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Interview #456: Chapman, Emily E. (1994)

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Interview with Emily E. Chapman


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00:00:01–00:16:48 EC discusses differences between the U...

EC discusses differences between the U.S. and Canadian educational systems. After graduation from high school, she took classes at the McDonald Institute. During WWII, the school was converted to an anti-aircraft factory.

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00:00:01

BT

That’s my fault. That’s the feedback. This is Barry Teicher of the Oral History Project. Today is March 9, 1994. I’m in the home of Miss Emily Chapman, who lives on [Wobben?] Hill Drive, I believe.

EC

No, just [Wobben?] Hill.

BT

Just [Wobben?] Hill, in Madison. Mrs. Chapman was one of the Madison people who responded to my query in On Wisconsin. And since she is a Madison resident, I decided to, I elected to interview her in her home, rather than by mail.

Mrs. Chapman, let’s start off, first of all, talk about your date and place of birth. And briefly describe your childhood and early your early years of school.

EC

Well, I was born in January 19, 1921, which makes me seventy-three years old now, in Paris, Ontario, Chapman. And my middle name is Elizabeth. And I was called Betty most of my life. I attended, we moved a lot. [laughter] My father was a salesman. And we moved—I lived in Paris, Branford—this is all in Ontario – Hamilton, then to Winnipeg, Manitoba, and then to Toronto, and to London. And in London I was in first grade. The rest of the time I was young. [laughs]

But in, in 1928 we moved to Hamilton and my father got out of the salesman business and became part, he started a hosiery mill. He had been a traveling salesman for something called Real Silk Hosiery. And I lived in Hamilton until I was married, which was in 1942. So I spent most of my life in Hamilton.

In Hamilton I attended, in London, in first grade, I was in a school called Ryerson. And in Hamilton, I went to Earl Kitchener school. And they had a different grading system. In London, you went first, second, third, fourth, up to eighth. In Hamilton, you went junior first, junior second, junior third, you know, junior, seniors, up to your final, like what would be eighth grade would be senior fourth. And they had a system of education there where I guess, if they thought you were pretty bright, you mostly skipped the senior grades. And I went from first grade in London into junior second in Hamilton. Then to junior third, junior fourth, and senior fourth. So--

BT

You skipped seniors one, two and--

EC

Three. Yeah. So when I went to high school, I was eleven years old. [laughter] But there were quite a few other--

BT

I was going to say, was that common, or--

EC

Yeah. No. There were, there were girls that I had gone to school with that were the same age that I was.

BT

Now were these boys and girls schools?

EC

Oh, yeah. Oh, I should tell you, grade school was very interesting. Earl Kitchener. They had separate doors for girls and boys. And I was mad, because the boys’ door was closest, a whole block closer to where I lived than the girls’ door. But you went in separate doors. And the washrooms were separate, you know, the girls’ washroom was on the end with the girls’ door, and the boys’ washroom was on the end with the boys’ door. And all through grade school and high school, we had, of course, boys and girls in the same class. But the girls always sat in one half of the room, and the boys sat in the other half. There was a definite division down the middle.

BT

That’s interesting.

EC

And we were, generally we were seated in alphabetical order. And there were, as I recall, we had over forty kids in the classroom. Almost every room I was ever in. Because we had six rows of seats across, and at least seven or eight rows back. So that we had large classes.

BT

Did the teachers distinguish between the boys and the girls in terms of favoring one over the other? Or were they all pretty much treated the same in the classroom?

EC

We were pretty well treated the same, as far as I could tell. There didn’t seem to be any obvious interest in one sex or the other in school. We also were very well behaved. [laughter] In grade school, if we got a little rowdy, the teacher would say, “Hands behind your back.” And we all put our hands behind our back like this and sat there till she said we could stop it. [laughs] And there was an occasional time in grade school, I remember in junior fourth, the teacher was a Mr. Watson. And I remember that he would, once in a blue moon, haul one of the boys up from the back of the room. And he’d hold their hand out and they’d get a whop on their hand for misbehaving. But in general, there was, I wouldn’t, I don’t think there were any discipline problems in any of the schools that I went to in Ontario.

BT

So you continued through high school?

EC

Through high school. And I went to Westdale Secondary School which was combination school, academic, tech and commercial. There were three separate tracks. And there was no compulsion to go on any one track. You decided which track you wanted to go in. And academic was a five-year course. Tech was a four-year course, and commercial was a four-year course. And I really enjoyed school a lot. And I loved math, and I loved physics.

I had an unusual physics teacher. We all had to take the same classes. We had, courses. We had, I think maybe two electives. If we were in academic, we had to take all the courses that were necessary to go to college. That’s all there was to it. But you could take, for instance, physics or German. And I decided I’d rather take physics than German. And Mr. [Gillen?] was our physics teacher. And in third form-- that’s what we called them, we didn’t go by grades there, we went first through fifth form—in third form he sort of browbeat us, nursed us along. We had a quiz every morning. He sort of spoon-fed us. Then when I got into fifth and was taking what was advanced physics, he said, “You are now college aged young people. I am just going to expect you to do everything on your own. I’m not going to correct you. It’s up to you!” [laughter] And he was, well, in both of his classes, ever home room when you were in a home room, you had, we had homeroom parties, and homeroom treasure hunts, and homeroom this, and homeroom that. And since we usually attended all our classes together through the year, we got to know each other pretty well. And it was really, it was very interesting.

Both influences, my mom and dad never, they went to business school, or business college. That’s where they met. And my two brothers, I had two older brothers, eight and ten years older than I, or than me. And they both were, I was almost an only child. They went off to University of Toronto and got electrical engineering degrees in what was then called the School of Practical Science, which was an engineering degree.

Our high school stuff was very heavy on math. And I have a list of all the credits I got for high school. And then I wanted to take math and physics. [laughs] I wanted to go to University of Toronto and take math and physics. Well, we suffered a financial setback in the family. And my mother said to me, “Betty, it wouldn’t hurt you to learn how to cook. Why don’t you go to McDonald Institute?” And it was only twenty-five dollars a semester for tuition, and twenty-five dollars, I think, a semester, for room and board. So it was affordable. And I thought well, I don’t have the money. [laughs] And my parents would send me there. So I said I would. But they wouldn’t let me in. I was too young. [laughs] So I stayed a sixth year at Westdale, and took all kinds of interesting things, like architectural drafting and business lettering. And got, finally completed my senior matriculation Latin, which I had dropped Latin because that was one teacher I didn’t like.

But one of the things, the teachers that we had, I remember my high school teachers a lot more vividly than I remember the teachers I had in the university.

BT

Isn’t that interesting.

EC

The very first, when I was in first form, and I was in the geometry homeroom, and Mr. Stiles, a little short redheaded guy, posed a couple of problems to us and said, “Now here are some things that mathematicians have been trying to solve for centuries. So I’m going to give you one of them and see if you can solve it. Can you trisect an angle? Oh! [laughs] I worked on it and worked on it. Of course, I don’t know anybody that can do it, using, you know—But he, and then he was one that passed around saying, “What are you interested in being when you finish school?” And at that time, I wanted to be an architect, which was, I still like drawing things.

