Interview with Sharon Rhode, 04/26/2018

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Anna Jones, Interviewer | uwocs_Sharon_Rhode_04262018_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |

0:00

´╗┐AJ: Today's date is April 26 2018. It is 2:08 p.m. I'll be interviewing Sharon Rhode for the campus stories oral history project. We will speak for approximately 60 Minutes, and Ms. Rhode will be presented with a deed of gift at the end of the interview.

AJ: So--

SR: It's pronounced Rhode.

AJ: Rhode? Oh, I'm sorry. So where did you grow up. We did talk about this a little bit before we started but.

SR: I was born in Fond du Lac and then when I was 11. Similar to your story. We headed north meaning Oshkosh, and I started sixth grade at South Park and went through South Park and went on to Oshkosh. It was just Oshkosh high school then it split right, you know, a few years after I graduate, but it is the West building that was the only older high school and then went on to UW Oshkosh for 1:00a bachelor's in elementary ed and two years later went back for a masters in counseling, school counseling, and left the area for a number of years to teach and keep me right.

AJ: Alright, so what was your family dynamic growing up? We'll do a little bit of a pre- UWO interview first, like siblings, family.

SR: Well we, my two younger brothers and I lived with our parents. I was raised with two parents which was more common back in the day than it is. You know this is the last generation or two and I have the next brother down is cognitively 2:00disabled and I was always real involved in it you know early on it was always babysitting you know, you have to, somebody has to watch your brother. You, my mom would always say, or whatever but and I still to this day and the sibling that's very close to him and he's in the last couple years because of a fall and a severe break of a knee-cap, from the fall. He lives in a group home. That has to be wheelchair accessible because he's pretty much confined to a wheelchair. So, he's physically and cognitively disabled and he's living in Appleton now he's been in Oshkosh his entire life, couldn't find him an appropriate placement last year so there was one in Appleton and I don't really enjoy traveling Appleton every week for the purpose of visiting him and looking in on his care. But I, I have been doing it because I'm the only one in the family that has 3:00contact with him. So, I get to them just about every week. My mom was a stay at home mom. And dad was a long-distance truck driver so he was gone a lot. So, I was raised very close to grandparents I mean they are very very close. And I think part of that was because of my brother and I think they wanted to be supportive for my mom and he had with him so you know a little BBC extra babysitting and helping out around the house when dad would be gone a lot. You were pretty much 60 to 70 hours minimum every week. Yeah. So, I had the experience of having actually really wonderful grandparents who I had until I was in my 40s and they you know passed away at that time but many of my friends 4:00never even knew their grandparents. So, I was very fortunate and they were really wonderful. When it came time to go to college my parents said, "You want to go to college then you figure out how to do it." Yeah that's very hard. I did work very hard a long time for myself you know both of my degrees and then that's after that second degree.

AJ: It definitely is nice to have your grandparents close. My grandparents live six hours away. So, it's a bit of a hike to go visit them. So, now moving out to a little bit of education. How important was schooling in your family like, Education wise throughout the whole thing?

SR: Well I, both of my parents graduated high school and they always expected us kids to do good in school and behave, you know. And I was the perfect student 5:00that the perfectly, you know, get my homework done get good grades was well and then my youngest brother the brother that's disabled he went through the special ed program, so I really can't compare him you know to to me, our younger brother he, he always he was kind of in trouble all the time you know because he's the youngest in the family you know that yeah. But my parents I said you know you get your work done you behave I don't want to be getting bad records so I guess I was somewhat fearful of my parents at least the younger ages. Especially my dad and I thought you know I don't want to disappoint them. And for some reason maybe it's the oldest child maybe it's a girl thing, I don't know but I always liked school from when I started way back when kindergarten or prekindergarten and I always liked it and I always did very well and came easy for me and I just 6:00I enjoyed school and I think that's probably why I became a teacher because I always enjoyed school.

AJ: Yes, well you have to if you are going to be a teacher. If you're going to be in school for the rest of your life.

SR: Yes, if you are going to be a teacher you have to like school.

AJ: What interested you about college and what other schools had you considered to apply to you when you got to that age?

SR: Well some of my friends were going away to school and you know that sounds real, really cool to go away and say I'm going to Northwestern or I'm going to Madison even. And you know I there were just a couple of schools which I don't even recall what they are now that I thought well I want to go away to school too. But then there's the whole money issue and as I previously said my parents figure it out. When I applied for scholarships I didn't get anything and I couldn't get loans because they said your father makes within the range even though it was the bottom of the range. The only money from me to go to school 7:00was if fire earned debts myself I didn't get anything from any of my parents or grandparents not even a dime, nothing. And so, I thought well I have a college right here where I live. Wouldn't it be stupid to spend all that money that I don't have and go away to school that would be stupid? So then, I just, not a lot of my friends went to the tech school which was either, there was one in Oshkosh and you know like a satellite, like the one in and at the time.

AJ: It's right before the river yeah.

