Special Collections

Special Collections Oral History Program



Gloria D. Pinard

BAE, 1949

Interviewer:     Tamara Belts

Date of Interview:     July 16, 2005

Location of Interview:     Western Washington University



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Authorized Transcript 

Note: This interview was conducted with Gloria D. (Woodward) Pinard (BAE 1949) on July 16, 2005, during the Golden Vikings Reunion weekend.

TB: Good morning. Today is Saturday, July 16, 2005. My name is Tamara Belts and I’m here with Gloria D. (Woodward) Pinard. And we’re about to do an oral history. She did sign the Informed Consent agreement and does know that she’s being recorded.

 OK, welcome to Special Collections. We’re happy for this opportunity to be doing this oral history with you. Our first question is why did you choose to attend Western?

GP:  My mother made me. She brought me right out of high school, two weeks after I graduated. Since she was coming to college, I came too, willy-nilly. And I had a great time. But I had to room with mother and that cut into my social life a bit.

TB: Now why was your mother coming at the same time?

GP: She had not received her degree yet. She had been teaching for years. She graduated with a two year certificate and ever since then she had been taking all opportunities to go back to college. So she decided the summer I got out of high school that she was going to go back and take me with her.

TB: Now what was your mother’s name?

GP: Gloria Eunice Austin. And she was here in the early twenties -- ‘22, ‘23, ’24 in that range.

TB: And she’d gotten her two year teaching certificate then?

GP: Yes. And she got her degree the year before I did.

TB: 1948.

GP: Yes.

TB: So you were here several years together?

GP: No. She did a lot of extension courses and she’d come back summers. But I started in ’46 and went summers and all. And the only time I was with my mother was that first summer. After that I lived the life of Riley.

TB: So what were your actual dates of attendance at Western?

GP: 1946, the first quarter of the summer (first half of the summer) and then from September 1946 right through to June ‘49 graduation -- and I had to go half that summer. So I ended up being through sometime by the end of July.  

TB: Excellent! What degrees or certificates did you receive then from Western?

GP: BA in education.

TB: What other degrees, etc., if any, have you received elsewhere?

GP: I’m eligible to teach up through high school. I have the equivalent of a fifth year and more.

TB: Part of this question you’ve answered but have any other family members attended Western?

GP: Yes, my mother. And then I have two cousins Babbette Daniel and Lyle Daniel – both were here. I believe Lyle graduated but I’m not positive.

TB: What was your first job after leaving Western?

GP: I taught school at the Boston Harbor School, Olympia. It was an eight grade school, and a county school then. I taught fourth, fifth and sixth grades in one room. In April I came down with red measles, I was never so sick in my life. I was home for two weeks and had to pay my substitute half that month’s pay because we had no sick leave then. After I was recovered, I went back and finished the year, made out report cards but I just didn’t feel like handling another year. So I went to work for the State Library in October – for two years.

TB: What did you do at the State Library?

GP: I worked in the documents section and also up front on the desk. I put books away, I put documents away, I found the Federal number for the documents. It was interesting work but it wasn’t anything that required a college degree to do.

TB: Any other distinctive memories of this experience? Your salary, the work conditions?

GP: My salary when I was teaching the first year was $180.00 net. And with that I bought a refrigerator. I was married in my junior year of college and spent my last year as a married woman. We built a little house on some property outside of Olympia.

TB: Excellent! How about any other information about your subsequent career?

GP: I went back to teaching in ’55 after I’d had two children. I was again in a county school outside of Olympia. It was an eight grade school but then it consolidated with Olympia. I  taught third grade there for five years. It was interesting. It was my second woman principal. Women principals are fussy about little things like having the shades all the same level -- pulled down, half way. And always you have reading in the morning -- first thing -- because that’s when the youngsters are the most fresh and able to learn. My principal questioned me one day when we had an art project going at 9 o’clock because we were using paring knives and I wanted the art work out of the way while they were fresh because I didn’t want any cut fingers.

