Special Collections

Special Collections Oral History Program

Charles Robert ("Bob") Hitz

Interviewer: Tamara Belts
Date of Interview: October 10, 2006
Location of Interview: Special Collections, Wilson Library, Western Washington University

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This interview was conducted with Charles Robert ("Bob") Hitz on October 10, 2006, in Special Collections, Wilson Library, Western Washington University. The interviewer was Tamara Belts.


TB: It is October 10th 2006, and I am here with Charles Robert Hitz, who goes by Bob Hitz. He has just signed the Informed Consent Agreement. He’s one of our Campus Schoolers and we’re going to do an oral history. Our first question is how did you happen to attend the Campus School?


BH: Because of my parents. They set us up, my brother and I, and we came here.


TB: So you sort of answered the second one: did anyone else in your family attend the school and what were their names?


BH: My cousins: Suzanne Rykken, Jack Rykken, and Rosemary Rykken; they came here.  They lived out on Forest Street, and we lived on the other side of town on Ellis Street. So we were on opposite sides of town.


TB: Okay, and then your brother Jim?


BH: Yes, and my brother Jim.


TB: What were the years and grades of your attendance at Campus School?


BH: Oh my goodness, okay, I started in Kindergarten which started in 1938.  I went on from Kindergarten to the ninth grade which was in 1948. And you’re using the sixth grade as the main thing, so that would mean 1945. I went through the whole grade school, from Kindergarten to the ninth grade.


TB: Did your family pay any fees for your attendance at the Campus School?


BH: Well, as far as I know—I have no idea—but apparently they did. How much I don’t know, and we never discussed it.


TB: Where did you live when you attended the Campus School?


BH: Over on Ellis Street, which is the north side of Bellingham; 2701 Ellis Street.


TB: How did you get to and from school?  And please share any favorite memories of that experience?


BH: Well, as far as I know, it was either by cars—my parents ran us up—and there was a number of people in our neighborhood that came to Campus School.  Don Miller across the street was in my brothers’ class (My brother was four years ahead of me). I remember one time in the car, all of us piled in and all the big kids were in there and just little old me in the middle [chuckles]. And we drove up to Campus School. And the other way I remember is the bus; we took the city bus which stopped right in front of our house at Ellis Street and then went around north and then west and then back down—I think it was Cornwall. And so if I missed the bus, then I could go down Hampton Street over to the bus and it came around and I’d make the bus. There was a number of youngsters on the bus that were in my grade: Dick Fisher, Jerry Gill, and Richard Gray.  Richard Gray got on the bus first, and then I got on, and then Dick Fisher, and then Jerry Gill. Then we rode all the way up to Garden Street, got off at Garden Street then went up the steps, the switchbacks, to school.


TB: It let you off on Garden Street?


BH: Yes.


TB: So you had to go up to High Street?


BH: Yes. There was a walkway going down from Garden Street to Forest Street.  It was kind of a switchbacks, and I remember that and look for it, don’t see it anymore. The commons is built down there now. But the college kids made a path down alongside the switchbacks. The switchbacks would come up, and then there was a path from the top down, and it was straight down. And Jerry Gill got a—we went down to the plywood mill where they peeled the logs in thin strips, and in the end there was a piece about six inches, like a core of about six inches and they sold that for firewood around town, and they’d cut it into pieces. And at the top of the hill there was a pile of those, and Jerry took one and rolled it down the hill. I can still see it going down, all the way down to the armory, bouncing all the way up, and it landed in the bay, I think, I don’t know.  But man, that was really scary. But Jerry, you ought to interview Jerry, he’s really got class. He was the only youngster that had a single mom, and he came in, and he was kind of wild. All of our class talks about Jerry Gill.  He came out and talked to us last time, I think he’s on the East Coast now. He’s a minister, and a very good speaker and talker. Georgia McCush probably can find [him].  I haven’t talked to Georgia, but I will—probably run him down again, we had a hard time finding him but we found him.


TB: Excellent.  What did you do for lunch?


BH: I ate peanut butter sandwiches -- that’s all I ate.


TB: Really?


BH: Yes, and I don’t remember much about lunch period. Going back those many years it’s hard to remember. I remember peanut butter sandwiches were what I loved.


TB: So your mom must have sent you to school with a sandwich everyday?


BH: Right.


TB: You talked a little bit about this, but do you remember any favorite classmates and please name them for us?


