Special Collections Oral History Program
Laurence W. Brewster
Professor Emeritus of Speech
Interviewer: Tamara Belts
Date of Interview: June 3, 2004
Location of Interview: Interviewee's home, Bellingham, Washington
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TB: Iím here today with Dr. Laurence Brewster, who is a retired Professor Emeritus from Western Washington University and he has just signed the Informed Consent Agreement and we are now going to proceed with our oral history.
I know that you attended Yankton College, so I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about what Dr. Nash was like because he had been President of Western very early on.
LB: Yes, I think that perhaps Iím the only one that was a student of Dr. Nash from 1933 to 1937. He was here at Western from 1915 to 1924, I think they were the dates. Then he was chairman of the Committee for Higher Education of the Congregational Church and was in Chicago. He was a chairman of a committee to find someone to take the presidency of Yankton College. Finally they said, "How about you taking it?" He said, "All right, Iíll take it for a while. Iíll take it temporarily." He ended up taking it until about 1945, something like that. During his tenure he increased the endowment as well as obtaining funds for two buildings, a menís dormitory and a science hall and auditorium.
He was an ordained minister and was quite strict so far as the students were concerned. Two or three times a week we sat in assigned seats in the auditorium for a meeting of all students. It was not "chapel" and was never religious in nature, but frequently a faculty member spoke, a student from the music department performed, or we had student meetings or entertainments of some sort. Dr. Nash spoke frequently. At one time a student broke some rule or misbehaved and Dr. Nash made a speech in regard to "rotten apples in the barrel;" and how when he was a boy they used to make sure that there were no rotten apples in the barrel because that one rotten apple would infect others. And so the same thing was true with the student body at Yankton, "rotten apples" would be eliminated.
But he was really quite liberal. We had dances on the campus, which was not true of the Lutheran colleges in the mid-west at that time. There were dormitory hours for the girls but not for the boys. Girls did not wear shorts or slacks which was true for girls at Western for a period of time. No smoking on the campus except in your room.
Dr. Nash was a very approachable person. Students could come and talk to him at any time. He knew Joseph Ward, the founder of the college, and spoke of him occasionally.
TB: Was there a Harriet Willoughby at Yankton when you were there?
LB: No, I donít recall anyone by that name.
TB: She came to Western because of Dr. Nash. She worked wherever he had worked before, and then when he came to Western, she came and taught here for a while.
And what about Mrs. Nash? Didnít she play the piano or something?
LB: I donít recall her playing the piano but I remember her and their daughter well.
The daughter was a bit of a rebel. She stayed in the dorm and frequently came in the front door but soon exited out another. But both she and Mrs. Nash were here in Bellingham when we came. Mrs. Nash was a very demonstrative individual and used to come to the faculty banquets that we had in the fall, and when she would see me across the room, she would wave and say, "Hello Laurence!" I knew Mrs. Nash very well.
TB: Now, physically, was he a very big man?
LB: Yes, he was a big, heavy man.
TB: Tall and heavy?
LB: Right. He developed cancer at some time, I believe it was in the late 30ís and he went to the Mayo Clinic and became acquainted with the original Mayo brothers, Charles and Will, and he persuaded them to come to Yankton to give the baccalaureate and commencement addresses. And so they were at my commencement in 1937. I will say they were very good doctors but lousy speakers, as many physicians are. Anyhow they were there at my commencement and I have a picture of them with Dr. Nash.
Dr. Nash worked at Yankton until I think about the end of the war, about 1945. Even though he had lived here for a relatively short time he still seemed to think of it as home, and returned here after he retired and it is here that he died. The service was held at the First Congregational Church where he had been an active member while here at Bellingham Normal. .
TB: Okay, then weíll skip up to your career at Western. How did you happen to come to Western?
LB: Well, because of Dr. Nash. He referred to Bellingham Normal a number of times and that sort of stuck in my head. I taught in various places and then in 1947 I decided that I wanted to come to the Pacific Northwest and so I wrote a letter to the president of Western Washington College of Education, got a letter back from Dr. Haggard asking for my credentials and soon was hired.
TB: What about when you came, Sene Carlile came the same year or just before?