SR: But see we didn't have, we didn't have that newer building back then, I guess it was the people who went into business that type of thing. Auto mechanic, chef school that kind of thing were the ones that went to the tech school and none of that was anything I wanted to do. So, you know I maybe even 8:00by default it was the university or not at all. So that's why I went and I don't regret going there. I'm glad I went there I think I got a very good education. I think it's a really good school. Don't regret going there.

AJ: I do not. I went through basically the same process of elimination when I was looking for schools because we live here. I had applied in one in Indiana. Because it's close to my mamaw and papaw. But eventually I was just decided to commute and stay over here.

SR: And then as it was a couple of my relatives came to college here from out of town. So, my friends from high school decided to stay here so it was like well it became a no brainer it's like well why would I, you know. So yeah.

AJ: So, did you intend to study in education when you first went in or did you have a different major.

SR: Prior to prior to getting applying and getting accepted I always kind of 9:00thought I want to be a nurse or a teacher. I wasn't really sure which one. And then I don't know during high school that the nursing just didn't interest me as much as teaching and so when I by the time I was like a junior or at least a junior in high school I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. And so that's what I wrote it went and you know made sure I had my prerequisites in being read. I don't know what it is now but you had to have so many years of a foreign language and yet they have so many years of math, that kind of stuff. I was going to be a phy-ed major. Believe it or not.

AJ: Oh really.

SR: And I started my freshman year as a phy-ed major. And I was always good at sports and good in phy-ed. And I actually as a senior, a junior and senior, during my study hall and it was a phy-ed teaching assistant at high school which 10:00was very rare for anybody to be able to do that. And then we had the younger class, I didn't have my peers it was always you know like, a young, a sophomore class your freshman whatever. And the teacher that I worked under she was the one that encouraged me and oh you should, you really should you know you should be a phy-ed teacher. So, I went with that mindset of course the first semester I had three or four or phy-ed classes which were quite intense and they were very physical. And a lot of kids in my classes were these really super athletes. So, for them it was quite easy. And I was always exhausted and I thought you know I don't think I want to do this. You know so and I realized by this semester that I had to go a different route, so yeah.

AJ: So, what specifically is your education major, that's what you went for 11:00first. Correct yeah.

SR: Upper El-, a Bachelors in Science in Upper Elementary education.

AJ: OK.

SR: So, at that time I was four to eight. Grades four to eight. That one was certified then. And then when you got your certification from the state you could go a grade either way, higher or lower. If I was offered a third-grade teaching job I could get it on that license or a ninth grade SO. Yeah.

AJ: So, what do you remember about this field of study specifically. What's the most memorable thing about studying in

SR: Elementary?

AJ: Yeah.

SR: I would have to say I didn't really enjoy the first couple of years of the courses that the made us take for the most part pretty silly and a lot of time wasters. And when I got into the student teaching and the year, the semester 12:00before that, where you had your prep courses and you did a few, I don't think we called it an internship. Right. We didn't do an internship but we went into schools for like three weeks at a time. And we're like student teachers that we had hours to teacher assignments. It was for the whole semester. Like that's all we did for that whole week. And then we had our classes in the evening with our advisers and then any, I don't even know what, I don't know how many credits or anything but probably when we got the second half of the degree is when I started getting really interested and into it.

AJ: Yeah when you start to actually get in class and working with kids.

SR: Yes.

AJ: That's what I'm excited for.

SR: Yeah.

AJ: So just to ask where anything of your professors influential you during 13:00field of study.

SR: I did have a couple of professors in education that I thought were wonderful and we got, we not only got along well but I did well in their class you know the "A" with outstanding recommendations I had them write recommendations for me when I needed them for student teaching or jobs or whatever but I just wanted to be like them because they just were so inspiring. Again, I know you're going to ask me their names but I can't. I mean they're not around anymore and I know what the one one was a young fellow a young gentleman. He was probably at the time. So, like if I'm twenty-one he couldn't have been more than ten years older than I was. And I guess my friends and I were really impressed that he had in their short a time had become a university teacher it's like oh you know been 14:00here a couple years he's he's 30 31 he's a teacher in a college. Oh, how cool is that. You know so as most of our teachers were older.

AJ: That's how it is too. I had a younger woman teacher for my speech class was like wow you're already at that point in your education where you can teach your university, I was a little amazed by her.

SR: It's very impressive because it even just a little, little in the back of my mind like she did it or he did it. Maybe I can do it or I can come close to that you know. So rather than saying Jeez all these people are in their 50s and 60s I'm never going to make it that long. You know what it takes to get to that point. But I think that motivated me quite a bit.

AJ: So, you had graduated with your elementary ed degree. And then how long did 15:00you teach before you came back.

