Interview with Louis Marohn, 04/19/2018

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Brooke Belter, Interviewer | uwocs_Louis_Marohn_04192018_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


BB: Today is April 19th, 2008. It is roughly just past two in the afternoon. I am Brooke Belter doing a phone interview in the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center. I am interviewing Louis Marohn on his experience through his college years at UW Oshkosh. He has so kindly agreed to sit down and speak for an hour on his campus stories in my oral history project class. Louis can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

LM: Well, I'm currently in Glenview, Illinois. Uh, we got transferred here as a result of the Navy sending me here back in 1978 I believe it was. Uh, I was a Navy officer for 20 years, and this was my last tour of duty at the naval air station here in Glenview. Our intention was to move back up to Wisconsin because 1:00both my wife and I are from Central Wisconsin, and we found out that we loved where we lived, and here we are some 40 years later, still living in Glenview. Uh, but we get out to Wisconsin a lot. My family is up there. I -- I was the oldest of six, so I have four siblings who currently live in the Oshkosh area. All live within five miles of our home, uh, farm, which was west of Oshkosh.

BB: Are you like, originally from Oshkosh? Like, born and raised here?

LM: Well, I was born in Oshkosh but I was raised and grew up on a farm west of Oshkosh on 20th Street Road, which is about five or six miles west of the airport in Oshkosh.

BB: Okay. So, um, a little bit about your family and how you developed to where 2:00you are now in your journey through your experience here at Oshkosh? Uh, did your parents or older siblings go to college?

LM: Uh, no, I was the oldest of six, so I was the first one in our family. My parents did not go to college. Uh, I have one sister and one brother who attended school. Um, my sister, uh, Linda Marohn-Merz, M -- E -- R -- Z, graduated from Oshkosh. My brother, who is since deceased, attended Oshkosh for a couple of semesters, and then went into business for himself, so he did not graduate from Oshkosh. So I was the only one from -- or, I was the oldest, I should say, of our family to go to Oshkosh.

BB: And successfully graduate?

LM: I did graduate in 1961, yeah, yeah.

BB: Did your parents emphasize an education while you were growing up?


LM: They were farmers, so obviously what they wanted their kids to do was to grow up and take over the farm, but they had encouraged us to further our education if that's what we wanted to do. And at one point when I was very young I thought, "Oh my goodness, I'd like to be lawyer!" After I got into college, I decided against that. But, uh, they encouraged to further our education as much as possible. And, uh, you know there was -- even though they did not have an education themselves, I think they were also emphasizing that you should do as much as you can with what you had.

BB: Did they try to emphasize like, the agriculture life? Or whatever you felt suited you?

LM: Well, they emphasized the agriculture life, and that's why -- when I decided to go to school, uh, my parents still said to me, "Well, if that doesn't work 4:00out, you call -- you can always come back here to the farm." And, uh, you know, that was sort of a safety net. Once I got into college, though, I realized that I was not going to ever go back to the farm. But I had had -- from the time of about six years old on, we had chores on the farm. We had to, you know, clean the barns, milk the cows, clean the pens, [unclear] the cows, uh, do all that before we went to school. We went to school, then we came back and we did it all again, then we did our school work. So, uh, it was a hard life.

BB: I'm -- I'm originally from Seymour, WI, which is about 45 minutes from Oshkosh, so I live around all kinds of farms, too, and that's all that the guys and the girls do that were in my classmates, and I was so glad I never had to do any of that!

LM: That's very true. I mean, when I went to high school, I think more than half 5:00of the kids in my high school, which was at Omro, uh, were farm kids. And, you know, we -- not all of us could participate in sports there, because we had -- we had chores to do. We had to get home and, uh, take care of chores. So, you know the life, yeah.

BB: Uh, what values or lessons did you learn growing up in your community?

LM: Well, I -- I think my folks always said, you know, it might be that old standby that says, "Do unto others as you have them do unto you," I mean, my parents were very, very conscientious of church, they were very conscientious of -- of the people that had to be taken care of. We didn't have a whole lot of money there, frankly, but my parents shared as much as they could with those who needed it, and I think that's something that they imparted to us, and it sticks 6:00with us. I know all of my brothers and sisters and I feel the same way.

BB: That's amazing. So, about your education in high school -- about your education in high school, what were your teachers or subjects or other students like?

LM: Well, like I said, most of the kids were farm kids. We went to Omro High School. By the way, I went to a one room school for 8 years for my elementary education. And, you know, you hear the old story about, uh, in the winter time you had to walk a mile uphill while going to school, a mile uphill coming home from school through storms, but we did walk to school, or we road our bikes in the summer time, in the good weather. Uh, so I was very happy to graduate from a one room school, and went to Omro High School. Uh, teachers there, uh, the ones 7:00that I remember the most are the ones that probably had the biggest influence on me eventually going to school. There was a Mrs. Springer who taught English, uh, very, very influential as far as, you know, high school classes were concerned. And then another fellow by the name of Ray Heft who taught agriculture. And, uh, when he died several years ago, I have never seen such an outpouring of student affection for a teacher. He was just a very, very well-loved and well-respected teacher. There were other teachers, uh, Marianne Dorn who taught English, and Charles Lundst (?), who was also a neighbor of our actually, taught social studies. Uh, a lot of, you know, just a lot of very down-to-earth teachers. Gretta Larson taught Eng -- taught, uh, mathematics and algebra. Uh, so there 8:00were a lot of good influences in the Omro High School. Even though the student population there was, I think almost 300 or less, but everybody knew one another. And we supported one another. That was the fun part of it. You knew everybody in high school.

