Screenshot from Zoom session

Jeffry B. Stallsmith, DDS

Jeffry Stallsmith, DDS, had a popular dentistry practice at Sixth and A Streets NE from 1976 to 2013. In 2020, he participated in one of the Overbeck Project's first interviews done via Zoom.

In this interview, Jeff describes his experiences living and practicing on Capitol Hill, including his appreciation for the many patients he served. He relates his memories of what happened in his office during the September 11, 2001, attacks and the August, 2011, DC area earthquake. He also enthusiastically describes the advances that were made in dentistry during his career.

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Interview Date
November 30, 2020
Mary May Kaniewski
David MacKinnon
Mary May Kaniewski

Full Directory

Interview with Dr. Jeffry B. Stallsmith
Interview Date: November 30, 2020
Interviewer: Mary May Kaniewski
Transcriber: David MacKinnon
Editor: Mary May Kaniewski

Screenshot from Zoom session

This interview was conducted using the Zoom computer application during a pandemic, when avoiding direct contact between people served as a preventative health measure. The Zoom record function was used during the interview, and the resulting audio file transcribed.
KANIEWSKI: This is Mary Kaniewski. I’m interviewing Dr. Jeffry Stallsmith for the Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. Today is November 30, 2020, and we are conducting this interview via Zoom. Hi Dr. Stallsmith.
STALLSMITH: Hi Mary, how are you?
KANIEWSKI: I’m good. Let’s start with where you were born and raised.
STALLSMITH: I was born in Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, and raised at Kensington. My parents had lived in that same house since 1924. They built the house. I have a brother and a sister who are older than me; I was the baby of the family. I went to the public school system in Montgomery County [Maryland], Walter Johnston High School, and then on to George Washington University and [the University of] Maryland Dental School.
KANIEWSKI: What was Kensington like?
STALLSMITH: Kensington in the early 40s and 50s was a much rougher-edged place. It was funny, you hear the old adage, “Well, kids from across the tracks ...” It was really true. The kids from across the tracks were a much more rough and ready group than the people that lived at Kensington. It was a good time. We enjoyed all the mixtures and everything. Kensington was a great place to grow up, it still is. It’s a small town. I won’t say it’s like Capitol Hill, but it is a small town. It’s still with small town airs. It was founded in 1893 as a retreat for the people that lived in Washington, DC, because the train came out here. It was about four or five degrees cooler out here in the summertime. In those days there wasn’t air-conditioning, so there are a lot of big Victorian homes out here that people had and commuted into Washington during the summer.
KANIEWSKI: What did your parents do?
STALLSMITH: My dad was a banker at the Bank of Bethesda and my mother taught in the Montgomery County school system for many, many years.
KANIEWSKI: On another call you were telling me about a farm.
STALLSMITH: Yeah, my dad was a farmer. We were quite native to this area, quite frankly. My dad was raised out in Potomac on a farm. Potomac was not anything like it is today with big houses and fast cars. Potomac was just a farming community and dad was raised in that situation. His father owned a farm that extended from the Beltway north on [Old] Georgetown Road to the Wildwood Shopping Center, don’t know if you are familiar with that. The little Church of the Wildwood [now Wildwood Baptist Church] is right across the street and that’s where all the family plots are and everything. He was, I guess, a truck farmer as much as anything else. There was a railroad that went right down the middle of [Old] Georgetown Road down to Georgetown. My grandfather would put his produce on the railroad and send it off down to Georgetown. That’s what he did for a living. My mother was raised around the Culpeper, Orange, Virginia. [area], where she grew up with 11 brothers and sisters.
KANIEWSKI: What was her maiden name?
STALLSMITH: Elizabeth Lohr.
KANIEWSKI: As a child, did your parents bring you into DC, or what memories do you have of DC?