It was very interesting for those years. I really cut my teeth on teaching. I became better acquainted with what I was doing and what I was trying to do. Teachers were needed there, there was not a sufficient number. I had a call from the North Thurston district so I moved to the South Bay School in North Thurston district and taught a fourth grade there. And then for the next nine or ten years I switched between third and fourth whichever needed the extra teacher. That was in the days when if two boys were fighting on the playground you snagged them by the collars and marched them into the principal’s office and stood there while the principal paddled them with the Board of Education. I had a very good principal who was very good at keeping order in the school. After he moved to open a new school the one I had was not at all the same and the students ran wild in the halls – he was not a believer in discipline. So when I brought two boys in he looked at me and said, “Well we don’t do that anymore Mrs. Pinard.”  So I had to turn the culprits loose! I was somewhat flabbergasted! I hadn’t heard that regulation!

At any rate, then I moved to a new school that was just built. And for ten years approximately I was at Olympic View and again I had two or three principals, this time men, and things went along.

It’s strange that what you remember are the odd incidences. I had one little boy from the Philippines who came in and could not speak English. He knew one word and that was ‘bathroom,’ which was the only thing he needed to say; and when he said that I had another first grader take him to the bathroom. When we learned the word ‘red’ (this was first grade) we were learning a big red apple in connection with the color crayon. He looked at his neighbor and picked up his red crayon and made a tiny little dot in the middle of the big sheet of paper. So I took his hand and helped him draw a big red apple on the paper and left him filling it in with his red. From then on he learned English very quickly. He watched what his neighbors did and did likewise and fitted in very well. When we drew pictures of our homes his was the only house built on stilts with a long ladder going up to the door and a palm tree beside it. All of the other boys and girls looked at him and “Ooh that’s a different house! Look at that house that he drew.”  And it was very well drawn.

Then I had another little boy, a little colored boy, who came in with his black mommy. This little boy had evidently not been to school before. I turned my back to do something on the board and looked around and here was the janitor down on his knees in front of this little colored boy, shaking his finger in his face, and saying sternly, “Little boys do not hit little girls.” And over in the corner was one of my little girls with a nose bleeding in the sink. So I patched her up and got them back together and made them understand that little boys don’t go around slugging little girls in the nose! Well I didn’t have many other problems with him that year.

One thing, when I moved to second grade in that school, we had a lot of fun with spelling. We had a scheme of knights and ladies and princes and princesses and if they got a perfect score on their spelling test they got a star. After so many stars on their shield they got to become a prince or a princess. We put on some triumphal music on the record player and I’d have the crown bearers come out with fancy pillows and the crowns on them and I’d wear a cloak and have a crown on too and I’d make them knights and ladies, or princes and princesses, and my, that was a big thing for them! At the end of the year we’d have a spelling bee and the best speller went home with a junior Scrabble game. No matter how many years I tried that or how often I talked to the group – the loser always cried! It would get down to two students, usually a boy and a girl and one or the other would win, and the other would weep. And I can understand because it was such a disappointment having gone so far and done so well.

Then I took a year’s leave of absence and went to work as secretary in the church. But I went back for two years at Woodland, another new school, with a good principal that I enjoyed. I discovered that I had a color problem in my room. When I gave the boys the color blind test I found I had a couple of youngsters that couldn’t see colors properly. No wonder we had had a green reindeer on the black board with all of the brown reindeer! One boy was very good at picking out the colors if he could see the crayons, but when I asked him what color this was on one of the alphabet cards he couldn’t tell me. He thought it was a brown and it was a purple. So I knew he had a color vision problem. The first grade teacher next door to me, who was a man, asked me to come in and pick out some papers for him because he was color blind. He wanted to make sure there were the proper colors laid out for his class. So I went in and sorted out his colored papers.

In 1983 I retired! Those were some of my tales!

TB: Part of this you mentioned a little bit but where did you live when you attended Western?

GP: Oh I lived the first year in Eden’s Hall and then I couldn’t get my father to support me any longer so I worked for my room and board. I lived with a lady and her son. She worked in the college office, and I looked after her boy. I had my own room and I thought I was really in seventh heaven!  So in exchange for that I got my board and room and my mother managed my other fees. And I did have a job in the college with two of the art teachers, cleaning the rooms, and typing for Dr. D’Andrea, the music teacher for $.39 cents an hour. That gave me my spending money.

