Interview with Linda Rondeau, 04/26/2018

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Andrew Mertins, Interviewer | uwocs_Linda_Rondeau_04262018_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


AM: Okay and we are recording, and would you mind stating your name and where you're from just for the formality purpose of the recording?

LR: Linda Rondeau, and I live in Phoenix, Arizona.

AM: Okay and alright so to start off I'm going to try to keep this as linear as I can, partly for myself too I can definitely get myself sidetracked with how much I want to say. So we are going to go with, kind of like background of your earlier life before college, the meat of this is going to be obviously when you were in college here and then a little bit after college, what you did after UW Oshkosh or I believe, what was it called when you were here?

LR: WSUO [Wisconsin State University Oshkosh].

AM: WSUO yeah, okay.

LR: That was just for the first couple of years, then it became UWO [University 1:00of Wisconsin Oshkosh].

AM: Okay, alright so for background where did you grow up? Where were you born? And if you stayed there throughout your childhood?

LR: Yeah yes I was born in Milwaukee but primarily was raised in West Allis Wisconsin and I went to Nathan Hale High School.

AM: Okay.

LR: I was the first, my year it was a new high school and my year was the first one that went through all three grades of the new high school, so I graduated in 1968.

AM: Okay yeah, sorry I can hear you well enough I don't know if the recording can so if you would maybe [unclear] speak a little louder or maybe have it a little bit closer?

LR: Sure.

AM: Thank you, thank you. So, sorry you said after Milwaukee it was West Allis?


LR: Yeah.

AM: Okay, okay.

LR: I was raised in West Allis and I went to Nathan Hale High School and my graduating class was the first graduation class through the new school because it opened my sophomore year, we were a sophomore through senior school.

AM: Oh okay, so how, oh I'm sorry I'm trying to figure out how to correctly word this, was your graduating class quite close or or was it, I mean I'm sure there was the cliques and whatnot but maybe explain that a little bit?

LR: Yeah so we were a class of about 453. I would say that you know everyone had their little groups I really was not in a specific clique or anything. And, geez 3:00you know it was so different back then we really didn't really have group sports, you know soccer and all of those things so pretty much you went to school, you took the bus in and you took the bus home. I was a junior varsity cheerleader my senior year, and let's see, that was pretty much the major things, I was in a school play but no major role but, participated there so that was high school.

AM: Okay yeah.

LR: And I think you had a question about how did I pick Oshkosh?

AM: Yeah.

LR: Okay, so, actually I did not want to go away to college my parents and 4:00counselor were putting a lot of pressure on me to go away to school, I said "I am great at home why should I go away to school? I could go to UWM [University of Wisconsin Milwaukee] or Marquette.", and so one night it was when they were doing a college night in the high school and I think it may have been an Oshkosh presentation you know where you went around to the different colleges and there was this classmate of mine, I didn't know her that well but she was sitting right near me and she was talking about her sister going to Oshkosh and we should go there and check out the campus together and then one thing led to another and I ended up going away to Oshkosh based on that, and the fact that she said "Oh lets room together" and so we did, and that's how I ended up at 5:00Oshkosh. But so, we went there I roomed with her for two years, and then she became a resident assistant and I moved from Donner Hall to Scott Hall my Junior year and then the sorority house my senior year.

AM: Oh okay cool, alright I'm going to bring it back a little bit back to your parents. So you, that's interesting that you didn't want to go away but your parents wanted you to go away. So, did your parents go to college or what were they like? Did they go to college?

LR: No. My mom graduated from high school, my dad did not because he, it was during World War II era and also the depression. Though he opted to work so he could bring money home to his family, he was one of eight kids so, but he did 6:00end up getting his diploma in 2008 back in Massachusetts which is where my parents were. They had a program there that if you left high school because of the war you could get you high school diploma.

AM: Oh okay.

LR: And so, so he did go through formal graduation ceremony back in I think it was 2008.

AM: Oh okay.

LR: And I was the only, I had one other, I have a sister. My sister had Down syndrome so she did not go to college, I was the only one that went, so I was the only one that went to college in my immediate family.

AM: Oh okay, so, is that your only sibling then?

LR: Yes.

AM: Okay here let's-- what was your neighborhood like there in West Allis when 7:00you were not in school?

LR: It was a suburb, it was a nice neighborhood, nice school. You know very open, I guess you know, you know we had kids same age so we all played together you know the typical stuff, [kick the rock?], play tag or whatever.

AM: Yeah, yeah alright so yeah we'll go back to the beginning of UWO [University of

Wisconsin Oshkosh] then, so you roomed, sorry your roommate again, did you meet her at this?


LR: Yes, pretty much, I mean, you know she was, but I really did not meet her or really get to know her until we decided to room together and then we went up for like a weekend up there and stayed with her sister who actually is my dearest friend, we talk almost every day so, it's funny I became much closer to her than my initial roommate.

