Special Collections

Special Collections Oral History Program


Judy (Hall) Lewis

Campus School, 1950-1956

Interviewer:     Christine Kendall

Date of Interview:     September 2, 2005

Location of Interview:     Western Washington University

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Authorized Transcript 

This interview was conducted with Judy Hall Lewis, a Campus School student, in Bellingham, Washington, on September 2, 2005. The interviewer is Christine Kendall.

CK: I am recording Judy Hall Lewis, a Campus School student and weíll begin our interview. Judy, how did you happen to attend the Campus School?

JL: My mother had registered me to attend the Campus School just after I was born. In those days that often happened. When you were a small child, you were registered to insure your attendance.

CK: And she was a teacher, so she was very aware of the school.

JL: Mother and Father had both gone to Western and were teachers in the Bellingham public schools.

CK: Did she student teach at [Campus School]?

JL: She did not. She started her teaching career in Alaska.

CK: Did anybody else in your family attend the Campus School and what were there names?

JL: My brother Michael attended Campus School. He was two years younger.  No other family members attended, but our next door neighbors did, Tim and Tom Irvin. Tim was in my class and Tom was in my brotherís class. Eventually the neighbors, Nancy and Frank Zurline from across the street also attended.  

CK: What were the years and grades of your attendance?

JL: I attended from Kindergarten through sixth grade. That would be 1950 to 1956.

CK: Did you pay any fees?

JL: Not that Iím aware of. I donít believe we did.

CK: How did you get to and from school? Please share any favorite memories of that experience.

JL: My parents and Mr. and Mrs. Irvin were all teachers.  My brother and I, and the Irvin boys, were dropped off at 8 oíclock, but most of the other children didnít come until 8:30 or 8:45, so we would go into our classrooms and simply play quietly as the teacher and student teachers were preparing for the day.  In the primary grades there were many activities.  For example, in Kindergarten there was a cooking station with a little wood stove.  I was just totally in my glory!  I know my brother liked the blocks and the cars and trucks.  We were very eager to go to school.  Our parentís carpooled, so one week our parents would take us, and the next week the Irvins would take us.

When I was in Kindergarten, Tim and I would leave school each day and we would walk down to 21st Street to catch the city bus.

CK: When you were in Kindergarten?

JL: When we were in Kindergarten! Weíd walk down and weíd catch the city bus.  The bus would take us then down to the Fairhaven area where we would get off and I would walk to my grandmaís on 13th Street and Tim would walk to his grandmaís on Donovan below 12th street.

CK: Iíll be darned!

JL: Our story that year is that we missed the bus one day and so we started walking home, feeling very confident that we knew where we were going. This car came along and called me by name and the man looked familiar, but I couldnít remember his name. He offered us a ride to my grandmotherís and we took it. When Timís mother heard from him that he had gotten in a car with this stranger, she was beside herself. It turned out it was the minister from the church! So he knew who we were, and I just couldnít remember his name. We were then told if we ever missed the bus again, we were to walk back to school and make a phone call. Itís hard to believe that we took the city bus.

When our brothers started to school, we would walk down to Garden Street and catch the bus there. Then we would get off the bus at Sacred Heart Church at 14th and Knox and walk on down to our grandmaís.

CK: When they carpooled then, did they drop you off behind the school?

JL: Yes. Weíd come up 21st which, you know, is so different now. Just up 21st behind Campus School is the back door. Weíd get out there and head on in.

CK: Jack was mentioning that the fifth and sixth graders were crossing guards.

JL: That is correct. At that time in the morning, we didnít have a crossing guard because the other kids hadnít come to school yet.

CK: What did you do for lunch?

JL: My brother and I were just discussing that. We took our own lunch. As I remember, we only had hot lunch one day a week. Thatís what I remember. And I remember simply ordering a bowl of buttered beans. I lived for the buttered beans!

CK: Did you eat at your desk? Did the food come up the dumbwaiter?

JL: It seems to me like when we were in first and second grade, we ate at what would be our worktable (our desk). In third grade, if you were having hot lunch, you got to eat it in what was considered the lunchroom.  There was a kitchen area and they would open up the folding door and youíd come by and get your tray and then find a table to eat your lunch. If I had cold lunch, I believe I ate in the classroom, because the lunchroom would not have held everyone.  

CK: Do you remember any favorite classmates and would you name them for us?

