Interview with Ann Kunkle Jones, 04/26/2016

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Hudson Piotter, Interviewer | uwocs_Ann_KunkleJones_04262016.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


HP: I am in the student success center with Ann Kunkle Jones, it is April 26th at 10:06, and this is my interview. So where did you grow up?

AJ: I grew up in a little town just south of here called Rosendale.

HP: Rosendale.

AJ: Yeah

HP: So that's like 20 minutes?

AJ: Yeah, about 20 minutes yeah.

HP: What was your neighborhood like?

AJ: Very small rural town, so my house was right on the main highway. So I lived right across from the middle school and down the street from church and yeah pretty small.

HP: What was like, did the population grow at all since today?

AJ: Yeah, it has I think when I was growing up it was more like, it was 400 for a long time.

HP: Really?

AJ: And then I wouldn't know what census it was maybe 1980, it went up to 700 there's been some sub divisions of a lot of people that worked in Oshkosh, Fond du lac, that live in Rosendale, so I'm not even sure what the population is now, but it has grown quite a bit.

HP: so what was your neighborhood like, did you have any neighbors?


AJ: I did have neighbors, it wasn't like a like I think of with sub divisions or something. our house was pretty old and it was right on main street so on one side of us we had little house that was old people, always old people. Once they left, other old people came in. It was after I left for college that my mom finally got a young family in there. On the other side of us was family with a daughter that was just a little bit older than me but she was she had some developmental disability and so she wasn't in school with us she either was a lot of problems. And then they had a younger daughter was maybe 7 years younger than me.

HP: Yeah.

AJ: Quite an age span. Classmates I did have some down the street, but yeah we pretty much met at the park if we were going to do anything.

HP: Yeah.

AJ: I had some friends that lived in the other side of "other side of town" that was new houses so early 70s new houses.


HP: So not really any people your age that lived around you or?

AJ: About 3 houses down there was a boy in my class.

HP: Okay.

AJ: And then to the north of us there was the church and parsonage, and when I was in kindergarten the pastor's family moved in and they were all our age. So I grew up with those guys too. We used to ride bikes in the church parking lot.

HP: Oh really?

AJ: so we would make lots of stories and drive around the parking lot pretending parking spaces were houses. Everything was at walking distance, so for us it was easy to go you know right behind the church was where the park was and so we kind of had free range. Kind of a nice way to grow up.

HP: well that's good. Were you just surrounded by farm fields?

AJ: actually yeah behind our house was fields, still is a large field that was mainly corn. , then like I said across the street from us was the middle school and on the other side of that was farm fields. So we were being on the south 3:00side of town basically the town was a house or school on either side and then the rest was farm land. So we were and the cemetery was right next it is still right next to the middle school surrounded by farm.

HP: Farm fields everywhere.

AJ: Yeah.

HP: What kind of jobs did the people have that lived around you?

AJ: Boy that's a good question, my dad was an architect, and he went into Fond du Lac to work, lots of blue collar, and lots of working in the factory.

HP: Yeah.

AJ: My rest of my relatives were factory workers. Either in Waupun or Ripon, trying to think. Some of my friends their parents were teachers in the school system.

HP: Yeah.

AJ: So trying to think now most of them were either yeah. It's kind of been like 4:00that, they were either teachers or there were factory workers.

HP: Okay, what was your family like?

AJ: It was me and one sister younger sister. And my parents pretty, my family has been there for a long time. One side of my family to Rosendale right when 1850s, so that was yeah great you know. Ancestors had a black smith shop right in town, so they've been there for a long time. My dad's family came in the 40s. So they were newbies, they came from the Dakotas, there weren't any jobs in the 40s so people.

HP: So why Rosendale?

AJ: Because yeah my grandfather's sister had gotten married and moved to the beaver damn area, and said there were lots of jobs around there and the way the 5:00story goes is that they found a place to rent in Rosendale like the neighbors and stayed.

HP: Really?

AJ: Yeah, my dad's family, they didn't have any other connections there other than you know a sister that lived way down in beaver damn.

HP: Yeah.

AJ: so I'm not sure if he got to be a farm hand or if there was a job there when they came but that kind of has gotten lost, I don't really remember what made them stay, other then they said they liked the neighbors, and the place they rented across the street the young girl ended up marrying my uncle.

HP: Really?

AJ: Yeah, so then they yeah they were young they got married.

HP: That's cool.

AJ: Yeah.

HP: Do you know what your grandparents were like?

AJ: Very much, I got know all of them my Kunkle side blue collar my grandpa very hard workers. My grandfather did anything he could to piece together work, 6:00worked at the gas station in town back when they still were full service and you know washing windows and pumping gas and helping travelers. My grandmother did was a nursing assistant not really a position that's around now but did some home care she did waitressing pretty much anything good people, good solid people. Work hard.

HP: Yeah.

AJ: My mom's side is the side that's been around for a long time. And by the time I was around they were living in green lake. Her parents had sold the farm and moved into green lake because my grandmother was from green lake and so the lot next to her sister opened up, so they built a house in green lake and my grandfather was carpenter after he sold the farm. My grandmother was a house keeper and didn't drive and didn't learn to drive until my cousin could learn to drive, so that would've been early 80s. She decided that when her second 7:00grandchild was learning how to drive it was time for her to learn.

HP: Yeah.

AJ: So they took the test together.

HP: Kind of felt left out probably huh?

AJ: my grandma passed, my cousin didn't so it was talk of the family, my family my kunkle grandparents lived in I guess a block away from me so on the walk home from elementary school I could pop in and see how they were every day. And the others like I said live in green lake so but we went for Sunday supper there probably twice a month.