But anyway, I enrolled then at McDonald Institute. And this was a two-year course for an associate degree in home economics. And we went three semesters a year. And we had, it was the same type of schooling as high school in the sense that we didn’t, we were in school all day from, you know, 8:30 or 9:00 until 4:00, 4:30. And you maybe had one spare period a day. And in our schools, we took a lot of subjects and took them for the whole year. I mean, you would continue for the whole year. There were no semester, yeah, there was. Home economics was a semester. And I think there were a couple of ones that weren’t. I don’t think they even got credit for it. [laughs] But you, and in fact, a lot of the subjects in high school, you continued year after year, going through the same subjects, just getting more and more.

All our exams were comprehensive. In other words, you went back right to the beginning, all your knowledge. And never had a multiple choice or a true/false exam, ever, until I came to the University of Wisconsin. [laughter] We had essay exams. And we had to, we had to sort of really know what we were, what we’d been taught. And it was, I think it was very good discipline.

So, anyway, I graduated from Guelph in May of 1940. We were kicked out a month before we were supposed to be because of the war. And they were turning over the home executive committee school to air force chef training.

So then I worked a year in an anti-aircraft gun factory.

BT

That must have been interesting.

EC

Uh huh. And I used all the math I’d ever had. I worked as a machinist and an inspector, and did (lay out?) work. And I worked twelve-hour shifts, and two weeks days and two weeks nights. And that was, I wouldn’t have been able to do it if my mom hadn't made my lunch, done my laundry. [laughs] Because I had an hour ride on the streetcar to the factory and back.

And I was married in 1942. My husband was an instructor at the University of Guelph, which is where I had been going to school. I met him and we fell in love while I was a student and he was a student. He was in the ag school, OAC. It’s now the University of Guelph. He was a senior when I was a, we were called juniors and seniors. We weren’t called freshmen, because we were only there for two years. when I was a junior, he was a senior in his four-year course. So at any rate.

And several things I did after I was married, I was, worked at the [Calendar?] Foundry doing inspecting and drafting. So my course in drafting in high school did well by me. I learned inspecting and [that’s lay out?] because in using machines, when I was working for Otis-Fensom in Hamilton.

00:16:48–00:18:21 In 1945, after the birth of their first...

In 1945, after the birth of their first child, EC's husband enrolled as a graduate student in the School of Agriculture.

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00:16:48

EC

And then we started having, let’s see, our first child was born in 1945. A son. And in, six days after he was born, my husband came to Wisconsin to enroll as a graduate student. And I followed when the baby was six weeks old. Came on a train. And went through a little bit of agony because there was no hot water on the train, and I had all these bottles that were packed in ice. And you didn’t give a baby an icy bottle back then. So the child screamed. Where’s the place where they make cereal? Battle Creek, Michigan.

BT

Battle Creek, yeah.

EC

The gentleman who walked up and down the alley in the train said, “We’ll get heat on at Battle Creek.” So anyway, we got through that. And he was enrolled, then, in the university as a doctorate student.

BT

What field of study?

EC

Entomology, in the School of Agriculture. That was his major at OAC. He was in entomology.

00:18:21–00:25:37 During his first year, they lived in the...

During his first year, they lived in the University Cabin Camp at 2929 University Avenue, in a two-bedroom cabin. The cabins, which were formerly for tourists, were inexpensive but had no running water. Most of the residents had children, and the families would often share holiday dinners. They later moved to Tilton Terrace.

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00:18:21

EC

So we lived at the University Cabin Camp without running water. Had two more children, two girls. That sort of was a blurry—[laughs]

BT

Let’s talk about the Cabin Camp for a while. Now that was located--

EC

On University Avenue. In the 2900 block, 2929 University Avenue.

BT

How big were the cabins? I mean, how many people lived in, what were they like? I don’t know much about the Cabin Camp.

EC

Well, the one that we were in was, let’s see. A double bed. I think it was ten by fourteen. Divided into two rooms. And there was no running water. We had to carry water in from, there was a central washroom with bathrooms and washing machines and stuff. And we had oil heaters. It was inexpensive. Twenty-five dollars a month for rent.

BT

That’s nice.

EC

When your husband is only trying to live on a hundred dollars a month, it’s important. So anyway, we had three children and stayed there four years. And I was about ready to go to Mendota when I—

BT

There were five of you, in a sense--

EC

Oh, yeah.

BT

In this ten by fourteen, divided into two rooms.

EC

Yes.

BT

Oh, my. That must have been cozy.

EC

Yeah. Well, after our third child was born, my husband built a little, I think a six by eight kitchen on the back.

BT

Yeah, I was going to say, did you have hotplates? Or how did you cook?

EC

There was a little closet on the back. These used to be tourist cabins. And it had shelves. We put shelves in it. And I had a hot plate on one side and a roaster oven in the other. And used orange crates to keep things in.

BT

And so it was one family per cottage.

EC

Oh, yeah.

BT

And how many cottages were there? Do you recall?

EC

There were about one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. About twelve or fourteen cottages. There were also trailers and Quonset huts.

BT

Did you get to know your neighbors very well?

EC

Oh, yeah. [laughs] Oh, you certainly did. Oh, yes. We had coffee klatches ever morning, and we babysat each other’s kids. Everybody had little children. And there were a lot of Canadians in that camp.

BT

Oh, really?

EC

Because the other one, down where Sherwood Hills was, was reserved for Americans, for some reason, or for veterans or something. So we had, there were a lot of Canadian students, grad students in there. And we, we, none of us could afford to go home for Christmas. So was always had Christmas dinner in the rec room. There was a study hall. Really, it wasn’t a rec room, but we had study hall and then separate bathrooms for men and women. And then the basement. There were laundry facilities. No dryers. But there were clotheslines, and there were clotheslines outside. But it was, we had to roast the turkey one year, and we left it out on our, we had a little front porch. And we had the turkey out there to keep cold. And when we went to get it to put it in our roaster oven, we found that a rat had gnawed its back off. [laughter] Well, there were rats! There was a steakhouse right in that area that’s since moved. Quite a famous steakhouse.

BT

Smokey’s.

EC

Smokey’s, yeah. And there were always rats around the back of their place. And they migrated to our place. [laughter] But I did, my husband and I concealed it. Took it over to the basement laundry, scrubbed it up with soap and roasted it breast-side up, and never let a soul know that it had been chewed.

BT

Gnawed by a rat.

EC

Gnawed by a rat. At any rate--

BT

Interesting years, it sounds like.

EC

Oh, yeah.

BT

From your standpoint.

