Interview with Debra Daubert, 04/29/2016

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Brett Koehler, Interviewer | uwocs_Debra_Daubert_04292016.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


BK: So, Today is April 29th, okay.

DD: Don't rush it, time goes by fast enough.

BK: I know, um. We are at the alumni center, and I'm supposed to say your name is Debra Daubert.

DD: Mhm

BK: And I'm Brett Koehler, uh, and right here I have the deed of gift. It's just a thing you'll have to sign towards the end of the interview, so if you just want to remind me about it.

DD: Sure, we have those at the museum too. Matter of course.

BK: Unknown.

BK: Okay, so I guess where I want to start the interview would be like, towards your early life. Then kind of move up until college and your college experience and stuff, so.

DD: Okay

BK: Um, I'll just set this here. You don't really need to go off of a list or 1:00anything. Just in case you like, need to refresh your memory.

DD: Okay. Well, um. I was, my parents actually grew up in, well didn't really grow up but, my dad grew up in Oshkosh and was on the west side Boga-German heritage, and my mother's family came after world war two um, uh To Oshkosh so she was here during her high school years, and in her family she went to college.

BK: Mhm

DD: But my dad's family, his father worked at (unclear) and had a farm and so he wasn't able to go to college and even on my mom's side, her father had gone to college and it was Madison. Both of them went to Madison. Um, my mother when she 2:00married my dad, never finished her college. Just so you know the academic background.

DD: So, when they got married they moved to a farm outside of Omro and um. First, I have an older brother that also went to Oshkosh, and then um I came along and um we lived on that farm for about six years, and then um my brother had a lot of allergies, so we moved to Wausau, were because my grandfather was, uh, higher up in the Kraft plant uh company.

BK: Oh okay.

DD: He got my dad a Job, in a plant up in Wausau.


BK: The and cheese, alright.

DD: Yup, the company... macaroni and cheese. Yes but at that time it was privately owned.

BK: Okay

DD: And yah know, my grandfather was a fieldmen so he knew, J.R. Kraft and flew to Chicago and everything. So, it was neat because I didn't realize it at the time but my parents came from two very different backgrounds. Not to say anything less but two different economic backgrounds.

BK: mhm.

DD: And so, I benefitted both and in Wausau uh, later years uh, let's see 6 years later I had two younger brothers um, two years apart.

BK: Okay.

DD: Um and then, um when my dad was 38 and my mom was 36, my dad died.

BK: Oh, I'm very sorry.

DD: From surgery, and my mother never married but one thing right from the 4:00start, was that they were going to save and do whatever they could, so all four of their children could go to college.

BK: Mhm.

DD: Because my dad could see that it was something.

BK: Becoming very important?

DD: Right, becoming very important, and we all have so um, anyway so that was always in the back I think, that we all of us always assumed that it was just part of our education.

BK: You knew it was something they wanted you to always do, was to always go to college?

DD: Mhm, yup so there was never a question.

BK: Mhm, kind of set in stone.

DD: Yep. What you were going to do was up to you. Uh and it really was, you know my mother was great as a single parent. And was my German grandparents were a little bit more strict but, my mom's was just too college important. That side 5:00of the family realized that the importance of college.

BK: Mhm.

DD: So, um and then when um, my older brother started college, my mother still struggled economically being the only, you know, person and a female.

BK: single parent...Unclear

DD: You know It still was a time when um, in the early 70's and 80's, people um females just didn't get paid like man. And so, um when my older brother went to college he had to live too, off campus with my grandmother, my mom's mom who lived in town.

BK: Okay.

DD: And so, when I came time for me to go to college two years later I just naturally assumed it would be also living with my grandmother Clark and so um.


BK: Where you and your brother there at the same time?

DD: For a couple of years, mhm.

BK: Okay cool.

DD: And Then um my brother had his pad in the basement with swinging bar yeah and everything yeah.

BK: Separate areas of the house, [laughs] that's funny.

DD: She was a really cool grandma because, she didn't care how wild his parties would get.

BK: Let him be himself and stuff.

DD: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

BK: Okay cool.

DD: My mother decided since both sets of, [change] my mom's dad had also died by that time, and so since the grandparents were getting older she'd move down here and I always claimed that um. I was the only one that my parents ya know, or my mom, had moved with me to college kind of [laughs].

BK: Mhm.

