Interview with Lynn Allar, 11/30/2016

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Miranda Kemper, Interviewer | uwocs_Lynn_Allar_11302016.m4a
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |

0:00

MK: Today is November 30th, my name is Miranda Kemper and I am here is Oshkosh doing an over the phone interview with Lynn Allar is that correct?

LA: Correct.

MK: Who is currently in Washington, could you for me just restate your name and today's date? LA: Sure, Lynn Allar November 30, 2016.

MK: Thank you very much, and you attended UW Oshkosh from 1969-1973 correct? LA: Correct. September of 69 to May of 73.

MK: Alright well I am just going to start with some background questions, where are you from? LA: Born and raised in West Allis, WI

MK: Is that where you went to high school?

LA: Yes, well I went to high school at West Milwaukee High school, graduating in 1:0069'. MK: What was your family like growing up, were they pretty close?

LA: I am an only child and had both sets of grandparents living in the Milwaukee county area and lots of aunts uncles and cousins. I guess, I never stopped to really think about it, I guess we were. We did a lot of things. My parents while we lived in the city, we had lots of friends who lived in the country. I was a horse person so my parents actually bought me a horse when I was 8 and we kept it at a friend's barn and I spent a lot of time riding.

2:00

MK: And you said you lived out in the country kind of?

LA: I lived in the city but we had friends that lived in country on a farm. I grew up on a little city block.

MK: How was your relationship with your parents, would you say you guys were pretty close? LA: We were fine. I'm not sure what you're looking for in terms of how my relationship was with my parents. I mean you know, we had our arguments. But overall they were relatively supportive. I graduated from High school when I was 17, and so, in the old days, you had to have parents sign for you to go out of state to college. And my parents wouldn't sign so I ended up staying in 3:00state. And when I was a kid I wanted to be a veterinarian but there was no veterinarian school in the state of Wisconsin at the time so then I decided I wanted to be a social worker and my parents were really against that one, so I sort of (--?) and said well ok I'll go to nursing school. My mom was an RN. And so I went to Oshkosh, and I really wanted to be a social worker so I took classes in both Nursing and social work. But actually the first, my freshman year and my sophomore year, the summer after my sophomore year, I stayed at Oshkosh to do the nursing (program) then my junior year, I stopped the middle of my junior year because it really was just not for me. But then I just finished 4:00up with my social work stuff and had some great support from the social work department I actually was student representative at the faculty meetings and got the outstanding social work student award in the spring of 1973. And had great, some really great references from professors at UWO to go to grad school at Hawaii.

MK: Awesome. That is super awesome. So you said that your parents were against you going out of state, what school were you looking at? Where were you interested in going?

LA: I think I was looking at University of Iowa because they had a veterinarian school and that's what I had wanted to do.

MK: Did they just not want you going so far?

LA: Yeah… that was a very long time ago and the world was a different place. It was really interesting... well we'll get to that in a minute.

5:00

MK: Yeah. So growing up did you really enjoy high school, or how would you describe yourself as a high school student in terms of grades?

LA: Yeah, oh yeah, so almost everybody, like I said I lived in the city West Allis we walked to school we didn't get busses we walked. So I had girlfriends that I walked to school with from grade school on up and most of us lived in the same houses as growing up here so most of us knew one another from you know kindergarten through high school. So occasionally you know new people came in, but there was a lot of us who knew one another for many years. So you know it's pretty hard to... you know to... put on arrogance and to be snotty when everyone's known you for all your life. Um so I had a fair number of friends in grade school, junior high, and high school and I was in the national honors 6:00society, I played the clarinet in the band. MK: Oh!

LA: All from 5th grade through high school. And there were some concerts I performed at, marching bands. Um I did a lot of that (--?). I was in the girls athletic recreation, I was in the modern language club, oh I think a couple years in the drama club although that really wasn't my thing, um so you know all those kinds of things. I also did volunteer work in the summers between my years in high school. I did volunteer work as a day camp counselor for a neighborhood center in the inner city of Milwaukee. I went to a church in the inner city of Milwaukee and during the time that I was in high school there were race riots in Milwaukee. MK: There were what?

LA: Race Riots. So, how can I describe it? So if you look back in the history UW Oshkosh you'll find in 1968 a riot of African Americans students.

7:00

MK: Yeah.

LA: Two years before that there were riots throughout the country in (--?) in LA, in Oakland and in Milwaukee, and Chicago and in New Jersey. And we actually had (--?) on my street we had marches going on near my high school, it was quite an interesting time.

MK: Yeah wow.

LA: So we went to these riots regarding you know, the issues of race to riots regarding the Vietnam War. And you know when I was at Oshkosh

MK: Mhm.

LA: We actually had riots at Oshkosh, regarding the anti-war demonstration and all sorts of (--?) you know, so you know it's an interesting time we also had a bunch of people who had gone over to Vietnam coming back on the GI bill going to school as veterans, so that was also interesting. So it's kind of an interesting sort of activist time.

MK: Yeah. Definitely. Yeah we'll get to some of the Black Thursday or race riots 8:00a little bit later because I do want to ask you about that since you went around that time.

LA: Now I missed the part of what you said and you know actually our connection isn't very good it's really kind of blurry so it's hard for me to understand your words because the noise, it's coming off with some static along with your voice.

MK: Oh it is?

LA: So I don't know if you can hear me clear or not. Are you on a speaker phone maybe?