HP: So you guys were a close family?

AJ: Very close yeah.

HP: Okay, what kind of values did your family have?

AJ: Hard work, very hard work yeah. In some ways we joked that because my mom's side was very German and they very German work ethic of you work, to work is to live is pretty much the work ethic.

HP: Yeah.

AJ: Yeah so if you were sitting still something was wrong with you, you must have been getting sick. Yeah I mean the idea that you would just sit and watch 8:00TV was you have to be doing something (laughs). My dad's side was much for demonstrative. Lots of hugging and kissing and loving each other and playing cards and lots of fun. So we get together with both sides of the family, I like them both but yeah I definitely, my dad's side was the fun side (laughs) at the time we played a lot of cards, yeah.

HP: Good, did you guys go to church a lot?

AJ: Every Sunday, every Sunday.

HP: Yeah.

AJ: My dad's family came, they've got a long history Lutheranism, both sides. But my dad's side were Germans that immigrated to Russia and then came from Russia to the Dakotas and somewhere along the lines they switched over to Catholicism so my grandfather was catholic when they moved to Rosendale the 9:00neighbors they met were Lutheran. So they decided to go to church because they were fun people. So they switched to Wisconsin (something) Lutheran because that was the first people they met in Rosendale. My mom's side was Lutheran also forever. And when my mom grandfather's dad was being buried, the pastor said something not so nice and grandfather stopped going. And since he was the one that drove they all stopped. They dropped my mom off to Sunday school. My mom was a drop off kid when she met my dad, my dad had said this is value I have. We are involved and my mom in the 60s here said I can't be a part of a church that won't let a woman serve because Wisconsin said it's very strict. And my dad said the figure out where we are going. So he wasn't tied to his church, but church was important. My mom took religious studies classes here.


HP: I took one last semester.

AJ: Yeah, and through that and through talking to the minister she decided whatever it was but the ELC is now but she joined decided that that made a choice that was my dad said okay wherever we are going, but were going every Sunday, and were involved so that's what I grew up with, walk to church every Sunday and when I was in middle school a custodian position opened up at our church and even though my parents both were working full time they decided to take that on as another job, for a little extra money and so then they did that till my dad got sick so over 20 years they did that.

HP: Wow.

AJ: And it was not necessarily just a job it was a way to serve the church. My dad sought very much as a way to give back. It was nice but you know he was going to be involved anyway, so he might as well do something like that.

HP: Are you still involved that much today in church?


AJ: My husband is a minister.

HP: Okay.

AJ: And the same church we have a unique situation he had a church here in Oshkosh, things did not go well at a certain point, so he got a call in Wausau. So for the last 3 almost 4 years has been working in Wausau. I'm here, so because of some not so nice situations I have kind of pulled away.

HP: Yeah.

AJ: so I would like to be because it has been such a big part of my family. A big part of my life, but I've done some struggling in the last couple years, so I'm not a strong member anywhere. It's little odd because has obviously very involved in this church and we just for a lot of circumstances wasn't able to move up there with him so.

HP: So, you extended family right like cousins, did they live near you at all?


AJ: AJ: so I would like to be because it has been such a big part of my family. A big part of my life, but I've done some struggling in the last couple years, so I'm not a strong member anywhere. It's little odd because has obviously very involved in this church and we just for a lot of circumstances wasn't able to move up there with him so.

HP: So, you extended family right like cousins, did they live near you at all?

AJ: My dad's side his older brother's kids grew up in Rosendale. They were enough older. Both of my parents are much younger than their siblings. My dad was 12-13 years younger than his siblings so my cousins are all quite a bit older on that side. Buy yeah Rosendale and Waupun they grew up those were the areas.

HP: Same area.

AJ: And then my mom's side they lived in Ripon. And so they are a little closer in age. But so they are like 5-7 years older than me. So we did a little bit more with them. We saw them quite a bit. Definitely my mom's side we saw a couple of times a month.

HP: What is your little sister like?

AJ: Opposite of me. She is very outgoing. She is very athletic. Very artistic. 13:00Basically as an older sister she was everything that you would want as a parent and would annoy a sister.

HP: Yep I know what you are talking about.

AJ: So if I did something and I upset my parents my sister knew not to do it and be a goody two shoes. Whenever we done some personality tests it show different things and we are in every way total opposites.

HP: Really?

AJ: My mom always joked about it if she wasn't there at the birth she would wonder if we were related because we are so vastly different.

HP: The home you grew up in was it like a small house or?

AJ: It was an old I guess you would call it a farmhouse style. It had been built over time and when we were in middle school when I was in 6th grade my parents 14:00already paid off the mortgage and decided to update build a basement and expand it. When the house was lifted up to build the basement it was discovered that the portions that were built weren't tied together so when they lifted it up it separated.

HP: Really?

AJ: So my dad being an architect he said there is no way to have known that without ripping stuff out to look at the front so he quickly had to re do it so we lived for about 4 years with the remodeling process and progress. Really almost all of it is new now. But yeah you can call it a farmhouse style.

HP: Did you guys live on a farm?

AJ: No it wasn't and two houses down in Rosendale is a farm which is a little different. Still active farm with corn dryers and equipment and everything. When my parents moved into their house there was a chicken coop and there were some 15:00out buildings so that was pretty common some families would keep a cow or a couple of chickens. So when they bought our place it was pretty old and a lot of those buildings were run down. But yeah mom said that probably had been those things.

HP: The schools there were was there just one main or?