DD: But even though she had moved and my two younger brother down here, I really 7:00didn't live with her as much as my grandmother, because she was in town and I didn't have a car, she had lived on the west side in the new development by that time. And I could ride a bike so it wasn't or um at that time she was doing some work at the college, in the cafeteria for extra. She had always done different things, um she had worked at Penny's and worked at a doctor's office but, she kinda liked the college because she could meet the young people. So she checked out at the cafeteria and take to kids, and do that so.

BK: That's cool.

DD: So anyway, that's how I came to, it was really economics that made me...

BK: How you came to be at Oshkosh.

DD: At Oshkosh, and well, to live off campus because it was a way to afford it um. I could also, both my brother and I had gotten scholarships, and because of 8:00my mother income we could also get grants and we worked jobs.


DD: Especially during the summer so uh, it's a little hard to work a job, you know, I had work study for a while, I don't know if they have work study yet.

BK: I don't know, really actually.

DD: But yeah, that was where you worked and then you know, they gave you a little bit of money to work at different campus, campus school was still going so I worked um, with one of the art teachers and it was like, um, um, but even that it was hard trying to get your studying in when you worked so many hours and that so, that's kind of ah. I'm kind of all in a bunch of.

BK: No, that's okay that's okay. Do you have any, before you were at Oshkosh 9:00were there any values from high school professors that um, you kind of, helped you in your decision making process. Well I know that you went to UWO because of the economic advantage of being able to live with your grandma and stuff, but I didn't know if there was anything important I guess that you held on to?

DD: Well I guess my brother knew, he came because he wanted to go on to law school and um the political science was good here. I came because I thought that I wanted to do something in the art field, and they had a very strong art, um the professors in the art department were excellent. So they were very good artists and so, I thought that I could get a strong background. Um there so that also, it fit well with what I wanted to get into not quit knowing the area. But 10:00um they could give me a full uh, kind of experience in this and that.

BK: Okay

DD: I have to tell you that, the one thing I found was that, I really didn't know; there wasn't a lot of help. Well, I shouldn't say that. I didn't know that there was help, and I don't know if that was because I was off campus or maybe there is more buzz when your living on campus, that there are councilors and other people to go see when your off campus. There wasn't an orientation for us, there wasn't

BK: Okay, so you mean in general everything at college okay, so an Orientation kind of warms you up to that and you didn't really have much of that?


DD: No no, or even word of mouth that you would get in the dorm. Posters, bulletin board or notices, this and that so um. That was one of the detriments you know, it wasn't until I came in extremely shy when I first got here.

BK: So was I, I'm extremely shy until I get warmed up for a few months.

DD: Yeah and I remember one of my first classes up, um Dick Osborn, Ozzy, he was a very colorful fellow. The professor, and it was figure drawing, and you know, and you each got a freshman class. Sorry if I go off on a story.

BK: No, that's good... This is what we want!

DD: [laughs]

DD: And he um, this women that came into model, she was a great big, obviously ya know, chunky.

BK: Yeah.

DD: She came in this great big kimono, and um, shuffles in and flings her thing 12:00off, and she totally naked.

BK: Oh my goodness.

DD: And all the freshman go like this [covers eyes] and oh Ozzy was just laughing away. And he said you're not going to get anything drawn unless you look up! So, you know it was like loop loop loop.

BK: That's funny.

DD: We got to be good friends because he also did a lot with the museum years later but we laughed over it. He said every freshman class was the same. It was the highlight of his year, to see the reaction of that first class.

BK: All hiding their faces.

DD: Yep

BK: That's funny

DD: A whole new appreciation for naked.

BK: Now they know what they're in for, for class.

DD: But that was the kind of thing you know, I don't know I, maybe there would be I don't know other art students talked about it or whatever. You know if 13:00you're coming from class and then you go into a class um, there not a lot of time for chit chatting. Once you find a parking spot, you kind of get in class just in time, you know and that type of thing.

BK: Is that how you kind of met some of the friends you met at school?

DD: Yeah in classes I took.

BK: Because like normally you meet a lot of people living in the dorms and stuff. But that's much different if you're commuting.

DD: Some I met through my brother you know, so especially the first two years. I would hang out with them, the only problem with this is it kind of curbs your dating um, ability because if you go out with them, you had like ten big brothers that don't let anyone get to close to you, [laughs] so if you get enough nerve to talk, or someone talks to you, oh there right there yeah.

BK: A bunch of big dudes trying to stop you.

