Gale Duff-Bloom was interviewed for the last time in the summer of 2002. She is a strong personality, and her retired contentment is no act. She is relaxed and happy, and she talks about grandchildren, travel, some speaking engagements, and reunions with Penney people from the past. But she still hurts. As the interview concluded, she asked to make a statement, a summary of her life at Penney's. Here it is:
"I was aware of problems and I worried about them, but I must say that altogether I was very happy with my career at JCPenney. I made many wonderful friends . I feel like I had six careers in one company. I had the opportunities and took advantage of them and worked hard and loved it, loved what I did and loved the people. Of course in 31 years you're going to have some good times and some hard times, and I experienced both. But when I think back on the Penney Company, back on my career, there was just a whole lot that I brought home from what I learned at JCPenney and a whole lot about who I was at home that I took back to JCPenney. I think I contributed to a lot of people's lives ”they tell me that. Every function that I attend today where I run into Penney people, I am told that I'm missed, and I think it's sincere. And there's great love from me to many, many Penney associates ."
At this point she hesitated ”one had to know her well to even notice it. But she hesitated, and then as she finished her statement there was the slightest catch in her throat, her face showing the slightest change in coloring, as though a cloud were passing overhead:
"So, after 29 years, with the turf wars and the lack of trust, the lack of common decency, the last two years were not good. We had forgotten The Penney Idea, which, with all the rest, was a shame. Still, again, looking back, for the most part it was a great ride in a wonderful company, and they can never take that away."