EC

Yeah, they were. And anyway, we finally gathered enough money to move out of the Cabin Camp. Well, first of all, we moved to Sherman Terrace, or Tilton Terrace, as it was. And then bought a lot somewhere out here in, were paying on a lot near, oh, the school that’s right over here on Midvale.

BT

Thoreau? Oh, no, I know what you’re talking about. Van Hise.

EC

No. The grade school.

BT

The grade school.

EC

On Midvale?

BT

Well, we’ll leave it as the high school on Midvale.

EC

Anyway, we started to buy a lot. And we thought we could build a house. And my husband tore down an old house on campus for a dollar. And we had all this wood stored. And we were about to, and we had an arrangement that a builder would build a house on the lot and use all our lumber, and that the lot would be enough, you know, down payment. And they put in something called Regulation X. [laughs] And whatever it was, it was terrible. We couldn’t build. You had to have cash money, and you couldn’t build or anything like that.

BT

This is about 1948?

EC

Yeah.

BT

Your son was ’45. So—

EC

Yeah. It would be ’48, ’49.

BT

’48, ’49. So housing was very scarce at this point in Madison.

EC

Yeah.

BT

It’s interesting that they would put through this regulation that would--

EC

Well, it was a federal regulation, I think.

BT

At a time when housing was desperately needed. That’s interesting.

EC

Yeah. It was weird. So you win some and you lose some. [laughs] But anyway, eventually we found somebody that would take the lot as down payment on a house out in Verona. And that’s where we lived when I started to think about going back to school, to go to the university. We had a lot of other things happen, too. But that’s another story.

BT

That’s another tape. [laughter]

00:25:37–00:28:50 EC decided in 1956 to return to school...

EC decided in 1956 to return to school. A teacher suggested she go into home economics education because many of her previous credits from the McDonald School would transfer.

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00:25:37

BT

What made you start thinking about returning to school?

EC

Well, when my husband got his doctorate in 1950, and I figured it was when the children were in school, maybe it was time for me to go to school and get a degree. I only had an associate degree. I wanted at least a bachelor’s degree. I mean, when you have PhD as a husband, you don’t want to feel that inferior in your education. [laughter] And so I, and since I had credits for home ec, it seemed the logical thing to do, to go to home ec.

So I went up and talked to Mrs. [Zole?]. And she was very cooperative. She suggested something that I didn’t really think I was suited for, but she seemed to think. She said, “Since you have three children, I think you’d be better off to go into home ec education so that you could teach. Because then you’d have summers off. And you would essentially be going to school the same time your children were.” So I thought, well, okay. [laugh]

BT

You say.

EC

You say. So I did enroll in home ec education. And I was very fortunate. I was given sixty-two credits for my home ec work, which included an awful lot of math and sciences. And I was given thirty credits for my high school courses. So I went in as a senior.

BT

Oh, that many transferred. Wow.

EC

Yeah. That many transferred. Because I had two college years in high school. If you graduated, the way the high schools worked, if you took four years in academic, that was called junior matriculation. If you took five years, it was senior matriculation. And if you had the five years, you went into the sophomore class at the University of Toronto. If you had four years, you went in the freshman class. Well I had six years.

BT

That’s right. You went that extra year because of—

EC

I went the extra year.

BT

—not going to the McDonald Institute for another year.

EC

Yeah. So I was set to start in 1956. And these are my original transcripts. [laughs]

BT

You have original transcripts. [unclear]

EC

Yeah. Because they do give high school the credits for McDonald’s Institute. And we were living in Verona. So I started.

00:28:50–00:31:12 EC lists some of her classes, such as...

EC lists some of her classes, such as "The Child" and "Man and Society."

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00:28:50

EC

Now the first semester, I took an education course, which was called “The Child.” I took a required history course, US to 1865. Two home ec courses, “Introduction to Related Art in Housing,” and a course, you were required to have a course in sociology, “Man and Society.” And that was fourteen credits. [laughs] So I didn’t have much time to do much outside. Since I was a senior, I could get all my classes at 7:45 in the morning.

BT

In the morning. Oh, so you went early.

EC

So I went--

BT

You were out in Verona, so you took a bus into campus?

EC

No, my husband drove, we drove in together.

BT

Oh, I see. Of course, he must have stayed at the university [unclear]. Okay.

EC

He was hired. He’s now an emeritus professor. But so we drove in together. And I had all my courses lined, and I was fortunate to be a senior so I could get first choice. So I drove in for 7:45 classes with my husband, and toodled around the campus, and came home on a bus to Verona. There was a bus that left about 1:30 or two o’clock, I can’t remember, that I would catch down in front of the Union. And I managed to get almost all my, any labs I had or anything, I managed to get them shoved into the morning. And the second semester, I took twelve credits. In education, I took School and Society. And then I took three home ec courses: Costume Design, Textile[,?] Chemistry—[pause]

[End of Tape 1/Side 1 at 00:31:07]

00:31:12–00:42:36 EC graduated with a 3.6 GPA....

EC graduated with a 3.6 GPA. She did not like the approach of some of her education classes, which she believed "preached too much democracy" and blamed parents instead of society for corrupting their children. She was the only parent in her School and Society class.

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00:31:12

Listen to this segment

EC

Costume Design, Textile[,?] Chemistry.

BT

I’ve never heard the term as a course listing.

EC

Yeah. That’s what it was called. But the, at any rate, I came out of this thing with a 4.6 grade point average.

BT

Was that on a scale of five? Today we’re on a 4.0.

EC

No!

BT

3.6. There you go.

EC

3.6. I’m sorry. Yeah.

00:31:46

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BT

How were the courses? You took some pretty high powered courses up in Canada. How did the courses here compare with those?

EC

Most of them were awfully easy. Just because I learned to study. [laughs] At Mac, we had a closed campus. Every evening from I think it was from 7:30 till ten, was study hour. Nobody could go anywhere. You had to stay in your room and study in the dorm. And of course we snuck around a bit. And we only were allowed, well, we were well protected as young ladies. Of course I found out later that the men didn’t have to stay in their dorms. [laughs]

BT

Interesting. What about the home ec courses here? Were they pretty challenging? How would you characterize them?

EC

Well, the only chemistry I had to take was textile chemistry. And I thought it was really interesting, because I hadn't taken, I’d taken all kinds of other chemistries—biochemistry and organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry. I’d taken every other one. But textile chemistry was a new one to me. And costume design was really interesting. We were drawing patterns. And that was fun. I still don’t know what humanics was. [laughter] Housing was just mostly how to rent a house, how to live in a house, how to pay the bills.

BT

So practical things.

EC

Practical things which I felt I was already well acquainted with.

BT

Well let’s talk. At this point, this is a good point to talk about. You were a nontraditional student.

EC

Yeah.

BT

You weren’t eighteen or nineteen or twenty like most of your classmates.

EC

Oh, no. [laughs]

BT

How did that affect you? Did that cause you any problems?