BH: Well, yes, Jerry Gill is the primary one, and Georgia McCush is the one that really is involved in the reunions. I think our class was one of the first ones that started the reunion here -- for our class.  We had two of them. I gave you those two yearbooks that we had.  Jerry really got involved in the school and mischief and all that. He was quite a fellow. And then Diane Griffith passed away about a year ago; she was a key person in the class. And that’s about it for now, that’s all I remember.


TB: Who were your favorite or most influential teachers?


BH: I don’t remember any of the teachers.


TB: Really!?


BH: No, I don’t, I don’t remember any of them. My brother’s diary names a lot of them, but I don’t recall any of them.


TB: Do you remember any of your student teachers?


BH: No, and that’s interesting, because people I walk with down at Stanwood, they graduated in education.  We got talking about student teaching, and they said that to get assigned to Campus School for [your] student teaching was pretty difficult.  But they said they had to take a class that went into the classes to view the students, and I don’t remember any of those students. If they were there everyday, I don’t remember them. And they said they went in a group, and I still don’t remember any [them]. So they were apparently just kind of background, but [I] never saw them, just didn’t pay any attention to them. So I don’t remember any student teachers.


TB: That’s interesting.


BH: Except one. I was going to school here during World War II, and some of the veterans were coming back. One of them was in the, not the Sea Bee’s, but the skin-diving—they started using skin-divers to swim up to the beach to take out the things that stopped the boats and so forth—and so he was bragging.  He was over at the swimming pool and he was bragging about how he could swim underwater, so all the kids said, “Do it! Do it!” Then he dove in, and he swam one length of the pool underwater, back again, and he must have done it maybe three or four times!  And the last one he didn’t come up, he just sat down there.  Everybody was looking down saying, “What is he doing?” Somebody says, “Well, I think he’s drowning!” So they dove in and pulled him out, and he was! That’s in my mind and I remember it, but I’ve talked to other people and they don’t remember it, so whether it’s true or not I don’t know. That was quite impressive.


TB: What were your favorite subjects or classroom activities?


BH: Again, I don’t remember much about that. The only thing I remember is dissecting the cat. I think it must have been eighth or ninth grade.  They had two people to a cat and we dissected it, and the arteries were red and the veins were blue, and they were all dyed. That was quite fascinating, and so we spent quite a bit of time doing that.  Has anybody else mentioned that?


TB: I think Georgia McCush mentions that, and that led her into biology.


BH: That’s right, yes, I remember her in the class. And I don’t know if that just started when we did it—well, my brother I think did it too, but I’m not sure.


TB: You guys are the only two I’ve heard mention it, but she definitely mentions it, and that was part of her life career then.


BH: Right. My career, my father wanted my brother and I to be dentists, because he was a dentist here in town.  When we were born that’s all we heard: we would be dentists. And so I got interested in biology because I could draw, and that’s the only praise I would get, because when I drew he would say, “Great! You’re doing a wonderful job.” Mother would say I was doing great. But in English and math my grades weren’t that good, so it was always, “What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you do better?


So, I took to drawing. I loved the airplanes in World War II, because everybody had airplanes. And then everybody thought the airplane was brilliant, so I drew airplanes. That’s all I remember of school is drawing these airplanes. So when we got into biology, that was a place I could draw. In science you looked through the microscope and you drew what you saw. So my drawing skills developed because of that, I think.  I did quite well that way.


I went to college and got a zoology degree, and applied to dental school, and didn’t make it; got drafted in the military, and then came out, had the GI bill and  I could do what I wanted. So I ended up as a marine biologist for NOAA, and I loved it. It just really worked out very nice.  And we’ll get into the drawing later.


But that reminds me, one of the things that I didn’t learn in Campus was that dive-bombing during World War II was a key item. As you probably knew in Midway dive-bombers got the carriers.  Well before that Germany had the Stuka dive-bomber and it would go way up high and then dive down. And I heard somebody in Campus School saying that if a dive-bomber comes at you, you put your finger up and if you hide the bomb, you’ll be hit, and if it falls on either side of your finger then it will go off to the side of you so you’ll be safer. That stuck in my mind all these years and when I was out on the research boat, the John N. Cobb, they had a cannon ball at the end of the cable and they went out in very deep water, and they had a reversing thermometer on it, and you get down there and they’d open up and you’d get the sample and then you’d bring it back in. And as the cable comes in, it comes in very rapidly, and as it gets near the ship, you got to slow the winch down. Well, one of the scientists that’s running the winch, he got busy looking around, forgot to watch the meter, so the thing just came right up, came up and took the reversing thermometer off and the ball broke off and went straight up in the air. It went way, way up, and I stood there with a finger and as I watched it fall back, it went to the right of my finger.  So it is going to go off to the side—and it did, so it works.  And then I finally read some place in a book about World War II, and they apparently taught the soldiers that.  It must have come back through the war, and it works!


