Interview with David Van Lieshout, 04/26/2017

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Christopher Miller, Interviewer | uwocs_David_VanLieshout_04262017_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


Christopher Miller: Today is Wednesday April 26th, 2017. I am Chris Miller and I am doing the campus stories oral history project. I have the deed of gift here that I am going to present to David and we're are going to have an interview for approximately 60 minutes. Could you please state your name and the time and date?

David Van Lieshout: David Van Lieshout, and it is approximately 6:35 pacific daylight time where I am. CM: Thank you. David where did you grow up?

DV: I grew up in Kimberly Wisconsin and went to high school at Xavier High school in Appleton. Then I went to UW Oshkosh, or WSUO as it was called at the time.


CM: Tell me about the neighborhood you lived in. What was it like growing up in your neighborhood?

DV: I grew up on 3rd street in Kimberly between Washington and Lincoln. There is a park right across from the house. Within about a two block radius, I probably had a good chunk of friends and many that I still have. No family on that whole block had less than 5 or 6 kids. So we always had brothers, sisters, our friends brothers and sisters, so we always had gangs of kids to play ball and we used to play capture the flag cause we could divide the park in half with picnic tables and stuff. Just kind of things like that. Today I guess we would be called free range kids but it was a pretty safe environment growing up. We walked to school, in fact until I went to high school I never had school lunch. Kimberly Clark had 2:00a mill there, obviously that's why it's called Kimberly. The whistle would ring at like 11, whatever and then we had about half hour to 45 minutes for lunch. So we would walk home and have lunch and then the whistle would go again and we would go back to school.

CM: What did your parents do for a living or what kind of work did they do?

DV: Okay, my father died when I was 8. He was a steamfitter. My mother remarried when I was

10. The person I would more likely call father today because I don't have memories of my original dad. I do have stories about him and stuff. He also was a steamfitter. Now my mom for most of her life was a homemaker, after all the kids kind of grew up and got out of the house and she used to waitress and tend 3:00bar at some restaurants and supper clubs around the area.

CM: And were there certain values your family tried to impart on you?

DV: Well there always was the idea of hard work. You know, nothing was handed to you so if you wanted something you had to work for it. I had a lot of relatives. There are enough of them that lived on farms and stuff. So in the summers I used to work on farms when I was like 12 or 13, going to help bale hay and stuff like that. When I was about 13 or so I became a caddy. I caddied throughout high school until I went off to college and I also worked in a pro-shop. We were also I'd say, instilled with the idea of education. I am like the first of my family 4:00to go to college. That was never specifically stated but I think that was the goal, we were going to go to college whether we wanted to or not.

CM: On that note, what were your parents' views on college? Did they want you to go?

DV: Oh yeah! Definitely wanted us to go. They stressed education. That was always a high priority in our house. Getting your school work done. In fact, my parents always more or less said "we'll take care of your allowance and stuff, but we want you to get good grades that's what comes first". The only thing is my mother didn't really want to send me down to Madison, but that is another story. I probably ended up at Oshkosh because of that but no big deal.


CM: So what schools were you looking at when you were looking at schools?

DV: I was looking at Oshkosh obviously because it's close by. I went to St. Norberts. I know I looked at St. Norbert. Madison was in the background. I was also thinking about going down to Loyola in Chicago. It was more of a commuter school in those days. They didn't really have a big campus or anything like that. And St. Norberts too, I had enough I guess, after 12 years of Catholic school I didn't really want to go to a Catholic college too. At that time they seemed to

have really strict rules about going home and all kinds of stuff like that. Oshkosh became a pretty good option. It was close enough to get back to Appleton 6:00and Kimberly if you wanted to but far enough away that you didn't have to.

CM: So what would be your main reasons of going to Oshkosh?

DV: The proximity, and then I had a number of friends obviously from high school that were going there. I think his name is budding. I used to always call him dingaling. The Dean or whatever he was. We got the acceptance letter, and I'm said what the heck. Might as well go there I guess. Pretty cut and dry back then in those ways.

CM: what did you know about Oshkosh the college before you went there?

DV: Not a whole lot, probably that it was there and I knew some older people 7:00from my hometown the Appleton area that that were in school there and were a couple years ahead of me and stuff. The Appleton Post Crescent used to have Oshkosh scores in the paper and stuff and little writings about the school. That's basically what I knew, I didn't know much else about it.

CM: And when you got to school what were your first impressions, do you remember your first day of being on campus?

