Interview with Mark Faby, 04/28/2017

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Zachary Miller, Interviewer | uwocs_Mark_Faby_04282017_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


ZM: Hello, my name is Zachary Miller. I am here at the Alumni Welcome Center doing an interview on Mark Faby's, um, time at UWO. And Mark, could I get your name for the record?

MF: Mark Faby.

ZM: Thank you very much. The date is... April 28th, 2017. Alright, so, let's start from your childhood. Way back there, right?

MF: Well, uh, I was born in La Crosse. My dad was in the, uh, Air Force. And at the time was a recruiter in La Crosse and... six weeks after I was born my folks got moved to, uh, Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. My dad had been a personnel guy, and they had him turn into an instructor. So we were there, I don't know, late - (laughs) I'm going to give my age away - late '56 until, I 1:00think, mid-1960. And then he was transferred to Greenville, MS. And instead of being a personnel instructor teaching the classes he became a personnel guy. And he did it in Greenville, and then he was transferred to Lajes Air Force Base - L - A - G... L - A - J - E -S Air Force Base in the Azores - A - Z - O - R - E - S - Portuguese Islands about 600 miles west of Portugal. And we were there from... well, he was there for two solid years, and we were there for 18 months. We came back in August of 1965. Uh, and he was there for three years and then he retired. And because my folks - both sides' family's were all in Milwaukee - we 2:00came back. And here we are.

ZM: Nice.

MF: Uh, went to school in Waukesha.

ZM: Okay.

MF: And got out of high school and didn't know what to do...

ZM: (laughs)

MF: I think that's still kind of a common, uh, common theme in a lot of people's lives.

ZM: Yeah, yeah.

MF: I'd gone to, uh, the two year school. The Waukesha Center for, I don't know, about a year and a half, but I dropped out at one point because I really was just lost. And then I thought, well, I gotta do something.

ZM: Right.

MF: And, um, I have an older brother who at the time said, "If you can stick it out, then get your degree because I think that we can get out a job." Um, and so, the idea was I was going to go into Marketing, and there were campuses: Madison, Milwaukee, Whitewater, and here. And, I doubt that I would've gotten to Madison. I really do. I mean...

ZM: It's a tough school.

MF: Yeah, it's a tough school. And I was really not that interested in the 3:00marketing aspect of being a marketer, I was just, I thought, "Well, if I can get a sales job when I get done I'll be fine." Whitewater was too close. UW-M, it's like, I don't - I don't want to live in the city. And that left Oshkosh. And as I had mentioned, they had an open enrollment then which, for me, um, you know, underachiever and proud of it, man, so... I ended up coming up here.

ZM: Nice.

MF: And here I was, yeah.

ZM: Awesome.

MF: That would have been in... the fall of 1976.

ZM: So, um, you explained why you came here. And where did you live while you were here? You mentioned in the preliminary a few places.

MF: Yeah, I was in Scott, um, Scott North. And... uh, it was kind of nice because my original roommate never showed up. (laughs) Never showed up. And then, I don't know how it's done now, but back then they end up waiting a week 4:00or two and then they start consolidating stuff to make space because there's a waiting list for single rooms, things like that.

ZM: Right.

MF: And I ended up getting a roommate by the name of Todd Bohlmann. B - O - H - L - M - A - N - N, I think. And, uh, I had him as a roommate for about a month, and then a single room opened up on 7th floor Scott, and I took that. And I was there for a year, and then beginning of the next year I got the same room again which was nice. I don't know how it is now, but then, when you come out of the elevators, when you walk down the wings, the immediate room next to the elevators there, they're singles.

ZM: Mmhmm.

MF: And I was in there and, um, there was one knuckle-head on that floor that was making my life fairly miserable. He was just, just a horse's ass.

ZM: Sure.

MF: He was a guy that I think was missing a chromosome or two. And after an 5:00altercation they ended up finding a room for me over in Fletcher, and I moved over to Fletcher. And I was in Fletcher from October to May that year and then the entire next year. And Fletcher was nice because everybody was a little bit and by then I was... I was 20... I was 22. And everybody over in Fletcher, like I said were all older, older kids. Well, relatively. And it was, uh, it was a lot of fun.

ZM: Sure.

MF: But a lot of good people over there.

ZM: That's good. Um, to backtrack a little bit, just to get a little bit on your family's background, kind of, opinion on schooling. So, your dad was, uh, military. My dad was the same way so we moved around a lot, too. Um, how did they view education? Like, how did your parents view that?

MF: Oh, it's funny you should bring that up. Um, I've had this conversation a 6:00couple times with my girlfriend over the last few months. My folks - my folks said "Do whatever you want, as long as you're happy." Now, I heard this from when I was 14 on. You want to become a mechanic? Become a mechanic. You want to go to - want to be a brain surgeon? Be a brain surgeon. Just do whatever makes you happy. The sticking point with that is - how do you know what's going to make you happy?

ZM: Right.

MF: You know? That really... that was the kicker there. And then at one time I thought I was going to join a band, and my dad was all for it, and my mom goes "No you can't be in a smokey bar 'till four in the morning!" So, anyway, um, I was really... my folks were all for it. My folks had nothing against higher education although! My two older brothers went to college, my sister, who was a 7:00whiz at math, I think my mom kind of poo-poo'd her going to school. Now my mom was a nurse, but becoming a nurse back when my mom became a nurse is different than it is now, or even then. But my sister really should have been an accountant, and she didn't take that step. But, she wanted to do hair, and she did it because she had already been working as a bookkeeper and said "Eh," even though she was really good at it. And she's been pretty darn happy doing it, so in that sense do what makes you happy really works. But I do think that if somebody's gonna tell their kids, you still gotta offer a little bit of guidance: "Well, what are you thinking about doing?"

