Interview with Peter Greeninger, 11/27/2016

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Josie Greeninger, Interviewer | uwocs_Pete_Greeninger_11272016_pt1.m4a and uwocs_Pete_Greeninger_11272016_pt2.m4a
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


JG: Okay, so, I'm interviewing Peter Greeninger on November 27th at 7:40PM at his home in Appleton, WI. Is that correct?

PG: Correct.

JG: Okay, so, where did you grow up?

PG: I grew up in, ah, Oshkosh.

JG: Your whole childhood? Your whole life?

PG: The majority of my childhood was in Oshkosh, um, lived in Tacoma, WA and Duluth, MN, um, stepfather was in the military so had some stints there, but the majority of my time was in Oshkosh, WI.

JG: What was the community like in Oshkosh where you grew up?

PG: I grew up on the north side of town. Uh, the community was, uh, pretty much the neighborhood schools. Uh, I went to a Catholic grade school even though I am Lutheran, and, uh, my parents lived next door to St. Mary's in Oshkosh, and 1:00that's where I went to, um, grade school all the way up until my 8th grade year.

JG: What was your family like? Like your parents, siblings? Did they go to college? Did they emphasize education?

PG: I, uh, I was at a - in a family that had, uh, um divorced mom who remarried. And, uh, had a older brother, a sister, a younger sister, and then my mother remarried and they had a child, so I had a younger brother also. So it was a split household with a stepfather in it, and my siblings, my older brother, ah, went to UW Oshkosh, graduated there. Started at Platteville and then ended up going to UW Oshkosh. And my sister did not attend, and my younger brother went to, um, Fox Valley, and he is a graphic artist.

JG: Did your parents go to college? Like, stepparents or... ?


PG: Um, father, biological father no. Mother no. And stepfather is a firefighter paramedic, so did some, uh, time at Madison to get his degree to become a firefighter paramedic.

JG: So, Poppa was a firefighter. What type of work did your mom do?

PG: She was a stay at home mom. Um, she did work odd jobs on the side, um, obviously she would, um, worked at the school which we lived next to; it's St. Mary's. Uh, she worked, uh, lunchroom, and she also worked playground duties, uh, had some stints at, you know, typically like a Pick'N'Save, grocery store, um, that kind of deal. But mainly a stay at home mom.

JG: Um, what were the values that your family tried to impart?

PG: Uh, well many values. The first and foremost is, you know, family is 3:00everything, is one of the core values, um, that they instilled. Um, a great work ethic. And, within the family, within the grandparents, and my mother and father, just instilling that "Never give up," attitude, um, shoot for the stars type attitude, and, you know, tried to accomplish your goals that you set.

JG: Oh, you said, well those are your values, and then you said that they, um, that you did have other siblings that went onto college. Are those values that you learned? And pursuing a higher education - is that something that you wanted to emphasize on your own kids?

PG: Well, absolutely. I mean, I was the only one in our family that participated in and went on to - with the sports, so the sports really instilled that, you 4:00know, never give up attitude. And so with that being said, that was something that my parents instilled in me, I carry through into the sports, into my academics, and, um, so obviously I'm - I instill that same work ethic and drive into my children, too.

JG: So, what kind of schools you attended - you said that you went to a Catholic school when you were younger, did you go Catholic all the way through?

PG: No, I went through - I went to St. Mary's, it was 3rd grade, actually I think 2nd grade, was Longfellow, that school no longer exists in Oshkosh. Then it was 3rd through 8th grade at St. Mary's, which was the Catholic, and then I attended - since we're on the north side of town, then I attended Oshkosh North, uh, for my high school. Then 9 through 12 there. And then eventually to UW Oshkosh for my four years there.

JG: So what were the schools like in Oshkosh when you attended them?


PG: Like, I said it's - it's a lot of the neighborhood schools. The kids that are around, like, the Longfellow for 2nd grade. It was, you know, walking to school. You know, you knew the people in your neighborhood. Um, and then when I went to St. Mary's that was - you had to pay to go there because that was, um, a tuition you had to pay for. And my parents - my mom basically worked off the tuition fee by working in the cafeteria and on the playground. But a lot of the kids that were within the neighborhood also attended, um, St. Mary's, too. Um, and there were some kids that were outside of our area a little bit further that you really didn't know that well, but, um, still that neighborhood school. Everyone knew everyone. You know, going out for recess and having your fights and... getting back and being friends after when it's all said and done.

JG: Do you think a lot of people - do you feel like a lot of people attended, 6:00like the Catholic schools or was it... just like, a smaller group of people? Was it more common?

PG: I think - I think in that era, it was, you know, kind of half and half 'cause a lot of my good friends, too, like Eric Stenson who was in our neighborhood, and he went - I, he went to Webster-Stanley, which was the public school, but you know. On the playground we all still played basketball together on the - and so, yeah, I would say, you know, half of my friends that went to the public school, and there were half that went to the private. And some - and a lot of those kids that I hung around with in my neighborhood, I eventually saw at Oshkosh North, and then some of those kids that I hung around at St. Mary's, when they transition after their 8th grade year, like a kid across the street, Tim Meidl, he went to Oshkosh Lourdes. So he continued on - a lot of those kids, 85-90% of those kids that went to St. Mary's eventually went on to probably, you 7:00know, Oshkosh Lourdes, and then the other ones, you know, went to Oshkosh North, or if they were in Oshkosh West on that particular side of town.

JG: So, how important do you think school was in your family and like, in the community?