DV: Oh yeah, we had to go down there in the summer like orientation. Today they probably have your parents go cause it's tougher. I just went by myself. I didn't know what to expect. I show up because I've been at Xavier where we had a pretty strict dress code and stuff in those days. So I show up to the campus in the summer, I don't think I had a sport coat on but I might have. I was like 8:00"really?" everyone is walking around in shorts and t-shirts, I was like okay. Plus in those days, the only thing from a working class family where no one has been to college most of your impressions of college were stuff on TV. So you were thinking like frats and guys are always in ties and sport coats. You didn't really know quite what to expect. So I went down and registered in the summer. I got my classes and came back for first day of school, my mother drove me to school. I had I think one suitcase. I might have had a radio, no TV's were allowed. I think we could have popcorn poppers if I remember right. Couple of my friends were in the same dorm but I had a brand new roommate, a kid from Menasha. He became a doctor and I still keep in contact with him now and then. 9:00It was just kind of like "oh, here we are". I was also one of the youngest kids in the freshman class if not the youngest. Most of my friends were of drinking age because it was 18 back then. If I was going to go out with them I had to usually sneak in or something but there was a lot of that activity I would say, bar hopping and stuff. At least the freshman for the first couple weeks of school a lot of kids were going out all the time. Getting all the different (unknown word) and all the different places around town, it was a little bit different. I lived in Breese. There was Breese, Clemans, and later on Nelson. I 10:00lived one year in Breese, I should say three semesters in Breese all together and there was one year in Nelson hall. I don't know what the thing is, I think it's the upscale living quarters now there on that triangle by Elmwood and Algoma in that area. I had a roommate, the dorms were very spartan. They had a pullout bolster bed. The women had hours, we did not. The men did not have hours. For many kids it was very liberating. When we first got to school, here 11:00we were on your own. A lot of them couldn't handle that situation. I would imagine the dropout rate was pretty high, I don't know the exact statistic but I know they were. I think one time when I was a senior or somewhere in there, another friend and I went to the 64 guys that started out on our dorm floor and I think there were only like 8 that made it 4 years. There was quite an attrition rate back then.

CM: So what was your favorite thing about the dorms when you were living there?

DV: Well for one thing, you had a lot of guys hanging around in the dorms. Someone always usually had a radio or stereo playing. There was a lot of camaraderie there. Found a lot of guys. The unfortunate thing a lot them had a 12:00three semester rule, if you failed the first semester you got a second semester, if you failed that you got a third semester. You were on final probation. We had a lot of three semester guys for one reason or another. Also back then which you don't have now, 18 year olds were drafted. The Vietnam War really kicked into high gear in 65 (1965). It was there in the back of mind. So a lot of guys were in school just to stay out of the draft. There was a lot of attrition in the dorms but you know it was pleasant. A lot of guys hanging around. The other thing I remember a lot we played an awful lot of cards. I remember playing hearts, Sheephead, Uecker, but there was always in the basement of the dorm and other places like in the central area there was a card game going. That's 13:00another thing, one place there was a television was in the basement of the dorm. There was no co-ed visiting, maybe once or twice a semester or something you could have women in the dorm, actually walk through the dorm but you had to have your door open at all times. It's quite different than what it is today that's for sure.

CM: True sounds like it. Do you still stay in contact with your past dorm mates?

DV: A couple of them I do, but most of them like I said there were so many 3 semester guys that you kind of lost track of them. Some of them actually got drafted and then came back to school but by that time I was either a senior or graduate student. Not as much as I probably would've if they stayed there for 4 years. A couple of them unfortunately passed away, which is unfortunate but 14:00there is one or two of the guys that I still keep in contact with on Facebook.

CM: So what kind of student were you in your words?

DV: I actually did much better in college than high school, at least somebody told me. I was basically on the dean's list for most of the 8 semesters I was there, I think made the dean's list like 5 times or something. I ended up graduating Magnacomerowdy(?). I think I had a 3.6 or 3.7 grade point or something like that. I did pretty well in college. But again, my high school was tough enough that when I got to college, that's another thing when I started at Oshkosh it seemed like freshman English comp. And stuff those were like the weeded 15:00out classes. A lot of guys didn't know write an essay or a paper and didn't know how to do that kind of stuff and I already had that experience in high school so it made it a little bit easier to do that stuff I guess.

CM: were there any other classes, like general education classes that you took, do you remember any of them?

DV: I remember most, a good portion of my history classes, my major and my poly sci., A couple econ classes. But I had some really good History professors. There was Justin Walsh, Fred Schofsmeyer, and George Scheber, they were always good history teachers. I remember those guys pretty much. Good report with most of them, got to know them and stuff like that. CM: With your major in history, what made you pick that major?


