Interview with Ginny Moore-Kruse, 04/28/2016

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Brett Mittelstedt, Interviewer | uwocs_Virginia_Kruse_04282016.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


BM: Alright so my name is Brett Mittelstedt and I'm here with Virginia Kruse conducting an interview for the Quinn Centennial event coming up in a few years and today is April the 28th, introduce yourself.

VK: 2016, I'm Ginny Moore Kruse and I graduated with the class of 1956, should I say anything else right now?

BM: No that's fine, that's perfectly fine, so you started in 1953 then or 1950 the fall of 52

VK: The fall of 52

BM: Right, what made Oshkosh appealing to you? Why did you decide to come here?

VK: Neither of my parents had gone to college so I was the first person to go to college and I rated-- I had a high academic rating from high school so it-- I 1:00was inclined to go on to college, and it was right here I lived at home so I needed to take the past the least of least expense-- and I was very happy that I could go to college right here right at home

BM: Nice, short little journey to get to school, you said your major was secondary education and then you had a library science and speech minor.

VK: right and English major, secondary education, speech and library minor

BM: so what got you going down that path what made you decide that?

VK: Well I was always interested in literature, and at that point it was difficult to imagine doing something other than teaching. Women at that point 2:00were going into teaching or nursing or becoming secretaries or telephone operators, and it seemed, and this sounds so amazing to hear myself even say it, but if a woman went to college it was like buying an insurance policy because I think we all expected to get married to a man and that and we would become housewives and mothers and if something happened to our husbands in the future we would have something to fall back on and it never occurred to me that I would have a career in teaching. It occurred to me that I would teach for a while, 3:00then probably I would get married. I mean this was 1952 Brett.

BM: A completely different mindset.

VK: Completely different! I had-- the word career was not in my working vocabulary-- I could not have imagined that I would have the amazing career I have had, that was simply out of-- I mean it was not even a matter of choice, it wasn't something I imagined. But I had loved school, I did well, very well in academically all through school up to that point. I loved school I had teachers I admired and respected and I wanted to be like them.

BM: It's always-- I have also had teachers that I admired and respected and it's amazing things that a good teacher can do for kids, how they can make 4:00understand was going on.

VK: Right-- So coming to the college was the next thing to probably do. Although I had applied to work at the telephone company, I had been accepted as a switchboard operator when I think about it I can't hardly believe that what-- I did go to college instead of working at telephone company, thank goodness.

BM: Made the right choice.

VK: Yeah, but there was no such thing as having a career plan and no one ever said, "what do you imagine doing 5 years from now" or "where do you picture yourself 10 years from now" and "how do you plan on getting there", there were never any questions even related to those questions for girls and I doubt there were questions like that for young men either.


BM: Wow cuz, I know that question gets thrown at me every other week-- So your first year here where you nervous a little bit kind of?

VK: I wouldn't say I was nervous. I'm trying to think; how did I feel? Well I still had one foot in my high school life and one foot in my new life at the college, I still-- because I was living at home I still had my high school friends, and my high school boyfriend and, so I was going to class and, at that time I think I had 2-part time jobs and I-- I was working in a little retail 6:00shop on Main Street part time and I was working in my mom and pops, well my parents' mom and pop type restaurant on the weekends but I did not have the job in the college life at that point yet-- but I really wasn't involved in the life of the campus as a freshman, I did not become very involved in extracurricular activities as they were called at that point.

BM: So then when did you join your Alethean sorority?

VK: Well I did not join-- You said that correctly! I believe I was, I think we did call it rushing, I think I was rushed for Alethean in my freshman year and that made a difference that I began to become engaged in activities outside of 7:00my coursework.

BM: What is rushing?

VK: Well where you were introduced to people who already belong to this or that sorority and the case of girls.

BM: So they're out kind of like recruiting?

VK: I guess you could call it that.

BM: Well alright.

VK: Nothing like the national sororities and fraternities and private schools or at University of Wisconsin at Madison, nothing like that this is very small scale, but these were private organizations and you had to be invited to join and, you know, it made a person feel it was a mark of belonging in a certain way.

BM: Definitely-- Yeah, I was wondering that kind of took me back when you said 8:00you didn't really get involved that much because once you get your sophomore year then you really kind of start snowballing.

