Special Collections Oral History Program
Frank "Moose" Zurline
Interviewer: Tamara Belts
Date of Interview: November 8, 2005
Location of Interview: Interviewee's residence, Bellingham, Wash.
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This interview was conducted with Frank "Moose" Zurline (MZ) at his home in Bellingham, Washington, on November 8th, 2005. The interviewer is Tamara Belts. His wife Vi (VZ) is also present and makes some comments.
TB: Today is Tuesday, November 8th, 2005, and I am here with Moose Zurline. He did just sign the Informed Consent Agreement and we are about to do an oral history.
My first question is why did you choose to attend Western?
MZ: Because it was as close as I could get. In those days we didn’t have cars. We didn’t own one. We weren’t rich enough. Chuck Lappenbusch at the time was a coach at Western. He walked down the street to get me. He watched me play in high school. So when I graduated in 1942, he enrolled me in Western. I drove a bus for a while when I was at Western. We used to shuttle people to Battersby Field. All the local people who played on the team, they knew me or I knew them. So that’s how I happened to go to Western. I almost lived on the campus!
TB: Right, you were just saying you lived just to the south of campus.
MZ: Yes, a couple blocks.
TB: Why don’t you tell me where you grew up.
MZ: I was born in San Diego, California. My mother married a sailor. But my grandparents owned quite a bit of property on 24th and Douglas, so we had a home there and I was raised there. The buses went right by it. The buses started coming in 1942 and went up 24th Street and around over the hill to Western. We lived there for probably all my life except for a short period of time we lived on 14th Street by Lowell School. My grade school days were Lowell and Larrabee. I played football in high school, and I graduated in 1942 from Bellingham High. In the fall of ’42 they got me to come to Western to play football and basketball. I played the fall of ’42, then the war started and I got drafted, so I went overseas with the Army engineers. When I came back, I re-enrolled at Western and played football and basketball and then I graduated in 1950 and went out and taught school at Edison. I was teaching for a while, a year or two, and then I went into business selling appliances for fellows by the name of Al McNeill and David Morse. Al passed away this year and David Morse is still active. Then I went into business for myself. I sold appliances.
TB: When you worked for Mr. Morse, was that also appliances?
MZ: Yes, that was at Bellingham Hardware. I started refereeing after college, I started being an official in football and basketball. I officiated twenty-five years of basketball and forty years of football before I had enough sense to retire!
TB: You also started your own appliance store then?
MZ: Yes, I started my own; “Moose Zurline’s” I called it.
TB: How long did you have your appliance store?
MZ: The appliance store, I started it, and then Red Haskell bought me out and I moved on to his building so I sold there for many years. I stayed in the appliance business because I could referee football and basketball in the evening. I sold a lot to the college. College kids had apartments there. I was there for probably thirty years or so. Then I went and sold incinerators for Haskell. We built them and sold them. Burning large incinerators: it’s better than burying the garbage; we buried the ash. Then all of a sudden Chuck Wilder wanted to be in this business so I joined [him]. I only had two or three bosses in my life: Chuck Wilder, Red Haskell, Al McNeill and David Morse. David Morse and Al McNeill both owned Bellingham Hardware together.
TB: How did you get started with Zurline Travel then?
MZ: Vi was working part-time for a travel agency in Bellingham. All of a sudden everything came together and we ended up buying the travel agency. I was just a coolie then. I am doing the same thing at the travel agency right now, delivering tickets, as I did when they started. I was about 46 or so. It’s amazing how it grew.
TB: So you did have the travel agency at the same time that you were selling other things? That was more Vi that did the travel agency?
MZ: She kept her business completely separate.
TB: That’s great. Let’s back up a little bit here. What were your exact dates of attendance at Western?
MZ: 1942 in the fall and then I had to come back in 1945. I graduated in 1950 because there was the war in between.
TB: How long were you in the war?
MZ: Two years in Europe.
TB: What degrees or certificates did you get from Western?
MZ: Bachelor of Education.
TB: Did you get any other degrees elsewhere?
TB: Did any other members of your family attend Western?
TB: What was your first job after leaving Western?
MZ: Teaching school at Edison down in Skagit County -- Edison Grade School.
TB: And how long were you down there?
