People in the 10: ‘Two spaces after a period’


    Wind River Country is filled with unique people with diverse backgrounds. People in the 10 is a County 10 series that shares just a small piece of the stories that make up our community.

    (Riverton, WY) – For nearly six decades, Darlene Dahlin walked to and from the Masonic Temple building on Main Street for work, navigating the vast temperaments of Wyoming weather while doing so.

    Dahlin, now 88, retired from the Masonic Temple Association office manager position at 4 p.m. on March 29, 2024.

    Only occasionally did she get rides in really bad weather. Then, around 2019, she started driving the seven blocks to work because her legs became unstable due to back issues.

    In 2022, she moved closer to work and started walking again. A year ago, she had back surgery and now uses a rollator when the streets are clear and a walking stick when there’s snow.

    The last two winters, people who happened to be nearby when I was inching my way across the ice never failed to offer me a steady arm, and twice, when the weather was particularly bad, women pulled over to give me a ride home. I am very grateful for their kindness!-Darlene Dahlin

    Dahlin was born and raised in small towns in Montana. She took two years of typing and shorthand in high school and graduated from Cline, just a few miles outside Roundup, in 1953.

    “We moved around quite a bit the first few years of my life because it was hard to get work and we’d go wherever. We settled in Cline. It was a mining town with a post office, a school, and a small general store.”

    Between 1953 and 1963, she married Wesley, worked at a few attorney’s offices, a CPA’s office, had four children, and moved around Wyoming and Colorado, among other things.

    Her young family finally settled in Riverton in January 1963. Wes got a job with A.D. Martin Lumber Co., and she would stay home with the girls until they started school.

    One of the biggest changes Dahlin has seen in Riverton since living here for over 60 years, is not knowing anybody anymore.

    Well, used to be anywhere you went you knew somebody, you know. Saw somebody you knew from somewhere but it’s not that way now. I can go to Smith’s or Walmart or any place, you know, and shop and lucky if I see anybody I know.-Darlene Dahlin

    Their youngest started school in the fall of 1966, and she went to work as a teacher’s aide at Jefferson School. She biked to and from her home and the school, until it started to get colder and a coworker offered her transportation.

    She applied for a job to be the secretary for the Central Wyoming College president, but didn’t get the job. Hettinger, Leedy & Harrington were looking to hire another secretary, and they called her. She went to work at that office in the Masonic Temple building on December 26, 1966.

    She remained with them through many changes: Harrington leaving, and the Vincents joining and then leaving. Her name could be found on the firm’s letterhead as legal assistant, while she was also the office manager.

    During her tenure in that office, over 50 secretaries and a half dozen associate attorneys came and went. Eventually, Hettinger & Leedy closed.

    Hettinger was the building manager for the Riverton Masonic Temple Association when Dahlin started working there. She was immediately involved with the Association, paying its bills, typing leases, correspondence and minutes. She became its office manager, where she worked until this year.

    I do want to say I’ve been very fortunate in my career. My bosses always treated me very well. Never had any complaints.-Darlene Dahlin

    Two things she would like to see come back are writing letters and two spaces after a period.

    Though no longer working, she plans to continue walking and moreso now that the weather is getting nicer. She also has a painting that she wants to finish, and joined the C & K (they crochet and knit for charity). She’ll also probably read more and her advice to newcomers is to “join something where you meet people.”

    For more People in the 10 stories, click here.