Interview with Jay Jones, 04/19/2017

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Marco Cervantes, Interviewer | uwocs_Jay_Jones_04192017_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


Marco Cervamtes: Hello this is Marco Cervantes it is April 20th, 2017. It is currently 1:35 p.m. I am at the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center with Jay Jones and I am conducting a Campus Stories Oral history project interview. If you could say your name and spell it out please?

Jay Jones: My name is Jay Jones J-A-Y J-O-N-E-S

MC: Let's get started! So, tell me a little bit about your like background like where did you grow up?

JJ: Born and raised in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. Lived there basically my whole life until I went off to college here at Oshkosh, and while I was in school I started working part time at UPS and so I graduated high school in 1987 and earned my first degree here at Oshkosh at in 1994. Took a year off for military service. 1:00Then when I came back to school I started working at UPS and assumed that I would be working at UPS, I thought that would be my career. I met my wife and we got married and we lived, here in Oshkosh, for about 10 year and then I went back to school and got my license to teach and left UPS. Then I got a job in Wautoma at the high school and then we moved to Poi Sippi which is where we live now.

MC: Poi sippy. So, you said that you grew up in Wild Rose, how was the community up there when you were growing up like?

JJ. It was you know, I think every kid probably grows up thinking that their hometown is awesome because it's little, that's the only thing they know.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: I really enjoyed growing up there; it was a very small community and small 2:00school. I graduated with 59 kids in my class so, I mean, it was just, you knew everybody.

MC: Yeah.

JJ. I liked it, that's part of it which is why I enjoy teaching at Wautoma because it's another small community. It's a little bigger than Wild Rose but I really liked it. And Wild Rose, in general, it's kind of a farming community and kind of a working-class kind of people.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: I just seemed to like that.

MC: So, what were your parents or grandparents or other member's family members like?

JJ. My dad was a farmer, so I grew up on a farm and he was, I think, typical for most farmers. He worked hard, long hours, seven days a week. There was always, always something to do and my mom kept the books for the farm.


MC: Ok.

JJ: So, she was able to be home, with us, but also busy. My grandparents and my dad's parent's grandparents had a farm and that's how dad got into it. So, that kinda was in our genes.

MC: So, it's like a family tradition?

JJ. Right.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: And my mom came from Waupaca where her parents were blue-collar workers, factory type works in Waupaca and so it's just kind their you know they weren't highly educated or you know famous or real big or important people anywhere but just did their jobs.

MC: So, did your parents like did they value education? Did they want you and your siblings to go to school?

JJ. Yes, my dad was actually on the school board in Wild Rose.

MC: Mhm.

JJ: He did two different terms on the board but he happened to be on the school 4:00board when I was in high school so.

MC: Yeah.

JJ. So, yeah, he in fact told me, even when I was in high school, that I should consider being a teacher. And I said "you're crazy dad, I don't wanna do that! (Laughs) But he was right. I came around back to it, eventually. But yeah they put an importance on education, neither one of them, like I said, my parents neither one of them went to college. So, I think they saw the value and moving up.

MC: Oh yeah.

MC: So, what about your siblings? Did they go to college or did?

JJ: I have four sisters.

MC: Four sisters.

JJ. All of which are older than me. So I was I was the baby.

MC: Yeah

JJ. And I had my oldest sister went to Osh, went to Whitewater.

MC: Whitewater, ok.

JJ: For one year and then she decided that she didn't want to go to school 5:00anymore. Uhm, my next oldest sister went to, I'm not sure if she went to fox valley tech or if she just went through like…

MC: Yeah

JJ. A CNA program?

MC: Ok, yeah.

JJ: She learned how to be uhm as a nurse's assistant.

MC: Yeah.

JJ. And so, she worked. That's what she did her whole career.

MC: Mhm.

JJ: And my next oldest sister graduated from Fox Valley Tech and lived in like a business, a marketing type of a degree.

MC: Mhm.

JJ. And my next sister, that's just older than I am, went to school at Fox Valley Tech also and I was the first one to have graduated with a 4-year degree.

MC: Awesome! That's good! So, uhm like what values or lessons did you learn from growing up in your community since it's like a small town and you know.

JJ: I think uhm, I think the value and the importance of family and community 6:00was really strong, one thing I noticed that and people ask me this you know comparing my experience in Wautoma compared to growing up in Wild Rose.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: Was one of the things I saw that was different. Was it seemed like the community in Wild Rose was much more supportive…

MC: Yeah, for sure.