MZ: A year and a half.
TB: And you just didn’t like teaching?
MZ: No, Al McNeill talked me into coming to the hardware store. He was a good salesman. He talked me into coming to sell appliances for him. We had a large appliance store; our only competitor was Sears & Roebuck.
TB: When you were going to Western, where did you live?
MZ: First I lived at home before I got married because it was only two blocks up to campus. Then when I got married we lived on Huntoon Drive. It was a housing project on campus down probably almost where the Carver Gym is now, right in the back of that area. There was a road going there. There was Huntoon and a couple of old Army barracks they moved in.
TB: And that was like Veterans’ housing, then?
MZ: Yes, mostly. Most of the veterans started coming back from the war in 1946, ’47, ’48 and I graduated in ’50.
TB: Who were your favorite or most influential teachers and why?
MZ: Probably the most influential teacher was Charles Lappenbusch, he was my coach. Then following him was Dean McDonald.
TB: Tell me why he was so influential.
MZ: Lappenbusch took me under his wing as a son. If you made a mistake there was no yelling or screaming or flunking or anything like that; he worked you through it until you understood it. We had a teacher named Tom Hunt in geography. He made it interesting because [he took] each day at a time, what caused the weather [to be what it was] like today and why was it smooth yesterday? He taught different. He didn’t teach out of the book, he taught from common sense. There were a lot of good teachers. Another one was Mr. Arntzen. Arntzen Hall is named after him. He was one I had. I was a commercial fisherman, also. So when I got out of teaching school, in the summertime, when there were no sports, I commercial fished. I needed one credit to graduate and the summer came, the summer of 1950. On the fishing boat I would study every day when we weren’t fishing. I came back and had to be interviewed by Dr. Arntzen. I thought well I better bring him a great big salmon, probably a thirty-five, forty pound salmon. I cleaned it all up, wrapped it all up and brought it, “Here you are.” I thought that might help [pass the] class. I remember getting a B out of him so I could graduate. It was only one credit!
TB: What was your main course of study? What did you major in?
MZ: Physical education and my secondary was geography.
TB: So when you were at Edison, is that what you taught?
TB: Geography and physical education?
MZ: And all sports.
TB: Did you coach there too?
TB: This is kind of the same question but what classes did you like the best and/or learn the most from?
MZ: Tom Hunt in geography. World history and geography were the best, those two classes. Then I learned a lot in football, naturally, and all sports. In those days, you could play anything at Western -- football, basketball and baseball. You didn’t just have to play football. We probably didn’t get too good of grades if we played a lot of sports.
TB: What other extracurricular activities did you enjoy the most?
MZ: Playing sports.
TB: Did you do any student teaching at the Campus School?
MZ: One quarter. That year, 1950, I won’t be perfectly right on this, but that 1950 class at Western was the first class that they put students into public school buildings to teach. We always taught at Campus School. Then as the war got more over and soldiers were coming back, there were more students going in, there was not enough room to have [everybody] student teaching in the Campus School. Three or four of us in a group were assigned to Larrabee School. We taught one quarter there.
There was a Dr. Hawk at Campus School, I was [around] there because I student taught and Vi was involved with the travel agency, Dr. Hawk told us (our baby was just born, our daughter) he said, “Sign up right now or you won’t get in!” [Our children] went to Campus School when they got ready to go to school. But that’s how we got in there.
TB: Please share any other special memories of your college [ties].
MZ: We got real close from a lot of the coaching, naturally. And the presidents of the [college we] knew most of them. There seemed to be in the latter years, more like when Dr. Ross was here, he had more people into his home for gatherings. He’d have the seniors come in and then he got killed. But that’s where the closeness for me started to grow.
TB: It was actually when Dr. Ross came?
MZ: Yes, and we got real close because we had the travel business, too. We used to have a Dr. Bond, Bond Hall, and the function was down at Larrabee State Park, that big salmon barbeque in the summer. We got all the people that came down there. Everybody jammed in together. We didn’t have a lot of cars around to shuttle people, they didn’t have buses or any of that stuff.