VK: I really hit my stride didn't I? Right, and I became acquainted in several ways on the campus and I-- I think it must have been in my sophomore year that I-- I'm trying to think of how I happen to get into library science, but I think it was because someone I knew from one of my English classes one of my literature classes was whose name was Barbara Koplein and she's gone on to a fabulous career also, her name is now Barbara Elleman, she would be great to 9:00interview by long distance. She lives in Amherst Massachusetts. Anyway, I think I knew Barbara Koplein through one of my literature courses and she had a part time job in the College Library and I think I must have asked her how she got that job and she said, "well I'm a library science minor" and that's a good thing for an education major because you can always be what was then called a 'teacher librarian' I'm making quotes, air quote marks right now and that was also another kind of fallback position if I couldn't get a teaching position, perhaps I could become a 'teacher librarian' and I thought well that sounds like a good thing and I liked libraries and I thought working in the College Library would be also it a good part time job. So that's how I happen to go in that 10:00direction and then I was always interested in the theater and I've been active in-- a way in the theater in high school and so I decided at some point to become a speech minor, especially interested in drama in the theater.

BM: Yeah you directed Jack and the Bean Stalk and you were the prop manager.

VK: I directed a number of plays for Alethean and also for the drama department which had an annual children's theater production for the wider community and that's how I got involved in two or three children's theater-- productions. Actually in directing Jack and the Beanstalk the actor the student who was playing Jack fell off our bean stalk during a dress rehearsal and broke his leg 11:00and so we had to discontinue-- We had to postpone our opening night to the next weekend until we got another character, another young man to play Jack and the journalism department picked up on the news and the headlines that were sent out were "Giant Falls from Beanstalk", oh it was not Jack it was the person playing the Giant that fell from the bean stalk-- Anyway, "Giant falls from Beanstalk".

BM: Isn't that how the play goes though?

VK: No, of course not, but the giant fell off the Beanstalk, the young man broke his leg, and we had to get a replacement.

BM: Did everything go alright?


VK:  Anyways, surely, but I did have those, well I'm just going to use the word extracurricular it sounds very dated, what are they call it extra activities now?

BM: Same words.

VK: Well anyway, I had a lot of extracurricular activity, responsibility by the time I was a junior and a senior yeah I was very, very involved on the campus.

BM: Yeah I noticed in the email you sent with the Alethean you co-directed a Vaudeville play?

VK: Yes, the sororities and fraternities had activities, they had an annual Vaudeville competition and so everyone, every sorority and fraternity planned and produced a Vaudeville act of some sort. There was also a music competition, 13:00a choral competition, and a theatrical competition, and then we all gave one act plays. And there were trophies and, you know, it was a local competition, but it was something that we worked on very hard and enjoyed, it was very competitive.

BM: I believe that.

VK: So we did some really, really good work because it was competitive.

BM: Well good so you got into all this or sophomore year. Do you think that maybe that was because you had the foot and both worlds yet your freshman year that you did get into everything?

VK: Well I was moving farther away for my high school world, definitely, but I never had the same experience on the campus it being a student here that people 14:00who lived in dorms did and I went I think I went to one reunion, one class reunion at some point, and it became very clear to me that the people who were at that reunion new each other in a whole other way than I did because they had lived on campus and as freshmen they lived in dorms. I had no idea where the young men lived, I didn't know that, but the young women lived in Pollock house and-- and then after that they would get apartments in private homes around campus and so they might rent the second floor, there might be four girls who rent a second floor private home, you know they get various apartments, you 15:00know, but I never had that experience of living with my peers and away from home.

BM: And you kind of regret not having that experience?

VK: Well, I had a really good life, I did very well, I had fun and so I don't have any regrets I just know that it was a different experience than most of the most of my contemporaries, but I didn't feel out of it or anything because I was so involved in Alethean, I was so involved in the theater I became involved in the campus ministry, very involved I had my part time jobs I was you know.

BM: You were in the think of it part.

VK: Pardon.

BM: You're in the thick of it.

VK: Yes I was, and I was working very hard as a volunteer and as a student.


BM: Oh where did you volunteered?

VK: Those are all volunteer things, that's what I mean.

BM: Oh okay.

VK: When you are involved in extracurricular activities you are volunteer and that's what I-- How I understand it, so.

BM: So this youth ministry, the Wesley Foundation.

VK: Yes, campus ministry, the Wesley Foundation, I don't think they have a Wesley Foundation now. I think they might call the campus ministry something else but at that time it was a Methodist Campus Ministry and it was located on Algoma Boulevard and Algoma Boulevard Methodist Church which I believe is still there but there was a staff person whose job it was to be a campus minister and I found it to be an environment where one the could ask questions and one could think for one's self and between my junior and senior year I, again as a 17:00volunteer, I went on what might be-- What would it be called now if you went and did a... had a volunteer service for Habitat, for Humanity? What would that be called now?

BM: What?-- There is a word for it, I think it's just volunteering.

VK: No it isn't, it's a service project of some sort, well anyway, I participated as a junior and senior year, I spent that summer in Washington DC working in the low income, what we would call them a slum at that time but now it would be called low income or an impoverished neighborhood in Washington DC and so I did that and that was very life changing also, to be in a city, to 18:00witness poverty, to go to the many many museums and galleries and opportunities DC offers, it was really amazing, it's an amazing opportunity.

