Transcripts, Part 1

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Guide to Transcription Conventions:
{ or } = Respondent and Interviewer are speaking at the same time

(word) = Transcriber’s best guess

(xx)=Transcriber could not make out word(s)

[word]=Non-verbal noises such as a laugh, phonetic spelling, or transcriber interpolation

Jump to:

Algoma: NewWI097 Horicon: NewWI079 Jefferson: NewWI197
Baraboo: NewWI068 Horicon: NewWI146 La Crosse: NewWI196
Bayfield: NewWI038 Howards Grove: NewWI010 La Crosse: NewWI198
Burlington: NewWI019 Janesville: NewWI192 La Crosse: NewWI247 
Chippewa Falls: NewWI173 Jefferson: NewWI148 Linden: NewWI195


Algoma: NewWI097


Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. Uh, as I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, uh, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Um, I suppose we’ll begin talking about Algoma. I’ve actually never heard of that st-, a city, or town. Uh, could you tell me about it?

Respondent:  Sure, um, it’s a small town, about three thousand people, um, right on Lake Michigan. It’s about thirty miles east of Green Bay. Um, it’s one of those places that, like a small town, like, you run into people you know at the grocery store, and, you know, like, we’re big into sports, so pretty much the whole town goes out and supports our basketball teams, and, um, football teams, and things like that. So, um, yeah, um, beautiful, it’s right on the lake, a beautiful beach called a crescent beach, and there’s a boardwalk to walk along, and a, a red lighthouse, and a pier, and it’s really beautiful.

Interviewer:  That’s (fine). I had never really, associate Wisconsin with having beautiful beaches. Could you tell me a little bit bore, more about that?

Respondent:  [laugh] Um, well, yes, um, so it’s sandy, and it’s really, it’s really long, so, like, as you’re driving past, it just, you see, um, the beautiful sunrise on the lake, and that. The beach itself is not necessarily great sand. It’s, like, a little bit rockier. I know, like, as you go farther south the beaches can be, and sometimes even up in Door County, they can be more just sand beaches, but ours for whatever reason kind of juts out into the lake, and, so, it’s a little bit more rocky, um, but it’s still beautiful. I mean, they clean it up, um, as much as they can, and it’s, um, the kids can play in it all the same, I guess. Um, the water’s cold, almost always cold, even in August and things. It’s pretty chilly, but the kids go in it, and I don’t, [laugh] used to.

Interviewer:  Oh, I understand, yeah. I go camping a lot, too. Would you say, uh, have you ever been to the, uh, beach in Devil’s Lake?

Respondent:  Uh, no.

Interviewer:  Oh, that’s a, that’s a really beautiful one, too. I was gonna say, ’cause there’s, like, um, there’s like rock widges, rock ridges along the side, and they keep that one pretty clean, too, but it’s kind of a surprise, ’cause you go out, and there’s a, not a lot of beaches are clean, so, actually, it’s, uh—

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  —pretty good to know.

Respondent:  I know, yeah, they, they can do like a beach cleaner on part of it, but then on part of it the DNR doesn’t allow them ’cause it’s, like, more natural, and that’s where I th-, like, when you go, um, farther south, it, where the natural part right by the water, it’s like the cleanest water, and I don’t really know why, but the, um, closer to the pier gets, like, sometimes fish and that kind of all [laugh] die over there or something, but it’s kind of gross, and now if you go farther down, it’s really pr-, it’s really nice sand and, and water.

Interviewer:  Well, that does sound fantastic. Um, you mentioned a lot of, uh, sports teams, do you, uh, do you, is that a local, like, high school teams, or is it more, or more, like—

Respondent:  {Yes.

Interviewer:  —college,} or NFL, or something like that.

