Interview with Tamara Dever, 04/19/2018

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Emma Marren, Interviewer | uwocs_Tamara_Dever_04192018_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


´╗┐EM: Hi, my name is Emma Marren. Today is April 19th to 2018. It is 1:08 PM. Um, I am here with Tami and Tami, what's your last name?

TD: Dever.

EM: Dever. Thank you. Um, and this is for the campus stories oral history project. Um, and yeah, thank you Tami for being here and being willing to do this. It means a lot.

TD: Absolutely.

EM: Awesome. Alright, so guess we'll start off right away. So Tami, so where were you born? Where were you? Yeah.

TD: So I was born in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.

EM: Oh, awesome. And Lacrosse is a pretty big town I would say?

TD: Yeah.

EM: Yeah, um, so tell me about the community that you grew up in. Like did you know a lot of people in your community? Like what types of people, types of work 1:00did people do in your neighborhood?

TD: Oh God. So I went, I went to school, I lived in Onalaska right next to the Lacrosse and through middle school.

EM: Oh, okay.

TD: And then, and then we moved to Waupun for high school.

EM: Nice.

TD: So--I don't know what anybody did as adults, I was a kid. We just, we just had free reign. I mean, we lived outside of town, we got to ride our bikes everywhere and hike around the woods and play outside and go to the gas station to get candy and stuff that I wouldn't let my kid do anymore.

EM: For sure. Um, did the people you grew up with, like from what you remember, did they typically go to college? Was that like a normal?

TD: Yeah, everybody I knew that's just what we planned on doing when we got out of high school that was there--there wasn't much option and most people like in 2:00and in high school I was in a small town with a lot of really small unincorporated towns around and those who weren't going to go to college, we're pretty much going to take over their parents' farm.

EM: So it was a big, like kind of like half and half in a way?

TD: Yeah. I mean most people wanted to go to school at least a two year school, but there were some who were gonna stick around and do the farming or work in the factories, the cheese factories around.

EM: Um, so, uh, now moving on to your family, um, what were your grandparents like parents, other family members, like, like were you close to them at all?

TD: Yeah, We were close to my whole family, both sides of my family and we would, we would visit them often. I get to hang out with my cousins quite a bit um--we had family gatherings a lot. Every year we'd have a family picnic in a 3:00park with extended family being there. Uh, we got to see my grandparents probably several times a month and they lived across the river in Minnesota, so it was a lot of fun to go across the river and see the bluff, the real tall mountains that were on the Mississippi River. We get to go boating on the Mississippi and that was just kind of a normal thing for us. And now that we've moved away, we realized how special that was.

EM: Did many of your family members go to college as well?

TD: I was the first person on my dad's side of the family to go to a four year college. My Mom's side of the family, a few of my aunts had gone to a four year college. Um, my parents did not. They went to tech school.


EM: Interesting. So did they really emphasize like getting an education like outside of high school after high school?

TD: They were very supportive of whatever I wanted.

EM: Okay.

TD: So I, I knew very young what I wanted to do, when, how I needed to go about getting that done. So they were just very supportive.

EM: And were your, was your family from Lacrosse as well or?

TD: Yes, they are both from that area.

EM: Okay. So, now, you live in Texas, am I correct?

TD: I do. I live in Austin.

EM: Awesome. Okay, cool. Um, did like, was that like a big move or did you move around a lot as a kid or did you stay in Wisconsin most of the time?

TD: So we moved once, so going into high school, we moved to another town in 5:00Wisconsin to Waupun, and then I moved right out of college. I moved to Madison and a few years later I moved to Sacramento, California. And three years after that I moved to Austin and have been here ever since.

EM: Awesome, big moves.

TD: Yeah, they were.

EM: So and what kind of jobs did your parents have?

TD: My mom works in data processing at a hospital and my dad worked in dispatch and in the office for trucking companies.

EM: Did they--try to teach you like a lot of values? Like did you have any, like, taught morals growing up?

TD: Oh definitely I grew up in a Christian home, so we went to church every week and we basically were taught to have manners. I know my parents always, always 6:00have told us that people would comment on what good manners my brother and I had when we were out in public. Uh, so that was a big deal for them and to just respect other people.

EM: Nice, and how many siblings did you have?

TD: Just the one younger brother.

EM: Ok, and growing up in the community, did you learn anything from kind of moving around as well? Like any values as well?

TD: No, I just learned that if I wasn't going to be outgoing enough to make new friends that I wasn't going to have them. So I was very naive when it came to social norms and what was cool and not. I didn't care and I'm really glad looking back that I didn't care because I just made friends with whoever I wanted to be friends with and they weren't necessarily the popular cool kids. I 7:00was kind of, I got along with everybody

EM: Yeah, a people person.

TD: Mhm.

EM: Awesome, so going more toward your family, Did you have any specific routines that, I know you mentioned that you went to Minnesota was it? And visited your grandparents and did all the boating like that, So like you were very close family?

TD: Absolutely.

EM: Nice, um, and then describe like a, if you could describe the house that you grew up in at all.