TB: That’s excellent. Let’s see, what kind of learning materials did you mostly use?  Regular textbooks, or a lot of materials created by your teachers?


BH: Don’t remember.


TB: And what kind of grading system was in use during your attendance: letter grades, or narrative reports?


BH: I’m not sure, I don’t remember any grades, but I remember worrying about going to the next grade. So they had something. I remember we had the meetings with my mother. My mother was a teacher—she was an English teacher. She became quite concerned about how Campus School was teaching us in spelling apparently, because they didn’t use phonetics, they used flash cards as I understand it.  I remember flash cards.  But I could not spell, and neither could my brother, and so she was very concerned about it. My brother had a tutor, and I had tutors every summer for years and it didn’t make any difference—it just didn’t make sense to me.


I ended up as a biologist, and we had to publish or perish, so I had to write. They even sent me off to tutoring there, and it didn’t help. Then they finally sent me off to a school, a fellow and me went down to it, and it was mainly women, it was a secretarial school, to improve my English. They gave us a test at the beginning and then a test at the end, and my test at the end was worse than the beginning. So they decided not to send me back for that.


But the interesting part is my son was having the same problem, and my wife got quite concerned about it, went up to the public school in Seattle and they said, “Well, you can use the dictionary,” and they wouldn’t help him out much.  She went and talked to another person there at the school, they had a child there, and she said that he maybe is dyslexic and why don’t you have him tested? So he was tested and he was dyslexic. Man, I decided I think I should be tested because it sure sounds like that’s what my problem is, or I think it is, and I find out that I am dyslexic, and that explains a lot of the spelling problems that I’ve had over the years. It really paid off, it explains a lot. Our son is very involved, and he wrote a book. I kept telling him, well if you write a book you’ll never get it published because of the problem. He said, “I will,” and he did. I should have brought a copy of it up for you, I’ll bring it up and give it to you, I think you’d be very interested.


TB: We’d love a copy—we collect publications by faculty, staff, student, and alumni; that’s what the Western Collection is down there. So we would like one for it because he went to Western.


BH: Yes, right, I’ll bring one up.


TB: Excellent! Do you especially remember any creative activities such as weaving, making things, etc.? You obviously drew a lot, was that part of the class or…?


BH: No, that was just on the side. I do remember weaving the squares making afghans.  I do remember we had a pen pal down in New Zealand.


TB: Oh, that’s interesting.


BH: Yes, and they had another school down there and so we wrote a letter to the individual, and he corresponded with me for quite awhile. I don’t remember his name.  I don’t have any record of it. I was kind of curious about who they were and whatever it was . . . it would’ve been fun to go back, but it’s pretty hard to do that.


TB: That’s really interesting. What was it like for you to be observed so often by student teachers?  You kind of already answered that.


BH: I just don’t remember anything about it.  I just don’t even remember them around.


TB: Did you attend summer school at the Campus School?


BH: No, but I had a lot of tutors in the summers.


TB: So who tutored you?


BH: There were two tutors, one who lived near us, Mother knew her from grade school. Both of them were English teachers in the public schools.  They tutored us, but it didn’t make any sense to me.  My brother too, I don’t think it improved his spelling.


The other thing with this dyslexia, Chuck came up to Western and we had a conference with a counselor here and we mentioned dyslexia, and she said, “We know that already.” It had showed up in a test, and so, the Western Washington was very good with the dyslexics.  Chuck, he’d go to this counselor and say, “I’m having trouble with this teacher,” this teacher didn’t believe in dyslexia and said, “You gotta learn just the way everybody learns,” so he dropped the course and took another one that would give him time to take the test and he graduated. In fact, he’s gone on to . . . I think he’s got three Master’s now, because Boeing keeps paying for the education, and he keeps on going.


TB: Wow, very good. What other classroom activities did you engage in? What did you do at recess, lunchtime, and what did you enjoy the most? What games did you play?


