Special Collections

Special Collections Oral History Program

Index


Margie Lee

Campus School, 1955-1962

Interviewer:     Christine Kendall

Date of Interview:     October 14, 2005

Location of Interview:     Western Washington University


ATTENTION: © Copyright Western Washington University Libraries Special Collections. "Fair use" criteria of Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 must be followed. The following materials can be used for educational and other noncommercial purposes without the written permission of Western Washington University Libraries Special Collections. These materials are not to be used for resale or commercial purposes without written authorization from Western Washington University Libraries Special Collections. All materials cited must be attributed to Western Washington University Libraries Special Collections.


Authorized Transcript

This interview was conducted with Margie Lee at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, on October 14th, 2005. The interviewer is Christine Kendall.

CK: I am Christine Kendall and I am interviewing Margie Lee for the Campus School Memories Project.  And Margie, when you were enrolled in Campus School, what was your name?

ML: My name was Margie Lee and it still is Margie Lee.

CK: And how did you happen to attend the Campus School?

ML: My mother said it was because of my Aunt Lenore, Lenore Lee Miller, my dad’s sister.  She recommended it to everyone in the Lee family.  She was just sold totally on Campus School.  I’m the youngest in my family and many of the cousins had gone to Campus School.  Going back further, my father had gone to the Training School, starting back in 1908 I believe.

CK: Did anyone else in your family attend the Campus School?  And what were their names?

ML: Lenore’s kids, Patsy Hosman, Don Miller I’m not sure about Delayne; everyone in my family so my two brothers and my sister.  And let’s see, the Palmer Lees, they didn’t go to Campus, but my cousin Leslie Lee, who later became a judge, he went to Campus, too; and his kids too.  Marian was not quite through when Campus closed. 

CK: And what are your brothers and sister’s names? 

ML: My sister’s name is Georgie and her married name is Bailey.  She went to Campus Kindergarten and then she went to Columbia in between and then she came back and went to Campus I believe in fifth, sixth and seventh.  Then I have a brother named Peter, Peter Lee and my brother Roger is closest to me in age.

CK: What years did they attend Campus?

ML: Well, I was trying to think what years those would be.  Roger was three years younger than I am, so probably about 1953 he started, Peter would have started about 1947, 1946 and Georgie we won’t talk about.

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

ML: Well, I went from 1955 to 1962. 

CK: And did you pay any fees that you’re aware of?

ML: I don’t believe so.  I really haven’t investigated that.  I know that there probably were some, but minimal.  It wasn’t like it was a private school, but it was not considered an expensive place to go.

CK: And how did you get to and from school?  And please share any favorite memories of this experience.

ML: Well, I do have some memories and they’re not always good ones.  I was living out on Chuckanut, so unfortunately there was no public transportation.  A lot of the kids came by bus or their mothers would carpool or whatnot.  My father would always take me in the morning, which was fine, he’d drop me off.  But, then coming home from school, he always had stuff, business to do downtown so he wouldn’t be able to pick me up after school.  So therefore I would have to go and wait for him and sometimes it would be hours.  He always thought I should wait in the library, which at that age, you know, it was kind of a mixed blessing, there was a lot of times when I’d think, “Oh I wish I was out playing.  Why can’t I go home early like everybody else?”  But then I also really got into books.  I remember, in the early years, like Kindergarten through maybe I was thinking it was third grade, we went to the main library.  They had a children’s room which was just beautiful.  You know, the high ceilings and the oak desks and I just really felt like any section of the library is just fun to explore.  It was an exploration and I would go through the mysteries and then I would also go through the science section and it was just really an experience that I hold today, whenever I’m in a library I just feel very at home.

CK: Do you remember the librarian in the children’s room at all, or anything about the staff there?

ML: I do remember they wanted you to be quiet, but since I was alone I had no chance to chatter.  A kid at that age is a little restless, so I remember that they were kind of wanting you to be quiet.

CK: Did you ever use any of the other part of the library, rather than just the children’s room?