DV: I've always liked reading and I always liked history. I was either going to be history or math. I took a couple math classes and I didn't like it. I didn't like them as much as history. I just decided to do history I guess cause I liked it. I liked history myself and it turned out to be something I liked.

CM: where there any professors in specific that were very influential in your course of study?

DV: Yeah, Justin Walsh was my biggest one. When I took him, I had 3 or 4 classes with him and then when I was a junior I had applied for some intern 17:00teaching jobs and he wanted to know how bad I wanted those because I gave him as a reference. He gave me really good reports. My senior year and when I was a graduate student there was a history conference for all the north central parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota. He and Fred Schofsmeyer, I had written some papers in college and they liked them so they helped me and then I gave a couple papers at a couple conferences and stuff like that. Probably if I had not gone onto high school, I probably would've stayed on track to maybe get a PHD myself but I 18:00didn't pursue that because I was young and got married too young probably to keep doing that.

CM: Were you in a fraternity?

DV: No, I was not. I was going to pledge a couple times but then there was too much other stuff going on in fact I had an awful lot of frat friends from different fraternities and a couple of them actually wanted me to pledge and they said they'd leave me alone cause they wanted me to pledge so I could bring up their pledge class or fraternity grade point average. I never felt like I had to do that stuff.

CM So you were in intramurals with them I see?

DV: I played basketball and football. I used to ref, that's when I started my 19:00refereeing beneficiation career actually reffing intramural basketball games at Albee hall and stuff like that. I also did some--, they still have the radio station right? WRST FM. That was just starting when I got to school and I used to do the local broadcast of the Titan basketball games and I used to work with a couple of my friends and I would do the stats and color man kind of stuff. So I did some of that kind of stuff in college and that was fun.

CM: So did you go to a lot of sporting events besides basketball?

DV: Oh yeah, unlike today where there is basketball and football on the nauseum. Every team is on all the time and everything. Back then the Big 10 might have one game a week and it usually either Ohio State or Michigan. Wisconsin was 20:00terrible in football. Titans were actually, when I started school there they had lost like 31 games in a row or something like that and they had actually started having some good football. By the time I was a senior they had won a championship and I think that was the first one in 30 years or so. But the basketball team was

really got good my junior and senior years. They went to Kansas City the NIA tournament twice. I think one year they took third. They made it past 64 something teams playing, in those days it was like the NCAA tournament but it was only NIA so it was all like non-scholarship schools.

But our Titan basketball team at the time, most of the guys, a good portion of them were guys that had gone to Wisconsin and places like that and failed, you know flunked out so they came to Oshkosh and they put together quite a team. Albee Hall in fact, for a couple of years students could only get A or B 21:00tickets. They split the season in half because there was so many people wanting to go to their games and they had some really good games against especially Lakeland and Stout if I can remember right.

CM: So the student show out for sporting events, were there a lot of students going to all these events then?

DV: Oh yeah! Back then the Titans played football down, I think it's behind Merrill junior high. It's on Jackson Street I don't even know what the fields are anymore, it might be an open field for soccer or something. The games were just filled. Like I said, you know it wasn't like today where there was no ESPN, there's maybe ABC might have had maybe had one college game on every Saturday that was it. There was no night time college football. So I mean a lot of kids went home on the weekend, What if you stayed in school? You had to do something 22:00so you might as well go watch them play football and stuff. Plus they got pretty good at it. Had a lot of good times.

CM: Were there any other groups or clubs or organizations you were a part of in college?

DV: I was in a an honor society Phi Alpha Theta which was a history honor society for a little bit. I was in student government for one semester my junior year I took over for someone that had left school or whatever. My senior year I was off campus a lot because I student teaching so I didn't get involved in that after that. For the most part no, that was it. Some intramurals, going to games myself, helping with WRST radio. That was about it. Going out a lot myself.


CM: Do you remember any important social issues or political issues on campus while you were there?

