Interview with Dorothy (Dot) Ruta, 04/04/2018

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Lisa Biertzer, Interviewer | uwocs_Dot_Ruta_04042018_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


´╗┐LB: Ok, so today is the 4/12/18. The time is 1:10 PM. I'm interviewing Dot Ruta on the phone. My location is AWCC and her location is Menomonee Falls, WI. Is that correct?

DR: That is correct.

LB: All right. My name is Lisa Biertzer. And this interview is for campus stories of oral history and I'm going to email the deed of gift. Alright Dot? So, let's start off by talking about your background. Where did you grow up?

DR: Waukesha, Wisconsin. Graduated from Waukesha High School.

LB: Very nice.

DR: Then ended up at Oshkosh because our superintendent, who was um, a very good friend of Mr. Tudlaw (?) was at that time I believe like the business guy or something manager of Oshkosh.


LB: Oh, wow!

DR: They were very good friends. The superintendent from Waukesha's name was R. G. Hein, and he had very, very good things to say about Oshkosh because of Mr. Tudlaw. I don't remember his first name anymore, so.

LB: Okay. Wow, that's nice. How far is Waukesha from here?

DR: Uh, well we're outside of Milwaukee. So, you know, like an hour.

LB: Oh that's nice. Not too far.

DR: No, no. Not too far.

LB: So in Waukesha, um, what was your community like? Like what did you guys do a lot while you were growing up?

DR: Well, our family was very much into sports. My brother, I just had one brother, who entered the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he was into football and track and basketball. So, therefore I also kind of followed because in those days, girls -- that was not something girls did. So I became a 2:00cheerleader in high school, and so I went to, you know, all of the sporting events and whatever, dated guys that were, of course, into sports, so that was kind of our, you know, main type of thing. I hung around with a bunch of girls, about 20 of us, I guess now you would call us cliques. We didn't think of ourselves as that. But, um, you know, really good friends in high school. I had a great time. Loved high school, loved all my friends, but I couldn't wait to go to college. I think -- I think Waukesha probably would be very much like Oshkosh is. You know, small town, kind of a little bit of a downtown, not much, more [unclear] coming up now, but when I was growing up pretty much like what Oshkosh was in '56 when I, you know, went to Oshkosh.

LB: Wow, that's nice. So, not too much of a change then? You kind of felt more 3:00at home too?

DR: Oh, very much so.

LB: Oh, good.

DR: Very much so. I couldn't wait to get there. I wanted to be a teacher, um, and in those days, all of the, as it was, the state college at that point, all of the state colleges were known for something, and Oshkosh was known for its elementary education. Whitewater, if you wanted to go into, um, commercial type things, office management, banking, that thing, you went to Whitewater. So, they all had their own little, you know, little cubicles where you went, and so Oshkosh -- there was no doubt that I was going to go to Oshkosh because I wanted to be a teacher since I was probably, you know, five years old. I loved going to school, I loved school, I loved teaching.

LB: Oh, that's great. So you followed your dream, Huh?

DR: Yup, I did. I did.

LB: Okay, so in your community, including you, too, um, what type of work did people normally do? Like, what jobs?


DR: You mean at that time in Waukesha?

LB: Yeah.

DR: Again, probably pretty much just like - my dad worked for International Harvester, which, um, during the Second World War was kind of a war plant. They helped make tractors and, and truck parts for things going into the war, and as after that, then, it was, you know, just an engine type thing I guess. I'm not even really sure what they actually made. They made motors of some sort, but I'm not exactly sure. Um, you know, and in those days women - we really had choices of what we wanted to do when we got out of high school. Most of my friends got married and, you know, had children, and that was accepted. And then the options of us were to be, uh, nurses, or be a secretary, or be a teacher. Those were really our choices. Um, there was no women lawyers, no women doctors. Oh, 5:00nursing, too, excuse me, and nursing. That was - that was also a big one. Of course at that time Oshkosh didn't have much of a nursing program as they do have now, so.

LB: Yeah, that's awesome. So, you said your brother went to Madison. Did your parents go to college?

DR: No, uh huh. In fact, my mother did graduate from a Waukesha high school also. Um, and she wanted to be a teacher, but in those days the cost was way too much, and so she ended up working at a Woolworth's store at that time, five and dime, as they called it in those days. My dad came from the Beaver Dam area, and he maybe graduated from eighth grade.

LB: Oh my gosh!

DR: Yeah, and lived on a farm, but [unclear] education very important in our family and wanted both of us to go to college. That was never - it was never an 6:00option of not going to college.

LB: Wow, that's great -

DR: My brother - my brother went into farming, he was a dairy farmer. But my dad still insisted that he go two years to the university for, you know, an education of what was - what was going on. And I guess just, uh, you know, meet other people, and, you know, see what else is out there.

LB: Wow, that's great. That's awesome that your parents did that.

DR: You're right.

LB: So, um, do you have children of your own?

DR: I do.

LB: So do you want them to have an education too? Is that one of your values?

DR: Well, I have three children. They're all grown, and they all went to college. It was not ever - it was never an option that they not go. I mean we never - we never thought of going. Um, my oldest daughter is an occupational therapist - was an occupational therapist. She's now a stay at home mom because she has a daughter that has epilepsy and autism quite severely, so she's kind of 7:00at-home occupational therapist. My middle daughter is in, uh, medical technology. She works in a lab in a hospital down in Florida. And my son is a physical therapist with his own clinic out in Whitefish, Montana.

LB: Oh my gosh!

DR: Doesn't that seem odd? I have three children that are into the math or the science area, and that's not one of my strong suits. My husband is a chemical engineer, so I think they got some of the science, uh, genes, from his side!

LB: Did he go to college, too? Your husband?

DR: Oh, yeah. He went - yes - he went to the University of Illinois and graduated as a chemical engineer.