Respondent:  No, it’s, it’s mostly high school. I mean, uh, I think our community supports kids that, um, then go on to college. We have, um, you know, kids that play, have played at UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh, and then they continue to support them, but it’s mainly the high school athletics. Um, we start our, our, the programs, starter programs start out really early, and then, um, they go through high school, and y-, I mean, i-, the girls and boys basketball, specifically, somewhat football, but basketball is really, um, packed. Our girls have been, like, state-ranked the last, I don’t know, five to ten years maybe, and last year they were state champions in division four, which is what our division is. We have a pretty small school. It’s only three thousand people. I think there’s, maybe, about two hundred, two hundred twenty-five, maybe, in the whole high school, so, um, it’s a pretty big deal that they can support, like, such a good program and have continued to do so well, and the boys are, are decent, too. Not ever as good as the girls, but, um, yeah, it’s, it’s pretty cool. You go and see all the, um, the community supporting the teams. It’s really fun.

Interviewer:  That sounds really nice, actually. I remember my, uh, I remember my boys basketball team was composed of the football defensive line, and that didn’t go over, that didn’t go over so well.

Respondent:  [laugh] Yeah, {get some (xx

Interviewer:  We,} yeah, it was not, it was not good, but, yeah, I, I’ve it, it always kinda, it, uh, fascinates me, ’cause I’m from, uh, Milwaukee myself, or at least [beep], and there wasn’t a lot of, um, I, I mean, there was some attention devoted to that, like, as much money as we could put into that school, but, like, it was never, basketball was never really a big deal. I mean, we were never that terribly good at it, so it was, like, oh, OK, you know, we can pretend all we like to l-, and I, I suppose the point I’m ma-, saying is, like, wow, I, I’m, it’s kind of, uh, it’s kind of, uh, refreshing to see, like, a community get behind, like, a high school kinda thing like that.

Respondent:  Yeah, well, even, like, when I was in high school, so, I went in high school from nineteen ninety-seven through two thousand and one, I think, um, and they, the girls’ team, specifically, was not very good, and no one came, and the boys were pretty good and were well attended, and now that the girls have had such, um, success, the girls’ games are much better attended than the boys’, which is really kinda interesting for me to watch, because (xx) it’s completely opposite, and even the girls’ games, when I was in high school, there was no student section or very little, and now it’s just packed, when they, like, stand the whole time and really cheer, and it’s, it’s really fun. It’s r-, really good environment.

Interviewer:  That is pretty nice. I remember playing in the, in the band a lot, and they, they didn’t even, uh, the athletic director didn’t even want us down there because he wanted to use his fancy schmancy stereo system all the time, and, like, well, great, you don’t want us to be here. We don’t want us to be here, so what’s the point, really?

Respondent:  Yeah, that’s really funny. We do have a good pep band, too. They’re awesome, [laugh] so that makes a good, for a good game, too.

Interviewer:  That is also a change of pace. I’m not used to good pep bands at all.

Respondent:  [laugh] {Yes.

Interviewer:  Well, I} suppose, I mean, you go, be around Madison enough you’re used to good pep bands, but not {high school, never high school.

Respondent:  Yeah, yeah,} I can’t say quite a few, but, um, we have probably about, well, in the past five years, we’ve probably had four members, um, of our high school go on to play in the UW marching band, so that’s fun, too, to watch them on the Rose Bowl parades, and on TV, and, and on, in the games, so, yeah, very proud of that.

Interviewer:  Uh, say you were trying to convince a friend of yours to move to, uh, Algoma. What exactly would, wuh, what would be your big highlight point? What would you, what would be your big selling point?

Respondent:  Uh, probably, just, like, the small town atmosphere that, um, people support each other, and, sure, there’s a small town politics, and people know what’s going on about, um, y-, going on with you a lot, but, um, the truth is they care about you, and, like, if something happens to you or your family, I’ve seen our community really rally behind people and really support them, and, um, you know, you always have somebody, you know, two minutes away that can help you if you need it, whereas in bigger cities you’re lost. You don’t have, you know, the babysitters. You don’t know who to call for babysitters, or who to call if you need help with something at your house, and it’s just, and even if, it’s kind of like the whole joke about how in small towns everybody’s related, but really it’s because you might see them at church, or you might see them at, at basketball games, or at work, and then you become friends, and you become friends with their friends, and, all of a sudden, everybody really does know each other, and, and I love it for that reason.