AM: Oh okay.

LR: Yeah, and she went through the nursing program, my roommate [unclear] she ended up going into counseling.

AM: Oh okay, cool. You, sorry you went from Donner correct?


LR: Yes oh actually Donner and then they put up a big deal that "oh geez the heating system wasn't working", and they had to close down Donner and in the middle of our second, in the middle of our second year there and we ended up moving over to Taylor hall for a semester.

AM: Oh okay.

LR: We were not happy campers when they did that to us cause you know you have your [wings?] you're all friends and you're trying to make sure that everybody got to stay together but, we liked our Donner Hall, so I don't, I think it's still a dorm isn't it?

AM: Yes it is, it's still here.

LR: It's still there?

AM: That and then, sorry you also said the Scott's?

LR: And then I went from Donner to Taylor and then Taylor, my Junior year was Scott Hall.

AM: Okay.

LR: And that year I ended up having a roommate, you know one of those [unclear], 10:00you know somebody you really didn't know, just somebody you got assigned. But she was a nice girl, so I lucked out there.

AM: Okay yeah, you want to maybe explain a little bit of the dorm life a little? You know, I'm sure it's, you know not like completely changed.

LR: Well back in the late 1960s-70s the dorms were basically same sex so you know, Donner was all women, Taylor was all women, you know, Fletcher was an all male dorm so all the dorms were separate. We had curfews, they would call it the fish bowl, I don't know if they call anything a fishbowl anymore but that was 11:00the entry way and so on weekends I can't remember if it was eleven curfer or midnight and if you were out on a date or whatever you were coming back, everybody would gather in the lobby with their, you know their boyfriend, girlfriend whatever and then they'd get the lights blinking on and off 5 minutes ahead of shutdown and then that was kind of back in that day we ate in the commons, Donner Hall we ate in the Union.

AM: Okay.

LR: Scott Hall, well we had our own cafeteria in Scott Hall.

AM: Oh.

LR: Cause that was two towers, it was all female on one tower and all men on the other-- and food was average, nothing that you remember very much about, let's 12:00see, but dorm life was fun we had a good time, we'd have parties, we'd you know, all nighters while we were studying for exams and you got to know the girls pretty good in your dorm.

AM: Yeah are you still fairly close with a good amount of people who were close friends in the dorms or?

LR: Well, in the dorms I do stay in touch with my former roommate, but then not frequent, but her sister who lived in the dorm, same floor as us, but she was on the other side of the wing, her and I are very close so yes, with her and then 13:00the other friendships that really evolved were from the sorority.

AM: Yeah, oh yeah for sure.

LR: So I do have about three or four that I'm close to.

AM: Okay.

LR: In fact one of them we met our, let's see was it our junior year? No Sophomore year she pledged in sophomore spring, I pledged in first semester Junior but she lives here in Phoenix, part of the reason why I felt good about moving to Phoenix was that I knew her and we're leaving next month for Tokyo and we are going to meet up with a sorority sister who's going to be there for a couple of months with her husband because he's teaching at one of the Universities there, so yeah I would say that there have been friendships that, 14:00you know have evolved from those days.

AM: Yeah, wow. You talked about there was a cafe in Scott ,was that on the first floor?

LR: Yes.

AM: Okay, okay I was just trying to get an image of it cause it's funny, they have a sub place there now, so more than likely hasn't changed a whole lot.

LR: Right, and I would say I lived through a very tumultuous era at Oshkosh, in 1968 in November, well this year will mark the fifty year anniversary of when the blacks demonstrated on the campus and overturned down the registrar's office.

AM: Oh yeah definitely.

LR: [unclear] Black Thursday, yeah it was a Thursday and we, think I saw the 15:00kids sitting in the, in the administration office while we were going to class [unclear] you know, you didn't think too much about it but as the day progressed you started hearing more that the [unclear] was coming to town, the Black Panthers were gonna come to town, and by midnight they made an announcement over the PA system in the dorms that they wanted us to go home, now.

AM: Yeah.

LR: So it was a lot of turmoil, a lot of kids that were calling parents to come and pick them up. I called my dad and he said "well can you get a ride with somebody?" so I was one of the last ones to leave, about 6:30 the next morning so that was Friday, got home and then actually I went to school, went to my high 16:00school and went and visited because, you know, it was unusual to be back because that was the Thursday before thanksgiving, so we, they shut down Thursday, Friday and then the following week. I packed up most of my stuff in the dorm because you didn't know if there was gonna be any damage or whatever but nothing really happened, but there was some hysteria in the dorms, kids starting to cry because they were worried about their moms coming to pick them up and if they were going to get stopped, you know by the police and would they get to the dorms, so it was kind of an interesting time shall we say.

AM: Oh yeah.