PG: Well, school was very important because, you know, it brought everyone together. Like, when you're doing, uh, I remember, you know, we used to do - which we don't do anymore - um, paper recycling. So then everyone would come, like at St. Mary's had a paper recycling area, so you'd drop off your newspapers and paper bags, you'd go out to the community if you couldn't get their papers dropped off we'd go over to their houses, pick 'em up, bring 'em in there, so that was part of A. Number one, in the schools, you compete against classes to see who would bring in the most amount of paper to recycle. And then it was everyone, you know, doing the helping hand. Coming in and doing their deed, and, you know, collecting those papers, so the school was part of a lot of that - that community, getting together to organize all those activities and then still 8:00within your school making that little competition within the grades.

JG: Mmhmm. So they didn't have like, paper recycling? Like when we get our garbage picked up? They didn't have that? Everyone had a -

PG: You just threw your garbage in the garbage and away it went.

JG: Wow.

PG: So then a lot of people would recycle, they would put their papers in boxes or paper bags, and I remember going into a elderly lady's basement, and she had stacks of it. The whole was just filled with papers.

JG: Wow. Um, what were your goals as a young person? And your parents goals for you?

PG: The goals for me was just to, you know, like I said, give it 110% at whatever you do. Give it your best effort. And, um, my parents always instilled, if you're gonna start something always finish it. They never had - they had high expectations as I look back on it, you know, they wanted the best for me, but they never put the pressure on me to "Oh, you have to make sure you get As." It 9:00was just, "Give it your best shot." You know, I remember struggling, uh, with a math class, and coming home and, you know, my mom's just saying "Hey, make sure you go and talk to your teacher and see what's going on. You might have to spend a little extra time." And then she'd go, and if I was follow up with me if I was still having problem, and she'd quiz me as best she could, and, you know, so I'd maintain that. So that was always a work ethic that instilled in me, like, alright, I gotta get this done, make sure I'm set for a test, then I can go out and play or do whatever I'm going to do with my friends.

JG: Did you - when you were growing up, did you know that you always wanted to be a teacher? Or did you think you were going to do something else, or?

PG: I did not, at first, I was not sure what I wanted to do. I thought maybe architecture was going to be the avenue I was going to pursue. And then I decided, kinda, probably my sophomore year when I was at Oshkosh North and I had a pretty good art teacher, and I always liked art, but, you know, being a sports 10:00guy and everything else that wasn't cool during the time to be in an art classroom. So, my mom actually had me take those art classes. And, uh, said "Just keep going with it, you're good at it, and just see what you can do." So, I'm thinking, well, if I'm going to do something I kinda like the end of helping other people which was the teaching end of it. And I said, well, I kind of do like art. So, why don't I put those two together? And then when I saw - Jim Healy was his name at Oshkosh North, um, who inspired me to be an art teacher. And was just real cool, he'd always give me crap in the lunchroom after a football game or something, and, you know, it was kind of neat because it was a big burly that came up there and all of a sudden my friends started to know who the guy was and, you know, then all of a sudden art wasn't that bad. Then all of a sudden it was like, almost kinda cool. He kinda made it cool. So that kinda inspired me to say, "Hey, that might be an avenue I might wanna pursue."

JG: Mmhmm. So, when did you, like, start to think about going to college?


PG: Well then - I knew I was going to go to college, that was no doubt in my mind that I was going to do that. That was something that - I wanted to better myself, obviously, and get a good paying job. What that good paying job was going to be I had no idea what it was going to be but I knew I wanted to go to college, so once I kind of figured that I wanted to be an art teacher the next avenue was -

JG: Okay. Um, so how did your view on higher education change like, as you were growing up? So like, you said you always pictured yourself going to college. Did it - were there times where you thought, "Maybe not, maybe go straight into the workforce," or... ?

PG: I did. I vacillated the whole time on, like I said, my - maybe my freshman year, sophomore year, wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Did I - maybe I might want to go to the tech, but what did I want to - what did I want to do with my 12:00life? And then when I made a decision that the art teaching was going to be it, then I kind of talked to my counselors at the high school and they said, "Well, the avenue obviously is going to have to be college." So then it was a matter of, "Okay, what college is going to be the best fit?" And I was interested in sports, and I had a fairly decent success football wise, so then once I had that going then I was like, "Alright, well maybe I wanna play football," so now I knew going that I wasn't going to go to a college just to play football. I was going to a college to get my art education degree. And then - in college, football would then follow suit, so of course I knew I wasn't going to be a D1 football player, but I still loved the game of football. So therefore the art education was gonna be the driving force behind everything.

JG: So did you look anywhere else besides Oshkosh for colleges?

PG: Yup, actually, because Jim Dame (?), a buddy of mine was going to Caroll 13:00College. So he said, "Why don't you apply there?" So I looked into there; they only had a two year program for art education. I was really kind of wanting to go there until, it's like, alright, well they don't have art education so that was not an avenue. Steven's Point was a possibility; they didn't even have it at all! And then, uh, UW Oshkosh had art education so it was pretty much a no brainer. I mean, since I was from that town, I knew about UW Oshkosh anyway, um, it'd be pretty convenient. And I had the opportunity to play football. So, I could get my degree that I wanted, I could still do my sports, and then the combination of that worked out to be successful.

JG: So you were at UW Oshkosh from 1986-1990, right?

PG: Yeah, I graduated from high school in '86, so it would've been...

JG: That fall?

PG: Yeah, that fall.

JG: Um, well mom is a year older than you, so the fact that mom was at UW Oshkosh, did that factor in to your choice of college at all?