BM: Sounds like it, yeah. So what or who kind of spurred you into getting involved with the Methodist Ministry?

VK: Well... I think it went back to when I was in-- when I was in the public schools and through high school in Oshkosh, a friend of mine-- the mother of a friend of mine was very active member in Algoma Methodist Church so if I stayed 19:00overnight at my girlfriend's house, as a younger girl, we had to go to church on Sunday morning with her mother. That was just what we did, and I became in a general way acquainted in that church and I-- it was just a part of my brain that kept on being curious about that. So I think that was how I happen to find out about the campus ministry located in that church.

BM: Well good.

VK: You're asking questions that I have not thought about, that I have not thought how that happened, I think that's how it happened Brett.

BM: Well good. Was it a good experience?

VK: It was a fabulous experience.

BM: I'm sure it was.

VK: Yes it was.

BM: And-- you had some positions there as well.

VK: I did yes, I was president as a junior and then I-- I went on to then be on 20:00a state board of campus ministries as a senior and I had some experience as going to be chosen to go to a United Nations in Washington DC seminar as a senior. Now I had amazing experiences during my undergraduate years regardless of where they came from. I grew in many many ways academically and I became very interested in social justice as well as the theater and the Arts, yeah.

BM: Alright, I've got one more question then I want to ask about the theater. What did the council board do exactly with the Methodist foundation-- like the 21:00state council?

VK: Oh, you're back to the campus ministry?

BM: Yes.

VK: Yeah. Nothing to do with the case ministry.

BM: Yeah I just want to ask about that and then we can go back to it.

VK: Well I what did we do? I've no idea in a way I do, I mean you know that organizations often have local, regional, state, and national affiliates any kind of organization has that kind of systematic way of relating beyond itself and so this was a statewide board and I think we oversaw state conferences and other activities I'm not quite sure what we did, you know, I went to several meetings representing Oshkosh.

BM: Alright so now to my theater question.


VK: Okay.

BM: You directed and pop manager, why didn't you act?

VK: I'm not really a good actor.

BM: No?

VK: I'm a much better producer repair

BM: Better at all telling people what to do?

VK: No, not that, there's just a lot to any play or production you go to. A lot of people are making it happen, and I enjoyed learning about that process and I loved having the responsibility. It wasn't a matter of telling people what to do it was a matter of fulfilling a certain kind of responsibility and seeing the impact and the pleasure that the audience can have and then you'll probably go on and ask about this, about the job I got or not?-- You're not going to?-- Well I did get a teaching position in Kenosha Wisconsin, a public 23:00school in Kenosha Wisconsin after I graduated and I was chosen especially because I had children's theater experience at Oshkosh and at the Kenosha, what was in a junior high, Lincoln Junior High School, they had an annual children's theater production and because I had been involved in children's theater here (at Oshkosh) I was, you know, my application was... just floated to the top and so my position, my wonderful job, and I think I was... I think my contract was one of the highest salaries of any of the education graduates at the end of my 24:00senior year and it was for $3,800 a year. What do you think about that?

BM: Umm...

VK: That was a lot.

BM: Might be a little tricky nowadays.

VK: And I paid $25 a month to share and upstairs apartment with three other women.

BM: Wow.

VK: So, times have changed, but it was a lot of money at that time and I wanted to help my parents out at home, they were struggling and I really was very geared to getting a teaching job. So it was because of my theater background hear that I was able to get, not only a good salary, but a position that was unique, and so my first teaching position was that I taught four classes of air 25:00quotes here 'gifted and talented' 9th graders and then and then I had half of my position was put on a weekly program for the school.

BM: A program as in...?

VK: Any kind of program; bring in a speaker, have student performers, show a film, etc. and it was a big deal. So my experience at Oshkosh really prepared me for that unique teaching opportunity, yeah, I was very, very grateful. Well I did have other offers but it was the only one that really appealed to me.

BM: There was the one you really wanted.

VK: Well it was the one that appealed to me. While it was a few hundred dollars here and there were different but no that was good. So I just was always 26:00interested in the theater Brett always... in production and I never really thought about acting.

BM: You love teaching, you love the theater, and you really did get your dream job.

VK: Well I think teachers in one respect are actors.

BM: I suppose.

VK: I mean you're in front of... you're not necessarily in these years in front of a class but you're really managing a very dramatic environment no matter what age students are teaching.

BM: I was a student (in high school), I remember those teachers trying to keep us all corralled you know, got to keep us focused somehow.

VK: I don't know I went on in my career to do a lot of Public speaking a lot of 27:00conference planning a lot of things that I understand quite are quite parallel to the theater... you know, it's related right.