EC

No, I don’t think so. Nobody seemed to—well, no. The only thing that bothered me was once when I was riding on the campus bus, and I got on, and a young kid got up and offered me her seat. [laughter] So I mean, that’s the only time I ever thought of being older.

BT

So did they have any special orientations for you at the university?

EC

Oh, no. Oh, no.

BT

Any special treatment or anything like that?

EC

Oh, no. Oh, no.

BT

You were just one of the students who just happened to be a little bit older than the rest of the students.

EC

Mm hmm.

BT

And you didn’t have any problem with that in terms of getting around or anything.

EC

No. No. I did, I couldn’t do much fraternizing, because I didn’t have time.

BT

Right.

EC

But I certainly participated in the classes. And spoke up when I felt I needed to.

BT

You mentioned that you had to take several education courses, too.

EC

Yeah.

BT

How would you characterize those courses, generally?

EC

Well, let’s see. Which education courses? School and Society, I did not appreciate that course. I got an A in it, but--

BT

Why didn’t you appreciate it?

EC

That was when everything was democracy in the classroom. And I didn’t believe in democracy in the classroom. I thought I got a very good education in a very undemocratic classroom. And I thought a good education was more important than democracy in the classroom. And that’s the one I spoke up in.

BT

Did the teacher allow democracy in his or her classroom?

EC

Well, yeah, but they kept, this one was the one where they kept saying that parents don’t care about their kids. They want the school to take care of them. Parents just want to get rid of their kids and send them to school and not have to have anything to do with them. And boy, after three kids of my own at home and I, and the way my own parents were, that really frustrated me. And I did speak up. That was the one, it was in that course, too, where the TA was talking about, “Can you imagine lining kids up to go from class to class?” And how undemocratic that was. I spoke up in that class a lot, because I just didn’t agree with any, with everything they were saying about kids and school.

BT

Was this kind of, my child psychology days, knowledge, is rusty. Was Spock, Dr. Spock around at this point?

EC

No, this was--

BT

Was it predating him by a bit?

EC

I think this was predating him. This was just, it seemed as though the Education School goes through cycles where I said you could pass any of their, any exam in this particular course with an A if all you did was say, “democracy in the classroom.” And I would get frustrated because all these little eighteen year olds were sitting there, taking all this stuff in. And believing it. [laughter] And that was too much. Because I know as far as I was concerned with kids in school, I just hated the fact that they always wanted them to go back in the evening for stuff. We never had, the only things when I was going to school that we had in the evening were when we put on plays that the parents would come to. All the school activities that you were in were after school. Right after school, so you stayed till maybe five o’clock and then you went home. If you were in a play, you rehearsed right after school. And football, we never had night games. We did have Saturday afternoon games. But we never had night games. We had a good football team, too. [laughs]

No. In general, I enjoyed going to school because I think I learned a lot. I enjoyed, the first education course, which was The Child, just was a child development thing. And this was very interesting to me because I had three that I could look at and see how they compared and stuff.

BT

Excuse me one second. Did the teachers draw on your knowledge as someone who had raised three children?

EC

Oh, no. No! [laughs]

BT

Go ahead.

EC

They just treated me like every other student, basically. Except, except in that one School in Society course. Because I, I probably got pretty obnoxious in that one. But, no. There was, one of the juvenile judges was, what was his name? He lived in Verona. And he was a very, he was a well known young juvenile judge. And I remember being so upset about them saying that people didn’t care what their kids did. And I called him after I went through that, you know, after they were saying this in class. And I said, “Do you really think…?”

He said, “No, that’s not true. Parents really do care what their kids are doing.” And he said, “They may not know what to do about them, but they really care and they really worry.” And since he ran into all kinds of miscreants in the juvenile area, I figured he would know.

BT

So were there any teachers, professors, you had in either home ec or education, any of your courses, that stand out in your mind as being influential to you, or important to you in your education?

EC

Well, I enjoyed public speaking. No there was no one who was particularly, maybe, I might have been a little, oh, I hate to say the word jaded.

BT

You can say it. That would fit.

EC

With the courses, because they really didn’t seem to take a lot of, well, I studied, of course. The first semester I had a lot going for me. I had a lot of energy. I got four As and a B. The second semester, I got two As and three Bs. I was beginning to falter a little bit. There’s a limit. As far as in the, I’m not sure. I think it was in education, this was when we had to do some kind of outside work. And that’s in The Child, and possibly in School and Society, we had to do something for society. And that’s, I was already helping with Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. So I said, “May I do that?” So, yeah, then I had to keep track of everything we did, and write a report on it and stuff. So.

00:42:36–00:48:24 EC taught home economics at Wisconsin...

EC taught home economics at Wisconsin High School in 1956 and 1957. Her class focused on the importance of packing well-balanced bag lunches. After her field work was complete, she had to withdraw from UW to take care of her daughter, who had contracted chicken pox and then mumps.

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00:42:36

BT

So you graduated with your degree in home ec education?

EC

No.

BT

No?

EC

No. The first year, the second, the second year, 1956 to ’57, was when I was taking Teaching Home Economics and Education, the Nature and Direction of Learning. And I was taking advanced public speaking then. I took the beginning public speaking in the other one. And I got through, the Teaching Home Economics was when I was teaching at Wisconsin High.

BT

Oh, yes, that’s right.

EC

And we had a, we did it in pairs. One of us observed while the other one did the teaching.

BT

Did you observe through those one-way mirrors?

EC

Oh, no. No. observing meant you were in the class.

BT

Oh, in the class. Okay.

EC

In the classroom. One student observed. In other words, you did it in pairs. And I finished, finished my whatever, my project, my teaching project. And that was when our youngest child got chicken pox. [laughter] And I think it says here, “12/4/56 withdrew, family responsibilities.” And I just couldn’t. I couldn’t, I had to go to every class and keep up. I couldn’t afford to be absent for a day or two because I had the whole house at home, and the three kids to take care of. And I just, I had to really, and I knew I had to stay home with this.

BT

Right. With the chicken pox.

EC

With the child with the chicken pox. Poor little kids. And then she got mumps, right on top of it. [laughter] And then I caught mumps from her.

BT

Oh, my.

EC

But that was, teaching the eighth graders home economics, and they gave us a choice of things. And I think mine was packed lunches, which is a very uninspiring thing. And it was about trying to teach them good nutrition and bringing lunches to school, and whether they should buy them or not. The thing that made the—oh I almost hate to say this. The thing that made the biggest impression on them was when I took them on a field trip in a bus to one of the supply areas for the local restaurant, so they could see how the restaurant did things. And they all came back and said they were going to carry their own lunches from now on. [laughter]

BT

Interesting. Now was this at Wisconsin High where you--

EC

Yeah. That was Wisconsin High.

BT

Tell me a little bit about Wisconsin High.

EC

Oh, those kids were bratty. [laughs]

BT

Were they sort of faculty brats?

EC

Well, they were, Sherwood Hills. Yes, some faculty ones. At one point, I was getting pretty frustrated with them. I said, “Now why do you act so nasty?”