But after [that] other presidents, Olscamp, Bunke and then Ross. Ross had the idea of a larger house, had more parties, really. But he’d have “senior day” and he’d have this day and that day. We grew into that and then Kenny Mortimer came along and each one of these, in my opinion, had a different function with the school. Ken Mortimer was not as athletic-minded as say, Ross was or Karen Morse. It just makes kind of a wave of people come through; you get to know more people, and those are all good memories of people. People would give sculptures and you would learn a lot about that. Certain professors wrote books, like Flora, Tadpole Critters. And when you read a book and you know the person who wrote it, it makes the book more interesting. So that’s how I got started in Western. But mainly I lived so close to it.
When I was a small kid, living on 24th and Douglas, where Campus School is, in that general area, that was the football field. They didn’t have any lights or anything. [It was] probably more toward the hillside of Sehome. They had a big fence around it. On game day, they would put canvas up so people would have to pay to get in. They put the canvas up and the track was there. I was around there a lot. Then there used to be, coming down 21st Street, coming north, down where the Communications Building is, you used to go straight down through, then you went down that low valley and to the left [would be where] Carver Gym [is now]. It wasn’t there then. There was a great big rock right where the bridge goes over now from between Wilson Library and Haggard Hall and College Hall was over there. This big rock, it was one lane only to go through over to High Street. That was a main thoroughfare. You went right down High Street a little ways. But then pretty soon they kept digging it a little wider and a little wider, and pretty soon Wilson Library was there right at the edge of the rock. So we walked on 21st Street, curved through there. Wintertime it would flood over. You drove in water about that deep. So that’s how I got real familiar with Western a lot more than other people would have.
TB: Can you tell me a little bit more about Lappenbusch? I know he had something called the “straight line defense.”
MZ: He had an idea, and books have been written on it. You probably have his books in the archives. If you take a field in football and you have a line, and you have the quarterback in the back field, what you have here is a straight line. His idea was that these guys up here would be like wings. If a player went this way, you swung out and you blocked them in. He had more innovative ideas. They would have two players here and two players here, and just play regular football. Lappenbusch turned this real thin one line, three people, myself right here, or Jack Frazier, Mel Lindbloom, right in a line like that, real thin. So you could watch them. As soon as they come moving toward you, you’d close right up that gap. That was the straight line. It’s like a ‘T’ upside down. It was so successful that major colleges started using it because of this wing atmosphere. If you watch football on TV today, you’ll see the whole mass of guys coming the same way, the runner and the blockers. Well Lappenbusch cut all that. He brought the whole line over with him. He had little innovative ideas in that way. He was real influential. He was a teacher, where a lot of people today are coaches, not too good as teachers. They teach football only. But Lappenbusch, he had kinesiology. We’d get a bad bruise or something and he’d do more than a chiropractor! He called his class ‘Kinesiology’ and we all got credit for it.
TB: Well, can you talk about some of your games? You guys used to play Central, didn’t you?
MZ: At that time it was a little different than it is today. They had the church schools, which were UPS, Pacific Lutheran, Linfield, Whitworth, and then the state-supported schools were Central and Eastern. Then of course Eastern went to a higher league now. It was a fantastic league because you didn’t spend all the money traveling all over the United States. They were all confined to the schools in [Washington] and Oregon: Linfield, Willamette, PLU, UPS, Whitworth, Ashland, Oregon. There were six teams, all religious-supported. I don’t know about Ashland, if it was religious-supported. But there you see, when someone came to town, there was always a bunch of people at the stadium, as much as now or more, at Battersby Field, because everybody had people going to school at some of those schools. You had a lot of kids from Bellingham that went to Pacific Lutheran, so their parents would all come see their sons play. Right now if you had to go to a football game, would you go to a game with Mesa State or Grand Central? It doesn’t mean a thing to you. But if Central came or Eastern came or Whitworth came, there is more of a spirited type of people. Then they started breaking off because we give scholarships, not many, but Central gives scholarships and Eastern gives scholarships, well Eastern made off and went to Division I (to a different classification). But here was Western out on the end who gives scholarship and grant aid, and you see church schools and they gave nothing. If you went to PLU, you got some kind of help in classes and books and stuff like that, but there was no funding, maybe room and board or something like that. So they pulled out, they’ve got six teams by themselves, all church-league, all the same rules. That’s what started breaking it up.
