Special Collections Oral History Program
Physical Education faculty and Campus School faculty, 1953-1967
Interviewer: Tamara Belts
Date of Interview: August 2, 2005
Location of Interview: Interviewee's home, Bellingham, Wash.
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This interview was conducted with Patricia O’Brien (PO) on August 2, 2005. The interviewer is Tamara Belts (TB) Her husband James O’Brien (JO) was there for part of the interviewee and makes some comments.
PO: I had gone to school in Ohio and the war ended and I decided I had a chance to try jobs most anywhere in physical education. I thought of one in China and one in Hawaii and I ended up hearing of a nice offer on the west coast that sounded like an intriguing junior-senior high school that was hunting for a physical education health teacher. I responded and came out here to teach for three years in Kirkland. Then I went back to get my master’s at the University of Washington, 1951. When I finished my master’s (after I had taken a year at that), I got a job in Mt. Vernon, teaching at Mt. Vernon High School plus the Skagit Valley Junior College. While I was teaching there I found I enjoyed the college ranks, I enjoyed the students and I thought, “Well, when I get finished with this degree I’ll go ahead and look someplace else.” A job came up at Western and I applied and here I am.
TB: So what did you teach when you first came to Western?
PO: There were four of us in the women’s department and I think there were four in the men’s. We roughly did the whole gamut of the activities, the professional programs and so on. I think I started out teaching modern dance, square dance, folk dance, camp counseling, swimming, water safety instructors, health instruction and these were all one hour credit courses. So you had quite a smattering. I got the field sports, basketball, volleyball, field hockey, that type of thing. I later taught physical education for the elementary school. I had as part of my assignment working in the Campus School as a physical education specialist. It was quite a varied type of program. They were interesting colleagues to work with. We shared and overlapped and taught many of the same courses and so forth.
TB: Who were the other women faculty members when you first came?
PO: Ruth Weythman was department chair. She had gone back to get additional work at Columbia University and then came back to build the department. She was a very interesting person. She was sort of a pioneer in the field of physical education in the state. Then Marjorie Muffly was the second in line, she was interested in the outdoors, did a lot with the hiking, skiing, camp counseling, and the other recreational sports. Next down came Margaret Aiken, she was interested in some of the aquatics, in swimming, and she taught fencing and she did a number of the other sports and the academic work. Then I came in to replace a woman called Lesley Vinal who’d been in modern dance. The intriguing gossip behind this was that one time she had been smoking outside the building and this did not go over very well with Dr. Haggard. I never met Lesley, so I don’t know her, but I gathered she’d been doing fairly adequately, but this did not go over with the good president at that point. And so I was the youngest. Ruth Weythman, I think, sort of plotted this out so there were about five year gaps in ages, so she was keeping the department growing and moving. It was rather interesting to watch how she manipulated as the college grew and developed the departments.
TB: Yes, because she was there a long time, wasn’t she?
TB: Could you tell me a little bit more about who hired you and what the hiring process was like?
PO: I think I applied to Western (that went through Ruth Weythman), and I think then I was interviewed both by her and by Dr. Haggard. This was a growing institution at that point and I think they were trying to get new blood, and I seemed to fit the [bill]. I had my master’s, I was doing all the right things. They were working on getting the academic level raised at that point. That was encouraging. By the time I left a few years later, people were working toward doctorates and Margaret Aiken was the one who went back to get her doctorate (EdD). In fact, I helped her proofread her dissertation when she was getting it ready to type.
TB: You kind of described this, but what was the atmosphere in your academic department like when you came; student attitudes, faculty attitudes, student-faculty attitudes, any comments about that?
PO: We did have really two different departments. The men’s PE and the women’s PE. Sam Carver was overall chair, but he worked very well with Ruth Weythman. He was a quiet, gentle soul. Lappenbusch was one of the people on his staff; he was more feisty and a little more intriguing. The year or two before Bill MacDonald had been hired in as basketball coach, and he had been turned into more the dean and activities of that sort. Ray Ciszek was a very bright man who was here and he later went from here and continued in physical education and went into Peace Corp work. He was one of the major directors with Peace Corp and may still be involved in it in some way now.