LR: That was my, that was my freshman year. My sophomore year we had the 17:00demonstration for Cambodia, you know, and all of that, and we went out to the bars and when we came back there was about maybe a dozen kids with their bandanas around their foreheads, and they were digging up Algoma Boulevard. So you can imagine the Union [Reeve Memorial Union], so the whole width of the street and I would say, maybe forty feet or so, I mean it was a pretty big, they dug about a foot below the, you know the pavement.

AM: Yeah.

LR: They dug up the street. I don't know if you've ever heard of that one, but they dug up the street and the next morning the city had come through and paved it all back up, but then there was demonstrations and they called the National 18:00Guard. So we had the National Guard lining up and down Algoma Boulevard. And we would all go and be spectators watching everything going on and then the police would tell us if we aren't moving they're going to arrest us, so then we'd all kind of walk and move and whatnot, but that was my sophomore year so we had that excitement.

AM: Yeah, hey Linda I don't mean, alright I do not mean to be rude at all, I just want us to maybe slow it down a little bit because you're giving me amazing information right now and it's funny because all of this I was prepared to talk about so, do you think we could take it a step back to Black Thursday again?

LR: Sure.

AM: So, Black Thursday you know, I know the story, we went through it in class and I even had to do a little research of my own but, I guess what I want to ask you is what was that day like for you, how was the whole feeling around campus? 19:00Was it, you know was everybody pretty freaked out or, kind of how was it? Pure chaos or what?

LR: No, no because I mean they were all contained inside the administration office so, you know we knew that that had happened but, you know it was really, at least for me it was just going to classes as usual. It wasn't until the evening when they, things started to elevate but they were about having kids on campus, and they wanted to have us go home.

AM: Okay.

LR: So they shut down the campus.

AM: Now did you know any of the students who were in the office, or?

LR: I would say that we had two African American women on my floor in the dorm, 20:00I imagine they were there because they didn't come back. Because basically just, I believe all of them ended up getting suspended or expelled for the rest of the year.

AM: Yeah.

LR: One thing I do remember is that it was kind of sad because not all of the black students really wanted to do that, but I remember because there was one guy his name was [Charlie Smith?] I think his name was. And he ended up pledging Delta Sig [Delta Sigma Phi] so he was the first African American that joined the [fraternities?] there and he went Delta Sig, and he didn't want to do that. He was a really really nice guy but what I remember hearing is that they would get pressure from other African Americans, like they would go in the elevator and several of them would come in and they would pressure others to participate in 21:00that event, I guess.

AM: Okay.

LR: So, in a way it's kind of sad because some kids really didn't want to participate and they felt pressured to do so.

AM: Oh yeah, definitely. Could I get that man's name one more time, was that a Charlie Smith?

LR: I think it was Charlie Smith. If you are able to research Delta Sig back in 1969, because he obviously was kicked out and he came back so it would probably be 1969-1970 that he pledged Delta Sig.

AM: Okay did,

LR: And I think his name was Charlie Smith.

AM: Did they, did the fraternity allow him back after he was kicked out of the 22:00school and came back?

LR: Yeah, yeah I mean he had not pledged by then he pledged I think after that.

AM: Okay.

LR: But they accepted him, yeah he was pretty popular.

AM: Well cool, and I have to say this is awesome that we are talking about this because I am a current Delta Sig, and we can definitely go on Greek life a little bit later because there's definitely a, there's some other stuff I want to try and talk about first but yes, this is actually very funny that this is almost coming full circle right now. So, you said the Cambodia demonstrations, that was Richard Nixon Correct? With invading Cambodia? I was going to say you want to go on that a little bit more too then?

LR: So, well I told you, you know about them digging up the street and actually 23:00the next morning, or maybe that's how it started, the morning before they dug up the street the night before, the next morning we had a student his name was Doc and he kind of looked like Jesus Christ, he had his car parked in the middle of Algoma Boulevard I remember with his hood up to stop traffic. That was kind of the start of the day and then as the day progressed then you saw that the National Guard had come into Oshkosh and they were all lined up both sides of the street, with their guns and everything watching the demonstrators. I was not a demonstrator I was just a spectator.


AM: Yeah okay, so, sorry I'm going to bring it back you were a Journalism major correct?

LR: Yes.

AM: Did you know you wanted to be a Journalism major before you came to the school or was that when you got here you decided that?

LR: Well, that was a default major for me, I actually wanted to be an International Relations major.

AM: Okay.

LR: And so when I went to meet up with the chairman of the department, he turned around and said to me if I'm not planning to get a PhD then I had no business being in his department.

AM: Wow.

LR: So yeah and if I look at it today I'd have to say he was pretty stupid, because he only had about 11 or 12 people in his whole department. Now if you 25:00have that small, if you want to sustain your department, you would want to make sure you got people enrolled in it regardless if they're gonna go for their PhD or not, but anyway he was, kind of not very nice, so I went through and had to come up with another major. I didn't want to teach, I did not like science, business and engineering really were not that popular at the time, and journalism that was just a new major at the time. And I thought it fit my personality or whatever, so that's how I ended up as a journalism major.