TB: Okay, what about basketball and Coach MacDonald, what was he like?
MZ: He was new. He was a basketball player and he was big. See, Lappenbusch had football and basketball when I was there, both sports, and a master of both; different psychology; very slow, low-key, and a “get the job done” idea. He put this formation straight line defense and everybody thinks it’s football, but he used it in basketball, too. You only had five people now [but] he put three up and two in line. His idea was, there’s one basket, they have to get there somehow. So he would just keep cutting them off with his swinging. But they don’t write that up too much because you can’t see it so obviously. But when “Mac” yelled something at you, you shook. The whole gym shook!
TB: Now, did you try out for baseball, too?
MZ: One year; they only had it for a couple years. Everybody kind of filled in; it was kind of a fill-in sport. I wasn’t much of a baseball player. I just took up space.
TB: You were the first [road] trip by air, the first flight, any thoughts about that? Was that a big deal?
MZ: Oh yes, it was. Students were out in the airport and I have pictures of the airport with me standing in front and it’s West Coast Airlines. We flew to Spokane. That was a big deal! That was a big deal for Lappenbusch to fly [the team] to Spokane. They had a big picture [taken] out in front of the airport before we left. I happened to be the tallest there. They had people on the stairs [of the plane]. I had a big ‘W’ on my shirt.
TB: Was that to play both Eastern and Whitworth?
MZ: No, just Whitworth. You couldn’t stay away from school two weeks, so you would fly over for one week and play on a Saturday. I think we would go like a Thursday, turn on Friday, play Saturday, then fly home.
TB: Any other thoughts about football or about some of your companions, like Mel Lindbloom?
MZ: I graduated in 1950 and most of that group did. Lappenbusch kept having a party every year for many, many years. He’d have them either in the Bellingham area, or after he retired we went down to [where he lived]. I followed up, Jack Frazier and I and Mel Lindbloom and Les Winters, there’s a lot of them, probably three quarters of the team, we all had to go down to Lappenbusch’s house when he was sick. He had a big place in Enumclaw. He had visions of environment. He owned lots of property in Bellingham and Whatcom County. He had a tree farm, he got into the tree business. He went to Sequim and lived in Sequim for a long time, his wife and he. Then he had a place in Enumclaw. He sold thousands of trees a year. He had a big tree farm. Then he got sick.
TB: Oh, did he have cancer?
MZ: Yes. But every year when it was his birthday, maybe eight or ten of the team would go down there. Bob Niegemann and a lot of Bellingham people here would come down. Then they started peeling off, dying here and dying there. But we still, we’ve been down now to Bob Niegemann’s house on Camano Island and we visit six or seven of us every year. But probably who influenced me mostly on being a loyal Western supporter was Lappenbusch. We tell more stories about him, you know. Vi worked in the bookstore when I was playing football after we got married. Lappenbusch was crazy to work for and that was Vi’s boss, Lappenbusch.
TB: He ran the bookstore, too?
MZ: Louie Earl worked in the bookstore, but Lappenbusch had an office over in Carver Gym and Vi was over in that office. But he had a very close association and we bought everything on campus. Lappenbusch also refereed a little bit and he was on the phone one day and Louie Earl was over in Old Main, Lappenbusch was in Carver Gym, and he says, “I want a pair of shoes just like this one.” And he was serious! He was going to explain to Louie Earl why he wanted that shoe, and Louie didn’t have it. We always tell stories like that.
TB: That’s great. What was Homecoming like back then?
MZ: We went out to, and it’s now a parking lot, but that area that was flat going down south. All week long they’d bring wood in and paper boxes and they had a big bonfire, a tremendous sized fire! They had an engine up there, there was a group with a fire hose and all. They would get much larger turnouts. There wasn’t as much activity in those days. Now they have breakfasts, they have this and they have that and they have tours of the city, tours of the campus. We came up there and probably had a beer bust and this fire. But that was all. And then all the houses down High Street, see High Street was still a main road, there was no music center, so you would go down High Street and there was Daniel’s Hall and these different campus houses. They would all decorate up for Homecoming. Then they would have a parade downtown right through the middle of town.
TB: Now did you guys have a big rival back then?
MZ: Central; Central and Eastern.