DV: Oh yeah. There were a few. When we were a freshman, I don't know if it was a social issue or not but at that time the only place to eat was at the union. I think there was a small cafeteria at one of the dorms or something like that. My wife would probably remember that. I think it was towards the spring of the year, I don't think it was before Christmas but there was like a wet heavy snowfall so a snowball fight started between Breese and Clemans and Nelson and that area, on that part of campus, and Elmwood. What is the dorm across from Breese? Fletcher. So everybody had to come and eat at the same place. Well the 24:00guys started having a snowball fight. Some police guys drove in, back then you could drive in on the one side of the union. There was like a driveway. So they drove their police car in there and they were going to try and break up a snowball fight between maybe a couple hundred guys throwing snowballs. But it just escalated from there. Pretty soon the fire trucks were there. They were hosing down people and people were getting arrested. We marched down by the city hall. The cops were actually running up in the dorms grabbing people with red hands because they figured they were throwing snowballs and stuff. So there were about maybe 10 or 12 guys that got arrested. So I remember going around the dorms with hats collected money to pay their bail to get them out. They actually had to go to trial and stuff. In fact only one of my best friends in the only one that got off because they don't remember arresting him. That happened when I was a freshman. Then one of the years they were talking about raising the 25:00drinking age from 18 to whatever and there was some marches and whatever. But at that time I was a little bit older so I didn't care and then when I was a graduate student we had the black Thursday that weekend when all the black students had the big sit in, in Dempsey. Then the school got closed for the weekend but I was a graduate student by that time. There was a lot of marches and stuff like that. One of the biggest concern and still is probably, is shutting Algoma off and making it a walking area so cars couldn't go up and down Algoma. I think my brother was in school so I might have been out by that time but I remember the kids one time took pickaxes to Algoma Blvd to try and rip up the street so the cars couldn't go on it. Not until the time Vietnam starting 26:00cooking up, I was almost out of school. I shouldn't say that, 1968 presidential election we had George Wallace on campus, we had all the campus guys came in there, Dick Gregory. There were all kinds of people that came to campus and spoke. George Wallace was like a circus, a little bit like Donald Trump but not quite but maybe even more crazy. It's almost like he wanted to have an audience there. People throwing eggs and tomatoes because he gave the same speech every place and if no one had showed up to

protest him he would have looked kind of ridiculous but that's about it. Biggest memories of the time.

CM: Do you have any more memories of black Thursday?

DV: I was a graduate student at the time on campus. I was actually in Swart 27:00which is right next to our campus. So all of a sudden, I knew about half of the guys who got arrested. I knew a lot of them. Actually the summer of 1967, I had stayed at school that summer and we worked with kids that haven't been to college and that and a number of them were black kids. When I got back that fall, in 1965, 66, 67, there were riots like in Milwaukee, Detroit, all these major cities so a lot of black kids came back in the fall of 68. Their attitude had changed a lot. Previously they might have acknowledged you as or a friend or at least talk to you and stuff. They were almost like being coerced in not talking to the guys they knew before. So all then suddenly there was a big 28:00commotion at Dempsey. All of a sudden the cops were there with U-Haul trucks and arrested them all and dropped all of them off to jail. So then that night there was a priest in Milwaukee by the name at that time by the name Father Groppi who had been on the Southside of Milwaukee but then he was in the Northside parish where most of the people were black. So he and parents and stuff were coming up to school and there were all these kind of rumors that the Black Panthers were coming up. Huge crowd out by the Union. Again the Union isn't the same way it is now, there used to be behind the Union there used to be a sidewalk that you could walk behind the Union over toward where the library is and that just got jammed full of people and pretty soon all these policeman showed up and the crowd just kind of panicked and they pushed over a little snow fence in there. It was right around Thanksgiving weekend because all of a sudden they closed 29:00school like 2 days early. They closed it for roughly a week and they said we got to get things calmed down and then there were protests marches on campus after that and people wanting the president to resign and try to get the students, not all of them, I think a lot of the black students were kind of coerced by their other brothers and sisters. Get in the van with us, we're all going to do this collectively or not so it was kind of scary but it wasn't scary. It was probably more scary because of the rumors. A little bit like stuff now that gets spread on the internet or on TV, sometimes rumors get spread faster like this is going to happen and that is going to happen and a lot of it doesn't come to fruition.

CM: Did you have any friends that got expelled due to black Thursday?


DV: I knew about 5 or 6 for sure. In fact, they had a thing here kind of like what we are doing now and I participated in that with one of the college professors a couple years ago and they had like I don't know if it was 50th anniversary like a symposium on campus and I went to that. That was maybe 4 or 5 years ago, whatever that would be. The 40th anniversary or something but then they had a big symposium and stuff and then some of them went back and I actually went back and you know like, what happened to this guy, what happened to that guy? A couple of them, were you Bootsy or whatever their nickname was, and then one of my good friends who wasn't involved in that he's been a distinguished alumni award, Sam Cargile, he was not involved in that. He had 31:00been with us then he kind of dropped out of school and got drafted. At that time he was still getting out of the service. That would have been in the fall of 68 when all that happened, or was it 69? Sometimes I forget the year but he hadn't back to school yet he had come back the next semester and he actually graduated from Oshkosh.