AJ: By the time I grew up there was an elementary school that was built and sixties. The middle school which was across the street from our house was the old high school built in the twenties. And just on the other side of town was the high school which was built in the early seventies. So we had three schools. In the early seventies our town consolidated with Brandon so it was a consolidated school district. Brandon still kept their elementary school, but then everything actually they kept their elementary and middle school and then they were buses over to Rosendale for high school.


HP: So Brandon was another town?

AJ: Yes.

HP: Were the elementary schools with the middle schools or were they separated?

AJ: No In Rosendale they were separated because they used the old high school as the middle school. And elementary was K - 5. It was going through some expansion when I was growing up. After I was in kindergarten then they got like trailers that got pulled in that were classroom for several years until they had kind of built what they needed. So it was kind of hodge podge school district for a while. I actually ended up because of the consolidation and limited space I actually was bused over to Brandon for Kindergarten to even out the classes. So 17:00a bunch of us lie 12 or 15 of us that actually lived in town in Rosendale were bused all the way to Brandon to go to Kindergarten.

HP: Really?

AJ: It was not a pretty site my mom said you know one reason you live in town was so you kids could walk to school. And then I got bused 10 miles away to go Kindergarten. I came back then I did the rest of the school in Rosendale. My sister ending getting bused too. I think she went K-3 in Rosendale. Then I think she was 4th and 5th in Brandon. She came back from one year it was horrible so my mom had her go back for 7th and 8th grade. She didn't know anybody in Rosendale she had been in Brandon for 2-3 years. It was hodge podge while we were in school.

HP: Did anybody in Brandon come to Rosedale?

AJ: So are school district is huge so just south of Van Dyne area Van Dyne 18:00students were bused to Rosendale. They either went to North Fond du Lac or Rosendale. But I had classmates that were probably 10 miles that they were bused into town. It actually is quite a large school district. And if you went from the corner of Brandon to the corner of Rosendale it was probably a good 20 miles across. It was huge. I don't know what it is like now. But they have rebuilt the high school and it is double the size since I have been in school.

HP: Is the high school two stories now?

AJ: I don't know. I know that they have a whole new humungous wing that wasn't there when I was a student I was on a tour maybe 10 years ago and I thought I don't even recognize this place. At middle school they totally redid that. They built brand new wing on and then did some kind of shifting and they ended up 19:00taking down the oldest 1920's part of it so that's all gone not too. And then they shifted so its 4th, 5th and middle school. Middle school is not actually intermediate school. And so K-3 goes to Elementary. My mom was on the school board for many many years so we knew lots of stuff that was going on.

HP: So your community was pretty well all knew each other?

AJ: Yep kind of knew each other. Even with the busing you still knew pretty much everybody. My sister knew the Brandon kids a lot better than the Rosendale kids cause that's where she went but with my class other than kindergarten I was in Rosendale the whole time so in my group of friends one moved in first grade and 20:00the other moved in half way through first grade and we've know each other since then. A couple of us have known each other since we were three or four.

HP: That's cool.

AJ: It's kind of weird I don't share that too often anymore. I have one friend that moved in at middle school and she said she always felt like an outsider. I could never understand that.

HP: I kind of feel bad for your sister to like she knew everybody in a different city and then she lived in Rosendale.

AJ: Being the outgoing one that was never a problem for her. She made friends very easily. Middle school is tough for girls as so 6th grade coming back and going trying to go to Rosendale for 6th grade was just a really hard year for her. And so when given the choice to go back my sister choose to go back for 7th and 8th grade to Brandon.

HP: I would too.

AJ: And then by high school it kind of settle down a little better. She got very 21:00involved. You couldn't help but be involved because you didn't try out for things. If you wanted to do them you were just on the team. So you knew everybody and did what you wanted to do.

HP: So was it almost an all-white community?

AJ: Very much so. We had, when I went there the only African American I knew had been adopted by a white family.

HP: Really?

AJ: We occasionally in the fall would have a Hispanic students for a month or so because Rosendale still has a canning factory, Ripon had a canning factory, Fairwater had a canning factory. So occasionally we had some Hispanic students for a month but then they would be gone.

HP: Was it frowned upon?

AJ: No it was just kind of weird you knew they weren't going to be around so nobody paid any attention because they were only going to be there temporarily. And they never came back so that was the weird thing you know more than got used 22:00to this person than they were gone. Other than that it was what we knew.

HP: Do you remember what kind of class size it was?

AJ: 86 we graduated in 1986 and we had 86 students so that's how I can remember that.

HP: Mine was like 400 it feels like it would be nice in a smaller community where everyone knows everyone.

AJ: You know I look upon it fondly now. At the time most of us were feeling like we were missing out, but there wasn't much to do. Fond du Lac was the place you went to play mini golf or see movies. In our town there wasn't anything there wasn't even fast food or anyplace to do anything.

HP: You guys probably had little cafes?

AJ: We had one cafe but it was more of a truck stop so it wasn't a hangout because it was a truck stop. I know that it being fairly close to our house we 23:00were told to not go down there alone because it was not safe. In the morning for breakfast maybe but in the evenings no cause you know truckers stop there. Then there were bars, three bars all of them are gone now, but when I grew up there were 3 bars there and you weren't allowed. If you wanted to get ice-cream you can go into this bar, but you could only go in, get your ice-cream and leave because you weren't allowed in the bar, but you could come in, and if I tried to sit on the stools they would say no just wait for your ice-cream because you weren't allowed into the taverns. But that is where we went to get fish on Fridays. We had to be with a parent and if you weren't you had to get your cone and leave.

HP: What was your favorite ice-cream do you remember?