STALLSMITH: It was sort of interesting. I used to go down to the Chevy Chase Circle (in DC) where my barber was. I remember as a little boy thinking what a great place this is. Went on the bus and went down there. I was bad, so he nipped me in the ear with his scissors! I never went back. Went to the barbers out in Kensington after that.
We used to go down [to DC] at Christmastime in particular. You’d go down anytime to see the monuments and so forth. That’s like today, still a beautiful sight—cherry blossoms, the whole nine yards. But I remember this time of the year in particular, you’d go down to see the big department stores down there. Woodward & Lothrop, Kann, Garfinkel’s, for example, and Hahn Shoes for another example. Their picture windows were filled with beautiful Christmas sights. You’d see electric trains, everything. As a kid, “Oh man, that’s great, I would love to have that electric train.” They had a lot of automated displays down there. In those days that was a very rare thing. But that was one of the main attractions I remember going down to DC for. We didn’t go out that much to restaurants. Again, my parents were—my mother was a teacher, my dad was a banker—but we were sort of, I don’t want to say plain folk, but definitely more of a stay-at-home type.

KANIEWSKI: Which is probably the way it was back then for most people.
STALLSMITH: It sure was.
KANIEWSKI: You went to Georgetown, and then was it the University of Maryland for dentistry?
STALLSMITH: Actually, I went to GW, George Washington University, and I majored in zoology and minored in chemistry. What set me on the road to dentistry, sort of interestingly enough, [was] when I was in ninth grade, my ninth-grade teacher had us write a composition on what did we want to be when we grew up. I made an outline about being independent and having my own business. I liked to work with my hands. I had been to the dentist the day before and had my teeth cleaned. So it was like, “Well, that’s a good thing to write about.” Didn’t think about it much after that. Then when I got to college, I realized I was academically good at science. So I revisited the composition that my mother had saved and ended up being pre-dent at George Washington University and then went on to Maryland Dental School. I graduated in 1970 from Maryland.
KANIEWSKI: What kind of DC memories do you have of just hanging out at various places when you were in college?
STALLSMITH: A lot [of hanging out] was down at the student union. I lived in a fraternity house off of Dupont Circle on 19th Street [NW] and watched the Hilton being built, as a matter of fact. Those were very pleasant memories. Used to go to very interesting older bars. I don’t know if you are familiar with [these] or not, but Maggie’s up on Wisconsin Avenue, the Devonshire, the Zebra Room. The student union was where most of us hung out at GW. Then when we weren’t there it was usually parties at the fraternity house and things like that. I was sort of a serious student at the time too, so I spent a lot of time studying, or at least trying to, in the fraternity house.
KANIEWSKI: How did you meet your wife?
STALLSMITH: Pat was a nurse and worked for the surgeons downstairs when I worked out in Laurel, Maryland. I was a dentist working for another dentist as an associate. We met from proximity and fell in love and got married in 1978.
KANIEWSKI: What is her maiden name and where did she grow up?
STALLSMITH: Pat’s maiden name, her name, believe it or not, is Patty Page. She grew up out in Laurel and in Germany. Her dad worked for NSA [National Security Agency]. She lived most of her teenage years in Germany—Zwiebrucken, meaning two bridges.
KANIEWSKI: When you got married where did you settle?
STALLSMITH: We settled on Capitol Hill. We restored a home at 109 Kentucky Avenue SE, about three or four houses in from Lincoln Park. Had a wonderful neighborhood there, just wonderful. All of the things I liked about Capitol Hill was that we had a wonderful block with people just like us—newlyweds, young people, starting families, restoring their houses. We had a really nice—if you wanted a night out … I forget the name of the thing we did, but everybody would babysit. It was a co-op, that’s the word I was looking for. The kids all had little group sessions. They’d get together and have a great old time because they were all about the same age. It was a great time to be living on Capitol Hill. We lived there and restored the house. Joel Truitt [local builder] would give me advice if I got stuck on something. I had a book called the Reader’s Digest of How to Do Things. One section was plumbing, one section was electric. Believe it or not it worked. Had a great time doing that. I’d come home from work around five o’clock I guess, four-thirty or five, eat dinner and then I’d start work until around ten in the evening restoring the house. I wouldn’t want to do that today, I have to admit, but in those days there was a lot of energy when we were younger.