They said, “Well, we’re teaching you how to teach!” [laughter]

BT

So they were precocious on top of everything else.

EC

Yeah. They were really precocious. But I think the only thing I felt good that came out of that was that before I took them on this one field trip, I said, “Now, have any of you ever said thank you to a bus driver who’s taken you on a field trip?” They all looked at me with their mouths open. I said, “I think it would be a good idea if when you got off the bus you said thank you to the bus driver. Because he’s not earning much money taking you.” And I was absolutely astonished. That’s all I said. As they were getting off, every one of those kids said thank you. You should have seen the bus driver. He nearly fainted! [laughter] But you know, I figure that was my one contribution, was to get the kids to realize that bus drivers were humans.

BT

Bus drivers are people, too.

EC

People, too. So that’s, anyway, in, so I dropped out and took care of a sick child. And took care of myself. And then went back the second semester. But before I went back, I asked Dean [Zole?], I said, “Do I have to repeat the teaching? Because I only,” I said, “I did the teaching part. I just didn’t observe.”

“Oh, yes. You have to do it all over again.” And I thought, do I really want to be a teacher? I decided that I wasn’t the kind that wanted to teach high school kids. College kids, maybe. But not high school kids.

00:48:24–00:50:11 After returning to UW, EC switched to...

After returning to UW, EC switched to the general professional major. Two of her favorite classes in this field were Elementary Logic and Anthropology of Human Evolution. She graduated shortly thereafter.

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00:48:24

EC

And so I said, “Well, is there any way I can get a degree without finishing the home ec education?”

She said, “Oh, sure.” She said, “You can get a general professional major. All you need are six credits of,” what do you call them? Things that, outside the thing.

BT

Electives?

EC

Electives. “All you need are six credits of electives, and you can graduate with a general professional major in home ec.”

And I thought, that will give me a bachelor of science? I’ll take it! So they let me do it. And these were two of the most interesting courses. Anthropology, Human Evolution, and Elementary Logic. And I just, I loved both of them. They were so interesting. I came out of the logic course saying oh my gosh! If only all the people who make laws would take a course in logic! Then you’d be able to understand what they say. I’ve forgotten now, I’ve forgotten how you did it, but you went through paragraphs and figured out how a lot of things said things that were just the opposite to what they were supposed to say and stuff. But it was, anyway, I got those. And so I graduated.

BT

You got that degree.

EC

I got the degree. And then I collapsed and rested for about two or three years.

00:50:11–00:53:16 In the early 1960s, computer programming...

In the early 1960s, computer programming was a new industry. EC took night courses in programming and found a job in data entry in the UW Sociology Department. She soon became a PA on the Buice Brazil Project.

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00:50:11

EC

Then I decided to, I was always interested in math. I thought I was good in high school math. And I loved things like algebra and trig and geometry. And I thought, I wonder if this new field, programming, would be something that I could do. And so I went to night course in, it wasn’t called the MATC. I’ve forgotten. It was called Technical School Downtown. And took Introduction to Programming and a course in Fortran programming at night. I never finished the project that I was supposed to do in Fortran. I didn’t quite get the program to complete. But when I finished, the instructor said, “Why don’t you go see if you can get a job programming? I think you can do it.”

So I went around campus. Said, “Does anybody need a beginning Fortran programmer?” I banged on doors, and went to the Sociology Department, and I got hired by Dr. [Busse?] in sociology. Or is he in Ag Econ? Ag Econ, I guess it was. He had something called the [Busse?] Brazil Project, where he was studying all the output from every Brazilian province for twenty years, every crop and stuff. and he hired me as a beginning programmer at, I think I was a dollar an hour. [laughter] I was a project assistant, I guess they called it. And from there, I learned a lot from him. And I went on to when that one sort of, I guess that one I sort of finished up. And then I went to the computer center and looked up notices. And I got part time jobs and half time jobs programming in a lot of different areas. And at that time, I decided I had better learn more about programming. So then I decided that maybe I should learn more. [laughs] So this is ten years later, ’66?

BT

’66, I think.

EC

Well, I took a few years off.

00:53:16–01:02:25 In 1966, EC began taking part-time courses...

In 1966, EC began taking part-time courses in computer programming. After doing well in the courses, she enrolled full-time in UW's graduate school. EC believes that graduate students were graded easier than undergraduate students.

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00:53:16

EC

And then I took some programming courses at the school. And then, so I started as, I thought I’d take a summer session course in 1966 in calculus. Now this is a long time since I’ve had any math. But it was one of the requirements for a master’s in programming. And that was one that, a summer course of five credits in twelve weeks is a lot of work. And we had moved to Madison by then. So I used to, oh, with the kids, when they were little, I stayed up till they went to bed, and then I studied. When I was in this summer course, I just went out on the back porch, shut the door, turned a lamp on, and said, “Stay away from me.” [laughter] And took this course.

And this is the one that I started in summer school, and then the grad school called me in and said, “Why are you taking a summer course? Why aren’t you in graduate school?”

And I said, “Well, I don’t know. I just thought I’d take a course.

“Well, we think you ought to be in graduate school.” So they told me to be in graduate school.

BT

Interesting. So you had, what did that mean? Did you have to apply for entry into graduate school?

EC

Well, they seemed to think I was already qualified to enter. This was June, ’74. I got one of these for that. They just, the summer session just sent me over to the grad school and they said, “No, you’re enrolled in grad school.” I guess it was because I had a 3.6 GPA or something. And this was the course that I took. And the first, I was in one, I don’t know what, I don’t remember what they call them now. One session, they have different ways of teaching, different people teach the same thing different ways. The first one they put me in was somebody who was teaching in modern math. And I sat there for three days. I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. [laughs]

So I went, I’ve forgotten who I went to, and I said, “Can’t I find somebody who is teaching this in old-fashioned math?” [laughter] So they put me in another session. But this is one where I used Schaum’s algebra and went through it before I started the course. I went through algebra. This is based on algebra. This is 221. I had to go right back to the beginning with every problem. Start with the algebra and work up to the thing.

But I did get an honest B. And this is the one that the TA told me afterwards, “If I’d know known you were in grad school, I’d have given you an A.” Oh, gee!

BT

Why would he have given you an A?

EC

Because this was during, when, 1966, this was when they were passing everybody, and giving them high grades, regardless of how well they did. This was during the troubles. [laughs]

BT

Was that something that you observed as coming out of that period? I mean, had it been, it had not been that way before? Is that what you’re saying?

EC

No. I don’t think so. And my idea of graduate school, of course, was I was thinking of my husband, who was a professor, who had twelve grad students. And I thought oh, good, he had, every one of them had a desk in the lab. And they all came over to our house for dinner. And we had parties, and we entertained them. And it was a nice, nice arrangement. I got to know all the grad students, my husband’s grad students. And they used to call me their den mother. [laughs] Can I—I forgot what I said last.