LB: Wow, how'd you guys meet?

DR: Um, actually we met in West Allis. Um, in the days when I graduated, we could have just about interviewed with schools that we wanted to work at because 8:00they needed teachers so desperately. Um, I had about five different offers for a job and took the one and went down because they would let me teach sixth grade. And sixth grade was not something, uh, superintendents wanted women - they did not think they had the discipline to be able to handle sixth graders - see how things have really changed?

LB: Yeah, that's crazy!

DR: And, yeah, anyway, my husband - so I got the job, I took the job in West Allis and taught sixth grade. And he worked for Allis-Chalmers, which was a big company in West Allis. They paid all of my [unclear] my salary because of the taxes. And, uh, we lived in the same complex. So we had a complex - apartments there, and we had engineers, teachers, and nurses. And that was about all that lived within, I don't know how many apartments there were, it wasn't a real big 9:00place. There might've been maybe 10, yeah, 10 apartments. Yeah, it was interesting, very - loved it. Absolutely loved it.

LB: Yeah, it all worked out then.

DR: Yup, sure did.

LB: Alright, so now we'll move on to a little bit of education. So, you went to Waukesha High School. What was it like? Like, what was the social aspects like?

DR: Well, I mean, you know, I gave it a lot, I had a lot of friends. The athletics was the mainstay of our week. Um, going to even the football and the basketball games there were, baseball. It was just a, I mean, I guess if you look at, you know, Happy Days, or any one of the old shows that we at that time, it's about what we did. We did have a hang out at the Y was called, um, oh my 10:00gosh, now I can't remember exactly. Oh, the Attic! That was what it was called. It was called the Attic, it was up in - at the YMCA. And so after all the, Friday night, Saturday night, we would all meet there and dance until - and had soda, of course, because we're all young kinds yet. Beer was not allowed at that point yet. And, uh, I had a great time. Yeah, yeah.

LB: That's good. So, uh, around the time that you had to choose what college to go to, you chose Oshkosh because they were known for education?

DR: Correct.

LB: So did you ever consider another major?

DR: Um, no. No. I wanted to be a teacher. I had options for my minors when I went to school and - but my major always was elementary education. And in those days, when I went, you could either go to - you could get a one through three grades, or a four through eight license. And so I took the four through eight 11:00one, and worked in that capacity, and then alter on went back to my one through three. Now, at this point I'm not teaching obviously anymore, but my license now is a grade one through eight to Wisconsin.

LB: Where did you go back to get your one through three?

DR: I went - went to the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee because of the, you know, how close it is to where I was, yeah. Where I'm living and teaching, you know.

LB: Oh that's nice. Did you, um, did you go, did you stay in the dorms at Milwaukee or did you commute?

DR: No, no. I stayed at home then. I was - already had kids at that point, because, you know, I taught myself for two years, and then, um, got married, and we went to Illinois, and I taught in a school called [unclear] Park, which was a suburb of Chicago. And then once I had kids, I stayed home with all three of my 12:00kids until my youngest one was in junior high. And then I started to go back, and I just subbed because it worked very well into my lifestyle. My husband was a traveler, businessman, so I needed to be here all the time, and, you know, I wanted to go see the plays and all that stuff at school. And so, I was a stay at home mom, and then I started to sub, and I loved subbing. And it really fit my, you know, lifestyle really well, as I said, until later on I decided - um, my husband decided to go into business by himself. That was really the move. And all of a sudden I discovered that we weren't getting a paycheck big like we used to have. And I had my - my son was in college, and I think, I think my middle daughter Becky was in college at the time, too. And so, I thought, "Oh my gosh, I better go get a job!" So, you know, I kind of invented a job because it was in 13:00the middle of the school year. So, I taught at two different schools, teaching, um, adverse kids, reading and math. And then saw that if I wanted a job I needed to have a full license one through eighth because that's what everybody - most of the people had a one through sixth, and that was my competition. So then as I was working at those two schools, I went back and got my license done, and then eventually continued on - there was a little bit of time in between - then I went back to be a reading teacher. So I'm not only licensed to teach in the regular classroom, but I can also be a reading teacher, which I ended up doing.

LB: Wow. You did a lot! Got a lot of education in there.

DR: I got my masters. So I mean that was, you know, I always wanted to get my doctorate because I thought Dr. Ruta sounded very, you know.


LB: Yeah, it does sound good!

DR: Doesn't it? Now, as you will probably find out - I don't know where you are in your education - but when you take a Master's program, basically it's all just more money and a couple more papers. To do your doctorate, it's still more money, much more money, and then a dissertation! And I guess I could not see the value of the money at - at my stage of life, and I don't know if I would even if I was a graduate with a BS right now. I just think the whole doctorate and Master's program, eh, much to be desired.

LB: Yeah. Just a lot of extra money.

DR: Exactly, exactly.

LB: So, when you went to Oshkosh with your major in education, did you have any friends who went to Oshkosh too from home?

DR: No! No! Here - here's the interesting thing. From my high school, there were only three other girls that went to Oshkosh, and, um, for whatever reason - now 15:00I cannot quite remember if there were more dorms open, but they were not in the same dorm as I was, and so I knew nobody! I had, um, two new roommates, there were three of us in a room at that time, and I met them only by mail because of course that was the only, you know, communication we did at that time. Or phoning, of course. And so I met them the first time I went up there. And, um, I happened to be the first one there in the room, and I remember my mom just like, "Oh my gosh!" She just didn't want to leave me. But I'll be fine, just go, you know, I'll be okay. And, you know, by the end of the night I met a lot of people. There were so many new kids at that point. You realize that, you know, we only had, I don't know, how many kids, I think the whole college only had 16:00like 1500 students at that time compared to now.

LB: Yeah, I was going to tell you that!

DR: What do you have now, like 14,000?

LB: You are right on!