MK: Yeah I am

LA: Yeah that's it.

MK: I'm sorry I can try to move. (Movement and noise).

LA: Could you just repeat what you last said I only got pieces of it? MK: Oh yeah I was just talking about how.

LA: Oh yeah much better. MK: It is better?

LA: Oh yeah.

MK: Ok. I was just talking about the black Thursday events here at Oshkosh, we'll get to that here a little later because you did go around that time.

9:00

LA: Yeah

MK: So we'll get to that a little bit later, but, so you said you went to college right after high school, correct?

LA: Yup.

MK: What were a lot of other kids in your high school planning, I mean did that have any influence on you coming to Oshkosh?

LA: No. I think other students in my class, I mean I went to Milwaukee high school we were sort of what you'd call an upper lower class neighborhood.

MK: Ok.

LA: So a lot of the students (--?) and didn't work, and their father's worked in factories and blue color kind of work and so a lot of them were poor families and so it was (--?) a lot of them chose different places. Some of them went to U of M, or some went to Madison, a few went to Marquette. I wanted to go away from home and Oshkosh was attractive because at that point in time it was really the 10:00only place other than Milwaukee that had a 4 year nursing program, which is what I decided I was going to do. And it was (--?) being away. And it was a big enough school in terms of the, at that time it was the Wisconsin State University and it wasn't UWO.

MK: Mhm.

LA: When I first started there, I was there when it switched from WS to UWO actually. MK: Oh.

LA: Um yeah. It was an interesting, it was a totally different system.

MK: Yeah.

LA: There were two systems or universities at the time, and so you know I had never been to Oshkosh before I came up there for Orientation during the summer before I started but it sounded to me like a place I wanted to go. And I've always been very independent. I mean I had lots of friends but I never like, I didn't go with any high school friends.

MK: Ok.

LA: I just decided to go. So there were two or three other students from my high 11:00school class that went, but we were all in different residence halls and we didn't really see very much of one another because what sort of happened was you, you know, in the residence hall you tend to hang out with the people that, you know, were on your floor.

MK: Yeah.

LA: Or that you met somebody in your classes so, you know, I didn't really see them that often. And I, I'm pretty independent as I said. So I didn't really feel like... I always had a whole bunch of friends from different kinds of settings so I never really felt like I had a need to hang out with particular people that I saw in high school.

MK: Sure. Yeah. Alright, so now I kind of want to talk about your very first day at UWO. I don't know it's a ways back, but do you remember your very first day stepping foot on campus here, what were you first thoughts?

LA: So you know we came for a two day orientation during the summer and we met 12:00with an advisor and you know we got lectured about a variety of things and then we had to take a math, and a reading test. And I had taken a lot of math in high school so I tested out of the math I didn't need to take a math during my undergraduate time because I had tested out of all the math requirements.

MK: Oh.

LA: And I was a good reader, I actually was a pretty good student. So you know, those were all, and then they had us, believe it or not, this was really the old days, but they actually had a dance the night of orientation and then we stayed in Scott hall.

MK: Ha, that's so funny.

LA: Yeah in one of the two, Yeah. And then my first day, was very interesting because we came up on a Sunday and I think around Labor Day, I'm not sure, and we came up on a Sunday. My parents drove me up and I lived in Evans hall.

MK: Oh nice that was my hall.

LA: That was my first, first residence hall placement. And I didn't know my 13:00roommate, complete stranger who lived actually in the country between Oshkosh and Fond du Lac, her name was Rosemary. And so I remember very clearly. I remember coming up and I remember putting stuff in the dorm room, I remember saying bye to my parents and I remember going YES I am now independent yay! (laughter)

MK: (laughter) I know it's a good feeling.

LA: It really was an amazing feeling. Then I remember I walked around Oshkosh I mean it was beautiful, beautiful weather and I walked, they had this, it use to be this restaurant on Wisconsin Ave. called Mars. It was like burgers, kind of like a McDonalds it was a local place. And I remember just by myself walking around, my roommate hadn't showed up yet and so walked around a lot you know and then went back to the dorm and got to know people on the floor and then my roommate came and we started to get to know one another. We got along really well which was lovely.

MK: Yeah.

LA: Two of the people that I stayed at orientation with were also on my floor, 14:00so kind of fun. We actually had a really interesting group. The interesting thing was the social life, because back then, it may still be I don't know, but the big social life was drinking. And in Wisconsin in those days this is how goofy the law was, you could drink beer at the age of 18 but not hard liquor until you were 21. So on Wisconsin Ave. And I was just at Oshkosh this past October for Homecoming actually so.

MK: Oh.

LA: So I am pretty familiar with what it looks like now, but on Wisconsin Ave. there was literally a lineup of bars. There was campus club, and Tosh's and Andy's Library and Brothers all on the course of two blocks and they were always packed. But I was only 17 so I couldn't drink.

MK: Oh.

LA: So most of my friends on the floor you know many of them would go out drinking on a Friday Saturday night. And those days, we still wrote letters. There were no cell phones, no social media.

15:00

MK: Mhm.

LA: So it was all of us, you had to write letters or make toll phone calls and we had, we didn't have cell phones. So there was one payphone on the floor and people would have to use the payphone right? So it was a totally different kind of world. And I have a lot of people I wrote letters too, so I wrote a ton of letters. One of the gals on the floor taught me how to knit.