TB: Has it always been those schools?
MZ: Always those schools.
TB: Any other thoughts about people like Frank Gayda?
MZ: Yes, he was on the team with me; Leroy Wade and Les Winters. Lappenbusch recruited down in that area of southwest Washington. A fellow by the name of Clayton was the kicker. We didn’t have masks on our face, you know. If we got hit, we got our nose broke. But all that group, most of them are still alive and still in this area. Homecoming weekend, it looks like it’s large now because there’s a lot of people, but it’s tours and educational, seeing the buildings and all that. We didn’t have all those buildings, but we had all these houses. I can’t remember them all now, right over where Viking Union is. That was all homes there, all the way across there, and people lived in them. They rented to the college kids. Daniels Hall was where most of the sports figures went. It’s still there, that building. I don’t think it’s called Daniels Hall. They had a big contest every year. It was all decorated up; all the houses were. Then they had this big parade right down through Holly Street and down on Cornwall Avenue and come right around and back to the campus.
TB: Wow. So do you think Bellingham used to be more supportive of Western?
MZ: Yes, because there was nothing else to do. The games were played at Battersby Field. You know where that is?
TB: Yes. So what was it like playing at Battersby Field?
MZ: Like a mud hole! We always had a good time. One year we played Central, the last game of the season, it was cold and blustery and mud a foot thick. I was trying to play kicker. I remember that game so well because we went into it tied at the end of the game and I made a point and won the game! Over there (at our rivals) it was the same way. The wind blew so hard, you’d kick the ball right in the middle of the goal posts and it would blow it out. Central has always been a friendly deal like that. Then the basketball coach, Mr. Nicholson, his son Dean became a pro basketball player. Those people you became closely associated with.
End of tape 1, side 1
We usually played most of the schools twice, just like we do now. Their field was so nice in the fall because of the dry climate and harder than hell. But we always felt the equalizer over here was the rain and the mud. And they had big wood stands on Battersby Field. It was a baseball field, all coming down home plate and around. The other thing interesting in our time, my time, Western, at football halftime always had a marching band. Blue and white uniforms, nice uniforms, now you get a drummer in the stands and a couple trumpet players, it’s different. They don’t have a marching band now. You go to the games, don’t you?
MZ: Did you see the day Ferndale was there? That’s what they had all the time. It was a heck of a show. Only the band marched the whole season. Don Walters, he was the band master. When they had a parade, he would march right through the middle of town, the whole dang thing. But there weren’t as many students, either.
TB: Anything else about your own time as a student at Western that I haven’t asked or that you would like to talk about?
MZ: The thing that really amazed me of this group, Gayda, Winters, Boyd and all those guys, they all went into coaching, so I started seeing a lot of them refereeing. It’s amazing, one man – Lappenbusch – kept this nucleus together. We still see each other. As time went on, we had parties in Seattle. There would be fifty, sixty people show up. They would all pay their own [way] just to get in and show some movies of last year’s season. These are the guys from all over the Northwest, and it was coaches. Well, he was the most influential teacher I held close to me. I’ll tell you another person that is influential to his players like Lappenbusch was to us, is Rob Smith, the fellow who just resigned. He had a real close-knit with his players, very close. But players have a different attitude now. They got so many things to do. They can go skiing, they can go here, go there, go boating, sailing. We didn’t have that. [There is] soccer going on, this going on, every night of the week you could go to some kind of game.
TB: That’s right. Do you think the players today are less disciplined?
MZ: Oh, I wouldn’t want to be quoted as saying that, but there’s a different attitude.
TB: Distracted? They’re more distracted.
MZ: Distracted. That’s the best word to use.
TB: Why don’t you tell me a little bit more about your refereeing. Did you referee high school or college?
MZ: Both. When I graduated, there was a couple [of referees]. Two of them [from] Lynden, then Mr. Isham went into refereeing, Frank was coaching, so they talked me into coming in (Mr. Fisher did) just one year out of there. I was lucky because I knew Coach Nicholson at Central, [and the Eastern coach], the two coaches. They accepted me to work the Western games, which was unusual. Haggarty was a professional official, so he wanted me to go into basketball, too. Just influential, these people let me start real early. That’s the only reason I got the forty years of football. It was available.