TD: [laughs] Yeah, it was, we lived on a dead end street. There were six houses on the street. We were outside of town and on a pretty long, fairly long road off of a highway. The road was kind of half paved. It was kind of like a mixture 8:00of tar and smoothed-down gravel and it was interesting trying to skateboard down it. It was kind of a smooth hill that then went up to a bigger hill. So in the wintertime we lived where there was a big open field across from our house. And then woods beyond that, great sledding hills, we played softball, they were three kids, three girls and three boys and they all kind of matched up with ages. So we would have baseball tournaments with the six of us and we had a playground, [inaudible] set up in the field, ride our bikes and play barbies and built forts in the trees in the woods. It was great.

EM: Sounds like a close community kind of?

TD: Yeah, it was really nice. And we can, we can take our bikes across the field 9:00to get into town pretty easily.

EM: And so like being kind of like a very close knit community, um, what were the people that you grew up with kind of like, were they like kind of lower class, middle class, upper class, like kind of a mix of everything?

TD: Oh, we were all very humble, middle class people. There was no pretentiousness. Everybody just kind of helped each other out and--

EM: Um, and so how, like I wasn't born in Wisconsin, I just moved here recently, um, was like all the other towns surrounding on Onalaska, Lacrosse, were they like just as close knit would you say or do you know?


TD: I would say so, just seem to be very down to earth, family oriented time.

EM: Kind of, and now grown up, do you notice like if there is much change to it from when you were younger or has it stayed the same?

TD: Well my parents moved back a few years ago, So I can see how it's changed quite a bit, but it still feels the atmosphere and the people seem the same, there's a same set [inaudible] improved and new businesses and my, my street is still there and the houses are still there, but the fields and the woods are gone because there's new homes all over and [laughs].

EM: Yeah, and now living in Austin. It's probably a big change from?

TD: Yeah, it's very different than, the neat thing is we're on the very edge of 11:00town and we have 300 acres of city park land behind us. So there's woods and the deer come up and to the back fence. And so we're not smack-dab downtown, but it takes 15 minutes to drive into town, into downtown. So we kind of have the best of both worlds. But yeah, um, traffic, learning how to drive in a city was very scary for me even as an adult because I know had never lived anywhere bigger than Oshkosh really. So when I moved to Madison it was frightening for me to drive there, which seems in absurd now. But--

EM: I live right outside of Madison. I know how you feel.

TD: Oh, there you go.

EM: So now like, moving onto what you wanted to do for college, you said that you knew kind of at a young age when you, what you wanted to do. Um, can you 12:00describe that for me? Like having grown up with like a for sure state of mind?

TD: Oh yeah. So I have been very artistic ever since I was very young and I remember in sixth grade I had to write a paper in career, in careers class and I said it was going to be a commercial artist and I never deviated from that. So all through school, even in high school I would freelance doing graphic design stuff. And I, when I entered school at Oshkosh, I had declared my major as a graphic, as a bachelor of fine arts with the graphic communications emphasis.

EM: Awesome, and graphic communications, is that kind of the same as graphic design?

TD: Yep.

EM: Okay, cool. Um, I have to say that, um, what interested, what made me chose you for my interviewee was that I'm a graphic design major as well.

TD: Oh, I love it.


EM: Yeah, I probably, I should have mentioned that to you before. I just thought it would be interesting to bring it up in the interview.

TD: Definitely, and sometime. We should talk outside of the interview because I love to mentor students.

EM: Oh, that would be awesome. That'd be amazing. Yes, for sure. Um, so how did you decide on Oshkosh for your school?

TD: Well, I also loved horses my whole life. So where I really wanted to go was William [woods University?] was the university to be some kind of equestrian major, But that was out of the question as far as my parents [laughs]. So, so going for the art and design side of things, um, and not having a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a private school, I knew that a state school would be the wisest choice and it's the two that had the strongest degree programs for my major were Stout and Oshkosh, and Oshkosh had the emphasis that I wanted and 14:00it was only less than a half an hour from my parents' house, so I thought it was a pretty wise choice.

EM: Yeah, Um, so describe what it was like first going to Oshkosh had you visited before? Like toured or anything?

TD: I did. I toured a couple times. My best friend at the time had an older brother who was on, who was a student there, so we got to go and visit a few times and I did one of the formal orientations and was just so excited about it. From the minute I set foot on campus, I knew I was going to the right place. It was fun, it was inviting. Everybody was friendly and it looked exciting.

EM: Yeah, I can tell the campus still gives off that vibe.

TD: Oh good.

EM: So, going into school you knew for sure that you wanted to go into graphic 15:00design. Did you have like a set career like afterwards, like "After I graduate I want to be a graphic designer" Or were you kind of open?

TD: I did, I wanted to design ads for magazines and that seemed to very glamorous.

EM: Yeah, for sure. Did you have like any, you said you did freelancing in high school--

TD: Yes, I did.

EM: --so you had like kind of experience working in that field, like with those resources and everything?

TD: I did a little bit. I freelanced all through college as well. I had a job on campus as a designer in college. I got some pretty good experience while I was in school.

EM: That's good. Can't say the same for myself. Um, so, uh, your family, when you told them you wanted to go into graphic design and graphic communications, 16:00what was their reaction?

TD: Nobody was shocked, they all knew it. They knew I was doing exactly what I was meant to do.

EM: Yeah, did they like, uh, sorry, did they at all like, steer you the other way or try to?

TD: Oh no, no everyone was totally supportive.