BH: Campus School really taught me recreation: they developed a baseball team. As a matter of fact Jerry Gill was an avid sportsman; he wanted football here, he wanted basketball, he wanted baseball, anything and everything, he was very much involved in sports. After school he’d get a team out there playing touch football. But it wasn’t part of the school, it was just recreation. But then, they got a baseball team going here at Campus School, and I think it was the eighth grade or the ninth grade. I turned out for it and I wanted to play first base.  Richard Clement who’s a fellow in our class, he got first base and they put me out in the outfield. I guess my skills weren’t that good so I ended up sitting on the bench most of all the games. And one leg was dark because where I rubbed my hand on the leg; the rest of the uniform was all white. But in the last game we played Fairhaven, and the coach finally put me up. This was the last game of the year and all that, and he put me up to bat.  The pitcher, who was named Monte Bianchi, was a really good baseball player, in high school he did very, very well. So Monte was pitching—I got up, and the first one came and I didn’t even see it, so I swung: strike one. And I decided, “Well I better not swing at the next one because if I do, then they’ll know that I’m just swinging.” So the next one came through, I still didn’t see it: strike two. And the third one I said, “I better swing at this one,” so I swung and missed: strike three, you’re out! Everybody laughed, and the game was over. The coach, and the ump got in the same car we were riding in, and the umpire says, “Why didn’t you put that last kid up more often?” And he says, “Why?” And he says, “Well, he’s the only one that didn’t flinch.”  What Monte was throwing was a curve ball.  It would come at you, and then it would curve in, and everybody saw it coming at them, and they’d step back. And I stood up there and swung. I decided, “That’s it, I’m not going to turn out for anymore sports,” and I never did.


TB: So your blindness was also a gift.


BH: You’re right. [Chuckles].


TB: Did you visit the college itself? I mean, you recognize this room.


BH: Oh yes.  We were in Old Main and then we went over to the new school—Miller is it? Miller Hall with the—


TB: Right, now it is Miller Hall.


BH: We used the library extensively. I remember this room.  I remember going through that bookcase over there for some of the books. We spent quite a bit of time in the library, in the main library also. And then we used the swimming pool. The swimming pool was excellent. My brother’s diaries says he swam—it must have impressed him, because he loves swimming.  He said every Monday they went swimming. So, every week we must have gone swimming. It was quite a thing. As a matter of fact, Jerry Gill—I think both the girls and the boys swam in the same pool, and the girls had their locker room and the boys had theirs, and Jerry went in the girls locker room one time and caused all kinds of excitement. But Jerry’s history was like that.


TB: What about assemblies or sporting events? Do you remember any of that?


BH: No; only thing I remember is the dances.


TB: Okay, tell me about that.


BH: We had dancing up there in Old Main, and I’m not sure how often we had them, but I remember that. Elaine Nelson, who was in our class, she danced with me off and on, I remember her.


TB: Cool. At what grade level did you enter public school, why did you transfer, and what was the transition like for you?


BH: I went from ninth grade to high school. The transition was kind of difficult at first, because there was a fear of hazing and all that.  Once we got in there and we made friends, it went pretty easy. Well, I won’t say easy, because my spelling wasn’t that good and I had trouble, but it went fairly well.


TB: Did you find that your class from Campus School though stuck together a lot in high school at all?


BH: No, we pretty much split up. Dick Fisher was the only one—he lived fairly near me.  We made new friends -- our peer group changed.


TB: Please share any specific differences between public school and Campus School that especially affected you.


BH: I don’t remember anything, or any differences.


TB: What further education did you pursue: college, graduate or professional school?


BH: Yes, as I said, my father wanted me to become a dentist, and so I thought that’s what I should do. My brother came here—that reminds me! He came here as a freshman, which was the same year I was in the ninth grade.  If he saw me walking down the hall, he would go the other way; he didn’t want to see me anywhere.  I remember that. And then he turned kind of wild, because he flunked out of Western. He had a car, and Dad was trying to motivate him to earn more money so he made the mistake of saying, “I’ll pay for half of your car, if you make the other half.” My brother thought that was pretty neat, so he came back through the door that summer and says, “I got a job in Alaska, I’ll see you in a couple months.”  He went up to one of the canneries, and it was a big year, they had a lot of overtime, and he came back with a bundle. So he says, “Come on, Dad!” and went down to the Chevy garage and in there was a beautiful convertible and he says, “Here’s my half, where’s yours?” and Dad had to come up with it. So he had this beautiful car, brand new one, and that was just after the War, and my father was driving this old ‘33 Packard. So, he kind of raised--