ZM: Right.

MF: You know, back then I think it was different, too. Parents - parents were different. And trying to raise kids was way different, I think.

ZM: I bet, I bet. So moving around definitely had an impact on like your ideas on education?

MF: Oh, let me tell ya! Education - but it was more from the social aspect of it 8:00because being in the military... making friends was absolutely no problem at all. Because everybody always moves, so people were always looking for somebody to hang out with and meet. When my dad retired and became a peer, suddenly I'm going to school with kids that have known each other since they were four years old. And it was, um, it was tough. I don't think that it affected too much as I got older in coming to Oshkosh because I certainly had enough friends, I certanly hung out with enough people, but - being younger, it, it certainly had effect on me long term. I don't, uh, I'm working as a sub right now. And so when I see little kids, or if I see any bullying going on, or if I see somebody just being rude to another kid I just don't put up with it. Because it's just plain 9:00not right. Not to go too far afield, but...

ZM: Oh, no, you're good. You can say what you gotta say. Um so, moving around, I'm sorry that's just my - I relate with that, I - I - I understand what you're saying, um. In - in the communities that you did live in, did they ever affect your ideas of school? Like, from moving to different countries, even?

MF: Well, the, uh, and I don't know if this exactly fits in with what you're getting at, but give me a couple seconds here. When I started school I started in Mississippi. And there - in fact, I just had this conversation, too - you had to be six by October 1st. Well, my birthday is September 29th. So I started, I started first grade I was five years old. Granted, the tail end, and then I 10:00became six, well after that every place I went I was always the youngest if not the youngest kid in class. My, uh, when I graduated, we started with 1000 kids in my graduating class in high school, and I graduated with about 850. And out of that 850 I think that there were maybe 3 people that were younger than me. And I think that they did it because they were pretty much very smarty and they just bounced 'em ahead. And - from a certain point, I think, I probably should've been held back a year just to have that experience with a peer group that was closer to my age instead of me always being that much younger.

ZM: Right. Interesting.

MF: So, as far as school goes, you know, choosing Oshkosh, I don't know if that played much of a part. Because by the time I came up here I was 20. Although that may be old for a freshman, or I think was 19 and then I turned 20. So.


ZM: Awesome. Um, so, when you did decide to go to college and told your parents, I'd assume, do you remember how they reacted?

MF: I think they were just glad that I was doing something. Because they... I really had great parents. You know, it's one of those things that it takes awhile to realize. But, um, I really had great parents, and I think for them, uh, see, boy I'm gonna end up going into stuff you may or may not want to know, but because it was so tough when I - when my dad, every time he came up here, and I didn't know anybody, I went through years of basically not having any friends then. And not really, I don't want this to get like a psychological breakdown, but some of the stuff I'll tell you is a part. I had been dating somebody in high school and that fell apart, and I was pretty much a lost soul. I really was. And so when I - you know, having gone to UW-Waukesha, and dropped out, and 12:00then gone back again, and, you know, there weren't very many choices. I mean, there are less choices now, but back then you could've gotten a factory job. But I'm just not cut out for factory work. You know, what else could I have done? If I had wanted to have any kind of life I needed to go to school. And I think that my folks were just very happy to see me, to see me go.

ZM: Sure.

MF: So.

ZM: That's awesome, that's a really cool story.

MF: Oh, please!

ZM: No, no, it is! I mean, if, if like college altered the course of your life like, that's what this is about, you know?

MF: Yeah, yeah.

ZM: So that's really cool.

MF: It really did.

ZM: Um, so - do you have any kids at all?

MF: No.

ZM: No? Okay, cool.

MF: Not that I know of. (laughs) That is the joke, sorry.

ZM: Awesome. Okay, so, now you're at college. Let's get started there. Um, you said your brother kind of brought the interest for you to go to college, is that right?

MF: Well, he, his - he had been working a lot, he's like 8 years older than me. 13:00He had been working for Lee Blue Jeans. And he said, "If you can get your degree, and you want to do it, I think that we could swing you getting into a training program." And so that was sort of the incentive.

ZM: Okay.

MF: But then when I was here I ended up - when I had gone to UW-Waukesha, I'd been on the radio station there, and that was a lot of fun. And, um, when I was here, I was dating somebody who worked over in the school of business. It used to be a for-profit television studio run by a guy named Doug Meyer(sp?). And I ended up getting a job working over there, and I was really close to going into Radio/TV/Film. Like, changing my major because I really liked it. As it turns out, I have friends, some that I'm still in contact with, who did that and they just starved to death, it was just - such an underpaid field. You know? I mean, 14:00these guys, I remember one time there was an ad in Madison. They were looking for, uh, a primetime anchor for their news. And the pay was 15 grand a year. Now this was about, I'd say, maybe... 1980? And 15 grand just is not very much money. You know? It's really not much now, but even then it was not all that much, so... So anyway, you know, that's why I didn't do it. A lot of people I know were, you know, they were mass communication majors and... you know, I think a number of them went off and became reporters and stuff, but again, where has that industry gone in the last 30 years?

ZM: Right.

MF: And that's really kind of sad, but... that's it. So yeah, I mean, my brother said "If you can do this, I'm not promising you, but at least you'll have a Marketing degree." I had been doing - I had worked in a record store, if you know what record stores are.

ZM: Oh, I know - I love music! (laughs)

MF: Um, well, you know I've got about 1200 albums at home, so. Uh, anyway, and 15:00it was a lot of fun, and it was - it was really enjoyable in talking to people and making those connections. And even when I was here I used to work in the mall, the uh, the Fox River Mall used to be an actual mall. And, um, I worked there for a year or so. And it was the same thing. You get to know people, people come back in and that whole - that whole thing they talk about in sales about developing relationships and everything.