CM: Outside of in school things, what did you do for fun?

DV: Probably the same things they do for fun in Oshkosh today but you got to remember the biggest difference between now and back then 18 years olds could drink beer legally in Wisconsin. Later on they raised the age to 21 for liquor, 32:0018 for beer. Oshkosh had across from Wisconsin avenue, I think tosh's is there now but there was like 10 bars there. Downtown there was a B&B and was a thing called the "varien inn". Outside of town there was a bar called "the lost" and most of them had specials like 5$ all you can drink or was probably less than that.

Probably 3$ or something and that's what you did. People went downtown and went to the bars, and had beers, met girls, whatever. It's totally different, there was very little drinking inside the dorms themselves because the beer bars were 33:00so close by and once you're 18 you can drink beer so there was a lot of that, going out. I don't know if you still have it? There is winter carnival is a big deal back then, Homecoming was always kind of a big deal but there was always the bar scene was thing because most of the bars you had to wait in line on Friday nights actually to get in them because only so many could come in. If you're from Appleton and been the Cleo's, Christmas bar, same kind of thing there and there is a line in front of it to get in all the time so that's kind of how it was around Oshkosh. There were some dances at the union but again back

then there was no alcohol served in the union so most kids maybe went to those for a while but then they would head downtown because everything was, most of them were within walking distance was the other thing too because you couldn't have cars on campus so that was a lot of it. And movies, I went to movies a lot.


CM: So did you end up going to homecoming?

DV: Yeah I went at least twice with my girlfriend. We usually went the game and stuff and I don't know if we went to the dance, one year we might have gone to the dance or something. They used to have prom like high school but I never went to one of the proms.

CM: So did your wife go to Oshkosh? DV: yeah that's where I met her

CM: Could you tell me a little about that?

DV: She was a year behind me in school. We met at a math class in fact and she was a freshman and I was a sophomore. And then we started dating that year so it was about roughly 50 years ago and then we got married right after I graduated 35:00in that summer I graduated and then she had a year of school to go and then I was a graduate assistant and she finished her year of school and she was an intern teacher at Berlin and a waitress and I was a Grad student that did some night watchman type job or something. We met and she was an RA at Scotts and then Taylor. But yeah, we met on campus. Wanna hear what it was like to be a 36:00women in the dorms back in those days? CM: Yeah! That was actually going to be my next question.

DV: Women basically had to be in I think at 11:00 on weeknights. On weekends they could stay out till 12:30 or 1:00. If they wanted to go 3 days a month they could have a late night. The freshman could have one late night a month. By junior year or so they could stay out 3 nights a month late. If they went home on the weekends and stuff they had to sign out. Boys didn't, only women had to do this, women had to sign out and if they called your…., this happened more 37:00than once. Girls would sign out saying they were going home and they weren't going home, they were going somewhere else. Well, they would call, they'd call home. "Is your daughter home?" "No she isn't?, well what the heck?", whereas guys, guys they just told us bars close, the women have to be home by 11, weekends they could stay out closer to 12 or so, and they could have 1 night as a late night as I said, but no visitors. People today can't believe this but they would sign

out when they go out and they left for the weekends, they had to sign out and they checked on them. Where the boys they'd tell them the women are in at whatever and the bars close at 1 so we'd figure you'd be in at some time between then and now. In fact when I was a sophomore, there was a kid from Kaukauna that 38:00they say committed suicide, but still to this day I have some doubts on that but they found his body in Lake Winnebago. He had left the dorm, he went out one night and never came back. His roommate, which I found this out later, I didn't realize at the time who his roommate was, but his roommate never reported him as missing or anything. He was gone for like two weeks before his body kind of came up in Lake Winnebago. That's when they found out he's not there. They didn't know he wasn't in school for two weeks. If that would have been a woman on the other hand, they would've been on that in two minutes knowing where she was and where she wasn't. It was totally a different situation than it is in schools today.

CM: Did being a man impact a lot of the activities you were involved in?


DV: Oh yeah, they were in fact after my freshman year, each year I was in school at Oshkosh the school doubled in size because of the freshman coming in. After my freshman year I thought I was going to live in the dorm the next year. They call us up in the middle of the summer said we have too many freshmen coming in going to have to live in a dorm, so you got to find some place to live. So we did find a house off campus. First thing they told us, you have the same rules as the dorm. Okay we were a bunch of 19 year old guys, yeah like that's going to happen. We were called down to the dean of students at least once or twice for having loud parties or whatever and having alcohol in the home or whatever. Kind of weird. It was different.