ML: Well, I pretty much stayed there because I really didn’t know when my dad was going to come.  So, that’s one of the reasons he wanted me to wait there is because he could be a half an hour, maybe he’d be two hours.  After he’d finally come I was so glad and sometimes he would take me for a treat and we’d go to the Co-op [Bookstore], which was in Old Main at that time.  I remember I loved bookstores, too, so he would go there and shop and he would buy me an Eskimo Pie.  There was like this little freezer there, so that was the fun part. 

CK: So he was able to drive right up, close to the…

ML: Yes, he would park right by Old Main.

CK:  What did you do for lunch?

ML: Well, it varied.  When we were in Kindergarten on the lower floor, in the lower grades, I remember they would bring in these carts, large wood carts with rollers and wheels that rolled and then they do these trays and they would serve you, I don’t know, soup.  I just have such wonderful memories of this chicken noodle soup and like these buttered green beans.  It was just really nice.  Then in later grades they made us bring our lunch from home.  My lunch, it varied, whatever you came up with.

CK: Did you make your own lunch at home?

ML: Well, that’s the problem with me.  I often forgot, so I’d be looking at other people and they might give me a cookie or something.  Being that I had a mother that liked to sleep in and my dad wasn’t real big on making lunches for kids, I’d usually make the minimal, like a peanut butter sandwich.  Being the kid I was, if I ever had one of those thermoses that are glass covered, they would break like within the first 24 hours.  My lunches weren’t that great.

CK: Do you remember any of your favorite classmates and if so, please name them for us.

ML: Well, when I heard about that question I thought, “Oh, I might get in trouble here.”  But, Campus School was the kind of place where you didn’t have cliques.  Well, at least I don’t remember it that way.  I just remembered that I really liked everyone.  When you say, “Do I have any favorites?”  Later I did have friends that were closer, we kept in touch.  But in Campus I don’t ever remember being in a little clique.  I had some that came out to play with me at Woodstock Farm, like Marcia Livesay was a really good friend and Heidi Hanson, who became Heidi Suni, and Cici Evans (I can’t remember her married name now).  They would come out and play at Woodstock, but when we were at Campus we were really democratic.  I just felt like there weren’t those kind of social things that went on there.

CK: How about then favorite or most influential teachers? 

ML: Now, that’s a good one because I have a definite answer for that and there’s just no doubt in my mind.  It was Mr. Miller in the fourth grade.  I just absolutely adored him.  Looking back, I think, from his report card or written reports that we got at the end of the year, that he seemed to like me, too.  I just remember that he was Campus and then some.  He stood for the values of Campus, he really pushed them, to make Campus just a really unique educational experience. 

CK: Do you remember any of your student teachers and if so can you name some of them for us

ML: Well, I might get in trouble on this one, too, because the ones I remember are the ones which I got in trouble with.  There was this one, I think his name was Mr. O’Connell, and this was like, it would have to be one of the higher grades, maybe fourth or fifth.  He was very strict.  I can’t remember what subjects he was student teaching in, but he decided that if you were bad in class, then you had to stay after school. He had a certain name for this club, these people that had to stay after school, he called the 4:10 Club.  The reason he called it the 4:10 Club was because the buses would come at four. If you had to stay those extra ten minutes, that meant you missed your bus, so we thought he was really mean.  That was just cruel, because then you would have to call home.  He was a bad one.  Then we had some that were strict.  Basically I don’t remember them real well.  We would have them for a quarter.  They might teach a couple classes.  They came and went so fast.  There was a big turnover. 

CK: What were your favorite subjects or classroom activities?

ML: Well, I was a creative kid, I really liked the art and the music and the dance.  I just remember so well that those were a big part of our curriculum.  Like now, people will say, they might not even have art, or maybe once a week or something like that.  It was a huge part [for us].  The experiences we had were just so vast.  I just can’t even think of them.  From painting to ceramics, painting we did all through the years; ceramics, we were able to use the facilities on campus.  They had a large kiln over at the art department and [we were] able to use all the different colors that they had.  We had such a great resource.  Not only that, but the teachers, the college teachers would come in and they would teach art.  You know, you felt like you were exploring almost everything.  Everyday was just like -- what are we going to do next?