ZM: Mmhmm.

MF: Now it's different when you get out in the real world because they want you to produce and it's not just how people you know, if you know somebody's birthday or not, but it really was a stepping stone for me going into the real world, so.

ZM: Nice. Um, so, when you came into college, before you actually got here, what were your expectations of college?

MF: Oh, I didn't think that it was going to be what it was. What, you know, what it turned out to be. I figured, you know, people playing touch on the quad, and 16:00all the, you know, the coeds in their plaid skirts, and... professors that cared about you, and all that - and it was just nothing like that at all. It was just nothing like that. And the one thing that you gotta keep in mind is that when I came here the drinking age was 18. And... there was... there was a lot of. I hate to use the word 'partying,' but there was a lot of partying going on. Just because of that. And on my dorm floor there were a couple of guys that were selling pot, and one guy had his girlfriend living with him so they were - yeah, I know, I know - you know, you'd walk into the restroom and they're in there taking a shower together, and it's just like... So in some way it was a real eye-opener.

ZM: Mmhmm.

MF: You know, I think for what it's worth I think I was naive. With the simple 17:00fact of my dad being in the military. And, you know, you're on a base and everybody's nice to you and blah blah blah. And you come up here - I mean, where the hell is Valders, Wisconsin? You know? I'm like - Lisbon, WI? New L- Because I live in Milwaukee, I've never even heard of these towns! It's like, what? And just, so many - people from these little podunk schools. And that's not a shot, that really isn't, but I mean you live in Milwaukee, and I think you can get a little insulated to what the rest of the state is like.

ZM: Sure.

MF: Now I live in Lomira, a town with literally one stop light. So, you know, it's really - it was really different coming up here. It really was.

ZM: For sure. Um, and do you remember anything like, your first day on the UWO campus?

MF: Do you want an honest answer?

ZM: Yeah. (laughs)


MF: Well, some friends of mine from Waukesha were up here, and ended up smoking a bunch of pot and walked around. And boy, oh boy, I still remember that. You know? Still remember that. But yeah, that's what it was. That was what the first day was like.

ZM: That's awesome.

MF: Yeah.

ZM: So a good first impression.

MF: Oh, ya know! Looking back on it, I think that I could've spent my time a little bit better, but it was something else. And it really was - in another sense it was a lot of fun because there were a lot of people running around, and people were putting - back then you had stereo speakers, like gigantic, and people were putting them in their dorm windows and were cranking tunes, and... it was just, not overwhelming, but a lot of sensory stimulation. It was warm day that, you know, people had moved in, it was sunny out. I mean, there were people 19:00playing touch football on the quad, people throwing Frisbees. It really was... it was an okay... from that aspect, it was an okay situation.

ZM: Awesome. Um, so -

(interrupted by phone ringing)

MF: Go ahead.

ZM: As - as a freshman you did come in knowing what major you wanted to do, but you said you wanted to switch to Radio/TV/Film.

MF: I really thought - I thought that, uh, yeah. Because it, um, you know when I thought about business I'm thinking "Uh..." you know? Who wants to be a business guy? You know, I'm too hip for that. You know?

ZM: Oh yeah.

MF: And, uh, um, I just didn't know.

ZM: Sure.

MF: The, uh, the thing that - not to go too far afield, but the thing that 20:00really strikes me looking back on it, and I can tell this to you, let me give you some advice. It's a line from Shakespeare about "To thine own self be true." That's it in a nutshell. If - if somebody's unhappy doing something, then don't do it. You know? You go - you've gotta - you've gotta listen to whatever yearning you've got in your heart for whatever you want to do. Because if you don't you end up being miserable. Now, I wasn't miserable - it was weird though, for me, in the school of business because I had hair to the middle of my back and I weighed 140 pounds. And I had these massive sideburns. Yeah. I was gonna bring pictures, and I -

ZM: Oh man.

MF: Um, and so what happened was I was up here, I think it was two years, and then I got everything cut off. And I would meet people, and I'd say "Oh yeah, I had you in my Accounting 101 class," and they'd say "Oh, I don't remember you." Listen, 21:00you had the longest hair in the school of business. Everybody, whenever you're in a class, everybody knew who you were because you looked like a damn hippy. You know, which was sort of the farthest from me but, uh, it was just one of those things so, um, but it was tough because - do they still have the, uh, what do they call? Are the semesters still cut up? When I came here, the semester was 17 weeks long. Most classes ran 14 weeks, and that 14 week was split into two 7 weeks.

ZM: Okay, well, we have midterms around the 7 week and then we finish 'er off.

MF: And then the last 3 weeks were after New Year's, I think, where you had one class for three hours a day for three weeks.

ZM: Yeah, that's - that's interim for us now.

MF: That's interim, yeah, that's what it was.

ZM: Cool.

MF: But when I went - when I came up here I was thrown into an Accounting 101 22:00class, and it was a semester's worth of work in 7 weeks. And it just threw me for a loop. I had to take that damn class three times. And apparently they were doing it to wash people out of the school of business. And the thing that was really funny about it was I got through it finally and then got to Accounting 2 and then got into Managerial and in Managerial I did really well and - and the career guy said "Oh, maybe you should be an accountant." And I'm like "Pssh!" There's just no way! So, I don't know if I kind of missed the question there, but it was - it was tough back then.

ZM: Yeah.

MF: You know, because the truth is is that I - I, you know, people say "Do you - what's your IQ?" Well, I know what my IQ is and I'm smart enough to be a doctor and I'm too smart to be a cop, you know? And because I know what doctor's IQs are on average and I know what IQ they're looking for for a police officer. But 23:00for me it was tough because I just didn't have the... what's the word for it? I didn't have the study skills needed. I didn't. I don't know that I've got them now. But, you know, if I would've applied myself and if I would've had a better idea of what I wanted to do... apparently you know that feeling.