JJ. Of the school and education uhm I think the that blue-collar farmer worker mentality in Wild Rose seemed to be ah… to me Wautoma seemed to be more of like a almost like a resort community because there's so many summer people with the lakes and that.

MC: Mhm

JJ. Uhm, Wild Rose just seemed to be more blue-collar and you know what are ya, there's nothing else to on Friday nights so you go to school and you watch the basketball games and

MC: Yeah

JJ. You watch the football games or wrestling and or whatever and that was, it just was very very, the community was always really behind what was going on at school.


MC: Yeah so, so through the community how has it changed over the years would you say?

JJ: I think it's pri-- I think just family structure in general.

MC: Yeah.

JJ. Has changed. Uhm, the number of two parents families, traditional families, I think is on the decline and I think that has had an impact on society in general, but the idea of community, I think, for example, Wild Rose I think is still pretty community oriented.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: But you still see, you're starting to see more and more of split families and what I saw and as a teacher the last couple years was a devaluation of 8:00education I think people felt like it wasn't that important and so

MC: Yeah. Uhm so, cause you said you went to a small school, did you guys have like you know like basketball, wrestling and all those typical you know?

JJ: Yup! We had, I guess what we what we considered, at the time, a full complement of athletics available to us.

MC: Mhm

JJ. At that time, nobody had soccer teams. You know being a smaller school we didn't have pools so there wasn't like a swimming team and we didn't have tennis but you know we had football, cross-country, volleyball for the girls, winter time boys' and girls' basketball.

MC: Mhm.

JJ. And wrestling, uhm girls could cheer anytime

MC: Yeah.

JJ: And then in the spring, of course, we had track and baseball and softball.

MC: Were you involved in any of the extracurricular?


JJ. Yup! I played, I was a three-sport guy, I played football and basketball and baseball.

MC: Sweet! So, tell me about like your teachers. Were they, did they inspire you to go to college or did they like they help you out, you know?

JJ: (Laughs) It's kind funny you that you put it that way. I know I don't think that I felt inspired by any of the teachers. I never remember having a teacher pull me aside and say you know you should be going and doing this.

MC: Yeah

JJ. But at the same time, I think they all taught us how to work hard.

MC: Mhm

JJ: And that it was important to try to do well and I, maybe that was part of that was from my parents too but, grades, I was a competitive person.

MC: Yeah

JJ. So, it even with on the athletic field or basketball court or whatever.


MC: Yeah

JJ: I always wanted to compete and it kind of carried over into classes where I wanted to get good grades.

MC: Yeah

JJ. I compared my grades to my friends and stuff.

MC: Of course.

JJ: So, I don't know how much of it was driven by the teachers.

MC: Mhm

JJ. But it was there.

MC: Ok, so did you like put the same emphasis on your children's like education like did you want them to be competitive did you want them to succeed in school and you know?

JJ: For my kids?

MC: Yeah, for your kids.

JJ: Yeah. Uhm yeah, I think. My wife is a Fox Valley Tech grad and I have two bachelor's degrees from Osh, one from Oshkosh, one from Point.

MC: Mhm

JJ: And I have a master's degree from Stevens point and I taught so I mean for 11:00us it was very important.

MC: Oh, yeah.

JJ: Cause we saw the value and you know where an education could get you, what type of a job a good education could get you compared to where you could get if you didn't.

MC: Yeah. Uhm, so when did you begin to think about going to college.

JJ: I would say about probably my sophomore and junior year of high school started thinking. I really didn't know what I wanted to do.

MC: Yeah

JJ: Or where I wanted to go necessarily but uhm I kinda think that it was like "ok, when I'm done with high school what's the next step?" and it was always just kind of

MC: Yeah

JJ: I gotta go to college.

MC: So, uhm how did you view higher education as you were growing up? Like, did you, well you obviously valued it and you wanted to succeed but like did you 12:00have any higher goals besides that like did you?

JJ: Yeah, well like I said I didn't really have a specific goal in my, well I don't know. I guess when I first started college.

MC: Mhm

JJ: My first thought was I wanted to be an engineer or something like that.

MC: Yeah

JJ: And then, I then I took my first college math class and I found out that engineering was not in my future. But you know, so I guess what was, what was my drive or what was my focus in high school it wasn't like I gotta go to college because I wanna go to this school because I wanna become a lawyer or engineer or whatever it was just. I know that's the next step.