Interviewer:  Say you, say you, uh, weren’t living in Algoma. Where would you, where would be your ideal place to live?

Respondent:  [laugh] Um, I always wanted to live in Green Bay. And, I mean, I l-, I do love Madison, but it’s too far away from my family, but I always wanted to live in Green Bay because it was closer to, um, you know, Target, Walmart, uh, Kohl’s, like, shopping places, malls, um, and, w-, we didn’t, we don’t have anything like that here. It’s twenty minutes minimum to a Target and thirty-five minutes-ish to go, about, to go to Green Bay, um, so I always just wanted to be closer to things, and events, and activities, but, um, it just didn’t work out that way [laugh].

Interviewer:  You don’t have, like, Walmart, uh, the big shopping chains out there?

Respondent:  Oh, gosh, no. No, everything’s, like, in Green Bay. There’s a Target and Walmart are in Sturgeon Bay, so that’s about twenty to twenty-five minutes from my house, and then the east side of Green Bay, um, has all of that, and that’s about thirty-five to forty minutes depending on where you’re going, and that’s the east side of Green Bay. [laugh] The big mall is probably forty-five minutes away.

Interviewer:  What about, like, fast food chains? Do you get, like, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, or is any of those {in close proximity?

Respondent:  Um,} we have Subway here. We used to have McDonald’s, but that closed because of location. Where it was, it w-, um, it was, like, a small, in a small building, and they, um, wanted to expand it. There was just no room to expand, um, so that’s really it here. Um, on the way to Green Bay, Luxemburg has a McDonald’s and a Subway, and then, obviously, Green Bay has a ton, and Sturgeon Bay has some, too, but really, fast food, the only one here is, is Subway.

Interviewer:  I would actually like to go to a place where there’s not a lot of, uh, (that.) I’m al-, I’m always, fr-, I’m always used to being around, like, cities and stuff where it’s, like, oh, OK, I can drive or walk, like, two minutes down that way, and I’ll see something, and (xx) . . .

Respondent:  Right [laugh] {It has pros and cons.

Interviewer:  I’ve never, I’ve never been away from it,} yeah.

Respondent:  Yeah, it has pros and cons because, um, like, we e-, we never really ate that much at McDonald’s, but it was really nice if we wanted, like, a shake, or something, or something quick after a basketball game, or that, and there’s just really isn’t as many options. You get, kinda get sick of Subway. Not that we eat there a lot, but it’s the only option, you know?

Interviewer:  I find myself eating, uh, at Subway more often now because I live, um, like, twenty, a twenty-some-odd minute walk away from, like, where my friends live, so whenever I go down there, I’m like, I don’t wanna go back home and eat, so I might as well just get Subway.

Respondent:  Yeah, yeah, yeah, and it’s good. I’m not saying it’s not. It’s just the only choice.

Interviewer:  Yeah. Let, um, let’s see, um, how have you, uh, what exactly do you do for a living? Like, what is your job?

Respondent:  Um, I have taught elementary school for, I think, nine years now, um, and this year I took a new position, so I’m doing the early childhood special education, and so I start out with the three-year-olds, all with, that have special needs, and they, um, stay with me until they’re old enough to go to four-year-old kindergarten, so in the morning, I do that program, and then the afternoon I teach an inclusion four-year-old kindergarten program, which means I support my special education students that are old enough to go to four-K in their, um, setting with the, their peers. So it’s challenging because I have kids that don’t talk and kick and scream and scream and scream, um, but at the same time they make a lot of gains, and, um, they, y-, you just can do so many fun things at that age, and y-, it’s really rewarding.

Interviewer:  I can imagine, yeah. It’s been a, obviously, it’s been a long time since kindergarten for me. I can only remember, like, flashes of it, like, doing the macarena a lot.

