeah, They'll never get anything out of me. I think some of her wiseness rubbed off on me because sometimes people will come in here once in awhile and ask me questions and you know that they're searhcing for something and trying to get something out of me. I'll say, I don't know, I don't know, you know after awhile you read people.
PV
And She's also another thing that she taught me... when my father used to teach and when he retired Berkeley they were given him, Berkley was given him a humungous giant concert type thing and there where all of these famous musicians that he and I had to give a speech and she's like the world's best speech-maker. If you ever have the opportunity to hear this woman speak, go because she's fantastic. And I'm like ,oh judge I have to give this speach. So I learned the Judge Jackson method of giving speaches and what you do. And what you do is, ok, You know how some people have the whole speech all written out? You don't do that.
PV
You have the thought in your mind of what you want to do and you just write down like key words of what you want to say. And you kinda look at the key word and go off on it and say like what you think about it. And I had this whole speech about my dad and on her lunchtime she'd come in and say,: Okay, let's go over your speech. And she taught me how to do the speach. And I'm talking, this was a real big deal because Berkeley very famous and my father was like there forever and he was one of the first student and he was famous in his own right and so all these famous people were there. And I was like ohh I have to get up there. She first gave me the confidence that I could do it and she taught me how to give a speech. And ever since then I've really enjoy speaking in front of people,it doesn't bother me and it's all because she gave me the confidence of how to do. So you just write down. Even today, I didn't know what you were going to ask me but I knew what I wanted to say about her and I just had little key words in my brain and then from there your just embellish on it and that's what she taught me. And it stuck with me.
TMS
It's like speaking from the heart
PV
Yeah, To have even different things in the court house. Where people are like, how can you get up there in front of everybody. Well I'm like A: I don't mind anymore because she taught me and B: She gave me the confidence that I can do it, I'm just good as anybody else to be able to get up here speak, why can't I do it too. But that's the way she is. She could talk about the most, she could talk about that barrel and make it interesting. She is a Fantanstic public speaker. I've seen her have kids in here and you know how fidgity kids are and all of them whether they are like eight years old or teenagers even come in here and they're all just fascinated listening to her. She just knows what to say and how to capture everybody. Cause that's the way she is. Yeah so she taught me that too. How to do speaches in front of people.
TMS
That's great
Gwynne
Do you have a favorite story?
PV
I think I told you.
TMS
yeah those are good ones, those are good ones.
PV
Yeah so,
TMS
Thank you very much for spending time with us
PV
Well thank you for coming here
TMS
And the judge, she loves you'
PV
Well it's mutual, we've been around together with her for a long time and I feel totally comfortable with her. I've told her things i wouldn't tell anybody, you know and she'll just listen to them and doesn't judge me one way or the other. Say how could you do that or not do that, that's just me. She probably knows me better then I know me. You know
TMS
Well, thank you
PV
You're welcome
  3
  4,
  5