LB: He came the year before I did. He came in í47 and I came in í48.
TB: Was there a big growth in the student population at that time?
LB: It was just at the time that the GIís were coming back and so we did have a slight increase at that time but nothing like we had in later years. There were just three of us in the department at that time, Victor Hoppe, Sene, and I. There was an assumption that Vic would retire at the end of that year, but the policy was that one could stay into the year of your birthday. Vic was extremely reluctant to retire and at the end of that time Vic asked to stay an additional year and ended up staying for four years.
TB: What was Vic Hoppe like?
LB: He had come to Western in 1915 as a graduate from the Boston School of Expression. He was an enthusiastic teacher of Shakespeare. He had Angus Bowmer as a student and Bowmer credits Vic as his inspiration to start the Oregon Shakespearean Festival. He also did the theater work and was an enthusiastic practitioner of Theater in the Round as it had been developed by Glen Hughes at the University of Washington. He did a play each year in this way on the third floor of Edens Hall and one on the small stage of the Campus School auditorium. He would persuade a student who had a smattering of knowledge regarding scenery to build a set in the attic of Old Main and then transport it to the Campus School. This is how theater was done during my first three years.
TB: What was the atmosphere in the speech department like when you came?
LB: As there were just the three of us we were pretty busy. For quite a few years all students, as part of the General Education requirements, took two quarters of English and one quarter of speech to be taken in any sequence. As the student body grew we had to offer more and more sections of speech so we hired individuals from the community and also some capable upper class students. One was Doug Vander yacht who later went on to get his PhD and later came back to Western as a faculty member, and Bill Ellwood who also got his doctorate and later became president of a small college in New England so we thought they were pretty good picks.
In the fall of 1951 the Auditorium was finished and Vic decided he would like to do a Shakespearean play "in the round" in the lobby. He chose The Merchant of Venice but it was not very successful as there was not enough space for the actors and the audience. In the spring he decided to do Life with Father on the auditorium stage and asked me to do the set. Of course I was doing a full load of teaching at the time. The only help I had was some volunteer student help as we had no classes in theater at that time. I had at the most three or four students who helped me. I had a bench saw and a hammer plus a few spot lights and that was about it but I built the first set for the auditorium. I really worked during that time. These individuals in theater have no idea how much work it was for one person. The role of father was taken by Richard Wahl who later became a news announcer for one of the networks in Los Angeles.
When Vic Hoppe retired in 1952 Dr. Haggard asked me to take over the work in theater. I had directed shows in high schools and also at Wartburg College and I said I would only do so if we hired a tech man and so we hired Mark Flanders. I had known Mark at the University of Iowa where he was working on his doctorate. His wife was also very capable and she did a lot of the work in costuming. We did two shows during that first year and in the spring of 1952 Mark suggested that we do a musical and so we did the light opera, Martha, the first musical that was done at Western. Frank DíAndrea and Bernard Regier coached the orchestra and chorus. DíAndrea was not too enthusiastic about doing it, but after the show Dr. Haggard came backstage, "What a wonderful performance! What will we do next year?" We did do one the next year. We did Die Fledermaus. We had a student body of about 2400 at that time and so we had to draw upon what talented students we had to take all the roles in the chorus. That was the early of Western theater.
TB: What about Dr. Haggard? What was Dr. Haggard like?
LB: Dr. Haggard was very much like Dr. Nash in that he too was rather strict in certain ways but quite liberal in others. In the spring we used to have what was called Campus Day. The students would just pick a day that was a nice day and no one went to classes. We all went on a picnic.
LB: The faculty also went as did Dr. Haggard. He was a horseshoe pitcher and would take on anyone and he was very good. But that was a day, as I said, when the students all played hookey.
TB: Thatís not the same as the barbeque, right? They used to have a salmon barbeque at another time -- was that a faculty thing?
LB: Yes, we had a faculty barbeque in the summer or spring. Iíve forgotten just when it was.
TB: What about the physical campus? What did campus feel like when you came?
LB: Well, there wasnít really as much as there is now. There was Edens Hall for women, College Hall [Menís Residence Hall] for men, Old Main, a small gym, Campus School, and that was it. The Auditorium and a first section of the Industrial Arts building and I believe an addition to the gym were all built during the 1948-50 period.