Respondent:  [laugh] Yeah, we don’t do the macarena, but we do a lot of fun things, and, yeah, it’s, it’s really strange how, um, education has changed because [throat clearing] what, um, I tau-, my first year teaching I taught kindergarten, and now I’ve taught four-K. I think I taught four-K for five years or six years, and now I took this job so I’m still i-, you know, a little bit in four-K, and, um, we pretty much have, we teach the kindergarten curriculum that I taught in two thousand five, two thousand six because all the academic standards just moved down a grade. So, it’s all, like, this push for, like, all my kids in four-K need to know all their letters, and their letter sounds, and starting, like, sight words, and so they’re, like, starting to read at four turning five years old, where I don’t think I, I know I didn’t start reading until first grade.

Interviewer:  Is it easier to, um, teach five-year-olds or four-year-olds, do you think?

Respondent:  Hm, good question. Um, it’s been so long since I taught five-year-olds. I think it’s easier to teach five-year-olds because they’re more independent, and they’re more used to the school routine, um, but I think the four-year-olds, it’s more of teaching the ro-, rotine, the routine, and procedures, and how school works, and so I, I kinda like that part. I think five-year-old is easier. Does that make sense? [laugh]

Interviewer:  Somewhat, yeah. I, I, I, I’m not a teacher, myself. I’m just trying to think of it in those terms.

Respondent:  Yeah, I think the older you go they’re more independent, so you’re not worrying about them wanting, you know, needing to blow their nose, or make sure they go to the bathroom, or, you know, cleaning up milk accidents, and things like that, but at the same time, like, you’re teaching them life skills, which is (ex-,) really, I like to do.

Interviewer:  That is pretty fantastic, actually. You always, you always have those moments, where you’re, like, oh, I, you know, what if I was a teacher? What would I do differently, you know?

Respondent:  [laugh] I always had the moments where, I don’t know if I wanna do this my whole life. What would I do [laugh] if I don’t, you know, when you go to college to be a teacher, I mean, not that people don’t go and do other things, but that’s kind of what you’re there to do. I don’t know, so, but I, I always think, I don’t know if I wanna do this my whole life. We’ll see.

Interviewer:  Say it worked out differently. What would be your ideal job, if it wasn’t, li-, if it wasn’t a kindergarten teacher?

Respondent:  Mm, goodness, that’s a really good question. The jobs that I think I would really enjoy doing, I don’t make a whole lot of money, so I don’t think I’d ever do, ever do it, but I’d love to be, like, a, um, an assistant to, like, a CEO or something like that. I’m very task-oriented, very organized, um, very efficient, like, computer skills, that type of thing, so I think I could do very well at organizing schedules and, um, making presentations, helping with things like that. I also really do like computers, so maybe something with that? I, I don’t know, good, really good question.

Interviewer:  Do you think having those, uh, those task-oriented things helped being a kindergarten teacher? Like, oh, OK t-, now we’re gonna do this, now we’re gonna, like, a set schedule {that, do—

Respondent:  Oh, yeah.}

Interviewer:  Do kids like set schedules, or do they like a little more . . .

Respondent:  [laugh] No, they, uh, you know, so many families will come and say, oh, my kid is awful at home, and they don’t, and my nephew was exactly that, and everybody was telling me, you don’t want him in your class. He’s just, you know, and he really was just awful, but he kind-, came to school, and when they learn, like, exactly how things are, they’re very clear cut. They’re very routine. They come to school. They see this visual schedule. They can see we’re gonna do this, this, this, and this. There’s no time for them to, to misbehave because everything is so set, s-, scheduled, and they enjoy the activities. We don’t have, we don’t have the behavior problems that parents are telling us, well, don’t they do this? And we’re like, no, [laugh] ’cause we just, yeah, so, for sure, procedure and routines are huge for kids. I, even I see that with my own daughter, like, when I tell her, OK, this is, these are the things we need to do before bed. It helps her get ready more so for bed, whereas before it’s, like, we’re battling her to try to go to sleep.

Interviewer:  I remember those. I remember the set routine for me, when I was a little kid, was, OK, pajamas, um, brush your teeth, and then story, and then {be-, then you get tucked in.

Respondent:  Yeah, right,} exactly, yep, and we have a, I had like a little visual schedule for her. [laugh] Check. Done.