EM: Awesome. Um, so, uh, what do you remember about your first day being at school? Like classes and everything? Like was it overwhelming at all?

TD: It wasn't at first, I was so excited to be there. I couldn't wait to set up my dorm room and meet my roommate and meet the other people in the hall and go to the commons and see what that was all about. And you know, just I had always loved school. I was an overachiever, so I'm going to my classes was fun. I 17:00couldn't wait to decorate my door because I can be very artsy fartsy on the door and [laughs] I hated that I wasn't allowed to paint the walls in our dorm room. We just got what we got.

EM: Yeah.

TD: So that was bothersome because they were light blue and they didn't really go with anything.

EM: Out of curiosity, what dorm did you first live in?

TD: I was in Taylor Hall for three years. Absolutely loved it.

EM: Awesome. That's cool. It just got, recently just got a renovation so--

TD: It did,

EM: Yeah.

TD:--which is really cool, but it's not the Taylor Hall I knew. So it's, it's sad for me, but I love it, needed it, and it's beautiful. I've seen pictures.

EM: Yeah, It's a great dorm for sure.

TD: Is it still, does it still have a women's wing and a men's wing?

EM: I believe so. I think there's like coed floors, but it's still like women 18:00live on one side, Men kind of live on the other. I'm not entirely sure though.

TD: Yeah, that's how it was when I was there in north wing was so, no, yeah, the north wing was women in the south wing was men.

EM: Yea, We usually have like floors now where it's like women are on one floor and men on the other. I don't know if that's still the same for Taylor though.

TD: Alright.

EM: Um, and now your roommate, were you and your roommate pretty close?

TD: Eventually. So I had a really nice quiet roommate from Chicago my first semester and then she dropped out of school and I got a new roommate the second semester who is completely psycho. Really goth, hung out with scary people. Um, and you could, you could draw a line down the middle of our dorm room. You knew exactly whose side was whose, because hers was a complete, scary disaster and 19:00mine was decorated super artsy and I was very grateful when she dropped out. So my second year I had a roommate named Nicky and we got along super well, we just had a blast, and then my third year I had a room by myself.

EM: Nice, did you have like similar majors or anything or were they?

TD: Nope, completely different.

EM: Awesome. So describe some of the classes that you first took your freshman year. Did you go for your Gen eds right away or did you go straight into?

TD: I did, no, I wanted to get a lot of those out, but they're, you know, there were basic required classes in my major as well, so I was taking those. I had tested, I tested out of math. I never had to take math, it was the best thing ever.


EM: That's nice.

TD: Oh, I hated math. So I tested out of that. Um, and I tested out in the first year of Spanish. I originally wanted to be a Spanish minor. Eventually dropped that, but I did take some Spanish classes. Uh, uh, what else? I think I was in the honors program.

EM: Oh, interesting.

TD: And I don't recall what year I took a few of the classes, but I remember hating my art history class, but because the professor just made us memorize everything and there was nothing interesting about it. But we got a new art history professor my second year there. And I don't think he said, I don't know if he's there anymore. Art Pontynen?

EM: I had him, um, first semester--

TD: Did you? I love him so much.

EM: Actually, I believe he just retired.

TD: Did he really?

EM: Yeah.

TD: Oh my gosh.

EM: That's funny.

TD: He made me love Art history. And he came in so I was there and in his first 21:00class there and people dropped it like flies because he made us think for ourselves. And that wasn't normal. I mean, you usually went to class, you learned what you learned and you spit everything else back out. Uh, so when he came in and said, listen, I'm going to make you guys think. And he would make us debate in class and do all kinds of cool stuff. Um, he was at risk for getting fired a few times because he was really bucking the system.

EM: Oh wow

TD: So it was, it was very controversial for a while, but he may be loved that class so much, I ended up auditing one that I didn't even need to take it.

EM: Oh, that's interesting.

TD: Yeah, it was really awesome.

EM: Did you end up taking other classes with him as well? I don't know--

TD: I think I took at least three classes with him. I know I took stuff that I didn't even have to take just because he was such a great professor. His classes 22:00were hard, but they were good. Um, my, my, what did I have? My design classes were my favorite, of course. I had photography class, we had to take two photography classes and there, you know, was no digital anything then, nobody's using computers. There were no cell phones, no digital cameras, nothing. So we had to learn how to, how to develop our film in the dark room and make prints, and that was neat. And our professor had, I don't know if you've heard of Ansell Adams. He's a very well known photographer, specialized in very detailed landscapes, black and white photos. And our professor had been an apprentice of his.

EM: Oh wow.

TD: So he had so many cool stories to tell us, and that was really neat. I think 23:00the classes that we had to take for our major were very well rounded and I was very grateful for having had to take a lot of the fine art stuff that didn't really seem to go with the design major and I don't know if you see it now, but then there was a real division between the fine art majors and the design majors.

EM: Oh really?

TD: Yeah, the fine art majors. Like we had to share some classes and everybody was nice, but there was kind of this little deal where the fine art majors thought that all the design students were sellouts and all the design students that the fine art majors were just kind of freaky geeks.

EM: Oh, wow.

TD: Probably artsy-fartsy, like crazy. So it was interesting. The dynamic was interesting and even though a lot of people saw each other that way, they still got along well. Do you have to take figure drawing?