AJ: Strawberry. I was a big strawberry fan. I Love strawberry.

HP: What was your high school like?


AJ: I think when we went through high school it was very much students were put on a track. So you had students that were earmarked to go to college that were on a college bound track. You had students that were earmark to go to tech school and they were kind of put on that track. Then you had the others who were destined to go to work so they were not expected to do much. And I am not aware of anybody trying to fit that because that was just what you did. We didn't have much choices for classes other than these tracks so going to college you did as much as you could but you know we had 4 science classes you did one a year. And that was it. Math was similar it was very set electives were nonexistent. But we 25:00had a very good music program so I was able to be in swing choir and choir, band and marching band and I could do all of that it was part of the school year it wasn't extra so that was nice. I know my son if he would want to be in some of these things had to go in early he had to go in early as they weren't part of a school day and I always thought that was kinda difficult because students teenagers are not ready to be up and at school by 7 and I know we had a jazz band and a swing choir cause it was all contained and you could fit it in your school day. And I still did algebra, calculus and physics and you know you could still do all the classes. I even went out for track and I'm not athletic so that's a small school they let you try anything and I tried it and I went I can't do it. But we had an auditorium which now thinking of how schools are we 26:00were very lucky to have an auditorium so we did plays every year, musicals. All of our concerts were in our auditorium we so we were very blessed to have that. And it was very well supported all shows we did were packed. Sports were supported, arts were supported, and everything that we did was very well supported.

HP: You said they had to come in the morning?

AJ: My son when he was in high school if he wanted to be in jazz band or if he wanted to be in any of the specialty bands classes started at 7:50 and if he wanted to be a part of any of these things even to earn credit you had to come during zero hour which started at 7:00 a.m. And so for a kid and he is a typical 27:00kid it is tough to get up. And he said he would really like to be in jazz band and the teacher brings donuts to tempt us and lure us to come to jazz band but it wasn't every day. Jazz band would be twice a week and polka band would be twice a week. Some athletics still have morning practice and then afternoon. It's gotten a lot and I really you know when I think of high school it was like I was there 8 - 3:15 but I did all the classes and all the extracurricular, sports was afterschool until 5:30 and then that was it.

HP: Did you guys have like soccer or football?

AJ: No soccer. We had football and cross country were our fall sports and volleyball girls could do volleyball. It was boys and girls cross country, girls' volleyball and then boy's football. And then both teams basketball and wrestling. And then spring we had boys and girls track and boys and girls 28:00baseball and softball. That was it, it was still a pretty good amount.

HP: Yes that seems like a good amount. Would you say school is pretty valued in your family?

AJ: Very much. My mom was the first college graduate she put a high priority on education. My dad had gone to tech school to be an architect and then was in the army. But he too he wasn't a very good student `but he valued it and kind of differed it to my mom and my mom made it very clear that school was the most important thing. She was valedictorian of her high school. She was one of the few female math majors here in the sixties. She is a little bit of a trail blazer she talks about taking the first computer science classes here in the sixties. She was the only female in one of the first classes.


HP: That is kind of cool though.

AJ: It was she was never afraid of anything so when computers came into the workplace into him eighties she was on board and she was ready and had to learn it herself cause there was nothing really there. So she would be bringing home the manuals. I was in a computer program class in high school so way back when so we were learning fortran but I don't remember what else we were learning in the eighties. As so trying to help her with what she was learning and it was kind of fun. I was one of the first girls to take computer science in high school too so and that's weird most of them were taking microcomputers. And I went full on to computer science.


HP: That's hard though.

AJ: I would say the first they taught it the first semester we had 30 students in the class and it was mixed so I wasn't the only girl. At semester we had so many people drop it was me and ten guys. We were the only ones that finish class. And I loved it because at semester then he set up a huge table with monitors and the class was the teacher was learning himself. He was responsible for setting up the school systems so he was learning and trying to figure this out. So he would set up security system and then our assignment would be ok it's up get a way in and I wasn't as good into hacking as they were. So that's basically the second half of the class. That was our assignment okay I got this all set let see how long some of the guys were amazing. It would take you know by the end of the class period they were in. And he just start laughing and say show me what I did wrong. And I'm over on the other side of the room saying I 31:00didn't get it can I do another game so I'm programming games and stuff. Programming a little Choo Choo going across the screen while they are hacking away. Couple of them went into computers and I'm sure they made big because they came in right at the start of all that.

HP: When did you kind of know what you wanted to do I mean your career?

AJ: Being a graduate of the eighties I came to college to do accounting. I was very good at math I had taken accounting at high school. It was the big business era where everyone was going into accounting. I did well the first semester. The second semester I was in economics and hated it. I couldn't understand it, it made no sense to me. I took calculus, but economics I couldn't figure out. And 32:00the professor was very good. He recognized before I did that this was something I just wasn't getting. And he said what your major is. I said business. He said hmmm. We need to talk. And it was honors economics class so it was a smaller class and he was very hands on and he said we will get you through this class, but you really need to think about what else you like because you got like 5 more economic classes to go and I kind of went Oh. And so he said think about that. I had always loved history and anthropology so then I decided to change to education because that's what you do with history go into teaching and I took one semester of education classes. Where they got us into classrooms right away to observe. And went back to Rosendale to some of my favorite teachers and as observing I didn't like it. I love learning. I love education. I didn't like the 33:00side of the teacher and I had some really good conversations with a couple of my elementary school teachers who kind of said teaching is different than learning. Teaching is different than loving school. And so my mom being pro education said this is when you study what you want to study. Don't study for a job. Study want you want to study, Take everything you want to take and the job will be figured out. And so that kind of freed me from thinking I had to train for a job and it did it kind of fell upon me where to go but that was very nice to be finally able to say oh I want to anthropology classes and just keep going.