CK: Did you save any of your projects?

ML: Yes and my mom saved some that maybe I didn’t want to save.  She saved a lot of them.  There were probably hundreds of projects because we did, like I said, such a huge variety.  I do have a little Christmas tree, I think it wasn’t even fired.  Maybe we dipped them in wax to preserve [them].  I remember reading a letter (I recently inherited a lot of the family letters) and my mom is writing my sister saying that Miss Nicol actually asked if I would make her one.  So it was kind of sweet.  I saved mostly the ceramics; I think all the paintings were destroyed, though.

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

ML: Well, we had regular books, textbooks.  I do remember like in Mr. Miller’s class, that was the fourth grade, he brought in Alice in Wonderland.  Instead of reading a regular text, he wanted to do an alternative thing.  He did Alice in Wonderland, which I thought was really great.  We had a lot of filmstrips, we had a lot of movies.  We had a lot of books, we had a library in the building, later.  We had access to the one in the main library.  We would take books out from there, we would go there.  We just had a huge variety of experiences I don’t think other kids really had. 

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

ML: Narrative reports, definitely, the whole time, and it was the same for my brothers, too, Roger and Peter.  Mom saved the K through 6 [reports] on all the kids. 

CK: Were you surprised, have you looked through yours, then?

ML: Oh, yes.  I keep looking back to them for guidance.  I think those teachers that knew you when you were young, I feel they were able to spot out things that you were good at.  So I still refer to them, definitely.

CK: Do you especially remember any creative activities, such as weaving and making things?  I know you’ve already touched on some of that.

ML: Yes, we did a lot of weaving.  We would weave these mats, but then because of the philosophy of Campus School, we also had to make the looms.  Particularly like in Mr. Miller’s class, the idea was that you could make this loom out of something you found around the house.  So we used coat hangers to make those bars and then pieces of wood and it was quite amazing.  The idea was that you could learn the whole process.  That was what Campus was about, it was about the process.  That’s why the report cards were narrative, because a simple grade was a little goal oriented.  It was felt that this process, for instance, the weaving, you start with your loom and you weave your mat was more like a real life experience.

CK: Then, did you work with others on that, did you pair up with people or is it just yourself?

ML: Often times we did, but not with the looms and mats.  But you’re right, we did an awful lot of group activities in Campus.  That was very much encouraged.

CK: What materials were you weaving with?

ML: It was yarn.  I wasn’t really good at it.  I was the kind of kid that I liked to rush through a project and so I remember I didn’t quite even finish my loom.  But others did.

CK: What were your classes like?  Were there a lot of student teachers observing and/or teaching lessons as part of your lessons?

ML: Yes, the rooms I think were large on purpose.  We would have either our desks or a rug in the front of the room and then the back of the room was reserved for the student teachers, or the [future] teachers that were studying education.  The student teachers would be the three particular ones that we had in the room, versus the ones that were observing us.  This would be a class.  I really never knew what the classes were, but I’m sure it was something to do with education.  They would have folding chairs in the back of the room.  They would sit there and observe maybe an hour, I forget exactly.  We knew about them, but we weren’t real conscious of it, it was like you got used to it.  I never really thought about it that much until one day one of the students in the class, she disappeared, she left Campus.  Somebody said that she had been giggling too much.  This might just be a child’s imagination, but I thought, really, that we were on view, and if the kids were too disruptive [they were removed].  So after that I kind of tried to tone down my behavior. 

CK: Did you attend summer school at the Campus School and if so, why?

ML: No, I never did and I didn’t know anybody that did, in our family. 

CK: How about extra-curricular activities?  What did you engage in?  What did you do at recess, lunchtime, and what time did you enjoy the most?  What games did you play? 