ZM: Well, I do.

MF: Yeah, that, um, that it was - it would have been a completely different situation.

ZM: For sure.

MF: So, you know, and I was kind of like you said, I - when I came up here I still kind of in a loss or at a loss in more ways than one. So. But, you know. Things worked out eventually. So.

ZM: Right. Um, and as far as your classes went in the business field, I guess, in your major, did you actually enjoy any of those classes, or were you... more there to just get 'em done?


MF: No, well... I enjoyed them, I probably would enjoy them more, you know, as I got older. But - and I can't think of hardly anybody's name anymore. Um, I had a Marketing professor, I think his name was Marx, he was pretty interesting. Although he was a, uh, he was really not, um, a positive kind of guy. Because at the time, we're talking the early 80s, there were no jobs. We were in a recession. And he said, "Yeah," and I still remember this, I can't think of - I know it's out there, there was a, it was a really small Toyota that had come out. I mean, just a tiny car. And he said "Yep, that's what you folks are going to have to look forward to. No pay and drive a Toyota." Uh, shoot, I wish I could think of the name of it. But it was like, man. You know, thanks for all the encouragement with our careers. And I had a, uh, I had a English professor 25:00who taught a - I had him for a couple of English classes and he taught a business writing class named, uh, I wanna say Al Ferguson? Just flamboyantly gay. But, you know back then nobody really - well, I mean, maybe not gay but very flamboyant. But an interesting guy, and when I had him for this business writing class it was kind of cool because I was in there for about two weeks and he said "Listen, you don't need to come back until the last week." He said, "I'm not going to be able to teach you how to write any better then you already write." Which is pretty damn cool, so I stopped going.

ZM: Nice.

MF: And I think got like a B on the final exam. Yeah, yeah, I mean it was really - that's when I wish, you know, I'm just going to write the great American detective novel. Never have, but it was - for me it was a real encouraging. And the other one was, I can't think of her name, but I had a teacher - I don't think that she was a professor, I think that she was an adjunct who taught a 26:00business law class in a summer school and that was really good. And then I had, um, a, uh, a Fortran - do you know what Fortran is?

ZM: I don't.

MF: it's an old computer language. And I had a woman named, uh, Caroline Ragnar. Just crusty. Oh my gosh. But a lot of - just a real sharp person to talk to. Especially as a kid. A guy named, um, Marty Gremlin who I had for a speech class. He asked me to join the debate team, which was - I didn't do it, but I kind of wish I would have. And some other teacher for accounting I think whose husband was driving a snowmobile across Lake Winnebago and crashed in and died. Yeah, she ended up like, ducking out for the rest of the semester I think.

ZM: Yeah.


MF: Yeah. I mean, but those are the teachers - they're professors - and one old guy who said "There's no carburetor out there that will get 100 miles to a gallon of gas." He said "That's just - " And this guy had to have been 80 at the time. And somebody said "Well, how do you know?" "Oh, I got a friend of mine that works for Ford, and he told me." Well it turns out there really isn't, but back then it's like "Oh, come on."

ZM: Right.

MF: So.

ZM: That's funny. Alright, so, we covered favorite classes, favorite teachers, you are knocking these questions out before I even ask them.

MF: Aw, thanks.

ZM: You're killing it.

MF: Oh, it's only a half hour.

ZM: Yeah!

MF: Well, favorite classes, I mean, doing it - it was interesting, and I'll tell you this, the thing is that even though I don't look down my nose at business anymore because that's what makes - I think capitalism is great. That at the time I didn't appreciate what I was learning. It really was in a sense, like you said, I just gotta get through this. But I kind of feel almost anybody says that 28:00about any class really. I gotta get the grade, blah blah blah. But after I got out - you know, I can read a quarterly report or an annual report and I know what's going on. I know - I know how healthcare costs have been rising for the last 40, 50 years. I can see all that stuff. I don't know if there are a lot of kids coming out these days that have that, I just don't know. But, even though I was doing this in some ways begrudgingly, I mean, it certainly has paid off in the end. And it's really paid off, I mean, just... I have done some of the things, some things on my own where I had to know how to take care of the books. You know, even basically. And I - in that way, it really did pay off a lot. It got to be kind of dry. And taking economics courses was just... I had this guy named Bill Braud (?) who had come here from Colorado and just looked down his 29:00nose on Wisconsin and Oshkosh so much. And he was pretty much a hardcore left-winger, too, back then. And he was a little difficult to take. But I think for the most part, you know, the teachers, the professors, you know, I think a lot of them would rather be sitting in their offices doing research. But the ones that I had, I can't say that anybody was awful.

ZM: That's cool.

MF: So.

ZM: Awesome, awesome. Awesome. Okay, so now we're onto the extracurriculars which I am super interested in because you said you were a part of RUB and the first like, Osh Fest you helped with that?

MF: Yup, yup, yup.

ZM: Could you tell me a little bit about that?

MF: Yeah, I, uh, I - I don't know. I don't know how I got on RUB. I really don't. I - I mean, I don't know what, for me, if I just didn't know anybody and figured it would be a good way to meet someone, you know? But, um, when I had 30:00been in high school I had been on student council, big deal. And I and some other kids had done - have you ever heard of Oxfam?

ZM: No.

MF: It's, uh, O - X - F - A M. It's a, uh, it's a hunger organization. And we did a hunger hike for two years, where these kids, you know you get pledges and then you get on how many miles you walk. We did that and so I've always enjoyed things like that, and I came up and I was, um, they were just looking for people. And I said okay. And they used to have a coffee house over there. When you walk in, I really should go over there because it's been a long time because I think they're on their second or third remodel since I was here. But when you walked in off, what is it, Algoma? That cuts through the campus?