CM: What was the racial makeup like at UW Oshkosh when you were there? DV: It's 40:00like 50/50, the sexes?

CM: Sexes and races, both.

DV: It was probably 98 percent white, probably 99 percent white. There probably weren't more than 100 black people on campus even when black Thursday happened. As many that got arrested, that's how many were on campus. There were a few foreign exchange students from like Arabia or countries like that, that was it. Most kids were white middle class kids that come from working class families, they were usually the first or second one in their family to go to college. We're the baby boomers. You're expected to do better and move one step. There was


more back in those days like if you lived in different parts of Appleton, if you were on the wrong side of tracks, things like that don't really exist that much anymore either in many ways but that was a thing. We were going to go to school and better ourselves.

CM: Did you think that people of different races got treated differently at all?

DV: Well back then they did, back then they did. I don't know how it is today. I know back then they were pretty much told not to be, you know I know black people that weren't in school would come up and fish and stuff in Oshkosh and they were usually not, I don't know if there was an actual law in the books or 42:00not, but there were not too many black people who stayed in town overnight in Oshkosh. I think it was similar like that in Appleton and Kimberly, so all those little towns in the valley. Pretty homogeneous, German, some Irish, but mainly white worked in the paper mills or whatever.

CM: I heard the same thing, a sheriff would tell them, you know "leave town at night" or something like that.

DV: I am sure parts of Appleton, they had covenants where you couldn't buy a house if you were black in different parts of the city. Maybe the whole of Appleton for all I know. I don't recall any black people in Appleton when I was living there, when I grew up in that area when I went to Xavier. The only black 43:00people I saw were a couple students at Lawrence and that was about it. And then when I lived in Green Bay, if there was a black person in town you automatically assumed it was a football player. That's changed a bit too.

CM: Overall at Oshkosh, what did you learn at UWO? Biggest things you learned?

DV: Going through school I learned how to do a lot of papers and study and I learned how to reinforce that. I learned how to get along with other people, I hope. I learned that there were people who weren't exactly like me that had different beliefs and different ideas about how life should go, and I think I became more tolerant in that way. Was just a fun time. I enjoyed college. It was 44:00liberating in a sense. You do what you do and people didn't bother you too much.

CM: At the end of college when you finished, how did you feel when you finally finished school?

DV: We got to get out of this place if it's the last thing we ever do. "There is a bad moon on the rise", that was a big song. It kind of a relief to get out, but then all of a sudden oh yeah, we got to work, got to have a 8 to 5 job. Where in college if you didn't want to go to class for a day or two you could just blow them off. It's the best time of your life because you can kind of do 45:00what you want to do and as long as you get your work done nobody bothers you too much.

CM: Did you know what you wanted to do right out of college? Like work wise?

DV: Yeah well I went to school once I had my degree, I had intern taught my senior year I was looking to be a teacher and I was looking for a job so I stayed with it.

CM: What have you done since school?

DV: I was married in 68, I was 21 and I graduated from Oshkosh that spring. My wife graduated in 69. So in 69 and 68 I was a graduate assistant so in 69 and 70 46:00she was graduating and I was graduating. We left Oshkosh. I got a job near Green Bay, a school called Denmark high school, and she got a job in Seymour Wisconsin. So we lived in Ashwaubenon which is halfway between the two. She worked there for roughly 5 or 6 years until we had some children, then she took off of her job and I stayed in Denmark my whole time. I stayed in Denmark, I enjoyed the small town, enjoyed the people, I enjoyed working there. Plus the same thing in many areas teaching back then, once you got to so many years in, you were too expensive to move to a different school unless you were a rocket scientist or a really great coach.

CM: So how would you describe the job market when you were doing that?


DV: Back then I applied to maybe 10 different school districts and I got offers from at least 3 or 4. A couple of them were bigger school systems like Madison. I don't know if I wanted that. Well I thought it was for my wife to get a job. It's in the same area. So we were able to find jobs fairly close to each other. We took those and we both enjoyed where we were working because where I worked at Denmark we never had less than 500 kids in the school and we never had more than 600 so it was the perfect size where kids didn't fall through the crack. Still could offer AP classes which I taught. There was a lot of stuff they had at big schools but we also have a community type thing where loyalties weren't divided like say in Appleton where you got a east-west. It's kind of before 48:00Appleton before they had one high school before an east and north because everybody went to west.