TB: Wow. What was the atmosphere on the campus as a whole like?
PO: Oh, it was a teachers college growing up. It was very much community [based], people were interested in each other and interested in students a lot. There was a lot of interaction and mix by the different departments. There was not compartmentalized type of activity. Women were in home economics, in some of the teaching fields, and there were several women in the sciences, the women clanned together. You had lots of touch with other women in other fields. The men were congenial, even those that were married didn’t cut out the single women, so that it was a rather comfortable feeling.
They had deliberately done certain things, like having arrangements for dealing with incoming freshmen and having faculty assigned to a certain crop of freshman. The college paid for pie and coffee or whatever it was but you would do your own serving and open your own home and have ten, fifteen students come in. They would get acquainted even before school started with at least some faculty person and family and some of those friendships sort of carried on, and was a rather folksy kind of thing. As the university grew, I don’t know how long that carried on.
TB: Now, as a single woman, did you have people into your home or did you go to somebody else’s home, to participate in that?
PO: I think you would double up. You would get a couple of you together and arrange for your evening and things of that sort.
TB: Can you describe the physical campus when you first came?
PO: Old Main, the library, and then Campus School. When I arrived why they were just dedicating the art building and the music building. The side gossip was why in the world didn’t they switch those buildings? You’d have the view from the art building and you’d have the space for parking for the music building. At any rate, there were still a number of small buildings around the campus that eventually were razed and made space for other things. There was a big green area in the campus that was over an old lake bed, we understood. That green grass there between Old Main and the gym and the library and the music [building] and so on was sort of sacred to Dr. Haggard. He was always trying to be sure people took good care of the grass. But there had been a number of small houses, boarding houses and so on around the ring of the campus.
TB: Where was your department located? Were you in the gym then?
PO: Yes, our office was in Gym D, that was the old gym. In fact, the new gym hadn’t been built yet. There was a recreation hall that was down where the Old Main Theatre is now. They’ve put seats and everything else in it, but it was a full sized gymnasium, not much of a height to it, but you could do all the different dance programs and so on. They’d even have weekend recreation parties for the whole student body there. Because there were only 1200 on campus, it wasn’t that big.
TB: So most of your classes were probably in that little gym? That you taught?
PO: About half and half. But the swimming pool was near the main gym, where we had sports classes and the lecture rooms, and I was doing aquatics a lot, so that was busy. But this was a little frustrating as a faculty member because I was rushing back and forth and a change of clothes between the dancing program and then going into the main gym and then going over to the Campus School and so on. And each of those little one hour classes added up to about 25 or 30 students each. My good husband, when we married, was having his three hour class and sitting in one spot. We had a little different approach. Roughly, it would be more helpful as faculty if we had a two hour block or a three hour block so that we didn’t have to chase quite so far.
TB: Can you describe the campus government structure -- faculty government, faculty council, just how you felt?
PO: As I saw it?
PO: They had faculty meetings and these were generally in the Campus School auditorium which was just enough space for an average sized group to meet about four in the afternoon after most of the classes were finished. Were they once a month, maybe?
JO: Yes, but you know how months go, you get about three meetings a quarter, I guess.
PO: But I was strictly learning at that point. I was watching and listening and people were able to speak out, but there was a coterie of people that pretty well had their hands on things. Ed Arntzen was one of the leaders, Ruth Weythman, I think, Keith Murray. There would be several other people such as Paul Woodring, and these people had their handle on it, whether it was dealing with the legislature, whether it was dealing with student enrollment or talking about class organization. Merle Kuder and Ray Hawk had their departments of education. This was a teacher education school at that time so a lot of work was done with that. For instance, one of the things they did was going on follow ups; the legislation changed so that people needed a fifth year. There’d be many more students come back to campus. They did follow ups within the year for people; go visit the places where they had started teaching, to get an opportunity to hear feedback -- what was the teacher training program like? That was a little unique. It was an interesting experience to go off campus and see what kind of results your previous people had.
TB: Do you have any comments about how all that changed over time in terms of the governance? I think you kind of retired early, but any comments about that change during the time that you were on the faculty? Like when Jarrett came after Haggard was there a big change?