KANIEWSKI: How much did you pay for your house?
STALLSMITH: We paid $78,000 for the house. It wasn’t in too bad a shape, but not great shape, so we did a lot to it and moved walls around, things like that. We sold it in 1983 for $116,000. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears’ equity in the house, mostly from my fingers I think. It was very good. We had a great time living there.
KANIEWSKI: When were your children born? At that house?
STALLSMITH: My son was born in 1979 while we lived there on Capitol Hill. Ashley was born in 1982. Both were very young when we lived there, but it was perfect. All of the other kids in the neighborhood were basically in the same stages.
We moved out to Kensington in 1983. My parents were old and a little bit ailing, so we wanted to be a little bit closer to them. One of my major hobbies is landscaping. I love to work out in the yard and make things look nice. I think that’s a carryover from dentistry. I wanted a yard to work with. My house down there on the Hill—we didn’t have any real yard, not much of one anyway.
KANIEWSKI: How did you end up in the dental office that I remember at Sixth and A [Streets] NE?
STALLSMITH: John Russell had that practice at Sixth and A NE for about 11 months. He was working on his third divorce. [laughs] He got tired of the whole scene here in Washington and wanted to move back to Yellow Springs, Ohio. So I happened to see an ad in one of the dental journals [saying] that he was giving up his practice. So I went down and looked at it. I’ve always enjoyed the urban environment. I lived right off Dupont Circle for four years while I was in college. So I thought, “Well this looks really nice.” It looked to me like the Hill was getting ready to take off. The people were—you know, as we called them in those days—pioneering and building homes and establishing families and everything. So it looked like a very nice time. I ended up with John’s practice and was there from ’76. I bought the practice in ’76 and was there as a general dentist ’til 2013 when I retired. It was a nice long run. Patients were wonderful, just a very interesting group of people that I met on Capitol Hill, you included, and Don, your husband.
KANIEWSKI: I always wondered about that building, because you bought the practice, but were you renting?
STALLSMITH: I just leased the space.
KANIEWSKI: Did somebody live upstairs or something?
STALLSMITH: Yeah, there were seven apartments in that building. I would have loved to have had the building, but each landlord progressively kept raising the prices higher and higher. I was always chicken to invest that much in it. I ended up just leasing up to the very end.
The fellow that owns it now—the new doctor that’s in my practice, Dr. [Nishan] Halim—again is leasing from the landlord. It’s a terrific spot there, it’s a beautiful spot. The church across the street ... I went back down there [to Dr. Halim’s office] and had my teeth cleaned the other day. I was amazed about how much [new] building is there. Instead of a parking lot across the street, now there’s townhomes. It’s really pretty. It looks like they did a nice job too.
KANIEWSKI: It’s changed a lot. I remember that you are a left-handed dentist.
STALLSMITH: Yes, and that’s a bit of a problem for dentists. Ninety percent of dentists, or 95 percent, are right-handed. That made it difficult for me to continue working in the practice after I retired—that [was] what I planned to do—because the equipment is either right-handed or left-handed. It makes it difficult, so I ended up just working for another three months and introducing Dr. Halim to my patients and everything. I realized he’s a very competent young man and that my patients were in good hands.
KANIEWSKI: So he could handle your equipment there?
STALLSMITH: Yeah, [he] basically just sort of bought new equipment to accommodate what he needed and wanted.
The Hill was a very interesting place. You met all sorts of people. A great diversity. People from all over the United States. I used to get patients coming in from Europe that I would see. I didn’t really like [that] very much because, for example, if I was doing a crown on somebody and it didn’t fit, they’d have to make another trip in from Europe. That really was difficult. That was one of the more difficult things—when people would come long distances to see me. Made me feel good that they had that kind of confidence in me, but if things didn’t go well, nothing much I could do about it.