MC: Mhm

JJ: And if I wanna get a decent job I need to go get a good education.

MC: For sure. So you said you went to school in Point and also in Oshkosh. Like 13:00did you continue going to a specific one and then transferring to the other or like?

JJ: No I decided, coming outta high school, that I wanted to go to Oshkosh.

MC: Mhm

JJ: And I considered Stevens Point at the same time I wanted to be somewhere where I will where I wasn't close enough that I could just live home and commute.

MC: Yeah

JJ: Cause I wanted to get out and get the experience. But I wanted to also be somewhere close enough where I could come home for the weekend and come back and see friends or whatever and so Point and Oshkosh were kinda the two that made the most sense that way.

MC: Mhm

JJ: And when it came down to it, one of my good friends from school was going had already committed to Oshkosh.

MC: Yeah

JJ: And was planning to come here and he kind of pulled me towards Oshkosh so 14:00this is where I ended up and then the Stevens Point education part of it came later, after I had already been done with school here, and wanted to do something different and.

MC: Mhm. So, like nowadays there's a lot of students that you know they're like "oh I wanna become a teacher" and then they change their major to like let's say engineering or like other majors. So, like how did you know that you wanted to be a history ah major or teacher?

JJ: Uhm, this is kind of funny, it was almost by default. I didn't mention it before but when I was, after my first year of college, well I guess I did say that I took some time off for the military. After my first year in college I joined the army reserves and went after the first year of school I went to basic 15:00training that summer.

MC: Mhm

JJ: I came back to school and I started at UWO and I began, I started taking classes at the ROTC.


JJ: And so, two years of ROTC I was done with their program.

MC: Yeah

JJ: I became a lieutenant, got commissioned as a second lieutenant and then from the time that I got commissioned I had a certain amount of time to get you know a degree or I would lose my commission.

MC: Whoa?!

JJ: And so, up until that point the most credits that I had acquired in any area was basically history so, I thought, I plotted it out and I figured that I could finish a history degree in the least amount of time I'd get my degree.

Me: Yeah

JJ: And by that time I was working at UPS and I thought ok I'm gunna stay and 16:00work at UPS and I just needed a degree doesn't matter what it's in.

MC: True

JJ: So I got my history degree, graduated, worked at UPS for a couple years, and then things changed. I decided to go back to school and I had a history degree, major done already so I'm like well I can get license to teach in history with a minimal amount of additional schooling so that became how I became a history teacher. (Laughs) I mean I loved history. My high school history teacher was part of the reason that I wanted to do that and part of the reason that I liked history.

MC: Mhm.

JJ: You had class with me you know how clear my style and how I taught. That guy was nothing like I was which is funny! He was a strong, stern strict 17:00disciplinarian and I was, you know my class was laid back.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: I was, I tried to make it comfortable and social for everybody and I think I took maybe what? I like history and I liked what he taught us but I didn't necessarily like how it got done so I kinda took what he did and adapted it to what worked with me.

MC: Yeah, uhm you said you took a couple years off. Did you just want to make money or did you just want to take off?

JJ: Desert storm.

MC: Desert storm?

JJ: When we went to war against Iraq I was in the reserves. My reserve unit mobilized and went over to Saudi Arabia. And ah, it's a really weird situation but the timing of me finishing ROTC and then Desert Storm happening was like one 18:00right after the other and, I had my, I was commissioned as a second lieutenant.

MC: Mhm

JJ: But I hadn't been to the Officer Basic Course schooling for being a lieutenant, yet ,that the army puts on not the ROTC.

MC: Ok

JJ: So, my unit mobilized. Uhm I wasn't eligible to go with them because I wasn't qualified for the job I would have to do over there. So, the unit mobilized, they left and I thought that I was going with them until we showed up at the reserve center and when I got there they said "oh lieutenant Jones yeah you're one of the guys that isn't going." I'm like "what are you talking about." But by that time, I mean, we had about 3 or 4 days to get ready for that and I went in, came into school here and withdrew my classes. Thought I was gunna be 19:00leaving, did everything I had to do to get ready for that. Uhm then I saw I was withdrawn from school, finished all that rest of the semester outta school and I just took off that spring. Worked, I found a job and worked through the spring and summer and then went back to school the next year so it wasn't two years but it was like a year that I missed.

MC: Did this affect your ability to like you know learn or like wanna come back to school?