ML:  Well, I’ll start in chronological order.  In Kindergarten, the real young years, we went down to the gym and we’d play, I remember this, Brownies and Fairies.  And then this one called, Crows and Cranes, I believe.  These really were good for the imagination; they weren’t just exercises, these [were] fun games.  Later we would start more organized things, like maybe softball, which was fun.  We’d play our games out where Red Square is, there was a big black top surface out there.  We could play softball and then there was a square, where you could play maybe hopscotch and then square ball or whatever it was that we played.  Of course, I loved anything moving.  I was a really athletic kid.  It’s just really good, you burned off steam, plus we did learn a lot of really good skills.  They stressed this at Campus, that you weren’t just this brain.  They wanted you to learn, I guess, these kinesthetic skills, like, they had swimming over in the main campus pool, primarily with Miss Weythman.  I remember her; she was kind of a large lady.  She didn’t look like a P.E. teacher, really because she wasn’t fit, but she was a very good teacher, she was very severe.  In fact, I was reading, my brother Peter had some kind of class newspaper, and it said that, she had two kids in his class that didn’t know how to swim and so she tied a rope around them.

CK: Oh my.

ML: I remember swimming and then we also, in the main gym we’d do dancing.  This kind of square dancing and Virginia reel I remember.  I think Miss Weythman may have retired and then we had Miss Arnett who taught.  Now, going back to lunch hour, I don’t remember too much about that, except eating.  But I do remember one year, I can’t remember who the teacher was (was it fourth or fifth grade)?  The teacher let us bring in these forty-five records, we were kind of in to rock and roll and so we would play those and dance.  I remember that as just one of the times I really enjoyed dancing, because it wasn’t like a real set up.  You just danced because you enjoyed it, so, that was pretty cool.

CK: Getting back to the swimming, did they actually instruct you in different swimming strokes and such? 

ML: Yes.  It’s funny that you mention that because what I remember most was our horrible bathing suits.  We had this cotton that kind of stretched out and it was just all…

CK:  It was issued to you?

ML: They issued you your bathing suit when you came in, and a towel.  Like I said, they were all faded cotton and they were really ugly.  The boys had to wear girls’ bathing suits, really gross.  But we all brought our own caps I think I remember and they had their name written right over the top.  I think, as I remember, she just got us in the pool.  I know I learned to swim.  So I think it must have been that.

CK: So it wasn’t just a free for all in the pool.

ML: Oh, no, no, she was strict.  I think she had one of those poles and [would] get you going out.  Of course, I liked to swim, but there probably were people that just hated it.  The only thing was I was often in the Nurse’s Office because I always had these allergies.  So I missed swimming [a lot] and if you missed swimming you had to stay in the room with probably a student teacher, which wasn’t a good thing. 

CK: We’ve already mentioned the college library, but did you visit the college itself, attend assemblies or sporting events or anything else at the college when you were in the Campus School?  Do you have any special memories of those experiences?

ML: Yes, oh yes, very much so.  We made use of almost everything.  I remember going to the science building.  I think they had a planetarium, and just being enthralled with that.  And then also their collection, they had the rock collection and probably some taxidermy things up there.  That was wonderful.  As far as sporting, I’m just wondering if I really ever did.  It doesn’t ring any bells.

CK: Plays or musical events?

ML: Well, I probably did, but I just can’t really remember, because I went to so many later, after I got out of Campus.

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

ML: Well, I went from sixth grade in Campus over to Fairhaven Junior High (at that time it was a junior high), in seventh grade.  I noticed right away a big difference.  We were shuttled from one class, every hour it was a different class, all new people, huge classes.  Also, they had the grading system, A, B, C.  I thought at first, “Well, this is going to be kind of a fun thing.”  But I remember that I really was interested in getting a good grade, but then after I got it, I thought, “Well, what’s this all about?  It’s not really that fun.”  So I think that learning was better at Campus.  The idea of a grade as an end to itself, it seemed to not be as fun.

CK:  Were there any other [differences] that especially effected you?

