Click here if you haven’t read part 2.
Click here if you haven’t read part 1
‘I worked for a few chocolate companies after that. Then finally I was offered a job at the multinational pharmaceutical company Warner-Lambert. They manufactured cough drops and I was to be in charge of that because they were having some issues in Canada. I was hired with a title that had no meaning to me. They said, “You will be manager of consulting services”, I said, “O.K”, not really knowing what that was! Turns out that what it meant was that I was to jump on a plane to where ever there was a problem while I was stationed in Canada. The board of directors thought that was crazy since I had to be flying to places like Argentina and all over the world, so they moved me and my family to the USA via corporate transfer. There I became a director of the company and continued with my job. By that time I was traveling 250 days a year. Because I was spending so much time in transit the board of directors voted that I could take my wife with me on the business trips. It was against the company’s policy, the CEO couldn’t take his wife! When we had inaugurations in China and India the only woman that was there was my wife, it was nice. I was able to give my wife a choice, she could travel with me, stay with the kids in Canada, visit her sister in Hungary or go home to New Jersey.
During Les’ time with the pharmaceutical company Warner –Lambert three manufacturing plants opened in Guangzhou, China and Bangalore, India. He was responsible for the equipment installation; training and product start up in all facilities.
‘Our company, who manufactured medications such as Lipitor and consumer health products like Listerine and Halls Mentholyptus cough drops, was taken over by Pfizer. When the deal was struck Pfizer paid 78 billion dollars, so…That was my lucky day. I took an early retirement, which was company policy. After Warner-Lambert I started up a consultancy business. In 1999 we moved on to Florida, but I continued traveling back and forth to New York and visiting other locations. In 2002 I stopped however, when I started noticing changes in my wife. She had developed Alzheimer’s. As soon as I noticed this, I quit. I became her care giver for two and a half years before she had to live in a care home’.
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 – 70% of dementia cases. It is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slow and gradually worsens over time. Alzheimer’s is still poorly understood even though in 2015, 48 million people worldwide suffered from this illness.
‘I went to a neurologists and he told ME that if I continued the way I was going I would only have 8 months left. I was exhausted; I was doing 36 hour days with her. It was tough, but I didn’t want to give her up. When I could no longer do enough for her I placed her in assisted living, then after a few years she stopped walking, she was confined to wheel chair, then I moved her to a nursing home where she remained for four years. She really hung on, she was so healthy, the doctors said that if she didn’t have Alzheimer’s she should have lived to 100. When I lost her it was hard.
My son, almost immediately came over here to Florida from Australia. It wasn’t all because of her passing, he was worried about me. So he stayed for three weeks while I was busy arranging her pensions from Hungary and Canada. So, since all my family is now in Australia, I am filing for immigration to come over and be with my family. That’s my life’s story, in a nut shell’.
Les is now waiting for his visa process to go through. During this period Les has spent a lot of his time travelling the world.
‘Someone asked me how many countries I have been to, and I laugh and say I never checked. Though on reflection I have probably been to about 76 or something like that. My Colleagues say that I’m crazy for travelling on my own, but to them I joke, saying “The Company is not scheduling to build any factories in the Galapagos or Alaska so I have to do it out of my own pocket!”
When asked what he will do when he finally gets the go ahead to come to Australia, Les merely says, ‘I’m planning to write books, my favorite title I have already started; surviving socialism. Because people over here they say, yay, socialism, how nice…Read. My. Book. Maybe you will learn something’.