DD: Yeah and plus sometimes the bars they went to were, more geared towards the 14:00male gender, they weren't exactly the bars I would want to go to, I don't know if you ever heard of beaners and things like that.

BK: Yeah [laughs]

DD: It was like, I have to go to the bathroom and I'm not going in there. [laughs]

BK: That's funny. Um so what was the student body like when you were in school?

DD: Um, Kind of the tail end of hippyish, you know it wasn't, you know it was kind of ending, but yet in the art department maybe that it was a little more than. But it was pretty free, uh but it was also after the time of all the, you know, upsets and things like that.

BK: Mhm

DD: You still kind of had the um, uh [trouble remembering] Green day, why can't 15:00I think of it! St. Patty's day was a little rough.

BK: Oh yeah yeah, Sorry.

DD: But that was after the time where they were tipping cars and Johnny Carson had said it was "The place" to celebrate, and things like that so.

BK: It was a crazy time. [laughs]

DD: So I think they had already declared it spring break week, so it was calming down and everything but um for the most part people were friendly, um you know you would talk. My first friends started out in the art department because, I think that it was a little bit looser community all around, for talking or sharing things.

BK: For working together on art projects. I was kind of always into art when I was in High school and stuff too, so I know what you're talking about.

DD: Yeah yeah.

BK: Do you, would you say that, you could obviously tell that the social experience for college was a little bit different from like, the rest of the 16:00residing students, and stuff? Or not so much I don't know.

DD: I think so because, I had a friend um, and she was a lot more outgoing [laughing] She was much more outgoing. She had her uh, she was from Bangladesh, and her father was like it that country, at the time had been like the James bond over there. He was an actor, and then became the press secretary, and there was a cue and he had to escape to this country.

BK: Okay.

DD: So she had grown up in this country, and her uncle was Ziller Kahn, who was a political science professor here. So when I once we became friends, I really got more [connected with a lot more people.] But for a while she lived in the 17:00dorm. And so I could see where, that's where she knew more people. Then she went to live at her uncles but she had connections with this and that and the other thing. Um, so when I got done I tended to not stay around here, you know or go to the commons or whatever else. I'd go home to study, because I wasn't avoiding my roommate or anything like in the dorms. You know, I had a nice quite spot, with my food provided and everything else. Although I did go to the commons to wait or something, it wasn't as nice as it is now so.
BK: Yeah!

DD: So you just kind of thought, I guess I'll go home.

BK: I know what you're saying. Uh are you still staying in touch with that friend that you were talking about?

DD: Well we had kind of lost track, although I see she is lately among the 18:00people on my Facebook.

BK: Oh the recommendations?

DD: Yeah [laughs] um she went way out east and you know. She had kind of now and then gotten, but kind of our interests kind of (changed). But it's funny, overtime there was a crisis in my life, it seemed like she would try and get ahold of me. And there would be a message.

BK: Oh well that is nice.

DD: There was kind of that instinct, to like.

BK: Still a good friend.

DD: Some people are like that, no matter how long you haven't talked, there always, linked in some way.

BK: Still emotionally attached in some way to you. Okay cool um, Oh yeah did you take part in any extracurricular activities? Like you said in the beginning of the interview you said you joined something. Art club or something.

DD: Oh and that again was towards the end of school when I was finding out more.


BK: Oh Okay.

DD: Uh then we would start to take trips because then I started to know the professors too. And I think that was probably my friend Anna, you know she was outgoing. And I started knowing Ozzy and he'd say, you know we should go and do this. You know were going to ah, a Gallery opening in Chicago, and it's it's you know there is always alcohol at those thing so we'd crash some. I shouldn't say that but, there would always be you know, I know one supervisor that you know, that was at the time when they were doing those um life like manikin. You know, one person was doing like a Janitor against the wall and it was supposed to be you didn't, you would interact thinking it was a real person.


BK: Oh yeah yeah yeah.

DD: Well she (Anna) really thought it was a real person, and so she was so wasted. And so it we talked, I still tease her about it, because I still see her around town. But uh, in some ways um I think I think I got more involved with the professors than a lot of the student body.

BK: They kind of got your more into a lot more things.

DD: Yeah, and you know, maybe they were sympathetic because they saw me as, as being shyer and were helping me. Um Dick Osborn did, was the eventually like my like my, councilor or my overseer, and would maybe that was why he was suggesting this that's and the other thing. Up until he died, He got Alzheimer's himself, um him and his wife continued to be good friends [unclear].