DR: Yes, yes.

LB: Yeah, I was going to tell you that, too!

DR: Yeah, and it's so interesting because like I told you, I was in Radford Hall. It was a new hall. I'm not - I cannot remember now if it was - if that was the first year, or if it had been open more, but we had so many kids that - well, we had three in a room. So, you had a bunk bed and a single, and about - that's about it. And maybe - one little dresser that we maybe all had to kind of share? We had a tiny little closet. And I think if you go to Radford Hall now, and if you went up there on the second floor and looked in one of those rooms it probably - it would be exactly the same. I can still remember - I was in room 216, and then the second year I went to the end room, which was 202, and I was kind of like a resident assistant, um, we didn't really call them that, we 17:00didn't get paid for it, we just got - we got a room that only two students could live in which was, you know, really a godsend after being in a bunk bed.

So my sophomore year I was able to do that, but I was going to tell you my freshman year, we had so many kids that we didn't have room because the third floor had not been finished and so they lived in the lounge, on the hall, you know, I don't know if you have lounges in the dorms or not anymore.

LB: Yes, we do!

DR: Okay. Okay, like a central area. Well, those were all full of bunk beds.

LB: Oh my gosh.

DR: And that's where a lot of the girls - I mean, I was very lucky that I had a room, but I think, you know, it might have something to do with the superintendent knowing [unclear], you know, that I got a room. It was just crammed. I mean, it was unbelievable. Every space that we had, um, was filled with people until, I think it was even second semester by the time - till they 18:00opened it at Christmastime, when they opened it, it was quite a while. And those poor girls lived out of, you know, they had suitcases there under the bunks, and, uh, you know, we had a regular bathroom just like, you, you know, one in the corner, not in a [unclear] or whatever. So, yeah, so it was - the school was bursting by the seams at that point. And they weren't quite ready for us all. I mean, some of our classes were big in comparison, not big by what you guys think of as, but, you know, large, and I mean we had no lecture halls, I mean those weren't even in existence at that point yet.

LB: Wow, so that's a lot of people.

DR: Yeah, it was.

LB: So, what did you know about Oshkosh before you attended it? Besides that it was an education. Did you hear any like, good stories about it?

DR: Nope, nothing. I knew nothing - no, I knew nothing about it, and I'm not 19:00even sure if we went up to look at it.

LB: Oh, really!

DR: You know. That [unclear]. Now, part of it is my fault because I'm - I worked as a camp counselor. I taught canoeing at girl scout camps in the summer all through high school, and I worked up in Michigan and also down in Wisconsin, and of course we were gone from right after school got out until college would have started or school would start the next year, so I might never have been available to actually go. And I guess it never - it never entered my mind. Now don't forget, my brother's two years old, and he was a Madison, and I had been to Madison. So I knew what it looked like, I knew what a dorm looked like, and I - I wasn't real - I was so excited to go that I don't think that really entered 20:00into my mind that, "Oh my gosh, maybe I should go look at -" It's not like now where you all go on your college tours for your junior, senior year.

LB: Yeah, you're right!

DR: I know! I just, I just find that my granddaughter - well, I have a granddaughter that lives actually up in Oshkosh now.

LB: Oh, really!

DR: Yeah, now my daughters didn't go there. One daughter went to Steven's Point, and then UWM, and then one went to Lakeland and then UWM, and my son went to Carthage. So, nobody's gone to Oshkosh, but now my granddaughter - and she's in nursing, and she loves it, absolutely loves it, so -

LB: Oh, good!

DR: Yeah, yeah. So I just laughed when she went on all their tours and I just, you know, and I did tell her about - because the nursing program was sort of starting when I was there. I mean, they were talking about it and then, you know, I've kept on, you know, the alumni stuff and I have read about how good 21:00and how strong that program was. So when she was talking about it, I had suggested it, but I didn't great the great nod, but eventually she ended up liking Oshkosh more. And she loves it up there. She's a sophomore this year.

LB: Oh. So am I.

DR: Oh really? Well then you maybe know her.

LB: Yeah, maybe

DR: Her name is Lindsay Bertram. And she's, uh, she's in the honors program and she's in nursing.

LB: Oh, I have some friends in the honors program!

DR: Yeah, well you'll have to look her up! Um, I'm just going to see - I think, I actually have her number now, she just sent me her address, and I, oh, it's on the phone that I'm holding in my hand. I'm like, no wonder I can't find the phone, it's in my hand! I'm just going to look at see where she is - she, uh, texted it the other day because I had to send her something up there. [unclear] Let me see where she's at. Okay, here-- oh no, this one here, whoops, whoops, 22:00hang on, I hope I'm not using up all your time.

LB: No. We actually have more than an hour for this interview.


LB: So you keep telling your stories. They're really good. I'm getting a lot of information.

DR: OK, she's on. She's in Fletcher Hall.

LB: Are you kidding me? I'm in Fletcher Hall!

DR: No kidding. That's the, she's on the fourth floor.

LB: I'm on the second.

DR: 404.Well, knock on her door and tell her to get studying! And tell her that her grandmother told you to do so.

LB: Does she have - does she have long brown hair?

DR: Yep.

LB: Oh, I know her!

DR: Right now she's limping because she plays lacrosse.

LB: Yes, I know her!

DR: Oh my gosh, no wait, I've got write down your last name because I will - whoops, hang on just a minute, I got to get some paper here. Okay, your first name was Lisa, right?

LB: Yes.

DR: Tell me your last name again.

LB: Alright, B - I - E - R - T - Z - E - R.


DR: And how do you pronounce it?

LB: Beer - tzer. Yeah, like "beer."

DR: Yeah, okay, sounds good.

LB: That is awesome!

DR: Yeah, it's so funny. That's - [unclear]. Okay, well, what else do you want to know about Oshkosh?