BT

Well, let’s start off with what we were talking about when the mike was off. You said that grad school was a little different here than it was when, with your husband, for example.

EC

Yeah.

BT

Could you explain the differences?

EC

Well, in the Entomology Department, the professors and associate professors all had grad students, most of them. It was essentially a graduate student teaching department. Research, you know, so much research going on. And the, all of his grad students, he had a lab. And they all had a spot in the lab. He had a big lab. He still has a big lab, but he’s not in charge of it anymore. And they all did fieldwork, because this was in ag entomology. He was in the practical end of insect transmission of plant diseases. And so they had to grow plants, and they had to grow insects. And they had to check for microplasma and viruses and damage to plants and yields and how different insecticides worked, and how different fertilizers worked and all this sort of stuff.

They had to do all this so that in the summer they were usually all at—when we were little, we went to Kenosha. At Petrifying Springs Park there was a lab there. And when my husband was a grad student, we went there and we, they were out all the time. His major professor just let him do his own research at that time. When he came back and took classes, he was pretty well under it.

But Tom Allen, who just died now, was a really neat guy. And he said, he just said to Chip, he said, “Well, you know how to do research. This is the problem. You solve it.” So he would go ahead and do it. And there would be as many as six or seven grad students living there all summer, doing the work. And doing the research and taking counts and keeping track of everything.

BT

Now how would that compare with the kind of graduate student life you lived in the computer area?

EC

Oh, well. First of all, I said, “What do I need to take?” Now this was, I said, “I need to know what courses to take.” I was already in calculus, so it wasn’t that I went back. And I said, “Do I have a major professor?”

“Oh, yes.”

I said, “Well, who is he?” I’ve forgotten his name. I don’t think I ever talked to him. [laughs]

BT

Interesting.

EC

And he was supposed to sign my class list. Well, this was, I don’t know if you remember when some girl had, was hit by a bus in the bus lane on University Avenue. Maybe that was before your time.

BT

I’ve heard of it, yeah.

EC

Well, my major professor wanted the buses—

[End Tape 1/Side 2]


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00:00:03–00:01:36 EC did not know much about her major...

EC did not know much about her major advisor other than that he participated in the city bus protests. The departmental secretary authorized most of her course schedules.

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00:00:03

BT

Okay. So your major professor was lying in the bus lanes with his students, protesting—

EC

Protesting the bus lane. Oh, there were people protesting everything all through there.

BT

And that was, so you really didn’t have a person that you could turn to reliably.

EC

No. No. So I said, so one of the secretaries made out my class list. And I think she even signed his name to it. [laughs] Of course, I wasn’t really doing anything like the research—

BT

The research that your husband was doing.

EC

—that my husband’s grad students were involved in. I was just in the beginning because one of the ones, the courses I was taking, was biometry, which is statistics in agronomy. Agricultural statistics. And then basic computer sciences was the other one. And then, I sort of, in, I decided I’d take a course in the summer of 1967 in grad school. I was supposed to be part time. And I decided that I’d rather work and earn money. Down here it says, “2/10/67, withdrew, employment.”

BT

There you go.

00:01:36–00:08:43 As a result of an abundance of federal...

As a result of an abundance of federal grants, the demand for computer programmers was high. The rate of pay varied greatly.

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00:01:36

EC

But I was working half time all over the place. I used to carry two bags around, one with all the stuff for one job, and one with all the stuff for the other job.

BT

You mean on campus?

EC

On campus. Yeah. I worked several half time jobs.

BT

Were these in, was this in computer areas?

EC

Oh, as a programmer.

BT

As a programmer.

EC

Yeah.

BT

So there were plenty of jobs on campus.

EC

Oh, yeah. This was, a lot of them were federally funded research projects. Like one of them that I worked on was the Wood County project, which was expanded rehabilitation where they were, they had mentally, they were covering physically handicapped, mentally retarded and mentally handicapped. I mean, there was a difference between, emotionally, there were emotional, mental and physical problems. And they were adding something. I think they were calling it culturally deprived or something to that. And this was done up in Wood County. I was hired on that one, and organized all their data for them.

BT

So there was a lot of federal money coming into the university that was being used for a computer--

EC

Oh, yeah. There was a lot of federal money coming in. Yeah. And the same thing, I worked in sociology for, oh, dear, what’s his name? He did the high school project on studying, he’s still doing it. Dr. [Sule?]. And I was programming on the high school project, which is the survey of high school students that, I mean, he’s following them forever.

BT

Forever.

EC

Yeah. I mean, he has a big databank and he keeps, I don’t know how often he checks up on them, but he gets information on them. And I did several other jobs. But, this was all in Fortran.

BT

So you were doing this as you were taking these other courses.

EC

Yeah. As I was working in the, in the grad school, taking these courses. But then I, it just seemed as though I would rather work. [laughs] And I decided that what, I know what made me think of it was, I said well, if I get a master’s degree, I already know how to program, and I like to program, and I like to design systems. If I get a master’s program, master’s degree, I would have to go to Minneapolis or Chicago or somewhere to get an appropriate position. And it would be doing all the nitty gritty inside, and I’d rather do the outside work with computers. So I just decided that it was a nice thought, but it wasn’t really something, because I didn’t figure I could go off and leave my husband.

BT

So you weren’t interested in a full time job somewhere as a professor or anything like that.

EC

No.

BT

You were interested in [both talking]

EC

I really enjoyed writing programs and testing them.

BT

What about a job as a computer programmer on campus part time in those days? Was the pay pretty good compared to other part time jobs?

EC

Well--

BT

Were you considered really skilled labor, more or less?

EC

Every time I switched from one job to another, I jacked my price up a dollar an hour. No, I started out, actually, at $1.75 an hour. And I worked up to, I think six dollars an hour. [laughs]

BT

Now that was pretty good, I assume.

EC

For me. Other computer programmers were getting more, but--

BT

Were they scarce? Were there more jobs than people in that field?

EC

Yeah, there were. Because I had no trouble just, there would be a notice on the board, “programmer wanted for such and such.” And I would call. And when one project ended, I had no trouble finding another one.

Then all of a sudden, the federal grants dried up.

BT

When was that, about?

EC

Must have been about, oh, boy. That’s hard to know. It was at the end of this project that I had worked on in behavioral studies, which was, you know, that county thing, expanded rehabilitation.

BT

The Wood County thing?

EC

The Wood County thing. That was in, I was, I was a, what did they call me? What did they call the people who work, who aren’t on faculty, and aren’t--

BT

Academic staff.

EC

Yeah. I was something like, something, a specialist. That’s what they called me. I was a specialist in studies in behavioral disabilities. I carried that thing around. [laughs] That ran out and I did consulting on it for a while. And I can’t remember when that was. They finished and got all their stuff published.

BT

So pretty much you noticed on campus at that point that there were just not as many advertisements up for help as there had been?