BK: Mhm.

DD: But like I said, I got to be an intern through UWO at the Oshkosh public museum.

BK: Okay

DD: And then, it wasn't a shoe in to get a job there but um, because it was about 3 more years of you know, and then teaching art classes and doing other things, before I finally um, did get a permanent job there. But uh, through it all those connections with the professors had helped me. Because we did have studies that time, at UWO, on uh um museology, and learning so. I could call on them for different things.

BK: Alright.

DD: Did I answer what you'd asked?
BK: Yeah, kind of , yeah yeah, no you did!

DD: Okay.

BK: So did you know like, right away that you were going to go for museology?


DD: No! I didn't even know there was a field! Bur I had always been an absolute nut, about the past. Since I was a little kid, I don't know where I'd got it. Expect I loved hanging around older, people. Um, my great grandmother and I shared a birthday, and so my grandmother would often take me down to visit my great grandmother. And we'd do project there, and my great grandmother would tell me, well even my grandmother would tell me these stories of them growing up, and it was like this fantasy world. And when we lived on the farm this older couple never had any children. And they would tell me He was once driving delivering milk by horse and buggy, or course and wagon and the horse's foot got caught on a bridge, and cut its leg. So he took cob webs from it and clotted it.


BK: Oh I think I've heard of that.

DD: And I've heard that but that was the first time, of somebody actually doing it.

BK: That's crazy.

DD: So it was that social history that was, to me almost magically, so I think that's kind of got me hooked. Even in like middle school they got me a pair of high button shoes, and my grandmother helped me make a little, it was when you were wearing these short dwindle skirts, and I made a little bustle dwindle skirt, I designed, and so when I would go back to, got to reunions later I would say I was a curator. Uh and they would say "oh well that was good, because you were always a history nut". And I never realized that but uh always fascinated.

BK: Everyone always noticed that about you.

DD: Yeah yeah, but to get back to your question, it wasn't until, I really 24:00thought what I wanted to be was um, a commercial artist because I had an uncle that was a commercial artist, he actually had my older brother work one summer with him. I thought he does such creative things to sell marketing; it was shoe, floor shine shoes or something. And we would go down and visit to see what projects he was working on. And then he took me aside and said you know, you're too creative and you won't start where I'm at. They won't start you where I'm at, they'll start you doing copy work and you'll lose interest.

BK: Mhm.

DD: So he said look for something else, well that's were college is good, because you find out what other options there are and so my summer job, ah is the same job I had in summer and in high school was, I was a nanny or mothers 25:00helper for this lady, um and we were going through my college. And you know I said, here I am sophomore year, you know, what am I going to do!

BK: Mhm, That exactly what I'm going through.

DD: Yeah, and so she looked at it and she was on the board, in Wausau, of two museums and she said here, Museology. And I though you know, I don't play an instrument, and she said No no no it's working in museums, she said that you.

BK: That's cool! You get your history and everything.

DD: You know I had been actually offered um, teaching jobs, for teaching art and I thought, and it had been later, and thought well maybe that's good, summers off you know. I still think that might have been good.

BK: Yeah. Really nice.

DD: But um, once I got into museum work that has become a passion, because here 26:00you are and educator um, and it is so much fun to see people connect or tell that way. I love telling stories, and you know that's what an exhibit is, it's telling a story and making people connect.

BK: Yeah.

DD: So that's how I got it! I got to come up with something, but college provides that.

BK: Kind of gives you the pathways of what way to go. Um, would you say, during your time at campus did you notice any major changes that the campus was going through or anything? Because I was looking through a lot of the Advanced Titan's and the newspaper, and there was a lot a budget cuts, and problems with students residing or like problems within the school, or any campaigning.


DD: Not really, I was pretty oblivious to that, and maybe because I wasn't on campus. No, I was in my own world you know, doing. And it didn't seem to effect.

BK: What you did?

DD: What I did, um I didn't seem to effect, I don't remember ever worrying about raising money because I did get you know, I did get um like I said, I don't know what kind of grant, grant loan, that you wouldn't have to pay it all back if you kept studying, again because of my mother's income she wasn't, it was when she did not get social security for me at that time, it had stopped at the time when my brother had gone to college. The was kind of a benefit in early years you 28:00know, people in social security could keep getting it through your children even if they're in college and that. Or maybe it did for him, but by the time I got in it was out.