ZM: Yes, I believe so.

MF: Well, you used to walk in off of Algoma, right here was a little place, it 31:00was a, um, like a post office and candy and stuff. And then if you took a left you went in and there was a, uh, I think it was like the faculty lounge for lunch. And at that area they, um, they had a coffee house.

ZM: Hmm.

MF: And so I went in there and we would book people and set everything up and all that and it - it was pretty darn cool. And I happened to meet some people that are still performing, a guy named, um, Corky Siegel is out of Chicago, he's in a band called Siegel-Schwall, now he's by himself, but he came up here from Chicago, sicker than a dog. And, um, he was in one of the dorm rooms just - because they gave him a room to stay in - and he was just like, shaking. He was shivering so bad. And he came out and he, he performed and he was a lot of fun, 32:00it was just him. And then it was kind of funny because there used to be a guy in Chicago named Irv Kupcinet who had a talk show, and I saw him on that. Siegel-Schwall used to play around Milwaukee and everything, and I was at Summerfest once and I'm on this table standing up, watching the band, and here's Corky Siegel who stands up next to me. And I said, "Hey! Do you remember when you played in Oshkosh and this and that." And then he goes "I remember you!" Which is pretty cool. And, uh, him, and there was a guy named James Lee Stanley who's still out there, too. He showed up with just a, uh, he came in with some kind of massive disk problem in his back. And he came and he performed, I think we had a frozen Coke bottle, like filled with water that he put in the small of his back while he was performing. Well then through the miracle of the Internet I happened to, um, track him down years back and, uh, he, uh, I said "Do you 33:00remember playing at UW Oshkosh when you had a bad back?" And he said "Boy, do I ever!" (laughs)

So, anyway, the first year I was on the committee and then the second year they said "How would you like to be a committee chairman?" And I said, "Okay, what do I have to do?" And they said blah blah blah, do this, do that. And I was a committee chairman, and then we were booking bands. I don't know what it is now, but when you walk down - see, this is what you need to do is find old drawings of RUB. Like, old floorplans of it. But, when you walked down the hall, so - the post office was here, the professors cafeteria was there, there were some stairs right here that went upstairs, and you went farther down and then that whole area on the side, which I think is like a store now? I don't know, I haven't been in there, like I said, in a few years. But it was called the Draught Board. And they showed movies in there and they had a bar and that's where we booked 34:00bands. And so I booked bands for a year doing that.

ZM: Nice, nice.

MF: Yeah, one of the guys we have's named Lonnie Brooks. He just died. I think he's like, 79 or something? He's an old blues guy. He came up there. And, uh, there's another blues band out of Milwaukee called Short Stuff. And they were real popular back then. And it was really funny because I don't know what happened but I was wearing a bear costume. And I went out - yeah, I know it was... we were doing something, and I - I was out there dancing in a bear costume. And the guy in that band, James Liban, it turns out that - when I got out of school I worked for a concert promoter. And the guy that owned the concert promoting business was his manager. And so one day he was, uh, playing Johnny Mathis' "Chances Are" on his harmonica, and I said "Oh, I could listen to 35:00that all day." And he came into my office and started playing it and playing it and playing it, and by the third time I said, "Okay, I'm done. I don't have to listen to it all day." So, yeah, I was on RUB and, um, it was, uh, it was a lot of fun. I met some great people, none of whom I'm in contact with anymore.

ZM: Right.

MF: And, uh, that's what I did. And then we ended up... I'd like to say that it was my idea. I don't know, though. But somehow or another this idea came up about doing an end of the year party. And... like I said, I wish I could think of - because, you know, maybe I did do it or not, I don't know, but I think there just a conversation where, "Ah, you know, we should do something!" And I 36:00don't know what it's like now - it's really kind of funny because I ran into somebody. Somebody was wearing an Oshkosh sweatshirt, I don't know, 2-3 weeks ago, and I said "Oh, Oshkosh? Go Titans!" And I said, "Do they still have -" I think it might have even been a Bye Gosh shirt, I think that's what it was. And that came about because of Oshkosh B'Gosh, Oshkosh Bye-Gosh. And I said, "Oh, I was one of the people that started that!" She said, "Oh, it's still going on!" Every year. Is it a big deal now?

ZM: Oh, yeah. I think - I think Jesse McCartney is coming this year. I don't know if you know who that is, but, uh.

MF: I'm a huge music fan, but I - I can't keep up anymore.

ZM: It's a, a boy band child pop star kind of thing. So it - it is a big deal. Last year, we're bringing in big bands now, which is really cool. A lot of throwback stuff which is really cool.

MF: Really?

ZM: Yeah, it's really interesting.


MF: Yeah, we, uh, in fact while I'm talking about this... (shuffling)

ZM: Oh ho! That is awesome.

MF: Now, to show you how times have changed - that's a large.

ZM: (laughs) I don't think that's a large anymore!

MF: Not anymore. But there - there's that and -

ZM: That's awesome. I'm just gonna grab a picture of that real quick.

MF: Yeah, and then there's that. And I've got a visor, too. And it's really kind of this funky visor because it's - the visor itself is kind of foam, like foam stuff with the same logo on it. And it - then it just has this elastic chord that goes from one side of the visor to the other. And I know I've still got it because I've seen it in the last year, but I couldn't find it today. But yeah, and you know, "Sponsored by Miller" they'd never, I think use a liquor company or a beer company anymore.

ZM: Nope.