TB: We haven’t talked about Dr. Haggard, either. What was he like as a president when you were there?
MZ: We had an auditorium in Old Main then, a large auditorium, all the students [went there], probably a few hundred. Dr. Haggard would wander around all dressed [up] in his tie, no sports mind at all. He’d come to the games and knew everybody by name and when we’d have any meeting going on, everybody would be talking, and he would put his hand up, “Quite please.” As soon as he would put his hand up, all [went quiet]. [Also] when we were there, it was – “Nobody walk on the grass!”
TB: I’ve heard that.
MZ: Absolutely. He lived down by the alumni house at the corner house on Oak Street. He didn’t associate with everything, but he really spoke very high of all his students. “By the way, stay off the grass.” To this day when I’m up there I don’t go on the grass! That’s influential!
When they called an assembly, the auditorium was plum full and he got his point across. He was a different type of president. He belonged to the rotary is about all, but the [college] was clear on top of the hill and here was the city. It [was] a long time before these two factors got together. I remember when I was in the Lions Club and stuff, I would get speakers down. We used to have campus speakers come down if you were on the program committee. But you had to work at it. I can’t remember what president decided that he was going to do something downtown. Do you remember, Vi?
VZ: Well the first one that was having meetings was the funny guy that sang the operetta.
VZ: He was an egotistical man. Then Bob Ross was the next president I believe. We met Dr. Jarrett the great books man because he came over to our house one day; Bernice was across the street.
MZ: Bernice Hall.
VZ: She was on the Board of Trustees and so we got to meet him but I think it was a little hard. Of course we were a lot younger then, too, it was a little hard unless you talked on their level. What Moose and I found with Bob Ross and then Kenny and now Karen, even though you don’t have the doctorate degrees and stuff, they are still good people and they have a lot of fun.
MZ: Dr. Ross became the Fourth Corner Development president while he was still president of the college. But he was the first one to get the city to start coming up the hill.
VZ: Well I remember being on that board, and that’s when the foundation started getting more active, as I recall. I could be wrong because Bernice said it was going like eighteen or nineteen years [before] but strictly within the college, I think. Then when we started getting out into the community more, it was quite interesting the different things that we did. And Ross would go along with them.
MZ: At the end of the football season, he’d have all the families to his home on Toledo, the President’s house.
TB: All the athletes?
MZ: Parents, too.
VZ: We did that for several years. It was for a lot of stuff.
MZ: There was nothing off-campus before.
VZ: We maybe weren’t involved, either. You don’t want to take just our word for it, but it seemed to me that in the last…when did Ross come?
VZ: That’s only twenty some years. It seems to me that the college became a big factor in the community in these last twenty-five years.
MZ: The people going for money like Haskells and Diehls and working the foundation downtown, doing business, it brought a lot of new people to the university. They’ve done a better job at the university of selling it, but you never heard of going off and having meetings in Seattle. Do you ever remember going to Seattle for a meeting?
VZ: I went down once or twice but you know, it’s been so long. I’ve worked on the board back since when Jeanene put me on and Dr. Ross. You know, you forget, but I was busy working then, too.
TB: One of the things that would be interesting to me, and it’s a little bit different than what you were saying, but how do you get more support for Western athletics downtown? You go to some schools or towns and it’s all painted. You go to Beaverton, Oregon, and everything is orange and black. If you were in downtown Bellingham, you would never know that we had the Western Vikings.
VZ: That’s true. When we started that scholarship for Moose back in the Eighties, that was the first one, I guess. We just started a small one, we couldn’t afford more than that. It’s interesting how more and more people got involved. When they started moving out, it was surprising what people gave. A lot of people wouldn’t give to athletics, but they gave [to our scholarship].
MZ: I worked for Al McNeill and he was so tight, a real Scotchman. If he gave a hundred dollars, it was lucky. We went to a party at the Canada House one night and David Morse came over and said to me, “Moose, did I hear right about Al giving some money?” He said, “How much money did he give?” “$250,000.” “No!” He wouldn’t believe me, he had to go and ask Karen.
MZ: And that’s how you nurture these people along.