AM: Okay, nice.

LR: [unclear] So, but I never really did too much with it.

AM: Oh okay, you weren't involved with anything like the Advance Titan on campus 26:00or anything like that with the major?

LR: I did write an article for the Advance Titan, I was more interested in PR [Public Relations] than in news writing, but I did do an article, I did a Russia study tour so I had written an article about the trip. And that was pretty much it.

AM: Okay. So, of course everyone has to take general education classes no matter what college you go to. What were some of the general requirements for you when you were going there?

LR: Well we had to do 10 credits, 5 a semester. A science or math, I made the mistake of doing geology, that was a huge mistake that was not a good grade for 27:00me. I should have done math, I don't know why not because I'm good at math, but, anyway so I took geology and then what was it, 128 credits to graduate. I pretty much did the [unclear] every semester. General classes the english, history, I did chinese philosophy course, one I could not understand how he graded, what symbols [he missed for grading?]. It just was not a good course for me I think I dropped it. But, yeah, can't remember too much I mean it was all basic classes.


AM: Yeah, yeah I don't blame you there, I wish I could forget some of my general ed classes.

LR: Yeah

AM: Alright then here, yeah we can, oh yeah I definitely want to move on to the greek life now. So, Gamma Phi Beta that was your junior year you pledged you said?

LR: Yes

AM: Okay, how was the pledge process like for you then?

LR: I actually started the pledge process my sophomore year but I didn't understand some of it, so I kind of ended up dropping out of the pledging my sophomore year, but then I went back at it in my junior year, we had a small class. Back in those days you know we, you know now you can't haze or anything like that but we did a lot of pranks, the pledge class.


AM: Yeah.

LR: Pranks that would not be allowed today by any stretch of the imagination, but we had a good time it's not like we did bad things it's just that, you know some of that stuff just is not viewed the same way anymore, but we had only 7 in my pledge class the fall and then I got involved, I was treasurer my senior year and so I got involved in, some of the offices. And I lived in the house my senior year on Titan Court. I enjoyed living in the house. My roommate got married at the end of the semester, first semester so I actually had a room to myself, and I stay in touch with her. So, but eah the dances, the toga parties 30:00and the, what do you call them?

AM: Socials maybe?

LR: Yeah the socials, the Christmas parties and the St. Patrick's day parties, St. Patrick's was big during my time in Oshkosh, that was a pretty big event for the whole campus, but we would do green pancakes, and screwdrivers, and bloody mary's for breakfast for St. Patrick's Day, cause the drinking age at least for beer was 18 back then and then 21 for hard liquor. And [unclear] I have my fake 31:00I.D. still.

AM: Well yeah.

LR: But, yeah in also my senior year our Gamma Phi guy was a Delta Sig.

AM: Oh really?

LR: Yeah very, very nice guy, very [unclear]. They ended up marrying and unfortunately, a few years ago he ended up passing away from kidney cancer his name was Jim Early. I don't know if you've ever heard that name.

AM: I'm not sure if I have, but I was going to ask for the name just in case if I did know them.

LR: Yeah, Jim Early and [Renee Favor?], that was our Gamma Phi and she married Jim Early. Really nice nice guy, Delta Sigs were always viewed as a really nice 32:00group of guys.

AM: Yeah, oh yeah I don't think much has changed.

LR: Good, good yeah.

AM: But yeah,

LR: And I have stayed involved with the sorority ever since.

AM: Oh yeah okay. Why did you join? Was there any big thing that caught you or was it other friends that might have joined?

LR: I think it was, it wasn't other friends it was a way of meeting more people and it just, was a way to be more engaged in the campus life.

AM: Okay yeah definitely. So you said you held the treasurer position was there any others you held?

LR: Uh-- probably some chairs and some of the rush parties.


AM: Oh okay.

LR: But, since I didn't pledge until my junior year I only had one full, you know year my senior year to do something.

AM: Yeah, yeah definitely. How was the whole greek community as a whole, who was, I might, I don't know all of the dates of when chapters were here or chartered, or like Delta Sig when they were rechartered, but yeah what was like some of the other sororities and fraternities on campus and the relationship between them?

LR: There were six sororities. We had Alpha Xi [Alpha Xi Delta], Chi Omega, Gamma Phi,

Alpha Xi Delta, Delta Zeta, and Phi Mu were the sororities. And then the 34:00fraternities were Delta

Sig, [Phi Sigma?], Sigma Pi, Delta Chi, and I think that was [unclear] yeah Sig Pi [Sigma Pi], [Phi Sig?], Delta Sig, Delta Chi. I think that was it. And then we also, our chapter also closed down in the late 70s and it got reactivated in the mid 80s.

AM: Oh okay.