JJ: Nope. I knew that based on what I Cause I got a job working at Contra and Gravers up in Neenah where we made supplies for printing. And I mean it was an ok job but it wasn't what I wanted to do and I knew that we had to go back to 20:00school and finish up my stuff and.

MC: Yeah so, like what were your first impressions of UWO?

JJ: Uhm well in 1986 and 87 when I was formulating my plan of where I was going to go to school and what I was gunna do. Quite honestly the reputation of Oshkosh was a was kind of a party school. And not necessarily that that's what I was look looking for that but, it didn't, that didn't bother me. Uhm and so I guess when I first showed up on campus to move into the dorms and the first night on campus we went out and explored and of course we found parties.

MC: Of Course!

JJ: And it was ya know it was pretty much what I expected it to be. But yeah I mean, I enjoyed, I really liked the dorm environment. The fact of having people 21:00all around all the time there. There was always someone to talk to and hang out with.

MC: Yeah, for sure.

JJ: Uhm it was good we had… Things improved as I was in school. I remember at the time black Hawk commons got refinished or remodeled or whatever. Food got better and it was a better experience. But I you know I guess I went to school and I didn't really know what to expect.

MC: Yeah

JJ: I was cool.

MC: So, like where were. So, you said had talked to anybody that you wanted. Was it diverse? Like did you have any Hispanic friends, African American friends?


JJ: At the time, on the on the floor that I lived in on the dorms, it was not very diverse. There was, I think, there was one black kid. I don't remember any Hispanics.

MC: No?

JJ: I think there was just pretty white.

MC: Predominantly white?

JJ: Yeah, pretty white. I know that had but I know also in my classes, I mean that was in the dorms, in my classes it was much more diverse. I saw a lot more diversity in the class room but it just so happened where I lived it was not very. Not very, pretty much other than white.

MC: Uhm which residence hall did you?

JJ: I lived in South Scott.

MC: South Scott. That's known as the freshmen residence hall nowadays.

JJ: Oh, is it?

MC: Yeah.

JJ: Ok.

MC: Yeah, so Cause I live in North Scott…

JJ: Ok

MC: It's pretty diverse now compared to like you know when you lived there. Yeah 23:00so uhm, what were some memories that you had with your college friends?

JJ: Uhm, we had a good bunch of guys who hang in my room and my roommate and the block of rooms around us. It was a bunch of guys that we had a lot of fun. Uhm we were all sports fans so I mean whenever there was stuff on T.V.

MC: Yeah

JJ: Piled into one room or another and watched games and what I remembered playing a ton of cribbage.

MC: Cribbage

JJ: As a half, a dozen guys who were really big into playing cribbage so whenever you had free time you would always find someone that "hey let's play a game" and bust out the cards. Uhm for better or for worse we had one guy who you know, we were all eighteen and nineteen, at the time, and we had one guy who 24:00lived down at the end of the hall who was twenty-three or twenty-four years old. Was from Minnesota and so he lived in the dorms because his, he was actually married and had a kid.

MC: Oh wow

JJ: His wife lived in Minnesota and so he came to school in Oshkosh and lived in the dorms so he wouldn't have to get an apartment or something like that.

MC: Yeah

JJ: So, we had a guy who was old enough ah to buy beer and he was willing to help us out so we took advantage of that.

MC: For sure!

MC: Yeah, so what were the other students at UWO like? Were they like you know because you said this was like a party school and it idk if it was a big thing back or?

JJ: We had certain programs here in the late 1980s that were good and I think I 25:00remember the baseball team was really really good. It was like they went to the college World Series.

MC: Whoa?!

JJ: Year after year they just, they had studs and if I remember right the track and women's gymnastics were good programs. But the football and basketball teams were not very good. It was I remember I went to one or two football games.

MC: Mhm

JJ: In the first two years I was here and I was like the stands were empty, there was nobody there you know? I watched the guys this year and it was just like wow.

MC: Yeah, the football team is pretty good, they're, it's a big football team. They're doing excellent. So, did you take any part of any of these extra-curricular activities?

JJ: Nope I didn't. I just went to school and I kinda regret that know. I don't 26:00know, I played all those sports in high school and I was ok but I don't think I was I don't know if I was. I probably wasn't college level quality so I probably didn't miss out on anything but it might have been fun to try just to find out so no I didn't do any of that. I did some intermural stuff basketball, yeah.

MC: Basketball, they have that now and if they had any other sports do you remember?

JJ: I think they have, well they have… One time I did some football they had but it was flag football.