JL: Most of us were in class together from Kindergarten to sixth grade, so our class was maybe twenty kids.  Girlís names that I remember at the drop of a hat are Jane Ambrose, Taffy Squires, Mimi Sue Thal, Judy Lindsay, Marilee Dickerson, Jan Dinger and Diane Stonehouse. In fourth grade Sue Weyrick joined our class and in sixth grade it was Dottie Parcheski.  That was quite a novelty!  Boys in the class that I remember were Rick Haggen, Joe Melland, Hugh Gregory, Pat OíConnor, Mike Smith, Steve Smith, Richie Hayne and Dale Benson.

CK: How was the new student accepted? You said novelty.

JL: Thinking back, in fourth grade Lillian Erga joined our class.  I believe that Lillian was from Norway and so that was a new experience.  We were such a close group and since there was only one of each grade, anyone new was a novelty.

CK: She just fit right in.

JL: As I remember it she did.

CK: Then did you all go on to the same school in middle school together or did people kind of go separate ways?

JL: I would think the majority of us went on to Fairhaven Junior High, now Fairhaven Middle School.

CK: Who were your favorite or most influential teachers?

JL: Miss Nicol was my Kindergarten teacher and I just idolized her. She even came to my wedding!  Miss Casanova was my first grade teacher and then Miss Elliot in second grade.  They are probably the ones that I remember the most.  I canít remember third and fourth grade, but Miss Kinsman was fifth grade and Clark Brown was sixth grade.

CK: Clark Brown? Was that Dr. Brown?

JL: Yes.  He was one of the Dr. Brownís on campus at that time.

CK: So sixth grade you had a male teacher?

JL: All the rest were women.

CK: What were your favorite subjects or classroom activities?

JL: I loved typing.

CK: When did you start typing? What class?

JL: I think that we started in fifth grade. The typewriters were kept in a storage room at the end of the hall by the music room and so we would have to go and get them and bring them back to our classroom for our typing lesson. We would do swimming at the big pool. It seemed like that was once a week.  We would go over to the art building for our art class. Our teachers were professors. Nothing really sticks out. I loved that we had lots of art.

CK: Did you do a reindeer head?

JL: I donít remember doing a reindeer head. We did do a full paper machť critter in third grade as a class project.  I am sure that we did Christmas projects and perhaps they were apart of the sing-a-longs that we did in the school auditorium the week before the Christmas break.

CK: Jack remembers that.

JL: That was always such a special time. I also remember doing a play one year, I think as a third grader, I played Mozartís sister, and Hugh Gregory was Mozart and we pretended to play a duet on a harpsichord. Thatís all I remember about the play.

CK: Did you have a special emphasis of different subjects that you would do a particular time of year, any visits or anything that you recall?

JL: Iím sure that we did, but itís the extra things that I remember. We were always being visited by education classes that would come in and watch us as we were doing math or social studies. I know we had those kinds of activities. And usually we had about three student teachers per room -- four adults to twenty-some kids.

CK: Did you use regular textbooks or other kinds of learning materials?

JL: Iím sure that we had textbooks and the usual learning materials. I particularly remember Dick and Jane!

CK: What kind of grading was used during your attendance? Letter grades or narrative reports?

JL: It was a narrative report on a half sheet of paper

CK: Do you especially remember any creative activities such as weaving or making things?

JL: Oh yes. Thanks for bringing that up. We did lots of weaving. We did lots of mats. My neighbor Tim and I often would share a loom. We would weave two of everything. I would get one and then he would get the next one.  We usually used yarn, but one time I remember that we used a torn up sheet.  We also did a lot with clay and then took them to the art building to be fired in the kiln.  I especially remember doing jungle animals in the second grade.  Each workroom always had two or three easels for painting and there were actual workbenches with vises and tools.  I remember making a wooden boat one year.

CK: Weíre going to back up a little bit to the teachers because we paused for a moment and there was some rethinking on the teachers and you mentioned that Miss Elliot was Kindergarten, Miss Nicol was first and Casanova second, weíre not sure about the third and the fourth, Miss Kinsman being the fifth and Clark Brown the sixth, and Dr. Hawk was your principal and Nancy Smith your school secretary. How about your school nurse, do you remember who that was?

JL: No, but there was a nurse because she had an office and she wore a uniform. She had an office with a desk and then we had a room that had cots in it, probably about six cots.