SR: OK I left when I left school. Maybe when I left I went to Manitowoc and I taught for one year in a very large parochial middle school. That was a one-year job. And I just loved it. Yeah. The kids and I got along just great. seventh and eighth grade and I got along so well with the parents you know and I you know I think I'm in the right age group here. This middle school and then when there was no chance of me being kept on there. And then I didn't get another job right away. I thought you know what. I'm just going to go back to Oshkosh, again live 16:00at home and go to school because I wanted to be a counselor. And in Wisconsin then and now you need a master's degree to be a school counselor so that worked out all right. But it was always so difficult because then it was gone to school full time and have a couple of jobs along with it. Now what one thing I wanted to mention so I don't forget there was a huge part of my bachelor's degree was I was in the music department of Music emphasis in our high school concert band. That the high school I graduated from was very well known throughout the United States and we had been to different states to perform and we also were in Europe the whole month after my graduation my classes graduation from high school or touring Europe. We had won a contest. Even though we had to pay for it we still 17:00had won this. We had submitted some of our music and our director was known throughout the United States and we had a composer that we were fortunate enough to have assigned by the Ford Foundation that worked with us for two years and he did some original compositions and he worked a lot of small groups and individual students. So, I got more of them than most kids in high school band. When I went through Oshkosh, well I just stayed in the band at the university because it was just so interesting and I had hoped that I could make the more elite bands at the University which was the concert ensemble at the time I believe it was called but I didn't know that everybody started out in marching band. At UWO.

AJ: Oh yeah, oh okay.

SR: OK so I had to be on the marching band. And it was even though I went to all 18:00the UW football, basketball games. I'll tell you that marching in October and even early November and in parades or at games at the halftime when it's snowed and raining you know and practicing every day you know all around the athletic, we used one on Congress there's little field. There's a little athletic field on Congress that we used then I don't know where. And then we go over to the athletic field on Jackson which now has Merrill schools that's where they used to play their games. Not at the stadium it used to be in Jackson there and we had I had as much as I like playing in band I needed marching band. It was like really this is just not fun and then you had the full uniforms on and it and if it was raining you'd be wet and it was hot to me.

AJ: I was in the marching band in high school so I completely understand.

19:00

SR: I thought okay I'll do this for the semester. Maybe I'll even do it for the year. We'll see. Excuse me do you want any water. I need to--

AJ: Oh, I'm fine thank you. OK. So, we are talking about marching band.

SR: I think we're to the point where I said, "OK, if I have to stick this out for the year I will." Like I said, a few of my friends from high school were in it and there was some prestige to being in the band. I mean maybe this is just among the geeky people. Well I don't know but it was fun. Well when I had when I registered for my freshman year I got all the classes that nobody wanted signed 20:00the most horrible first semester schedule anybody can imagine. And I was so not liking that because I had these other jobs and when you have 7:30 classes every single day 12:30 1:30 2:30 and then you had 4:30 and 5:30 every day. How could you work exactly? And that was just I was very upset. That's right. Well if I can't work and get money I can't go to school. And now if this was going to keep happening where you you had to take what was left because freshmen registered last. Well I heard that athletes and people in band got their class cards pulled first.

AJ: Athletes, yup, Athletes get to register--

SR: And band. We got ours pulled too, first. So, I heard that so I went and I talked to the professor who was the, our band the band director of the concert band and I said, "you know what are the chances of my getting in the concert 21:00band and out of this marching band." And he said, "well I'll get back to you." He says, "you know what I just need to know who's interested look at tryouts," and as it was if I switched my instrument to a different contrabass clarinet and set up a bass clarinet.

AJ: Oh, you played bass clarinet.

SR: Yeah and I'd played alto clarinet and bass clarinet in high school and then that's what I played on marching band was bass clarinet. And then he said if I would switch to a contrabass he needed two contrabass players. There was one guy who was a year ahead of me. He was at one spot and they were going to try him out for the other spot. Boy you know I do anything to get my cards pulled you know and just get in the band, the elite band. And I made it. And I got in there second semester and from then I had my cards pulled stayed in the band for about 22:00five years it took me five years to get my bachelor's degree up until my student teaching semester. I stayed with that and I loved that. I absolutely love that band. Oh my gosh it was wonderful. So, you know we're talking about elementary ed but I honestly feel that my, up until my senior year, my focus and my circle of friends and anything social came of when around the music department. And that was a big thing for me.

AJ: That's really cool. I don't know if they still have a concert but we don't have a marching band anymore. And I honestly didn't even know that we had one until I saw that you were in it, in the marching band. But yeah, I did. I played clarinet to start off and then I switch to alto sax when I moved here because I could, so I wanted to be different than the clarinet.

23:00

SR: Yeah, yeah and I honestly, I haven't followed the bands well it's been 20 or 25 years. It., I did for a while after I got out, so I think I don't think I can say I went to school here for a bachelor's for five years in elementary ed without thinking about or mentioning the huge focus of the music department had on my life prior to way after and during those five years that it took me to get my degree, so. And that's my major area is music

AJ: So that's really cool. I had planned to ask you about that. I was just so excited that someone else had been a little band geek like me that I can talk to.

SR: Yeah. And I think what helped me I had a first cousin she grew up in Slinger and graduate from Slinger High School. She was two years ahead of me she came up 24:00here and she was in a music major when she was in the vocal and the piano. So that's not what I was then but going to a lot of her recitals, performances, etc. Kind of got me in a few more doors than just the average being in the band name. That was cool. You know that was fun. And that really, I think tennis helped solidify my closeness with that music department.