End of Tape One, Side One


BH:  . . . my father’s practice. That’s why I went over to Washington State, because my brother was there. So I went over there and started my freshman class. I ended up as a zoologist because that’s what--either you end up with a degree in pre-dental or zoology. So I decided on zoology. I applied for dental school and never made it, but my brother applied and he made it, and he did very well. So then I went on to fishery school down at the University of Washington and ended up in fisheries; it was a really interesting career.


TB: Excellent, excellent! So you, yourself did not go to Western at all?


BH: No.  But my son and daughter did, as a matter of fact they graduated the same year, because Chuck, when he got out of high school he didn’t know whether he wanted to go to school or not, and he decided to work. So he worked in the printing press for that time and he decided that school sounded better so he came up here, so that’s why they graduated the same year.


TB: How did your attendance at the Campus School influence your life and/or career?


BH: I’m not sure, I don’t know how to answer that.


TB: That’s okay. Are you still in touch with any Campus School classmates?


BH: Yes, we’ve had two reunions; we’ve kind of lost contact now, but plan to get back [together]. Well, Georgia was the one that I was involved in. We had two reunions; the first one, our neighbor in Seattle there, I got talking to her, and she was going to Western here. And so we were trying to get a speaker for the group, so I think it was Dr. DeLorme . . . I’m not sure.


TB: Oh, DeLorme.


BH: DeLorme, Dr. DeLorme.


TB: Right.


BH: So she had mentioned him, she liked him as a teacher and said that he was a historian and he knew the Campus School, so I decided to get him. He said that he would, and the reunion was [over] at Canada House.  So we were all thinking, “Oh, we’ll find out how important we were! And how all the Campus School is was a guinea pig for the public schools and all that.” And so he says, “All the records are lost. We don’t even know if you went to Campus School.” That was a real disappointment.  We don’t even know if we have any proof that we went to Campus School. So that was a neat reunion, better than the high school.


TB: Oh good.  Do you have any Campus School memorabilia, including photographs, class publications, …?


BH: I’ve got some more photographs that Georgia took at all of the reunions, and I’ve got a few others.


TB: Well, I’m going to ask you a couple questions because it’s not really set up in here, but you were in Old Main: can you talk about the experience of being in the grade school in Old Main and also having all the college students around you, I mean what was that like?


BH: I never paid much attention to the college students. Because in Old Main, we were there in that segment, and then we went to different places as a group, but the college students—never paid any attention to them, they were kind of in the way. It seems like it, because it didn’t seem like there were many college students around. We kind of lived in our own world.


TB: Well, that’s true, you know, you were here during the war too, you would have started just before the war, and a lot of the men students especially would have been off at the war: it probably was a smaller population. What about, was it exciting watching the new school being built?


BH: Yes it was, I remember them driving the piling down, but I don’t remember much about it. The only thing I remember is the rubber mats on the ramps going down, the heavy rubber mats. That was impressive, and still is. Matter of fact, we all went back in the class and ran up and down them again, so that was a neat thing. I remember, reading through my brother’s diaries, he mentioned putting a corner stone in over there, I remember that. I don’t remember it, I remember when he wrote it in the diary, I recalled it. He’s got the date, and the corner stone was put in in there. And I was thinking that it was the stones out there on the sidewalk, for each year; I thought that was it, but I think it was the cornerstone in that building.


TB: The new school.


BH: Right.


TB: Interesting. What about going into the new school; was that pretty exciting?


BH: I remember going into the new school, and I’m not sure what grade it was . . .


TB: 1943, it was dedicated in—I think it was January of 1943.


BH: Yes, I remember it was pretty exciting, but I don’t remember much about it. I remember before, we had the paper drives, during the War. That was before the school was built. And we went up to Old Main, down there in the gym, we had the gym filled with old newspapers, for the drives.


TB: Now what was the paper drives for?


BH: During the war they needed paper. I don’t know why, but they had the paper drive, and then the—there was a big mound of aluminum pans and stuff that was out there someplace on the campus. I remember coming up one day with the papers, and my Aunt Alice, who drove us up, and we loaded the papers in there, and Anne Morey was down there, she was one of our classmates and she helped us out. I was pretty impressed with Anne[chuckles].