MK: Haha. LA: Yeah haha.

MK: That's awesome.

LA: And I was pretty active in terms of, well I didn't really get involved in formal sports at Oshkosh.

MK: Mhm.

LA: But, my freshman year we had to sign up a PE class, and I don't know whether they still do that or not but

MK: No thank god.

LA: But we had to take this physical education class. Well this was really cool actually. Because I signed up for English Horsemanship because I had really been into horses and Western riding, all of my life from the time I was like you know 6 or 7 years old. And you know I had the opportunity to take a PE class in 16:00horsemanship, how great was that!

MK: Yeah that is awesome, I saw that on here and I wondered what the horsemanship was actually. But yeah that's awesome.

LA: Yeah. You know horseback riding. It was very, it was interesting so, it was out in towards Omro, and it was this place called Morningside Stables and the lady who owned the stables, they had like 35 horses I have no idea how many acres. But um, her name was (--?) and she had two daughters, she had 5 kids I think, but two of her daughters also went to UWO. One was my year actually, and one came, one was a year younger and came later. And that was a really amazing experience because I, I met people, because we carpooled out there and carpooled back so I met the other person who had been doing riding classes. So much fun. And of course because I had been riding all my life I was just like good and so then I decided to take the second semester, and during that second semester I also helped teach the people in the first semester.

17:00

MK: Oh wow.

LA: And then during, and then my second year I actually stayed involved and actually helped teach riding classes. And then I got my own horse during my sophomore year at Oshkosh and I boarded it out there to Morningside. And so for the first two and a half years I was involved with horsemanship through the University and also privately through Morningside stables. Then summer after my sophomore year I'm like oh my god I don't have time because (cleaning horse?)

MK: Yeah.

LA: And so then I actually moved to another stable, (--?), and it wasn't connected to the University and I met a bunch of other people who were all, in those days we called them county's, I don't know what you call them now, but they were all local people. And I developed really good friendships with those people. One of whom is still one of my very best friends in world who lives in Winneconne so. So the horse piece was really key and as a matter a fact summer after my junior year I worked a 4H project with high school girls who also boarded their horses at the stable and went to the Winnebago county fair as 18:00their advisor for this horse project. MK: Oh wow. Did that, the horseman class, so did that count for credits? It was like a class? LA: The first year I got, the class did, it was like one credit it was a one credit PE class for my freshman year both semesters and then after that it was all on my own.

MK: Ok gotcha.

LA: But the other thing at Reeve union hall or Reeve memorial union, had at that time that's what it was called Reeve memorial union, was down stairs they had a bowling alley and as a freshman I got into bowling league. And that was fun too.

MK: That's awesome, they don't have that anymore. They have all these cool things that they got rid of it sounds like.

LA: The other thing that they had you rented bicycles but you didn't have to pay for it, if you gave them your student card you had to turn in your student card and they actually had tandem bikes. So one of my friends and I we would ride out 19:00to Lake Winnebago and ride around you know it was really fun.

MK: Wow yeah.

LA: You rented a tandem bicycle and then take it back it was very fun. Ping pong tables, pool tables oh the other thing they had at the union and this was really kick, and today it would sound really stupid, but back in the old days it was actually really fun. So in the student union, Reeve memorial union they had these student lounges on the second floor. There were places where you could come and sit and study. But there were stereo lounges and they had these big stereos and they were sort of like a juke box but, but they like counsels like three feet high and five feet wide and they were stereos and all you did was push these buttons, you didn't have to pay money, push these buttons and you could play all these different songs. And most of them were like you know old songs even then, but it was really kind of a fun thing you could go and sit with your book and listen to music and study.

MK: Yeah they have those lounges now but definitely no cool stereos. LA: Haha.

MK: Again getting rid of every cool thing.

20:00

LA: So that was, you know things just change right. But it was, those I was really impressed I really liked it, it was fun. I thought it was a really great experience and I was a pretty good student so I got really quite good grades actually and I took some pretty hard classes my freshman year, and so I liked it. Freshman year was really good. Sophomore year wasn't as fun because the classes I was taking, I took and overload of classes so that I could fit in social, either sociology and social work classes as well as the nursing classes and then, then my junior year was really not fun I hated my nursing instructor. She was absolutely awful.

MK: Mhm.

LA: And so I was like oh my god I don't want to do this. It was just an awful experience and I was like you know I am really done with this.

MK: Yeah.

LA: (--?) It's not for me it's not what I am interested in. So that was that part. Then I just picked up, I already had plenty of credits so I just picked up other classes and then I got really involved in what was at that time social 21:00welfare which is now called social work at UWO and they didn't have a master's program they only had the bachelor's program.

MK: Ok.

LA: And then my, between my junior and senior year, I stayed at Oshkosh from the time I was a sophomore til I graduated I didn't go back home in the summers. I had school, or classes I took (?), and then I um the summer between my junior and senior year I worked. So I got a job working at the Nursing as a CNA, a nursing assistant at Bethel Home. And I worked all summer and the I worked weekends, or every other weekends during my senior year.

MK: Still as the nursing assistant?

LA: Yeah. As a nursing assistant in a nursing home and it was really funny because the gal who was the director, the director of the nursing program really like me and tried to talk me out of quitting nursing. And she gave me a 22:00reference for that job even though I quit the nursing program, so that was kind of funny.

MK: Yeah.