PG: When she went through it was actually, you know, it helped me make my decisions because she was there prior to me getting there so she kind of just said "Hey, this is kinda how the courses run," and kinda gave me the low-down on kind of the college life and how it goes. And she was commuting, and so then I figured, to save money, 'cause, both your mom and my parents both said "If you're going to college..." neither of our parents could help us out, so we knew that we had to foot the bill. And there were what was called Pell Grants and other opportunities that we could apply for to help us with college, but we would have to fund the rest of that money, so we knew that staying on campus probably wasn't going to be an option for us. So then our parents both let us stay at home so now having your mom go through a year of staying at home and saying "Yeah, it's a pain in the rear end, but it's still okay." You know? So it 15:00was - that kind of helped me make my decision and that transition to UWO even a little bit easier.

JG: Mmhmm. Mom was talking about how for her grants that she had it covered about the first two years of her tuition, or something like that, but then she had extra money and she got a bike so she could bike to campus. Did you have any issues, like, transportation wise? Did you have your own car?

PG: My parents, when I - yeah, I had a car when I was at home, so I had to pay for my insurance, I had to pay for my gas, so of course I worked - where your mom worked and I worked, at Field's Restaurant, and I worked there all the way through, I think it was my sophomore year in high school all the way until my senior year of UWO. And that paid for my books, everything that I needed for transportation, gas, insurance, etc. So, again, I mean whatever I could, I paid for. You know, through that job at Field's Restaurant, so.


JG: Mmhmm. So, besides mom did you have, um, a handful of friends that went to UWO?

PG: Yeah, and again I - for myself, it was, I knew a lot of the people that were in my class and where they were going to go, but a lot that you kind of graduated with you didn't really know went to UWO, or maybe a - a year ahead of you, or below. And when you're at UWO, all of a sudden you're in a class and you're going "Oh, I didn't know that so-and-so was going to UW Oshkosh." And all of a sudden you kind of, you make those connections. So again, it's just that small little group you're in in high school, but when all of a sudden you get out to UWO you kind of see some of my friends that were there. Like Eric Stensen, a guy I graduated with, you know, he played football too and he decided that UWO wasn't for him, he was going to be a police officer. So he went to the Tech, got his degree quicker, and he was in the work force and got a job and away he went. So again, you know, there's a lot of, you know, friends that you see that are there and then some that all of a sudden say "Hey, it's not for 17:00me," and, you know, they go.

JG: Yeah. So, I know mom kind of helped you, like, figure out what UWO was going to be like, but what were your first impressions when you started as a freshman?

PG: Well, first it's like... it - it seemed like that first semester was high school - the full year of high school condensed into one semester at UWO. Like, I remember - I remember my algebra book - my algebra class, I think it was, that I had and all of a sudden it's like the whole year was crammed into like, almost 5 weeks. And you're like, "Holy -" You know? It was easy to begin with and then all of a sudden away it went, so... Um, the transition was probably not as hard the first semester, but as the second semester all of a sudden things, you got a little bit more complex classes, and you gotta kinda figure out your schedule, it was a little bit different, obviously, while having a Monday, Wednesday, Friday class and a Tuesday, Thursday, and what you have to study for and prep 18:00for, but, uh, that transition came, but that's just in time you get used to that.

JG: Yeah. Did you have to start or go back or go to school initially earlier than everyone else with being on the football team? Like, did you have to do stuff... ?

PG: We just had what were our two a days. So we would have to always be at UW Oshkosh. So we would be in the dorms. Uh, my first two years, um, we stayed in the dorms like, 2 to 3 weeks before school even started, but that was just for football. There was no classes going on at that time. But you were stuck in the dorm, you went to the Blackhawks, had your food and all that good stuff, and then it was just basically football 24/7. We had, like 3 day practices and, so you're back at the dorm and you're back at the field. Back at the dorm, eating and so on and so forth. So at least I was able to kind of get acclimated to all of these new people that I'm going to come in contact with, and a lot of these - start comparing schedules and you find out that so-and-so is in your class and 19:00they got the same, same class and all that good stuff.

JG: Did you have to pay for like the dorm and the Blackhawk stuff, or did the football program cover that?

PG: Um, we just had a fee... I think, I can't recall off the top of my head. I think there was a, just a fee for the food, and you just had to pay that, and that was like, half price type deal, you know, compared to what it was, but...

JG: Um, do you think being on the football team and meeting all those people before the school year started helped your transition?

PG: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. 'Cause I remember first guy I meet was Eric Feeton(?), who was a freshman football player, too. And we were roommates in Gruenhagen, and he was a defensive end. And I walked into that room, and I'm like "Holy man!" You know, first off there's my experience of being in the dorms. And lookin' at those things and like going "Holy mackerel..." And you have to live here the full year? And that was... 'cause I stayed there for football, but I didn't when I was in school because I commuted. And it's like, 20:00man... all of a sudden that whole first floor you got to know everyone, and all of a sudden there's offensive guys, defensive guys, pretty soon you got a full family before the school year even starts! Older kids, younger kids, and yeah. So it definitely was an advantage for sure.

JG: So, what were your classes like when they started to get into the education field?

PG: Pertaining to... art education, you're saying?

JG: Yeah.

PG: Well, I was in some of the same classes that a lot of education students are in. You got your education, basically classes, like multicultural education class, the speech class, and so all those I - basically the first two years is pretty much similar to what everyone else has to take and teaching. And then - then it gets into the specialty areas which would be art education where then I would take which was called a studio art classes, so then it'd be in the 2D area and the 3D area, so, you know, I took basically every class under the rainbow 21:00from, you know, drawing to painting to ceramics to photography to, um, you name it. All the areas you gotta end up teaching in the classroom, but you have to be good at those areas, too, so that's why they make you take those classes.