BM: Right it all help somewhere and so not only all the stuff you do with the Alethean society your sophomore year and the ministry you also joined up the Advance and the paper right?

VK: I did, because I was always very interested writing and so I did it, I became the editor and... there was a professor who really had to make sure and paper got out. I don't know, you know, but the paper did get out. It wasn't like in underground paper that-- where we were doing everything ourselves, 28:00running the mimeograph machine or anything like that, you know, it was a campus newspaper. Yeah. I enjoyed that and it was too late for me to, I don't know if I could have handled a journalism minor but once I became involved at the Advance I really did enjoy that and I still do like to write.

BM: Now are there any stories you wrote that really stuck in your memory.

VK: No.

BM: No?

VK: I mean probably there are, but they are what I think about.

BM: Alright.

VK: I think about the giant falling off the Beanstalk-- then I think about going to Washington DC and those experiences and I mean I had so many amazing 29:00experience ns which my parents were, they couldn't begin to really relate to because they never been to never had the opportunity to go to college. They're both very smart individuals they would have excel as I had as I did but they never had an opportunity so they just kind of said, "okay what's next?"

BM: My dad tells when he told our grandpa that he was going to go to a two-year college he was like, "what do you need to go to a two-year college for?" And you know it was kind of like go get a plumber's job or an electrician's job and it was different for him, it was funny to hear to me.

VK: Right and I wonder one of my high school friends... actually, I mean, I had lunch today with some high school friends with whom I have stayed close and one 30:00of them actually graduated with a liberal arts degree and you would want to say it would be like a humanities degree.

BM: Right.

VK: What are you going to do with that? So I was very focused on getting a job and having a salary after college and it never occurred to me that the kind of education I loved was the humanities education as opposed to where I would be learning a trade or being prepared for a career I mean I just loved the humanities types of courses, English Literature courses, I loves that.

BM: Yeah.

VK: And theater was kind of close to that.

BM: Right there one in the same.


VK: But, it was out of the question for me to not get a job after college. I did in my speech minor, I loved my speech minor, in addition to the theater and drama courses I had a speech course... I don't know I didn't look up my transcript before this I can't remember what it was, but the professor was Professor White, and he called me in one day to talk with him. I had written a paper about semantics and he was very pleased with my paper and it was in the spring semester and Professor White had said to me, "have you ever thought about graduate school?" and now this is a true story I said, "what's graduate school?" 32:00... Nobody had ever ever suggested a graduate school, I had no idea, no concept of going on and, you know, I often think about that I have had a fabulous career and a fabulous great life but I have thought what if I had known about graduate school, and I had gone on? You know maybe I could have gotten a PhD maybe I could have been a teacher new level of the level.

BM: Right.

VK: But ended up being a teacher on another level as it was at Madison. But then I remembered Dr. White being you know I come over his face being kind of 33:00fell he said something and I hope I'm not making this up but I think he said something like," well I guess it's just too late for that now isn't it?"

BM: Was this in your sophomore year?

VK: No this was the spring of my senior.

BM: Oh yeah then it would be.

VK: See? You know he was thinking that my paper shows such graduate level thinking and writing and have you ever and have you ever thought about graduate school it's like, "what is it?", and so nobody... and I don't hold the college responsible for not telling me about graduate school because by and large it was, when I was there, Oshkosh was a college that trained teachers... That was 34:00really what most people were getting ready to be.

BM: Right because it used to be the normal school.

VK: Yes, it was a normal.

BM: Only teachers and it's kind of only transitioning out of that, but still today Oshkosh is known for, a little bit for education as well as nursing.

VK: I mean I think when I first came, I think in my freshman year it was called Oshkosh State Teachers College and then it changed...

BM: Wisconsin State College.

VK: OSC yeah, because they were trying to think beyond being a normal school. Now as a child from 6th grade on, 6th-9th grade I went through what was called 35:00the training school and we would have later called it the Campus Lab School. In other words, the education department was running a private school for its own purposes and we had something like 25 children in a class from kindergarten through 9th grade and so it was a lab school for the education majors. So we had a whole bevvy of student teachers which is that... so many student teachers, we had people observing us and it was... we were just accustom to having people from the College in our classrooms 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grade and that's when 36:00I was there and so I knew a little bit about this college because of being in, what was then called, the training school. Sounds awful doesn't it? But most of the colleges in Wisconsin the state colleges had lab schools at that time they called them training schools, and after I was married and we lived in Eau Claire our children went to a campus lab school because I had had just such a great experience here so I have made sure our children had that opportunity...

BM: Right.

VK: ...connected with the University at Eau Claire. So I don't remember how long... they had the lab school but then when I was a senior in education, one 37:00of my student teaching assignments was back in the lab school with a person who had been my teacher and my supervising teacher and then I also was a student teacher at Oshkosh High.