EM: Yeah, figure drawing?

TD: Yeah, I remember my first day in figure drawing class my very first semester 24:00and I was in there with somebody I knew, um, and the model went up on stage in a robe and we looked at each other like if he drops that robe, I'm walking out [laughs] and he drops the rope and we had to draw and we were mortified and for two weeks the whole class would draw everything except the whole genital region, and our professor had an absolute coniption fit one day and flipped out. And he read us the riot act and he's like, you know, "grow up" and "you need to draw everything" and "this is a study" and it's a, Oh my goodness. So we all got the maturity lecture that day.

EM: I'm sure everyone gets it.

TD: Oh yeah, It probably happens every semester.

EM: Oh yeah, for sure.

TD: Because eventually we didn't care. We actually got to draw a woman nursing a 25:00baby, so that was pretty cool.

EM: Interesting. So kind of like looking back on the classes, you said there were no computers, obviously no cell phones. Kind of like, um, adapting to that, like how was that like being introduced to using the computers all the time, like nonstop. Do you still like, kind of go back?

TD: So I definitely embraced it as it was coming out. I remember one of my first design classes, we all had our drafting tables and all of our tools there and he said, listen, he goes "one day soon you are all going to take your drafting tables, flatten them down and set of computer on top of them". And every single student gasped out loud and said no way. That was just ridiculous stuff. And it 26:00took only a couple of years till that literal, like I literally did that. And it was so crazy. But uh, you know, it started, it was a slow change when we first got to use computers, I was a designer for the Department of Residence Life. I was the youngest student to ever have been hired as a designer there. And I worked there for years. I started second semester in 88 and I left in early 92? So I got great experience, but when I started there they had a [mac plus?] and we could, we probably had, I don't know, nine, ten fonts that came with it, and we could draw shapes because set type and we would print it out and we would 27:00still have to cut it and paste it up on boards and reink it because it never was solid black enough to print right. But it was easier than hand lettering everything. So it was a great tool and they would let us use it for homework as well. I remember being able to use that instead of having to use a typewriter to write a few papers. And then the tech department, MIO, I remember when they got a scanner and we didn't know what a scanner was, we'd never heard of it, no clue. But we had these huge sheets of clip art and we could essentially order a scan to be done by them and it would be put on a hard floppy disk and we then put it in our computer and we could print it out. It was pretty crazy watching all that happen. Um, we still didn't have computer classes in school, like 28:00towards the end of my years there, I remember they had a [inaudible] class. I didn't take it, I wasn't interested at all, but right, right out of college I got into a job that used computers for everything and was able to fall in pretty easily.

EM: That's good, I would have like expected it to be kind of like big, like a big shock moving from doing everything hands on to clicking--everything.

TD: It could have been, had I not had the job at Rez life because that allowed me to get in slowly and learn real basic things. And then I had a real tech person teach me on a job when I got out of school, but it, I got to dip my feet in it and kind of grow with the technology, which was great. And I'm so grateful that I learned all this stuff prior to computers because now I understand why 29:00things are called what they're called in the programs and how things used to work. I can still work old school if I need to. I remember the power going out on, on the job my first year out of school and everybody was stuck, not able to do anything and I could cause I knew how to do things the old school, so I just kept working.

EM: That's awesome. So did you have like a favorite project during the time whether you were working with res life or in one of your classes?

TD: Hm--I still have my college portfolio. I have a lot of favorite projects. Go ahead.

EM: Oh no, you go ahead. Sorry.

TD: I do remember I had a corporate identity class and so we were learning how to do logos and things like that and it was an advanced level class, and one of 30:00our assignments was to go out into the community and find some community, some business that may be interested in getting a new logo and that was willing to work with us as if we were going to do their new logo. It wasn't meant to be an actual real life project, but we had to actually leave campus and go there, interview them and act as though we were actually going to do a new logo. And I found a horse stable there and, you know, loving horses, that was the coolest thing for me. And like I get to do a logo for, for a fancy horse stable. Uh, so I got to go there several times and we worked it out and it turned into a real project. They hired me, they use my logo and paid me for it.

EM: Oh wow.

TD: And they're still using it. But it got, it got decal or painted onto their trucks and their horse trailers and this huge, it got, I don't know what it was 31:00made of, I think it was wood like carved into this huge wooden sign that had a wishing well type top and it was lit up and it had water flowing over it, like it was fancy. So you know, as a student to see my work get turned into something real and at that level was really mind blowing.

EM: Oh my gosh, yeah.

TD: So that was pretty cool. And it helps with my portfolio show that I got to have something real like that. I designed a lot of t-shirts for Res Life, for Taylor Hall, uh, for,I did work for the campus TV station, so I got a lot of real life stuff. I even designed my first book cover for my aunt while I was at school.

EM: Oh that's neat, was she a writer?

TD: She had written her first book, and I barely knew what I was doing, but it was my first book cover and that's what my career turned out to be, a book designer.


EM: That's awesome.

TD: So that was really neat. But, So yeah, you know, doing that logo was like, one of my favorite thing is because it became a real logo, but goodness working for Res Life. But I couldn't have asked for anything better, I have so many millions of fantastic memories of that. My boss was Tom [inaudible] who just retired. He was the best boss ever. And we had a great team. You know, we had kind of three different teams that there was there and they were all just cool. We're all girls with Tom's, our boss.