I was a freshman faculty member at that time so I reluctantly took a responsibility in regard to certain aspects of the stage because Vic was not interested. One of the things they wanted to do was put a polished hardwood floor on the stage. I persuaded them to put in a softwood floor in as you could not put stage screws into a hardwood floor. The architect had also planned much more elaborate dressing rooms on the floor beneath the stage. It was going to cost too much and so I was asked to design something cheaper. So I got out my T square and my ruler and I designed the floor the way it remained until the auditorium was refurbished in more recent years. They also planned to put a hydraulic lift in the orchestra pit, but it was going to cost $3500 and Dr. Haggard did not believe in spending money we didnít have and so that was not included. It was built in more recent years and cost $35,000.
TB: Where was the speech department located?
LB: On the top floor of Old Main. There were just the three of us in the department until the fall of 1952 when Flanders came. In the fall of 1957 we hired Bill Gregory to take over the theater job and Erhart Schinske to help Sene with the speech therapy program. Gregory and Flanders had offices in the Auditorium but for a period of time there were four of us in the one office in Old Main. About that same time we hired Paul Herbold.
TB: And then all the classes were taught in Old Main, also?
LB: Oh yes. Most all classes were taught in Old Main. We had our office and then next door to us was the duplicating office, with May Bettman and Helen Williams. May Bettman also taught classes in typing in a room on that same floor. And that was also our radio studio. We had a regular program that was sent down to KVOS called The College Newsweek In Review. The students who were enrolled in a class put on the program and each was assigned a certain aspect of college activity. One reported on what faculty members were doing, another covered sports, another music activities and so forth. They got their scripts ready during the week and then we got together at 3 or 4:00, I donít remember which, and then an hour later we went on the air.
Of course we had no such thing as a tape recorder, but we did have a big disc recorder that the young man who helped me took care of. It was an inside-out record. For quite some time we had some of those discs but I think now they have disappeared.
TB: What was the campus governance structure like? Did Dr. Haggard call all the shots?
LB: Oh, yes, he called all the shots. He made all the promotions. When I first came here we had no faculty ranks. We had titles as "Professor," "Associate professor," and so forth. We just were all just faculty. Then about 1953 we were all given faculty rank. And Dr. Haggard decided who was who and in succeeding year who was to be promoted to the next rank. It remained that way until Jarrett came and then a Tenure and Promotion Committee was appointed.
There was also the Curriculum Committee. Ed Arntzen was the chairman and ran it very methodically.
So, if you wanted to know anything, you went to Dr. Haggard because he made most of the decisions. If you wanted to buy something for your department, you went to Dr. Haggard, he signed a requisition and then you took it to Sam Buchanan who was the treasurer or Business Manager and that was it. Or you went to Merle Kuder. I guess now you would call him the provost, or to Don Ferris who was the registrar. If you didnít get an answer from any of them, there wasnít any answer. Those individuals pretty much ran the institution. There werenít a lot of faculty committees.
As an example of how much simpler it was in those days. Ray Schwalm was in charge of the printing department and he taught classes in printing. Ray would have students make up scratch pads out of scrap as a training exercise. Iíd go over there, take my briefcase, fill it up with scratch pads of various sizes, take them back to my department and then distribute them to my colleagues. Ah well, no more. When I left you had to make out a requisition, and the pads had to be of a certain size. Back in those days it was much more free-wheeling.
TB: So tell me, Iíve never heard too much about Merle Kuder. Tell me a little bit about him, what was he like?
LB: Well, Merle Kuder was a very personable chap. He made a number of decisions in regard to student activity and various other campus activities. He developed a test which was designed to indicate what kinds of careers students might be best suited for and assigned the freshmen to the various faculty members who served as their counselors. It was a pleasure to know him and to work with him.
We also had regular meetings of the entire faculty presided over by Dr. Haggard. I believe we met in Edens Hall and later in the Campus School auditorium. A faculty committee served tea, coffee and cookies. Here we talked about such matters as to whether we should offer the BA degree and the future of Western. Once a month we had a meeting of the Faculty Forum in the campus school or some large classroom. It was a group with elected officers, where we talked about matters relating to faculty welfare such as salary schedule, sick leave, health insurance and so forth.