BM: They recognize you at all?

VK: My former teacher?

BM: Yeah.

VK: Oh my yes, he was my mentor, Earl Hutchinson, he's not a live anymore but many of us continued to visit him after we graduated and he just meant a lot to us and so when I was in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade he was my homeroom teacher. Having a man for a teacher was a big deal back then. He also encouraged me to write and I think I might have been in some plays too but we really found him to be an amazing mentor. So then went I was in college being a senior in education 38:00I student taught with him as my supervisor. That meant a lot to me.

BM: Definitely.

VK: But I continued to see him for years, visit him yeah.

BM: Well good, so now you got into or you joined the National Honor a fraternity?

VK: I think we were appointed, I think that was just an honor, I shouldn't say just an honor, I will say that was an honor we were told we had so I imagine faculty community chose people.

BM: Got together to...

VK: I think so, you know, it wasn't anything it wasn't like running for office 39:00or anything.

BM: Was there anything special had to do with it?

VK: Not that I remember.

BM: No? No plays or competitions or anything?

VK: No.

BM: I suppose just keep your grades up?

VK: Well I graduate first of mine class.

BM: Wow, that's amazing.

VK: That is amazing.

BM: And you gotten the who's who, of the students? Run me through that what was that like did you get like a letter or...?

VK: I got a letter, I think I had to pay something to be in it. I don't know but I got invited I think everybody got invited, I really do.

BM: I doubt it.

VK: I think I fell for it; I mean it was an honor but...


BM: Right, it's something that praises you for the time and effort you put in with your school work. So tell me about this year book you brought, the Quiver.

VK: Well I was just able to find it number one, I still have it I number two, I looked myself up. Oh see there is the reunion I went to in 2006, what would that be? The 50, the 50-year reunion?

BM: Where was it held?

VK: Where was it held?-- Here I am getting an award!


BM: What is that!

VK: Oh yes, and you should interview Leonard Tews you should, someone should.

BM:  What's his name?

VK: Leonard Tews, I love Leonard, he's a poet and it says here he's lives in Seattle but he's moved back to Oshkosh.

BM: Yeah, I'll pass the names on.

VK: Yeah so you can photocopy this if you want to.

BM: Now what award were you given there?

VK: Oh this wasn't and a reunion in the sense of a reunion that was put on as a 42:00social event this this was a 50-year reunion as it says but then I got the award, and so did Lenny.

BM: What was the word for?

VK: Just being myself. I've had a great career; I've had... I mean people, I was saying this to my friends this afternoon because I just got another really big award and I was saying that there are thousands and thousands of people in Wisconsin who have worked very hard throughout their careers they've done their jobs and no one has really notice formally to give them an honor. But I have been honored because people noticed. I have no idea why that is, I mean I just 43:00think of myself as representing thousands of people who have done exceptionally well at their jobs. I'm not the only one.

BM: Right.

VK: I am positive of that. So anyway maybe they would let you photocopy something here.

BM: I'm sure they will, we'll have to see.

VK: Because this is my other honor and it just happened and it's amazing.

BM: And if anything else I can take a picture of it and we can do it that way.

VK: And so anyway and you asked me to tell me a little bit about what I was involved in then I found his copy of the quiver and I just went through it.

BM: Started bring everything back to you.

VK: And I've really, yeah, so there are some things that I really had kind of 44:00forgotten about, I mean it, I didn't have any reason to think about it.

BM: I know what you mean if you don't write something down.

VK: Well you're my life moves on.

BM: Right and this is something else look forward to. This really good... you knew that you wanted to be a teacher since before your freshman year it right? Or was that decision made during school?

VK: I knew I would have to do something and it was logical, and I had had teachers including all Hutchinson who we called Hutch. I had had teachers who I admired enormously so that seemed like a good thing to do I loved school and I 45:00still love school, I love tutoring children, I love being back in the school, I love it.

BM: So then society our group thought I Future Teachers of America is that kind of just to get your name out there more.

VK: Well I don't remember a lot about it remember it, remember I was very active in the theater and I had the newspaper and I had the campus ministry, so the Future Teachers of America had speakers and programs for people who were going to be teachers. It was not a big part of my campus experience remember I had three part time jobs, I had a life.

BM: I know you run out of time, you can't do anything!


VK: Right, so... No, I am very grateful to Oshkosh for giving me a so many opportunities to develop my leadership skills. I mean beyond teaching skills... that's what happened by being in a private sorority by being active in the campus ministry by working on the newspaper, I had an opportunity to be guided and to assume leadership rolls take responsibilities to be taken seriously. I don't mean I wasn't taken seriously as a student because I was but I'm very grateful for the opportunities I had to develop my leadership skills and to develop confidence and remember this was not a time when as a girl I expected to 47:00need anything other than a teaching degree to quote unquote, "fall back on" if I needed to.