EC

No. Well, everybody that I was working for said, “We don’t have any more money. The feds are cutting it.” And I can’t put a date on that, exactly. So I tried to, I thought well, I’ll try to get a job in business. See if they’ll take me. Well, they didn’t, a lot of places that I went were really interested in what I had done, the type of work I had done. But they wanted Cobalt. So I thought, okay.

00:08:43–00:11:25 EC took four computer courses at MATC...

EC took four computer courses at MATC. Afterwards, she got a job with the state government and eventually became a systems analyst.

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00:08:43

EC

So I went to MATC and took a semester in their what they called computer studies and took four courses. Got straight As. [laughs] Much to the disgust of the guy, I went into an advanced programming course. And the fellow said, “Nobody’s ever gotten through this course without taking the beginning one!”

And I said, “Well, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll try.”

So anyway, that, going there for a semester, I didn’t want to finish it, I just wanted to bone up and get the basics of business programming. Then I went out and got a temporary job with the state. And worked my way up till when I retired I was a supervisor and I was a systems analyst. And what was I called? Horrible thing. [laughs] Computer support manager for the state. I worked in several different departments in state areas. And worked in one place that gave contract, where we did contract programming for other different agencies.

BT

So more or less through these courses at UW and your jobs, you sort of cobbled together a career that eventually got you into state government, where you had a--

EC

Yeah. And that was, state government is nice to work for. It really is. Although I will admit I was the oldest person there and I was paid less, you know, because everybody got, depending on how long you worked there, you get paid more. But that didn’t, I was happy. I got three exceptional performance awards because I was a hard worker. [laughs] Anyway, that was, then I retired in 19—, when did I retire? 1987, the same year my husband retired.

BT

Let’s go back to the UW for just a moment.

EC

Yeah.

00:11:25–00:13:03 As an older student with a family, EC...

As an older student with a family, EC was not able to participate in many extracurricular activities. However, she was a member of Omicron Nu, the home economics honor society.

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00:11:25

BT

You mentioned in your letter to me and today that as a nontraditional student—was that term used when you were--

EC

Oh, no!

BT

You were just an older student, right?

EC

I was a student. And nobody seemed to notice. I mean, what was I? I was in my late thirties. I didn’t look very old, I didn’t think. [laughter]

BT

So as a student who’s a little older than most and with a family, you didn’t have the time, you said, for joining organizations much? Or hanging out at the Union?

EC

I was elected to Omicron Nu, which was the home ec honor society. Then, when I dropped out of school, I resigned. Because I figured geez, that’s very sweet of them, but I may not finish my degree. And it was because I had high grades that I was elected to--

BT

Did that entail any kind of responsibilities? Did you go to any meetings?

EC

Theoretically. I found out that it entailed paying some dues. [laughs]

BT

Oh, the honor of paying money, huh?

EC

And it, one of my good friends is a member. And she thought it was wonderful. But we were not very wealthy. In fact, we were about dirt poor while we were going through all this.

00:13:03–00:13:25 Her education was funded by part-time...

Her education was funded by part-time jobs and loans.

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00:13:03

EC

I borrowed money to pay for my tuition, and paid it back with part time jobs and stuff. That’s basically how I got through college. Of course, tuition wasn’t all that expensive then. But then, jobs didn’t pay that much then.

BT

That’s right. It balanced out.

00:13:25–00:22:15 The student uprisings of the 1960s greatly...

The student uprisings of the 1960s greatly disturbed EC. Her husband's office building, in which the Entomology Department was housed, was placed on a list to be bombed by environmentalists. Adherents of the "Silent Spring" movement attacked university trucks that were en route to the UW experimental fields. Protesters also stoned students who interviewed on campus with chemical companies such as Dow. At this time EC was working in Sterling Hall entering data for the Wood Count Project. With the bombing of the building, all her data was destroyed. EC refers to the protestors as "communist sympathizers" and says that some graduate students hung up the North Vietnamese flag in their offices.

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00:13:25

BT

During your years on campus, near the end of your campus time, the student uprisings were beginning.

EC

Oh, yeah.

BT

What was your perspective on that? What were you able to observe on that over time?

EC

Oh, dear. I had a couple of run-ins with, I remember, I was very upset. My husband’s building was on the list of buildings to be bombed and set on fire. Their trucks were being burnt. They were sneaking around at night and trying to burn up the university trucks that they used to go to the field in.

BT

Why were they picking on [them?]?

EC

Entomology. Entomology. Silent Spring.

BT

Oh, right.

EC

Oh, yeah.

BT

I thought it was mainly directed at the--

EC

Oh, no. Oh, no. All the environmentalists and the protestors, they’re all the same people, as far as I can tell. And I had, by then, I had two kids in college, in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Our daughter was in college, and was at the university. One daughter, both daughters went to school at the university. And they came, they were, our older daughter was in, taking history. And she had classes in the Commerce Building. And she would come home and tell me all these stories about the kids with their backpacks full of rocks, lining up on the sidewalks trying to keep Dow Chemical and those places from having interviews for jobs.

And of course they had all Mayor Soglin, bless your soul. [laughs] He was one of the most obstreperous of the protestors. And one of the, oh, I don’t know. They were crazy. I just couldn’t believe the things they did. They were protesting everything. This was when they were trying to shut all the university down. They tried to close, eliminate classes. They tried to keep everybody from going to class. I was sort of on the periphery of it. But one daughter worked in the library, and the other one was taking classes. They both had several whiffs of gas. [laughs]

BT

Tear gas, yeah.

EC

Tear gas and stuff. They just hated it. Linda said, “You know, you think if you want to get an education, why in the heck don’t they go somewhere else and leave the people that want to go to school, go to school, instead of try to disrupt everybody’s classes.”

And then when I was working on the Wood County Project, I was working over in Sterling Hall. And I had stored data there. I was doing all my programming on the Sterling Hall computer. And I had old data that I had, it was all punch cards at that time. I transformed most of their stuff from punch cards to tape. I had this historical data that had been collected. And it was up in the storeroom, the user room, in Sterling Hall when they bombed it. And that sort of stopped everything that was being done on the computer because it wrecked the computer. And about two weeks after the bombing, I got permission to climb up in the building and try to find my data.

BT

Did you?

EC

No, I couldn’t find it. But boy, was that a mess. Beams down. Had to test every step and climb over beams. I finally got to the user room. I don’t know what happened to them. It wasn’t there.

BT

Let’s go back to Sterling Hall bombing. That was a real important event in the history of this campus and the history of the student movement across country.

EC

Yeah.

BT

Were you living here at the time?

EC

Oh, yeah.

BT

Did you hear it?

EC

No.

BT

Or feel it or anything?

EC

No. My son was living about four blocks away, and he heard it. He was down living on campus. He was married and going down on—

BT

What was the general feeling in the community when that—

EC

Oh, it was terrible! It blew up, blew windows out in the hospital next door. It was just awful! Of course there were some people that thought it was great. You know.