TB: Was it a pretty congenial group? Were there different groups among the faculty?
LB: Yes it was quite congenial, but there were some individuals who were senior members of the faculty members who were more influential and we younger new members felt that we were in the minority, while in the presence of such individuals as Ed Arntzen, Leona Sundquist, Ruth Platt, Arthur Hicks, and Lucy Kangley. They were all very outspoken and we younger members sort of felt that we were not to speak up too much.
TB: Actually, thatís interesting that there were some strong women that were in faculty positions when you came.
LB: Very much so. Marie Pabst was also on the faculty at that time. Those women were very active and very influential at that time.
TB: Most of them would probably replaced by men when they retired?
LB: Yes, because at that time there were very few women available with advanced degrees while there were many men who had gone to graduate school under the GI bill and obtained their degrees.
TB: Did you sense that they had a position or a view different from the men? And then later on when a lot of women come again, was there a difference?
LB: No, I donít think there was a different attitude on the part of the women from that of the men.
TB: Did anyone question their being at faculty rank at all?
LB: No, not at all. They were considered influential capable faculty members. Leona Sundquist and Lucy Kangley were made full professors immediately, and Nora B. Cummins of the Social Studies department and I believe others as well. They were carry- overs from the time that the student body was largely female and I believe the faculty was as well. Most of the outspoken individuals who were running the institution were women.
TB: Thatís very interesting. What were these women like as people? What was Leona Sundquist like as a person?
LB: She was a delightful person with a fine sense of humor. She was very outspoken but respected for her opinions. She was an active participant with the students on Campus Day as was Ruth Platt. They were both popular with the students and considered excellent teachers, even though they had little in the way of equipment or facilities as all science classes were taught on the second floor of Old Main.
TB: What was Nora B. Cummings like?
LB: She too was outspoken and she and Ed Arntzen pretty much ran the social studies program. She and I had something in common in that she was an ex-South Dakotan. We used to exchange views and memoirs of the state.
TB: And Lucy Kangley?
LB: She was considered by her colleagues and students to be an excellent teacher and was leader in faculty discussions. She also participated on Campus Day. It was said that if she could not find a parking place she just left her car parked anywhere and it was respected because she was who she was. All of these individuals we mentioned were considered to be excellent teachers. They were not research people. They were teachers, first and foremost. They gave themselves very much to the students and to the job of teaching.
TB: When did the switch on research come and how did someone like you take it, who probably came to be more of a person with an emphasis on teaching?
LB: Yes, my emphasis was always on teaching because I loved to be with students and in doing shows you develop a very close relationship to the kids in the show. Although they never called me by my first name as many students now do. I guess I was just of such a nature that they never felt comfortable calling me by my first name.
TB: I donít think anybody did back then.
LB: Nobody did then. Oh no.
TB: When I was a student in the Ď70s, we never would have called a professor by their first name. Thatís a very recent thing.
LB: Yes thatís very recent although some in theater who followed me used first names. I wore a jacket every time I went into the classroom. It was only during the summer that I dispensed of my jacket and wore just a shirt because it was just not appropriate. Up until into the 50ís all the faculty men were dressed with a jacket and tie.
TB: And did you feel this change when Jarrett came?
LB: Yes, that was the big change.
TB: Can you talk about that?
LB: Well he announced in a rather indirect way in his first faculty meeting that there would be an emphasis upon research. All faculty were expected to do some research and it would be considered by the tenure and promotion committee. I began to do some things that were related to the teaching of speech, such as the backgrounds of students enrolled in speech and a study of listening which was published later in the Speech teacher. I was primarily interested in teaching.
TB: Did you mind that emphasis on research? Did that put you off?
LB: Yeah, because I enjoyed teaching more such classes as Oral Interpretation and American Public Address. I had them read a variety of materials in Oral Interpretation and then at the end of the quarter each student gave a ten minute performance at 4:00. Everybody and anybody was invited and they would bring their roommates or friends. It was rather interesting how most of them dressed differently for the occasion.