BM: So did you get married?

VK: I was married two years after I graduated.

BM: and was this before or after you got the job at Kenosha?

VK: Two years my job at Kenosha was right out of college.

BM: So there was no falling back for you, you got going you fell back on a husband is what you did.

VK: I did, I did for some years not for very long.

BM: No?

VK: No... but yes, I met the man I later married the summer after I graduated 48:00and we were married in 1958 this is 56 yeah.

BM: Alright so the mom and pop restaurant, was that the name of it?

VK: No my birth name was Moore, you picked up that my professional my professional name was Ginny Moore-Kruse in college my name was Ginny Moore, my husband's name is Kruse my parents owned a little restaurant called Moore's Country Restaurant.

BM: What was it called?

VK: Moore's Country... yes, it was five miles west of Oshkosh. (background noise)


BM: Did they found that restaurant or did they create it?

VK: They created it, yeah, so, you know because my parents owned it I had to work there didn't I?

BM: Right, of course.

VK: If your family owns a restaurant you can't really get away from that it's not a good life.

BM: I know, one of my friend's family owns a farm in that where he ended up working and that's where I'm working too.

VK: Yeah it's a job.

BM: That's right jobs provide invaluable experience. Okay, so... your job the 50:00library, was that influenced by your library minor?

VK: By my friend.

BM: Your friend?

VK: Yes my friend, who was a library science minor and had a part time job at the library suggested that I might want to apply for a job at the library, and I got a position as being an assistant to the cataloger. And she was an extremely her name was Miss Spoon no Miss Hubbard she later married her name was Miss Hubbard and she was so exacting and merciless in her quest for perfection. So if I did some work, when I came in for my two hour shift or whatever it was, and then I would leave my work for her to check and if I made any mistakes it was 51:00back on my desk the next, back on my desk, and she was so exacting and so merciless. That and it was very very good for me because I was kind of used to sailing through and doing well without a lot of effort and no one had ever just put a check on me, as it were, and made me be perfect in my job and she did that and I'm so grateful to her. She was just so hard to work for and so good for 52:00me. And when I was a senior I was chosen to go, I think I mentioned to the United Nations and Washington DC for a week for a citizenship kind of said it seminar and she actually gave me a little card with $5 in it and told me to get something for myself it when I was away. That was just, for someone like me, that was just a huge thing, a personal thing and then I went I graduated Miss Spoon took me to dinner. You know scary that I might use poor manners or something I mean, she was just so perfect, and she took me to dinner, and that 53:00was huge.

BM: It was that Miss Spoo... or Miss Hubbard.

VK: I miss Hubbard I'm sorry I'm mixing up then she married later she became Spoon.

BM: In the spirit of perfection can I get a spelling of Hubbard.

VK: Yep her name was Corinne (C-O-R-I-N-N-E) Spoon (S-P-O-O) no that was her married name I'm sorry Hubbard (H-U-B-B-A-R-D-), Corinne Hubbard.

BM: Corinne Hubbard.

VK: Miss Hubbard, so those two things she did for me that were personal meant so much because I never had a sense that I was meeting her standards. But I've, 54:00I feel that, in my career and I've had to employ many many students at the University of Madison in my library and I often thought about Miss Spoon and I often thought about how all the details make a difference. So that's another reason I'm very grateful to Oshkosh, was getting that job in the College Library with Miss Hubbard, thank you.

BM: No problem.

VK: Oh well maybe we've covered it?

BM: Maybe... maybe... I just had one so nothing I wanted to ask about it's 55:00either at the end of your first year or the beginning your second year 1953 the City Centennial Celebration, did you take part that?

VK: No but when I was in the campus when I was in the 'training school' air quotes campus lab school that was during the state Centennial 1948, and I gave a speech on the stage as an 8th grader.

BM: And 8th grader wow.

VK: About Rose C. Swart, and it used to be called The Rose C. Swart Training School, I doubt that that name is out anything anymore.

BM: We have Swart Hall.

VK: Do you well that's Rose Swart.

BM: Wow.


VK: So in I was in 8th grade I was chosen to give short talk on the stage and that was at the time of the State Centennial, Wisconsin became a state in 1848, this was 1948, but I really have no memory of any centennial or anything while I was in college.

BM: Alright

VK: No it was it happened I sure I'm sure.

BM: I would worry about too much.

VK: No I'm not, I don't know if this is your experience, but it's very difficult to be connected to the wider community.

BM: Yeah, I have that here too because it's a small campus.

VK: This is your community


BM: Right.