AJ: So, you mentioned running to be a counselor so that. Why exactly did you come back. What prompted you to come back for counseling.

SR: Well I didn't have a job lined up and I just really enjoyed being with the middle school, or junior high, middle school age kids. I had so many kids that were not doing well in school that would come and sit on lunchtime with me, I 25:00eat at my desk, they'd ask if they could eat at my desk in the room and we'd sit and talk for half an hour 45 minutes and you know I was fine with that, the principal said it was fine. And I just some of those kids in my classes had parents that were like officers on the school board and some were teachers in the public school and some of the businesses quite a lot of influential people and they were very nice they talked to me and they just said you know we think here we're very sorry you're not going to be back and we think you've got a lot going for you and we hope that you know you will pursue whatever. And I think because of the one at one of the one, me with the small groups of kids you know maybe three or four kids on an average day. I think that prompted me to go back and go back to school but not right away knowing I had to be a school counselor 26:00because I think well in your era you students may have had different contacts with your high school concerts more than we did. We had an assigned concert in high school and I, only time I saw their counselor was later in the school year when we had a schedule for next year. And they just went over your schedule and would initial it and then you go in and say hi and then you leave I never saw cou- you know I never saw a counselor.

AJ: From my experience. The counselors have a little bit more of an open-door policy like if you really need to come talk to them about something that's going on in your life you can just come in and they'll meet with you. But also do, we each get assigned a counselor based on our last name and then that's when we go to you. But you can. Anything you would need to talk about just go in and talk to them.

SR: Yeah and that's why I thought it was because then I was a school counselor. So, I mean I knew that I would be doing way more than just signing forms, you 27:00know. Yeah. So, when I came back they, I met with somebody I don't know who it was, I said you know, I went to meet with him and asked him what the majors were and what was involved and what kind of jobs I would be doing. And I know I didn't want to be a reading specialist that sounded totally boring to me. Oh, you know when I start reading I have to say that when I taught reading you know it's like oh crap I get to read all the stories all the time, every night you know so I could talk to the kids about that just wasn't my thing. I don't know I just didn't care for it. And then I had thought a lot about special ed. I actually went into the special ed department and I thought well my personal experience.

AJ: Exactly.

SR: That would be the greatest thing for me I'd probably be rather easy for me to get a degree in that because of me. And I had some hard time little part time 28:00jobs in college with the ARC and things like that, little part time that I worked with the special ed kids and the adults. And so, I thought well that was cool. Well I don't know. I went home and I think it was wasn't very long maybe a few days or a week and I talking to a few people are we all kind of said the same thing and they said. You were raised with this day after day. Do you want to spend your whole adult life? When that 8, 10 hours every day that you're gone from your whole your personal life you want to spend it doing the same thing and it was like no I don't because I was still very involved with my brother and I just didn't I didn't I. That would have been way too much. So, then the counseling really interested me. I really like that idea. I like the professors in the department I talked with and. Decided to go that route and I am glad I 29:00did. I totally enjoyed getting a master's through that department that was that earlier years of when they had that. And then when I was a school counselor I really enjoyed that really did.

AJ: One thing my degree is dual so I can teach Pre-K through third special ed and pre-k through six regular ed. I liked having the option if one didn't suit me as well. I liked having the option to be able to choose.

SR: Now, do you have them like a major in that within that or do they not do that anymore.

AJ: The major is dual elementary ed and I have two minors and a French minor in an ESL minor English as a second language.

SR: I am, I guess in retrospect it would have had me, helped me get jobs probably easier if I have been in math or reading for my major instead of music 30:00but I think what was rough in the it's part of my life it's a significant part of my life is being a baby boomer going through grade school junior high and high school and having been in big classes, big big classes. Then when it was time to get a job as a high school or college student it was really hard because they only had so many jobs that you had so many more students that were out there on the job market. It's not like it is now. I mean in the, it was like because of the baby boomers you were always having to wait or to fight for what you wanted harder than the next generation. I even saw that when I had surgery on my hip I have a new knee and a new hip. And I remember going in for surgery and the doctors telling me, "Oh I'm so busy, I just, I'm working my day off and 31:00we're doing some Saturdays and I've get so many patients and I get to be a senior and I need surgery and now I got to hear the same thing that I've heard my whole life. It's like yeah. So that was always significant because I never really had the education in in some degree as well as even jobs that I wanted or thought I would be best at because there were too many others out there you know in competition yeah. So that was significant for me. Still dogging me in even my retirement. And then, and then when I went to physical therapy, I went over to the physical therapy, this was after my hip and my knee both times and I said, "I'd like to schedule a bunch of appointments." Because I had the doctor's script, "they told me we didn't see you for three weeks because we're so busy." Like you got to be kidding me so I mean it's kind of it's kind of that, that's 32:00been with me my whole life and I don't know if that's significant with anybody else you know. But anyway. Did I answer your last question? I'm sorry. I don't even remember what it was either.