LB: Alright, alright, alright. So, when you got to Oshkosh what was your first impression? Like how did you feel?

DR: I loved it.

LB: You did!

DR: I was excited. The only thing I hated - oh, I'll tell you what I hated. As a freshman, I had to take a, uh, ancient history class, and it met at - gosh, like really early, maybe 8:15 or something like that? Oh my gosh, that's the thing I had about Oshkosh the most. I couldn't wait until I did not have to have those 24:008:15 classes.

LB: Yeah, that is early.

DR: And ancient history! Can you imagine listening to that - and the professor would just go on and on and on and [unclear]. And I'd want to fall asleep.

LB: I would have fallen asleep!

DR: That's the one thing I hated. [unclear]. I really - we did have the swimming pool. Reeve Union, uh, I think was being built or was built already by the time I was there. I'm kind of fuzzy on some of that. The where and when.

LB: That's fine.

DR: But, uh, and I taught swimming at the YMCA downtown, which - don't even ask me where downtown was, I mean, where the Y was, but I know I had to talk quite a ways to get there. But I taught swimming because, of course, I was a swimming instructor, and, you know, had my [unclear], so I did - taught swimming all the time. So I was very active. Of course we couldn't use the lifting room. Oh my 25:00gosh, you couldn't go in and use any of that stuff because that was strictly boy things. Um, sports were still very much off of the scene as far as, you know, what we could do as kids in college. There were no real sports type things. Um, we played tennis a lot. I lived in - well, first I lived in Radford for two years, and then I lived in Pollock House for the last two years, and we had tennis courts right behind. So we played tennis quite a bit. Um, I don't remember that we ice skated a lot. I ice skated a lot in high school. But I don't remember that. And we didn't bring our bikes up which is, you know, a different era now, of course, you'd probably have bikes up there that we would, you know, ride bikes around and stuff. But I don't know what we did, but we certainly, I'll say - we did spend a lot of time with friends that we would meet out on Lake Buttes des Morts. That was kind of - oh, and then of course, we had 26:00the Rail and the Loft, and if you - if you interview anybody else within my era, those were the two hangouts. Um, at one point we got near-beer, which I'm sure you can figure out what that was, but it wasn't really beer, low alcohol.

LB: Just near bear!

DR: Yeah, it was called "Near-Beer," N - E - A beer. I don't know what it's called, so don't ask me, I'm not much of a drinker but of course I did have my beer in college because that's what you do when you go to college. You know, so the Rail and the Loft we always went to on the weekend. Um, somebody must have had cars because, you know, you couldn't walk to it, so I don't know how we got there, but we must have - and I always carried a dollar bill in my shoe in case I had to call for - call to get home. You know, that was - that was all 27:00[unclear] as an understatement [unclear].

LB: That's smart!

DR: Yeah, and then Ripon College, you know, it wasn't too far, and the Ripon kids would also come to the Rail and the Loft quite a bit. Because, uh, there was a couple of kids that I went to high school with that went to Ripon, and so we'd meet them sometimes at, you know, one or the other of those hangouts. And they used to get pretty rockin' and rollin' - I mean, they were loud, you know, there was a lot of dancing, and everybody danced, guys danced, too, at that point -

LB: I was just going to say, I bet you were a dancer!

DR: Yeah, we all - you know, we all, you know, we just had a great time. I am a pretty, you know, happy individual, and I look on the bright side, and college for me was just a blast. I loved high school too, though, but I couldn't wait to leave, and I really loved Oshkosh, but also I couldn't wait to leave and start a job and buy a car and have [unclear], and oh my gosh, I was so excited.

LB: Oh, that's so sweet.

DR: You know, my beginning salary was something like $4600 a year, just to put 28:00you in perspective.

LB: Wow! Now it's like you can't survive off of $56,000!

DR: I know, isn't that true! Oh, it's all in your perspective.

LB: So do you remember anything from your first day of classes?

DR: No, I can't say that I do. We didn't have, you know, um, as many halls, uh, you know, most of ours were - we had Harrington, and, um, Dempsey.

LB: Oh, so Dempsey was a academic building?

DR: Yeah, yes. Yes, it was where I went to most of them. Harrington was the science [unclear], you know, where I took all of my science classes at, and then of course we had the training school, which I can't think of the name of, it's still there next to, uh, well the president lived right there on campus too, um, 29:00that - there's a house right next to Dempsey, it's the one down Algoma.

LB: Yeah, Oviatt.

DR: Yeah, yeah, yeah! That's where - and two of the presidents when I was going to school were related. First it was Polk, the old guy, P - O - L - K, and then his son became president! His son was my geology teacher. And then he asked - when his dad retired, oh my god, his dad was old when I got there. I probably shouldn't say that because I'm already 80 myself, but, um, you know, he was - he looked very old. And so then, then his son became president of the college the years that I was there. I don't know when he became president, the second year maybe, I don't know, I can't remember that.

LB: That's fine.

DR: Oh no, I was just excited to be there other than to get up at that god-awful 30:00hour to go to class. That's the only thing - that's the one thing I remember about it.

LB: Could you pick your classes, or did they sign you up?

DR: Um, I think we had a pretty set curriculum, so that we could get everything in. I'm sure we had electives and [unclear] then, but, you know, to get a schedule done, you know, you always had some of those early morning classes because I do know that when I was a sophomore or junior, I made sure that I didn't have any really early morning classes. So yeah, I'm sure we - I'm sure we were able to pick 'em. I'm not so sure we did as a freshman - they may have - they may have given you one, you know.

LB: Yeah, probably.

DR: Because I can't remember going up early to get classes signed up like, you know, like we did later on. So I'm sorry, I really don't remember that.


LB: Mmhmm, no that's fine. Um, so, out of - like, what do you remember about your education classes?