HP: Did your family kind of push you to go anywhere certain for college?

AJ: No

HP: You did it on your own?

AJ: I applied to quite a few places because my friends were all applying to 34:00quite a few places. I was not one of those people that was eager to leave. I liked my home, so applied and I got accepted everywhere so that didn't help my decision, and my mom finally said if you can't make up your mind you need to go to Oshkosh and just figure it out. It was good enough for me, it'd be good enough for you. So I just said okay, because it was close I lived here on campus though, and I struggled with that for little bit, because it really wasn't my decision, but at the time I didn't want to make a decision. Then decided yes this is where I like, I got involved and made some good friends, and decided I really like these classes here. I don't really want the hassle of moving somewhere else.

HP: What dorm did you live in?

AJ: Gruenhagen for 2 years. Then I was a CA so I was in Taylor for a year.


HP: The friends you made, was it easier to make friends I mean in a different kind of community?

AJ: It was actually quite hard, because I had grown up with the same people all my life. I wasn't sure I knew how to make friends. I had huge home sickness the first semester. I went to class, I made a few friends in my honors classes. They were friendly not friends. I had a roommate, we were okay together, and we didn't have a lot in common. I made some fun friends, party friends and then kind of by the second semester I am like I don't really want to you know that's not really what I want to do. I made best friend during January interim my first year. She lived in the same floor I did and didn't even know it. We were walking 36:00to interim class together, and finally she's like I think you live on my floor (yeah okay) and so and she was an anthropology major and so we just kind of started doing stuff together and she had friends from the hall, but I didn't know so we just kind of all got together.

HP: How were the teachers like in college compared to high school?

AJ: In high school they knew who you were I mean they knew coming up that I was a good student that my mom had been a good student that you know so there was a reputation and an expectation. Some of the teachers pushed me little harder because they expected more. Most of them just knew that I would be a good student and you know so they just you know I don't think they just gave me my grades but they didn't really expect that I was going to be trouble. Here they didn't know anything about me so I had to kind of work. I was in first semester 37:00I was here in honors geology class with the chair of the department and absolutely loved the class. It was small I liked the people that were in it, it wasn't a class that I never had a chance to take anything like that in a small high school. We did field trips to look at things that was a good way to start. The same semester I did a literature class. With what you would consider an old style English teacher. Who was a crotchety old guy with a beard and he looked little but like Captain Sanders. About the third or fourth week of the semester one of the older students came in late and sat down and he had just had it because she was always late and blew up and basically kicked her out of class and said you can't pass this class anymore I don't know why you show up. That was my other extreme with like holy crap these guys are serious okay, and she 38:00screamed back at him and he kicked her out and locked the door, and it was like I went oh my god, okay so some of the stories you hear about the professors are true oh this is awful. He was one of those, the other classic thing was everything we read had sex. Everything in this literature class was about sex and I had read some of these things before, so I'm like I have no idea how you get that out of this story, but you know it was just a challenge. Then that semester my grandmother died right before finals, so here's the guy who screamed at this women to leave the class because she was always late and I having to say to him you know I know this sounds like a story but my grandmother did die and I'm going to be home for the funeral and he was as nice as can be when I said I'm going to work on the paper but you know I'm going to miss class and I still 39:00got stuff in on time so he was fine. The math professor was the nicest guy you know so it was like okay so they really if you are honest and you are saying hey you know I'm going to be gone and I need to take these tests earlier can I arrange that. The math guy was he let me take them late and it was one of the guys that my had had and so after I took the test I said I don't know if you remember my mom but she remembers you fondly. She likes you know only woman one of the only woman so when I said has like ugh she was such a good student and I'm like yeah of course she was, but that was it was so funny because moms like oh has this kind of tall, thin, elegant guy with dark hair and I'm like mom has got white hair and has about 60 and she's like yeah I guess a lot of time has passed. Anthropology was a really small department, I had two professors in all 40:00of my classes I took for the anthropology major and doctor Bame, Jeff Bame was brand new ( can't make out the name) was there he was the archaeology and he was kind of crimlagin until you got to know him. He's still here and so often when students are like I don't know what to make of him I'm like just give him a chance once you get passed the crotchety part has a good professor. He doesnt like teaching the intro classes but once you are into the other classes hes wonderful, and the other guy has retired but was also I hated him in the first class because I thought he was sexist, but he was challenging all your beliefs about you know he was teaching cultural anthro and teaching you can't study another culture if you have these ideas, you need to really know what you think and put that aside. History was not as strong as a program when I was here. We had some really good professors. My favorite was only here for about a year, she 41:00was a Russian history teacher and she was fabulous. She didn't have anybody teaching American colonial times, so that like for my history major that whole time period is gone, because I never had a chance to take anything. (Can't make out the name) had taught the American south and the civil war, he was the only one that I really ever had that didn't like my writing and could never tell me exactly what so I didn't do well in his class, and that was the whole (can't make out what she says) I love the civil war so that was a huge disappointment. I had a couple good ones, now I think of who works in our history department they are fabulous. Of course they are younger, they are kind of in a different you know the whole newer way of teaching history is much different than you know these older guys that I had was very much memorization and you know bigger 42:00themes and I've sat in on some classes since I've been back and I'm like ugh if I was only 20 years younger these classes would be fabulous, so yeah I had a good time here.

HP: Did you like the community here compared to Rosendale? It was obviously different.