AJ: That's fine, that's totally fine. So, we talked a little bit about this but can you go through the change in where your time was spent mostly on this from the first time and second time. Because the first time you were in. So that's probably where most of your time had been spent.

SR: That is correct. That was probably in the, and we didn't have that beautiful music building they have now that was opened I think early like 72 or something like that. We had all these houses these old houses they converted into, it's probably six or eight or more houses we'd go to and then we have the little 33:00Quonset hut garage type thing for it we call it the music annex and that's where we have been practicing band lessons and that was where the new part of Polk is. It's real- kind of real close to Harington is where that was located. Spent a lot of time in all those music places, did not spend a lot of time in the library I probably, probably spent more time in the library when I was getting my master's degree then I did my bachelor's and I don't know why there will be perhaps just the work required I mean.

AJ: You did mention working at Polk. It was on your paper, working at Polk.

SR: Right. Yeah that was after I retired from teaching and counseling, education 34:00I'm and was living back in Oshkosh because after I went to Manitowoc came back and got my master's for I was here for two years then I got a job and Sheboygan falls and I was there for several years 14 years and half was a sixth-grade teacher and half was a counselor, half of that time. And I think, I think I spent way more time on campus when I had my Bachelors classes because of the music because of probably the volume of classes I had most of them during the day where my masters, most of those were late. They'd started, four - four thirty or in the evening like.

AJ: They were so that you could work in the day time.

SR: Yeah and most of them were because they were catering to the off-campus 35:00crowd who were working during the day. So, it was really common for me to go four nights a week to attend class and they are usually had four-hour classes. They were very difficult to pay attention to and to sit that long is very difficult. So that's probably the reason it's just how the whole thing was set up over there.

AJ: So, did you work in Polk. You were to the second time you were back.

SR: No. I worked at Polk the last four year- four years of, before I retired. OK. So, I worked at Polk from 2004 we started in 2004 and I retired in the end of summer in 08, 2008. So, I was there for four years and two months I think I work there.

AJ: What did you end up doing it like. What part of the library were you in.

SR: The basement. I was the assistive technology manager for the lending 36:00library, the lending library was a partnership between the university and CESA6, CESA6 paid my salary. We were funded by federal money, federal grant money, but we were physically located on campus so that the students, the education students could take advantage of our library and our services. And so, there was they call it the EMC that was CES-. It was also partnership CESA6 and the university that had been. Now this is, I was told that we used to be in Swart campus school, many years ago before it moved into Polk and that library was 37:00regular library stuff geared more toward lower el. And preschool. There were a lot of toys a lot of games that the student teachers and that would come in check out. But there was a gym for a whole different library. We kind of shared an area we had this huge downstairs area in that library was over you know like I'm just saying it was over here and that ours was this whole other area. So, we ran separately and we had different, the makeup of our libraries was different. My library had assistive technology, so that would be machines as well as software that would help students with special needs learn better, easier, faster whatever.

AJ: OK so that's how you are connected CESA 6.

SR: So that's, yes, yes. And so that's so. So yes, I worked in at Polk and totally enjoyed that. Oh, I just loved it. I just loved that it was like; I went 38:00to school here and I don't, I just totally loved that job and where it was located. It's kind of kind of fun to kind of start out in and out in the same place.

AJ: Yeah. So just, maybe it's a little backing up but you commuted both times. How do you think that affected like your involvement on campus? Maybe not so much the first time because you had--

SR: Right the second time I just felt so totally by myself because I didn't really make, as few people that were in my classes, I made friends with that they were in the same boat, they were were working during the day or commuting you know. When I gra- up I didn't even participate in graduation for my master's because I just felt like I wasn't a part of hardly anything. You know I went I 39:00put my time in, and then I got my degree, and can't wait to get out of here now, and get a job in that field, and I don't know I just felt like I didn't belong anywhere as a as a grad student.

AJ: You may have thought that because you came back and you were older and you didn't really. And of course, your classes are later in the day so--

SR: I wasn't that much older though.

AJ: Right. That is right.

SR: I was still in my 20s. I was in my, well the second half of my 20s. I think it was like that because you just had so many people that had so many different things that were important to them their jobs their families. I mean I remember these people sitting by me saying I hope you know I, I'm my husband, I hope my wife can handle our four kids. So, there were a number of people that were older than me which you know they were married with families they drove from who knows 40:00where. You know here I am going well, I didn't have, that wasn't my family, I didn't have children, I wasn't married. You know I mean it was, I just fit in, I didn't I didn't have the music department to go to what was just different.

AJ: You think maybe you didn't connect with the other grad students because you were younger than them and you hadn't completed maybe some of the milestones in their life that you had in yours.

SR: That might be part of it. The ones in my classes though were not from around here you know like they come flying in from pretty far. I remember there were a couple there were drive from Milwaukee

AJ: Every day?