LA: And then actually, they offered me a job at the nursing home. They created the first social worker position, they created a position, and offered it to me and I said no I'm going to graduate school I'm not staying here.

MK: Yeah. Well how could you pass up Hawaii so?

LA: Well and you know, and I left Oshkosh, being really honest, it got to the point where I was getting really tired of the winters, and you know the University in those days also had these really cool trips you could take during breaks. And so once during spring break I went to Europe, and then during winter break of my senior year I went to Hawaii, and that was it I was sold. That's where I wanted to be. I mean I was like you know it's like 10 below zero and freezing and I am kind of done with that. So Yeah. So now I mean I go back to Oshkosh every couple few years. I mean I go back because I still have some 23:00family left there, and I have some good friends there, and then we have, my husband's brother lives in Chicago so we go back once every year sometimes every couple few years if we can.

MK: That's really awesome though.

LA: And I always come to the campus and I look around and um I kind of see where things are at. And then I came to homecoming in 2013 and then I came to homecoming this past October to see the new conference center because I did donate some money, well a couple hundred bucks to the conference center, the new alumni and conference center.

MK: Mhm.

LA: Which is a really beautiful building. MK: It is.

LA: And I think the campus looks really nice and I think you've done some really nice things with the campus.

MK: Mhm.

LA: And I get the engage magazines that come out, I get them through my email so you know it's nice to kind of keep up, a little bit up with what's going on there.

MK: That's good, it sounds like you're still...

LA: Definitely not involved a lot but you know a little bit.

MK: Yeah still pretty connected that's good. So did you spend a lot of time on 24:00campus? And if so where was your favorite spot to hangout?

LA: Well you know I don't think I had a hangout. I think that we spent, so my friends and I, they you know we did some, there was always something going on. So yes I did spend a fair amount of time on campus. So you know they had concerts that were happening at Reeve memorial union. They had speakers and things that would come to the auditorium, the Kolf center I think it was called. I don't know if it's still there but it was like you know a gymnasium and they would have big speakers.

MK: Sure. Yup.

LA: And then we had plays at the theater, and they had these free movies so sometimes we also went to free movies and things, so you know there was things on campus that we did.

MK: Mhm.

LA: I went home probably once a month or so maybe. And then I was involved with 25:00the horseback riding (--?) and so I would go out to the stables five times a week and ride so I got really involved in that my sophomore, junior and senior year.

MK: Yeah.

LA: Um and then when I was a sophomore they changed the drinking age down to 18 for both beer and hard liquor. So then I did go out with my friends. You know I did hit some of the bars.

MK: Mhm.

LA: And I studied in the library, sometimes in lounges at Reeve memorial union, but sometimes at the library and yes indeed you know sometimes up til 4 or 5 in the morning studying and then go to class at 8. I lived on campus for two years and then I lived off campus for two years. But, in the (--?) so what happened was this, the heating plant failed, for Evans hall so we all had to move out of 26:00Evans hall for our second semester. So the last part of our first semester it was like 40 degrees in the room and you were like bundled up and freezing.

MK: Yeah.

LA: Getting ready for exams. MK: Yeah.

LA: So then we were given a choice. And this is how changed the world has become. Just imagine this right, we had to have, they were going to put us either in Stewart, as in (--?) in Stewart with people that were in like single rooms and tell them they could no longer have their single room, or they were going to put us on the 4th floor of Fletcher with the guys on floors number 1, 2, and 3 and the girls on floor number 4. But because this was like this really strange thing to allow females in the same residence hall as males,

MK: Mhm.

LA: You had to have parents' permission to move to Fletcher. MK: Weird.

LA: So once again my parents did not want to sign for me to live in Fletcher. So my roommate and most of my friends from my floor all went to Fletcher, I went to 27:00Stewart. And I was put in with a gal, a really strange person. And I only was with her for about a week and I said you know, I got move this is weird. She smells, the room smells. (--?) This is not going to work. MK: Yeah.

LA: Then they moved me into another room with a really nice gal, and then I was in room 223 (--?) Room 222 which was a corner room where to gals that I became really good friends with, and one of them I am still really good friends with today.

MK: Good good.

LA: And then she and I started doing volunteer work and Winnebago State Hospital now it's Winnebago mental health institute. So this was a part of, gosh I think it was the young Kiwanis club or I can't remember what the name of the club was, but it was (--?) and we went out once a week and we carpooled with people, and we went out once a week and I think that for my second semester freshman year 28:00and all of my sophomore year we went, we went in the evenings for a couple hours and we essentially played with the kids down in the kids unit.

MK: Aww.

LA: Yeah so that was a really good experience. MK: Yeah.

LA: And then my sophomore year I stayed in Stewart and I was in room 222 with a brand new roommate someone I had never met before which was my idea, I thought you know get to know another person.

MK: Yeah.

LA: And but my other friends who were sophomores when I was a freshman they moved off campus and I also kept in touch with them. And then when I was a junior I actually lived with a several of my friends off campus. And then senior year when they graduated my other friends and I moved in together. We stayed in the same place so. I lived in this, at that time it was this dark green kind of run down house on Cherry Street.

29:00

MK: Ok.

LA: And I lived there junior and senior year. Now it's like white and looks much worse. MK: Oh really?

LA: Really ugly white houses on Cherry St. You know if you ever go walk down there 867 (--?) MK: 867

LA: I stayed upstairs.