DR: Boring, some of them. Um, took a lot of - I had to take a lot of psychology. Um, I'm not a real firm believer in psychology, but I took them all, you know, and I had to take abnormal and general and child, and, you know, on and on, I took a lot of that. Um, a lot of history classes, a lot of geography classes to help with the actual teaching, and then, you know, now you have to remember, I was a student at school, and I knew more than everybody else knew, and remember I'm going to go out and save the world, and I already figured I knew as much as they knew anyway. So I found a lot of the classes very redundant. I did have an abnormal psych class from a professor that I think he was probably abnormal. I mean, he did some very weird things for us and whatever. But, you know, we took 32:00music, we had to be able to play the piano, which luckily I knew how, and I had to teach a lot girls how to play a couple songs because you had to do that. Oh, I almost walked out of the student teaching because I couldn't write straight on a blackboard. You want, you want to hear that? That's a funny story.

LB: Yes, I have to hear that!

DR: You know, you've got to put all your stuff up on the blackboard, and I have very strong stigmatism, so everything's on an angle, and I almost flunked the class. We had this very strict student teacher, um, leader, whatever she was called, you know, she was our, you know, I can't think of the name of what she would be called, but anyway, yeah, she wasn't going to pass me out of fourth grade teaching, student teaching, because I couldn't write straight on the blackboard. I always remember that about her. I can't think of her name right 33:00now, but I should because she was very good. I mean, my student teaching was excellent, and I mean, they really put you onto the hot seat. And then I taught in Neenah and Menasha, I think Menasha maybe, for our second one we could choose. We all had to teach in the - in the school that was right there on campus, and what is it called? Isn't there a building there yet? Next to where the president lived? Isn't there a building there?

LB: Yes, um, it's called-- I don't know which one you're - is it across the street or is it on the same side?

DR: No, no, same side.

LB: Now it's an arts and communications building.

DR: And what's the - what's the name of the building called though?

LB: Um, it's not Oviatt right, or is it?

DR: No, it's right next to -

LB: Halsey or Swart?

DR: Swart!


LB: Swart.

DR: That's the one! Swart was the place where did our student teaching. And everybody had to do - I believe it was probably 6 weeks or 10 weeks or something we did there, and then we could choose to go off campus. And so we chose to go off campus, and I had to borrow my dad's car, who he, you know, brought it up for me, so we could drive a bunch of us, and we all carpooled, and one of us had a car, which was me, and we drove to Menasha and did our student teaching there.

LB: Wow.

DR: [unclear] student teaching because I - I found it very easy, very pleasant, and loved 'em, you know, and I really have no bad feelings about any of my classes I took other than, like I told you, um, I just, uh, you know some of them are boring [unclear] so -


LB: So, yeah, so boring, redundant, almost? So, did you do well in your first semester then?

DR: Oh yeah, I guess, I was only - I was probably never better than a B+ student, but grades were never my, um, my push, um, you know, I always - I was also into the social as much as I was into the education. And - and so, you know, my grades, you know, all hovered around Bs. I tried - had a few Cs, but never had a D in college, never had to take a class over, which, you know, in some of classes - in some of the areas in education, you know, if you would get a D or even a C- they would make you take them over, but my education classes were always As and Bs. Speech was very good for me, I liked that one, you know.

LB: You liked Speech!?

DR: Oh yeah, I loved it, yeah, yeah.

LB: Wow.

DR: Yeah, well, because as a teacher, you know, that - that's one of our fortes 36:00is getting up in front of a group and not being, you know, worried about it. And I - things like that never worried - bothered me. But I was kind of like that in high school, too, you know, I had speech in high school, you know, and I was - starred in the pep club in high school, so I mean, I got up in front of everybody, you know, a lot of times, and things like that didn't really, you know, intimidate me that much, but--

LB: Yes, I can tell you're really good at speaking. I mean, talking with you is super easy, you've very good to talk to.

DR: Oh, good!

LB: So that's good.

DR: So what - what is your major, by the way?

LB: Oh, my major is human services.

DR: Oh, okay.

LB: So, it's a, it's kind of like a whole new major. This is the only university - er, Wisconsin university that has this major, it's a, I don't know, it's kind of like social work?

DR: I was just going to say, I would think that's what you'll - well, you better have tough skin because that's a tough job.

LB: Right, that's what everybody tells me! So, I think - I think I could do it, but we'll see, right?


DR: Yeah, yup, we will.

LB: I can always go back to school! I've always wanted to go to Milwaukee. I live pretty close, actually.

DR: Where do you live?

LB: I live in, um, Port Washington.

DR: Oh, really! Okay.

LB: My mom actually works in Menominee Falls. She works, like, um, probably like ten minutes from where you live, ish? Like Townline Road?

DR: Where - where does she work?

LB: She works at - have you ever heard of KM Tool Supply?

DR: Yes, I do, yeah! Yeah, yeah, oh my gosh, that's funny.

LB: Yeah, so her father owns that. She - she works for them.

DR: Oh! Well, tell her to drive by and stop by and stay high some time.

LB: Yeah! I called her before this, I was like "Oh my gosh, she lives so close, how cool is that!"

DR: Haha, that's funny, yeah, that's interesting!

LB: So, when you were in, um, the education major, were there any changes underway that you remember?

DR: Well, personal, the college was under a lot because remember, when I started 38:00it was called State Teacher's College of Oshkosh.

LB: Mmhmm, yep, you're right.