VZ: Well, if they have the money and they feel the need to give it away to something, a lot of people can be talked into [giving to] the university. There are so many good things that go on up there. Peggy had a little scholarship going because she was a pianist. Peggy Hamstreet. I don’t know how big it is now because she died, but it was music. So you get into so many different phases and people have so many different interests. Not everybody cares about athletics.
MZ: One of the friends that served with me, he thinks I saved his life in the war, he comes out to visit from Michigan. I showed him the campus and we went to the games here and everything. I just thought if he could give $1000 it would be real nice. He went back. We were talking now for three or four days (his wife and he stayed here). He sent into the scholarship [fund] a $5000 check.
VZ: It made Moose feel good because he could well afford it. If people can’t afford it, you can understand.
MZ: It used to get so bad, Jim Brooks, I would come to his place and he would be in his office at the stairway right at the top and he would stand at the top of the stairs, “Okay how much now?” I think we’re not selling a lot of these people real well. That isn’t the fault of the people. Every place in the world has a foundation now. You can get three letters a day some days!
VZ: A good example of that is St. Luke’s Foundation. When the hospital was closed, they started St. Luke’s Foundation. Our foundation was funded because of the sale of St. Luke’s, so we had over ten or eleven million dollars. Now St. Joseph (and we gave a lot of money to St. Joseph’s) is starting their own foundation, which Frank has been working on, and already they’ve gotten up to three million, but it is the only hospital in town. So there’s all kinds of places to put your money is what Moose means, when it comes time to give money.
MZ: When the growth of Western, beyond what it’s doing now (athletic I’m talking) is when they get a field on the campus and seats and the parking. You know, you ask a person to go to basketball game and he might be halfway down to my mother’s house before he can park to walk to it.
VZ: They have the shuttle honey.
MZ: Yes, they got the shuttle.
VZ: But they get a good turnout at the college basketball games.
MZ: Yes, they’re getting better. Football’s not as good because you have to go off campus.
TB: Right. It’s harder for students to get there, or at least that’s what they say. Any other thoughts about the growth of athletics, or the role of the athletic director?
MZ: Oh yes, I knew them all. We had a big swimming program too, but I credit Don Wiseman with the pool and everything. And you had Bill Tomaras, who was the football and wrestling coach. He was an athletic director, too. Then you always had a woman athletic director over there. Lynda Goodrich and Ruth Weythman go way back and Margaret Aiken.
VZ: Chappelle Arnett.
MZ: So you had kind of a split, women and men. Then you had a whole big turnover in the athletic department because you had [Fred] Emerson, he was a player up there. He was a football coach for a while. You had Jim Lounsberry. He was there a long time. What’s the football player from Notre Dame, the big guy?
VZ: That went to Notre Dame?
VZ: I don’t remember.
MZ: There were quite a few coaches there for a year or two in basketball. Then all of a sudden you get Rob (football) for seventeen years and you also have Brad (basketball). Then you have the finest fast pitch softball [coach], Lonnie Hicks. It’s fantastic. He’s doing a good job there.
VZ: There was also Boyde Long, did you mention him?
MZ: Yes, Boyde Long, he was a good football coach and athletic director, too. But they slowly started growing together into one person like we have now. These people have supported the foundation, [provided] money for athletics. I keep in touch with a lot of them. I write a letter out every year. It’s just surprising how much comes in. I’m on the foundation board and I think that watching friends like Jean Burnet and my daughter and my son who went to Washington State, Jean went to Stanford, and I see these bulletins come through. The one thing they work on are memorials and deaths.
VZ: And they work on their alum.
MZ: They work their alum way harder. We haven’t had a director until now. Bill Farkas, he left. Chris Goldsmith was a real fine worker and worked hard, but I don’t know why in the world [he didn’t] go off the campus [more]. We had at a couple cruises in southeast Alaska so we set up an alumni meeting in Ketchican one year. Then Harrington, what was her first name? I think she works for Don Haggen now -- Mary Ann.
TB: That’s it.
MZ: And her husband is out at the campus, too.
VZ: Actually, when you think back, Moose, when the other men were the coaches and stuff, you were close to Mac because you played a lot of ball with Mac. But the beginning of the expanding of the foundation and everything is probably what put a lot of things together because the foundation was always there but not extensive.