MC: Flag football

JJ: Intermural flag football in the fall. So, we did that.

MC: Did you do that like every year like?

JJ: Nope. Just that, I think the first two years and basketball. I played the first couple of years and then I lived in the dorms for two years and then I moved off campus and I didn't do any of that stuff anymore and I got a job and I started working.

Me: Did you live like in Oshkosh or did you?

JJ: Mhm


MC: And how was that? Did you?

JJ: It was alright with stuff like the first house we lived in lived four of us? Five that we lived on the same floor together in the dorms so we were all good friends. So, we were calling the place that we were all gonna live in together and so we got a pretty good deal. Ended up costing us $400 a month or something, yeah for each of us, so it was a good experience. We liked the house it was a nice place, we each had our own room, it was cool but it was all the way down by main street.

MC: Main street, oh.

JJ: So it was a long hike to walk to school but the better part of it was the fact that we were not in the little district with all the college housing.

MC: Yeah

JJ: So we didn't have parties going on all the time we had a little bit of space 28:00and it was a good thing and a bad thing at the same time.

MC: A good thing and a bad thing? So about the school, what do you notice now that wasn't there then that you said that Black Hawk was uhm.

JJ: Remodeled.

MC: Remodeled, you know uhm do you notice anything different now?

JJ: Oh ya tons of stuff! Well I don't, this is the second or third renovation of Reeve Union. That was very basic when I was in school I think the only real nice thing that they had there was a bowling alley and they had like a big room upstairs where they would have.

MC: The Ball room? I think well that's what it's called.

JJ: Yeah, they had at that time, they had like if they had a speaker, guest speakers would come in and have their talks about there or we had a couple of comedies shows.

MC: Comedies shows.

JJ: Uhm but the fitness center, my daughter did come here for a campus visit so 29:00we did we got a tour.

MC: Yeah

JJ: So, we got… The new fitness center is unbelievable, Kolf has been fixed up quite nice. Uhm and what… I can't remember the name of the building but the new building down on high street across but not across but down street of Kolf that isn't the science or?

MC: Uhm, Sage, right?

JJ: Yeah! Sage! Yeah, it's like totally environmentally friendly and we got to tour that place and that's really nice and I know that they've been upgrading in the dorms. I haven't been into… Well the freshmen, the new freshmen community dorms are, it's upper classmen I think it where it's kind of a quad.

MC: Horizon!

JJ: Yeah, they showed us that. No I wasn't here when I was in school.

MC: Yeah, it's…

JJ: So, Lots of upgrades.


MC: So, like from your time here, did you, do you remember any important social issues or political issues on campus?

JJ: Yeah, I was in school, I can't remember what the protests were about. There was a phase, there were students, I think it was the underage drinking rule.

MC: Yeah

JJ: Uhm but, there were, there was a period of time where there was a series of marches and literally thousands of students would get out and they would walk down High Street and they would parade down main street hooting and hollering making noises and then turn and go back up Algoma and back up to campus and in indelibly someone would do something stupid and, there was, there were arrests and there were you know there because was people would get drunk and then they 31:00would… Cops would come out and would maintain order and they would say something stupid or they would push the cops or whatever it got pretty dumb for a while there and after a while we would just we're like ok. I mean I went along and participated in a couple of them and then I was like "people are gonna you're gonna get in trouble" so I gave up on that so uhm I remember one time, it must've been 88 I think, it was probably 1988 uhm Gorge bush came.

MC: Gorge Bush came?

JJ: And spoke on campus that was part of it. It was part of the election and he was campaigning and so he came and to speech and stuff on campus and it was pretty cool. Uhm, just the fact of you know he wasn't president yet but you know 32:00having somebody and you know and it was here. That was home for me, at the time, so it was like "Hay, we had a national figure come into my place" so that was kinda neat.

MC: So, your time here what did you do for fun with your buddies?

JJ: Well I kinda mentioned it already. We did a lot of card playing in the dorms, we gathered and watched TV and watched sports on TV together. Uhm I can I can remember on Packer Sundays wanting to create the experience of being at Lambaeu so we would, you know when it was freezing cold outside we would open up our window all the way and sit there with blankets on and stuff and screaming and hollering at the game.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: and you know, there was, there were parties and stuff.

MC: So, with that being said, what were the bars like? Like the culture. I know 33:00Oshkosh is ranked 2nd in the country for you know drinking city. Uhm did you go out much when you were of legal age?