I also lived with a Mrs. Evatt on Iron Street the last year of college. The woman I had been with had moved and I lived with this old lady who was 75 years old and needed a companion. I did everything for her. I shopped; took her purse and went to the corner store and bought groceries. I did most of the cooking. I did the gardening – weeded her garden and mowed her lawn, did a lot of the housework for her. We got along very well. She was a talkative old gal and she wanted companionship. I’d be sitting there with a book in my lap and after she’d gabbled on a few minutes she’d say, “Oh I mustn’t interrupt you now you’re studying!” And then a few minutes later she’d be back at it again. But I did get my studying done and did fairly well.

The only unhappy experience I had was student teaching. My mother had told me, “Don’t do your student teaching in the fourth grade Campus School because Pearl Merriman is not the kind of person you’ll get along with.”  And I thought well I want to teach fourth grade so in spite of my mother’s advice I signed up with Pearl Merriman and mother was right! There were three of us student teachers in the room. It wasn’t too bad. But I was of a rather sensitive nature and shy and I was afraid of her. She had me completely buffaloed and the other two students as well -- I might as well add! We all three lived through it. I did enjoy the music director because I’d had her in third grade when I went to Campus School myself. She discovered I could hold the soprano part and she had me singing with the students in the Christmas cantata that we put on (Christmas program). Back then you could have manger scenes and religious scenes without any problem.

I never did know what Miss Merriman thought of me really. I suppose she didn’t think much of me because I had just been married that quarter and every weekend I had the chance I went home. My husband was working in Olympia. My cousin Lyle also had her for his student teaching and he got along fine. He was very good at soft soaping people. He had a charm which I lacked and got along fine with her. But she was extremely fussy about details and I was not that fussy so it was a little hard.

My degree teaching I did out in the city and I had a very interesting experience. I had a fourth grade that liked to dance and so we taught them dancing. We put on a Mexican hat dance and did some Mexican songs and that sort of thing for the parents. It was real interesting. I made up a test after our unit on Mexico and tested them to see what they remembered and to see if they’d learned anything.

Any other questions?

TB: Back tracking quickly before you move on, do you know who the other two student teachers were that were in there with you?

GP: Yes, Don Rairdon and Margaret Ness.

TB: And then what was your cousin’s last name?

GP: Lyle Daniel. He and his sister were both there. Babbette was in the play, I Remember Mama. She’s in the 1949 yearbook.

TB: Who were your favorite or most influential teachers and why?

GP: Oh, I liked my English teacher. I had Dr. Cederstrom and he was an excellent teacher. He introduced us to Greek mythology and the Greek tragedies. To me that was a whole new world opening up. My mother had never mentioned the Greek tragedies to me so when I went home bursting with stories to tell her she said, “Oh I knew all that already!”

My mother was an extremely intelligent woman and had been educated up here also.

I had Mrs. Burnet for journalism and I loved journalism; and of all the teachers she and Declan Barron were probably the two I enjoyed the most. I liked science. My favorite class was working with fruit flies -- genetics. It was a small class. We had the room clear up on the third floor and I’d run up those stairs -- all those flights -- several times a day to count my fruit flies and anesthetize them, check what mutant crossovers they had shown and then dump them in the oil bath to kill them! We raised fruit flies in a flask with a banana gel concoction that they ate. They were virgins to begin with but they multiplied well like flies do. So I did enjoy Mr. Barron and his science classes and Mrs. Burnet was the world to me. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote for years on the paper. In fact I earned the Cub Reporter cup at the end of my first year of journalism and got my name engraved on it which was to me a great honor.

In the summers I was feature editor, business editor, and women’s page editor, if I recall correctly! It’s been a long time. So I would spend a lot of my time sitting on the window sill in the open window in the publications room.

TB: Where was that located?