MZ: Lynda Goodrich and Vi have a scholarship in my name. It’s surprising, I looked at all the football players and it’s amazing how much money we raised from them putting money into the foundation in my name, a couple thousand dollars.
I’ll tell you one thing. Western is growing and is going to grow more, were going to be confined in area. The largest thing that should be done -- you know they have that new communication building, and there’s one more building going up now, they’ve got the stadium, they got the mat down and everything and the field -- they have to have the stands put up there. So in the future they can have all these large functions on campus. Suppose they want to have a marching band? Where do they practice? There’s not enough room except the football field. I think that the next step is a natural. I had a drawing made of it because we were going to go ahead with it and then they decided we didn’t raise enough money (because it was about twelve years for the football field). You can put the stands right up there and drive right under it. The far side is already sloped. It’s just natural.
TB: Do you think they’re going to do that sometime?
MZ: If it’s going to come, I’ll probably be gone! I think with a good drive put on by the whole campus, alumni and everybody, if it functioned right and you marketed it right, it could be a winner.
TB: You know, this isn’t exactly the right [time] to ask this, but I’m going to ask it anyway. Why are you called Moose?
MZ: When I was in grade school, just starting at Larrabee. We lived on the south side. On the south side of town, a lot Slovakians lived and they all had nicknames. Like Andy Vitaljic, there’s three Andy Vitaljic’s all about the same age; and Zuanich and all these different people. One Vitaljic was a tall kid, they called him High Pocket. Then another one looked like Andy Gump and they called him “Gumps.” Another one had chickens, we called him “Chickie.” Zuanich lived right behind my house on 14th street. We had a basket up there. I was just a big kid, my folks were in the fishing business and my arms were strong helping with the nets in the summertime. So I would bump him and knock him down. He says, “Geez, you damn moose!” He was a little guy and we called him “Batini.” To this day, it’s been my nickname, in fact with some of the jobs I’ve had they’ve decided my name was Moose Zurline.
VZ: They don’t even know that he has a name!
MZ: So it just kept carrying on. Then when I got to high school, I was around 225, 250, so I was big in those days. Some of my friends were about your size and I’d go in for a practice tackle, bang into them, they’d say “Jesus Christ Moose! Find someone your size!” So it just kind of stayed on.
VZ: It’s pretty cute because different people say, “Does Moose have another name?” I said, “Yes, his mother didn’t name him Moose when he was born!” It’s kind of funny.
MZ: It just caught on, business wise, sports wise, and public relation wise, it was a good nickname. That was the reason to do it, to make Frank Zurline and Frank Zuanich, distinctive.
VZ: Lots of people have the same name. Yes, it’s hard.
MZ: Not as much as they used to.
VZ: We all had nicknames.
TB: Anything else I haven’t asked you that you would like to comment on?
VZ: The only thing for me is I think being involved in our university. Everything is so important when you are a part of this community. I don’t have a degree from Western, but we’ve tried to do all the things [we could]. In fact, when Moose and I first got married, Mac promised me a job. Moose was fishing. Wasn’t that it?
MZ: Yes. Was that Lappy or Mac?
VZ: That was Mac. And Mac said , “Oh you don’t need a job, Moose has a good position.” So I went to Dr. Haggard. Dr. Haggard was so sweet! And he got me a job and I worked for Lappenbusch and Ruth Weythman. “Lappy” – I think I’m one of the few women he mentions in his book.
TB: Oh, really?
VZ: Yes, for some reason. There was something, he couldn’t quite figure me out, I think. That was kind of fun to be involved that way. That Lappy, he would be on the phone and say, “I want a shoe just like this one!” Outer space! Anyway, I think community involvement first, I feel that’s important.
MZ: If you took all the teachers from our time and stand them around downtown Bellingham, then ask them a story about Western, Lappenbusch’s name would always come up. He was a character. When he spoke at the Rotary Club or the Lion’s Club, honest to god, they would shake their head.
VZ: How about Leon? Have you interviewed him?
TB: Leon who?
VZ: He was in the class of ’38. They are both still alive. They live over at the ‘Pink Palace’ now. Betty and Leon are pretty interesting people.
TB: Ok, thank you very much.