PO: That’s when I was out of it, because I was only on a part time basis. I would look through Jim’s eyes. He would have a better idea of some of the changes, sequence changes.
TB: I already asked him that the other day. This is the same set of questions, really. Any other comments about curriculum changes, did what you were teaching change during the time that you were there, really?
PO: Well, in my teaching I was concentrating on improving my own expertise. For instance, one of the things that happened, this goes back in the old days of the history of basketball, they changed from the three court basketball to the two court basketball for girls.
TB: Three court?
PO: Three court basketball to two court basketball. And at that point you had a limited dribble and that went in, and that was a different change of rules because up until then you couldn’t dribble the ball.
TB: Girls couldn’t dribble at all?
PO: No. You had what you called the limited dribble, then that was changed to having a continuous dribble then using the full court. We were wanting to be sure that not only ourselves but the girls were doing this and learning the rules, so part of the national program was to develop rating programs. We had a number of us who were rated to train officials in basketball and in volleyball. We had to take our own sets of tests and be tested and then we had to test each other or test our own students. That of course, has changed violently. I would have no business being an official in either basketball or volleyball now.
TB: So what were the girls supposed to do? Just pass, pass, pass the ball?
PO: Yes. You dribbled around, you passed off, you set up your plays for people cutting in and it was quite an intriguing difference, but a lot of people don’t have any idea about that.
TB: Any other comments that you might have about your teaching career when you were on the regular faculty of Western, versus when you were in the Campus School? Do I have this right, I think you taught at Western and you had some association with the Campus School, but then later on you came back and were just at the Campus School?
TB: So, any other comments about just your time when you were on the regular Western faculty?
PO: Well, from my viewpoint, it was an intriguing, eye opening experience to see a well balanced set of programs trying to develop these young people in education. We had pride in it that probably we were turning out better PE teachers than the University [of Washington] and Washington State. That people were coming out with more academic knowledge as well as more physical skills and abilities and dealing with the field. I think they were more ready to absorb different things as they came into the field, because the field has sort of exploded, it’s gone in so many different directions by now.
TB: Any comments about Haggard as president?
PO: He was a pleasant man. I think that he tried to do some things positively for the students and for the faculty. I’m not sure how forward looking he was. He was holding his own for the type of education there was at that time. I think that there was a little rumbling [among] people who wanted to see more of different types of things and eventually this became more than just a teacher training institution.
TB: OK. How did you come to teach at the Campus School? This would have been when you came back. You took a brief period of time, is that correct, to have your children, and then went back part time to the Campus School?
PO: Well, it was rather a nice little arrangement. I had kept a good range of contacts with both Ruth Weythman and the other people in the department. I was still interested professionally in a lot of things going on and I was enjoying my parenting, but nonetheless, I was willing to do some combination of teaching and raising family. We were close enough to the university that I offered my services, if they wished, sometime for part-time help. Because sometimes when you hunt for schedules you want somebody to teach just a one hour class and that was fine. I didn’t mind coming up. In fact, there was a time, when I think I was nursing one of the children. Jim would be at home, I’d go up and I’d teach the swimming class and I’d come back and get in the second nursing. It worked out fine. People seemed to appreciate my willingness to keep on doing the teaching or first aid classes. They needed somebody for a two or three hour class and I could do that. I could fit it in to the schedule and could work things around. I had the contacts with the Red Cross chapter and we could give the accreditation we needed for this certification. There weren’t many other people wanting that type of job, so this fit in to doing that kind of part time work for a little while.
TB: So what did you do at the Campus School? What really was the role; you were the physical education teacher?
PO: The physical education specialist helped set up the program in conjunction with the room teachers for each of their twenty or thirty minute time blocks. We set up the type of schedule, the things that they needed. I’d present the physical education components. The teachers would present their needs as far as the individuals were concerned. Then they’d say, now we have three student teachers or two student teachers and somebody’s interested in this and then we would try to work their way into the curriculum so that they had specialties they could do. We would help evaluate them as student teachers. They would watch us doing regular lessons. Often people would come from other education classes into the building and just sit around the edges and watch, whether we were doing tumbling or rhythms or something like that, they could see what was going on and how.