SR: No no. Once or twice a week for a grad class here they'd come from you know Green Bay, or north of Green Bay, and they'd fly and you know really quick, and you know they'd be, they'd be eaten, and then all of a sudden, they're gone. You know what happens when you're when you're in your bachelor's. I mean there's 41:00times you have to go to the library you've got a little time you can you know or you want to go over the union to get a soda I've got a half an hour before I've got to go to class or you know that kind of thing. You don't have that when you were in the master's program at least I didn't have any free time neither did my my classmates and graduate classes are much smaller too. So, the fact that I'm going to interact with you know 40 or 50 kids couple times a day is slim and none because there were like 6, 8, 10 people in a class lounge tent maybe.

AJ: Yeah, I've been in a biology classes that has two hundred and ten people were on it. That's also hard to make friends because there's just so many people now. So, I can see how that would be difficult. Yeah. So, during those times what would you do for fun just like little stress relief.

SR: Probably made the Bachelor years as well as high school I followed the Titan 42:00basketball team very closely. Oh, my yes. And actually in 1968 they went to the NCAA tournament in Kansas City and they took third place in the whole country and they were an awesome team and they had a lot of boys- players were you know like star players at their high school teams and I was aware of them because I fol- been following, I followed our high school too. So, I went to all the home basketball games for the Titans for the two years before I was a student on campus and then the first two years I was on campus. And then after that whole, that great team that won, graduated have dispersed all over it it wasn't quite the same. I went to some of them so I was real, and pretty involved in watching 43:00sports but then we have a lot of time because I still had to work. Yeah so.

AJ: Yeah that makes sense.

SR: Yes. That was probably my most fun thing was following the Basketball team back then.

AJ: They are good now. They made it to second.

SR: It did I know.

AJ: In the tournament.

SR: I followed them only by following them in the newspaper and you know the TV news. But I mean I went to games and we sat we sat in Albee they didn't play in Kolf and we had Albee hall and oh yeah. It's just like yeah, we didn't have that, we didn't have Kolf until 72 or something. And yeah it was and that actually Albee's where we registered we go and get those cards pulled for registration they had tables all set up around the gym and you have to stand in line and then the professor whoever was there he will have an actual, no 44:00computers then. Had a box with these cards on and if he had like four sections and he could have 20 in a section that's what the cards had. Then you go up and you'd say Do you have the master schedule they give you before and you go up and you say the number and the name. And you'd say section one- "Filled." And you go crap and it really wrecked your. I mean it was hard it was hard to. Oh.

AJ: Its even hard now to all your schedule or classes together and it's on a computer. Yeah, I can imagine how difficult that would be.

SR: It was hours to a half a day or more. Just being in there and then you'd never get what you wanted. And then it's like I remember very clearly saying well now I have to try to work my job around this you know class schedule but once you get your cards pulled it was so much easier because they would pull them as you requested or if they had a conflict or they would call you and 45:00they'd say I'm sorry that this is full can you find another one will you. Then when you find another one you could get in. You know but you couldn't do that that first that first year was horrible. But now you know the age of computers I mean it's totally different.

AJ: They still fill up as soon as someone can push that button to sign up for a class it gets filled up pretty quick.

SR: Yeah.

AJ: So just to get a little more specs from when you were there were there more, I'm assuming there were more men than women at UWO.

SR: Gosh I don't think anyone's ever asked me that--

AJ: Because now, now we have more women than men at the university.

SR: Yeah that I believe because I see that in education there's so many women principals and superintendents now and back when I was, it was a very rare 46:00thing. I didn't notice, I suppose during the Bachelors there were more more men, but I mean I don't think that was an issue for me and I can't say my masters, I always thought it was kind to even

AJ: Okay so that cool. So are there any like major campus issues political, cultural, education at this time that you can recall.

SR: Of course, probably the biggest was Black Thursday November 21st 1968. I was a sophomore; do you want me tell you what I remember?

AJ: I do

SR: I really do remember this all these years later I don't remember the exact time of day or you know of when it happened but I remember I was going to band practice and it was in that little music annex that was just south of Harrington 47:00and for some reason I was coming past Dempsey and the first thing I saw as I approach Dempsey, were out of the second floor, they were throwing typewriters and telephones and pa- boxes of paper was just like confetti. I mean but it was paper full sheets of paper and it was just flying all over and I remember it you know it probably it had just started within a sh- I don't know half an hour an hour before I walked over that way. OK. And I don't have I know there are some police around but I don't think it was the major police presence that it probably was a few hours later once they really got going and got the police men from wherever on campus. But no nobody at least in my circle and I sure as heck 48:00didn't know what was going on, you know it was crazy. I mean it was scary. And I remember walking around quite far from you know like real close to let's say we're Polk is now going way around and walking and getting into the music building and just everybody was just, mouths open and just wide eyed and like oh my what's happening. And then when we heard a little while later I think some, a student came or a professor, somebody came in and told us what was going on and that it was black students were rioting because of the race problems and blah blah blah. You know they had made demands of Roger Guiles was the chancellor then and they had been had taken over his office and that was second floor 49:00Dempsey and they had asked us to stay away and for some reason I'm thinking they told us that if we didn't want to walk, be on campus that we could go home and that we wouldn't be penalized. You know it just seemed like it was this really big thing where we had we have band I haven't heard. I remember some of us standing there watching looking out the window or standing on the side of the building and just watching the chaos.

