Evelyn Witkin - Barbara McClintock's Sense of Humor

Oh, well, I mean she didn't change much. She was just very annoyed by the commotion and the demands on her. She found that very unpleasant. But she was no different with her friends and certainly no difference in her one-to-one behavior. She had a marvelous sense of humor; I don't know if anybody knows that. She had a really amazing laugh. It really shook the building when she thought something was really funny. We did a lot of laughing. Taking a walk with her down Bungtown Road was a real lesson in Botany because she would always stop and point out something unusual about some little flower that I never would have even paid any attention to. Anything that was alive was of interest to her. And she would see surprising things in it. I remember one time she had gotten some infection in South America and she was quite ill. She was in the hospital. I called her in the hospital and asked her how she was feeling and she brushed it off. I said something about [being] sorry she had to go through this. And she said, "Oh, but Evelyn. It's so interesting!" (Laughter.) She was participating with the doctors and trying to figure out what this strange infection was! And that was very typical.