BB: That's -- that's the same for me where I graduated from. I knew everybody, and once I came to the university, it was -- it was so surreal because I was sitting in a classroom with 20 people, and I didn't even know the person's name sitting next to me.

LM: That -- that was it exactly. You know, one of the questions here on the sheet that she gave you a little earlier was, what -- what, uh, what was your scary thing about going to school? And when we went to college, my God, there was about 17 or 1800 in college! But to go from a high school of, you know, 250 to 300 to a college or university where there are 17 or 1800 students, uh, that 9:00was scary! We couldn't even find our way around the buildings.

BB: Um, how did you view higher education growing up?

LM: Well, it was always a goal. Uh, and sometimes, you know, because we -- we didn't have, uh, educated -- college-educated, or high school educated parents, many of us thought it was sort of an unattainable kind of goal, but it was -- it was still a goal that a lot of us had, that's for sure.

BB: What did your parents think about you when you told them that you wanted to go to a university?

LM: I think they encouraged it, but at the same time, they kept the door open for coming back to the farm. My dad had a fairly large farm, and he was depending on those of us boys -- there were four boys and two girls in the 10:00family -- he was depending on at least a couple of boys, you know, coming back to help him at the farm. Because he had increased the farm from the original 160 acres to, uh, 320 acres.

BB: Wow!

LM: And, uh, you know, it -- it needed attention, and it needed work, and he was getting along in years, and he just wanted to make sure that -- that the farm stayed in the family. Which is still has. My younger brother still is on the home front.

BB: Okay. Um, when you first got accepted into UW Oshkosh, what made your final decision to come here?

LM: I was close to home. I mean, I could drive to school. In fact, for my first semester I drove every day. In fact, I made a little note on that, because one 11:00of my high school classmates, Jim Clark, and I were both going to Oshkosh, and he lived about a mile or so from where I did, so we traded off driving back and forth to college. And my dad said -- I didn't have a car at the time, but my dad said, "Well, you can take the pickup truck," so I would drive one day in the pickup truck, and Jim would drive the next day!

BB: So, for your first year as a freshman here, you didn't live at the dorms, you lived at home?

LM: Well, I -- for the first semester. Uh, and then, because I was still -- still milking cows in the morning, and getting ready and going to school, and after -- and then trying to study at night. And then after about, uh, one semester of that, I realized that that wasn't going to work. I went to the bank, and I drew out 72 dollars, which was my tuition for the first semester, which my dad had given me, and I went to the bank on my own, took my money out of my 12:00account, and said, "Dad, here's 72 dollars, I'm paying you back for the first semester. I'm going to move into the rooming house downtown." And actually what I did was I moved into Jim and Grace Kile, that was K -- I -- L -- E, the rooming house, which was right next to where the original athletic center was, and that was a rooming house which eventually became our fraternity house. And I lived there for the next two years.

BB: I wish I could go to the bank and take 72 dollars out to pay my dad for my last semester here!

LM: I'll bet! What is a semester worth now?

BB: Uh, I think it's a little more than ten grand.

LM: Is that right? My word. 72 dollars was what, uh, what I ended up paying. And 13:00then I ended up working in the, uh, bookstore, and I worked in the Union, you know, all the while I was in college, and uh, the final semester I was just running behind -- I needed seven hundred dollars, which at that time they had started a student loan program, and I [unclear] seven hundred dollars, and my -- my big scare was that I was not going to be able to pay that seven hundred dollars back soon enough, and after college, for seven months, each month I sent them 100 dollars until I paid that thing off.

BB: Did they do interest on your loans then?

LM: I doubt it very much. I think it was a handshake and "We trust you to pay us back!"

BB: Why did you fear it so bad?


LM: Well, I -- when I left college, I -- I did not have a job. I had been offered two teaching jobs, and I turned them both down because I decided that I wanted to become an officer in the Navy or the Air Force. And I hadn't been accepted yet to go to officer candidate school, so, uh, I was working the summer out on my dad's farm, and I got a U.S. Army draft notice, which I did not open, but I called the Navy recruiter and said, "I think -- I think I just got my draft notice. What should I do?" and he said, "You better get down here and join the Navy real fast otherwise you're going to be going to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri as a PFC in the Army!" And so I went down -- I changed clothes, took a shower, and went down and joined the Navy, and then opened the letter, and sure 15:00enough it said, "Proceed immediately to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri because you've just been drafted." But the Navy recruiter called them up and said, "We got 'em, you didn't get him." And then I was accepted into officer candidate school at Newport, Rhode Island a couple months later. So then I attended officer training in Newport, Rhode Island starting in October. And then I got my commission the following April. And I spent the next 20+ years as a Navy officer.