LR: I think there was a lack of interest for a while there with the Greek life and so they weren't getting their membership.


AM: Yeah, actually that to the next question how were your numbers when you were in there?

LR: I wanna say were maybe 70 or so, 70 to 80 which was big for that time but you hear other campuses that were way over 100 well over 100 especially, you know, some of the southern chapters, you know they're almost 200. You know I just, it's amazing, but like Milwaukee, UWM, their Gamma Phi chapter at Oshkosh is maybe what 35v maybe? 40?


AM: Even I think they might be a little bit more than that, I think they might be around upwards of 50 now because I know it's them and Zeta Tau Alpha are the two largest and Delta Sig is I believe we're the second largest right now and Sigma Pi is largest, but with our, we have a pledge class for the spring right now is actually 9 guys for us so that would more than likely put us over for Sig Pi [Sigma Pi], so--

LR: Okay, what was that other one you said there was Gamma Phi and then there was, what was the other one you said alpha [unclear].

AM: Yeah, Zeta Tau Alpha, I can't remember when they got here but that had to have been probably around the late 80s maybe late 80s, early 80s when Gamma Phi was rechartered.

LR: Okay, right, yeah 85 was when, yeah Gamma Phi rechartered yeah. I went to 37:00that, because I was involved with the UWM [University of Wisconsin Milwaukee] alumni group I was treasurer-- for a couple of years when I lived in Milwaukee, and then I got involved with the Beta Kappa chapter here at ASU [Arizona State University] and I was on [unclear] Alumni Corporation Board as the treasurer for about 5 ½ years, and then I also was one of the chairs for the convention here when we had it in 2006. I had the award banquet, so yeah here and there I did things, not active right now.

AM: Oh okay.

LR: I mean, in a sense of doing an office or anything, but we have a Phoenix alumni group and we have get togethers and we always go, my girlfriend [Donna?] 38:00we always go [unclear], stuff like that so, but I hear there's going to be a big thing for the greeks this year at homecoming? Is that what I was hearing? Do you know anything about that?

AM: I'm trying to think what might be coming up-- I mean I know homecoming we usually try to make a big deal, but I can't remember what might be coming right now.

LR: Yeah cause she, every year, I don't know if you know [Chris Gantner?], she's and alumni director. So she does a thing out here every spring, we do a Brewer [Milwaukee Brewers] tailgate party.

AM: Okay.

LR: And so we have an alumni group that gets together-- and she was mentioning that there was going to be something for the greeks, and I said "Oh, I better get there one of these days". I haven't been to Oshkosh for decades so I'd like 39:00to get back there and see the campus.

AM: Yeah, I'll tell you I think you'd be surprised, because there's some alumni Delta Sigs who will come. I think even when I was pledging my freshman year some came and they were impressed. Like the union [Reeve Memorial Union], it was called Reeve when you were here right?

LR: Yes.

AM: Yeah it's completely newly renovated, I think when you come you'll see they have new, they're going to have new football fields out in front of the Gruenhagen's, which are some dorms I don't know if those were there while you were here?

LR: Gruenhagen was, Gruenhagen and Scott.

AM: Okay, then yeah those new stadiums or fields are going to be right in front of there, they're going to be artificial turf. So yeah, you'll definitely be in for a treat. So with that being said, what were all the buildings that were here 40:00at the time, when you were here?

LR: So we had, well for the dorms we had Donner, Taylor, Scott, Gruenhagen-- god what was it-- for the men's I know there was Fletcher, Clemens-- there were a few others over by the Fletcher area. I'm trying to [unclear] what those dorm names were, some of them they shut down, I don't think they're there anymore-- we had, you know Clow was a big lecture place-- Polk as the library, Polk Library?

AM: Yes, still a library.

LR: -- Halsey?


AM: Halsey, yeah.

LR: Science, yeah. Halsey for science-- of course the Union [Reeve Memorial Union], and there was another building next to Halsey, I can't-- I think Harrington?

AM: Harrington yes, yes.

LR: Yeah Harrington-- I think that was the major buildings that I recall on campus.

AM: Okay.

LR: And then of course the-- athletic building, I'm trying to think of where that was.

AM: Albee?

LR: Albee, yes.

AM: Yeah Albee, I think it's like right next to Reeve [Reeve Memorial Union].

LR: Right.

AM: Yeah right on, or off Algoma [Algoma Boulevard].


LR: Right-- trying to think of what those two other women dorms were. I thought one started with an E but I can't-- can't think of it.

AM: Evans?

LR: Evans, that's it Evans, yeah.

AM: Oh cool, well it's funny that all of those are pretty much named the same but the one, where was Clemens?

LR: Clemens was right across-- I'm thinking that was the one right next to the Reeve Memorial Union.

AM: Oh, okay.

LR: So, if you go in the main door and you go about halfway up and off to the right, I think that was Clemens.

AM: Okay.