BK: So the was no really, worrying about that kind of stuff?

DD: No, I think that I was just you know, the typical young person uh, so self-absorbed and wanting to make sure uh, I did well in my classes uh, you know that I wasn't a big dater because I think, I was too shy. In fact I didn't date, I think I had one or too dates in all of college.

BK: I'm basically the same too!

DD: Well don't worry; well the time is right it will come. And so I think that probably was more of a concern than anything. But I've always also, family has been real important so I think I was probably more focused on um, like helping 29:00you know, my mother out or helping. I like I helped her with being a den mother, for my younger brothers. I um see, this is what happened when you don't know what is on campus to do.

BK: Mhm.

DD: I helped her when she moved here um, take classes for learning disabilities for one of my younger brother who had, has dyslexia. Because in Wausau they were very good at um, the school system recognizing it. When she got down here and was in Winneconne, they denied anyone having that. And so she um, did some more educating herself, and I did to um through taking UWO classes on that. So we 30:00could um go to their school board, and other school boards, to make sure the area school systems, because it kind of branches out once you start ding that, would get the needed teachers. 
They went from thinking my brother was the only one, to needing like two teachers for the big classes they had.

BK: There was a lot more people than they expected.

DD: Right, right through testing. And it was a law they had to, they should have been providing.

BK: They should have, but they were kind of avoiding it or nor avoiding.

DD: Well head in the sand kind of thing.

BK: Um, what did you do for fun while you were in college? Or what was the nightlife like?

DD: Well.

BK: You kind of said.

DD: Well the nightlife never really appeared to me, you know, going to bars and drinking. I'm not saying I didn't, um but I didn't pace myself very good. [laughs] So I can remember a few times um, at work study and thinking coffee 31:00would help. But coffee would just make me sick and so I'd be trying to work at campus school running to the bathroom. [laughing] To throw up, you know and really trying to, because you know my grandmother said, "You play, you pay", you know and so um. Or a few times I don't remember driving home, which ooo I'm glad it's not today's world.

BK: That's uh.

DD: And then my brother saying oh, I followed you home and it was like, you know, you should have taken the keys away.

BK: Jeez, it was a different time.

DD: It was a different time, and that doesn't make it any more excusable but um, you know, again, you're learning and you could drink younger, when then unfortunate.

BK: It was still 18?

DD: Yeah mhm, and um again you didn't know how to handle it. I was so into gone with the wind, because they were often would show it on campus, on campus school 32:00had a big screen and so when I was. They had southern comfort and it was, cranberry juice and to this day I can't stand because um, that was my, because it was called a Scarlet O'Hair, and I drank so much of that and it was like uhhh.

BK: Got sick of it.

DD: Yeah, no I got sick on it [laughs].

BK: Yeah and that made you sick, of it.

DD: So I participated that um, oh you know they would have the free movies so, you know we'd go with my friend with that, but.

BK: It's more low-key kind of stuff.

DD: Right I'm you know, my grandmother let me build, in the basement, my own little art studio. So I kind of, you know I was another Van go, you know so you know, would do my art thing. Otherwise I was just, more doing family things I 33:00think, just because I didn't know what was going on, on campus.

BK: Mhm.

DD: Unless one of my friends told me about it.

BK: Yeah because, you don't have like the network of people like you would if you lived on campus.

DD: Right, and you didn't have the computers to check in on what was happening.

BK: Yeah.

DD: So there was not the.

BK: And phones too, they weren't, not as, well not as many cell phones and stuff.

DD: Well cell phones, actually I don't know if there were cell phones. Then.

BK: Maybe not.

DD: Because it was even later then I remember one of my brothers first cell phones was like, this big box he carried with him. Yeah it was so funny.

BK: Yeah, I think my uncle had one of those.

DD: I think we still have it. I should put it in the museum.

BK: That would be funny.

DD: But, Nowadays you do much better with what is going on and um, linking up to other sources that are available. I know the museum tries to um, do what we can 34:00with the uh, you know, community outreach, and doing things like that. And ah, I think that is great, and so um, but there, you know, unless someone would say hey, you know, do you want to come? I remember one o fly friends said, "Ah there is this really neat um, film festival going on, it's the exotic film festival." And so I said exotic, what do they mean by exotic, and she said, "oh these Avant guard films", and I said oh okay. And so we get in and the films start and, they're all porn.