JJ: We did. Uhm when I was in ROTC I developed a new set of friends that were kinda my army friends and we would go frequently to Kelly's.

MC: Kelly's.

JJ: And we shot darts. We shot darts like crazy I'm still a little bit of a dart shark because of my college days but that was our biggest thing. And then uhm at that time Molly Maguire's was that, was like the dance club.

MC: The dance club?!

JJ: So, if you wanted to go and like we would go to Kelly's and shot darts for a while and have a couple of drinks and then if we wanted we would go see if we 34:00could find some girls or something; Molly's and see what was going on there

MC: Yeah.

JJ: Barney's, which is not even there anymore. Uhm and there was a bar, it was pretty funny. There was bar called "The Library" so you could always tell your mom if you were going out you could say "don't worry mom we're going to the library."

MC: So, like do you remember anything specific that you know stands out to you? Or like your friends?

JJ: About the bars?

MC: Yeah.

JJ: Uhm, loud they were so loud, Molly's and Barney's. The music was always so loud.

MC: Were they, were these places the most popular places?

JJ: Uhm, yeah I think so. I would say probably Kelly's Barney's and Molly's were the places because they were so close to campus you could just walk and you could be there. Uhm, Kelly's always was more of a upper classmen. You didn't see 35:00too many of the really rowdy obnoxious stuff. Uhm Molly's was the dance club so that's where the girls were and that's where you know. It was kind of a meat market kinda of a thing. Uhm, and Barney's was, Barney's was like a blend between a college bar and a biker bar.

MC: Biker bar?

JJ: It was more of a rough edge. They would give bands, Barney's would have live music and they would be like heavy metal bands and stuff like that so you would get this hardcore, you know, rock and roll group of people who would go in there and they… It was more common to see fights and stuff at Barney's.

MC: Yeah. Uhm, so you said that there's a lot of girls at these bars. So, 36:00Oshkosh is known as a nursing school; was there more women than men or was it equal?

JJ: I think, at the time, it was pretty close to 50/50. Uhm it might have been you know percentage wise girls but it was not like… I know that some of the schools that we, comparatively, like uhm Stout like I think was almost 2:1 girls at the time.

MC: Oh wow.

JJ: Because it was like a big home economics. It was a big program that they offered there and but you know considering that fact that at the time I came here to Oshkosh was best known for nursing and education that the, at the time, there were way more girls going into teaching then there were guys so I mean there was… It's surprising that the numbers weren't higher but it was, it was 37:00pretty even I think.

MC: Uhm, so for your education classes was there more women than men or was it equal too?

JJ: No, I would say more women. Uhm, and by that time I was, by the time I went back and went to college to get license for teaching, I was a nontraditional student at that point. I was already twenty-eight, twenty-nine so I was not your typical college student.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: But, I think things have changed by that time too. There seemed to be more guys that were going into education.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: You always had a certain percentage of guys who wanted to be teachers so they could coach

MC: Coach, oh yeah! For sure.

JJ: There was always a group of guys who, you could tell, they wanted to be a coach and if they had to teach to get that coaching job well they…


MC: Did you ever coach in high school or?

JJ: I did for two years. For, not my first year, but my second and third years I taught or I coached basketball.

MC: Basketball.

JJ: And then my son was born and we had a daughter already, and my wife said "basketball season is way too long you can't be that gone that much for that long: so I was like…so I resigned from that. My intent was always maybe someday getting back into it when my kids got older but, now I don't teach anymore so…

MC: And did you teach at the same school ever since you became a teacher or did you teach other in other school?

JJ: Uhm, all in Wautoma.

MC: Wautoma?

JJ: Yeah.

MC: Uhm, your wife you obviously said that she went to the Tech.

JJ: Mhm

MC: Did you meet her here at Oshkosh?

JJ: No. She's actually from Wild Rose too. Uhm, so, we knew each other from high 39:00school but never went out.

MC: No?

JJ: In high school, in fact her older brother was in my grade so it was like, you know, you don't pay any attention to her because that's Tommy's sister so leave her alone. But after we've been away at school for a couple of years I saw her. We were home over the summer, we were out somewhere and we started talking and twenty-five years later here I am.

MC: Yeah. Uhm, so, going back to the main, was there any campus issues or any other major issues? Like saying political, cultural or relating that you could recall?