AJ: Wow. You were just in band, in your band room watching it unfold.

SR: I mean it was just it was I. Yeah. And that was really scary a scary time because Oshkosh at the time in the 60s was a very white community the only blacks that you saw here were the few handfuls that were at the University or 50:00there may have been a doctor or two in town that was black. I mean we, you didn't see you didn't see that and apparently there was 94 students that that wasn't all of them. That was supposed to be like it was like 117 or 20 years 27 enrolled but it was the 94 who participated that were expelled. And you know we found that out days later. But I do remember that and I remember that whole year, that whole year just being real unsettled just yeah.

AJ: Always feeling like you're having to watch if something else happens.

SR: Yeah yeah yeah. And there were some there were a lot of demonstrations they brought a lot of people. That I don't know if that was true but we are- Milwaukee was quite militant back then at least that was kind of the change in 51:00society and if you go further south with I'm sure Chicago being bigger cities and they had groups of people came up and they marched after that you know and that was really scary when you think well geez I got classes tomorrow and they're going to have you know a big march. I mean..

AJ: People would come up from Milwaukee to march here.

SR: The bigger cities yup against the um--

AJ: Administration

SR: Administration and the rules because they had me all kind of, the black students had made all kinds of demands, and they just said no we're not going to, I think later on when they met with like the regents of all the universities and this got talked through you know in the months that followed make sure that things changed somewhat. I don't remember. I mean I'm sure that they added-- because I remember a few years later there was the campus the multicultural center and there were always blacks students that were sitting on the porch for 52:00coming out of there when we go past there. So, you know it was kind of like oh that, they must've, that must have been a demand or it must have been something that the university offered up to try to ease tensions. I don't know but.

AJ: That's still there. Yeah. The multicultural center.

SR: So yeah that was that was a big thing in. I remember one of the jobs I worked at was a nursing assistant for a couple of years at a nursing home in town and one of the gals that worked with me was a black gal. She was from the West Indies though and she, so was her husband. He he was a part time student here not involved in any of that. That rioting but he worked at the hospital in the lab, full time, and he was taking some graduate classes. I think like in biology or something to better his job. And she and I got along just fine. She 53:00and I did some things that were you know like go out to lunch and this was just prior to this happening you know and I know that she used to tell me she'd say wherever they went people would just stare at them and make terrible comments.

AJ: I can imagine especially being in Oshkosh at that time there weren't that many.

SR: Yup that was, I'll tell you I must have a lot of classmates that would be wild. But the St. Patrick's riots too the big thing when I was there. And I. And that was I, I never drank or smoke or anything like that. I just I don't I don't like the taste of it like the smell I just wasn't me but I remember I can't tell you the year. I don't remember if it was freshman sophomore junior year. I don't 54:00I don't recall which one. But I was coming home not knowing they were having this mob of partiers on St. Patrick's Day. Over by Wisconsin and Pearl that area over there. Okay, And I was coming home. This was all, it was after 11:00 I had a baby-sitting job, a second, an evening babysitting job that I know they came home from work at 11. There were two nurses I believe was the mother and the dad. So, it must have been 11:30 I was driving my car which I had paid for. My parents wouldn't buy me one, driving my car home and trying to go down what I thought was Wisconsin not knowing any of this. I remember driving and dark at night and you know looking ahead a couple blocks and you know there's like 55:00thousands of people. I mean you know there's this is like this huge mob. It's not like it was 30 or 40 or 50 people it was like they just took over every piece of grass area the streets the driveways up to buildings the parking lots. I mean you looked for so all you saw and they were they were drunk and they were pumped up and they were just while they were screaming and they were throwing stuff. And what they were doing was walking on cars and flipping cars. And here I'm headed toward them and they're coming toward me and I'm going oh my god my car. It's not even paid for you know and I just I just was I remember just going ah and I remembered other people being around me kind of panicky too. I did a U-turn and that road all and I don't even I know you weren't supposed to but somehow, I turned around and I just I remember I had my my window open and I 56:00just hollered to the people about I've got to get out here get up to get out of the way and I did a u turn and a way around to avoid that. But I came probably within a half a block of that.

AJ: Wow.

SR: Yeah, they did a lot of damage, broke windows. I remember the next day going past the perimeter of that area and just seeing broken glass they break the little trees off and it was horrible. It was horrible and I feel so bad because I lived in town this was my town why are all these people from who knows where wrecking my town. And you know it's like Jeez now my parents are probably, taxes will go up you know because that's who's paying. You know it was a scary I'll tell you. There was a lot of hard feelings between the city and the university for a few years there. I can easily solved have the kids on vacation when St. 57:00Patrick's Day is there and that's what they did and hadn't been a problem since from what I hear you know. So that was so scary. Oh, that was horrible. So those were two pretty big things that happened when I was there for my Bachelors.