BK: Oh god!

DD: And it was erotic, and she [laughs]

BK: That's crazy.

DD: And, and we kind of slink out.

BK: Just like, oh my god!

DD: And she trips and she goes, you know from all of the sudden slinking out, everyone knows that it's us going out so.

BK: Yeah.

DD: So you got to be careful with where you go.


BK: Yeah that is true.

DD: And I think it was other than, other than the classes, I'd seen the only other naked bodies I'd ever seen.

BK: In your art class.

DD: Yeah [laughs]

BK: Um.

DD: So it is, you know, a life changing experience at college.

BK: It is! It really it.

DD: And I think, there was another experience, like I said um, ah that was a negative experience.

BK: Okay.

DD: I had, there was a French teacher, and she was from France, and I struggled with French and but, I my friend did better, but I um, because the teacher knew that um, her uncle was a professor, and she liked both of us. There was this, I 36:00don't know if she was from Korea, or this girl that was came there, another foreigner, that was uh, Cry baby. [Laughs] She was totally not socially adapt, she was.

BK: Where did you say she was from?

DD: Korea or some other not that that's, it was the only bad experience I really remember of someone being a stinker, another student there.

BK: Yeah.

DD: This professor said, well you're both just getting C's, but if you will help this girl get socially around in the campus, I'll give you both A's. [laughs] Well, she was like a, and we didn't realize we should never have done that, 37:00because, first of all this girl became an anchor around our necks because she was like, all of the sudden stalking us when she wasn't with us.

BK: Aw jeez

DD: I remember once we were riding our bikes, and she didn't ride next to us, so she fell off her bike and she claimed we tried to kill her, you know, and it was like that kind of thing.

BK: Oh my gosh.

DD: You know, it was kind of this thing that I'd never met someone like that, so it was, so anyway needless to say we did not end up with A's with this teacher.

BK: Mhm.

DD: And I always thought that that was kind of unfair, for all around but you know you live and learn. But um, that was the only, and I'm not saying because she was foreign, because my friend was foreign but um, I that might have been kind of the looseness of the college at the time, a teacher to even say that.

BK: To be able to offer that kind of thing.


DD: Yeah.

BK: Yeah he should have given you the grade, because you at least tried.

DD: Yeah well, we spent more time with that girl in the infirmary, because she was always claiming to be sick or dying.

BK: Wow.

DD: Well you know, we were trying to be nice then.

BK: Yeah.

DD: It would be like, I could see you being kind of caught up with the, oh no we started this and now we got to finish it.

BK: No, I can imagine. Uh, let me see, what would you say is your favorite part in going to school? Living with your grandmother.

DD: Well, living with my grandmother was just a chance to get to know her better, you know.

BK: Yeah.

DD: You know we always were closer but you know, I was actually living there and so um, you know she was getting older and older, and so um I could learn more on 39:00a daily basis that I'll always treasure those moments. Um, in college I think I, really thing that everyone should go to college, even if it's one or two years, to expand to meet new people.

BK: Yeah.

DD: Like I said, I was extremely shy and even when I started doing the internship, I think I was shy, but not as shy as I started out with. Um and, you just learn about other people and interact, and whether it's good or bad. You get a taste of ah, life um like what the whole world is, in a small area. So it really does prepare you for once you leave campus.

BK: For the real world.

DD: Yeah.

BK: It is, I agree. After, what what did you do after college?


DD: After college I was kind of hooked on the museum, so um, and they offered me there, the teaching art classes there, and at the same time, the Winneconne school teacher was getting near retirement, and so they said if I would take classes, and I did take some classes, that um they would work me in as a teacher out there. But at that same time then, the curator there stopped so, like I said, and there was a program, I was teaching classes and there was a program called CETA, I could get on to do the curating to be a curators assistant. And he left that job and um, I still had to apply for it. But because, um I was such 41:00a history nut I knew where things were in the collection, so I got that job and, I've been there ever since.

BK: Oh cool.

DD: So really, what I learned at UWO and um, my connections at UWO, and the support from UWO, I think helped me stay where I am. A lot of people don't stay, especially nowadays as long.

BK: Some people get discouraged with their jobs.

DD: Yeah.

BK: So um, your job search was pretty easy? Based on your knowledge.