BB: So, back to your first year in college here. What were you looking most forward to?

LM: Uh, I think -- I think something different than farming. I loved the farm and I loved the -- the family, I -- but I looked -- I was looking to escape from 16:00what I thought was a rather mundane life on a farm. I think that was probably it. I think most farm kids probably in some way or another, unless they are really, really dedicated to the land, feel the same way.

BB: What were your first impressions of UWO when you'd seen it as a student?

LM: It was scary. I was scared because there were so many kids, there were, you know, at that time there were about four or five major buildings. Dempsey Hall was the main, uh, education building, uh, there was a building for music, there was a building for science and math, and I think there was one other building, plus the library. And just trying to find your way around the campus for the first week or two weeks was just -- for a farm kid, was really, really scary 17:00'till you got used to it, what was happening, and where you were going. And I felt that everybody else was --

BB: Had felt the same way?

LM: Well, no. I felt a lot of them -- because there were so many upperclassmen there who knew their way around -- and I almost felt scared to ask them which was, you know, which way was 202 in Dempsey!

BB: Do you remember your first day or first week here as a student of your freshman year?

LM: Yeah, I -- we did not buy our books. We had a book lending library on the first floor of Dempsey Hall, so once you got through all your classes, they gave you the title of the books that you had to go down to the main, uh, book depository, I can't even remember what it was called. And pick out the books that you were going to use for the semester. And, uh, and that was something, 18:00you know, that was just so, so completely different than what you kids go through today. I mean, I know you spend a couple three hundred dollars on the books or eBooks now, and we never had that! We had a book lending library that, uh, we used all of our textbooks from that. And once we got our books, uh, then we sort of felt like college people. Because now we were -- we were forced to study!

BB: And then at the end of the year you just brought them back?

LM: At the end of the semester, yeah, we would just turn them and -- unless it was a two semester course, yeah, you turned the book back in and pick up the ones for the next semester, yeah.

BB: What was the biggest challenge for you for your time at college?

LM: Oh my word. My biggest challenge? Uh, I think-- the challenge was trying to 19:00fit in -- once I got used to college life, I wanted to do everything. I was trying to fit in-- too many extracurricular activities. And I mean, I -- I really, really wanted to become a, you know, as good a college student as I could, and in order to do that, I had to do more than just study. I -- I was in student government, I was in the drama club, I did a lot of stuff. I worked at the Union. There was always something on the schedule, that's for sure.

BB: Did you involve yourself in the student government your freshman year?

LM: Not -- not my freshman year, no. But I did shortly after that. In fact, I was president of the student government my junior or senior year, I think, yeah. 20:00And I -- but I was very active in student government, you know.

BB: What did you have to do?

LM: To get into student government, you mean?

BB: Yeah, like, what did you like do while you were in it?

LM: Well, you had to make up your mind that you were going to do it, and then you had to get sort of a campaign going, and you had to get some signs up, and you had to do a little politicking, and I sort of enjoyed that because, uh, you know, my dad had been involved in local politics, so I knew what was involved in that. It was fun, I enjoyed it.

BB: Was it challenging for you?

LM: Absolutely. I hated to lose. Yeah, hated to lose. And there were a couple that I lost.

BB: Are there any professors in your courses of study that made a strong impact upon your success or helped you out more than others?

LM: Oh, yeah, you know. When you called me and told me that you were going to 21:00interview me, I looked through the annuals, and I started looking at them, thinking, "Which teachers do I remember the most?" And in my -- I majored in speech and English. And my English teachers -- one of the first ones that I had was Dorothy Martin. She was so good. She was so precise with the use of the English language. Uh, in composition, especially. She just -- she drilled us and drilled us and drilled us on proper use of the English language. And then Nevin James who made the English novel and, uh, reading just so, so very, very interesting. And there was another one, John Taylor, who made Shakespeare come alive. He would stand up in front of the classroom and he could recite Shakespeare -- I remember him, thinking to myself, he could be Friar Tuck or any 22:00one of the Shakespearean characters that he -- that he, uh, is reading. And then Tom Madison, who was a, also our fraternity advisor, little story about Tom Madison. He came to our fraternity -- he always would attend our fraternity meetings, and he came to one of our meetings one night a little dejected. He said, "Boys," he said, "The university is thinking that next semester I cannot teach the Milton class because we don't have enough students." So one of our of fraternity brothers got up and said, "Are you telling us, Mr. Madison, that maybe some of us should sign up for Milton?" And he said, "Well--" Needless to say, uh, I think there were 8 or 10 fraternity boys that signed up for John Milton that semester! And he did the class. It was good. And then in biology we 23:00had Dr. Shapiro Jacobs. Shapiro was just outstanding. And I remember, you know, attending many, many classes -- that was one of the major, uh, numbers courses that I had. In other words, it was like in a big lecture hall, and there were probably 100 to 150 students in the lecture hall. But I can remember him just as clear as a bell telling us that the human body was like a tube within a tube. "You put stuff in one end and it comes out the other." I remember that! Man, that was 50, 60 years ago. I remember that just as clear as a bell. Dan [unclear] was another biology instructor. I had him for, uh, biology. I don't remember -- biology lab, I remember. In speech class, which was one of my majors, there was Evans, Miguel Evans, and Gloria [unclear], who was also the director of the theatre. Uh, those are just some of the people. Uh, Bill 24:00Thompson in history was also our fraternity advisor, and I remember him very, very well. Uh, Otto Newyar (?), he taught economics, I couldn't understand economics, but it was a course that I had to have, and he spoke with a very, very heavy Norwegian accent I think it was. And I had a hard time understanding him, had a hard time in the class, but got through it. You know, those are some of the names that I remember.