JG: Um, mom was talking about, um, how - well, she was elementary education, and she was talking about how she remembers at graduation she got all of her forms and stuff in, it had said that a specific class had covered phonics, but she never learned anything about phonics. Did you run into issues like that where you felt a class didn't prepare you enough, or said it was going to and it didn't?

PG: Um, looking back... I mean, I would have to say that, you know, all the classes that I had taken there wasn't anything that was, you know, earth-shattering where I was like shocked going "Man, I didn't really know much about this!" You know? It - it was more so in the advanced classes, when I was 22:00in my studio classes because - now remember, I'm in - let's say I'm in a ceramic class. And I'm in a ceramic class that has kids that are majoring in ceramics. And I'm just going for education basically "show me how to do this so I can teach this," and you got people that are doing projects that are for art shows. So when I got in there I was kind of like, you know, I'm not prepared for this, kinda felt that like holy mackerel. But then once those professors are in there, they kind of separate saying, "Okay, here's, kind of, art education kids, here's fine arts majors."

JG: Okay.

PG: So they, their expectations are going to be a little bit higher for those kids compared to the other ones that are just kind of learning it, persay, so...

JG: Okay. Yeah, 'cause I did take - now I've taken a couple art classes, and it's all just education majors. They - the education that are going for like an art degree are completely separate classes now.


PG: Which they would be for just education, but not - I don't know if art education would be separate because art education, you still are in those classes.

JG: Oh yeah, that's right...

PG: See, 'cause like, mom would - mom took an art class and a music class and whatever else and that's going to be completely separate. You guys won't be in classes where art education - you're thrown in there because you should be doing things better than a regular education teacher.

JG: Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. So, from that Advance Titan that you have, um, when the ceramics lab opened, was that your senior year that UW Oshkosh got that?

PG: Um, I believe it was - yeah, because I had ceramics. I - was it my junior year or senior? I know it was one of the two. 'Cause the ceramic lab was at the Arts and Communication building in the basement. You know, the worst conditions you could possibly have those in! But then the new ceramic lab was where it's currently located now and it's just, yeah, it's unbelievable. Yeah, when that 24:00building was created it was - a whole building dedicated to ceramics, it's kind of got it's own entity out there. Exhaust fans, I mean the environment is definitely better than being in a basement in the Arts and Communications building.

JG: At that point, did you know that ceramics was kind of your favorite, or the one that you liked the most? Or was it like, after that you got the opportunity to have like, a better facility where you realized that you can really do a lot with it?

PG: Nah, I think the facility really didn't... I mean, when I went in there, like everyone you start things off, you gotta... I was okay on the wheel and Donhauser was the professor at the time, and he taught a, you know, just anything you needed he'd push the envelope a little bit with you, you know, and teach you some skills and take that a step further. So, you know, you started to - you started to grow as an artist in there also, so when I saw he - he was giving me attention, and that gave me a little more passion and drive, and then 25:00that kinda helped me, you know, spurn a little more excitement for ceramics moreso than let's say, painting or drawing or whatever.

JG: Yeah. Did you volunteer to do the demonstrations when they open the ceramics lab, or did your professors ask you to?

PG: Um, it was just... I mean, I did - I would do firings in there and I - there was a time when Donhauser was actually a little bit sick, so I kind of, if you wanna say, ran the ceramic lab there for a little bit, but I was, you know, pugging a lot of clay and making sure things and firing schedules were on there, so I just did that just because it's like - your guy is having some health issues at the time and, you know, was a little bit sick and, you know, we still want the - I took pride in the ceramic lab there, so we wanted things to still go smoothly - according to plan. So I just kind of volunteered my time and helped out and did some demos when demos needed to be done and fired and all 26:00that good stuff.

JG: Mmhmm. So, going back to the football part of your college experience. Why did you choose to play football in college?

PG: Well... the short and long of that is pretty easy. Coming out of a high school our team at Oshkosh North wasn't the best my senior year, but I had some accolades where I earned some all-conference, so then I got selected to the Shrine Bowl, to play in the Shrine Bowl. So I wasn't sure myself if I wanted to - I love football, but I'm like, I'm not the biggest kid. You know? I've got some speed, I got some good hands, but you know, I'm not sure about it, so I - at the time, Ron Cardo was the head football coach, and he came to Oshkosh North and said "Well, if you're going to be coming to Oshkosh we'd love to have you on the team." Um, so we kind of - he was the only one, like Steven's Point, when I sat down with him, that guy's telling me "You're going to start, you're going to 27:00do this," but Ron just said "Hey, there's an opportunity here." Didn't pull any punches saying, "You know, if you're good enough we'll get you on the field, and we give you the opportunity." So, I played the Shrine Bowl, and then from that point - and I'll never forget because the Oshkosh Northwestern came and did an article on me and then asked, you know, "Are you going to be playing at UW Oshkosh?" And I told them in the paper, yes, that I plan on playing at UW Oshkosh. And I heard myself say that outloud and I said, well, looks like it's a done deal. You're going to have to do it now! So, and then the rest is history after that. And then, you know, was fortunate to play my freshman year. Didn't start, but I was in the rotation with the receivers and, uh, lettered all four years and had a blast.

JG: Was the Shrine Bowl - was that something they did for high schools? Like, um, in the Fox Valley, or what was that?

PG: Shrine Bowl is all the kids in the state of Wisconsin. They - they do it a little bit different now, where they got a small and a large. The Shrine Bowl used to be where it was just - you could be Division 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 28:00whatever division you are, and you get nominated to play in the Shrine Bowl, and it's just the best. North vs the South, the best athletes in the state of Wisconsin compete against each other. It's for obviously, uh, the Shriner's Hospital for the kids. We raise money for that and, you know, do an excellent job with that, so. It's not like it's - it's two games now, it was just one big game with everyone in the state of Wisconsin.