We also did a little performance business in regard to Speech 100. We had a number of sections of the class and in each one the students chose one who was the best speaker. We ended up with about six or eight students who performed at 4:00. It was a kind of contest.
TB: Well, if you could tell me a little bit more about what Dr. Jarrett was like?
LB: Well, Dr. Jarrett was not nearly as approachable as Dr. Haggard had been. You did not just go into Dr. Jarrettís office without an appointment. He was an enthusiastic beliver in the Great Books program and inaugurated the Humanities program which involved faculty members from many departments and was an excellent program until the student body got too big to handle it. There were more administrators hired and more faculty committees appointed. The faculty was a much smaller group when Dr. Haggard was here and so it was possible to invite them to his home for dinner, and so we got to know each other very well.
TB: So it was a much closer group then than it became later?
LB: Yes, Dr. Jarrett did not continue that. And it was not just because of him as the faculty was growing much larger very rapidly. Formerly we not only knew all faculty members well but alto their kids.
TB: Did he make a lot of curriculum changes?
LB: No, I donít think so except for the inauguration of the Humanities program.
TB: And the emphasis on research?
LB: Thatís right.
TB: What about when Bunke came? Any thoughts on that?
LB: Well, I had a bit more of a relationship with him than I did with Jarrett as he had been chairman of the economics department at the University of Iowa where I got my degree. He only stayed about two years as he discovered the job of president was really more of a job than he had previously thought. Then he went to the University of Indiana.
TB: Isnít that when the Forum on LSD happened?
LB: I donít know if there was a forum as such and I donít remember exactly when it was but we did have Timothy Leary here to speak. Nobody wanted to introduce him. They asked Herb Taylor to do it, but he declined. They asked someone else. They wouldnít do it. They asked me, I said, "Iíll do it!" I said, "I believe in the open platform. I believe that anybody who wants to speak should have an opportunity to do so whether you agree with him or not." So I introduced Timothy Leary who came out and sat cross legged on the stage and sat cross-legged on the stage and held forth about "letting yourself go" and "experiment with LSD" and such things as that.
TB: Was there a big crowd there?
LB: Yes, there was a big crowd there.
TB: Where was it held?
LB: In the Auditorium.
TB: Did it change anything? Were most of the people there interested or were they just curious?
LB: I have no idea if it changed anything. If more students were encouraged to try LSD, I donít know. There was no demonstration of any kind Ė they just seemed to listen to him. We had many speakers at Western during the 50ís and 60ís. At one time we had the man who was the head of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], for quite a few years. I think his name was White. We had some protests at that time as Bellingham was quite racially intolerant at one time. We also had Marian Anderson at one time and there were objections to that. We also had a Concert and Lecture series that was at 10:00 in the morning and all classes stopped for that hour. Even the library was closed so students could come and hear these individuals. And so we had a great many important people at that time. We had the actor Thomas Mitchell, and Edward Everett Horton who played the butler in many movies. We had Adolphe Menjou and Eleanor Roosevelt and Burl Ives and Edward Weeks, who was at one time the editor of The Atlantic Monthly. Vincent Price we had twice, one time reading the letters of Vincent Van Gogh to his brother. We also had the pleasure, some of us who were on the committee, to have lunch with these individuals or to entertain them in our homes. There were many more speakers and musicians that I will not take time to mention, that the students had an opportunity to hear at no charge during the school day.
TB: Who decided who came?
LB: Oh which artists came?
The Concert and Lecture committee chose them [which was] made up of students and faculty. I was on that committee. It cost as much as $200-$500 for one of those individuals to come. Now you would have to pay them ten times that much. We also had S.I. Hayakawa who was famous in regard to language and I had the pleasure of introducing him.
TB: And that was probably in the late Ď60s?
LB: Along in the early sixties it was decided that we could no longer take that time from class time during the day and any performances would have to be held at night. Funds were no longer available. And students found it more difficult to attend at night.
TB: How about some changes like in tenure and promotion?
LB: It was much more difficult later on because you had to submit all information regarding publication and your teaching ability to the committee who evaluated it.
TB: When did the faculty quit meeting?