BB: Were your classes based on, like, doing assignments and taking exams and tests, or were they pass fail?

LM: Ah-- no, they were not just pass, fail. You got Bs and Cs or whatever. Uh, and you had to do a lot of writing, I remember taking a lot of tests, a lot of snap quizzes, uh, yeah it was -- it was a constant -- usually you were, once you 25:00got into the routine, you knew when about you were due for a snap quiz or a semester quiz or a semester test or whatever, but, ah, it was not a pass fail situation, no.

BB: Okay. What kind of student were you when you were here at UW Oshkosh?

LM: I knew you were going to ask that question! And surprisingly enough, I've got a file that says, "Important Papers," and I went back and looked at my grades. I was probably a B+ student.

BB: That's --

LM: Actually, I -- I only had one even close to failing grade all the while I was in college.

BB: So you never -- you never failed a class, a course here?

LM: No.

BB: You were never on the verge of "What happens if I get poor grades and drop 26:00out?" You were always on top of everything?

LM: I was on top of it. I was on top of it. I was not the best study person, but I knew enough, uh, that I could always make at least a B or a B+. And when I looked at my grades, it turned out that I was a B+ student overall.

BB: Did you -- did that not let you spend time with friends as much, because you were always studying or improving your education?

LM: Eh, I wasn't always studying -- but I lived in the fraternity house, so a lot of the guys -- a lot of my fraternity brothers -- we all had the same courses, so we studied together. And so, uh, you know, we had little study groups. I didn't -- didn't really call them study groups, I just sat down and said, "Okay, we got to get through this Milton thing, we got to get through this 27:00Shakespeare thing, we go to get through whatever," and, uh, you know, we'd set it down, and, uh, when we had to write a paper or do a longer kind of thing, we all went to the library and we borrowed one another's books, and we really studied together. And that was part of our fraternity life at the time. We enjoyed one another's company and we didn't hesitate to study together.

BB: What kind of frat were you in?

LM: When I was -- let's see, my second semester my freshman year, there was a group -- there were no national fraternities or sororities on campus when I first started. And there was a -- there were some local fraternities. And there was a group that was called Lyceum. L -- Y -- C -- E -- U -- M. And it started 28:00many, many, many years ago as a group of guys who loved to read and discuss books. And they turned into a fraternity, doing some social activities and so forth. And I joined Lyceum when I was about-- a sophomore. And, uh, at the time we became -- we were juniors, we had quite a large group, and he had been living in -- I called it the Kile House, which was the first -- it was a boarding house between where the Union is now and the, uh, where the swimming pool is.

BB: Albee.

LM: The phy ed building.

BB: Albee Hall.

LM: Is that what it -- I don't even know what it's called now! At the time it was the first Kolf building I believe.


BB: Yes, yes, now it's Albee, and then now we have Kolf.

LM: Oh, okay. Kolf is the big one over there on High now, but Kolf was -- I think the name of that building. And there was a big boarding house in between, run by Jim and Grace Kile, Jim used to run a restaurant over on High Street, and -- but it was strictly for the Diamond Match company people who used to work by there. Where the new alumni house -- that used to be the Diamond Match company. And he ran a little restaurant there. Students and workers would go there a lot. And then Jim and Grace lived in this house and they had -- it was a big, big house, they had three or four daughters, but they turned the top three floors -- or the top two floors -- into a boarding house. So they boarded students, and that's where I lived. And then most of the fellows who were in the house were 30:00also members of what we called Lyceum fraternity at the time. And then when we -- when I was a junior, I was elected president of Lyceum. And uh, we had made the decision to go national, and the fraternity that we selected was Sigma Tau Gamma (?) so I was the -- the charter president -- of the Bayview chapter of Sigma Tau Gamma, so that was sort of a, a fun part of life. Uh, and fraternities and sororities did a lot of things together on campus. Uh, every Friday we would have our meetings. Usually on Friday evenings I believe it was -- Tuesday evenings! And then we would plan which sorority we were going to invite to have a party with Friday nights. So we were -- we were good party people.


BB: Was there any pressure to join, or it was just like a bunch of you guys as friends and then it sort of developed into a group like a frat?