Interviewer:  I’ll have to keep that in mind. I, d-, these are things I don’t really often think about on an everyday basis.

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Well, in that case, uh, we-, thank you very much for that conversation. Um, now, we shall move on to the next activity.


Baraboo: NewWI068


Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. As I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Shall we begin by talking about Baraboo?

Respondent:  [cough] OK.

Interviewer:  If you want, like, how long have you lived there, um, any . . . ?

Respondent:  I moved to Baraboo in, um, ninetee-, uh, two thousand three, and previous to that I, I had a house in Merrimac on Lake Wisconsin, uh, and I went broke and decided to, uh—became very depressed—and decided I needed to move my office out of my house in Merrimac and into, uh, an office in Baraboo so that I could get out of the house every day. And I did that, uh, up unt-, opened an office in Baraboo, and then, uh, decided that, um, when I lost my house, when I went broke, [throat clearing] I would move to an apartment in Baraboo which I did. And then within a year or so I closed the separate office and moved o-, office into my house, my apartment in Baraboo,[throat clearing] and that, I, pr-, that, uh, move to the apartment was ar-, was two thousand three.

Interviewer:  Alright, and is there anything, m-, d-, and you mentioned that you moved to Baraboo because you wanted to get a change in your life, and, um, have you found that change? Is there anything special about Baraboo, and do you, like, is there anything you especially like about any kind of like landmarks or any attractions in Baraboo that you like?

Respondent:  I, I like it, uh, very much. I like everything about it but the name, to tell you the truth. It’s a surprising, uh, community. Um, in my life, I went to school in Mexico, in college in Mexico City. I lived in Chicago. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and I lived in New York City, and I thought when I moved to a town like Baraboo that I’d feel fairly isolated because of my background, but, uh, because of the university here there’s a surprising depth of talent and life experience here. So, that’s been quite a surprise that there are people, um, my age—I’m sixty-eight—or younger, uh, usually younger who, uh, have similarly very diverse backgrounds with a lot of life experience that you wouldn’t normally expect to find in a small town in Wisconsin. Uh, there’s someone who was a costume designer for the Wells Sadler [sic] ballet in London for example. Um, there are people who grew up in, uh, in South America. Uh, it’s just, it’s just, uh, refreshing to find, uh, the diversity that you just would not expect to find in a small town.

Interviewer:  Interesting, yeah, and then, um, so I know you mentioned that you moved your oppice, office to Baraboo as well. Um, what do you do for a living, or wh-, h-, how have you come to {what you have done for a living?

Respondent:  I did, what I} do for a living is difficult to explain. I was a, uh, pre-, I did pre-production for books and journals. I did pre-press production, so I took, uh, files from, uh, editors that had been, uh, given to editors by authors and edited, and, in some cases, coded with, uh, typesetting code, and I turned those into, um, pages that were ready for a printer. In some case I did editorial work where I actually, uh, edited, um, uh, material. Um, at one, in my, one point in my career when I was living on Lake Wisconsin, I was writing for um, uh, and a chief editor of the Journal of the American Art Pottery Association, and then, I, uh, switched from that to the, uh, uh, Red Wing Collectors Society newsletter which was the largest, uh, c-, uh, organization of pottery collectors in the United States of about seven thousand members. So I would write that, edit and write that material as well as produce it, um, and when I stopped doing that, then I transferred mostly to, um—before I did that I was doing mostly books. After I did that I switched, and I was mostly doing schol-, scholarly journals, and I now only do one, uh, scholarly journal which is the, uh, Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work Education, and I just do production on that. I don’t do edit-, edi-, any editorial.

Interviewer:  Interesting. It sounds like you spent a lot of time working with pottery journals and working with, like, the pottery association, like you {said.