LR: [Unclear] Clemens or Fletcher and then the other one was behind it. Is 43:00Clemens still there?

AM: I believe it is, and I live in there right now I believe it's Horizon Village. It's the new, well relatively new suite dorm where it's typically about, you have three other roommates including yourself which is, yeah I have two guys I went to high school with and another one they play football with. And, Fletcher was just recently renovated and they have rooms for up to three people now, it's very nice in there.

LR: Okay.

AM: So hopefully they take you on a tour of the campus, because yeah if you haven't been here in awhile there's a lot that's different.

LR: Probably won't even recognize it.

AM: Yeah, I'm sure like the Scott's and Gruenhagen, and some of the other ones look pretty much the same but, there's definitely a lot of other add ons.

LR: Yeah.

AM: So going off of that, you, the drinking age was 18 at the time for beer you 44:00said so, I assume you went out to the bars often on the weekends maybe or?

LR: Yes, Friday, Saturday we would get there and then we'd have to stand in line, so we started to get smart and we'd go to the bars at 6:00 so we wouldn't have to stand in line because it would be winter out and, I mean we would stand out in line for an hour and a half to get in [unclear], but that was our entertainment on weekends-- we had [Tosher's?] and that was the big one, the B.I. the [Bavarian Inn?], and then [Andy's Library?] was next door to [Tosher's?]. That was by the railroad tracks, and that was 21.

AM: Okay-- were some of these then pretty much just like right across the street 45:00from the campus then, like they are now?

LR: Yes.

AM: Okay, okay.

LR: Is there still [Mars?] there? Well, probably not.

AM: Yeah the ones, no, the ones that are here now are Molly McGuire's, that's, what street is that on, I mean it's still real close to the campus, there's the French Quarter, and then Kelly's which is like right across the parking lot from Gruenhagen. And there's a couple others when you go downtown. I haven't been down there, but that's because I can't get in to bars, well every once in a while I can wiggle my way through sometimes, but yeah.

LR: Right. So is it 21 now even for beer?

AM: Yeah, yeah 21.

LR: Okay. Yeah I think things were a little more [lax?] back in my day because 46:00it was easy to buy a fake ID card, you know?

AM: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

LR: And I still have them and I look at them and I go "Ha ha ha, what a joke!" [unclear] at 21 looking at those pictures with a bow in my hair I mean, really give me a break, but anyway yeah. And it really wasn't so much that you wanted to drink it was just that you wanted to meet people and talk and whatnot. But, the [B.I.?] was the real popular one. That we had to walk up a bit for and then what was my favorite pizza place? The Red Lantern.

AM: Okay.

LR: I still even know that phone number. And, because that was, you know, I think I must have ordered there every week.

AM: Where was that located then?


LR: The Red Lantern was-- where was that? I think it was a little more near Main Street.

AM: Okay.

LR: And then there was, what was it called? [unclear]-- Oh I can't think of the name of it, but there were some [unclear], the [Bee's?], they used to call it the [Bee's?]. That was over by Main Street, there was another popular place but unless you had a car you didn't typically go there. It was just too far.

AM: Yeah okay. So yeah, with all that being said about outside the campus how was Oshkosh as a city or did you guys not really go venturing that far out? Just that far maybe ner Main [Main Street] or?

LR: We stayed pretty much near campus and then sometimes we would hitch, well in 48:00that day we thought it was more acceptable to accept a ride rather than the hitchhike, but then we heard that that probably was not, that was a failed process but, you know if we wanted to get out by the highway where K-Mart was, I think it was K-Mart. We, you know like a Sunday afternoon or something we would hitchhike out there.

AM: Oh okay.

LR: But otherwise we didn't really leave the campus because we, nobody had cars.

AM: Yeah-- Alright, I'm going to bring it back kind of to the bars but I, what I want to ask and this is the music geek in me. So yeah, what-- what was the music in there? What were some of the artists, I mean I could take a stab at some of them but, you know. I don't know entirely, like what kind of music was played in the bars back then, so--


LR: Yeah-- well I know one song that I always liked was I Heard It On The Grapevine.

AM: Marvin Gaye's version?

LR: Yeah, Marvin Gaye.

AM: Oh love it, love it.

LR: Yeah, yeah. And actually for music, so and [unclear] I like my rock n' roll 50's music. When I went there, I think it was even on like registration weekend where you'd come up before you actually start school, but they had three rooms in Reeve Memorial Union and they were music rooms. They had a jazz room, a pop room, and the symphony. And they were just, maybe not even as big as the dorm room was, but they had a big stereo in there a big, I don't know it wasn't just 50:00the stereo it was a bigger machine than that and you could play music there. And they had, you know different albums and actually for me the album that, and the singer that I really liked was [Johnny Napis?] and I, in there it had the album [Heavenly?]. And I still have that today.

AM: Okay.