LM: Yeah, that's exactly what it was. And then, uh, you know, you always had, you know, you were always on the lookout for what you thought were the sharp kids coming into school. And, uh, if you'd spot a sharp one, or spot a good athlete, or see somebody who was sort of a natural born leader on the campus, you know, somebody was involved in the student government, or somebody who talk on the responsibility at the student union or whatever, then you would approach them and say, "Hey listen, why don't you come and join our fraternity?" Our fraternity for a long while was -- was uh, the group that a lot of guys wanted to join. Unfortunately, I understand maybe ten or twelve years into the fraternity after I left college, uh, it was disbanded because of drinking and 32:00drugs, which had taken over a lot of the campus at that time. And my understanding is that the administration said, "Fraternities-- you're done." And that unfortunately was a big part of our life that, you know, that's progress I understand.

BB: So, your frat wasn't just for like, the rich or the privileged, it was more --

LM: Oh, no, no, no. In fact, most of us were what I would call "very average" or "dirt poor" students, we were all working our rear ends off to make ends meet! Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I -- I don't know any of my fraternity brothers who did not have a part time job some place to work their way through school. None of our guys were extremely wealthy, nuh uh, no, no, no. Not at all.

BB: So you were always just trying to recruit more guys?


LM: Yeah -- guys like ourselves. Because, very frankly, most of the guys in our fraternity were leaders in some way, shape, or form. They were, you know, good athletes, they were excellent students, or they participated in a lot of outside activities that helped -- so we were a well-rounded fraternity. If you were an athlete, fine, you could join our group because we had fun. If you were a brain, and you wanted to join our group, fine, we had a lot of brains in our group. So it was a well-rounded group, and I still keep in touch with a number of guys, even 55, 60 years later.

BB: So, we touched a little bit on like, the drinking. Did your frat party like, drink together on weekends and stuff?

LM: Oh yeah, there was a great place out on North Jackson called The Rail. I 34:00don't know if it's still there or not. But that was a good place Friday night. And they had -- they had, uh, pitchers of beer for a dollar, if I recall, and we used to play -- you know, nobody would get sickeningly drunk, everybody had a good time, we'd have three, four, five beers, you'd dance all night, and you'd get back to the campus and go to bed. It wasn't raising hell. It was just a lot of good fun. There was another place out North of town called the Loft, which was in an old barn, there was another place called the Club Oshkosh. If you were really daring and you weren't quite 21, you would sneak in there and there was a bartender by the name of Louis who would - used to serve college kids drink if they looked 21. But you'd go there on special occasions.


BB: Back then, when you went to the bars, did they always ID you, or just? If you look like you were 21, they would give you a drink?

LM: Well, these are beer bars, so must of them were 18.

BB: Okay.

LM: You could drink beer at 18. The 21 year old bars -- that's where they really carded you. Uh, not a whole lot of our guys had fake IDs because you didn't need 'em. We were satisfied with -- with a pitcher of beer on Friday night.

BB: Do you know how the dorms handled drinking or drugs at the university?

LM: What was that again?

BB: Do you know how the dorms handled drinking or drugs at the university?

LM: Well, yeah, I know that -- I knew several students that got tossed out of school 'cause they were drinking.

BB: So, even if you were 18, you couldn't drink inside the dorms?


LM: No! No, not -- no way! The girls had, I think, 10'o'clock curfews during the week, and I think it was midnight on weekends. Yeah, Radford Hall, which I think is now an office complex, but that was one of the girl's dormitories. And, uh, that's where my wife lived for three or four of the years that she was in college. And she was in Radford Hall, and Mrs. Long was the, uh, dorm mother there. And, uh, in the lobby was what they called the "fishbowl," so if you took a girl out and you wanted to kiss her goodnight, you had to stay in the fishbowl. You couldn't go any further than the fishbowl. And then Mrs. Long would start flicking the lights at 1 minute past ten.

BB: How did you feel being a man on campus not having curfews and women did?


LM: Uh, I don't think we gave it much thought. We really didn't. Because like, if the girls were home, if you had to take the girls home there wasn't a whole lot left to do, so you went home too.

BB: So there really wasn't anything to do anyways?

LM: No, no, no. No.

BB: Were you involved in activities off campus?

LM: Uh, yeah. I mean, I went home on weekends occasionally. Well, fairly often to get my laundry done and go to church and do, you know, get a good home-cooked meal. But other than that, I didn't do a whole lot of stuff outside of college 38:00activities. I didn't have enough time to do that anymore.

BB: Did you go to sporting events at the university?

LM: Oh yeah, we -- everybody went to the football games, basketball games. Yeah, yeah, that was a big part of our campus life.

BB: On the email I got sent about you when I was -- when my professor like, told me to interview you -- it said you were in an organization, um, it -- I don't know how to say it, but it's spelled L -- Y -- C -- E -- U -- M?

LM: Yeah. Yup, that the fraternity that I talked about.

BB: Okay, okay.

LM: That was the local fraternity that turned national and became Sigma Tau Gamma.

BB: Okay, yup, that makes sense.

LM: Yeah.