MF: And, you know, the thing is I can't tell you much about it. It was a big 38:00deal. I know that, I think it was the second year the weather wasn't that good because I can't think - if it was like the end of April or beginning of May. But I know that we had a bunch of different stages and stuff like that. But, you know - when I was younger and people would say, "I can't remember that." It's like, well now I'm to that point. I know it was a big deal, but I - I don't remember that much about it.

ZM: For sure.

MF: So.

ZM: Awesome. Yeah, no, it's still going on big time. Um, totally left field from that other extracurricular stuff but not really school things. Did you get off campus much, like, did you - ?

MF: All the damn time.

ZM: What'd you do?

MF: I went to bars. Bars and parties.

ZM: (laughs) Right.

MF: And downtown because there used to be a bunch of record stores downtown.

ZM: There's one there now.

MF: Yes, still the Exclusive Company?

ZM: Yes! Yeah.

MF: Yeah. Yeah. And there was a place, there was a restaurant called Middle Earth that made they things called handwiches which, if you looked it, was just a hamburger bun but everything stuck inside. There would - see, it was just so 39:00different then because everything revolved around parties and bars. This strip over here where like, Toppers is and stuff? It was... gosh... there was Andy's Library, I think that there were 3 or 4 bars right over there. And that's what we did. We just, we'd go to the bars.

ZM: Nice.

MF: And there was a place... the parking lot for Scott over here? Right across the street, it must be Algoma. But right, you know, the parking lot is like right here and here you're driving onto campus and there's this campus and this street and right here was this house. And I remember going to a party there, I went with 4 or 5 people, and it was so packed that we walked in and I lost them for like an hour. It was just - I mean back then it was just nuts! It really was. And... because a lot of these kids came from small towns they weren't 40:00smoking pot but they were drinking beer. And I - I do know, I think there was a couple kids on my, on my floor that first year into the second that didn't make it because they were just getting hammered so much. You know? And I think that, that's part of the thing is back then, I mean, you start drinking when you're 18 or 19 and you find out if you're smart or lucky you find out pretty soon what you can get away and what you can't. So, and then there were the - do they still have the corners? Is Mabel Murphy's still down there?

ZM: I don't know.

MF: Yeah, Mabel Murphy's and Calhoun Beach Club? Calhoun Beach Club used to be called Marvin's, Marvin Gard's, I bartended there for awhile. And I bartended in the Union. They used to have something on Tuesdays called Mingle Tingle. And it was -

ZM: I think I read about that.

MF: 25 cents for a beer and 35 cents for a mixed beer from 5-7 on Tuesday nights. So, people would just go - I mean, it was faculty and staff and it was 41:00students and, you know, you'd go in there and... for 2 bucks you'd end up with 6 drinks or 5 drinks and then go off and do your laundry. I mean, that's just what it was like. There was a place called... called Terry's down by the bars, and just to the south of it there was a place when you walked in there a lot of the tables had these big round things, almost like, uh, wiring spools? And you'd go in there from like 7-7:30 it was dime beer, from 7:30-8 it was 15 cents. And you'd go in there with 2 bucks and you'd buy tappers which were like 7oz. And you'd end up with a table that was just filled full of beer and people would sit there for hours. The beer would be, you know, really warm. You know, I don't want you to get the impression that I, you know, I drank my way through college because I didn't. And I didn't smoke pot my way through college either, that just wasn't it. But it was, it was pretty different being up here, you know, 42:00back then.

ZM: Oh yeah.

MF: And um, and really that's what people did. Now with it being 21 I think most people would be seniors by then?

ZM: Yup.

MF: Yeah. So...

ZM: When you're seniors, yup.

MF: And, but back when it was 18, I mean, uh. I mean, it was - it was a lot of fun though too. It really was.

ZM: Yeah.

MF: It really was, so.

ZM: So, we - in, in class we talked about, um, the St. Patty's Day riots and how that like, affected campus nowadays. Were you involved with any of that?

MF: Well, you know, when I was here there - see, that was - speaking of the way the semester was built... because we had to go seven weeks all of the other campuses were either, well, they were having their spring break while we were still in school and so this place got pretty swamped with kids from other 43:00campuses. And I never saw any riots; I think that happened after I was here, but I've seen a lot of people in the streets. A lot of people. And I always thought it was kind of stupid myself. But then maybe I'm just, like I said, naive. But, you know, some of the - some of the shenanigans that went... just because people, you know, we're all in school trying to, you know, study and get to that break. And, you know, you've got all these kids up here, and it's like, I mean, people howling at the moon. There was a, you know, you're in the bars and all of a sudden somebody starts "Arooo!" It's like yeah, oh yeah, oh boy. (laughs) Man, oh, man. It was just different back then.

ZM: Yeah.

MF: It really was. I keep saying that, but, I mean just the stuff - and I don't want, I don't know if it was a more innocent time or not. I will tell you some - kind of a funny story, I was at Scott. 'Cause, I mean, there were drugs up here then. But it wasn't, you know, people weren't smoking meth and there wasn't coke 44:00or anything like that. But I'm in, I'm in some guy's room and there's another guy on the phone. There's 4 or 5 of us, and I don't know, I think somebody dragged me in there for a minute. And this guy says "Yeah? Good stuff? Okay, well bring it on over." He hangs up and he says "Yeah, Joe Smith's bringing over some tetracycline. I hear it's good stuff!" And I looked at him and I said "Do you know what that is?" "I don't know, but it's good." I said, "Tetracycline is if you've got like, really bad acne! That's what it's -" And this guy thought he was - (laughs)

ZM: He was about to buy something good!

MF: Drugs! Oh man, oh man, oh man. Anyway, ah, so did we get off campus? Yeah.

ZM: Yeah.