JG: Where did they play that?

PG: At Titan. It was at Titan Stadium, yeah.

JG: That's pretty cool. So, you played, um, what position?

PG: Wide receiver.

JG: Wide receiver. And, did you stick with that all four years?

PG: Yup. All four years a wide receiver.

JG: Is that what you played in high school?

PG: I played wide receiver and defensive back in high school.

JG: When did you start playing football?

PG: Oof, probably... well, I mean the official time my freshman year when I told my mom I was going out for football and I - and she kind of, "Well, what are you 29:00going to do? Be the goalpost?" And I said, "No." And she said, "Well, you're not big enough." And then I drove my bike to the tryouts at Oshkosh North and that was the official time. Like, a lot of people tell you stories about how they played YMCA and flag football and this and that. My football was street ball. That's what it was. It was on a playground. We played tackle football. We - I mean, it was - there was no organization. It was, you know, I remember going - I felt I could catch anything out there, so it's just like "Alright." And then my buddy was in - Eric Stenson said, "Hey, I'm going out for football." And he played through the YMCA peewee league and all that stuff and so I just said, followed suit. Followed him to football practice and there it was. Came back and told mom I got a jersey, I'm on the team.

JG: That's awesome. So what memories do you have from being on the football team at Oshkosh? Like, any specific games you remember, or friendships that you made?

PG: Uh, I mean - I'm not big into stats and all that stuff. I mean, I had a 30:00couple good games where I had, you know, scored some touchdowns and whatnot. But, you know, the most important thing about that whole thing was just the camaraderie you had. It was still that, I mean, people don't get it unless they're on a team or an organization where you get that other family and you're part of that so when you have a bad day or whatever else there's so many other people, there's like, you know, they're like your brothers. You got all these brothers you can go and talk to, and you can vent and you can communicate with 'em, and so I mean that - that, for me, with UWO and the football team, was probably more - meant more to me than all the accolades or, you know, scoring touchdowns and things like that. So again, the memories of - are more, more important that way, and... You know just, the time you spend together with them because you're in class with them together, you know, some of them have some girl issues or whatever and it's just, you just go through it together.

JG: Um, do you have like any lasting friendships from kids that were on the 31:00football team? Like, I know you said Eric played a little bit?

PG: Couple years, yeah. Two years, then he went to Fox Valley. Um, while John Stack, who's over at Oshkosh West, he was in the wedding. He was in our wedding. And he was a groomsmen and, um, Ken Levine, who's the head coach at Oshkosh West, also played with me. Chris Kujawa, who just resigned from Oshkosh North, was a runningback at UW - I mean, I got so many connections and friends that are out there, I mean, with coaching now that I'm doing - it's, it's funny that you see all of these former players that are in the coaching field, so, I got connections all over where these people ended up either coaching or, you know, having their family - like we played, uh, Hartfod, and, uh, Eric Featon, who was my roommate during (unclear?) days, came up and he had a son playing and he was 32:00helping out coaching the team, and he came up to me and we talked and it was just kind, kind of neat to see, you know, so.

JG: Do you think playing at UW Oshkosh, or just playing football in general had anything to do with wanting to coach after it? After you graduated?

PG: Well, when I was at UWO, I think it was my - might have been my - I had a coaching class that I took. And I knew I wanted to coach, so I actually coached, I think it might have been my junior and senior year at UWO. I did a 8th grade - 7th and 8th grade basketball team at Sacred Heart. And I coached those teams. And, uh, had a blast doing it, and running the offense and defense and practices and organizing that and had a blast doing that, so I knew I wanted to continue coaching, so that's something that's just been in my blood, and it's an extension of - of - of the football, you know? All of a sudden you can't play it 33:00anymore 'cause there's no rec football to play anymore, but you can certainly coach. So I just love, you know, the coaching aspect of it. It still keeps me involved in the game whether it's coaching football or basketball or soccer or whatever the heck it is.

JG: Um, so was the coaching course you took - was that, like something one of your requirements you had to take, or did you just...?

PG: It was a minor that I had - I was going to do a minor in coaching so then they just said that you can take a coaching course with that so then I just took the course just so I could make sure that I would be able to, when I got done, you know, coach somewhere.

JG: So, did you actually get a minor in coaching, or?

PG: No, I just - I took extensive credit. I got art education major with an emphasis in ceramics and photography, 'cause those were the two courses I took the majority of, and then I had - I don't know if I - I don't know if I got enough credits for the minor in coaching, but I know that I took a couple classes in that, so.

JG: Um, what was the social life on campus? 'Cause, I know that you were a 34:00commuter and like, me myself being a commuter sometimes it's harder to get into that social aspect, but how was that for you?

PG: It was actually easier. I mean, it's harder for you because you're coming from Appleton. Remember I was in Oshkosh.

JG: Mmhmm.

PG: So, the - everything that was available to me other than them - when I come to football practice and say, "Oh, you should've seen it. Three girls came in on the boys floor and they were in the shower!" or whatever story they're telling, I was not - I was not there for that. But if there was anything going on, if someone was having a picnic or they're gonna tailgate before a Badger game or before a Packer game, they would say "Hey, c'mon over to our house." A lot of them had houses at the time on Cherry St. or wherever it was. And all of a sudden you're going over there and so I was involved as much as someone being on 35:00campus other than being in the dorm rooms.

JG: Yeah.

PG: You know, of course it didn't seem when they - if they went to the Commons and whatnot, but anything after that was pretty convenient. I'd go home, shower up and then - if I had to work, I'd work. If they were - if there was something that was going on I'd be able to attend it.