MK: Nice. That's really cool.

LA: Yeah. So we had 4 of us live together because um you know with 4 of you living together it was relatively inexpensive.

MK: Sure yeah. Definitely. So you said you lived with 4 others?

LA: 3 others. 4 of us total. I think yes, but from my junior year there was the three of them, the four of us were pretty good friends. My senior year two of the three graduated so it was two of us and then two other people who moved in that we weren't as really, didn't really know very well. But we didn't really have any major roommate problems. Which was a good thing.

30:00

MK: Yeah.

LA: And I got a car, I think it was my second semester of junior year I got a car. Or maybe it was, no I think it was first semester my junior year I bought a car from my parents.

MK: Nice. So I kind of want to go back to the dorm life a little bit. I mean you said your parents had to sign for living in Fletcher, what were kind of the rules and regulations that were, I mean I don't know it was so different.

LA: Yeah there was a lot. Ok so. MK: And just about like drinking too?

LA: Yeah well there was no alcohol allowed in any of the residence halls. MK: Ok.

LA: And no, males had to sign in and they would call you on the intercom saying you had a guest in the lobby.

MK: Oh.

LA: And no males could be in the residence halls after midnight.

MK: In the, the women's residence, so residence halls were separate right? It 31:00was women's residence halls and males residence halls but no co-ed?

LA: Right.

MK: And if you were in the, so if you had a male guest, they would call your name over the intercom?

LA: Yup. MK: Oh wow. LA: Yeah haha.

MK: That's crazy.

LA: Yeah and of course, the desk was attended you know 24/7 males (--?) and we had, you know we didn't have too many all residence halls activities. Like you know, Evans activities or Stewart activities. But we had floor activities. Like we had my first semester freshman year we had a door decorating contest.

MK: Oh yeah, that's going on right now. LA: Haha. Some things never change. MK: Yeah.

LA: And then we had, we had a few other things I don't remember as clearly as 32:00those but we had a few other activities that we did and we had floor meetings. So you know we would have these meetings with our RA Residence director who was, they were all very nice.

MK: Would you guys, they call them CA's or they call them community advisors. Would you guys have those?

LA: What do the community advisors do? MK: They just live on your floor, they kind of...

LA: They were called residence, residence advisors RA's. MK: RA's ok.

LA: Yeah same thing they lived on our floor. They were sort of in charge of making sure everybody followed all the rules nothing bad was happening, if someone was sick they made sure that person got over to hall health and you know got whatever (--?) they needed. So they kind of kept things in order and I think they probably tried to keep (--?) but I don't remember needing my (--?) picked up, so you know I think they probably helpful to students in other ways I just didn't need them a lot.

33:00

MK: Yeah. And you said how, like guys had a curfew or couldn't stay in the women's past 12. Did you guys have curfews?

LA: Yup.

MK: Everyone did?

LA: Everyone did at 2 o'clock in the morning. Everything had to be locked down. You know you couldn't get in the hall after 2 o'clock in the morning. Until like 6 or something.

MK: Wow. And then so the drinking age while you were there was kind of 18 19?

LA: It started out with this very strange thing where if you were 18 you could go to bars and drink beer and they were bound to only serve beer, and at 21 you could drink hard alcohol. And then while I was there, the law changed in the state of Wisconsin so that everybody could drink at age 18.

MK: Ok.

LA: And then some years later I guess they changed it back up to 21. MK: Yeah.

LA: But you know, when I was (--?) the last three years when I was there it was 34:0018 for any kind of alcohol.

MK: Oh cool. So if you, would people ever get in trouble if they had alcohol in their rooms or in their dorms?

LA: Oh I'm sure they did and people were doing drugs back then as well and I watched this guy actually walk, actually high on something walk out of the third floor of fletcher they (--?) out of the window this guy actually literally walked out into thin air and fell down high on something. So it was, probably the same, some did marijuana, or LSD and they sorted other pills and things, but the early 60's early 70's but it wasn't the same. People didn't do (--?) they didn't do heroin, they didn't do meth. (--?)

MK: Yeah.

LA: So it was different kind of stuff. A lot of drinking MK: Mostly drinking.

LA: And that may not have changed. I don't know.

35:00

MK: So you mentioned a little bit about kind of the bar scene and stuff, I mean what were the weekends and the party scene in Oshkosh, what was it like during that time?

LA: Well I don't think there was much drinking in residence halls, people all went to all these bars on Wisconsin Ave. and they'd all be packed and there'd be lines out the door and St. Patrick's Day was a big deal. People started with green beer and green (--?) glasses and the bars were open like all day. Wisconsin Ave. would be closed off for a couple of blocks, because it was just one mob, massive scene of people. If you go back over at the alumni conference center and you look at the yearbooks like I think 71 72 you'll see that there's 36:00pictures in there of people celebrating St. Patrick's Day it was a big deal. One of those years, I can't remember which year it was, and also nobody had TV's in their room, the only TV's were in the downstairs of the residence halls. But at one of those years, there was this TV show called the (--?) Carson show that was nationwide and one year they actually made this announcement if you can't be in Ireland on St. Patrick's Day be in Oshkosh, WI because it was a big deal.

MK: Yeah. We talked about St. Patrick's Day in class and I guess there were a ton of riots about it or something.