KANIEWSKI: I always thought in that location you must have had a lot of stories. Did you have congressional patients with emergency appointments?
STALLSMITH: I had congressmen. I had representatives. I had senators. I had cabinet members. I had people like the head of the EPA, for example, all sorts of important jobs, head of Social Security [Administration]. All sorts of very interesting people, the same people that live on Capitol Hill. One of the things I noticed in dealing with the politicians and the important people [was that] they were very nice, very nice to me and very nice to accommodate me and to work with and everything. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as a matter of fact. Funny little story: one of my patients—I’d seen him for years, just a nice young man, really enjoyed him, worked on him. We’d BS and carry on and everything. Kim, our receptionist, one day said to me, “Dr. Stallsmith, you ought to ask Ken why he always comes up in a limousine and has bodyguards.” I said, “Really?” Because I’m in the back room, I don’t see what people are driving or anything. Next time he came in, I asked Ken. He said, “Yeah, I’m the head of Social Security and that’s just part of my job.” [Kenneth Apfel was the head of the Social Security Administration at the time.] I had no idea—a very low-key guy, never bragged about how powerful a man he was. That’s quite a job. When he retired, he took a job at the University of Texas down in Austin. It happened to be [that] my best friend practices down in Austin. So I sent Ken to Randy in Austin. They had a very nice relationship.
One of the crazy things that happened—you talk about what it’s like at Sixth and A NE … I was working on the minister from the church across the street. I was putting in a crown as a matter of fact, and I heard all this screaming outside my office. At first I thought it was kids. Then I realized it was a woman screaming at the top of her lungs. So I looked out the window—if you remember correctly, there’s a big picture window beside my operatory. This guy was attacking this woman, and she was holding a baby. So I jumped up—the minister was a marine, retired marine—was a former marine I should say. Anyway, I jumped up and ran outside. The robber was threatening to kill this woman’s baby if she didn’t give up her purse. I ran the guy down and hit him a couple of times. I had the presence of mind to put the minister’s crown in my pocket. He [the former marine] finally came up, and a couple of other people came up, and we held the guy down until the police came and arrested him.
That was probably the most exciting thing that happened while I was down there. Marion Barry, the mayor, gave me a commendation for that. I don’t know if you ever saw that. I had a bunch of pictures on the wall. That’s what that was about.
KANIEWSKI: That’s exactly why I asked that, because when I would get x-rays in that little room, I’d see something about—I didn’t know if it was from DC or the Metropolitan Police—I saw this plaque on the wall.
STALLSMITH: That’s what that was about. It was funny, she [the attacked woman] was an architect. For the life of me, I cannot remember her name right now. They [her family members] were very, very nice people and ended up being patients for many years after that. You sort of do what you have to do. At 76, I don’t think I’d be running anybody down. But in those days in my—I guess I was probably [in my] mid-40s—I’m like, geez, got to help out here.
KANIEWSKI: That’s unusual that a woman with a baby would be getting mugged.
STALLSMITH: It was terrible. Made everybody feel really bad. My receptionist at the time was named Lida. Do you remember Lida?
KANIEWSKI: No, I just remember Kim.
STALLSMITH: Well, Lida was with me for many, many years too. Lida was so excited she dialed 411 [directory assistance for phone numbers], rather than 911. [laughter] But that’s the story of my dental practice down there. It was a lot of fun and a lot of very nice people. The Hill itself—watching it emerge and be restored, and the feeling of community—was really, really nice. I miss the people I have to say. But at this particular time of life, during the coronavirus, I’m very glad I’m retired. Small businesses like dental offices or barber shops, or whatever, are struggling, [and] restaurants.
KANIEWSKI: They were shut down completely for—I don’t know—was it March to June or so?