ML: Well, the whole situation was so different.  What happened was, later in life, in my twenties, I had an art exhibit and Miss Nicol came to it.  Now she was my Kindergarten teacher and she was a big proponent of Campus School.  I said, “You know, that was just the greatest experience of my life, what was it about Campus, was it just an accident?”  And she said, “No, no no; no accident.”  She said that Campus was based on an educational theory, and I thought, “This is really interesting.”  I sort of pursued it a little bit.  She said it was based on Columbia Teacher’s College in New York City, John Dewey [was] a philosopher of education, and [it was based on] his theories.  I look back and yes, a lot of our teachers came out of Columbia Teacher’s College in New York, which was kind of odd, being here in Bellingham.  It’s a long way away. 

I was kind of curious about that and I looked that up.  I found out that there were three basic things that made Campus unique and I mentioned one of them already: the process versus a goal, like a grade, the process was the important thing.  Campus School was based on learning by doing, which I kind of [already] said a little bit about that.  Like, making the loom, you make that from scratch.  It’s not like a mental thing where you study how looms were made, you made the loom.  You made it from things that you might find around the house

The second thing would be that it was community based, we were part of our community.  We were expected to work together, in groups, individually, [and] as a class.  But we were also expected to know about the rest of Western.  We would use the art department, or say, the gym or these [other places.] [We were also expected to] be a part of Bellingham.  We took countless field trips, like to the train station and Georgia Pacific, which was a different thing at that time.  So it was very much this community thing. 

The third thing would be student directed.  So instead of like the teacher saying, “Okay, everybody, we’re going to do this, this and this.”  They would say, “Okay, we’re going to study this,” say, magnetism, “Okay, and we’ll put you in groups and you pick a leader and then you study it.”  Because of this, it really served you for life, because that’s really what you’re going to do in life, you’re going to have to work with other people, you’re going to have to come up with some ideas; instead of being told, you will do this.

I think that those things at Campus School were so good that later when I got to public school, most of the experiences were not as good.  They didn’t compare.  But I did have certain teachers in Fairhaven and Sehome High that I really clicked with.  I think those were teachers that were sort of in that mold.  So, I would say that Campus, the experience was so unique.  I’m so glad that you’re doing this project, because it really should be recorded so that people will know what made it that strong.

CK: When your school went on these field trips, how did the school get to and from places like the train station or Puget Sound Pulp and Paper? 

ML: I think it could have been school buses, though [we] did not have school buses for kids, as far as I remember.  It could have been that or it might have been that we had a tremendous amount of parent involvement.

CK: Did you?

ML: Yes.  Particularly like for birthdays, we would celebrate people’s birthdays.  And the parents would get real involved.  They’d bring in cupcakes and cider or something.  So the parents could have formed car pools or something.  I don’t really remember.  I do remember very vividly though being down at the roundhouse or these [other] experiences as a child, it’s just fabulous.  You just wouldn’t ordinarily get to see things like that, the inside of the paper mill and how they make paper.  I remember we saw how they made paper and we came back to class and then we made paper.  So there was this follow through that was really good, too.

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

ML: Well, I went here to Western and I majored in geology.  Then I went on to different art schools, back in New York City and then I studied a little bit in Seattle with an artist named Stuart Moldrem who was a Bellingham guy (also a Campus Schooler), so that’s kind of important.  Then after I studied a lot of art, then I kind of got interested in literature and writing and so then I was in Boston so I went to Harvard at night and got a master’s in American and English literature.  That’s about it.

CK: Has your attendance at the Campus School influenced your life?

ML: Oh, very much so.  I just can’t say that enough.  In fact, when I met my husband I started talking a little bit about it and then he started talking about he went to a high school [like that].  My husband is from New York City and his high school actually was the laboratory school for Columbia Teacher’s College.  So we were comparing notes and he said, “Identical!  The same kind of learning experience, the same kind of class!  I was going to mention that in his class there was this diversity.  In Bellingham, it’s very homogeneous, but at that time, at Campus; we had a black student and we also had a Native American.  We had Floyd who’s from the Lummi Nation [and Harry Wells, who was Black.]  So that kind of thing was encouraged at Campus.  Also, comparing notes with my husband, he also said that was just the best educational experience of his life.  He will, like at times in my life, since I’m an artist and a writer, I’ll be pursuing these projects and he’ll say, “Oh, yeah, that’s that Campus School thing.  You’re doing that Campus School thing.”  I think that he recognized that because he really valued that experience too.