TB: What were the year grades that you taught at the Campus School?
PO: It was really Kindergarten through fifth. The first three years, in ’51-’53, there was the sixth-grade still there. But then the school district in Bellingham changed to a middle school program and they dropped their sixth-grade so the campus school became only through fifth.
PO: I was able to work through Kindergarten through fifth.
TB: Could you sort of describe a typical school day for you as a physical education specialist?
PO: OK. I’d have my worksheet, my lesson plans. To begin with, in physical education you need both indoor and outdoor lesson plans. So then I’d have the double sheet. I’d have the first group that came in, perhaps they were the third-graders and I would have what I was going to do with them, if I was doing a musical program I’d have to have the records and that sort of thing set up. If it was sports, I’d have to have the equipment available. Then they’d quietly leave and go back to their room and the next group would come in and we would move to their level of activity. Roughly we’d be done by noon time; it was from nine o’clock to twelve. Then on Fridays, we had the unusual special advantage of being able to go over to the swimming pool. We could take these little kids, Kindergarten through fifth-graders to the swimming pool. The room teachers and their student teachers would bring them over to us and then we’d collect them at the entrance to the pool. Kindergarten, first and second were all in the girls’ locker room, by the third, fourth and fifth then there had to be a man student teacher to take them into the boys’ locker room. It took a bit of doing, we had to get the boys accustomed to being able to change and shower. Part of the effort was just getting them through the showers and back out. In fact, that’s where we were when Kennedy was killed. We were coming out of the swimming pool. It was a rather intriguing crisis to hit because the word was quickly to say nothing but get the students back with their teachers in their rooms. Then they set it up at the Campus School that they were going to be notified so they could let the parents be involved in the information for that about his death and how to cope with it, because here you had this prime group of small kids that were our responsibility.
TB: How did you first hear that Kennedy had been assassinated?
PO: Somebody came through. I was in my swimming suit, that’s all I know.
TB: Then the idea was they were supposed to go back to their classroom and their parents might be the ones to tell them or just wanted the parents to have a chance to…?
PO: I don’t remember quite how they did do that. Ted Mork might know better about that.
TB: OK. What do you know about the school week kinds of things, special assemblies? It sounds like you were also involved in the music program, did part of the music program as your physical education specialty?
PO: Rhythm was one of our prime facets. We wanted exploration, general movement; we wanted a development of strength and agility. We wanted some sports. With the small children you didn’t go into sports, you started with simple games -- singing games, things like that, as a result, there was some music involved. We weren’t the level of the music specialist, but we did have a number of records that we used. Something like “Jump Jim Crow,” that had jumping and turning. This allowed us to have an opportunity to talk to one of our black faculty members, should we be teaching something about “Jump Jim Crow?” And she said, “Well, maybe this is a time for them to be educated about the point of Jim Crowism.” (When the black person was supposed to jump, if you said jump Jim Crow). But it was a cute little jumping game and they turned around and it gave them a little exercise; that was one of the ones in the curriculum. She suggested keeping it in.
TB: Who was that?
PO: Spratlen’s, Lois and Thad Spratlen.
TB: Did you have any problems in PE? I know that the grading system wasn’t regular grades, it was comments. How did that effect how you were teaching them or their motivation to do it? I guess, to me, PE would have just been fun.
PO: I saw no problem with it, but we tend to work more on evaluation of “are you able to do this and are you succeeding at it?”
TB: OK. My question is did you always have student teachers in observing or sharing in your class teaching? And then describe what that was like.
PO: The student teacher tended to be assigned to be responsible for being in the PE program as well. They were observers for the first few days or few weeks, then you could integrate them as you saw fit. The experienced teachers gave me a lot of help in how much to bring them in and when to just let them watch for a little longer.
TB: How much involvement did your students (Campus School) have with the rest of the college? You went to the pool, what other kinds of activities integrated Campus School students with the rest of the college?
PO: Oh, I think they were accepted by the bigger kids. They didn’t get in their way so much. In fact I think they got sort of a kick out of watching these little kids cavort around because I’d have them do these outdoor games when the weather was good or bad.