TB: Okay.


BH: The gym, I remember, was filled--completely filled. It was a huge amount of paper.  There was a lot of collections going on during the war.


TB: Do you remember any other memories related to war? Did you have drills [in case] the Japanese were going to come and bomb or anything like that? 


BH: I can remember some, but I remember my brother cleaning out—we had a porch at our house and we cleaned that out for a bomb shelter. It was a real concern. But it was kind of exciting for the kids, for me it was, it was fascinating. Matter of fact, I remember two of our neighbors, Don Miller’s sister went to Campus School, and she was ahead of Don and my brother, and she had a boyfriend named Bob Lewis, who lived near us. I remember them on their porch, Patsy Miller, Bob [Lewis].  She used to babysit me. I remember going over to her house when my parents were gone, and she’d read to me and all that. And so, she was really a key person, but I remember Patsy and Bob Lewis on their porch before he shipped out and he was all dressed up in his uniform. And he never came back, he was killed in Saipan. Then there was another fellow, just behind us, who was a bombardier, Buzz Slentz.  I remember he was flying over Germany and his plane was shot down, and he bailed out, and they never heard from him. But when I was overseas, the Slentz had asked me to go up to his grave site and take some pictures of it. I couldn’t make it, but a friend of mine did, he got pictures of it. He died over there, I remember that very clearly, those two. And also all the flags in the houses with the stars. They were all over the neighborhood.


TB: And that was how many boys that you had in service?


BH: Yes, and then they had one if they died.  I can’t remember if that was a gold star or not, but there was a lot of them hanging in the windows. That was really quite a traumatic time.


TB: What about after the war? Did you at all sense when the [veterans] started coming back to campus—or you really just didn’t feel the college students at all.


BH: No, I didn’t see that much at Western.  However when I went over to Pullman you really felt the GIs coming back, there was a lot of them, just a few of them coming back into Campus School.  But I don’t remember [much] except the ones who were killed, [those were] the only ones.


TB: Please share any other favorite memories of your Campus School days, or any comments that I haven’t asked you about.


BH: Well, the drawings, because I got praise for that.  I took the drawings and I developed it into a business. When I went out on the research ship a person asked me, “Could I draw a ship?” And I said, “No, no, I can draw a fish.” So he said, “Well, draw me a fish and I’ll buy it.” So I did and he bought it. It wasn’t very much, but once a person buys art work, you know they like it. You can give it to them, they’ll say, “Wonderful, I really like it!” But really do they or don’t they? But if they pay for it, you know they like it. So, then he said, “Well, draw me a ship. I like this fish, so draw me a [ship].” So I drew his ship and then another fellow came up later on and said, “I’ve got some birthday money, draw me my boat.”  So I did.  It was just token money, just a little bit, I mean it wasn’t much, and the amount of time put into it was much more. 


Then he said, “Why don’t you make prints of that and sell it to the crew?”  We went to the printer, and you have to print 500 and 500—[that’s] too many to sell.  I got a printer to print me 50, [for about] the same cost as 500, but he printed 50 and I sold them to the crew. Then we started thinking about how to make them into a plaque, because during World War II the Navy had a lot of ship stores, and they had a lot of bronze, and they had foundries and everything.  They started making brass plaques, and everybody wanted brass plaques.  That’s very expensive to etch into brass. So we, my wife and I, decided to transfer my drawings into a metal photo. It’s an aluminum sheet that they developed during World War II for instrument panels in aircraft. They embed the image into the metal, then they can machine the metal and put an instrument in there.  Then underneath it it says what’s there; it’s in there permanently, it can’t be destroyed—or you have to destroy the metal to destroy the image. It’s very clear: you make a negative, and then you transfer the negative to the metal plate.  The Coast Guard has a [policy] that every two years they change to another boat, and so they have a tradition of giving them something when they depart, and so a plaque is ideal.


TB: Oh nice!


BH: So, we got into the Coast Guard, and we’ve sold maybe twenty thousand, something like that. We sold the business three years ago. It was a nice, supplemental business, it couldn’t hold by itself, but it was nice to have the second . . .  So the drawings from the Campus School, to that [referring to the plaques], to now has really paid off. And my question is, is it a learning process, the skill of art, or is it hereditary?


TB: Well, how much art was required of you in the Campus School?