DD: Yeah, I really kind of fell into it. Yeah I was lucky, and I had always planned to go and get a masters in the in, the field. But at that time you had to go out east, and um, that would have agian, money was an issue, um there was 42:00health issues with my mother, and my grandmother so, and then I got the job. So it was kind of hard to say, you know, I'm going to chuck this job with benefits and everything else.

BK: Yeah.

DD: To get a maters to.

BK: To go for kind of like.

DD: To get the job I have?

BK: Yeah.

DD: Now, I wish I had it, um but there is nothing bad with the experience too, um, because I can see I mean, the, a museum job isn't one that you stop learning at, you know, there's a lot of workshops, a lot of conferences, a lot of classes you have to keep up with the conservation of oral histories, and how it changes doing those.

BK: Mhm.

DD: So, it's a constant learning process, even how you do exhibits had changed over the years, and were in the 20th century, how people used to go and see a 43:00museum. So it is kind of an exciting time for me.

BK: Yeah.

DD: To kind of be re-inventing um, how people experience and exhibit or so.

BK: Okay. Yeah, I don't know if you've been, there's like a little museum down the road from the campus. I went and saw, there was like a Lego thing.

DD: That's us!

BK: Really, I didn't know if that was you or not, I went to that, okay.

DD: Yeah yeah, I put that exhibit together, you know.

BK: Oh okay.

DD: I uh, Nathan sways sent his things, but then I had to lay it out and do all of that, yeah, that neat.

BK: That's cool, I went, with my ah, English teacher from high school kind of invited me to go with her and her little daughter, it was cool.

DD: Oh yeah yeah, no, that's where I work. And that's my, ah, to put the exhibits together.

BK: Okay cool, I kind of had a feeling that was where it was but I wasn't sure.

DD: Yup.

BK: Okay cool. Uh do you, so you're happy with your job still now. Do you have 44:00anything that you wish you would have done differently, other than you said, getting a PhD. with through any like?

DD: Well I wish I would have done more, learned more about writing for publishing, because it seems like my head is bursting with so much knowledge, and so much, I love doing research, I love detective work, you know, finding out the nitty gritty. And I have files and files of things that I've started and so, when I retire maybe I'll do more with writing, or something like that. But um, so I kind of regret not doing that earlier, because I see a lot of people now fitting that into their professional life, and mine is just you know, you're 45:00doing one or two exhibits, you know, to so it's nonstop, you know, um so now there's no time for that.

BK: Writing? No free time.

DD: Yeah, so I kind of um, so I might have to come back here and take some classes [laughs]

BK: Yeah that's a good idea. To be able to write papers and novels.

DD: It's kind of funny um, right now uh, I had someone from the learning in retirement, which is a lot of alumni, come last year and say, were looking for speakers, someone said you would be a good one for suggestions. And I said, well how about the museum staff, you know, and so I gave her some choices of some things I do, and thinking they would pick one. You know, and what the director does and what different one's do. And all of the sudden they picked mostly mine. 46:00So I'm like every month doing something for them, and um, one of them already had 90 people signed up, and we can't, so they had to split the class. And I just thought, oh wow, you know, here I, I'm getting close to retirement and I'm giving back to the university, in some ways. And it feels so good.

BK: Yeah that is pretty good.

DD: To be teaching even if it's, um, ah you know, the alumni that way, but over the years I've had hundreds of interns also from the history department, from um, oh many and that has been one of the joys in my job.

BK: Is that kind of the internship you had in college.

DD: Yes except, I learned, mine was more or less do this do that, and I'm I try 47:00to make it, give them a project so that they can own.


DD: And now we do something social media and, um, I tried to do a better taste of, it used to be a just kind of go, you know, and.

BK: Trying to make it more personal.

DD: More personal and ah, more really learning, and more mentoring and I, I still have those students contacting me, you know years.

BK: Just kind of updating you.

DD: Years you know, that's kind of enriching to know that, some have gotten museum jobs, some have gotten other jobs but um. Knowing that, I'm not saying that my experience as an intern was bad, but I just feel that you know there's a 48:00responsibility to teach, when you take an intern.

BK: Mhm.

DD: Now the city has kind of a different way to sign up volunteers, because of liability, and it's a little bit more difficult to take in interns, but uh, or they don't want to fill all of the paper work out so.

BK: Mhm Yeah. Oh so, have you noticed any of the changing things on campus like since you, you work pretty close to campus, you probably been able to easily been able to keep in touch with the changing environment, I didn't know if you noticed?