LR: And that's from [college?]. But that was I-- and then what was the other song? It was-- oh god-- I got the album, I have to think-- ["and this old world starts getting me down"?]-- and I'm trying to think of who that group was. But, anyway that one was in there. And, you know we would have our albums in our dorm.

: [unclear].

LR: [I had?] a little record player, so.


AM: Sorry, what was that?

LR: I had a record player in my dorm room, so we would play some records in there.

AM: Oh okay yeah. I was going to say, I was going to ask if you did have one.

LR: Yeah. What was the other one?-- Yeah I can't think of very many others, The Beatles.

AM: Yeah, yeah-- Well yeah also with that being said, so obviously the big, one of the big events when you know 1969 comes up is Woodstock. Did you know anyone who went to Woodstock that might have went to Oshkosh?

LR: No I didn't.

AM: Oh okay-- Was there a lot of talk on campus about it when it came up or was it just kind of a--?

LR: Yeah I, at least in my circle of friends it was not a big deal. We weren't 52:00what you would call the big, you know-- we weren't really big in the whole peace movement or, I mean the hippie era other than maybe having bell bottoms and putting a patch on our jeans or something like that but, we really weren't heavy into that at the time.

AM: Yeah okay-- Oh, so 1970 when 18 year olds got the right to vote was that a big deal to anyone there on campus?

LR: No, because we weren't able to vote then.

AM: Oh okay.

LR: I wasn't, I didn't get to vote until, well I didn't, my first presidential election was 1972.


AM: Oh okay.

LR: And I had already graduated then from college.

AM: Yeah okay-- The, sorry I keep, sorry I keep spitting out just dates and events but i'm trying to, just I did a little research and just wanted to see what might have sparked any triggers on campus. The Kent State protests, did any of that kind of come back and resonate with Oshkosh?

LR: Well-- I would say certainly that but also the explosion at Madison.

AM: Oh okay, I don't know if I read into that.

LR: Yeah the-- I think one teacher was killed, I think he was a math teacher. But, there was a bombing at Madison in one of the classrooms, and that was all 54:00part of the whole Cambodia era.

AM: Okay, yeah-- Overall how was the-- I guess relationship with the student body I mean I know at this point, you know there's still a lot of racial tension. I mean you know even with the Black Thursday and then other events happening like the assassination of Martin Luther King in was that '68? Yeah 1968. Just kind of how was that relationship especially in Oshkosh with, the interracial you know, having them all in the same classes I mean it was still fairly new at the time.

LR: Well yeah, we only had about, I think 110 blacks on campus. When I went 55:00there, at least in 1968 and we had the two girls that lived in our dorm, and we felt kind of bad because they would not socialize with us. I mean we tried to engage them in stuff going on, but they really kept to themselves. And they were a little more militant I think. And so I think from most of our perspective, we felt that they should be included in anything we're all doing but they chose to isolate themselves.

AM: Okay-- Yeah I guess to me that would be a little understandable, some of the stuff that was going on not necessarily at the campus, but everywhere else too.

LR: You know, actually with Martin Luther King assassination, I was still in 56:00high school and my memory of that was we were having a sports banquet and we were having [Lionel Aldridge?], I don't know if you remember that Packer [Green Bay Packers]?-- Anyway he came to our school to do a speech and I just always felt kind of awkward because Martin Luther King had just gotten assassinated and we had an, you know a black person speaking to basically an all white high school. I just remember that feeling a little, awkward and, you know at that time.

AM: Yeah.

LR: [Unclear] feel kind of bad, you know?

AM: Alright-- so yeah we're definitely coming near the end I just, I'm trying to 57:00figure out what questions I might have left. So, I guess, what, sorry I'm tripping over my own words, at your time here what are some of the things you learned the most that helped you throughout your, later life with working and whatnot?

LR:-- Well I think having [gotten?] a college degree certainly game me [unclear] into my future jobs. You know having the college degree, so it was important to have-- I always had an interest in travel, I did do a three week Russian sight 58:00tour while I was at Oshkosh. And that was a very memorable experience, it was the first time in an airplane and we became a very close-knit group because our professor, in fact his bench is out there it was [unclear] there's a bench outside of Dempsey Hall. It's kind of a curved bench if you ever happen to notice it. But, anyway he died of a brain tumor before the trip and we had to have another professor take us and as a result our whole group that went on the tour became very close-knit. And I stayed in touch with the professor that took us until he passed away maybe about 7 or 8 years ago. So we always stayed in touch, so that's one teacher that you know, was very, I had a very memorable 59:00experience with because we were in Russia during the cold war so, it was a whole different flavor going to Russia.

AM: Yeah, wow how was that like over there that's wow.

LR: It was a great trip it was three weeks, we, I mean, we were in four Russian cities, then we [trained?] out of Russia we were in three Eastern European cities. All in 21 days $575.

AM: Wow.

LR: And that covered everything. Airfare, hotel, food, everything. It was pretty incredible when you think about it.