GP: It was in the end of Old Main on what would be the second floor above the ground floor. It was overlooking the parking lot.

TB: Did you do anything with your journalism later on?

GP: No but I had always like to write so for years and years after I retired from teaching I took writing classes and did a lot of biography and autobiography writing. I did write a children’s book which I haven’t had published but it’s ready for me to edit it and take it down to the printer. 

TB: Nice, nice! What was your main course of study, well beyond education?

GP: Well education and field studies in journalism and science. I had Miss Sundquist telling me I should write science books for the students who were a little behind. They usually came in two editions, the regular science book for elementary school and then one that was written a little more simply for those that were not such good readers. She told me I should go into that field and I always felt very complimented.

TB: Nice! Which classes did you like best and/or learn the most from?

GP: Oh, my science and journalism and English and I did enjoy the printing classes I had. When I was in journalism I went down every week to the print shop and helped put the paper to bed and that was always fun. When I took the printing class I learned a lot more. I was never as quick about hand setting type as they were in the print shop but then I hadn’t had the experience that the brothers had down there.

What else?

Most of my classes I thoroughly enjoyed. The only ones that gave me any trouble were the ones about statistics because I didn’t like mathematics. I had always had a problem. Ever since I was in Campus School I had not learned borrowing and subtraction until Miss Moffat sat me down in front of the board all by myself and showed me how to subtract by adding. This was what Dr. Bond had taught and she had used that method and taught me to add when I subtracted so I never had to borrow (so I thought!) until years later when my husband sat me down and showed me what I was doing – I was really borrowing – and didn’t know it! Ever since then I had subtracted by adding and it made a world of difference to my outlook on arithmetic.

TB: What extra-curricular activities did you enjoy the most?

GP: I liked the dances! I did enjoy dancing. And I went to all the round dances and the proms and the social dances. I also went hiking up Chuckanut Mountain. I didn’t go up Mount Baker. I liked to swim and I swam at Lake Whatcom. Oh, I belonged to the Camera Club and that was fun!

TB: What kinds of things did the Camera Club do?

GP: Well we sat in a dark, dark, room and learned how to develop film. They had built us a dark room right off the student lounge which was in the basement of Old Main. It had a locked door and when we had meetings we’d meet in there. And it was rather crowded because there were quite a few of us. I did take a class in photography. I remember one of the assignments was to take pictures of a pair of hands. I needed a close up lens for my little box Brownie so I had to go buy that. It was very expensive and I was on a very limited income so it took a great deal of my money. But I turned in my pictures. We learned how to develop them and how to print them. We used an enlarger, we learned how to soften the lines around the pictures if we wanted just a portrait for example. It was a very interesting class. But I doubt I could do it now because I haven’t done any of it for that many years! I’ve relied on the professional photographers.

TB: Do you have any experiences with the Campus School? It sounds like you also went to the Campus School.

GP: Yes. When I first came to Bellingham I was at the end of second grade. My mother had been going here all spring while my sister and I lived with our aunt. She brought us up here and we were enrolled in first and second grade summer school in the Campus School. It was in Old Main and I had Miss Elliot and I remember she read us Jane’s Father and Mary Poppins that summer and I have never forgotten them. I have read them to my students too when they appreciated that type of story.

My sister had Miss Casanova in the first grade and then the following fall I was enrolled in third grade with Miss Moffat and a whole class of boys and girls. I remember we did many different things – we dipped candles at Christmas, we went on the stage in the auditorium and did fairy tales and we made things – we made a booklet and every student in the room put in a poem or a story. I still have mine. We had student teachers that came in and worked with us. We did clay work and I can remember one time around Christmas that I got very scared because the music teacher (I can’t remember her name off-hand, I probably will in a minute), she looked at me because I wasn’t singing. She took me by the hand, took me in Miss Moffat’s office and said, “She isn’t singing.” I burst into tears; I was so frightened because I didn’t know the words to the songs. I had not been required to sing Christmas carols up till then so Miss Moffat put me to work cleaning the clay sticks.