Respondent:  Yeah, I be}came very, uh, interested in pottery in, uh, the nineteen, uh, the late nineteen eighties. Um, there was a, uh, um, a flea market in New York City, and, um, I had a-, planned to move back to the Midwest, and a friend of mine, um, said there, you know, there’s this flea market. We could take our extra stuff to the flea market, and sell it, and make some money, and so we decided to do that, and we said, well, let’s get some extra stuff, and he had a, a second house in, um, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and so we went to a country auction there and bought some things that we felt would supplement what we already had, and one of the things we bought were, uh, was a set of six chrome luncheonette stools that we bought for twenty five cents apiece. And so, we set up at the flea market on this, this Sunday morning, and we sold quite a lot of stuff, and at the end of the day we sold the, the luncheonette, uh, swivel stools for two hundred dollars, ma-, just made an enormous markup on it. And so, my friend and I looked at each other, and we said, well, I don’t like my job, and he said he didn’t like his, and then we decided to do that as a, as an occupation, uh, selling antiques and collectibles every other week, basically. It wasn’t enough that we could live on. We could make five thousand a weekend, but, uh, it, it wasn’t enough to live on i-, in New York, but, uh, it became an avocation, and I became, we, we started doing pottery because he knew quite a lot about it. And I found that it was easier to sell if I learned about it. So I read up quite a bit on it, and I became, um, um, oh, there’s a word for it in English called chinamania where you become obsessed with, uh, the texture and quality of pottery or ceramics, and, um, I, I got that disease, and I began collecting, and, and, uh, learning about it, and, uh, because I had an editorial and graphics background, um, eventually they started asking me to write about it or edit people’s work for, on pottery. I became an expert on pottery. So those people you see on or used to see on, uh, Antiques Roadsh-, on Roadshow, I, I, I know those people. They’ve got newer people now, but [throat clearing] most of the big people in pottery, I know who they are, or they know me.

Interviewer:  Oh, {very interesting.

Respondent:  Though I haven’t really done it} for a number of years.

Interviewer:  And then you mentioned, now, that you do write for a scholarly journal, (xx) {baccalaureate one? Oh, I’m sorry you, you pre-, do pre-production.

Respondent:  I don’t write. I only do production. I only do production.} They send me authors’ files and I turn those into, uh, um, pdfs, essentially, that can be posted online and then they can be sent to a printer. And I think really the only reason I still have that, because most of that kind of work has gone to large printing companies, large presses that can, can, uh, automatically do JSTOR, um, periodicals that are onli-, published online simultaneously, and I don’t even think they do print versions anymore, um, in h, in, um, html or xml which I don’t do, but I still do this print version that’s done as a pdf. But I think the only reason they send it to me is because they have, um, a lot of, um, uh, mathematical tables, and I’m somewhat of an expert in setting, um, mathematical tables and putting them together. My first job had been at a financial printer, and I’d, I learned how to do that. It’s complicated for most people to do that, in my business. For me, it’s easy.

Interviewer:  I understand, and, um, you, so you said you studied editorial and graphics. Is that correct?

Respondent:  I d-, well, no, I really learned it on the job. I studied, uh, poetry in Mexico, and then I attended, um, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a while. I studied independently under a man named [beep]. I studied audible constructs which was, uh, uh, sound sculpture. I was very interested in words that, uh, or sounds, that human beings made which cannot be transliterated, like laughter and screams, so, um, I would, uh, collect laughter and screams and sounds that people make that you really cannot write out with a series of letters to accurately convey what that sounds like, and I would make, uh, collages of those sounds. And, of course, it’s a, not a career, [laugh] so I, I had to make money, and I b-, I got, um, eventually got hired, and, um, um, by a graphic arts studio. It was the beginning, uh, I was, the early seventies, and I was gay. I came out shortly after Stonewall, so it was very hard to get a job if you were out. I, one year, I had eleven jobs, and I finally got a job with a little graphic arts studio that was owned by a gay couple, and so they kept me on because they knew I c-, I adapted and learned how to do the work. And so, I, I, I learned that basically by, uh, by doing it. I had al-, I previously had a job doing medical editing, and so, um, but there was more money in production, so, for many years, I just did production, and then later on I switched back to editorial. This is probably not the vocabulary that you really want to hear.