TB: That’s life in the Northwest, isn’t it?
PO: Yes, and we would try to be very sure that we weren’t imposing on any other group or any other space that was involved. But we made use of that green space as well.
TB: So Dr. Haggard didn’t care if you played on the grass that was out in front of the Campus School?
PO: There was an area that we could play in.
TB: Yes, because I’ve definitely heard that he didn’t like people on his grass. What were some of the differences that you perceived as a teacher with the Campus School from the public school?
PO: I think we had the advantage of smaller numbers. We could subdivide. I think we had the advantage of specialists with whom we could share. For instance I was mentioning Gene Vike as the art specialist. He came up with this idea of using the boards that were covering some of the hoarding around the construction area for some massive big artwork. And of course we could even follow up with some ideas about how that integrated into other things in our other programs.
TB: Were there things that you had to be aware of when preparing the students for when they went to public school, what things might be different for them?
PO: That was one of the reasons that I volunteered to go back to teach with Bearnice Skeen as the principal, because I had three kids that were transitioning. I rather strongly felt that the Campus School had had its advantages, but this was going to be something they needed to be prepared for. They were pretty well integrated into the neighborhood, geographically, so that the people in somewhat the same general geographic area didn’t have qualms about being with somebody else from another group, Larrabee or Lowell or someplace like that. I think that it did take a little work to do the transition and I think, roughly, we pulled it off. I think we were able to get them so that they could make the break. They were going to be getting bigger classes. They were going to be getting different kinds of students. We weren’t having lots of discipline problems. They were small enough that we could work around things and you didn’t have the overt kinds of things that might occur if they went to places like sporting events. [If] they saw some other kids acting and reacting differently in other schools, you’d sometimes talk to them about this. There are different ways to respond to winning or losing or whatever and some of them are more acceptable than others. Things like that.
TB: Could you tell me a little bit about what Bearnice Skeen was like?
PO: I think she was a very level-headed person. I think she was a quiet organizer and I think she had a good handle on so many things that she could anticipate some of the problems that we were facing. She knew something about the fact that other Campus Schools were closing down. She was aware of the overall scene of the education program at that time that this day of that type of school was gone.
TB: What was Ray Hawk’s role in this? Was he just the supervisor of the student teachers?
PO: I thought he was the general department chairman, wasn’t he?
PO: The dean or whatever?
JO: The director or something. I forget what his title was.
PO: I think that Bearnice was one of the people he’d hired.
TB: Because she was the school principal right?
PO: She was at the end. Yes.
TB: Any favorite memories of your Campus School teaching days?
PO: I think I just enjoyed it, especially the swimming. And I think they liked it too.
TB: Excellent, O.K. Anything related to the Campus School that I haven’t asked you that you would like to comment on?
PO: I think I’d like to comment about the spirit. A lot of people kept their enthusiasm and their interest in the type of people that they’d grown up with or worked with and the kinds of things that had been done. I think that that was a positive sign.
TB: What about anything I didn’t ask you about being on the Western faculty? Is there anything about your being part of the Western faculty that I didn’t ask that you’d like to comment on?
PO: I enjoyed a lot of my other friendships on the Western faculty [which] were not Campus School. They were the people that I knew in home economics or in some of the other fields. That was part of the excitement; it was that you’d find some of these scientists and some of these historians coming up with fascinating things and get you out of your little narrow niche. I liked that. To the point that after we married and were here for quite a while we made a major effort to continue the cross-channel contexts so we could keep a number of friendships.
TB: Oh, nice. So what was your life like as a single woman when you came here versus how was it different after you got married? And then maybe you could talk a little bit about being a faculty wife, the different things that you did.
PO: Well, I think as a single woman I was searching for things to get acquainted with the area and community. I happily discovered the Mt. Baker Hiking Club and I happily discovered Western’s recreation program, which had a lot of mixed activities, men as well as women, hikes as well as barbecues or whatever.
JO: Summer programs.
PO: Summer programs, yes.
JO: Summer programs then were really good for the students. They would go to the islands or have hikes in the mountains.