AJ: It was different, I liked being able you know and at the time that I was here the mall was very active, downtown was there was a lot going on so you could walk very easily down to the mall to get whatever you want. There was a drug store right downtown so you could walk anywhere and get whatever you wanted so I did, I liked that my friends and I would wed go for walks around you know walk across the river up the other side and back across the river and its all pretty safe, and it was quite fun. I got very involved in the residence halls and so that was more of community the bigger or large Oshkosh community, so kind 43:00of thinking of the multiple community's you'll live in on campus, yeah I felt much for active on the campus campus community.

HP: So you went off campus a lot?

AJ: No, to do things?

HP: Yeah.

AJ: Yeah, we liked to well the mall like I said the mall was pretty active a lot of my friends worked down there was bakery down there that made the best stuff so we would walk down there and get treats and sit by the river. Where the alumni center is now that was all a factory but behind the factory along the river was a park and it's still kind of is a park, being so close to Gruenhagen once it got nicer whenever it was nice wed all go over out there to read and study and hangout and play catch or whatever so that kind of felt like ours because it was kind of an extension of Gruenhagen. The train went through there so between the park and Gruenhagen was a train track and a factory and so you 44:00always had to watch because the trains did come through there and there were signs and everything. It's kind of weird to think about it because the trains not there anymore, but yeah big ole train came through the campus all the time.

HP: Did you have a job when you went to college?

AJ: Yeah, first semester I did not to get acclimated to college then I got a part time job working in the testing center here on campus I helped administer tests. At that time we also had testing center was responsible for all the assessment of professors so I would into classes and I would administer the professor assessment test and I would have to read little speech and pass them out and collect them. I did not proctoring for ACT and placements on Saturdays, so that was a nice job. Was also all ACT scores came to campus on paper, so anybody who ever took the ACT that had it sent to Oshkosh came on paper and we 45:00had a whole room almost three times this size that had filing cabinets so part of the job was filing all the ACT reports. That was a side part time job for a couple summers was I'd come up here to give a couple of hours in, because the filing wasn't on ending, they would let us set up music and just go ahead and shut the door and file away. So that was my first and I had that all three years and then I was a CA my junior year. Then my senior year I worked for one of the residence halls as an I don't know if they even have these positions anymore secretary to the hall director so I did a lot of office assistance for a hall director.

HP: So were you in charge of the for the hall director what is that really?


AJ: The hall director is like the manager of the hall. My job was to help her out with like work orders and were still talking pre computer kind of time period so I would help her organize I would type up reports for her I might you know whenever work orders came in for the building I would make sure they were written up correctly before they went over to facilities. So a lot of stuff became automated even during that year that I was with her. Then I helped put at the front desk at the residence hall too so I got to people that lived there and actually lived off campus that year but I was still involved in the hall by working.

HP: That's good though.

AJ: Yeah, it was neat I could still feel like I was a part of a hall, but I just got a chance to move off campus and then actually she was the one that suggested I think about going into working, going to grad school working in higher education.

HP: So did you move in with other friends off campus?

AJ: I had a friend who was kind of more of a casual friend that, how I met her 47:00was my cousin did both of our hairs, as so she would kept talking about Jeanie I think you'd really like Jeanie and Jeanie went to Green lake high school so I never really met her and we were both on campus here she was looking for a roommate, I was looking for a roommate. We both were pretty studious and respectable and so we got an apartment together and then she ended up not being there much, because she stayed with her boyfriend all the time, so it was kind of lonely it wasn't exactly what I expected. It was fairly big, we each had our own bedrooms and it was a fairly big apartment and she was never there.

HP: Do you ever wish you stayed on campus or?

AJ: No I think it was good experience. I got some good experience, I met some of the neighbors we had a women who was little younger than me but she was from Stockbridge Munsey reservation. She was younger but she had a daughter a two 48:00year old daughter and so her tribe was sending her to school and then she was going to go back and work and so I baby sat her daughter and got to know her and life. Being anthropology major I wanted to know all about Native Americans so she included in a lot of stuff and we talked a lot and that was really a neat experience I had chance by living off campus. I would've never met her otherwise. Having a two year old daughter she wouldn't have lived down the halls.

HP: were sports big at the time like football, volleyball?

AJ: Here?

HP: Yeah.

AJ: Basketball was very very I think they were pretty good here, here I'm telling you but I don't pay attention here. I had some friends on the first year, first second year that I lived in Gruenhagen, that were very big fans of the basketball team. I was the one that had a car so occasionally I would drive 49:00them to other campuses for games. One night we went all the way to La Crosse to watch basketball and came back so and they were pretty good that's what I remember to is that they were pretty good because we were following them because they were doing pretty well. My sisters now husband was on a football team so when they came to college he was in football and then I went to a few more football games than I ever did. He was very good, he probably could've done something with it but he was not a very good student. Much better as a football player. loved the coach here at the time and he was a loyal guy so yeah could've to a school that maybe he would've gotten more play or better name or better chances but he wouldn't leave the coach he kind of, so they did okay I mean they didn't win a lot but they a good solid team. That's really all I paid attention to.


HP: Were you in any clubs?

AJ: Clubs I did a lot of stuff with the residence hall. I was a part of there's a fox valley archaeology society so it's kind of a, meets on campus and as an anthropology major we were always encouraged to go. I don't think I ever became a member but I went to a lot of those meetings, learning more about the area. What else did I do, mainly leadership stuff and home government and history club was kind of no existent at that time so I went or tried to go but it was hit or miss, so I didn't get a chance to much with that.

HP: What was it like being a man or woman on campus? Was it anything different from today?