CK: Was that on the first floor?

JL: It was on the first floor.

CK: Moving on to the next question, what were your classes like? Were there a lot of student teachers observing Ė you touched on that a little bit Ė and/or teaching lessons or parts of lessons?

JL: We had at least three student teachers working in the classrooms each quarter.  There were also constant visits by education classes.  We just took it in stride.  Our classroom was fairly large and consisted of two big rooms.  One was called the workroom and the other the classroom.

CK: The people who came in and would watch, would they adjust their chairs for the activity then, is that how it worked?

JL: Correct.

CK: Did you attend summer school at Campus School?

JL: I did not.

CK: We discovered they did have a summer school earlier on. Whether they had that when you were there, I donít know.

JL: Tim Irvinís mother, Mary, taught at the Campus School I think when we were probably in middle school and I think that she was involved with the summer school program.

CK: So that was later on. What extracurricular activities did you engage in and what did you do at recess, lunchtime, and which did you enjoy the most and what games did you play?

JL: Recess was held on the backside of the building on the Sehome Hill side where there was a little playground that had bars and a big sandbox.  I can remember being out there, particularly hanging on the bars.  Then, on the front of the building we had a big grass field and a big blacktop area that sat in front of the art building with hopscotch forms.  It seemed like my friend Jan and I often played baseball with the boys.  I remember in the gym we lived for ďbombardment.Ē

CK: Bombardment? What was that?

JL: It was like dodge ball. I know you hear people are playing it again at the ďY.Ē  It was our reward. If we did a nice job with the P.E. lesson then we would maybe have ten minutes where we could play bombardment.

CK: Were there two gymnasiums downstairs?

JL: There were. Actually no, there were three. At the end of the building closest to Old Main there were two ramps.  The one to the west took you to one gym and the one to east took you to two.  It seems like one of the gyms to the left was mainly used for the Primary Grades.

CK: Were they for different grades?

JL: I can remember being in the different rooms. I canít tell you why. There was only one grade at each level. Perhaps maybe on a rainy day for indoor recess weíd use them for different activities.  Maybe one always had a game of bombardment going on.

CK: Bombardment! [Laughter].

JL: Dodge ball sounds better.

CK: Is that where you did your dance lessons then, in your gymnasium?

JL: Thatís correct.

CK: Would they bring dance instructors in for that?

JL: We had Miss Weythman, who was from the college, who would teach the classes.

CK: Did you visit the college itself? The college library, attend assemblies or sporting events or anything else at the college when you were in the Campus School and do you have any special memories of those experiences?

JL: I donít remember sporting events. We were in the Industrial Arts Building often, whether it was for a project or a class or to see something that was going on. I can remember taking our clay to the kiln for firing.  We were also in the music building and perhaps we were listening to a small group perform. We used the library. Wilson Library had a section that was for our use, so thatís where we went and checked our books out.

CK: Do you remember the librarian at all?

JL: I do not remember the librarian. Other than that, I donít really have any memories of being in other buildings.

CK: Did students work in the library at all? Help check out books or do anything?

JL: No, I donít believe so. I think our claim to fame was being a crossing guard. Weíd have a captain and a lieutenant and their job was to oversee the other crossing guards.  I think that we had two at the back entrance to the Campus School, definitely on High Street and I remember there being guards down on Garden Street also because we had to go down the stairs to check on them.  You really were ďhot stuffĒ when you were on duty.

CK: So the girls got to be crossing guards as well?

JL: And captains, yes. That allowed you, then, to be late for class because you had to stay until I would say nine oíclock or something and then the captain and the lieutenant would pick up the guards and weíd walk on in as a group.

 CK: So you would wear some kind of sash?

 JL: It was a sash.

 CK: Did you have little flags that you carried?

 JL: We did indeed. I donít remember having a hat.

CK: Was it a rotational sort of thing that your name would come up?

 JL: I remember it being determined by a vote, but perhaps it was a little more controlled by the teachers so that everyone did have a chance. I remember a job chart. Once a week weíd get new jobs.

 CK: So there were a number of other types of jobs that might be assigned.

 JL: Correct.

CK: What was the transition like for you when you began to attend public school?

 JL: I think the transition was fine. A lot of my friends were also going to the same junior high school, and my neighborhood friend, who had attended a public school up until that time, would be going to the same school.  School was now only five minutes from my house and so I often went home for lunch.