EM: What, were there a lot of people with the same major and did you know a lot of them were you like kind of a close group?

TD: We were, we didn't hang out outside of our classes, but you know, a lot of 33:00us went through our classes together so we got to know each other and it made it fun to be in class. It made it easier to do critiques because we got to know each other and it wasn't all scary. Like, oh, are they going to think? We just thought, we don't care. We're doing our job and doing our critiques and you know, if you don't have the skin to deal with it then you shouldn't be in this major. [laughs] But yeah, we didn't hang out otherwise. I hung out mostly with the people in my hall. I was all about living in Taylor Hall and I got to paint, So late night with David Letterman came out when, or at least was very popular when I was in school, and I actually got to paint the Late Night logo onto the basement wall where we had our, uh, our dorm meetings and we, so we had a big theme. It was late night with Taylor Hall, what we called her big meetings, so I got to do a t shirt. I still have a picture of the tee shirt and the picture of 34:00the wall and I got to do a lot of cool stuff like that. For the dorm.

EM: And, um, on the profile thing for you, you were the Taylor Hall first floorboard? Was that just kind of like a, were you like a specific title, like the graphic designer or were you just like part of?

TD: No, just a board member.

EM: Oh, okay.

TD: It was like a student council.

EM: Oh, okay. Interesting. Um, and you said you hung out with the people, um, in your hall most of the time. Uh, was there like a specific activity that you guys would go do? Like on campus? Off campus?

TD: Not specifically, we always had an open door policies and being an art major, like I could do my homework while I was talking. So I often had a lot of 35:00students, a lot of friends in my room and we'd all have study parties and we'd order pizza and we'd hang out and we'd study and we'd talk. And at the time there was this super cool place called Sunlight, moped express, and you could order ice cream and they literally delivered the ice cream on a moped. They had a soft sided cooler on the back of it and it was hand packed. Super Awesome, homemade ice cream. And you can order it by the pint. They, they put like two different flavors in one pint. So we ordered ice cream all the time.

EM: Oh my gosh, Sounds dangerous.

TD: It was great, yeah. So that was super fun. Uh, we were always playing music. Music was a big deal. And then they had ResLife developed a dance for every 36:00Friday night. They had an underage dance at the union called night class. I got to do posters for it, but we went there and danced all the time. For a little while, there was an under age bar over buy kelly's and I don't know if Molly Mcguire's is still there.

EM: I believe so, yeah.

TD: Kelly's and Molly's, and then to the left would form a triangle. There was underage place called Dalmatians, and that was an underage dance bar too. And that was pretty fun.

EM: Nice, have you stayed in touch with any of the people that you lived with or like hung out with?

TD: Yeah, I'm in touch with a lot of them. And then with facebook I'm in touch with a whole lot more. I even started a group for those people who have lived in Taylor Hall. So we're sharing pictures and memories and all that kind of stuff. 37:00Uh, I, one of my roommates from college was my roommate after college. Uh, so yeah, a lot of us are still in touch remotely, I don't get to hang out with them in person because we've all moved to different places.

EM: Kind of, being, like friendly with everyone, Did you hang out with like people from different majors a lot? Um, with different like, housing situations, like did you ever involve, get involved with like Greek life or anything or what was that like on campus? Was it pretty big?

TD: Yeah one of my friends was on the gymnastic team and his, a lot of people on the team had a house. It was kinda like, kinda like a greek house only it was for the gymnasts, the guys. Um, so we would go over there and hang out 38:00sometimes. I had friends in other dorms and would hang out there and get to know them, but I didn't hang out with anybody who lived in a Greek house. I had a few friends who pledged but they still lived in the dorms. I remember, I remember when it got to be close to 60 degrees, we would all head out to try to get a tan, layout in the courtyard by Taylor. That was like the coolest state, because then we put on tanning lotion with no sunscreen. That was like, we had to try to get tan instead of preventing it. [laughs] And in the winter we would, I would go, I had friends who played intramural basketball, so I go to Kolf and watch them play. Um, in the summertime we'd play volleyball near Fletcher Hall.

EM: I currently live in Fletcher right now actually.


TD: Alright, cool.

EM: Yeah, just recently renovated as well.

TD: Oh really? So is it more the studio apartment type arrangement? Or are they normal dorm room?

EM: Um, they're still normal dorm rooms, but like there's air conditioning. There's like new lofts. It's just, yeah, it's really nice. There's a kitchen on every floor.

TD: Oh nice, yeah we didn't have that.

EM: Yeah. I really, it's really nice. I really like it. Um, I have to ask, um, with Oshkosh kind of having this big reputation, like was it still a big party school back when you went to school?

TD: It was, yeah, you know I remember going to house parties and I was at one that got busted once I found myself running through the, running through people's yards to get back to them, no arms [inaudible] Yeah, and my friends and 40:00I would party some, and we'd go to the, we'd go to Kelly's [in the library?] and Molly's eventually. Uh, so yeah, it was a party school than too.

EM: Still keeps its reputation.

TD: Yeah, for better or worse. It's fine. It might not have been smart, but it was fun.

EM: Did you go home often? You said it was like half an hour away. Did your parents, brother come visit you or did you go home like quite often?