JJ: No, I don't think so, it was a pretty mellow time. Uhm Desert Storm happened 40:00while I was in school but I, it wasn't like I… I've heard stories from other people who went to school here in the in the late 60's like 70's during Vietnam and they said that the marches and the protests that went going on campus were pretty wild. Uhm I don't recall anything, you know? There weren't anything that seemed to be major going on at the time that I was in school so it was just kind of do your thing.

MC: So, what did you learn at UWO? Like your time here? Did you get uhm all the information that you needed to become a teacher? Did you Uhm…?

JJ: I would say my first go around was not as productive as I could've made it and I think it was, not that I intentionally choose to not be productive, but I 41:00kind of found the path of least resistance and just tried to get, especially. I kind of had that deadline you have to get a degree because your army status. So, I just, I had a good time and probably screwed around too much and then had to get serious about it and get that get that degree and just get done.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: And then when I came back for education, for teaching then it was, then it was what I put in to it and it was what I got out of it when I needed it at that point Cause I… And I was more mature and I was in my upper twenties. And I realized that I'm walking away from one job to pursue another and I got to do well at it to make it happen so.


MC: So, when you came back you said that your education degree, teaching degree, I forgot what I was I was gunna ask… It was like campus life, was the same was it different?

JJ: Uhm, my perspective, it was different but I think that was probably more me than was actually happening on campus. It was probably pretty similar here but I was older and didn't live on campus anymore and I was married so we, no, we didn't have any kids at that time but yeah we did when I came back to get my teachers license my oldest daughter was born so I worked at UPS in the morning. 43:00Worked from four in the morning until 8:30 or 9:00. Then I went to school, whatever classes or whatever schedule I had that semester, and then I went picked up my daughter at daycare, studied whenever I could. For me campus life was not an issue. It was, you know? I spent whatever time I had to on campus and I had to be somewhere else.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: So.

MC: Were you living at Oshkosh at the time or where you?

JJ: Yeah, we had, that time we were… Did we own a house? Yes.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: Yeah, we own, we bought our first house.

MC: Yeah.

JJ: And we were living in, we had on the Northside of time by off of Main Street a couple of blocks East of Main. And so, you know, we had our little new home 44:00and it was cool.

MC: Yeah. So, this is about post college. So how did you feel when you finished college? Like with, you know, you're done with classes, you got your degree uhm you know? Did you go out and find a job right away? Or did you time some time off and figure out what you were gunna do?

JJ: Ok. Well two parts to that because when I graduated the first time I was working at UPS and I just wanted to be done so that I could pursue GPS and that's what I thought I was gunna do. Uhm, so, there was very little change I still continued to work the same then when I was at UPS without having to go to, excuse me, without having to go to school. It gave me the opportunity to expand my hours at UPS so I was able to pick up more time working there and we just we 45:00kind of used that first year to, after I finished school the first time, to try to establish ourselves and that's when we saved enough money; when we got the down payment for the house and so we bought our first house at that point. Uhm, the second time when I came back and was getting my license to teach I was in my last semester, was set to graduate in January of 2000 and started looking student teaching I had done 9 weeks at Oshkosh West, at the high school, and then the second nine weeks I was at Marlin Middle school, here in town.

MC: Ok.

JJ: And while I was doing that second 9 weeks I was starting to look ahead, looking for the job opportunities in the area and things and a plus of resumes 46:00and applications and I found out that there was gunna be an opening in Wautoma. And I don't know if you're familiar with this story of how I got that job?

MC: No.

JJ: Uhm there was a history teacher, who had been at Wautoma for about thirty-five years or something like that and Mrs. Badura?

MC: Her?

JJ: her husband

MC: Oh, yeah!

JJ: They were on their way to Madison to watch a badger game and a car coming from the other direction hit a deer, threw the deer up to their windshield and it came through their windshield and Mr. Badura was killed. And so, they had to find someone to replace him and they hired a man name Mr. Bradley to finish out first semester. He just did it as a favor and then so they were looking for a 47:00long term sub for second semester I went and interviewed with Mr. Kasuboski

MC: Mhm

JJ: Got the job.

MC: Awesome!

JJ: And I was just supposed to be for the semester, postpone the job for the next year. And I interviewed again and got picked me on and then after that it was 15 years later.

MC: And with that, how did this impact your family did you have to move from Oshkosh elsewhere?