AM: Yeah.

LR: But it was definitely, and we met with schools [unclear] so it was a really 60:00good trip. So that travel just always stayed with me and I've traveled ever since.

AM: What were all the cities that you traveled too?

LR: Over the years?

AM: Just over that trip.

LR: Oh okay on that trip it was Moscow, it was [Lenanbraugh?] or St. Petersberg, it was [Riga Latvia?], it was [Tishev Moldavia?], and then it was [unclear], Budapest and [Prov?].

AM: Oh okay, wow.

LR: And back in that day in [Tishev?] it was a smaller city, very rural and 61:00[unclear] very unexposed to western ways. They would not allow us to give any gum to any of the kids.

AM: Wow.

LR: They did not want them to learn what gum was. So, and back then you would have little [metals?] and you would trade baby kleenex for a little [metal?] with people, because back then, the kleenex that they had was not like what we're used to.

AM: Yeah.

LR: Brown paper-- So, but yeah it was a great trip and then my senior year I went to Rome on a school trip, but it wasn't a study tour.

AM: Sorry, where was that again?

LR: I went to Rome my senior year.

AM: Oh Rome okay, cool-- Sorry what were those two professors names again?


LR: Dr. [Yuris?[unclear]] [unclear] and then Dr. Donald [Druyere?] D-R-U-Y-E-R-E.

AM: Okay.

LR: And he actually retired out in Tucson [Tucson, Arizona] so I did get to go down to Tucson and visit him.

AM: Well nice.

LR: Yeah, yeah.

AM: So, what jobs have you had since leaving Oshkosh then? It sounds like you've been definitely involved in a lot.

LR: So, my first year I worked in an advertising agency but I was more like a girl [friday?] and, well actually my first year I did not want a career job 63:00right away because I was going to backpack Europe in the fall and then some friends backed out, so I ended up staying at Marquette as a secretary for the first year, and then after I made my big trip to Europe, I then started to look for a job in PR [Public Relations] and ended up working at an advertising agency for about a year, and then it just wasn't going to go anywhere so I found an ad in the paper for college management training program and it turned out that it was at Wisconsin Electric. So I worked in like a sales position at Wisconsin Electric, I was there for about six years, and then I left there and I went into manufacturing and I was an account manager, and so half of my career was in 64:00rubber, well maybe a third of my career was in custom molded rubber parts, and the rest of my time was in [unclear] plastic; and so my customers were global, [Metronic?], [Alcon?], just a lot of big companies, and my job was a sales job slash account management. So, it, got to travel, it was my decision to move and so it was pretty secure, and you were pretty independent. You didn't have a boss 65:00looking over your shoulder telling you what you had to do everyday, you just ran your accounts, so. I got to do one overseas trip to Singapore with one of the jobs, but most of the travel then was North America. Canada, US [United States], Mexico.

AM: Okay cool, wow. Yeah you've been all over the place-- What made you want to move to Phoenix? I mean obviously you know, I'm sure there's the obvious reasons of the nice weather, well nice-ish. It can get pretty hot.

LR: My one girlfriend [Donna?] who was my sorority sister was already living here, and I would travel out here on business and get to visit with her. But what really [prompted?] me, because again I'm one of those that I settle in and, 66:00but I was going with a guy and we broke up and I said "I'm done with Milwaukee, I want out". And my company was willing to relocate me out here, so I moved to Phoenix 30 years ago and, very very happy here.

AM: Yeah wow. Very nice, wish I was living there.

LR: Yeah, well I'm sure this winter everybody wanted to be here. I live in a condo, it's like a town home, but my one set of neighbors is from Franklin [Franklin, WI]. They just left to go back to Wisconsin for the summer yesterday and my other neighbors from Minnesota so, I'm gonna be all by myself here for a 67:00few months.

AM: Well, I guess that shouldn't be too bad.

LR: No it isn't. I don't have to worry about how loud my tv is.

AM: Alright one last question. I know- I hope this hasn't too long for you, what advice would you give to any current students? Because I'm sure there's going to be a lot of students who are going to be listening in on some of these interviews once we archive them.

LR: Oh, say that again? What would I tell them?

AM: Yeah any advice for any current students?

LR: Well, take advantage of any of the experiences that you can have through college. I mean that's the best time to be able to take advantage of trips or 68:00tours or anything like that the school has available for them. I mean it's, you know if I could do it over probably, I'd you know look at doing a different major you know. I say I probably would have done engineering or business, which back in my day really weren't very popular majors. But, regardless of what anyone does I think it's just important to get that education. And take advantage of the opportunities that the campus, or that the university has available because once you're gone then you're starting all over again in the real world, so whatever you bring with you is just an advantage for applying for 69:00jobs once you graduate.

AM: Yeah, alright. Well here I'm going to stop recording right here.



Search This Transcript
Search Clear