TD: I went home pretty often. Especially the first semester, I'd go home most weekends and just, uh, didn't, didn't have a whole lot to do there on the weekends, but eventually I just wanted to stay up there all the time. That was my home, I got to know so many people and everybody was so friendly and like I 41:00said, we had so many open door policies, like you could walk through any dorm and just start talking to anybody who's door was open.

EM: So you were pretty comfortable at UWO, you said it was like your home. Did you, besides being the uh, working for Reslife, did you take part in any extracurricular activities or did you join any clubs?

TD: I joined the ad club for a little while. I wish I had known about it much earlier, much sooner when I was there, so I was probably only a member, I don't know, for a semester or two and went to random meetings so I didn't do a whole lot with them. But I remember having wished that I had known about it sooner. We did a lot of extracurricular stuff, like we'd go to movies at the union. We did 42:00a lot of stuff with the union. They had a hypnotist come once and one of my friends got pulled up, a couple of my friends got pulled up on the stage, get hypnotized, and we were just rolling in laughter and tears. There were, there were some famous--actors from a soap opera. They came one time and all kinds of, we got to go see them speak and, which seems really silly now, but it was really cool then. I remember voting on campus for the first time. That was a big deal. Um, and then our dorm was always doing stuff, and of course homecoming was a blast. Our football team with horrid when I was at school, but you know homecoming was a big deal. And Taylor hall did very well, I know we won at least one time while I was there. So that was cool. We got dressed up and did the 43:00march and did that we had skit night and we won our skit night. I was part of that. We did crazy stuff. But do they still offer interim classes?

EM: They do, yes.

TD: Okay. So my first year there, we had winter interim in January of '88 and the weather was crazy. It was super sunny, ridiculously windy, and the wind chill literally was '70 below zero and we had to go to class.

EM: Oh my gosh, typical Wisconsin.

TD: It was nuts. Every single person was bundled up to the hilt, but it was so sunny, like normally all you would be able to see would be their eyes, but everybody has their sunglasses on so you couldn't see a lick of skin on anybody. And we got to class as quickly as possible. I was taking a geography class, which was a pit class, so we would get to this pit with a hundred, I don't know, 44:00a hundred kids in it, sit there for three hours and slowly stripping down because we were all sweating from all the clothes we had on and bundled right back up again and get back to the dorms as fast as possible. Nobody went to the commons for lunch that day. [laughs] The poor people who delivered pizza probably had a rough day that day. But you know, they didn't, they closed campus twice, the whole time I was there for snow or weather, and I do remember a big snowstorm the first time they closed the campus and I was hanging out. I went to Gruenhagen to hang out with my friend who lived there and there was a huge snowball fight that broke out between the Scotts and Gruenhagen, I have pictures of it from the window because we didn't want to be part of it, but some of the kids got a hand. I remember them turning over cars, which was just stupid. I 45:00remember feeling sorry for the pizza delivery people that day because they could, they could barely get through and then they were getting pelted with snowballs and oh man, it was crazy.

EM: That's crazy. Oh my gosh. Was Gruenhagen still--the, like, Oh, what is the word for it? Like did a lot of foreign exchange students to live there?

TD: As far as I know, I didn't really like, I had friends living there and then I worked there because of ResLife. And they also, they they, they rented rooms kind of like a hostile I guess or hotel and they were. They would rent rooms to stay there as well, so it was mixed use, but I don't, I don't know for sure about the foreign exchange students

EM: Kind of going off that, was there are a lot of diversity that was on campus 46:00still or was it?

TD: There was, it's funny, I was looking back through my pictures and most of the people in my dorm were white, but like my first roommate was African American and there were two girls that were sisters across the hall who were and it never seemed to bother or even, even at fact anybody we were just all friends. It didn't matter. It was never an issue and I don't know if that was true across campus or just in my little piece of the world or what, but I loved that because I grew up in teeny towns that were almost entirely white and so I hadn't even been exposed to people from other cities or races or anything, and I'm thankful that I was just raised that it didn't matter because it didn't.


EM: Did, were there like, people not like against it, but the people have like different views kind of of it?

TD: Not that I saw, I was pretty naive about all that stuff, but not, not that I was aware of.

EM: Okay. Um, out of curiosity, were you involved in like student government at all as well or do you remember?

TD: Just within the hall. Yeah I was, I was a student government for Taylor.

EM: Um, do you remember any like important social issues or political issues that happened on campus while you were there?

TD: No, I was so out of it when it came to issues like that and like nothing. I was just really naive and didn't pay attention. It was all about just friends 48:00and homework and having fun. I know we got things done and hall meetings, but they were also a load of fun. So I remember all the fun. I don't know what we talked about beyond that anymore.

EM: Um, uh, going back to like kind of diversity on campus minority groups and stuff like that, um, were they're more, uh, would you say there were more women or men on campus at the time?

TD: I couldn't tell you. I really don't know.

EM: Yeah, kind of even, would you say maybe?

TD: Yeah, I guess. I had friends. I had plenty of male and female friends. Yeah--I don't know.

EM: Okay. Um, so you graduated with a BFA?


TD: Mhm.

EM: Okay. Um, how did you feel when you finally finished, graduated college?