BB: Do you remember any important social issues or politic issues on campus while you were there?

LM: Well, no, uh, we got a new college president while I was there. Roger Guiles 39:00came in. He took the place of, uh, Forrest Polk, who had been there for a long, long, long time. Uh, I know that, uh, President Nixon came to the campus in I think it was 1959? That was sort of a big deal. Uh-- those were the political things that I remember, yeah.

BB: Did you go see Nixon?

LM: As I recall I did, yes.

BB: Okay, but you don't remember.

LM: I do not remember which was a positive. No.

BB: Would you say that there were more men or women at UWO while you were a student here?

LM: That seems pretty evenly split, that seems pretty evenly split. Uh, maybe a few more men because I think, uh, the women who -- who were coming to UWO were 40:00definitely going to be teachers. I mean there -- it was just no -- no doubt about that. A lot of the men were -- were there -- a lot were there for teaching also, but a lot of them were there for -- for reasons that they were going to be going on into something else, or going to further advance their education. I know that. In some other way.

BB: What is your most vivid memory or experience you have learned from Oshkosh?

LM: Oh boy-- most --

BB: Most --

LM: I -- go ahead.

BB: Most vivid memory of experience?

LM: I think it was just the -- the opportunity to realize that there was a lot more to life than the narrow little world that I had lived in up to that point. 41:00Uh, you know, when you're a farm kid or coming from a small town, you don't -- you don't have a good -- at that point, 1957, '58 -- uh, we -- nobody had -- especially if you came from a small town -- had a good realization of what was -- what life was like outside of that world that you'd grown up in. And I think college life exposed you to just numerous opportunities that, you know, it became almost a -- a problem to decide which way you wanted to go as far as life was concerned in many cases. It was a fun problem to have, but it opened your eyes to a lot of things that you never knew, uh, existed. I mean I, I would come 42:00home and have discussions with my parents and, you know, they were aghast that I would even bring up some subjects, you know, that we had talked about. Ah, and it was not because they were-- you know, opposed to them, it was just that they hadn't realized that college life was going to, uh --

BB: Have such a strong impact?

LM: It had such a strong impact or -- or opened the opportunities so widely, you know, and so quickly.

BB: That's amazing.

LM: Mm.

BB: Did you go to any homecoming or dances while you were a student here?

LM: Oh, sure, sure. All the -- yeah, homecoming, we even had proms in college then!

BB: Really?

LM: Yeah! Prom! Homecoming dances, I mean, yeah. And everybody went -- everybody went! Yeah, it was -- we -- our fraternity, the homecoming queen, I think in 43:001960 or '61, Joyce Marita, I remember, was the homecoming queen, uh, yeah there were always formal dances going on, yeah.

BB: Where were the dances held?

LM: Usually in the gymnasium.

BB: In Albee?

LM: In fact, always in the gymnasium, there in what was then -- what is now Albee Hall. Where they also played basketball games and, uh, yeah, all the proms and dances -- the big dances -- were there. Uh, you know, the fraternities would have -- sometimes have dances out at some of the local bars or some of the local clubs. Uh, we would always invite one of the sororities out on Friday nights to join us, yeah.

BB: Did you date or have a relationship while you were in UW Oshkosh?

LM: I gotta tell you, I met a girl when I was a sophomore. She was a freshman. 44:00She's my wife.

BB: Aw!

LM: We dated for 11 years before we were married, though. Yeah, we met at the, uh, there was a -- when I started working, the student union was in one of the rooming houses where the current union is now. There was a big rooming house there. Uh, and the bottom floor was a little bit of a restaurant. And you could buy some college products, you know, student necessities there, and they had a little hamburger joint. And I always went in there to study and -- Mrs. Long was her name -- uh, ran the place, and then she became the house mother at Radford Hall, and when Webster Hall opened up, she ran the bookstore and the cafeteria 45:00in Radford -- I mean Webster Hall. And she hired me to work in the bookstore. And uh, while they were building the new student union. And then, uh, my -- there was somebody working with me -- that was Pat Long, who is no relation to Mrs. Long who ran the place -- but I -- she and I started dating, and we started dating in 1959 when she was a freshman and I was a sophomore, and we got married in 1969. Yeah. So, yes -- everybody -- a lot of my fraternity brothers married her sorority sisters, and, uh, we still get together [unclear] and every Christmas we try to, uh, the guys are invited to the girl's get-togethers, 46:00because a lot of my fraternity brothers married her sorority sisters. So, yeah, we still get together.

BB: Every year almost?

LM: Mmhmm. Mhmm. And my fraternity still has reunions every once in a while. In fact, we're trying to plan one for this summer. I'll, you know, we'll have a bunch of the brothers back for a little get together, hopefully sometime this summer. We're working on it.

BB: How did you feel when you finished college?