STALLSMITH: Yes. The economics there are really tough. I always think that I did a brilliant move by retiring because I knew that the pandemic was going to come. [laughter] Seriously, I was very pleased that I was retired during all of this.
KANIEWSKI: As a dentist did you do any community work? I know of one thing, but I’ll see if you mention it.
STALLSMITH: We used to have children come in. We would introduce them to dentistry and tell them about how they had to brush their teeth and demonstrate [it] and put them in the chair, raise it up and down, little simple things to do with the kids. That was probably about it.
KANIEWSKI: Yeah, that’s what I had heard about. I thought that was such a great idea.
STALLSMITH: It was fun. I happen to like kids, so that was fun. When I first went into dentistry I thought, “Oh god, I don’t want to work on these young kids.” Then I realized, they’re great. [laughter] I found myself really enjoying it.
KANIEWSKI: During your long dental career, how did dentistry change?
STALLSMITH: A sea change, an absolute sea change. In the 40s and 50s and 60s, even the 70s, the emphasis was on putting fillings in people’s teeth—silver fillings, they were black. During the 70s they invented a process where we could light-cure plastic [cure plastic fillings with LED light]. The plastic was very tough, and we could use the plastic for fillings and aesthetics for people. We never had that ability before. That was one of the big changes—being able to provide nice cosmetics for people.
The other major change in dentistry was preventive dentistry. When I first started in particular, I was trying very hard to teach my patients about flossing and brushing. The average IQ on Capitol Hill is high, very well-educated people. And they responded very well to that by taking care of their teeth. As far as I was concerned, it really made quite a difference to be able to teach people about … Instead of just going in there and drilling and filling, tell people why we are doing this, and you can improve your oral health and avoid gum disease and many cavities, and so forth. I found that to be a very nice thing to do.
The other big change in the last ten years of my practice was being able to use implants. Let’s say you’re missing your front tooth, okay? In order to restore that tooth, we had to cut down this perfectly good tooth on this side and cut down this perfectly good tooth on the other side of the missing tooth, to put in what we call a bridge. That’s all we had at the beginning. But now, with the advent of implants, we could leave the teeth on either side of the space alone and put a little post up into the gum and into the bone and put a tooth on that. That became the state of the art. It was no more expensive than the bridgework was. So it was a win-win for everybody. It was a win for the dentist, it was a win for the patient. That was another huge sea change, literally, that had occurred.
Dentistry in general—with the advent of AIDS, we also started taking a lot more sanitary precautions, wearing masks and gloves and wiping things down and sterilizing things. Again, that was quite a sea change. Eyewear—if you remember those big glasses that I used to look at you with. [laughter] All of it was good. All of it was to the good. All the changes that I witnessed since I started out in 1970 have all been extremely positive. Very, very good stuff.
One of the things … I was never a very good businessman. I liked the clinical aspects of dentistry the best. I always enjoyed taking courses on keeping up with how to do the best that I could for the patients. That was part and parcel of what I really enjoyed. Business—I wasn’t very good at that. But the other parts of it I really enjoyed. I was good enough to make a living, but I didn’t have 25 people working for me with satellite offices and so forth.
KANIEWSKI: You were always the only dentist, is that correct?
STALLSMITH: I was always the only dentist there.
KANIEWSKI: You would have had just a couple staff people, right?
STALLSMITH: One of the hardest parts in my practice, by dint of where we practiced on Capitol Hill, was employees. We had a very, very hard time getting qualified people to work for us. Most of the qualified people lived out in the suburbs and could get jobs out in the suburbs. Whereas most of the people that lived on Capitol Hill weren’t interested in being dental assistants. The fellow that now owns my practice is Dr. Halim; he’s having the same experience that I had. We just had a hard time. Once I got a good employee, like Kim, if you remember, and Myra, I kept them for 25 years. That was probably the most difficult [problem] of practicing on the Hill, trying to get employees that I considered to be good.