AJ: And that was all during your first time there. Wow. So how did you feel when you finished college. The last time, the second time when you were done.

SR: The second time I I remember saying to somebody Oh I hope I don't have to go back to college for a long time. I remember saying that and then finding out that if you want to keep your license to work in a school you go back every five years and get six credits. And it was, oh god. But it wasn't as bad when you had 58:00to go back for those requirements because you could do that in the summer. You know and it was usually a condensed class you could get three credits and you'd meet every day for--

AJ: Three hours.

SR: Yeah three hours for three weeks or something like that and then you'd get you. And so, I just was seriously I yeah, I just--

AJ: Relieved excited to be done. So, what have you been doing since college.

SR: Taught school was a school counselor as I had previously mentioned left. I don't I don't want to get into it other than to say I left the education field on my own earlier than most people, I was in my 40s. I just had it right. I had it with incompetent administrators and all of sudden parents were kind of 59:00getting more into that whatever they said. You know they expected the school to to jump and to do what they wanted. And if they if you wouldn't they work you know take it to the school board. No, I don't. I just didn't care for a while. What was going on in education. Some of my friends had left the year before I decided to leave. And that's hard when you know you spent a lot of time with some good people and then all of a sudden, they're not in the area anymore and they left because they were disillusioned or burned out or a couple of them got jobs in other cities closer to their family. So, my plan was I got a chan- I got to change so I took a chance and then I left and then he came back to Oshkosh probably because my grandmother had died unexpectedly. We were very close. And it just kind of threw me because it was like well you know when Grandpa will be 60:00next and that will be my parents and I'll be living in some other place. So, I moved back here with the intention of finding a fulltime job around here. Had a number of interviews. But at the time every- seemed like every teaching job or counseling job that was open there's 500 people applying. You know again the baby boomer era you know and ah just. One thing I found to be true in those years of applying and interviewing was that, how unfair the whole process in education seemed to be for so, for so many people. And that being it wasn't what you had to offer and how good you were. It was who you knew and there were so many jobs that I was told I was a finalist for or you know we interviewed 15 or 61:0020 and you're in the top three. Are you still interested yeah? Oh sorry. You know and then I find out that like the principal's niece got the job or the husband of one of the teachers got the job or you know it was always some nepotism. And it was so frustrating because I didn't have anybody that could get me the job. I mean none of my relatives were in positions to do that. And I, it was very discouraging. I have to say and I did that for two years I subbed during the day. Subbed in Neenah and Oshkosh were very busy as a sub and probably had a dozen or so interviews in those two years and that didn't get any of those jobs and you can't live on sub money or you couldn't then and I needed benefits as well you know insurance. So, I said you know maybe it's just time to hang this thing up and try to get a job outside of education. That's what I did. 62:00I had several jobs outside of education. Every place I worked they shut down. It was kind of funny my friends would say you know if they hire you they are probably going to go out of business and you'll be out of a job in a couple years you know. And that's when it was what happened. I mean I, I got a job at a company called Square D I worked there for four years, liked the job was a good job. They shut down they moved to Mexico and they put hundreds of us out of work. You know that kind of thing. And then I went to another place they shut down and after being there for years so I did. I did work in various office type positions. I had some supervisory positions I actually was a temp through temp agency I was an acting H.R. manager for a big company until, I did that for 6 7 63:00months. Well somebody who is you know I love that job. I'm just a lot of different things I did. And then when the job at Polk came along then I was really excited because I would be back on campus that was familiar to me. I knew I had some wonderful student workers through the work study program. I ha- Oh they were just they were with me multiple years and they were just wonderful. That was nice to go to work and to talk with the kids and they often asked for my advice or they'd bounce something off of me and I tell them what I thought you know they might want to hear what I would, I'd probably more so what I would do if they say we don't want to do and I say well let's see. And we just kind of like more like a sister or sister or maybe even a mom or an aunt or something. 64:00You know not a boss but Yeah. So that was fun and that was my last job then. It was, worked out to retire when our boss lost our funding.

AJ: So, all right. Last question. What advice would you give to current students?

SR: I would tell current students what I told the students that worked for me back 10 years ago or whatever. Don't take the narrow road and box yourself in with your education then your experiences go broad. Get a double major get a get a minor in something that is going to get you a job. Be aware of the job market and the trends of what they're predicting for you know 10 15 years down the 65:00road. Try different things don't just be a social worker because your mom was and that's what she wants you to be. So, you're going to be a social worker or whatever. And I guess diversify, I guess would be a word that would probably describe that. I saw a lot of probably friends of mine and, not doing that. And I did it somewhat by taking the music thing instead of reading the math. As a student your box yourself in and you know you can't you can't do that now. You have you know you just have to have as many experiences in your life as you can get to get you to the best job and hopefully you'll get a job that's going to be one you'll enjoy because I think if you enjoy what you're doing and do a better 66:00job of it then that just put your time in.

AJ: I agree. Well thank you very much for your time and for the interview.

SR: Sure. Happy to talk with you.

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