LA: Well that was later, you know when I went there weren't the riots per say, there were riots in 71, 72 there were anti-vietnam riots going on at sort of different length of time. And spring time always seemed to be the time for riots for whatever reason. But I don't think they were specifically related to St. Patrick's Day at that time but later years I understood people turned over 37:00police cars. Etc., but we didn't so much do that, I think people were too drunk to do that to tell you the truth. I don't think they had the energy.

MK: Yeah.

LA: But spring time we did have anti-war riots. We did have you know there were some fire sets and there were people who actually took pick axes to some of the asphalt on, I can't remember which street it was, whether it was High street or Algoma Street. But yeah there were a lot of protests that went on, mostly peaceful some not so peaceful but you know there were riots.

MK: Yeah.

LA: And you know some of us got involved, I really wasn't, and I've never been a believer that you get things done in a positive way instead of causing destruction. But I remember walking around people that were rioting and nobody ever bothered me but, nobody ever bothered us you know we were always on the, we were sort of like you know that's not really my thing, I would rather work through positive way than a negative way but it was what it was.

MK: Yeah.

38:00

LA: And I don't remember ever being frightened. But I will say this, this was really kind of funny. So in 1973, we had this, it was in the evening, and it was an honors assembly, they were giving out awards to all the outstanding students, to those who had gotten these outstanding students awards at different schools different colleges right?

MK: Mhm.

LA: But um the different schools within the university, so like the college of education, social work, business, pre law all those kinds of things, and so there were the president of the university and the head of the different colleges were all up on the stage and then parents had been, parents were invited my parents came so there were students and parents in this audience. And this kid, the guy who I can't remember his name now but the guy who won the award for pre law. We had this dean that we were pretty angry about at the time 39:00that we wanted fired and so he started doing

this little chant right, so all the students started doing this chant. And you could see all the parents started getting really nervous that some started riot was going to break out.

MK: Yeah.

LA: But we were relatively politically active in other ways besides riots, you know there were people on campus that would post things and you know do marches and hold assemblies and things like that.

MK: Yeah, Interesting. Ok I want to go back to your involvement with the volunteer work because I noticed that that was something you were really involved in. What kind of work were you doing like volunteer work what kind of stuff would you do?

LA: So the volunteer work at the State Hospital as I said was just with the children on the kids unit at the state hospital. And then you know I worked, 40:00most of what I did was volunteering with kids and then I did this I was a 4H leader for kids doing the horse project. And then I actually taught these riding classes and worked with students and kids. Teacher them to ride horses. And yeah. That was really most of it. And then my senior year, that was my social work, I got my bachelors in social work I had a (--?) assignment that was also at the same time. And I was really fortunate I had this absolute wonderful mentor, instructor, who moved me to these different units in the hospital so I worked with criminal commitment in adults, I worked with kids, teenagers on the drug unit, where people were there for drug abuse, I worked with people with really severe mental illness and you know who had been locked up. It was a 41:00really interesting good experience.

MK: Yeah.

LA: And to. So that was every single Friday. And then, I actually worked with the (--?) I worked in the nursing home I got paid for that, it wasn't volunteer work I got paid for that but every year I tried to do something.

MK: That's really good.

LA: It was hard my freshman year because you know as a freshman you're just kind of getting your feet wet and I did that kind of with the horse thing and actually, my second semester of freshman year I worked with a number of folks, of all different ages that were at the University. Some were seniors some were actually graduates and we did some horse shows. Both freshman and sophomore year.

MK: Oh really?

LA: Yeah we actually went to La Crosse for a horse show, we did some horse shows that (--?) so it was kind of fun.

MK: Now, you worked at the nursing home. Did you work during school or was that just during the summers?

42:00

LA: No I worked during school my senior year. MK: Oh wow.

LA: I worked on the weekends. And every vacation when I went, freshman and sophomore year is when I went home during vacation time,

MK: Mhm.

LA: I actually worked in retail selling clothing. And then the summer between my freshman and sophomore year I worked as a, it was a combination of positions, part time it was a, I did part time we traded off during life guarding at the pool, we worked at the recreation center in West Allis. I coached a girl's baseball team, I supervised the playground, supervised arts and crafts, and part time as a lifeguard so it was combination of positions for the parks and rec. Department. MK: Sure.

LA: And that was fun. I also did some volunteer tutoring. That's what I did my freshman year. I did some volunteer tutoring with other students in my chemistry class.

MK: Oh.

LA: And I also did a little bit of that my senior year, because I had this 43:00research class my senior year so a couple of students were really having trouble with that, and while (--?) I took statistics and research in the psych department, and I actually was a part of, I actually was nominated into the psychology honors society as well my senior year, I can't remember, so I just you know occasionally I helped out other students with stuff.

MK: So I want to talk a little bit about the kind of Black Thursday events, because you were there a year later right?

LA: Yeah so that was the fall before I got there but there was still a lot of tension. MK: Yeah Yeah.

LA: There was racial tension in the country during the 60's, a lot of racial tension (--?) these riots, and there was still a lot of racial tension when I 44:00got there in 69 and then I had the great opportunity. I think it was 1971 my friend Candy and I went to see Muhammad Ali came and spoke at UWO.

MK: Oh wow.