CM: Now being a teacher at a school, did you participate in the community a lot?

DV: I'm retired now, I've been retired for almost 15 years. When I taught at Denmark, I did a little bit of everything. I taught, I worked with class plays, I was the audio visual director, I coached golf, I did forensics. I ran boys intramurals basketball for like 30 years and certain things like that. Yeah, I was always active within the school system.

CM: since graduating from UWO, have you had much involvement with UWO since you graduated?


DV: Yes we have. We got a little bit involved with the alumni over the years. We go to alumni receptions here and there and then after we kind of retired and stuff and got to know the head of the alumni association, the director of alumni stuff, Chris Gander. Went back to school a couple times and looked at all the new different buildings and all that, the alumni welcoming center. The school, like right now the campus has switched out, everything has moved out towards the river it seems. When we were in school that was just a mess. You didn't go near the river because it was, first of all the river was polluted like heck but you had a couple old factories there were half abandoned and now it's all quite nice with the green space and that. We did also, starting this year my wife and I have set up a scholarship for history and English majors that are going to go 50:00into education. We have set up for originally 10 years now. We were going to get a legacy thing set up but since we live in Arizona we decided to just get some of this done before we left Wisconsin. So we set up a $1000 scholarship that alternates at least for 10 years and then we will renew it for another 10 or so. I am planning, they have a golden Titan thing and I want to be back for my 50th anniversary back in 2018. I graduated in 68, I was the only non-Greek, they had like outstanding students, male and female and I was the only non-Greek that got the outstanding award or whatever. It was kind of neat, so I'd like to come back 51:00for my 50th. I tried to talk to one of my old friends from my dorm into doing it too. So we will see what happens.

CM: So I know you said it's a lot nicer by the river at UWO now, but what are some other thoughts you have about UWO currently?

DV: Like Sage Hall, I went through that and oh boy it was mind boggling. We thought that Clow lecture pit was like the top of the world when we were in school. Now we got sage hall it's really great. I can't think of the new dorm or residency that's on the corner of Breese. We went in there and they got like a big screen TV's on the wall.

CM: Horizon? It's like an apartment dorms.

DV: Yeah whatever it's called. It's like wish it was open during the summer. I'd 52:00come and spend my summer there maybe because everything is in there except a stove. If I would have had that when I was in school, I might have not left my dorm but there wasn't as much crap on TV to keep you there all day. Campus, parts of it are similar. You still got Clow and Gruenhagen and Scott, Taylor, and Kolf is there just as we were leaving, it got built right around that time. We just had Albee Hall, in fact I think it's still there. Dempsey is still there. Swart campus school is still there, I don't think they use it as a school anymore though. And then the farthest end of the campus was the performing arts, like the radio TV building and since then they added in that nursing school, and 53:00they added sage hall, and they got that new Rec center. We never had anything like that. Even the food is so much better comparably speaking. You have more like just seems like better food when we went there.

CM: To sort of conclude this interview, what advice would you give to current students going to UWO?

DV: I'd tell them to get their school work done first and then have fun. Don't pass up opportunities to do things that might challenge you a little bit. I don't know if they still have the Ski Heilers, where they teach people how to ski. I know that got that kayaking kind of stuff but generally get on top of your school work first and then if you get that done, then it's all downhill 54:00from there. Enjoy yourself, have fun, do things. I don't know if, we used to have movies Sunday night, I don't know if they have those and do that anymore. Go out, explore the town. Meet friends, have fun, have fun. Go to some of the events. I noticed that I've seen it with a lot of students today at Oshkosh because there is so much else on TV that they don't go to their own games as much. Like their football, I don't know how their football games are attended, because they have been pretty good at football the last couple of years. I know they played for the national championship this year. When I was in school, there probably would have been probably a 1000 kids that would've gotten down there and gotten to that game one way or another. Games at Titan Stadium would've been filled. Enjoy it, it should be the best time of your life actually.


CM: Yeah, I am surprised on how many kids don't show up to football games. I didn't go to the national championship this year because it was like a long distance and it is a weekend so a lot of students don't go. But I was surprised when they played UW Whitewater last year in the playoffs and it still wasn't even fully packed and that was very surprising to me.