DR: I can remember that, um, one of my psychology teachers said, you know, this is going to be a university before too long, and she laughed! We thought that was the funniest thing we ever heard of because it was really a very small school at that point yet. Sure, it was growing, and we were getting more, um, we were getting some foreign professors. We really were a pretty white community, um, I cannot remember that there were any Afro-Americans at that point. Uh, we had a lot of guys came back that had been in the Korean War, and were there on GI Bills, but it was a very, you know, white American middle class, you know, type university, or college. So, anyway, the university at that point, um, 39:00started to say that - or, the college, started to say that they were going to be a university, and then not very long after I graduated it did get it's university accreditation. But, um, educationally, I guess, like I told you before, um, when I graduated nobody could even teach, um, you know, sixth grade as a woman. And, so, think how things have changed that way. I'm not sure I would have noticed things that had really changed, um, because I was so much into the moment of when I was going to get out there and teach and of course, like I told you, we all thought we were going to graduate and save the world because that's kind of what all graduates think.

LB: Yeah, right.

DR: Yeah, you were going to change everything, and all these things that they're complaining about, they're not going to happen when we get out there, you know, and that kind of thing. So, um, I - I can't tell you, you know, anything - I had 40:00a great education, I mean, I had a great job in West Allis, I taught my sixth grade and loved it, and continued teaching sixth grade when I went to Illinois, and then when I went back into education, I did work with middle school kids, and then it kind of changed to middle school being sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. So I've always taught within that realm. I taught the - mostly, um, well, I can't even say that, but the sixth, seventh and eighth grade kids all throughout my career.

LB: Yeah, and now - now for education there's only like three separate things. It's education, which is general, and you learn um, kindergarten through 12th grade, and then you have special ed, and then you have something called "dual" which is K through 12 and then special ed.

DR: Oh, wow. Well, they did have - when I went back to school, because I was 41:00going to go back for my Master's program, and um, at that point they - I was in special ed because I did teach LD kids for a long time. And LD was then separate from any of the other special ed areas. But I found as I was going on to my Master's at UW Milwaukee that once you got into special ed, you probably weren't going to get out. That they needed special ed teachers so desperately and it was not my - my love. And I think if you - if you're a special ed teacher, you got something in your DNA that, you know, just goes that way. And so I dropped out of my Master's program - actually, I dropped out of it twice. And then eventually went back, and then I went back only for curriculum and instruction. And then, uh, with a strong reading and then go my reading license, so then I stayed only in the regular, you know, classroom.


LB: Wow, that's really smart.

DR: I guess I - you know, and now education has really changed because the special ed group, they've all combined, which I think is just a very wrong thing to have done. To, you know, put some of the kids that are - the learning disabilities kids with some of the kids that are physically and mentally handicapped, or emotionally disturbed with them also.

LB: Right. You do - you do know a lot though, I can tell, the way that you talk, the language you use, you do know a lot about that.

DR: Yeah, and I - I find that very sad. I find it sad for the teachers, and I think there - we're really putting more and more pressure on, you know, on the teachers when you combine that kind of kid. But I also - I don't really think kids have changed a lot from when I graduated in the 60s to what they are like now except the parents have really changed. Certainly the discipline has really 43:00changed. You know, when I was teaching, if I had to call a parent because, you know, Tommy did something in class, but the parent was right with me. Later on, if I had to call a parent, the answer would be "Oh no, not my Tommy! My Tommy wouldn't do that." And I think that's really what, you know, we're seeing in education now that has really changed from what it was.

LB: Right.

DR: Yeah. And I don't know how that's - the only way it's going to change is your generation of - when you become parents, are going to back what the school is saying and what the teachers are saying. And not worry about hurting little Tommy's feelings because little Tommy's going to get his feelings hurt somewhere along the lines. It's best to get them hurt when he's ten years old and learns how to cope with it than when he's 20 years old out on a job and gets fired, you 44:00know, so.

LB: Yeah, I absolutely agree with that.

DR: Yeah, well.

LB: So, um, tell me more about what it was like to be a woman at UWO.

DR: I guess - other than - other than the sports issue, and by that point it was a [unclear] conclusion that you weren't going to be an athlete in college. Um, there wasn't much - we did wear - we did wear skirts to school a lot. In fact, I have a picture of us standing out in front of Pollock House - which by the way was a great place to live, I loved living in Pollock House - um, it was - it's a beautiful, it was a beautiful building, I'm sure it's still is.

LB: It still is! I was just in there. It's absolutely gorgeous.

DR: Yeah, and we lived right up - right up the top steps. My room was right up the top steps, right to right, and I - I lived there both years and had the same room both years. Um, but, um, we - you know, I'm not - I don't think I would be 45:00called a feminist. I mean, I - I do, you know, push to be able to do what I want to do, um, but I wasn't in that kind of a mindset at that point, so I guess I - I can't remember that anything really was held against me or held me down. In education, it was probably more women in education at that time than men. There were very few men that would - that would have even thought about teaching the lower grades. Now you see men in first grade or even kindergarten.

LB: Mhmm, were the dorms - were the dorms that you were in - were they only women?

DR: Oh yeah, only. And I still agree with that. And I have arguments, even, with Lindsay about some of your halls. I don't see - I do not see what it benefits, 46:00and I only see what it would be detrimental to me. I would hate to have a guy living on the same floor where I'm living. I don't care, you know, I'm not a prude, but I just think there's certain things that should not be public until, you know, you're getting ready to live with somebody. I'm very strong about that. I do feel that it's first college and then its marriage and then its children. I think we do a real disturbance to our kids when we think we can just have kids with anybody or sleep with anybody. I know we're getting [unclear] but I have very strong feelings about it, and I'm very - I've even written to your president of your university about the women and men in the same dorms. I see no purpose. I - I can't have anybody explain to me the-- why are we doing this? I 47:00don't understand. It's one thing to have maybe a whole floor below or above, but to have them on the same floor?

LB: Right.

DR: I mean, come on guys. I'm not that old that I don't remember, you know, how the hormones are jumping around like rabbits. I just think, you know -

LB: No, my mom - my mom's the same way, so.

DR: Is she? Oh, I love your mom!

LB: Yes. She - she has said that to me so many times and so I am on a all-girls floor.