Then sometime in the spring I got really sick. I remember I was so sick that the wall paper moved and when my mother stood at the foot of my bed she was very, very far away. Her voice was garbled and it was hard to understand her. I had a very high fever. I remember the doctor came, he made house calls in those days, and there wasn’t much that he could do for me, I just had to live through it. But occasionally mother would give me a little aspirin pounded up and put in a gelatin capsule so I wouldn’t have to taste it. I got better. I went back to school probably a week after I had gotten sick. But I still wasn’t really well and that first day back I threw up twice. I didn’t want anybody to know about it. The first time I got to the bathroom in time, but the second time I was in the classroom and couldn’t leave my seat, or was afraid too. So I know my dress smelled very badly when I went home.

But on the whole it was a most interesting experience and year. At the end of that spring my mother got a teaching job over east of the mountains in a one room school. For four years after that she taught us in one room schools so I’m really the product of home education.

TB: Because your mother taught you in her school?

GP: Yes, all through my junior high years, sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

TB: Do you remember any of the names of the student teachers that you had?

GP: When I was student teaching, yes. I’m sure it was [Don] Rairdon and Margaret [Ness].

TB: When you were a student in the Campus School you mentioned that there was a student teacher; do you remember that person’s name?

GP: No, no I don’t remember, but I do remember my mother coming in with a whole group of teachers and little stools and sitting down and watching -- observing. That was fun because I remembered that. But we had student teachers every quarter and I don’t remember who they were. But some were nice and some were snippy!

TB: Please share with us any special memories of your college days?

GP: Well I made a lot of acquaintances and enjoyed myself immensely. In fact like you said, those years have been the most interesting years of my life. And do you know I still dream about it at night?

TB: Really?

GP: Yes. I am at college, I’m driving my Mercedes Benz car, which I didn’t have then, I didn’t own a car then. I didn’t know how to drive then. And I’m going from Edens Hall to Old Main and around the campus and I’m teaching or I’m a student in a class and I’m trying to find my classroom. So it has stayed with me all these years.

TB: Now I’m just curious, how did you learn to drive? Or when did you learn to drive?

GP: My husband taught me before he went back overseas in the Navy for the Korean War. He got called back in and before he left he had to teach me to drive. I didn’t pass my driving test but the state patrol officer gave me my license anyway because there was no one at home to get me to work! I was working there at the State Library then. He was gone two years; I was living by myself, in my little house until he got back.

TB: All right. Now is there anything that I haven’t asked that you would like to mention?

GP: No, it seems like we’ve covered my years pretty thoroughly.

TB: How about you mentioned earlier that your mother had lots of stories? Could you tell us some of your mother’s stories?

GP: Oh yes. She lived with several girls her age down High St., but I don’t know the name of the house. But I know the housekeeper was very strict with them. She had many rules and one rule was two baths a week, undoubtedly to save hot water. My mother and her best friend, Carol Grimes, would take their baths together in the bath tub and scrub each others backs. They were both skinny then – she said all the girls were skinny – and always hungry. So some of them would sneak crackers and cheese, or crackers and peanut butter into their room and have midnight snacks. Sometimes one of her friends, Mid Boyd, would sneak out of the window to meet her boyfriend who had a car. She’d come back in, in the wee hours after a dance or a movie or whatever they entertained themselves with, and she never got caught. 

Then mother told about the time that some of the girls from the college had gone out to Birch Bay to a dance and had rolled their stockings down and danced the Charleston! The dean of women, who was an old battleaxe, sent them both home. They were expelled! And that was just awful! She insisted they should have been ladies and not done such things!  Things like that were not done in 1923 or ‘24! You did not roll your stockings down and go to a dance!

TB: Well, great! Now is there anything else you wish to add?

GP: No, I can’t think of anything unless you can.

TB: That’s pretty much our set of questions. Well, I would like to thank you very much. Like I said, we will transcribe this, we will send it to you. I’ll give you a chance to edit or make any changes or whatever and hopefully settle on a transcript and we will add it to our collection.

GP: Well thank you very much.

TB: Thank you.

GP: It’s been nice talking with you, Tamara.