JJ: Yeah, yup, we had been wanting to move back closer to home anyway. We didn't want to, we didn't really like living in the city. Uhm, if we had to move back towards Waushara County we probably would have looked for something in the country outside of Oshkosh to get out of the city. But uhm when I got that job 48:00my wife was working at the Tech in Oshkosh at that time and so for us to move to Poy Sippi, it was close to her family, it was 20 minutes for me to drive to work and it was what? Half an hour for her? And so, it worked out pretty well but yeah we ended up finding a house within 2 miles from her parents' house and her brother lived in town in Poy Sippi so it was like right there.

MC: Yeah. And what does your wife do for a living, do she?

JJ: She works at the, she's part of this support staff at Fox Valley Tech, she works up at Appleton now and she works in a testing center. So, I don't know if they have that here or not but they… Some of the professors or instructors at the Tech, will when they're gunna give a test they don't give their test in the class.


MC: Ok

JJ: They have, they send, the tests to the on the computer at the testing center where students can go in and take the tests at their convenients so she hands out monitors and proctors the tests.

MC: Awesome!

JJ: Catches the cheaters.

MC: So, uhm what are your thoughts about UWO?

JJ: I'm impressed! This has been, the renovations and the improvements I've seen on campus in the last ten years are quite impressive of. I wish it would have been more like that when I was at school, but I understand, I remember some of the rinkie dorms cause, you know, we lived in South Scott which, at that time, was, well it's one of the newer dorm buildings.


MC: Yeah.

JJ: So, it was a nicer one. The rooms were carpeted and the other like Fletcher Hall, they had tiled floors.

MC: Tiled floors.

JJ: It was just as, ew grows.

MC: Yeah!

JJ: But I did know that they had been upgrading those all along. Everything is nicer now and the reputation is better, the athletics are better. Ya, you just see that there's more pride, campus community.

MC: Uhm, when you were going to school here what residence halls were set up like you said South Scott, North Scoot, Fletcher?

JJ: Nelson, Breeze, there was, I can't remember what the name of it was, but there was a dorm right next to Reeve Union that they tore down and where that 51:00new, what do you call that that new?

MC: Sage?

JJ: Sage, yeah, nah not Sage building but the ah next to…

MC: Horizon?

JJ: Yeah, where that's built now there used to be a different dorm there.

MC: Really?

JJ: It was one of the older ones.

MC: Mhm, uhm, now to conclude the interview what advice would you give to our current students here at UWO?

JJ: Enjoy it! Uhm, I've been out of school for twenty years and when you leave at, when I was teaching high school I used to tell kids in high school "enjoy your time now because ah it's not getting easier, as you can tell, you may think it's really hard, you may think you're stressed out and can't keep up with this stuff but it's not gunna change when you get done with school. It's just gunna 52:00get more, more responsibilities. You start paying bills and those types of responsibilities and expectations. It doesn't get any easier and so enjoy your time now while you can."

MC: Yeah.

JJ: The carefree lifestyle of college, being in, not having, you know, in high school not having and you have the responsibilities or the… You have your parents watching over, kind of on your case, following ya. College is that experience where it's your first responsibility to make decisions for yourself, be your own responsible person. Some people are good at it, some people fail at it. But you gotta go through that and to have the opportunity to kinda experiment with that and not have a job, not have to be have your lively hood 53:00depend on you, know what you do the next day every day uhm is, I think, is a really good experience you, you know, I've made really good friends while I was here.

MC: Yeah

JJ: I haven't maintained, I haven't kept in touch with an awful lot of them since I left but I remember, the memories, the friends and the memories of the friendships are very good and I remember that stuff and those things. If you graduate from high school and get a job right away

MC: Yeah.

JJ: You're not gunna, you'll never build those types of experiences and memories. So, do it, experience it and enjoy it but do your job while you are 54:00there too so that that education then can take you somewhere.

MC: For sure. Uhm and I have one last question. It's about your friends. You said you haven't kept in touch with them, do you know anything about any of the friends now or?

JJ: A few, I know like where they are and what they're doing. Uhm but honestly, I haven't. We always talked about, well I didn't talk about, but we always here about college class reunions and big groups of buddies getting back together but I haven't been part of that so. It would be fun to find a bunch of those guys and get together sometime but it's been this long and it hasn't happened so I don't know if it will but it was… There was good times, curious about where a lot of them ended up but we will see.


MC: Alright, well thank you! I appreciate your time, you know time out of your day to come here to do the interview. Uhm and I will use this interview to, you know, show other students how life was like when you were here so.

JJ: Back in the day. (Laughs)

Search This Transcript
Search Clear