BT

Did those people really, did they feel it was great despite the fact that that researcher was killed [unclear]?

EC

I don’t know. They sure ran. No. I think that kind of put a halt to it. But I had one night, our son was working for a sound store on State Street. And he gave me one of these scanners that you can listen to police calls. And the night they had all the rioting and they were burning things and blocking streets all around campus, I listened on this scanner, and I couldn’t believe that this was going on in Madison! It was a pitched battle between students and the National Guard and the police. And it was just terrible. I’ll never understand why students get—well, these were all the fairly communist sympathizing students, they really were.

BT

Was that the general feeling?

EC

Oh, yeah. They were going around saying, “Ho, ho, Ho Chi Minh.” And I worked in sociology. And actually I quit that job, because the grad students in one area were flying a big red flag. And they said they were supporting the North Vietnamese against the American soldiers. I tried to talk them into taking the flag down. It didn’t do any good. [laughs] I took an American flag in and hung it in the room that I was working in. And I’m not an American. Canadian. But it was, I’ll never--

BT

You said something interesting a moment ago. You said after Sterling Hall, if I heard you correctly, that kind of put a halt to it.

EC

Yeah.

BT

Could you expand on that for just a second? Do you think the bombing really--

EC

I think it shocked, really shocked, because of the poor guy that was killed, and the damage that was done. And the fact that they flew away. You know, they ran like rabbits to get away from the place. I think it did sort of punch a hole into the protest movement. That people were really shocked that they would do this. That was a terrible thing to do. Just terrible.

00:22:15–00:31:14 EC was never discriminated against at UW...

EC was never discriminated against at UW but did experience what she calls sexual harassment while working for the state. When she demanded an equal if not higher salary than her less qualified male counterparts, her boss accused her of "blackmail" and refused to give her the raise. Although EC opposes sexual harassment, she believes that the issue today is much overblown.

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00:22:15

BT

I just really have one more area that I’d like to cover briefly. In your years on campus, your years here in Madison, let’s talk about discrimination for just a moment. Were you ever discriminated against because of your gender or because of the fact that you went to school as an older student?

EC

No. No.

BT

Did you ever feel any of that?

EC

No. I’ve never been sexually molested, either. [laughter]

BT

Well, we have that on the record. Were you aware--

EC

Or sexually harassed.

BT

Harassed. Was that an issue with any of your friends, or with anyone?

EC

I don’t think so. I’ve always worked in male-dominated areas. Working in the factory. Well, there were a lot of women there because all the men were at war. But working in the foundry. I think there were, myself and one other gal they finally hired, were the only two women working in the foundry. And working in programming it was originally a very male area of, I don’t know. And I have never experienced or noticed or felt any kind of discrimination.

Employment, I did. I was working for, in one job for this one area, I won’t say where, for the state. And I had been working there, and I was their major programmer. This was my beginning, my beginning first time job. And they hired a fellow who didn’t have as much experience as I did, and didn’t know, and I had to teach him everything. And they were, they paid him more than they paid me. And I got mad. [laughs] And I said, “I want a promotion. You said I was going to be your lead programmer. And you’re paying him more than you’re paying me. And he doesn't know as much as I do.” And I said, “I’ll just have to quit if you don’t rectify the situation.”

Well, my boss accused me of blackmailing him! [laughs]

BT

That’s an interesting reversal.

EC

He said, “You’re trying to blackmail me! We need you.”

And I said, “Well, you’ll have to do better than you’re doing.” And I quit. Oh, that was terrible. I hated being without a job for--

BT

Oh, you did follow through on it.

EC

Oh, yes! Three months and no work. Oh. When I was used to working overtime all the time. But I thought, oh, boy, what do you mean, blackmail?

BT

That’s interesting.

EC

I asked my husband if what I said was blackmail. He said, “Heck, no. He’s just stupid.”

BT

I think that’s one plausible interpretation, certainly. During your years at UW, who was president? Was that E.B. Fred for a good part of that time?

EC

Yeah. He was.

BT

Did you know any, what was Dr. Fred’s reputation on campus?

EC

I think it was good. My husband was a very non-political scientist. He never got involved in the politics of the university. He was much too interested in just the scientific area. And he didn’t get involved, and I didn’t get involved. I just kept my nose to the ground and did what I had to do. I don’t think I ever, we may have gone to a football game or two. But as far as fraternizing, I didn’t, I didn’t have the time.

BT

It sounds that way. [laughs]

EC

And one of the interesting things was, when I was taking my first course in programming, in computer science, I would hand in my programs. You’d have to work down in the computer center and work it all out. I would hand them in and the instructor said to me one day, “You sure do things differently than the other students do.”

BT

How so?

EC

He said, “Well, you always get the right answer, but you go about it in a different way.”

And I said, “Well, maybe they all get together to do it.” I said, “I don’t have time to do it.” [laughs]

So I would get an A in all the practical things. But the fellow that was teaching the course would say, “Well, there are other ways of doing it, you know.”

I don’t know. I sort of kept my nose to the grindstone and did it well. Of course I grew up with this you don’t copy, you don’t cheat. This was ground into me from the day I first went to school as a little girl. We didn’t do that. And I don’t understand why kids think that that’s all right to do now. I just don’t understand it.

BT

You know, I’ve covered, I think I’ve covered most of the areas that I’m interested in. Do you have any additional comments or observations you’d like to make at this point?

EC

No. I think this is sort of interesting to do.

BT

Yeah. I think this has been very interesting.

EC

But I do think there’s something I’m a little alarmed at all this sexual harassment talk that’s going around. You know, the way they’re talking about women being sexually harassed, and that if somebody tells a dirty joke or something, that that’s sexual harassment. I think, I think, I don’t know, it seems to me that these must be fairly well protected women that haven’t had a lot of contact with men. Because although I can’t say, even in the factory, the men would be, you could tell they’d been out drinking beer all night because they’d spend half the morning at the water fountain. [laughs] But they, they never, well, they used to whistle, you know, things like that. But what’s a whistle? This, forget it.

BT

So what you’re saying is that this might be overblown today?

EC

Oh, I think, it has to be! I was a good looking gal. I had people—I’m not anymore. But I used to be. People used to whistle.

BT

Did that offend you?

EC

No. No. Frankly, I used to just ignore it. Because my mother told me if somebody’s bothering you, just ignore it. I grew up with a sticks and stones sort of thing drilled into me. That sticks and stones can hurt your bones, but words will never hurt you. Or something like that.

BT

Sticks and stones will break your bones.

EC

Will break your bones, but words--

BT

Names will never hurt you.

EC

Words will never hurt you. Yeah. And I was teased a lot when I was a little kid, because I was the only one in school who wore glasses. I wore glasses from the time I was two. And I just think I got toughened up so that things didn’t bother me like apparently they bother a lot of other people. I don’t know. That’s my only. Because that—

[End Tape 2/Side 1]

[End Oral History #456]

00:31:14

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