END OF TAPE ONE SIDE TWO
LB: There was something else that we used to do that we were no longer able to do as the numbers got larger, and that is, in the fall, we went out to visit with our first year teachers. One person from the education department and one from some other department, not for the purpose of seeing how the student was doing, but rather to see how we did as an institution in preparing that student -- "Is there anything that we could have done better in your four years at Western?" And then we visited again with them in the spring -- "Now that youíve had a year of teaching under your belt, how do you feel now in regard to what we did?" I felt it was a very good program because we went out in pairs and found that the superintendents and principals were enthusiastic about our product.
TB: Right. And how was that information incorporated, how did you bring that information back to the faculty?
LB: Weíd bring it back to the education department as well as to the department that the student majored in.
TB: That would be in the Ď60s?
LB: No, that would be in the late í50s and early Ď60s. Then the program was abandoned as there were just too many students to deal with and not enough faculty members willing to go out.
TB: What about the Ď60s in general at Western, when we started having all the student protests and different things like that? What are your memories of that time?
LB: Yes, we were very lucky in that we were the only institution of higher learning in the state that did not have physical damage. And that was due to Jerry Flora and Bill McDonald -- they were able to cool the students down. I did not ever have any problems in my classes but there were some classes bit that were disrupted. We did have a brief sit-in at the Placement Office, I believe it was, and an attempt was made to bring the ringleaders before the Disciplinary committee in a public hearing and I was asked to preside as the chairman of the committee declined to do so.
TB: That was Dean Hitchman?
LB: Yes. That was a pretty hairy experience as it got pretty wild.
TB: So what did you think of Jerry Flora as president? Beyond how he dealt with students. Did you think he was a pretty good president? He was raised up from the faculty so did it seem like he had more favorites of his own or not, or how did that go?
LB: That went very well. He dealt well with both students and faculty. He never had any favorites so far as I was able to tell. Faculty parking became more of a problem as we got larger. They were going to assign a parking slot to each faculty member and staff member which meant getting in line and getting your permit. As we stood in line it was discovered that some department chairmen had delegated a secretary to obtain permits for the entire department. Brewster was very vocal and complained very loudly. The next day or two Jerry Flora called on me and and said, "Iím going to make you chairman of the Parking Committee." So that was my reward Ė or punishment Ė for being very vocal about the parking situation. I held the position for one year.
TB: Well for a long time parking has been a big problem at Western.
LB: Itís been a big problem as it is with every institution. I think the only institution where it isnít a problem is over at Pullman. They have lots of space over there.
TB: Was your committee able to come up with any solutions?
LB: When I became chairman they had previously paid $50,000, or some such amount for a study in regard to parking. The study really said nothing much except to build a parking garage on Garden Street that was going to cost quite a bit for each space, I have forgotten how much or how many spaces it would include. The committee decided we didnít have that much money and so the idea was abandoned. They are still talking about that possibility and saying we canít afford it.
TB: And there are a lot of people who live on Garden Street that really donít want it.
What about when Dr. Olscamp came? Any thoughts on his administration?
LB: Not too much. He did invite faculty members to his home which at that time was located behind the Auditorium and first occupied by Jarrett.
TB: Oh right, Canada House.
When did the Faculty [Senate] get started?
LB: I donít know but I think it was only a year or so before I retired in 1980. I guess Iím perhaps one of the oldest retirees now.
TB: How about the changes in your department? You started out being communications and radio and theater were part of it.
LB: As was speech therapy as we called it then. All areas were considered under the general term as Speech. Sene and I had both come from Big Ten schools, he from Wisconsin and I from Iowa where that was the way the department was organized. We all taught the Fundamentals class. By 1970 the department consisted of about 27 members and so Dr. Gregory decided it would be well to create the Department of Fine and Performing Arts and so broke away. At about that same time Dr. Loren Webb announced that grants were only given to departments of Speech and Audiology and so they became independent. That meant that the department became the Department of Communication as it was called nationally, and included rhetoric, debate and radio.
TB: Was that okay with you guys? It seems that it could kind of reduce your position on campus in terms of getting money.
LB: Yes it enabled those departments to enlarge considerably from what they had been previously and we were no longer able to offer as many sections of the Fundamentals class as we did not have the staff.