My art teachers influenced me the most, especially Gene Vike and Ruth Kelsey.  I had Kelsey at Campus and I went to her house once a week for extra art lessons with some older kids including my brother Peter.  She lived about a block off campus.  I remember it was Kelsey who said, “No erasers in this class.”   Then Vike I had in Campus as a child and later when I was an adult and went to Western.  I noticed he allowed a certain freedom of expression and I asked him about how he taught at Campus School.  He said he used to bring in a stack of manilla paper and put it in the middle of the table and then we were to draw.  When we finished one we were just to take another sheet and so on --  keep the flow going.  So I felt this enormous freedom and the idea that you just keep going and develop this eye hand coordination without anything in-between.  Also that you connect directly to your unconscious without “editing.”   I suppose today they would call it “right brain.”  But I think we were so lucky to have accomplished artists and that art was taught regularly.  That it wasn’t just a craft or something to kill time. 

It has influenced me to this day -- it remains with me, as an artist, as a writer and as a teacher. 

CK: Did you have any international students in school with you?

ML: Well, not in our grade, but it’s possible, sure.

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

ML: Yes, I am in touch with a few. I’m in touch with Peggy Shull who’s in Seattle and works at a travel agency.  We’re a class that has had at least three reunions.  We meet, generally in the ten year reunion for our high school; we will also have a Campus School reunion that same day.  Last one we had would be 1998.  We did all get together then.  I remember we got together out at Woodstock Farm.  We had a really good turn out.  There were just about two or three people that were missing.  We all sat on the lawn.  I remember Christian Murray, who was Carolyn Murray at that time, she kind of led us in a little dialogue and we each went around and discussed what we were doing and it was great.  So I do have a lot of names.  I don’t have addresses, kind of like I lost touch with that, but Peggy, I definitely have her e-mail and her number and stuff like that.

CK: I want to back up to something you mentioned, that there were birthday parties and people brought cupcakes. 

ML:  The funny thing about my birthday, is there were four of us that had either March 16th or March 15th.  There was Charlie Ciszek, Cici Evans, me, anyway, there were four of us.  So we had like a really big thing.  Plus, since March 17th is St. Patrick’s day, then that was just a natural.

CK: A lot of green cupcakes.

ML: A lot of green cupcakes, that’s right.  Oh, and Scott Walker, that’s right.  Scott Walker who was a lawyer in Bellingham, I believe now he went into a business.  He’s one you could contact.

CK: Do you have any Campus School memorabilia, including photographs, class publication, crafts, artwork, and may we contact you about these items?

ML: Well, I have donated what I call my reindeer.  We made a lot of these paper-mache things, but this, I really think the process must have been better than paper-mache, because it’s still perfectly preserved.  You blow up a balloon and then you put the

paper-mache around it and then you pop the balloon.  We did quite a bit of that and this was a particular one for I guess Christmas.  I put branches from a tree for the antlers and a little red nose and it’s perfectly preserved.  We made a lot of forks and spoons.

CK: Out of what material?

ML: Well, you get kind of a soft wood.  There was a lot of woodworking there at Campus.  They had these tables with vices and saws.  I don’t know how they trusted us with that.  We would put those in the vices and you’d get these digging implements, they looked really primitive; then the saw for the fork.  You draw the lines to make the fork and then you use a saw to cut out in between the two, those things that stick out.  Then you would use sand paper and kind of sand them and then pretty soon you’d put maybe some lacquer on it.  We did an awful lot of stuff with wood.  That was a big part of Campus. Making boats I remember, we had these blocks of wood and then you put more blocks on them and then you’d paint them. 

CK: Would you take them anywhere and float them?

ML: Oh, yes.  Then we’d float them.  I can’t remember, there weren’t that many fountains.  There was the Rain Forest (1959) one up across from the old library.  I don’t know if that’s still here.

