Retirement parties were opportunities for communities
of Turnpike employees to come together to honor their own. Ralph Mercurio,
a maintenance supervisor who started on the Turnpike in 1952, was surrounded
by loyal coworkers who celebrated his 1976 retirement with panache. A
State Police friend who more typically sketched fugitives drew the portrait
of Mercurio, and everyone at the party signed it. The framed portrait
then became a treasured memento in the Mercurio home as a reminder of
workplace friendship and camaraderie.