JG: Was it common for kids to, like, go to campus events? Like, I know they - we still have Homecoming, like, if there were any events for that 'cause today... no one really goes to any of that. Was that common?

PG: I don't think - I mean, again, I'm just talking from the football player's perspective. Not a lot of that - because the game was what - the Homecoming was the game. That - that was our focus. So I don't recall anything, I don't remember going to events for Homecoming and things like that, so it's probably how it is now is probably how it was then, too.

JG: Yeah. Did a lot of kids, like, go out of the bars and stuff on weekends? 36:00'Cause that's... a big part of campus life today.

PG: Oh yeah, that was - I mean, there was kids - Brad Stede (sp?) I had, he was an offensive guard or tackle for us. And I had him in an English class on Friday. 8am. And I knew - and all of a sudden I'm sitting there and Brad wasn't in class. And I'm like, "Where the heck is he?" Then I found out that Thursday was the time 'cause that wasn't something that I was a part of living at home, I just knew that okay, Thursday nights is when they - when the kids go out apparently. Didn't realize that when I had my first class on Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 8am. I said, it didn't effect me. But all of a sudden I'm not seeing some of these kids showing up every other week on Friday. And I'm like, "Oh, okay." That's how some of the kids don't make it at UWO then.

JG: Yeah. Um, so where did - where were the places you guys liked to go in Oshkosh? Like, when - for your social life?


PG: Well, it was always someone's house. Someone always had a house party persay. Um, later on, you know, I think it was the library was down there, Kelly's, of course, that was still down there. Um, you know, the bar scene down there. There were so many to pick from down there. There - a lot of, you know, they would go to this place or that place and then - but usually it was, you know, someone's house. They always had something going on.

JG: Yeah.

PG: You know.

JG: Um. What was it like dating your high school sweetheart all through college?

PG: It wasn't a problem. It was actually - it kept me out of trouble. So, um, that was - you know. Same thing everyone asks you've been dating her since you were a sophomore in high school and then how is that for college life? I think with both of us being a commuter and not being tremendously actively involved... I mean there were times that her and I went to things together, whether it be a house party or whatever else, but I think with us being - like, if she was in 38:00the dorms and I wasn't I think that might've been like, you know, "What are you doing?" and, you know, that kind of thing, but since we were both commuting I think it actually was pretty easy.

JG: So, was mom, like, did she go to a lot of like football stuff with you? Like socializing... ?

PG: I don't - yeah, I mean, you know, a lot of times it was just the guys doing guys stupid stuff. But yeah, I mean mom came to some of the house parties and things like that when I would go, and she got to know some of the girlfriend of the week for whoever's, you know, so you know. It was longer than a week obviously, but I mean whoever was dating so-and-so then she'd kinda get to know those - those girls because she might've had them in class too or whatever, so.

JG: Yeah. Um, so how did you feel when you finished college? And what did - what were you expectations for after graduation?

PG: Well excited and then, like, now you get to get out in the real world, and I got my first job. I graduated and got my first job. I was at Field's Restaurant 39:00and got a call. It was in Shawano and the principal called and said that I got the job and I was pretty excited about that. And like, alright. Then all of a sudden nerves kind of set in like holy mackerel... I'm gonna - how am I gonna do this? Uh, you know? I had all my class and my coursework for it, and I know that I got - I know I can do it, but now what's it going to be? So when I first got to Shawano I met with the high school teacher who I was taking over for was retiring. And we went - we met for two days. Two days straight. And he just kind of laid out what he did. He said, "Pick and choose what you wanna do. Here's how I've done it." You know? Took his information, put in kind of my spin on how I wanna teach things, and the rest is history. But I mean it was excitement and nervous and... you know? All balled into one.

JG: So you got - so you graduated in the spring of '90? And then that fall right 40:00away you were teaching?

PG: That fall. Right in Shawano, yup.

JG: Was mom in Shawano, teaching in Shawano, at that point?

PG: Mom was - had a job in Fall River.

JG: So how was that with you guys - her in Fall River?

PG: Tough. Tough. I was in Shawano, she was in Fall River. And then, since I was coaching football she'd always, you know, leave on a Friday and drive from Fall River to Shawano. And we'd spend the weekend and she'd leave Saturday or Sunday and go back to Fall River because she had to get all her lesson plans done and I had to get my lesson plans done and it was just, you know, it was tough, but... I mean, we... she applied the following year to Shawano, got a job, and we both had a job in Shawano and it worked out great so we were fortunate that way.

JG: Do you feel like, um, when you graduated there were a lot of teaching jobs available? Was it - or was it tough?

PG: I remember putting it on a map. And there wasn't a lot, I mean, I - I put my - for art education I remember - that's a specialty, so, you know, I had a map 41:00in my room and I just put little thumbtacks on where I'm applying. I remember Cumberland, WI was one. Had no idea where Cumberland was.

JG: Yeah.

PG: That was the interview I was going to be going to the following day. Shawano was the first interview that I had, I had one at Oshkosh, and I think Jim Healy got me that interview and it was for Webster-Stanley position and basically just to go through that interview process I know that I was real nervous on that, so, had Oshkosh pinned. Went through that one, they just basically said "No. Not enough experience." Obviously just coming out of college... then I had the one in Shawano. Then I was going to go and do the one in Cumberland which was the next day but then they came back and offered me the position so I didn't have to go to Cumberland and got that job. But there was no a lot available out there.

JG: Mmmhmm.

PG. So.

JG: How do you feel, um, college prepared for life in general and for your career?