LM: Uh-- I was ready for something new. Uh, and that's why -- I had -- I had a teaching certificate in my hand. I could teach speech or English. And I had had a couple interviews with schools. Uh, I think one in the Milwaukee area, and 47:00another one in the Neenah-Menasha area. And, uh, I -- I had been thinking about the military as a career. And I looked at these two contracts that I had -- contract offers that I had on my desk, and I turned to my roommate in my fraternity house, and I said, "You know something? I'm not going to sign either one of these, because I'm just not ready to settle down and spend the rest of my life in Wisconsin. I need a little adventure." And so I had taken the test for officer candidate school for both the Navy and the Air Force, and uh, I was banking one or the other accepting me, and, uh, so I -- I graduated, no job, I went out -- back out to my dad's farm, and I was working for him for the summer, and I got notification that I had been accepted to, uh, OCS, officer candidate 48:00school, so I started that in October, and the rest is history.

BB: What did you do there? Did you teach?

LM: In the Navy?

BB: Yeah.

LM: No, no, I -- I was a line officer in the Navy for three years, and then I -- I switched -- what they call a designator -- I became a supply and logistics officer for the next 18 years.

BB: Okay. Since you graduated with the secondary education major and never actually used the degree to teach students, if you could go back in time again, would you have picked a different major or done something, like, completely different?

LM: I-- always thought that I wanted to teach, and even while I was in the service, I went to school at night and got a Master's degree in education, uh, from Boston University. I worked at night and on weekends on that degree, uh, 49:00with some visiting professors while I was stationed in Naples, Italy. And I thought that I was probably going to go back after -- after my, uh, Navy career was over, and go into teaching. And, uh, I retired and then I got offered a job in sales immediately, and I never, uh, never went back to high school or grade school teaching, although I did a lot of sales training. So I used my teaching degree to some -- to some degree at least I did a lot of sales training over the next 15 or 20 years, so I used my education degree, but I didn't teach school as it were.

BB: How would you say college prepared you for your life after?

LM: Boy, I, uh-- it gave me the opportunity to know that there's a lot more out 50:00there than what college even teaches you for. You go through school and you think, you know, this is going [unclear], and when I went to college people expected to get a job and stay there for the next 20 or 25 years. And now I look at the young people graduating today, and, uh, they don't expect to stay in a job no more than four or five years before they move on to something else. And that to me is-- surprising in one way, and not so surprising in another away because people are constantly looking for new challenges, for new opportunities, uh, to make more money, uh, to move to an area that they always had thought about but never thought that they'd have the opportunity to do so. And the Navy 51:00gave me that -- that opportunity. Because I spent, you know, a pretty good career -- I loved my career in the Navy because it gave me the opportunity to see a lot of the world that I would never, ever have seen, uh, had I just stayed in Wisconsin. I lived in Naples, Italy, I served in Vietnam, I lived in Puerto Rico, I lived in New York City, uh, I lived in Mississippi, I lived in Virginia, California, so, uh, I really had some opportunities that -- that I hadn't expected, and had I not gone to Oshkosh it never would have happened. It never would have happened. Uh, I got to say that Oshkosh probably trained me to be-- just a very, very well-rounded person. It gave me the opportunity to, uh --

BB: To be intelligent in many different aspects of life?


LM: And to use the knowledge that I got there -- maybe not in a teaching situation, but in a situation where I could always apply what I had learned there, the values that I learned there, uh, and put them into -- into good use. The entire time that I -- that I was in the Navy world, yeah.

BB: Where is your favorite place to travel?

LM: Uh, well -- I spent two tours of duty in Vietnam, in Da Nang. Uh, and we -- we do a lot of traveling now, and about five or six years ago, I went back to Vietnam, and we spent 22 days visiting, uh, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, and without a doubt that was the best civilian trip that I -- that we've ever made. Uh, my favorite place to live with Naples, Italy. The 53:00Navy sent me there for four years, and I was with the NATO staff for part of the time, and with the Navy staff for part of the time.

BB: Have you had much involvement with UW Oshkosh since you graduated?

LM: Uh, yeah, we're still -- we're in the Alumni Association, and I still talk with, uh, with -- well whose the director there? Uh-- hmm, the alumni director.

BB: I-- I wouldn't be able to tell you, but I could --

LM: I know her name, it's on the tip of my tongue, but I got to tell you, the alumni people, uh, even after I -- well, I was in the service, there was a lady by the name of Helen Geiger, uh, who was, uh, one of the professor's wives, who used to keep track of all the alums on a 3x5 cards, and whenever I'd come back 54:00from the Navy on leave or whatever, I'd stop by to see her, and she was just an absolute, she was such a lady, I mean she was wonderful. And then, uh, she retired and Jean Nelson took over, and she did a lot of work with the Alumni Association. And uh, so I kept in touch with them a lot. Ah, and I -- I kept in touch with quite a few people through the Alumni Association. Uh, uh, Dean Moede (?), whose a friend of mine, works very, very closely with the Alumni Association and with the university. Uh, he and I talk quite a bit. And, uh, there's a few -- you know, a lot of my fraternity brothers, they're scattered across the county now, but I still -- still keep in touch with them. And, uh, it's through the university that we do that.

BB: When was the last time you came to the university?