PO: And sometimes, it would be a fringe perk that you could go along as a chaperone and get to be in on all this party type thing. I was close enough in age to some of these students, so that was sort of a fun thing. And a lot of these people that were coming back, these veterans were coming back were about our age so that it made it socially very exciting. Without spending a lot of money, you could do that sort of thing easily. Then, when I married, I decided that now I was going to become a faculty wife, now I could find out what all the gossip was. Because it seemed the faculty wives knew what was happening, the faculty women didn’t have a clue. And there were pretty powerful groups of faculty wives that were doing a lot of different things. Lou Carlile and Margaret Brewster and a number of those people were very able. There would be a lot of social things going on for new faculty. They were very good about welcoming new, incoming faculty and trying to integrate them into the group and into the life of the community. I thought that kind of networking paid off.
TB: Excellent, excellent. Now, when you’re talking about recreation, was Lillian George still around when you came?
TB: O.K. As a woman, how welcoming did you find the Western community?
PO: I thought Western was; I didn’t know much about Bellingham as such. I happily stayed on campus. Well, I was busy enough, I didn’t have much time. Except that I got acquainted through the YWCA and the YMCA and the Red Cross, with community things that were within my specialty and then I branched out in that area.
TB: Anything else that I haven’t asked you that you’d like to talk about?
PO: No, but I do have these names of some of the people, if you were interested, in the faculty that I could go over. I asked my fourth-grade daughter who’d been at the Campus School and she told me to be sure to say Bearnice Skeen, Synva Nicol, Kindergarten, Katherine Casanova, first-grade, Mary Irvin, second-grade, Karen Olson, third-grade, Ted Mork, fourth-grade, Mike Murphy, fifth-grade, and Evelyn Hinds, who has since remarried (Von Bargen), as the music specialist. Those people had a lot of impact upon the kids. I do know that Marglen Vike was a teacher. I do know that Maura at one time had somebody, I think Clara Lindbocher. I think she’d come from the public school and was fitting in for somebody for just one year. She was a very fine teacher. Mary Irvin was a teacher in the public schools as well as [Campus School]. Stewart Van Wingerdon and Don Brown, were also remembered. Oh, there’s one other name, and the name is Nancy Smith. Nancy Smith was here I think about the time they moved into the Campus School building with Ray Hawk and all of those people. She’d know a lot of the earlier history. She was secretary, when I first started teaching there. She was the one I could really pump and get information and get things squared away very quickly. Frankly, in PE the most important people, sub-people, to help us are not the principal and the superintendent, they’re the custodian and the groundskeeper and the secretary. Those are the three people that make or break our programs. Our boy as a fifth-grader had a friend, David Maness. He [was] one of these fifth-grade crops of people that kept their friendships over the years. They decided that it would be sort of fun to get a Campus School reunion going. They were the ones who got it perking at the last time. I got a hold of him and found out that he’s willing to give his e-mail address to the committee because I think that he would work on it. He’s got these things on computer. He’s got lists of names. I know that they had tried to get a hold of this Nancy Smith to come. She lives down near [Edmonds] now, but I think that she could still be pumped for information. Whether she would come up for it or not, she would be one of the earliest day people that would be knowledgeable.
TB: Wow. Excellent, excellent. Any other comments about how the Women of Western unfolded?
PO: Well, the Women of Western continued to be a strong force. As I say, one of their most helpful things was integrating new faculty as they came in, because there kept being this influx of people coming in. We spent a lot of time trying to help them with housing, trying to help them where their kids could go to school, trying to introduce them to different churches and interested in other area neighborhood groups and so on. Waves came in from different areas. There was an Iowa group that came it about the time that Brewster and Flanders and Carlile came in. There were other people that came from different mixed areas. Then there were a lot of people that were sort of floating in, you tried to bring them in and integrate them.
TB: Any comments about any of the presidents’ wives?
PO: The presidents’ wives? I’m afraid I sort of dodged some of that, but I found most of them pleasant to work with. As a brand new faculty member, I think Rachel Haggard intimidated me. And of course I was the kind of person that had on my grubbies and jeans and went down and ran into her in the street and there she was with her hat and gloves. I thought, oh there’s this klutzy PE teacher looking just as typecast for myself. That’s the way life went.