PG: Uh... I think, I mean, college prepared me. I mean, my schooling through UWO 42:00I felt pretty confident in - another good thing is I had a professor, uh, Leffler that - he has passed on since, but he was my art metals teacher. And I remember saying, uh, "Hey, I gotta teach art metals." So I called him and he sent me stuff, uh, through email and just said "Hey, here's some things. Here's a book that I highly recommend. Here's where I would order some of your things." And he kind of talked me through that so making those connections at UWO and having great relationships with your professors in turn paid off because I could bounce things off if I had questions professionally. I got those answers immediately. And I got immediate feedback so it was awesome. So I felt confident knowing that I had basically someone in the background looking out after me if something would go awry.

JG: So you started in Shawano... um, and then where did you kind of go with your 43:00career up until now? How'd you end up - start at Shawano and end up in Kimberley?

PG: Shawano - 7 or 8 years in Shawano. And then from Shawano your mom and I wanted to get back to the Oshkosh area so your mom got a position at Lakeside where she's at right now, and then I thought I was applying - because Jim Healy, that guy that got me excited about art education, why I'm an art teacher, was retiring. And that was always a longtime joke with him, I told him, I said "When you retire I'm going to take your job over."

JG: Mmhmm.

PG: So I'm going and - I thought it was for the Oshkosh North position, so I get to the interview and then the interview process goes through and all of a sudden the Oshkosh North position was filled and then they - there was a Perry Tipler, which was a middle school position open, so I went through the interview and 44:00they basically said, "You know... the position can be yours." You know, and so then I kind of went through it so I did Perry Tipler for a year knowing that there might be a position open at one of the high schools. Because middle school wasn't really my avenue. I didn't... I'm certified K-12, but that was not - I did student teaching in the elementary, loved it, that wasn't a problem. I did student teaching with the high school, loved it, and then middle school - I had the middle school position, it's just a different breed of kids that are there. So I knew I didn't want to do that for the rest of my career so I did that for a year. And then at Oshkosh West, um, Roger Zeitler and then I was able to fill in at Oshkosh West, and I took his position over at Oshkosh West. And I was at Oshkosh West for another... I don't know, 6, 7, 6 years maybe? 6 years maybe, 7 years? And then... when I became the head coach at Oshkosh North then I got a 45:00position at Oshkosh North, and I was at Oshkosh North for 2 years. And then from there, um, I then took the position at Kimberly where I'm currently at. And I think this is now my 8th or 9th year at Kimberly now? So.

JG: And you - you coached at, um, at all schools, right? Like at Shawano -

PG: I coached, yup, I coached at Shawano, I coached football, baseball, basketball. I was varsity and JV football, varsity and JV, uh, basketball, varsity and JV baseball. Then when I went to Oshkosh, um, then I just did the football at, um, I taught at Oshkosh West but still coached at Oshkosh North. Then was the head coach at Oshkosh North, and then that was just all football. And then I went to Kimberly here, and obviously Kimberly's just been all 46:00football, too, but within those stages obviously I had kids in between there and I was coaching all the kids baseball and basketball and soccer and everything else so on top of the high school sports I had that duty also.

JG: Was that weird at all being a teacher at Oshkosh West but coaching at Oshkosh North? 'Cause I know they're kind of like, rivals a little bit.

PG: They are, and that was the weird thing. I know it is a rival when you play each other in the game, but I always thought it was strange because I'm an Oshkosh Area School District employee. I just so happen to be coaching at Oshkosh North, but I'm teaching at Oshkosh West so I kind of liked it because I got to see the majority of the kids at Oshkosh West that came through the art program and then I was at Oshkosh North and I got to see all the Oshkosh North football players. And I got to see the diversity between the two schools and how they interact and how they are. Of course it's the rival when it was Oshkosh North Oshkosh West game when we played, you know, I had some of the football 47:00from Oshkosh West in my room and so that was always fun. I thought it was, you know, it wasn't anything that "Oh, we're gonna beat you guys and whatever." But it was - it was fun, you got to see 'em in class and, you know, razz 'em a little bit, so...

JG: Yeah. Um, have you have much involvement in UWO since you graduated?

PG: I just did every year that, you know, a student would call for donations for the art education majors and what not. Um, I did some of the golf outings that they would put on for UWO. I haven't done that in awhile, but I used to do that when they their UWO there. Um, tried to get back to a few football games, you know, far and few between, but I tried to make that, like - Penske as a matter of a fact just called and see if someone's going to go to the Oshkosh game this past week that they just played, but I was up deer hunting, so... Um, that - that's kind of where I'm at. And obviously now that I have kids that are going to UWO, you know, going back and... like the third kid in college now, with 48:00Douglas, and going back and see how UWO is - the new buildings that are there, I - I'm just so impressed on, you know, from where I was... even the new complex at Titan Stadium. Our weight room was under Titan Stadium in a little garage basically, and now they got a tremendous amount of buildings and new equipment and everything.

JG: Um, is that - is that weird at all? Like, you and mom going through UWO and then seeing 3 out of your 4 kids so far go through it?

PG: Not weird. Almost - it's, it's kind of - we're kind of, at least I am, anyway, proud that you guys are going there. It's a very good school, um, and we never said that you guys have to, but I think we've raised you with the same mentality that we had. Knowing that we don't have the money to foot the bill therefore you're - you wanna go to college, here's going to kind of be your 49:00thing. So we're kind of proud that you're following in our footsteps doing what we're doing, establishing a great work ethic, knowing what money is and when you gotta pay for these bills and attaining debt and trying to keep your debt downlow and so it's just... we think it's great, but it's not like we pushed you into go to UWO. But, I mean, you guys could have pursued anywhere you wanted to go, but we're happy you chose here at UWO.