MF: There was a - in fact when you talked about that I remember one year when I was in Fletcher it was, we ended up with like, seven of us. We drove over to 45:00Waupaca to a place called The Wheelhouse because everything that was going on in town here - it was just so nutty! I mean, 'cause Kelly's opened at 8'o'clock, The Magnet downtown opened at 8'o'clock, so you'd go - I mean, there were kids in there drinking at like 5 after 8. It was like "Ugh." You just don't want to do it. I mean, anyway on one Saturday night we drove to Waupaca to this place called The Wheelhouse. It had pizzas that were really about that big. That was a lot of fun. Just to get out of here! So, but there were always house parties. There was stuff to do. They, um, they used to have stuff on the lake in the winter when it froze over. And they'd have like, the fishery. And there were - there were concerts back then. I think Rod Stewart was here. Jerry Jeff Walker, who's a country guy, he wrote "Mr. Bojangles" if you know that song at all?

ZM: No.

MF: And it was really kind of funny because I was living in Denver and I saw Jerry Jeff Walker, and I went up to him and I said, I said "Mr. Walker," I said, 46:00"I saw you perform in Oshkosh." And he says "I don't remember that show at all." Because he used to - he used to drink a lot. And there's a guy named William Burroughs. Do you ever hear of a movie called Naked Lunch?

ZM: No.

MF: No? Well, he was part of the - he was one of the beat guys. Steely Dan is named after something that he describes in a book. And he was here which is really interesting. He killed his wife trying to shoot an apple off of her head with a bow and arrow. Yeah. And we were in there, in the lecture, and somebody asked him about it. He says "I heard that you killed..." and he said "Yeah, I did it. Yeah, I really did it, yeah." Yeah.

ZM: Jeez!

MF: Oh yeah!

ZM: That is insane!

MF: You kids don't know anything anymore!

ZM: I - I guess not!

MF: (laughs) And, uh, I can't think of his name anymore, but the guy that did the music for Miami Vice was here. See, all these bands - I mean these bands, this was - this was 40 years ago now, so you're not going to have a clue.


ZM: No.

MF: Hey, how old are your grandparents by the way?

ZM: My grandparents? Oh... I couldn't even tell you.

MF: How old are your parents?

ZM: My parents? Um... dad is like, 52. Mom is like 49.

MF: Okay, well they're not that far behind on that. Okay, just wondering.

ZM: Yeah! Fair question. Um, so, on you - you said something about coeds early which I thought was interesting. 'Cause we've talked about that in class, too. Um, how - how did like being a man affect your - your situation on college? Compared to like, being a woman.

MF: Ah, um... well, you know. I, uh, I'll tell you a story. There's a bunch of people I hung out with. And, um, there was this girl that, you know. I thought she was okay, and I - I said "We oughtta get together and do something." And she 48:00said "Me? Go out with you? Pfft! Surely you jest!" And I'm like, you know what? I'm not that stupid. I would've sworn I saw all the signs! But apparently I'm wrong. And so I spent about a year and a half not trusting myself. And we were at a party one time, and she was there and she said "Do you remember that time you asked me out?" Uh, yeah. It's seared into my brain. And she said "Well, I really wanted to go but I had a boyfriend." Well, why didn't you just tell me you had a boyfriend! I can take it! And anyway, so I, um, I went out with a lot of people when I was here. And not that I was... uh, you know, some studmuffin, but... I had a friend of mine who said "You just talk to them until they finally just drag you off." (laughs) And that's really what it is because I - I, uh, I 49:00just talk. And I just think that's how it should be, I mean, if you can't have a conversation with someone...

ZM: Right.

MF: And... and in that sense, it - it worked out pretty well for me. (laughs) And luckily I can still remember most of them, too. So.

ZM: Awesome.

MF: Yeah. But I - I'll tell you this, nobody's ever got a hold of me on Facebook saying "You're the one that got away." That hasn't happened.

ZM: Not yet! You have time.

MF: I don't think - (laughs)

ZM: Awesome. Alright, um, so I think we covered most of your time at UWO. Um, I just want to ask you a few questions about, like, post-UWO.

MF: Mmhmm.

ZM: So... how did it feel to finish college? Like, accomplish something? I know I'm looking forward to that.

MF: It in no way, shape or form prepares you for real life. I mean, I shouldn't 50:00be quite that adamant about it. But real life and school are two different things. What are you getting your degree in?

ZM: Music technology and production.

MF: Okay. Oh, like that's not a competitive field.

ZM: (laughs)

MF: Um... if you're lucky I mean, not you, but as a broad statement. You know, you asked me how I felt about my classes and stuff. The truth is... is that if you're lucky you leave here with a skillset, and you leave here with a way of looking at things. Maybe I feel that way just because it's a Business degree, and you start looking at... "Am I going to make any money, or am I not? What's the bottom line? What are the costs?" In music you end up having to look at that, too, but it's a little bit more creative, I would like to think.


ZM: Right.

MF: Um... I think if you're lucky you walk out of here with a base of knowledge, but I think that once you get in quote-unquote the "real world" you find out that that's all that it is, it's just a base of knowledge. And now is when the real learning beings. And I think that that's - I think that that's very true.

ZM: That's cool.

MF: So.

ZM: We covered so much with all that. That was amazing. Um.

MF: I've had 40 years to think about it! Let me tell you, I'm not kidding on that one. So.

ZM: That's awesome. That's seriously so cool. Okay, so, we've talked about what UWO has become now. From what you know, what are your thoughts on the change? From back then to what it's become?