LM: Oh-- let's see, we were there-- for -- for my 50th graduation, and my wife's 50th graduation, which was, uh, let's see-- I graduated '61, so it was just in 2011 and 2012 we were there, but we've been back, uh, our fraternity donated to the new Kolf Center, uh, we called it the "Table of Ten," 10 of us put a plaque up in memory of some of the lost brothers. So it has been -- been -- yeah, I mean when we'd come home -- every time we'd come home, well not every time, but a lot of times, uh, when I come back to Wisconsin, we drive through the campus just to, uh, see what's going on, and drive down Algoma Boulevard and, uh, over on the street behind it, yeah.

BB: Now they've reconstructed the front of Reeve.


LM: Oh, is that right?

BB: Yeah. They -- they have new, like, outterrior design of Reeve, and in the inside it's a little bit different in the front, and now they're building an outdoor, like, ex -- outdoor like, fields and stuff.

LM: Oh!

BB: Kind of like Kolf, but like in the outdoor sort of aspect. That's right by Gruenhagen now.

LM: Okay, see, it's been -- the union has been remodeled I think two or three times. There was no big, uh, no big dining facility there when we went through. There were a lot of meeting rooms, there was a small cafeteria, uh, and, uh, a relatively small bookstore there at the time. And now I know we've been in the bookstore since then, and it's -- it's four times, five times bigger than what it used to be. And it used to be just from the entrance as you walked in from the right hand side.


BB: Yeah, now we have Reeve, Blackhawk, Blackhawk2Go, Scotty's in the Scotts--

LM: Yeah. And see, we -- we ate our meals in the fraternity house, and the girls in Radford and Webster, they had, uh, I believe cafeterias in -- in their basements.

BB: What thoughts do you have about UW Oshkosh now?

LM: Yeah, I -- I've thought a lot, and I think -- I look back on it, and it was probably the best school that I could have gone to at the time, and, uh, it -- it grows on you, I think, you know, it's probably a better university now than it even was, uh, when we went. I know it is because of all the -- all the things that I read about in the newsletters, and on the -- on the web. Uh, obviously 58:00Oshkosh is -- is making a name for itself, and I think that, uh, you know, that if it's going to continue to grow, and it's going to be, I think, probably a very, very important part in the whole university system in Wisconsin. I know that, uh, it will never beat Madison, obviously, but I think that for-- because when we started there, everybody was, it essentially was a teacher's college. In fact, it started out as Oshkosh State Teacher's College when we were there, and then it went to the University of Wisconsin, uh, at Oshkosh, and, you know, we knew that that was going to be the turning point for Oshkosh to become something much more than just a state teacher's college, and, uh, obviously it has been. I 59:00mean, this -- you read about the nursing program, and the business program that they've got, and the -- all the new things that are going on there, and it absolutely is amazing to me, the things that Oshkosh and the people at Oshkosh can produce.

BB: Yes, they have like many -- they have different kinds of colleges here that make the university.

LM: Mmhmm, yeah, see, we didn't have that. We didn't have that. You went there, and you got a degree from Oshkosh. That was it.

BB: How would you want people to remember you today?

LM: Remember me?

BB: Yeah.

LM: Oh boy. Ah, as a kid who -- who made the best of his college life and turned 60:00out okay.

BB: I think you did just that. And a little more!

LM: I hope so! At the age of 79 now, I feel like, like I wish I could go back sometimes, but I'm glad I'm not a student anymore. I wouldn't know what to do!

BB: What advice would you give a current student here?

LM: Enjoy your college life because it's the best -- it's the best time of your life before you hit the road. It really is. Enjoy it, love it, you know, do the most that you can. And, you know, Barbara Bush just died and she said, you know, when you graduate, you won't regret one class that you didn't take, or one class that you didn't pass, or whatever, but you might regret the time that you didn't spend with your friends and that sort of thing. And look up her quote, it's 61:00really a beautiful quote that she -- that she gave to a graduating class -- I think it was Wellesley.

BB: I will have to do that. It sounds pretty inspiring.

LM: Yeah, it is.

BB: Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview? Or any questions I didn't ask, or any stories you would like to tell?

LM: Oh-- is the theatre program still going pretty strong there?

BB: There is a theatre program here, but I'm not quite sure about it.

LM: Mmm. Because I -- I did a few plays while I was at college. I did, uh, "Finian's Rainbow," a musical, and I did "The Rainmaker," and I did "Antigone," and I worked a lot of stuff behind stage also, but I was on the stage for a few. I had fun. It was a good way to, uh, to express myself in ways that I hadn't thought I was able to do.

BB: Okay. Um, I think that wraps up our interview for today.


LM: Okay.

BB: So I would like to thank you for your time, and I have emailed you the Deed of Gifts. Did you receive that email?

LM: Yeah. In fact, I've got that in my hand, and I was going to ask you about that. You just want me to -- I'm the narrator, correctly?

BB: Yeah.

LM: Okay. And now, should I mail that to you, or do you want me to send that to you?

BB: Um, if you mail it to me, that would work better, and I like, attached my email on the document.

LM: Oh, is it here, let's see.

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