LA: Yeah and Candy and I went to see him and I had not really been a fan of his, yeah he was a boxer blah blah blah blah. But he actually had quite a good speech and it wasn't about boxing it was really sort of like a motivational speech for people. And then he stood up and that was in I think the auditorium. And so we were like, there were people on bleachers and then in chairs on the auditorium floor. And after the speech (he offered for the African American student union to come through and shake his hand??) so Candy and I were (--?) because we were both really impressed that was quite a big deal.

MK: Yeah. That is a really big deal, I didn't know that.

45:00

LA: Yeah there's actually a photo of him meeting with the students from the African American (student union?), they had that African American building, I forgot what it was called. But if you go to the alumni conference center off on the second floor there's actually a photo of him meeting with those students.

MK: Wow. That's very interesting.

LA: Which we didn't get to do because we weren't a part of that community. But just the fact that he was speaking on campus was pretty impressive actually.

MK: Yeah.

LA: And you know I do have to say they do a pretty good job at bringing some interesting folks. I can't remember a lot of the other speakers but I can remember some of the, so, my first semester freshman year I think it was there was this group that was popular in the 60's had a couple of hits called blood sweat and tears and they came and played, (--?) was there for the ice carnival I think it was my freshman year. Johnny Cash came and performed I think that was 46:00my sophomore or junior year but I went to see him as well that was interesting.

MK: Yeah.

LA: Oh (--?) I've never been a smoker so that wasn't always my thing. Yeah there may have been some others I don't recall at the moment but those were some big ones that stood out in my life.

MK: Yeah.

LA: And there was often, you know, there was live music in the Reeve memorial union and a lot of the times some of the groups were pretty good.

MK: Hmm. So for Black Thursday did you know about that before you went to Oshkosh? LA: Yes. We heard about it at orientation.

MK: Oh.

LA: And we heard because this was such a big deal, I mean it really had been a big deal at the campus so we heard about it and we heard about it when we got to the residence hall and we were warned that there may be some racial tension on campus. And nobody knew what kind of form that was going to take. It was the 47:00following year. Personally, no racial tensions that I perceived I would say. And we had some folks, Africans, Kenya, that were on my floor in Evans when I first started. And you know I met, I met some other international students over the years and the ones, like the African American students, I don't remember a whole lot of tension from my personal experience or anything.

MK: Sure.

LA: We did, I did my junior year. I was in this social psychology, I can't remember what the name of the class was but it was in the social work department I believe. And we were talking about businesses and about African American businesses and I went and interviewed this guy, his name was (Ken Mack?), he 48:00started the first brewery. He had the first African owned business it was a brewery in Oshkosh. And so I actually convinced him to come and talk to our class about what it was like to be an African American business man starting a business in this all white community. So that was kind of interesting.

MK: Yeah. What was his name again?

LA: I think it was Ed or Ted Mack was his last name. And I think it was a brewery that he had some sort of beer related business, of course that was always big in Oshkosh.

MK: Yeah.

LA: And those were the days that we still had homecoming (with brewery floats?) And we had, we had these big ice carnivals, or winter carnival things. And we would make these great big snow sculptures. I don't remember where we got the (--?) it must of been the snow on the ground, I can't recall, and (--?) put the ice sculptures on the lawn, there isn't one anymore, but the lawn of Reeve 49:00memorial union. There's not more lawn in front of Reeve memorial union. MK: I know everything's getting renovated right now.

LA: Yeah haha. So that was kind of fun?

MK: Were you pretty involved in like school dances or?

LA: Once in a while, I'd say I went to activities and the union, you know activities but most of the dances, college is you know kind of too old for school dances and that kind of thing.

MK: Yeah.

LA: But there were some of the bars, there was this bar out on Highway 41 called The Bar, and they had a big dance floor and people went to dance there.

MK: Oh cool. I think they still have that bar that's called The Bar. Were you in any types of clubs?

LA: No not really, I wasn't in any clubs. The young Kiwanis and stuff, but I 50:00wasn't actually part of the club per say. And I was kind of, pretty anti sorority and fraternity. I just didn't see those as interesting in any way shape or form so I wasn't real interested. I did, for part of the time I was there had a boyfriend that was in a fraternity and I knew a lot of guys that were in fraternities, and it just wasn't my, the whole Greek thing just wasn't my thing.

MK: Sure yeah, yeah. So you majored in social work right? LA: Yeah.

MK: And you kind of knew that's what you wanted to do? I know you went here for nursing, but it sounds like you kind of always took social work classes or?

LA: Yup. I did. So I graduated in 4 years, and then I went to grad school. MK: 51:00What interested you in social work?

LA: I think it has to do with the values I was taught. My parents were pretty active in the community and both from a church community and in the actual community and my dad was actually, one year he was involved in all these different activities. He started one of the first DECCA programs, he was, they were active in the community also. But the values that I grew up with was that human beings were valuable so during all of my years of high school I did volunteer work. (--?) But you know the idea was that people were (--?) important. And working with people was really what I wanted to do and I you know. Looking at the world and seeing the problems with race relations and I had been involved through a lot of things with my church as well in high school and a lot of those things led me to interactions with people with different faiths, 52:00and different backgrounds, and different nationalities, and different colors. And through the inner city church you know we dealt with a lot of (--?) and a lot of stuff. And so you know people were just really important to me and I, as a social worker it's my life so obviously it stuck with me. And well I just felt with part of what I wanted to do was to try and make the world a better place.

MK: That's awesome really.