TD: Well, so as much as I absolutely loved being there and being on campus by the time I was done, I was four and a half years and by the time I was done, I could not wait to get out and get a job. I was so excited, and I think most people are that way, but I was very excited and I graduated with honors. So that was neat.

EM: Yeah, that's, that's great. Um, did, uh, did you have any internships when you were in college or did you mentor anybody or mentored by anybody?

TD: No, it was, it was my job at Rez life. We, that was everything. I should mention my very first job on campus was my first semester and it was through a 50:00grant program and it was feeding the rabbits and the science labs.

EM: Oh Wow.

TD: This is how naive I was. I was so excited to feed all the bunnies because they were super cute. And about halfway through the semester I noticed that some of them weren't there anymore and I literally had no idea why. And I had a favorite rabbit, and one day I was there, uh, another girl and I got our schedules mixed up so we were both there at the same time. And I was like, what happened to this favorite bunny? And you know, how come they're all disappearing? And she looked at me and she's like, do you not know what they do with these rabbits? Like, no. And I found out that they were, you know, doing scientific testing and all this stuff on them and the rabbits, eventually all or most of them would die. And I quit. I quit right then and there, I couldn't take it. So the end of that semester, then I got hired for Rez life and got my second semester.


EM: Well I guess that ended up being, a good thing I guess?

TD: Yes, it all worked out in the end, but oh my goodness. Those poor bunnies.

EM: So, after getting your degree and everything, did you have like a plan right after you graduated college?

TD: Well I wanted to work in Madison. I still wanted to design ads for magazine. Um, I also wanted to work for an ad agency. I thought that would be the coolest thing and it took me maybe three months to get a job. Uh, and it was with a magazine in Madison in business, which is still there. It's still being published and I got hired to be their Art director.

EM: Oh Wow.

TD: That was, I dove in, thank God I was as naive as I was because I dove in 52:00just thinking I could take over and I did, but you know, I, I'm grateful I didn't know what I didn't know. And they were a very awesome team of people and it was a very hard, fun jobs very hard. It was demanding. It's very demanding, but it turned out to be an amazing and they were owned by another company. They were a division of another company that eventually started publishing books and they really got, gave me my start designing books.

EM: Did you realize then, designing books. I mean, uh, you said that's what you do now, you're a book designer?

TD: Mhm.

EM: Did you realize at that moment like, oh, this is what I want to do?

TD: Oh yeah. The first, the first cover that I did when I was, it was Magna 53:00publications that [owns in business?]. The first cover I did while I was there the editor said, hey, nobody else has been able to do this cover for this book, is it something that you might be able to do? And I knew exactly what to do with it. Like it just fell into place within a couple hours. It won a national award. We were all like, I just knew that was it. Like, oh my gosh, this is what I love to do. So I got to do a lot of them while I was there. And then when I left, I got to freelance and they're still a client. My division got bought out by, by the editor I had worked with there, but she's still a client of mine after, I don't know, 25 years.

EM: That's awesome.

TD: It was pretty cool.

EM: And uh, how long did you say was your first job out of college?

TD: I worked there for five years.

EM: Five years. Okay. Awesome. Being from, going from Oshkosh to Madison to 54:00having your first job, how well did college prepare you, prepare you for like post-education, stuff like that?

TD: I think I was very well prepared. You know, there's always certain things that you wish you had known and you know, you can't really figure that out until you've had experienced that in hindsight. But I have always been very proud of my education. Everything I learned in school, and I talked to other people and I'm friends with other people who went to other schools, including Madison, who didn't get nearly the quality education in my, in our field that I got. I know Mike Young was one of my design professors and I think he was phenomenal and I wish so badly that I could remember the name of the other one because he was really good too.

EM: And I know that, I mean obviously now you live in Texas, but have you had 55:00much involvement in UWO since you graduated?

TD: Not as much as I wish I did, you know, I'm in touch with a few people. I stayed in touch with my boss from, Tom [inaudible], [And] a few other people who are on campus, but it's, I found it very difficult for me to be involved at all living far away, and I find that frustrating because I would love to have, have more, whether it's mentoring or, you know, I don't even know. I don't even know off the top of my head. I just wish I could be involved more. Uh, even though there's just technology can bring us closer and I wish we could use that. I love my school.

EM: That's awesome. Moving to Austin, did you, were you still kind of like in 56:00your zone, like still pretty open to the change or was this kind of a bigger change for you?

TD: Um, Austin wasn't as much when, I was in Madison for three years. I met my now husband there, uh, and when we left Madison, we had just gotten engaged and we moved to Sacramento and that was a huge deal. That was the first time I'd lived at a state. I had never even been to California except to visit him once while I was interning at like it was, that was a huge deal. I made I left, literally left my parents then, so that was a huge change. Moving to Austin was kind of a big deal, but I had already moved across country and by that time I had been married a few years and we didn't have kids yet, so it was easier to move here then it had been to move there. The first move was tough.


EM: Did you have the same kind of job opportunities when you moved or was it a little different?

TD: Yeah, well It was kinda crazy because I've worked for that regional, for In Business with regional business magazine, and when we moved to Sacramento, before we moved, I got a job for their regional business magazine called Comstock's, so I left one and walked right into another one and became their advertising art director. So I had a slightly different role, but it, the duties on my job, I knew exactly what to do walking in. It didn't last very long because I didn't like it.