KANIEWSKI: I’d like you to share some memories of where you were or how you experienced some significant events, such as 9/11…
STALLSMITH: That was a very, very interesting day. If you remember correctly, it was a sparkling, crystal clear day with beautiful sky. I was working on a patient. We had a TV in there as part of the preventive program and also [so] the ladies could watch TV on their lunch hour if they wanted to relax. Kim said, “Dr. Stallsmith, a plane has hit this building in New York.” I said, “No!” So we all started watching and a few minutes later the second plane hit. You know how you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach? I knew something was drastically wrong. Then we heard this big boom, and we could see the smoke rising from—I assumed it was the Pentagon. We heard this big boom. The boom wasn’t the plane hitting. Apparently, it was from a jet flying over Washington breaking the sound barrier. But it scared the hell out of all of us. I told my staff, “It’s time to go home, everybody go home.” The patient lived over in Northern Virginia. He didn’t want to go home. I said, “Well, you know you can’t stay here in the office. Do you have any friends here on the Hill?” He finally said, “Yeah, I can call them.” I said, “Yes, you need to do that because I want to go home too.”
There was gridlock. I went down Sixth Street to try to get over to North Capitol Street and it was total gridlock getting out of the city. Once I got past, I guess [Archbishop] Carroll High School, it opened up and I was able to get home without much of a problem after that. That was probably by far the most exciting and absolutely feel-bad thing that had ever occurred when I was in practice down there on the Hill. I remember running out after we heard what was going on, and the rumors were flying, as you remember. “Oh, the Capitol’s been hit!” and this and that. So I went running down to East Capitol Street where we could see the Capitol, and we could see the Library of Congress, the whole nine yards. Everything was fine. I just breathed a sigh of relief, particularly after hearing that big boom, the sonic boom from the jet flying over. The whole thing was just … So many rumors were flying around, you didn’t really know what was true. The state of panic existed. Hopefully, we’ll never have to endure that again.
KANIEWSKI: Another thing—and I don’t remember when that earthquake was [August 23, 2011] … Were you still practicing when we had the earthquake?
STALLSMITH: Yes. That was something. The building at Sixth and A where I practiced was old. It was built in, let’s see, I think it was 1889. It was just a wooden-framed, old building. There was nothing real strong about that building. I was sitting in my dental office, and all of a sudden, the building started shaking. I looked down the hall and the whole thing was shaking. And I said to Myra, my dental assistant, “Get in the doorway here, Myra.” And Myra said, “What are you talking about?” [laughter] She didn’t know what I was talking about. By the time I tried to explain it to her it was over. But that was really, really … We’ve had minor little quakes out here in Kensington where I can hear a door rattle, but that’s just little things. This actually shook the building. I was afraid that the building was going to come down. It didn’t cause any structural damage, but again, I was concerned. I really was. But nothing happened with it.
KANIEWSKI: Nothing fell on the floor or anything?
STALLSMITH: Nothing fell on the floor. I was very pleased.
KANIEWSKI: I hope that never happens again too.
STALLSMITH: Isn’t that the case?
KANIEWSKI: How are you enjoying retirement, and what are you doing?
STALLSMITH: Just like we mentioned earlier, being retired at this particular point in history has been a godsend. I’m sort of a self-contained person anyway, I think from years and years of practicing by myself there on the Hill. I have hobbies that I like to indulge. One of the things I mentioned earlier was I like to landscape. I like to garden and landscape my property and keep things looking nice. I inherited that from my father. I’ve got some topiary and I’ve got some espalier going on, or “eh-spal-yr,” if you want to give it the French pronunciation. That takes up a lot of time. I like to putter around the house. I like to fix things myself and do things myself and do projects. I inherited that from my time on Kentucky Avenue restoring my house.
We’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling overseas, my wife and I, and [with] our friends from Texas as a matter of fact, that I talked about earlier that was taking care of Ken, [formerly] with Social Security. We’ve been doing that at least once or twice a year. That’s been really a lot of fun. I like to mess around with the cars. I’ve got a lot of friends, and that keeps me busy.