DV: Yeah, because I know I went to a game there, oh, probably ten years ago where some former students played at point and they were playing Oshkosh and we went, and you know we were like "where is everybody?" It used to be a big rivalry. Oshkosh was still, wasn't a commuter so as such but every Friday it would seem like half the campus would have their thumb out and a suitcase hitchhiking somewhere standing on Algoma Blvd. The union used to have a ride 56:00board. You'd go over there on Thursday, or Wednesday and people would put up, cause we didn't have internet, the other thing is there are no phones. You'd have like one phone or two phones per dorm on a floor. You weren't supposed to call girls past 10 o'clock at night or something. I tried to violate that some way or another. But they used to have like a rider board. So you'd go over to Dempsey hall you'd find someone who had a car. So like going to Milwaukee, leaving at 3, need some riders and you'd call them up or get a hold of them somehow or meet them at the union. "Alright we'll go down to Milwaukee", or whatever so there was a lot of that. More so when you were a freshman or sophomore it seemed like you'd go home more often or back home. As you got older you go into ties again with going back because Oshkosh is so centrally located. 57:00It's an hour from Milwaukee and 30 minutes back to Appleton and stuff. A lot of times Friday night somebody would find somebody with a car or something and head back to the quarry or the bar and different places downtown Appleton and then come back to school. It was different. I don't know what things would be like today if we had all the stuff kids had today with the smartphones and all the stuff today. We'd probably all get in trouble more or so.

CM: Did you end up going to a lot of different schools while you were there, like visiting buddies and stuff?

DV: Uh, not a lot, I went to point once or twice. More or so it seemed backed then more people to came to Oshkosh because, like compared to point it's the closest one to us and even St. Norbert. Oshkosh had more females. The ratio was 58:00like 50/50, whereas like at Point there was more men than women at Point. At Stout there were more men than women. A few of the other schools were like that. So Oshkosh was one of the more (alliced)(?) ones. More guys would come to Oshkosh on the weekends. Then you wouldn't go to point to see them, they'd rather come down to see us so not a whole lot of that. What else did we do for fun though? We'd do things like, during homecoming week and stuff they'd have 59:00like a Volkswagen and they would put the other team's name on it and for like 50 cents or a buck you could get free whacks at it with a sledge hammer. I remember doing that kind of stuff and you know and trying to stuff as many people inside somebody's Volkswagen, dumb stuff I guess. I don't know if it was dumb but it was different. Stuff we had probably seen, most of us had never been to college so we probably looked at stuff from the 50's and 60's, early 50's and 60's. Well 60:00this is what you do in college. That was the other thing too like in the, they still published the handbook of all the students registering and all their names. We would always get like Mickey Mouse registered at school or back then there was a guy by the name of Mario Savio that led the free speech movement at Berkeley. Kids would like when they filled out the registration card they fill out things like that and see if they'd get it through and they would.

CM: That's what college is for. Having fun and learning of course.

DV: Oh yeah, oh yeah. A lot of guys I hung around with got their work done. Like you say, just like anything else in college like in Madison where my kids went to school you find people that by your junior, senior year taking your major 61:00classes so a lot of times you'd end up seeing the same people all the time. So we start developing some friendships with study groups and that's how you kind of get through. Back then I could work in the summer and still make enough money to go to school for the year. It was like $900 for a school year at Oshkosh. You didn't necessarily have to have a part time job. A lot of kids never did. They worked in the summer, but maybe off when they had off at semesters. Like before we had Christmas than we would have to come back after two weeks that was our semester break. Semesters were 18 weeks long so it was different that way. Most 62:00kids were debt free, that's the other big difference. That's what I tell everyone going to college today. If you can get out of there without debt, please do it. I don't know what I would've done in life if I had a student loan to pay off. How are you going to buy a house and whatever? A never ending albatross.

CM: Now a days it's almost impossible.

DV: Yeah, the main difference there is that minimum wage wasn't as high but the minimum wage back then was paid for enough due because everything else wasn't as costly. When I was a freshman I know at Oshkosh one of the first semester I was there is was under 1000 bucks per semester. Maybe for the whole year if I 63:00remember right but it was not a lot. Maybe at most by the time I was a senior I can't remember what we paid. But what when I was a graduate student, my wife was a senior, I was getting $2500 as a graduate assistant and she was getting $1500 as an Intern teacher. We had an apartment at $100 a month. We could push the grocery cart to the grocery store. You could live on that, you couldn't live great but you could live. Back in that now we say how did we do it? Times are a little bit different. I hope graduate kids today, make sure you go there with some idea of what you want to get out of it. Do what you like and try to find a job in something you like doing.

CM: Well David, thank you for this interview and I will be providing you a copy 64:00of the interview and I will send you the transcript as well if you'd like

DV: Sure that's fine. Go Appleton.

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