Hershey: Retirement Just A Dream

Bobbie Caetano of Modesto imagined herself, at 59, on cruises and enjoying days filled with a few minutes of exercise and, well, whatever else she felt like doing.

When she heard of Hershey's plans to close the Oakdale plant, she decided to retire. Then her family began to feel the effects of the housing market. Caetano realized she'd have to step in and help, which means continuing to work.

Since she left Hershey the first week of July, she has been deciding what to do with the rest of her life. But it won't be as carefree as she once dreamed.

"I was anticipating being totally retired and enjoying life. Now I'm thinking about being a medical assistant," she said.

About the time Caetano was laid off, her husband was called back to work. He had retired as a supervisor at Hershey in 2002. When plant supervisors heard of the closure in April, they started snapping up job offers.

His short return and her severance pay will help the couple live comfortably for a few more months.

Throughout the ordeal, Caetano said one of the things that has irked her most is hearing people say that they will never buy Hershey's candy again.

"Please keep buying, because our 401(k) is built around Hershey stock," she said.

-- Eve Hightower