LA: Now unrealistically understanding that you know that's, I didn't have that kind of power but understanding that you know little bits of pieces of my job was to try to (--?) make this country this world not a worse place and to try to do something that was beneficial.

MK: That's awesome really. It's great when you know really know what you want to do and are able to use that and stick with it for as long as you have.

LA: I think there were a lot of other things that I maybe thought I could do and then I just, I just decided no that really wasn't what I wanted so here I am.

53:00

MK: And what do you work for today, you work as a social worker?

LA: I do, well yes, but I am actually an administrator. So my title is regional operations director. For the last 10 years actually 11 years now I've worked for a non profit agency called Valley Cities (--?) We're a community behavioral health center that has 8 sites in (--?) county where Seattle is so we're located in the suburbs around Seattle. So I actually direct 2 clinics and a variety of contractual programs that we have and then I actually still do some, I might do some supervisions and some license (--?) for social workers here at the agency. And also occasionally do some interns. Primarily actually some USC virtual 54:00academics, University of Southern California virtual academics clinic because they have a really good program. So I, how can I describe it. So I actually start programs, I've started a variety of programs, I've presented at conferences both national, national behavioral health conference and Washington State behavioral health conference. I supervise managers and have a bunch of staff underneath me and go to meetings and get involved in things in the community, community programs and things and yeah. I don't actually live where I work. I actually live in the same county. Counties are very large compared to the size in Wisconsin. So we actually go from (--?) up to the mountains so I live kind of nestled in the hills I am about 18 miles away from where I work and 55:00I live in a kind of a, I kind of live in the woodsy area. We have two acres across the street from a private lake, we've lived there for thirty years, I've raised my kids there and, we've raised our kids here and we haven't moved because we kind of like it.

MK: Yeah it sounds really pretty.

LA: We don't get the cold weather that you get in the winter. We do get you know, it's probably going to pop down to 48 degrees. A typical winter is low 40's and high 40's. So high 40's today (--?) occasionally we do get snow, if you get a quarter of an inch of snow in Seattle everybody goes nuts.

MK: Haha

LA: My husband works in downtown Seattle. We live about 45 minutes drive, 32 miles from downtown, middle of downtown Seattle so you know we go to the city a lot. So I kind of have a the best of both worlds I live in the country I work in 56:00a suburban, poor suburbs. We work in areas where there are a lot of folks that are poverty stricken. Our clients are pretty much all, are on, (--?) called Medicare (--?).

MK: Awesome yeah. You said...

LA: I am going to have to tell you for the moment I only have about 5 minutes left.

MK: Ok I just have like two more questions.

LA: Great.

MK: How did you get out to Washington? LA: How did I get out to what?

MK: To Washington, where you live now.

LA: Oh, so I went to graduate school in Hawaii, and after two years in Hawaii I was done and, when I moved there I wanted to live in Hawaii forever. And after my grad school years there I never wanted to go back again. It was a good experience and a bad experience combined. And talk about racial tension, 57:00everybody hates everybody else if you ask any of the locals.

MK: Wow.

LA: But I learned a lot, I learned an awful lot about Hawaiian cultural things that have stuck with me all these many years. And I moved from Hawaii to the San Francisco Bay area of California. And my first job out of graduate school was actually working for what now is called the department of justice, and those days it was the law enforcement administration for the federal government. I worked for four police departments, but I worked for federal grant projects working with four police departments in (--?) county, which was the county just south of San Francisco. I lived in (--?) county, which was the county just north of San Francisco and commuted in everyday… hang on just a second… sorry I had to, I have a person coming for supervision (--?) so I worked there for two years but the traffic was so bad in California. And in graduate school I had a 58:00professor who was actually an exchange professor from the University of Washington and I thought I wanted to go for a PhD, and University of Washington had a PhD, and she said oh you guys should come up to Washington and I have friends that will help get you a job. And that's not what happened when I got to Washington. And I didn't like the PhD program that they had so I decided not to do it. And the person, the job that she had to offer they were, it just didn't (--?) for me and it's not what I wanted to take. And then I sort of fell into something. I was, I bought a house I had this great job in California for two years so I came up here, bought this house and meanwhile (--?) through the local hospital and I was looking for a job, I just thought well I need to get a job. So they had a psychiatric unit and I went to apply for a job on the psychiatric unit and the gal said well Lynn, you know maybe your skill set is better suited for (--?) there's this new program in the emergency department and we're going 59:00to be hiring two social workers (--?) this emergency room. And I said oh that sounds interesting so myself and 300 other people applied for the job, because in those days it was really hard to find a social worker job and there were like thousands, hundreds of applicants every opening. So I went through several rounds of interviews and got the job. So I had a new emergency room (--?) program in 1977 that was, and I worked in the ER there for 12 years (--?) and then I did some consulting and I ran into a psych (--?) and then I came to Valley Cities. So it's been, when I ran into (--?) I worked for a nationwide company and so I traveled around trying to get other units started in other states and I was helping him get ready for joint (--?) so it was an interesting. MK: Yeah sounds very very interesting. Well Lynn I know you kind of have to go 60:00here so I will let you go. Thank you so so much for allowing me to interview you and giving up your time. LA: Yeah you're welcome. If there's anything else you want to know you can email me questions and I will email you back actually.

MK: Ok awesome. I will email you that deed of gift and anything else. Thank you again very much.

LA: You're welcome Miranda, Take care.

MK: Have a good day.

Search This Transcript
Search Clear