Interviewer:  Oh, no, this is very interesting, and, [laugh] and then, um, do you have any kind of hobbies or activities you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Respondent:  Um, I still think of myself as an artist even though I really don’t, uh, do much. I, I write fiction. Um, I have only sent a little bit of it out. I’ve only had one piece published, but I’ve been writing fiction, really, for forty years, but I’m very slow at it, and I, um, will work on a piece for, you know, uh, two months, and then I’ll put it away for five years. Um, I’m n-, I’m a great procrastinator. I am now trying to finish some stuff and get some stuff out. It would be like, nice to get something published bef-, I have a lot of non-fiction published, but I don’t have any fiction published, uh, except for one piece, and I’d sort of like to get something published before I, uh, kick off. Um, but as far as hobbies, um, I, I, I have never had what I thought of as hobbies like t-, normal people have hobbies because I’ve always considered myself sort of an artist. So the concept of sitting and knitting or sitting and, uh, um, doing craftwork with paper, tha-, that would be, not be something I would do unless I w-, thought I was making art if you know what I mean?

Interviewer:  I understand. And is there sort of anything that you do, like, on a, like on a regular basis, or do any, like, sort of na-, thing you do in nature, or any kind of, kind of, like, I know you said you write fiction. Is there anything you, like, are particularly interested in that you write about?

Respondent:  Well, I, I wanted and I began writing about ear-, gay life as it coalesced in the, uh, nineteen seventies, as the communities formed, and I really never got very far with that, and, um, by the time I had something that I think that was worth, uh, p-, publishing, a huge number of people had already begu-, begun to publish about, publish it. When I started writing really hardly anybody had published anything. Um, and I, uh, had since, uh, t-, uh, tried my hand at genre writing, and I find that much easier than trying to write something that’s, uh, more of a memoir or w-, what you might call literature. I think it’s a lot easier to work in a genre, so I’ve been writing science fiction and also historical fiction. {(It’s a)—

Interviewer:  Very} interesting. I was gonna say, is there anything specifically with science fiction that interests you, or any kind of, like, sort of, like, event or anything sort of, {like . . . ?

Respondent:  I am,} uh, very close to finishing a piece that’s called Switching Inserters, and it’s about people who work in the future after there’s been a huge loss of population, uh, making collages, uh, mak-, uh, inserting—the technology exists where they can insert the, uh, a regular person into a movie that has gone out of copyright. So, for example, if you wanted to, um, play the part of Barbara Streisand’s part in, uh, Hello Dolly, the-, these people who do this business could do that for you. They could put you in that part, and it would be seamless, and, um, that’s the work that these people do. And, and a secondary, uh, the secondary plot is that there is a drug that is popular with kids that allows them to switch their sexual orientation. Um, and they’ve decided to, they have parties with this drug, but they don’t know what orientation they are gonna get. If they get the same orientation, like, if they’re straight, and they get a straight drug it enhances sex for them. If they get opposite, if, if they get the same-sex, uh, orientation they are attracted to the same sex whether they really are or not, and then it’s a temporary thing, lasts about six hours. And so, I’m writing about two, two close friends who have this business together, and who take this drug, and who end up having sex together, uh, even though they’re both straight. And then, the, the, at the end of the story, they’re talking about, um, one is saying how much more efficient it would be to be a couple, uh, because they, they are very close as friends. They know everything about them, and they have a hard time, uh, maintaining relationships with women even though that’s who they were attracted to. So it’s a discussion of, um, where the lines between friendship and um, um, um, that friendships can a-, can be more intense and generally are more intense than, than sexual relationships in a way, {or perhaps more, or easier, let’s put it that way, easier.

Interviewer:  Very interesting.} Are there any kind of specific examples you have of this kind of, like, seamless, like, the insert, like, the, like, the insertions or some kind of, like, things, that, like, specific movies {that people want?