JG: Um, for Maggie, myself and Douglas, I feel like commuter students aren't as common, and I feel like a lot of kids think it's weird that we're paying for our own college fully on our own and we decided to commute to save money. I know a lot of students are like "You'll have the rest of your life to pay off your debt," and all that kind of stuff. Do you think being a commuter student was a more common thing when you went to school, or was it still... most kids stayed 50:00on campus?

PG: Well, here - here's the difference. Which was the culture shock when Maggie was the first to go. The bottom line is is that when we went to school there were commuters that were doing it but there were also kids that were in that town that decided to stay on campus. Now, there were Pell Grants and other opportunities for kids to get money, you know, and the Work Study programs and all that. And that was more readily available to students. So... those were opportunities, and again, some of the Pell Grants and things and Perkin loans and things like that, a lot of it was such a low interest rate that it was on or some of them you didn't have to pay back because it depended on your income where you're at. So what's happening now, again, the price of college is so high, and I got the sticker value shock when I looked at it when Maggie was going, and this is what you kids don't get and that's why you're seeing less of 51:00those kids saying "Oh, you got the rest of your life to pay that off." But if you accumulate - and this is what we're telling you guys, and you guys get that so I don't know, I can't speak for the parenting of these other kids - so yeah, you do have the rest of your life to pay that loan off.

But what are you going into? So if you accumulate an $80,000 debt and you're going to go be an elementary teacher you're going to be paying that off for the rest of your ilfe. So you don't want to do that even though kids are saying "Oh, you'll be able to pay for it." Now again, some of those kids might be a doctor, lawyer, whatever, where they're going to accumulate a huge debt but their salary is going to be able to supplement that a heck of a lot quicker. So you're probably not seeing that because kids don't think it's "Well, I'm not going to commute, that's not cool, I wanna live on my own, I wanna do my own thing!" But yet you're going to accumulate that debt. Now, again, I don't know how they're paying for that, and again everyone has their story but we know our story. It's work ethic, it's instilling what money means and it's keeping your debt down, 52:00and that's what you kids are choosing to do and if that's weird it's kind of scary if that's weird. Because... what's going on then?! You know?

JG: Do you feel like there were a lot other commuters? Besides you, or?

PG: I think that there were - there were other commuters, um, I don't know if it was - if it's going to be other commuters compared to what you guys have there. I would say that there's - there was still a good chunk of kids that commuted. Now when Maggie had that kind of commuter room I don't think UWO even had a commuter room at that time it was, you know, kids just came in and just had a pillow and you slept on a couch, you know? Type deal, so.

JG: Um, did a lot of kids that lived in Oshkosh like you commute, or did, like, ones from high school, or did they... a lot of them dorm anyways even though they lived right there?


PG: Um... there were some - there were some kids that, that commuted that were... yeah, there were some kids that didn't but it wasn't, you know, there were different age groups. You know, like, one would have been older and whatever. But yeah, so. I mean, I remember seeing them in passing, um, and, you know, knowing that they were getting in their car, "Yeah, I'm going home for lunch, and I'm going to come back," you know, type deal, but you know so, it was, you know, not - not - not a lot that I had from Oshkosh itself that was doing that commuting though. There was a couple from Omro, Winneconne, and what not that I knew, so.

JG: Yeah. What advice would you give to current students at UWO?

PG: Just be wise. Be wise with your money, be wise with your loans. Um, enjoy your time when you're there. Make the most out of your classes because the one thing that didn't make sense to me - because it's like, yeah, you're paying this 54:00and you got a loan and you're doing this, but make those friendships at UWO, but also embrace the professors that you have. I think I didn't - I didn't really do that until my, you know, junior and senior year when, you know, they're a great resource. You don't realize that until you're out, you know, so, you know, young students don't get that that's why I would say that would be something that they should think about a little bit more. Not saying, "Oh, I didn't want to take that class 'cause that professor's bad," but yet someone else might say, "Well, that was the greatest professor because, you know, you just gotta build those relationships and build that rapport with them."

JG: Yeah. Being in my junior year I definitely feel like I've built more of a relationship with my professors that are like, specifically education professors. One, 'cause the class size is smaller, but there are - it's, um, I feel the same way, that's really comfortable with them, and it's a good resource 55:00and they have a lot of experience which I think is cool, and I have my one professors, Lenore, who had mom as a student which I think is funny.

PG: Yeah.

JG: Um, is there anything else you wanna say or - about UWO?

PG: About UWO? I just, like - I had - I had a good... I can't knock anything or say anything bad, I mean it always took the rap, like all colleges do, you know, UW-Zero and all that good stuff, but it's - it's a very solid program and what they're doing now is just remarkable. They are - they are keeping up with the Joneses with the facades and the buildings and making it look appealing and - and getting good quality students into the programs there, which is - which is awesome to see. 'Cause I know it was a lot of revolving doors with some professors and whatnot when they're coming in there and, you know, holding down 56:00some professors, and that still might very well be but there was always a core that was there within every area. You know, it was kind of neat to see when I had some of my students move on and go to UWO and a couple I had that were in art education I'm asking if, you know, these teachers were "Yeah, they had you! And they remembered you!" And so it was kind of neat to see like, even, you know, Maggie having David Hodge who - David Hodge has been there forever. I think he's now done, but, I mean, he had me and... he had Maggie in a class, and it's just like... I mean, that - that's just cool to see that - that - that core value is there, so.

JG: Definitely. Think Molly's going to go to UWO?

PG: I don't know. She probably will. That'll be four.

JG: Make it a whole family tradition.

PG: Yup.

JG: That should be everything then. Thank you.

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