AJ: One thing that I think of and this is kind of covers both. I was here in the 51:0080s and then I came back to start working here in 2005. When I was here people would buy UW Oshkosh clothing but we wouldn't wear it on campus. I don't know why I mean I had a jacket, I had a sweatshirt, but it wasn't like school spirit like you would wear it all over. When I came back in 2005 that was one of the first things I noticed. Was oh my god people are wearing Oshkosh clothing here all the time. It was kind of a neat thing to see because for some reason it was a not written rule in the 80s that you just yeah you can buy this stuff but you know don't wear it on campus.

HP: That's so weird.

AJ: I don't know why and I've never really asked around to figure out if anybody else figured that out, but I didn't wear my jacket on campus, I'd wear it at home. My sweatshirts I would wear home but I wouldn't wear here, because you didn't see anyone else wearing it. I have one incident in one of my history 52:00classes that I felt there was a great discrepancy between on how men and women were treated. The professor very much liked the men better than the women. And so and encouraged discussion but if I would say something or one of the women would say something he would just kind of go oh okay, and then if one of the guys said something even if it was stupid he'd go oh that's a really great point. You know so that was my first experience and I was a good student, so for me to go okay am I just reading into this or am I really seeing something that you know I've only read about in books was yeah I've thought back about that and thought yeah there was really no way that no matter what I said was going to be seen as smart content. But the boys and some of them were like sleeping in class but would say one stupid thing and he'd go oh it's nice to see you are paying attention, the heck he's been sleeping. It was really weird, and I've told them 53:00in the department and they've and he and another older guy were still here with a lot of these professors were hired, so of course their opinion on them is very different as colleagues and elder colleagues, but I'm like you know I was only in one of his classes but this was my experience and this is why it was the only time I ever took him. If you ever hear anything from other students I'd love to know, but that was my experience with them. Other than that I didn't feel much different on campus I mean there was still a lot of call for being safe don't walk alone, so as a female always being alert you know that's kind of saying things we try and get the messages across to college students all the time. There's primarily aimed at women you know be alert. Campus what was that called, escort service. Not the right name, not a really good name now that you think 54:00about it. It was a campus escort service, started while I was there. That was mainly to try and if you were the library alone and needed somebody to walk you home, there would be two to three people that would come and walk with you. I had a couple guy friends that if I got into a bind they would come and pick me up at the library and walk me home just to feel safe.

HP: Yeah, you graduated in 1990 correct?

AJ: 1990 yeah.

HP: How did you feel after you graduated college?

AJ: I was a bit nervous, I hadn't been accepted into graduate school yet. I was being somebody who loves school it's always kind of a mixed yay I made it I did really good, I graduated. But oh now what do I do, I don't really want to leave yet. So it was kind of a mixed feeling.

HP: Did you go into your career right after college?


AJ: I went to grad school right away, I was thinking two different tracks I really did want to go into a graduate program but I have a lot of ideas but no real specific area. So I applied for programs that would be a masters of counselling, working in higher education, and I applied for a couple programs looking at colonial history and primarily William and Marry because I always wanted to go there and work with historical preservation and historical what they do reenactment. I wasn't probably even considered for being (Can't understand what she said) but I got a lot of interviews for the college of looking into counselling masters programs and started really thinking that you 56:00know I love the history and I love that but I also liked my time working in the residence hall and leadership and so then I found a program that really really liked and they like me so I went Virginia to go to graduate school right away in August.

HP: How long were you there for?

AJ: Two years, I had James Madison University for partially what I was looking for was a program that would teach me the counselling side but also teach me the specifics of higher education administration. Working at a college campus, in a wide variety of things not just advising. The other piece was I needed to be financed I had financed all of undergrad with scholarships. I had not taken out any loans and so I was not interested in going into debt to go to graduate school, and James Madison gave me an assistnaceship that covered tuition, 57:00housing, and payed at that time must of been about $500 a month so I had to pay for food, insurance, those kind of things, but I had a place to live. My tuition was taken care of.

HP: So after that you decided to come back here?

AJ: The state of Wisconsin has awesome UW schools and I wanted to back in the system. So I wanted to work in housing as a hall director that was what I wanted to do after graduate school. So I applied at pretty much, well four of the UW schools and I got hired by UW La Crosse. I went there next, and worked as a full time hall director there for a couple years.

HP: At La Crosse, how was it different than here?

AJ: At that time the residence halls in La Crosse were very I mean the campus was much more active, students didn't go home on the weekends. The residence 58:00halls were very active and fun and lots of stuff going on. They had a very well-known director of housing, it was very reputable. It was a really good experience to work under people who were well received in the field of residence life. Kind of learned from some of the pros and the halls were much more active, people were very. I Had always felt here that it was not completely suitcase college, but it wasn't really like you picture a college living and La Crosse was much more you know your hall is everything and you know these are my best buddies and there lots of inner hall competitions and that was kind of fun to be a part of for a while. There was lots of school spirit there.

HP: So it was a little something different?

AJ: It was a lot different. It was a neat time to be there. They had a rule 59:00where you could only work there three years and then they wanted you out. Their goal and this is why they were so well known was were going to train you everything you need to know in three years so you could move up in the field. So they gave you a deadline you could only work there three years, they didn't want you comfortable. They wanted you to grow and I ended up after that moving down to UW Platteville and working for four years at that university in the housing office there.

HP: That's kind of like a maybe a suitcase college?