CK: It’s actually been moved now, but it is still on Campus, the Rain Forest sculpture.

ML: Right, there was that one for sure; we’d see what they looked like.

CK: Did you have aprons you wore for all the painting or any safety goggles or anything like that?

ML: I don’t remember safety goggles; we probably did have aprons though, because we did a lot of painting.  These things were messy, yeah, for sure.

CK: So are there any favorite memories of your Campus School days or any comments about areas not covered by the questions above?  This is our last question, so it’s a chance to just wrap up with any other memories you have. 

ML: Well, I think, going back, probably to Mr. Miller.  My friend Marcia Livesey and I, (I don’t know how this started, I think it started at Campfire Girls), we started a newspaper we called the Gossip Times.

CK: This is your own, outside of Campus?

ML: Our own newspaper.  I think it started at Campfire Girls, because we had this big stack of Mad magazines and we were just absolutely crazy about Mad magazine.  We thought that was just the greatest.  I don’t know how we started; we just started pretending to have one about our class, kind of a satirical thing.  So Marcia and I started that and pretty soon we got I think Tyler Fleeson and Steve Glass.

CK: Were they also Campus Schoolers?

ML: Yes, yes.  Tyler’s Fleeson’s one you should definitely check out.  He lives down near Port Townsend now.  He was like one of the more flamboyant members, just really creative and lively and everything.  He had this great sense of humor and a great artist too.  I think now he’s a poet.  And then Steve Glass also a very sharp wit.  So, we came out with this newspaper, I can’t remember how often it came out.  First we started with just carbon copies, then we progressed maybe to mimeograph.

CK: Did you actually type these or did you just handwrite?

ML: We did a lot of handwritten and I think later we might have done some typed copies.  I’ll just never forget some of the humorous things in that paper.  For example, Mr. Miller was this very down to earth ecology guy.  Tyler had drawn a car, like a thunderbird with big fins, like they had back in those days, in the Fifties, and they said, “Mr. Miller’s got a new car!”  We made fun of the people in the class, but it was all in good humor and satirical, like I said.

CK: No feathers were ruffled by it?

ML: No, the only problem that we did get in, is that Marcia and I, we charged a nickel, which was reasonable.  But then we thought we wanted to maybe have a little ad in there.  The ad was that we were going to sell shares, like stocks.  The classmates would buy a share and then we would be building a swimming pool; that was the plan.

CK: For your school or for yourselves? 

ML: Well, for the people that bought shares.  They would be able to use our swimming pool that we were going to build. 

CK: You were entrepreneurs.

ML: Entrepreneurs.  Well, we’d gotten the idea because there was like an ad on the cover of Popular Mechanics that said, “Build your own pool for $200.”  So it wasn’t unreasonable, all we needed was $200. 

CK: Given your Campus School experience, very hands-on. 

ML: We were going to build it, I think, in my parents’ back yard.  So anyway, the ad said “Buy a Share if you Dare.”  Students actually thought it might work.  We were serious as fourth graders, you know.  So we sold quite a few shares.  Marcia [who] was supposed to be the treasurer, (Marcia Livesey), anyway, one day Marcia came in and she said, “The treasury’s gone, my brother took it;” or something and spent it.  So we had to explain to our classmates what happened.

CK: It was embezzlement of the…

ML: I said, “Well, you know, that’s the way it is with the stock market.  It comes and goes.”   It was something, you know, even a few a years ago my mother was mentioning it, and she goes, “Oh and then people were so mad about that.”  I don’t think they ever got over it.  I do wish we’d saved some copies of that, the Gossip Times.  I know we carried it out at least one year, because then when we got to fifth grade, Mr. Lamb, he was pretty supportive.

CK: You had a Mr. Lamb?

ML: Mr. Lamb taught fifth grade.

CK: I had a Mr. Lamb in the sixth grade, but that was in Germany.  How interesting.