DR: Oh, good for you!

LB: And I don't see any problem with it. I'm totally fine with it.

DR: Well, and I mean, you know, we did have hours in our dorm, and we had to be in at 10:30 during the, uh, school nights, and then I think it was midnight on the weekend, and we had a housemother that locked the door, and boy oh boy, you had to be able to give her a good reason as to why you were late, or she 48:00wouldn't let you in. Yeah, and you had to check in and check out, there was a check out, you know. Not when I was in Pollock House. Not then, but when I lived in the dorm my first two years. And, uh, another things that I don't see the advantage of moving off campus to an apartment. Because I was trying to talk to Lindsay about that, because they're thinking about moving off campus, and I'd say "Why do you want to do the cooking and the cleaning?" I don't get that.

LB: Right.

DR: You know? So, I was very happy. Pollock House was a lot more open than the dorm was. We had all the freedom in the world, you know, we had a big living room downstairs, you know, to do entertaining or whatever we wanted to do down there. Um, and our rooms, of course, were very big compared to what the dorms were. We had two, uh, beds in the room that I was in. I always had one roommate, but I mean they were huge - they were far apart. I mean, they were huge rooms.


LB: That's nice.

DR: And big closets, you know, the whole bit. So, I - I got spoiled in college. I really did. I really - that, you know, that was my [unclear].

LB: See, now, Pollock House is, um, the house for studying abroad. So none of us - none of us regular students are allowed to live there anymore.

DR: Oh, but there are people living in there now again?

LB: Yes, but only, I think it's only the international students.

DR: No kidding! Because wasn't it at one time - it was the Alumni, uh, Association building.

LB: Right, and now, I'm in the Alumni Association building right now, and it's completely rebuilt and everything.

DR: And where is it? Where is that at?

LB: It's - how do I - um, it is by-- it is behind the-- like South Scott and North Scott?

DR: Okay, okay, yeah, I know where that is.

LB: It is like right next to the bridge over the river.

DR: Okay, okay. Oh, yeah, right as you come in then! Yeah, to the university, 50:00okay, yeah. Alright. I'm always thinking about going there because I - I want to find some of my classmates, and I know that they must have alumni, um, booklets, you know, from our, like reunion, which I don't normally go to. I did go to one, I think, and um, I'd like to go up and just buy out some of the books and get some of my friend's emails nowadays. But I've never done it. I keep threatening to do it, but I never, you know, the spirit never moves me at the right time.

LB: Yeah, maybe Lindsay could get 'em for you.

DR: Yeah, I should have her do that. You know, yeah.

LB: So, were you in a sorority at all?

DR: I was.

LB: You were?

DR: I looked in - I was now - now, you have to remember, and maybe you know from talking, you know, to other people, but when we had sororities, our sororities could not be national. And there was some woman that donated something to the 51:00university, to the college, that said "You can have these social sororities and fraternities, but they cannot be -" the sororities could not be national. So I belonged to what was called Gamma Sigma, which ended up to go to Alpha Zeta Delta, when it went national. And I'm not sure how that all transpired, how they chose which, um, you know, what local sorority went to what national sorority, because a lot of my friends were in Kappa Sigma I think it was called, and that went to Chi Omega. And I'm not sure how that all, you know, how that all worked, how they went to them.

LB: I'm not sure either.

DR: I rushed my freshman year, my second semester I could rush, and then joined, 52:00um, Gamma Sigma, and had a great time. We did a lot of - we did a lot of social things. We didn't do so much, um, putting back into the community as they do nowadays, um, we did a lot of entertaining for the whole university. We did a lot of plays and musicals.

LB: Oh, wow!

DR: Skits, um, at the theater there, um, you know, that kind - that kind of thing. We did a mother - a mother's tea for, you know, for our moms every year, which my mom was thrilled about to be able to come to. Um, so, you know, basically, you know, it was another - it was another way of me meeting a lot of people that I might not have met in the dorm or on my floor or whatever. Because 53:00some of those others, like, Scott was just being built when, um, you know, when - I think I was over in Pollock at that time because we were really, boy, Oshkosh was really growing at that point.

LB: Right.

DR: We were just, you know, housing was coming out of the, you know, every place that they could find spots to put people, so.

LB: Oh, that's very interesting. Alright, so now we're going to move on to the post-college section.

DR: Okay.

LB: Alright. So, how did it feel to finish college?

DR: I loved it! Except it was very hot. Oh, it was so hot, and we had it in the gymnasium, and I remember, um, that when I got my diploma it was blank, and I was so upset. I sat through all these boring speeches, and it was a hot day, and they didn't even give me a diploma! How great is that? So I had to go and, you 54:00know, pick up my diploma later, because it was probably easier to give you a blank folder anyway so you didn't screw up anybody. But it was so hot and it was just, you know, unbearable.

LB: Oh boy. So -

DR: And I was happy! I had a job, don't forget, I got a job already, so I had a [unclear] contract. One thing that was kind of interesting that somebody might not know is that we really - a lot of us wanted to come back and teach in Milwaukee, in the city of Milwaukee, because there was, of course, a very big school system, but they would not - the [unclear] at that point, they would not, I mean, I could have gotten hired right away, but they would not tell you where you would get a school. And of course in those days we didn't have cars, we all had to go on buses, most of us did not grow up with city buses, and we wanted to have an apartment kind of close to where we lived, you know, where we'd teach 55:00school. And they would not tell us. So that's how we ended up in, uh, West Allis. And then the - there were other graduates from Oshkosh that had an apartment building, or apartment, where I did end up living, and what would happen is somebody would get married or quiet, and then somebody who graduated from Oshkosh would move in. And that's what my roommate and I did. We moved into this apartment when two of the other girls had gotten married and were leaving. And when I left, the same thing happened. When I left, um, after the two years, uh, somebody else from Oshkosh.