TB: What are your best and what are your worst memories of Western?
LB: Well my best memories are when we were all together as a faculty. That is, when we knew each other. There was a feeling of comradery. We used to have lunch together. There was a lunch room in the student union and we used to have very few, if any, classes going during the noon hour so we could get together and meet people from other departments and have lunch together. I got to know people from the economics, sociology, biology departments, and so forth. I missed that very much. It was a time when the faculty was a general, inclusive term. It was not a collection of separate departments. By the time I retired I didnít know many of the faculty members. I didnít have any contact with them at all. It was partly due to the fact that new buildings were built and faculty had their offices in them separate from the immediate vicinity of Old Main. By the eighties, I didnít know a lot of people.
TB: Probably the sixties changed that a lot when you built the Humanities Building, Bond Hall, expanded Miller Hall, got rid of the Campus School and made all of those individual departments.
LB: Right. There was no more Campus School. There was the department of education as they too separated. As I said it was different in the fifties when we were on the top floor of Old Main. Paul Woodring and Maurice Freehill of the psychology department had offices there as well as those of us in speech.
TB: Right. You retired in 1980. What have you been doing since?
LB: We had previously done some traveling. We first went to Europe in í67 and then again í72. Shortly after I retired I went to work part time for Bellingham Travel and we took a number of groups on trips to Britain, Europe, the Orient and Russia.
TB: Did you take a lot of those trips with the Retirement Association from Western?
LB: No, that was before the Retirement Association. We did this with people from the general vicinity and some were faculty such as Evelyn Odom and Edna Channer and others from surrounding towns.
TB: Oh okay! Tell me about those two women! Thatís right. I forgot about them.
LB: Well, you probably heard how one of them adopted the other.
TB: Was one of them a lot older than the other?
LB: No, I think they were about the same age.
TB: Then they just thought that would makeÖ
LB: Thatís right. There was no such thing as marriage between women.
TB: Were they really a couple, or did they just share a home? I know Leona Sundquist and a woman shared a home.
LB: I donít know. We never really thought about it. We just thought of them as two people who shared a home. We just thought of them as people who were very good friends. I donít know what others thought, but I never thought of their relationship as being sexual in nature. We had other faculty men and women who lived together, but no one though much of it.
TB: They have both passed away now?
LB: Yes, quite a few years ago.
TB: Did they pass away in the right order? I mean, did the one who was the motherÖ
LB: I donít recall. But it was assumed that they did it for legal reasons, so if one of them died, they could legally pass along any property or assets that they had.
TB: I was blown away when I first heard that.
LB: I donít remember which one of them died first.
TB: Just that concept. I wouldnít have thought an adult could adopt another adult. It was fascinating to hear that you could do that.
LB: Well, they did it for inheritance purposes.
TB: So what do you consider your relationship with Western to be currently?
LB: Little or nothing. Well, Iím invited every year to their reunion that they have for all students from the fifties which is very nice that they keep in touch with me but itís getting more difficult for me to get around. We went up to the retirement party for retirees who were retiring at the end of this year. I think that out of that group I knew four.
TB: I was going to say, you retired in 1980, thatís getting to be twenty four years ago!
LB: Oh yes. The attendees were there briefly when I was at Western. We went up to that because there were four of them that I knew who were retiring this year. And weíve also been invited to the reunion up at Western on June 19th.
TB: Okay, the Golden Vikings.
LB: Of course, I knew some of them, but they donít all come back for that affair. Weíre undecided as whether to go or not. There are always a few that I know and who know me, but not very many.
TB: That is a great event though, I went last year and I enjoyed it.
Well, it seems like the speech department is still pretty close. I mean, you see Mrs. Carlile I believeÖ
LB: Oh yes, Margaret sort of mother hens her because we have known Lou for a long time. And she has no family, and so Margaret goes over to see her once a week. The Richardsons and Alden Smith are members of our church and so we see them frequently. Seldom see the Herbolds since he retired as they seem to keep pretty much to themselves.
TB: Bill Gregory though, youíve seen Bill Gregory.
LB: Oh yes. I see Bill
frequently. He comes in and spends an afternoon with me and also takes me up to
the Retirement discussion group. Some of us get together on the second Friday of
each month up in the Viking Union.