 CK: You lived very close. Please share any specific differences between public school and Campus School that especially affected you.

 JL: I donít think that I had any sense ofÖ

CK: Of the difference 

JL:  Yes.  I maybe realized that I didnít have access to things at the college, but there were so many other new things going on that Iím not sure how aware I was.

CK: How about the difference in grading system Ė getting a real report card versus the report?

JL: No.

CK: What further education did you pursue? College, graduate or professional school?

JL: I did my four years of college and also received my masterís degree in education.

CK: At Western?

JL: At Western.

CK: So you were a teacher?

JL: Yes.

CK: Do you think your Campus School experience influenced you as a teacher?

JL: I do know that because I went to school at eight oíclock, early, if I wasnít engaged in some activity that I was playing by myself, I would ask the teacher if I could help her. Thatís one thing I now remember about my report card, it always talked about my Ďhelping,í helping people. I enjoyed small children and started babysitting when I was quite young and was headed in my mind to be a nurse; thatís what I thought. I was about in the second grade and I was with my grandmother and someone asked me what I was going to be when I grew up and I said I was going to be a nurse; then I said maybe or a social worker. My grandmother spoke up and said, ďNo, youíre not. Youíre going to be a teacher like your mother.Ē  So it was like, Oh! Okay! Thatís what I always thought about being, a teacher. I donít ever recall thinking that there was another possibility.

CK: I guess what I was wondering is, since the Campus School experience at least from what I hear about it sounds a little different than some public school teaching, do you think that having a different experience in Campus School affected how you taught children in the first or the primary grades? You taught first and second grade.

JL: I donít think so, although I certainly loved my teachers in Kindergarten and first and second grades. They were just something else. They were really high in my mind, as wonderful ladies that made me feel so good. In that sense, I hope that I was able to do that through the years with my students, [and if so], then yes.

CK: Iíve heard you talk about your teaching experience and bringing, like you brought little snacks for instance, and things like that. I just wondered if anything like that was a carryover from Campus [School].

JL: Iím not so sure.

CK: How has your attendance at Campus School influenced your life, would you say?

JL: I think it was just a very supportive elementary school. We always had lots of opportunities and maybe at times we werenít as strong in academics -- I know that has sometimes been a complaint -- trying to provide so many experiences for the students. I just look back on it with good memories and the fact that we had a fairly stable class, and so we were a small family. We worked with each other. If somebody had a birthday, we were all invited. If someone was having a skating party, it was the whole class.

CK: Are you in touch with any of your Campus School classmates, and if so, can you help us contact them?

JL: No. [Laughter] You know, with some itís exchanging Christmas cards, and yes, I can provide those addresses.  Some I do still see, but the group that Iím in touch with the most was established in junior high.

CK: Do you have any Campus School memorabilia, including photographs or class publications or crafts or artwork, and may we contact you? I guess Iím telling you that because as you know, the museum is going to be doing an exhibit of Campus School and they are looking for things to be loaned or even donated.

JL: I will look.

CK: The last question is, please share with us any favorite memories of your campus school days, and any comments about areas not covered in the questions above?

JL: My one story that I always tell my grandchildren is about my second grade year.  I had to stay after school two different times. We had a spelling test every Friday and I had been warned by the teacher for a couple weeks not to put periods behind each one of my spelling words. I had somehow discovered that I thought it looked very pretty. They kept getting bigger and bigger! Finally, about the third week, when I had finished and turned in my paper with these periods at the end of each word, I was told that I would need to stay after school and redo my test. That was very traumatic because I had to call my grandmother and tell her that I had to stay after school. Then, also in second grade, I had to stay after school because I got caught kissing my boyfriend behind the classroom door!

Another odd thing I remember is that Campus School had ramps that went from the first floor to the second and there were no stairs!

CK: Do you know how or why?

JL: I do not know why. In those days, or when the school was built, they didnít have any of the handicap laws or regulations. The main floor bathrooms in the Campus School had shorter toilets and the sinks were also lower. They were built to fit the size of the children.  Why we had the ramps, I do not know. I can remember, because we always walked in school and especially on the ramps, that it was most fun either after school or when no one was looking to run down them as fast as you could!

CK: Iíll be darned! Well thank you very much Judy for the interview. Iíve really enjoyed listening to your memories.

JL: Thank you.