One of the other things I’ve been enjoying—because my wife [was] still continuing to teach … She just retired this last summer. Because of the COVID … She did not enjoy the virtual … She didn’t enjoy all the Zooming [that the schools] were doing, although she’s the one that set this up so I could do this today. One of the things that I’ve enjoyed doing that I never got to do when I was a dentist because I was always on a schedule ... I’d take the staff out to lunch. “Okay, we’ve got to leave now because we’ve got a two o’clock patient.” One of the things that’s nice now in retirement is having time. Time, as you probably realize, Mary, time is a nice thing to have. My whole adult professional life was built on a schedule. Ten thirty, I had a patient. Eleven, I had a patient. Twelve, I had a patient, whatever. Now I don’t have that anymore, and I like that very much. I enjoy particularly going out with friends and having a leisurely lunch and a drink during the middle of the day. That is a very nice thing I never could do before. I found that I really enjoy doing things like that.
Usually my brother, who’s 92 years old—I’ll go up to Baltimore and pick him up and we’ll drive over to the Eastern Shore and have a nice seafood meal, something along those lines. All of that I like. I like to drive too, that’s another thing. Although I don’t really like the congestion around here in Washington and on the Beltway. But once I get out of it, I do enjoy driving.
KANIEWSKI: Someday, maybe you’ll be able have those nice lunches …
STALLSMITH: Hopefully, without having to … It’s hard to eat through a mask. [laughter]
KANIEWSKI: And it’s getting cold, so it can be hard to eat outside all the time.
STALLSMITH: One of the things this fall that we were doing over in Bethesda—they were blocking off the streets. And they’ve done that downtown too, and on the Hill, I’m sure too. Blocking off the streets and putting the tables out there and being distanced and everything. That was wonderful. That was really very, very nice. It’s too cold now.
This is an outlier, Mary, this year is an outlier. Like the Spanish flu—I do believe that this flu, Chinese flu or whatever it is, COVID—is going to go away. It’s going to be particularly nice with the advent of these three vaccines. Hopefully by springtime or the middle of spring most of us will be vaccinated. You hear on the news that there’s a certain group of people in this country that don’t want to be vaccinated—intelligent, just everyday people. I don’t understand that. I really don’t.
KANIEWSKI: Yeah, people have all different reasons and some of them are just fake things they’ve read.
STALLSMITH: And there’s political reasons, as you know. There’s just incomprehensible reasons that I just don’t understand. Why wouldn’t you want to be vaccinated if it meant? … Because that flu is guided towards old folks like me. Hell, I don’t want to get the flu. I don’t—I’m enjoying retirement. Yeah, I’m looking forward to getting vaccinated, that’s for sure. I’m sure you feel the same way.
KANIEWSKI: Yeah, I do, I do. I was skeptical at first. I felt like they were rushing it, but now everything I hear is it’s going to be …
STALLSMITH: Well, they used a whole different thing to invent [it]—this is a totally different way of doing vaccines. Instead of DNA, they’re relying [on] what’s called RNA, ribonucleic acid. This has been a godsend in the development of this vaccine. I don’t know all the technical details, but apparently it’s very good. The efficacy is very, very efficient. You’re talking 90 to 95 percent efficiency here. That, I think, will help really knock this flu for a loop, at least that’s what I’m hoping.
KANIEWSKI: I’m hoping too. I hope we’re going to see some good changes in 2021.
STALLSMITH: I hope so too. I feel so sorry for these small businesses. These people must just be struggling. Breaks your heart to see all these lines of cars, people getting food. I just never thought I’d see that in America.
KANIEWSKI: It is just astonishing. Well, Dr. Stallsmith, it’s been so much fun to see you and talk with you.
STALLSMITH: I enjoyed seeing you, Mary.
KANIEWSKI: I’m going to end the recording.