LB: Oh my gosh, it's like another Oshkosh dorm!

DR: Yeah, it really was! And we all were from Oshkosh, we all taught in different schools, none of us ever taught in the same school, and I'm still really good friends with a couple of the kids that I lived with in West Allis 56:00which is, you know, pretty funny that we've stayed in contact.

LB: Aw, that's such a good thing to hear. Alright, how do you think that college prepared you for life and jobs after?

DR: Well, like I said, I was very fortunate because I got into a very good school system. West Allis at that time was a very innovative school system. They were not afraid to try something new. Um, they gave me a lot of leeway to practice what I wanted to teach, um, the [unclear]. Certainly there were curriculum books you had to follow and had to do certain things, but, um, I would saw that Oshkosh had to have gotten me a very good education because I was very successful and, um, still enjoy teaching, you know, after all these years. In fact, I just went over to visit one of the schools that I taught in - the 57:00last one that I taught in. And, you know, it - it's very nostalgic to walk into those schools and, you know, kind of, yeah everything looks familiar, you know?

LB: Aw, that's nice.

DR: So, I have to say, Oshkosh did a very good job. You know, of education me and giving me the tools to, you know, prepare myself for a married life and a family life, and all my kids graduated, you know, from college, and now my granddaughter and hopefully my other grandchildren, as they get older, will also, you know, go to college, so yeah, I'd say they did a fantastic job.

LB: Good. So, I mean yeah, you're still involved in Oshkosh, you're doing these interviews.

DR: There you go!

LB: Do you do anything else, or just the interviews?

DR: Yeah, that's about it. I - like I said, I did go up to one class reunion, but it was kind of a bummer because a lot of the people that said they were coming didn't come that, you know, that I really would know, and, um, some 58:00people backed out, and so it - it wasn't the best thing I'd ever been to. And they - I did not go to the golden one just for the reason. I figured, oh, done that, been there. I probably should have because I think more people did show up for that one than they did for some of the other ones, but you know.

LB: Yeah, you already tested it, so oh well.

DR: Yeah. Exactly right.

LB: So, um, what do you think about Oshkosh now? Like, what is your thoughts about what we're doing now?

DR: Oh, it's huge! It's enormous! It's a beautiful campus, um, you know, it - it certainly is getting spread out because, you know, we had, you know, factories all along the river like you have buildings down along the river, and um, you know, a football field was - you had to walk to where you guys play football, and we only played in the afternoon, there were no lights, and now I look at the 59:00stadium - my, my son ended up going to Whitewater his last couple years, and so he played football, and when I saw Oshkosh's stadium I couldn't believe it, you know, I mean it's beautiful, [unclear] and all that. And it's [unclear] - I think it's beautiful, I think it's a very great campus.

LB: Good, I agree. Um, so final question here. Are you ready for it?

DR: Sure.

LB: Alright! What advice would you give a current student?

DR: Oh, wow. Um, well I would tell them to study adequately to learn what the course is teaching, but to always know who they are and then judge the 60:00information that's given to them, not take everything as the truth but not doubt everything either. But have something in the middle there where you know where you're going. And the other thing [unclear] besides studying to, you know, get good grades and learn what you're supposed to learn - have some fun! Do the social, get out and, you know, meet people out of your comfort zone, because that's - that's going to help you when you get out for a job. Don't put blinders on and, you know, not see them all. So, be well-rounded, I guess, be a well-rounded student.

LB: That's really good advice. Is that what you told Lindsay?

DR: I tell her that all the time!

LB: Good, I'm glad!

DR: She needs to have more social and not so many, you know, grades. So, don't 61:00worry about that Honors Program as much as you worry about "Do you have friends?" and, you know. You know, you gotta date, you gotta, you know, you gotta have the fun things too.

LB: Yeah, experience a little bit.

DR: There you go. Experience it all! And [unclear]. And I'm sure everybody tells you all this, and none of us ever believe it, it is probably the last fun time in your life without a lot of responsibilities. You think you have a lot of responsibilities because you have papers to write and this to do and that to read, but when you get out into the quote "real world," there's so much other pressure on you. So, have fun while, you know, while you can! And then when you get out for that first couple of years while you're working, boy, just give it your all. Because those first couple of years will set, you know, the pace of where you're going and what you're doing.

LB: Oh yeah, that's really good advice. I think I needed to hear that.


DR: Haha, do you have fun? Are you having fun at school?

LB: I think so. I think I'm doing a good job. Well, um -

DR: Are you a sophomore? Are you a sophomore also?

LB: Yes.

DR: Yes, okay.

LB: Um, so, along with that Deed of Gift that you have to sign, which is that document that I was explaining before, um, do you think you could email like, any pictures you have?

DR: Oh my gosh, I got zillions of pictures!

LB: Like from Oshkosh? Like, anything that you don't mind sharing, maybe just a few?

DR: Sure.

LB: Awesome. That'd be so great.

DR: I've got a great picture of Pollock House that would be fun for you to see.

LB: Oh, I would love to see that!

DR: Yes, yes, yeah, I'll go through some of them. How soon do you need stuff like this now?

LB: Um, this is due for me, um, in - on May 1st.

DR: Okay.

LB: So just before May 1st. And, um, then I'll - I'll email you first so you have my email.

DR: Yes, do that please.


LB: And I have yours, so let me just double check it with you really quick. So, it's

DR: Correct, yup, that's it.

LB: Well then I will contact you there.

DR: Okay! Well, great talking to you and uh, don't forget - go knock on Lindsay's door when you have a chance and tell her to - no, no, don't tell her to study. She studies way too much. Tell her to go out and have some fun.

LB: Alright, I will. Thank you so much. You were so great to talk to and I learned so much from you.

DR: Okay, buh-bye Lisa, thanks.

LB: Thank you, bye Dot.

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