MF: Once again, because this came up in conversation not very long ago, and this may be kind of sideways but... the truth is it feels like it was yesterday. Eh, 52:00maybe last week. It really does. I mean, it really does. I was up here, god I hate to say this, it was 20 years ago. I came up here for Homecoming when they still had a parade, which they don't do anymore. And, um, it's like... really, it's like it was just now. And so, when I'm trying to explain to you what Reeve used to look like... when I came up - because I had been up here a few times since I graduated, I mean, it just kind of floors me just how different it is. And what they're doing, and how they're - see, Oshkosh was not known for it's academics when I was here. Um, to the outside. I mean, when you're in school you're in school, and they're really... I mean, you're trying to be a nurse, you're trying to be a teacher, you're trying to - I guess, with what you do, you 53:00can't be stupid and get through it.

ZM: Mmhmm.

MF: So... when you're here you learn to appreciate that this... this isn't the Sorbonne, this isn't Oxford. But you know what? This isn't kindergarten or high school either. If you wanna succeed, if you wanna accomplish - you gotta be on your toes, you gotta apply yourself. Two things that I didn't do. But... when I see how different it is now, it, I think that more of the public - I don't think Oshkosh has got that - that party designation on it the way it did when I was, yeah, when I was here.

ZM: Right.

MF: 'Cause really, even then, the people that were doing that very few of them managed to graduate. I mean, I know kids that went off and became a prison guard in Waupon, and you know, somebody went back to work for his dad's company, well. Yeah, you know, there's a career choice for you, go work for your dad in the 54:00carpeting business. But, I mean, the guy's that got the opportunity did it so... Yeah. Yeah, it, uh, it is really different. It is kind of the shock of the new to me. When - when I've come in before. I mean, when I was here, I don't know, years back, I walked into Reeve and I'm like... when you, when you come in, again, from Algoma and you go all the way back they've got all those tables back there? That used to be the cafeteria. So, yeah. It used to be the cafeteria, and now that's real different.

ZM: Yeah.

MF: And I can't imagine what they've done to Fletcher, or what they've done to the library. Gruenhagen wasn't even open when I was here! Yeah, there just weren't enough students.

ZM: That's right, that's right.

MF: Yeah, and they closed down South Scott for awhile, too. I think that they... it was sparsely populated, and then I think a year or two later they just shut it down completely. So... Yeah, and I think they've torn some dorms down, 55:00haven't they?

ZM: I - I'm not sure, because we have Gruenhagen, we have North and South Scott, we have Taylor Hall -

MF: Was Taylor redone?

ZM: I - I'm - not in the time that I've been here.

MF: Okay.

ZM: Yeah, they did build - where I live right now, Horizon Village. It's, uh, like apartment style dorms?

MF: Yeah.

ZM: It's a little more expensive, but...

MF: That's gotta be pretty awesome, though.

ZM: Oh, it's - it's an amazing building. It's really -

MF: And see, in, like in Fletcher I - have you ever been in Fletcher?

ZM: I lived there last year.

MF: Oh, what were the rooms like then?

ZM: Ah, just -

MF: Like the cubicle?

ZM: White boxes of cement, yup.

MF: Yup, that's how it was when I was there. So. I will tell you something kind of funny when I was over there because I - I brought up a crate of albums about this long.

ZM: Mmhmm.

MF: And I had my stereo up there, and I was talking with some people and 56:00somebody said "Did you hear about that guy that brought up like 500 albums?" And it's like "Yeah... that's me." "You're kidding!" 'Cause I worked in this record store, and, you know - but it was, and it was, again it was so different then. We had a guy named... I can't tell you his real name. We called him R2-D2. He was just... he was nerdy, and I think that he was probably on the spectrum for autism, but he was sharp as a whip. And this was after the first Star Wars, this is not like now, but back then it was just - and there were a lot of smart guys on that floor. Like I said, everybody was older when I was there, so it, um, it made a difference, so.

There used to be - I don't know if it's a big open area now, but where Halsey is - Halsey runs north and south, and then there were two buildings like this along the side, and there's a big open area. Well, when I was here they had that open 57:00area - it was filled, I think, with 16 or 20 mini hills. Just... they're probably about 6 feet tall? And it was - some professor had did it as an art installation, and it was really cool, and the grounds guys kept complaing because it was so tough to mow the lawn that they finally just plowed everything down! And none of this was here. None of this was here. I mean, it was, this was just - I don't know if they reclaimed this or not, but it was just stuff. It was just an open area. Is it - is it Kolf that's over there? What's the, uh, gym?

ZM: Mm... I don't know.

MF: Golf? Gauff? Something like that?

ZM: Yeah, I don't - Kolf, maybe? I don't know, um.

MF: But that - they had concerts there. I used to know a guy that owned a bar in Waukesha, and he was doing the Lipizzaner Stallions, so we had the Lipizzaner Stallions in there, and I ran all that. Guy gave me 50 bucks for three days 58:00work, and I - that money lasted me a month. You know? And now 50 bucks, pfft.

ZM: A weekend.

MF: If that!

ZM: Right.

MF: If that.

ZM: Right.

MF: And... when I, uh, you mention being off campus, when I first came up here I was working in the mall. And so I was working with some townies. And so those guys and girls used to drag me to parties too, so I got to know a bunch of local people too which was kind of fun.

ZM: Cool.

MF: Yeah, it was. It was. So... we're right at an hour.

ZM: Yeah, I think we hit the mark. Um, if - if there's anything else you want to say, you have the floor. You can... some advice, I mean. I have a question on here: "What advice would you give current students?" But you touched on that earlier.

MF: Yeah, um... since I don't have any kids or grandkids to pass it on to, ah, enjoy it. Enjoy your life. Don't get bogged down in stuff because it really, it 59:00goes that fast. It really does. And... you know, what else is there to do? Be true to yourself, like I said. That's the biggest thing. Don't take any crap from anyone.

ZM: Awesome.

MF: Okay?

ZM: Well, I think that finishes 'er up. Thank you very much!

MF: Okay. You bet.

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