TB: That’s fine. Anything else you want to say?
PO: Well, when I first came up here I thought, you know, this is where I would like to finish my career. I thought that Bellingham was an exciting place. I could visualize as I was going along, I was going to have to expand myself. I couldn’t just stick around with the kind of PE I was teaching; do I go into exercises or something like that or do I go into a specialty of water safety or do I go into other types of specialties? It was going to take a little figuring out. Essentially we were beginning to get into the research problems. You had to make comparisons. I think Kathy Knutzen, for instance, is a prime example of somebody that has built up the educational aspect and the broad pictures in the physical education field.
TB: If you had to do it all over again, would you do what you did?
TB: I’ve never asked that question before!
PO: Yes, yes. I can’t think of much I’d change.
PO: I think we were rather lucky because we weren’t the pushy type that were trying to get a particular goal. The fact that my husband wanted to do research, that allowed us (if we could scrape up the money to go with him), [to] do a number of things, either in Maine or in Ireland or places like that that would augment what we could do. We’d be part of a family and he could pick up a lot of those fringe activities, too.
TB: Did you go over there to Ireland very many times and have your children go to school over there? Or you just were gone over there during summers or something?
PO: Just one time. We went over there when they were pre-schoolers. Then we came back. It was harder to get away for that block of time when they were school age. We decided it was easier to take them over for summers or something like that. There were wonderful things to do in the summers. One of the daughters even considered going to the University of Cork, and we looked into those possibilities. She instead went to the University of Reims (France), but that’s another story. But it means that we were interested in that type of activity and were able to build upon it. I think it was a plus because we were in an academic setting, so that taking a quarter off, or taking time off allowed us a time to do these things that had we been on an 8-5 work schedule, you wouldn’t have been able to do.
JO: Yes, when they put in sabbatical leaves that made a great change. That created opportunities that weren’t there before.
PO: But not all people chose them.
JO: They didn’t want to go.
PO: They didn’t want to go anywhere or they would go off and let the man do the research and that would be it. Well, we wanted to get in on the act.
TB: I think it’s great. It’s wonderful. Well, I don’t have anymore questions, but if you have any other comments.
PO: No, I think that this has been a fine school to be involved in. We are still interested in where it’s going and hope that it’s going well.
TB: Well, I know you’re very active in the retirement association, any comments about that?
PO: I think it’s been rather positive and it’s rather intrigued me, looking at these different departments that had grown up in their own separate empires and we’re nit-picking at each other, that suddenly as retirees they didn’t have to fight or claw their way through and they found out the people aren’t so bad.
TB: So maybe you should start life retired…
PO: There you go, much more benign.
TB: Do you have a lot of contact with some of your former students? Either one of you?
JO: It’s been a long time now. I’ve been retired twenty years.
PO: We did keep in touch with those that we knew early, and that was part of it being a small school. Some of these people went on to be deans at other schools here. When they came back they look us up and we were delighted. The girls that were my PE students and we were playing field hockey, they kept coming back for quite a number of years. They’d even have alumni games. Margaret Aiken and I’d play in the field hockey game with them for a little while if we could keep up with them, little things like that. That was rather fun. I don’t think in recent year we’ve kept up with the alums nearly so much because they are so diverse and we hardly know who are the alums.
JO: I’m not sure just when the division between the small school and the enlarging school came, probably in the Fifties.
PO: Well, Fifties was the group I knew. I think we were following some of these Fifty year anniversaries. The early ones, we knew quite few of the people. And now we’re getting a little further up the line where we’re not knowing so many.
TB: Right. I know it changed a lot after Haggard leaves and Jarrett comes. I definitely know there’s just huge proliferation of faculty in the early Sixties that are hired. That obviously has to mean there’s a huge enrollment, to be hiring all these faculty.
JO: Yes, yes. That’s right.
PO: The other side of that is that some of them have their own Huxley reunions or their own Fairhaven events. I think some of those are the signs of the cohesiveness of that group.
TB: Yes, it’s just different and that’s going to happen. Well, I don’t have anything more.
PO: Well, thank you.
TB: Great, thank you.
PO: I appreciate your time.