VK: And so wherever there is a college university there is always issues between what they say 'town and gown' gown being the campus and town, obviously, and so aside from student teaching at Oshkosh High and then my involvement in the campus ministry which was in fact in the community as well as you know I was located on Algoma Boulevard (background noises) you know I didn't read the local paper I didn't hear radio news it... I was just completely, completely beyond what was going on, but I didn't know about it. I will tell you something though, that maybe no one else will talk about, a lot of students smoked in class.


BM: In class?

VK: Yes everywhere, everywhere.

BM: I can't even picture that they must've been just a haze.

VK: It depended on your professor if you were allowed to.

BM: Okay.

VK: But then we had there was a woman's locker room. I'm trying to picture where that was. I can't picture where it was, but it was it wasn't like a locker room associated with a swimming pool, it was kind of a quasi-lounge where we had lockers for our personal stuff and then we had tables and chairs. It 59:00wasn't very fancy it was kind of Spartan it a way, but between classes we would play cards, and today, at lunch with my friends three friends women friends we were remember playing Sheepshead.

BM: Sheepshead.

VK: Uh-huh, between classes.

BM: I'm not fully aware that card game.

VK: You don't know that card game?

BM: Sheepshead!?

VK: Yes!

BM: No.

VK: You'll have to find out.

BM: I'll write it down.

VK: Yes, it's a wonderful game, most people who were up in Oshkosh or the Milwaukee area, my husband's originally from Milwaukee, he knew Sheepshead, we loved to play Sheepshead.

BM: Is there another name?


VK: Schafskopf.

BM: Shots cup? (Schafskopf)

VK: Yeah, that's Sheepshead in German.

BM: I'm going after Google this one.

VK: It's a fun game. So we would play a Sheepshead between that classes and if you smoked you'd be smoking, for sure in the women's a locker room, and other places too if you smoked. I mean if you, yeah, and then you know, you might play Sheepshead on a date with your boyfriend and another couple.

BM: No, very nice.

VK: Right, and a lot of college students, not myself, for a variety of personal reasons, I wasn't against it, but I didn't go out to the loft, which was a place 61:00where you could go and get beer even though you aren't 21. It was a big tavern with kind of a dance hall.

BM: Wasn't still... wasn't the drinking age still 18?

VK: Pardon.

BM: Wasn't the drainage 18?

VK: Was it?

BM: I think it was.

VK: Well I don't think we could get liquor. I mean that's a little bit out of my wider experience. I'm not in any way I didn't like beer or didn't care about it, I mean I was just doing other things.

BM: Right you were busy.

VK: But you'd have to ask someone else where else they went out. I mean I think the students who lived in the dorms not everyone had a car, I had the car.


BM: But that doesn't stop people.  I mean every night there are people outside my window walking by.

VK: Yeah we didn't have the Thursday night being bar night. I think that's bar night, right? By and large?

BM: There is always...

VK: There's always people.

BM: Every night.

VK: Every night. But I think Thursday nights are more considered to be and so... I don't know, because I... was living at home I wasn't spending as much time at my parents' home but I still had a wide range of friends, and I had personal friends and I had a boyfriend and this and that and you know my life was kind of busy.

BM: Right.

VK: I didn't have a lot of spare time.


BM: I do know the feeling.

VK: But someone should find out more about that (in reference to not having spare time).

BM: I think I find out a little bit when I take a nap, I really like taking naps.

VK: What you do need to do is find out about Sheepshead.

BM: I will, so after you're teaching job then, you got another job, you got a job at Madison?

VK: Well I was married my husband had position at Lake Geneva we lived in that Geneva it for a year and then he got a position for UW Eau Claire so we move to Eau Claire and we lived there for 10 years and that's where our three children were born but, during our last two years in Eau Claire I got a job in the public 64:00schools and guess what, I was school librarian. I ended up being the head library in in a junior high school and so then we moved out to the Boston area because my husband had a fabulous grant for advanced studies and then I was the head librarian for a junior high school there for 5 years then we came back to Wisconsin to Green Bay and I got a position in the Public Library there and then I went back to school in Madison and I got my master's degree. I went to graduate school.

BM: You did you finally knew what it was.

VK: And I knew I needed that master's degree, and then I got my fabulous job at UW Madison after graduation and I had that position for 26 years.


BM: That's in the library?

VK: Yeah you can read about it here.

BM: I will.

VK: You can copy that.

BM: It was quite the life. Quite the job.

VK: I couldn't have imagined it, I could not have imagined it, but my husband is an absolutely fabulous man and somehow we grew together to understand that a woman can have a career and a man can be supportive of his wife's career as well as vice versa, yeah, wonderful.

BM: I'm sure you could.

VK: I'm so lucky, not a lot of people my age married, a lot of women my age got married and then got divorced and for a lot of reasons but you know people 66:00didn't give much... very much thought to who they were marrying often, and the men either it went both ways I think, and I just feel very lucky.