TB: Well tell me about that, Iíve never heard about that.
LB: Well, there arenít very many of us now. There used to be more of us that would meet. Radke came, Hugh Fleetwood used to meet with us but he doesnít come anymore. But Gregory and George Lamb who is our secretary or sort of our ex-officio president or whatever. At least he sends out the notice that weíre going to meet. Others are Barney Goltz , Jim OíBrien and Larry Richardson.
LB: So we meet together. We either bring a sack lunch or else get something downstairs and bring it up. Itís a very free-wheeling sort of thing. We have no idea what weíre going to talk about.
TB: Oh, really? So you just come and you donít have a topic?
LB: No, we just meet together and talk about whatever. Sometimes Fred Nugent comes and letís see Ö I guess thatís about it.
TB: Wow, I think thatís great!
LB: We get a room up at the Viking Union and we just yak.
TB: Well thatís cool!
LB: Sometimes we talk politics and sometimes we talk aboutÖwe donít know what! Whatever happens to come up.
TB: Well thatís nice. How do you feel about your time at Western? Were you happy with that? Was that a good place to have spent your career?
LB: Yes, yes. I enjoyed my time at Western. I enjoyed it up until about 1980 when it got to be too scattered. Too much bureaucracy, too many papers to fill out, too many hoops you had to jump through to get anything done. That was when I decided to retire.
End of Tape two side one (note: used only side one of tape two)
TB: You moved your office home?
LB: When I lost my office. I was able to keep my office I think about a year and a half, and then they needed the office space and so I gave up my office and brought all of the books that I had home to 17th Street together with all of the rest of the junk that I had accumulated.
Then of course, when we moved from there to here, it was necessary to dispose of hundreds of books that I prized very highly, but I had to give them up, so my kids and grandkids took some of them. Bill Gregory took some, a couple booksellers came; they took some. The rest of them I gave to the AAUW for their annual book sale.
TB: How do you like living out here?
LB: I have very little space here though I have some books that I kept around in there. Thatís where I had my memoirs.
TB: So youíve done that in your retirement, you wrote your memoirs?
LB: Yes, right.
TB: And youíve probably been involved in your church?
LB: Yes, I was very active, both of us were in the church, Margaret still is but Iím not able to be. There are only two of us still living who worked on the church, on the previous sanctuary, when it was built in 1949.
TB: You got here just in time to build that.
LB: Yes we got here in the fall of í48 and in the spring of í49 we began to build that sanctuary. I was not able to help this time but neither was my friend, heís very much laid up the way I am.
TB: Okay. Well, is there anything that I havenít asked you that youíd like to talk about?
LB: No, I canít think of anything that I could add but as I said, my time at Western 1948 to 1980 was a pleasant time and I enjoyed it. As I said, I enjoyed the students that I got to know, not only those in theater but other students as well. Itís a very pleasurable event when I do go back to Western and a student comes up to me and tells me that he remembers me and that I had him in class. Awhile ago I went to the funeral of Dorothy Ramsland and there was a student there who said that he had me in class and said, "Iíve been using the Brewster blocks for twenty-five years."
TB: Wow! Well now you better tell me about Brewsterís Blocks!
LB: Well I had a set of blocks that I labeled. One with a big red "A" on one side and a small "A" on another side; another labeled with "B" in the same manner; another with "C" and so forth. Then I set up a screen in the middle of a long table so that students on either side of the screen could not see each other. I would arrange the blocks in some pattern and ask one of the students to tell the other how the blocks were to be arranged without speaking or seeing each other. They had difficulties in doing it and so I chose two more students and told them they could communicate with one another but still not see each other. They could ask questions, ask for clarification and so forth. This was more successful. This demonstrated a number of things regarding communication: what is clear to me is not necessarily clear to you, I know how the blocks are arranged, itís clear to me, why isnít it clear to you? Itís been used by teachers and for many different groups to show how difficult it is to communicate with one another.
TB: Right. Oh thatís fascinating.
Well, anything else?
LB: I canít think of anything. I think weíve covered everything that took place in thirty- two years!
TB: Well thank you very much.
LB: You are very welcome.