ML: He was somebody’s relative; oh, no.  See, a lot of these people were kind of related to different people in the class.  Like our sixth grade teacher (Mr. Winslow) was related to Bev Melland, who was in my class.  He was her uncle, I think.  But Mr. Lamb, he was very supportive and he said, “You want to use the mimeograph?” and whatnot.  But by that time we had kind of lost interest.  It folded, I think, probably due to the scandal.  So that was a really good memory. 

I think that the class was so good, I mean, there’s talent there, real talent.  The sharing, I should mention the sharing, which I thought was a really good idea.  Every morning, and I can’t remember which grades this went on in, but you got to school and then you would get up, I can’t remember if it was timed, if you had like two minutes or five or whatever.  Each student was supposed to get up and say what happened the day before, anything that went on.  It could be anything, “I went out to dinner with my parent.”  I remember that as a really good experience because you developed a story that way, from your life experience.  You get up and you could embellish it, it could be anything.  Being in front of a group, too, I think was extremely important.  Because it taught everybody to be a leader or to be comfortable in front of a group I should say.  So that experience was just really good. 

Then the other, I have to mention this, is the Christmas singing, which we talked about earlier.  I can’t remember, I think maybe it was the entire month of December or maybe the last two weeks.  But we would arrive at Campus, I can’t remember if it went into class time or if you got here early, but you walked in the door and you went right to the auditorium instead of going to your classroom.  The little kids would I guess bring their chairs and then the others would sit in the regular chairs in the auditorium.  They would project the words of Christmas carols on the screen.  It was just a wonderful experience.  I just really have always enjoyed singing with a group and memorized all those words.  As I remember those were Christmas carols.  But in our room, we did have a Jewish student, Steve Glass is Jewish.  So at Christmas time we would also celebrate Hanukah.  We learned that song, I have a little dreidel; and then there was something to do with that.  I look at kids now where there might not be able to sing Christmas carols or they might not be able to do this because it touches on the religion question and I thought Campus handled it perfectly in that it respected all of them.  If there was a Jewish kid you would do the Hanukah song and then you would have your Christmas carols, too.  It was multi-cultural instead of trying to just eliminate the whole issue.

CK: What about the little mats?  You did mention that in your classroom, at the front of the room you had your mats and then you had your desks.

ML: Well, yes; in the early grades we had a big rug and you would sit on that cross-legged and the teacher would be up front.  Then I think it was when we went up to the second level of Campus School in third grade, then we started sitting at real desks, but before that we sat on this big rug.  Then if you had a project, like you were drawing, then you would go back to the back of the room and there would be places where you could paint or maybe an easel.  All the rooms seemed to have a little library where you could go and just sit there, you know, a little library where you could sit there and read.  Then also there were the rugs that we each had to have our naps.

CK: What grades did you do this napping in?

ML: It seemed like it went on a little too long because after a while you didn’t really need a nap.  Then there would be a lot of chit chat and people getting in trouble.  I remember that more than ever actually sleeping, but I suppose in the early grades you really appreciated it.  Later, there was I think certain disciplinary problems at Campus that any school has.  The way I remember them handling it is sort of a time out.  If you were caught talking and you were disruptive, the teacher, at least what happened to me, is they’d say, “Just park yourself in my office.”  I just went.

CK: The teacher had a separate office from the classroom?

ML: They all did, yes.  These were places where you didn’t go that much unless I think there was a parent-teacher conference.  You might go at that time.  But, then, I was kind of a disruptive kid, did a lot of talking, so the teacher would say, “Park yourself in my office.

CK: Earlier, when we were walking around the school before we started the interview, you pointed out the janitors [closets], you were familiar with them and the Nurse’s Office.

ML: Yes, we had a nurse.  I think her name was Miss Summers and she had her own little office.  You would go in there if you had a cold or you were getting a temperature.  She even had a little cot you could lie down on.  If you were really sick, they’d call your parents and they’d come and get you.  But you could sit there a long time. 

CK: Well, I think this about wraps our interview today Margie and I really appreciate listening to your memories.

ML: Well, I enjoyed it.  Thank you.

CK: You’re welcome.