BM: I'm glad you're able too. I set him straight.

VK: Well it wasn't like that.

BM: I'm sure.

VK: Yeah so.

BM: I just have one more question, one more I promise. What made you want to come and get interview?

VK: Thank you I'll tell you at Madison I had a teaching assistant name Suzanne Fondrie who is on the faculty here.

I'm going to need a spelling of that


VK: (S-U-Z-A-N-N-E F-O-N-D-R-I-E) She's on the faculty and she, so we have stayed in touch and actually Sue Fondrie nominated me for this award in 2006 and, for which always be grateful it means a lot to me, and then sometime during the winter I got an email from Sue, who had seen for a couple of years and she said, "You should do this. There are going to be oral history interviews you 68:00should do this." And I thought to myself I could do that if they would take me and then that would get me back to Oshkosh to visit with my friends because Madison isn't very far as you know but it could be very far I'm if you don't make a plan to have visit.

BM: Right.

VK: Because my life continues to be extremely busy. I'm very busy and so I thought I really want to see my friends especially one of them who was going to sell her house and move back to Long Island and I thought "that'll work" if I 69:00can you know do this or history of you in person I'll arrange to see my friends at the same time and I did.

BM: Good, two birds with one stone.

VK: I had a selfish motive but I also, Brett, feel very grateful to Oshkosh as I hope I've conveyed in our conversation for all the opportunities I had and for being honored after I graduated as well as at my graduation time. I'm very grateful, so I'm happy to do it.

BM: Well I'm glad you're here.

VK: Thank you.

BM: Glad I was there able to snag your name up.

VK: Well how large is your class.

BM: Our class is about 60.

VK: Oh my.

BM: And I think we had just as many names to pull from, and at the beginning he said he highlighted some names of people that he thought would be, you know, 70:00really good...

VK: Especially.

BM: Yeah and he stressed your name and he said that you wanted to interview, and so I walked up, and I kind of snuck up to the front row quick and I snagged you right out the bunch.

VK: And he said I wanted to interview or you said he wanted me to interview.

BM: He said he thought that you were really eager to be interviewed.

VK: Yeah I was and as a matter of fact after I filled out the online application or whatever it was, and then I didn't hear anything and, you know, time was moving on in spring semester and I thought if this is a semester project is it happening or isn't it? So I phoned the Alumni Association because I really wanted to set up a date with my friend and I said I'm waiting to hear man then your professor phone to me and said essentially "be patient", 71:00essentially he said, "he couldn't promise that I would be interviewed now but the next time they teach this course I would be on the list." I said good. I've actually been interviewed for oral history one other time my husband and I were interviewed separately by the Chippewa Valley Historical Museum in Eau Claire. They were having a three week summer course for experienced teachers and the course was about the civil, the US Civil Rights movement and so they were wanting to teach oral history techniques to their students during this second of three weeks and then of course they would want their teachers and their students to go back to their communities and do oral histories with the communities but 72:00they had as the subject of the oral history interviews, 'what was it like to live in Eau Claire during me 1960's', the Civil Rights movement. And so they really wanted my husband because he had been a campus minister, there we go, he had been a campus minister in Eau Claire during the 60's and had taken some students to the March on Washington and had done a lot of very interesting things during the 1960s in Eau Claire. But then they decided to interview me too because during the most of the 1960's in Eau Claire I was a wife and mother except for the last two years so they decided they were interested to find out 73:00what was it like to live in the community during the US Civil Rights Movement, you know, did I even know about it, had I even heard about it, but there were three students who interviewed each of us separately, 3 different students. They were prepared with their questions and their little tape recorder and so it was very focused and it caused John and me, my husband, John, and I to talk with each other quite a bit and advance and remember what was it like to live in Eau Claire, or in his case to work in Eau Claire during the Civil Rights movement. Northwest Wisconsin during the Civil Rights movement, you know, what was that 74:00like so who we had had that experience?

BM: Sorry I'm sure that sounds like a really (coughing sounds), a really in depth, really broadening experience.

VK: It was, obviously the topic here was very different.

BM: Right. I'm glad.

VK: Thank you very much, Brett

BM: You have been a very excellent interviewee.

VK: Well let me just say that it gives anyone to be interviewed a chance to talk about themselves.

BM: Everyone should be good at that right?

VK: So, who doesn't want to do that?

BM: Right.

VK: So I really encourage you to copy these two pages.

BM: I will.

VK: Because it will give you a little summary but if they don't have Leonard Tews down for this spring will you...?


BM: I will pass the name on.

VK: Oh he is wonderful.

BM: I will.

VK: He got a reward at the same time I did and he's, in later life he's a poet.

BM: Well alrighty would it be alright if I took a picture of you.

VK: I don't mind.

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