EM: Would you say you totally enjoy your job now? Being a book designer?


TD: Oh, yes. So I own my company so I have freelanced as TLC graphics for, since I was in high school. I ended up, when I called, it was my initials originally, so I freelanced that way most of my life. Um, and once we moved to California, I started freelance a little bit more and then when I left my job, I hated it and I hated commuting and I got a part time job. But I, the other part time I just ramped up my freelance work and eventually that company I worked for went out of business. So I had the choice of commuting my life one way, or taking my freelance business full time and thankfully my husband worked for Intel and had great income so we can take the chance that I could just freelance full time and I never wanted to have a business of my own to the hate the business end of everything. But I was kind of thrown into it and I've never looked back. It has 59:00grown beyond anything I could imagine. We just changed our name this year to TLC book design, new branding and all that, and we're a Christian family and a Christian business and I [inaudible] God's hand all over everything that has happened. I could never have put this business together on my own.

EM: That's awesome. Well, congratulations on that. That's..crazy.

TD: Thank you. We've won 204 national and regional awards over the years.

EM: Wow.

TD: We have loyal clients and most of all we just get to help people bring their dreams to fruition and, ah, that's the best thing ever. And as of yesterday, we just found out that we get to grant a wish through the Make a Wish foundation.

EM: Oh wow.

TD: A little boy who's almost three who has about six months to live, has always 60:00wanted to be a main character in an adventure children's book, so we are going to write and design and produce a book with him in the center. And I'm so excited.

EM: That's amazing. Wow. That's--crazy. Just hearing from one, a graphic design student, but also just someone, a person in general, that's amazing.

TD: We're excited. We love to give back the best thing ever.

EM: That's awesome. Um, all right time. Kind of to close out the interview, um, what advice would you give to a college students now?

TD: Oh Gosh. I would careerwise say, look for every opportunity you could take. Don't worry for getting paid for them or not just learn, um, if you, if you want to design ads but you get an offer to do a logo or something else if you're 61:00capable, do it. But also know that, like design wise and it's true in every field, like everybody has a strength and a specialty within their field. Uh, you know, and I learned fairly early on but not while I was in school that, that it's okay to not be good at part of design but be better at another part. So corporate ID is not my strength. I can do it, but it's not what I love to do and it's not my strength and figuring out what my strength is in books was such a godsend because I could focus on it and give everybody the best of me and to be able to look for your strengths and not be ashamed of your weaknesses is huge in any field. Um, I'm just in general, just respect each other. It's such a lost, 62:00It's such a lost--art these days. People are so crazy about, you know, if you don't agree with me then you must hate me and that's so not true. Like, let's just respect each similarities than differences. Yeah, and embrace every opportunity you can get.

EM: Yeah, that's good advice, thank you. Alright, yeah, I just want to thank you again for doing this interview. I know that the university really appreciates it and I really appreciate it. Um, but yeah, um, thank you so much.

TD: Well, one of my, one of my friends from college knows your professor.

EM: Oh, really?

TD: So she is pretty excited that I could take part in it.

EM: Yeah, that's awesome.

TD: Yeah. So it's a really neat thing that you guys are doing. And um, you mentioned potentially wanting photographs and I do have a large amount of them 63:00so I know what kind you're going to want, but you can let me know and get those to you.

EM: Awesome. Yeah, that would be greatly appreciated. I know that it would go like, that the university would really appreciate it and it would work really well with this project. So yeah, that would be great.

TD: So is that something you'd want me to email to you or is there a different place that's taking them all in?

EM: Yeah, you could just email to them to me and we're actually putting together like a presentation kind of on what we learned in the interview and stuff like that. And then the university is actually going to use it for their, Oh, I want to see their bicentennial? I that's what it is--

TD: Is it sesquicentennial?

EM: That's it, not bicentennial. That's. Um, but yeah, and we're all kind of 64:00getting together and uh, learning about different students, uh, experiences at, at Oshkosh.

TD: Yeah, did you need to know the years I was there, or did I already tell you?

EM: Um, I do not know. Maybe that's, that would be great actually if you could say right now.

TD: Yeah, no problem. So I started the fall of 87 and I graduated the fall of 91.

EM: Awesome. Thank you so much. I should've, I should've asked that at the beginning.

TD: Sure! I made some notes ahead of time, and that was the first thing I was like, oh wait, I don't think we talked about.

EM: I know I realized too, I was like, oh wait.

TD: Yeah, because I was just looking, like cd players were popular, like I got my first CD player while I was in college. So that was kinda crazy. And other technology stuff like, oh we got microwaves in our room. Like we had to provide our own but we people had their own microwaves and that was a kind of a big deal too. Funny that is to think about stuff like that now. Like what?


EM: That's crazy, Oh my God.

TD: Yeah, I still have my boombox that I had in my dorm room, and strangely enough, It still mostly works.

EM: That's awesome.

TD: Yeah, I still have cassettes and cds I had when I was there, and my daughter has an 80's dance tomorrow night at school and I can't wait for the two of us to get dressed up and go [inaudible] and she's 13 and wants nothing to do with it. But, I would love to stay in touch. If you want to talk about mentorship or anything like that, just send me an email outside of the project and absolutely would love to do something like that.

EM: Awesome, that would be great. Thank you so much.

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