DD: Mhm. Well I have kind of noticed a difference in students, um some students, for the most part, student, well it's kind of switching back. For a while there, there were students that didn't seem to be as focused, or um, and so I wasn't 49:00sure what was happening on campus. And it seemed like a time when campus too, was feeling um, was going through a lot of crises and that, and I wondered if that effected the students, because I had interns that wouldn't show up, you know, I'd write to they're supervisor and never get an answer. And so, when they say um, well what happens at the higher level doesn't affect the student, I think that is does, because um, I think student today are more aware of things like, you I said I was blind.

BK: Mhm.

DD: But I think because of social medias and things, they're more aware of what going.

BK: More accessible too.

DD: Yeah ah huh. But um, it's coming around again were now the students are very 50:00serious about, maybe because like jobs seem more limited.

BK: Mhm.

DD: So, they're becoming more committed.

BK: Yeah.

DD: And they're realizing, you know, either they have to get a masters or even if they don't have a masters, they have to make the most of that time um. And I always stress the volunteering, um, not, internships are fine but, if you want a job or want to see if you like a certain field to put some volunteer work in. And I know a lot of them, I see a lot of students doing volunteer work, and I think that that is great, because I've had some when they do they're volunteer day, um, coming over there and helping out, that's always fun. Because I try and get some fun things for them to do and um, so we have a great time when we have groups over there.

BK: Would you say you have any advice for current students, I didn't mean to backtrack.


DD: No that's alright, I guess it is, is is, um volunteer that was my thing.

BK: Oh [slaps self] I was just thinking that you said it already.

DD: No, and um don't get discouraged, you know, if something isn't, doesn't seem like, you know, that was my thing. I was like [sigh], I don't know what to do, something is out there so look around. And then if you think, well I wonder if I'd like that, then volunteer, you know. If it's at an animal shelter go walk some dogs.

BK: And get a taste.

DD: Yeah, luckily today's world is actually easier to do volunteer work, than when I was um, everyone is looking for volunteers now.

BK: Yeah.

DD: In just about everything, you know from, you know, hospital or whatever so, 52:00um, that would be a great way. And take advantage of advisors, I know one time for museology; you had to take an economics class. I was way over my head, you know, I'm not a math person, you know, I was failing miserably, and I went up to the teacher finally, and I said, I'm sorry, you know, I'm and art student, or museology, and I know I'm not doing good, because I don't understand. And, so he spent a little time with me and explained a little bit better, and put it in terms I, you know, instead of me just writing notes and regurgitating. And it did sink in a little bit better but, not really great.

Then we start talking, I was talking about, we were thinking with this family, I was a nanny kind of thing, about sailing around the world and that was a dream, 53:00and the fathered died and it didn't happen. But, anyways, and this professor I found out, sails around the world, had sailed around the world in fact, then he took leave of absence, and sent me a post card, from one of the places! But anyway, in that class I did get a C, and he made me an example to the class saying, um, she came up to me and um, explained her situation and for someone not in this field, I realized she was doing better than I had thought.

BK: Mhm

DD: So please come up if you have problems and talk. So now I say when I say, a student says I just don't get this, I say, talk to the professor.

BK: Right,

DD: They're there, that's what they're there for.

BK: So true.

DD: And this guy had scared me to death to go talk to him, but once I started talking, he was a nice guy. So sometimes, they're professor face isn't there ya 54:00know yeah.

BK: They're normal everyday face. Okay so, I guess if you have any other experiences like after school you'd like to share?

DD: Well I guess the it's just that, you know, I would um, ah really recommend to keep in touch with the school, and do alumni things.

BK: You seem pretty involved with them.

DD: Yeah, and um, I don't do a lot of the activities other than um, what I connect with. Or keeping track with they're trips or do that. I just think um, that um you can keep learning from it, you can keep mentoring student there, um, 55:00that and I know that those students appreciate that, because they've said so. They were going, just to be someone to listen to, so uh pass it on, and be there for the younger ones that are coming up and going through the same experience, that you had.

BK: Alright, well I think that pretty good for the interview.

DD: Yeah. Well, I'm a good chatter.

BK: Were at just about an hour.

DD: And I wasn't to begin with It's kind of what happens when you, I have a very public job.

BK: Yeah you've learned a lot from this campus.

DD: Yeah.

BK: With a lot of the alumni with the campus.

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