BH: None, as far as I know. I remember cooking class, dancing, but I don’t remember much about art, and it was just something I did. When I went to high school I took drafting, and the teacher there said that, “Anything you learn here, you’ll use later in your life.” And that’s actually what’s happened, so it’s kind of an interesting process. I don’t know if it’s learned or if it’s practiced, but I do know that I was praised: it was always a good feeling [to have] them saying I did alright. So that encouraged me go on to do more.  I still draw!


TB: I was just going to ask you that!  Okay, what kinds of stuff do you draw now?


BH: Mainly ships. Because I wanted to draw airplanes, and you go back, and all the artists drew airplanes and everything assault but nobody drew ships, and so I started drawing ships. Still have the business . . . this is the last month the business is—we get our last check this month. It was a neat adventure.


TB:  Well, anything else then?


BH: No, I think that’s about it.  At least I can’t think of anything else.


TB: Okay, well, I’ll say ‘Thank you very much!’




TB:  [This is another side] of the story that Brian Griffin told about the crows.


BH: Okay, well my brother, Jim, and Brian Griffin and myself, we had a place on Friday Harbor, a cabin that the Griffins and the Hitzes bought. My brother was always fascinated with crows and he kept talking about splitting a crow’s tongue to make him speak, so he was out to catch some crows. They caught a crow in a trap— it was a full-sized crow—and they had a string on it, around the foot, and then I was supposed to hold the crow, while they did something else, and the crow got away with this great big long string flying about. It went up and disappeared. Then later on, a week or so along, they found a tree up on the property and there was a crow’s nest up there. My brother climbed the tree and couldn’t get to the nest because all the branches were too thick; and the crows were dive-bombing him and dropping stuff on him to keep him off the tree. So he chopped the tree down. The nest came down, and the baby crows fell out, and the big crow, with all the string, was all raveled around there and was dead.  I remember that very clearly.


Then they took the baby crows and they took then down to the house, and they decided to split them up. One went for Brian, and that was named Beulah, and then Huey and Louie we kept. And my brother had Huey and Louie. And we also found a couple baby seagulls. And we had them in the car with us, we went down on a ferry, and we were showing them off, the baby crows and the seagulls, and this game warden came up and said, “You’ve got to take the seagulls back because it’s illegal to take seagulls,” because seagulls are protected apparently. So we had to go back to the cabin and leave the seagulls on the beach, and then took the crows back. So, Beulah was Brian’s crow, and Huey and Louie were my brother’s. And Huey and Louie never got quite tame, and Beulah, which was Brian’s crow, became quite tame and was really a neat—a friendly crow.  Brian would walk down to school, and the crow would be flying way up above him, and some kid would come over and they’d start talking and he’d say, “See that crow up there?” And they’d say, “Yes.”  “I can call it down!” He [the other kid] says “No, you can’t.” And [Brian] says, “Yes I can!” And he’d call it down; the crow would fold its wings, and come down and land on his shoulder.


TB: Oh, nice!


BH:  The other thing the crow did was, anything silver or bright, it would pick it up and then take it up and drop it in the gutter. And so Brian said when he went up there to clean out the gutter they had rings, pans, all this stuff the crow had put away. Apparently, the crow then, later on, went down to the Bornstein fish market, down on the south side [and joined] with this big flock of crows, and that’s the last they saw of it, [it] was flying off with all the other crows. So that’s the—and the seagulls stuck around the cabin for a couple years.


TB: Oh wow! Okay.


BH: And Huey and Louie—Huey fell in the rain barrel and drowned, and the other crow I don’t know what happened—I think it probably went—by the way, the crows, would go down and sit on the clothesline, and the sheets would be all flying out and then there’d be these big streaks . . . and so everybody was ready to shoot the crows.


TB: I guess so! [laughs].


BH: Well that’s the story of the crow.


[Another Brian story is] he was a year ahead of me in school. He had a natural ability to swallow air, and then belch it. It was really loud. When he walked home from school—from Campus School to home—all the kids would get him to belch. And I never saw it, but I heard of it, but my uncle, Dr. Rykken, when he was over at the cabin on San Juan, heard about his belching, and he said that’s not a common practice but people can do it, and so Brian belched for him, and he said, “We’re gonna take you off to Hollywood, make a big star of you,” and all that. So that was another great fame of Brian’s was his belching.


TB: Well, thank you very much.