AJ: Little bit more of a suitcase college. Very it's very different it's about at the time I was there it's about 65 or 70 percent male and so much more heavy male. The halls were like the hall I worked in was three floors men to one floor women. So it was a very different experience. Engineering school was and maybe it was the hall I was in but they worked hard. I mean it's a very competitive and its and there computer science, oh yeah they had a big computer science 60:00program, but there criminal justice program, they were all academically very rigorous engineering more so. So it was nothing for that hall to be quiet and night because you know and the upper classmen stayed in the residence halls, so they didn't want to leave they kind of figured out at least the hall I was in third and fourth floor were men engineering students and we are going to tell you what you need to do. So it was mixed you know the freshmen came on and they were told by the upper classmen, we are quiet, we study, but then on the weekends we have a lot of fun. And they were, it was the place that was that someone set the hall on fire. There was all sorts of activities but a lot of people did go home. You knew who was there on the weekends. But they did, I mean they were 3.8, 3.9, 4.0 students in engineering, and that was and they looked out for you know they kind of were my police staff and you know we will keep 61:00them in line. Like who's keeping you in line? Don't worry about that. It was great experience though, because there was still camaraderie, and just different feeling. I actually liked it more male students than female students.

HP: Sounds like a good time because you moved to Oshkosh, went to Virginia, went to La Crosse, and Platteville and all these different environments.

AJ: All different environments, and what it reinforced for me is the you know for most students there is no perfect place to go to school. Wherever you pick, you need to figure out how to fit in. And you can be good, and that's a lot of what I did with a lot of students is you know trying to help them figure out where they fit in. And once they figured out where they wanted to get involved they were usually fine. Occasionally, there in the wrong place Bessie you figure out what you want to study and it's not taught there so they do have to transfer, but yeah you know a lot of programs, you got to choose that your 62:00campus is yours. If you do that then you can make it home.

HP: So when did you come back to Oshkosh?

AJ: 2005. After Platteville, while we were in Platteville my husband was in seminary in Dubuque. When he graduated his first call was over in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Which is 30 miles south east of La Crosse, so we were back in that area. I didn't work for a while, and then a technical school, western technical college has a branch in Viroqua they needed a kind of a person that did it all advising, financial aid, counselling, little bit of everything. That was part so that's how I got back in doing that and discovered I loved that part of, it was a small campus. Half of what I did was working with the instructors, because a 63:00lot of them were part time and they trying to figure out how to approach students and a lot of them were business people who were also teaching and so I had to try and help them get acclimated to what they were doing as well as work with students, a wide variety of students. And then when my husband got a call here in Oshkosh, that's when I made my leap over here. And they were expanding, they were adding some positions here. It was good, but it was weird coming back, campus had changed like I said I noticed that right away. People were much more proud of their campus. Talking to students at orientation when they were coming and having them say, oh when I came to campus it felt like home and I could just see myself here. Never, none of my classmates ever said anything, yeah this is a good school I might as well go. But to actually hear people in 2005, 6, 7, say oh I came on a campus and it's just so beautiful and I met all these, and it was 64:00just exactly what I wanted, like yeah this is a totally different campus then when I went to. And I feel like there's a little bit more that, it's a destination as oppose to eh just a choice. Kind of different.

HP: How has it changed now since you moved back since 2005?

AJ: Well the whole new USP staff has totally flipped a lot of things on its head. There's a lot more energy for deliberately trying to figure out how to help students that first two years on campus. That's been really exciting. The faculty that teach them, I have gotten to know quite a few of them, and the passion and the thought they are putting into it, you know it may not be perfect, it may not need everybody but they are, their invested in it, they want 65:00you know for them the first semester that they were teaching this it was like boy you know because they used to teach pit classes for first year students. Now they got this little class and it's like I didn't realize students didn't know like this is what we are dealing with in advising and now you guys are seeing it and so for having them being wow I really need to think about how I approach students in that first week or two and how do I try and help them acclimate as oppose to being you know some scary person, and so I think the whole USP thing as they are trying to figure out some of the bps and the headaches with it there's a lot of great things that have gone with it. A lot of great things professors have seen come out of it too. That I've liked, I think then also tries to help students get involved earlier because you got a mentor in there and there trying to make you go do things in the USP classes off of campus or outside of class. I never felt like there was much of a deliberate, we are 66:00assistants trying to get students to connect some of this. That's been a real neat thing.

HP: One last question for you.

AJ: Okay.

HP: What are your views on higher education?

AJ: Oh my views. I grew up thinking how important education is and as I went through and I know I like learning. I've learned more about what I value. To me higher education is opening a door or many doors to people. It's a chance to expand on what your k-12 was supposed to be. Open your mind to some different things that you maybe didn't get a chance to like if you are in a small school. I never took Geography until I was in college you know by getting a chance to do some of that. I think it's supposed to give people an opportunity to know a lot 67:00of stuff maybe and figure out how that kind of stuff can work for you. I don't necessarily see it at is strictly straight job training mine is more it's meant to help teach you how to learn. As well as giving you access to lots of different information, how to find more information, how to learn. So one of those reasons why I came back to the UW, the UW historically has been very much rooted in a community trying to be both teaching young people primarily or teaching anyone who wants to how to be better citizens as well as connecting with community and the last few years have been a challenge to me because there is definitely different viewpoints as to what the purpose of higher education is. I pretty much think every day you need to learn something new, and college 68:00is one way that you learn how to do that. As well as training you how to teach yourself, so I little broader with that. I wish everybody could go and get some kind of higher education. Not necessary for all jobs but I think the exposure to different people especially when you are from a small community. Different ideas, different new things that are out there being found and discovered kind of opens your world and makes you a better person.

HP: Well thank you.

AJ: You are welcome, this is fun.

Search This Transcript
Search Clear