Respondent:  Yes uh} I talk about insert-, um, um, uh, a co-op at, uh, in San Francisco that paid a lot of money to get the, uh, um, what I call the, um, what do I use, the word, the word is the, uh, it’s not a framework, but the, uh, the image of d-, the drag queen, Divine, if you know who that is, and they insert her into Gone with the Wind. And they turn Gone with the Wind to, it turns out to be a very comic, um, adaptation of Gone with the Wind  because they, they cast against type for all of the established, uh, characters. Uh, Ashley Wilkes is played by a drag queen for exa-, drag king, for example, so that it became a commercial hit because it was, it was so very funny.

Interviewer:  Interesting. Well, thank you very much for this conversation, and, uh, we can move on to the next activity.


Bayfield: NewWI038


Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. Uh, as I mentioned for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, uh, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Um, shall we begin by talking about Bayfield?

Respondent:  Sure.

Interviewer:  Um, is there anything special about Bayfield, uh, that you think other Wisconsinites ought to know about?

Respondent:  Well, um, just, um, Lake Superior. Uh, I mean it’s, it’s on the lake, it’s by the Apostle Islands, and, um, it’s, um, a pretty area.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Uh, s-, so is it right on the lake?

Respondent:  Right on the lake, yeah.

Interviewer:  {Oh, OK.

Respondent:  And I actually} now um I, I grew up in Bayfield, but I actually now live in Red Cliff which is about three miles north of Bayfield.

Interviewer:  OK. And, uh, do you spend a lot of time on the lake, or have you spent some time on the lake?

Respondent:  No, I don’t, um, actually. I, um, swim in the lake when I can stand it, and, um, and take pictures of it and once in a while take the ferry over to Madeline Island.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  But I don’t go on the lake much, no.

Interviewer:  So how far away is Madeline Island?

Respondent:  Um, I think it’s about two miles across from the, uh, harbor in Bayfield, yeah.

Interviewer:  And people live up there?

Respondent:  Yeah, um, there’s a few. Um, there’s a lot more in the summer, um, that, um, have summer homes that are pretty, pretty, um, pricey.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Um, but in the winter there aren’t as many people there. Not, just the locals, then, and it’s not many.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Yep. Yep. And they have to take the ferry in the summer and, uh, windsled about this time of year. Well, no, the ferry’s running now, but then in the winter for whatever, however cold it is, they can take, um, the ice road over which everybody loves, because then they don’t have to pay a fortune to get back and forth between the island and the mainland.

Interviewer:  Oh, uh, y-, th-, you can just drive your vehicle over it?

Respondent:  Yep. And it’s a maintained road. Um, just, uh, I mean it’s considered a county road or a state road. I can’t remember which one, but, yeah, and it, it’s plowed, and I went on it like probably late fifties or early sixties. My dad took us over, but then I, I’ve been afraid ever since because there’s cars that go through either partially or, you know, a-, a-, a-, at, uh, because of the ice, um, isn’t really all that secure for most of the time. I don’t think. I mean, the island people they seem to know, you know, when it’s safe, but, um, uh, this year though it was so cold for so long that I, um, took a little, took a couple trips over to the island on the ice. I took my grandchildren over so they could have that experience, and it was, I knew it was good solid road, and it was, yeah.

Interviewer:  Yeah. Yeah, that’s interesting, and, uh, might be a little nerve-wracking to be driving over the ice.

Respondent:  Well, um, like I said, this year I wasn’t. I, I wasn’t nervous at all because I knew, I think they said there was, oh, I don’t know how many inches of ice there was.

Interviewer:  Yeah, it was really cold.

Respondent:  Yeah, and, um, but th-, then in between time when the ice starts to break up and before the ferry can run they have the windsled, and that, that’s really expensive though, even compared to the ferry, but—

Interviewer:  What, what is that?

Respondent:  It’s a thing that can go on ice or water.

Interviewer:  {Oh.

Respondent:  So} if there’s ice there, it’ll, it’ll ride on that, and if it goes through, it’ll be able to ride across the water. So, it’s, it’s got a big engine, um, almost like a airplane engine, but, and I don’t know what, what, if it has blades or whatever, and it makes a lot of noise, and it’s very expensive for a ride over. [laugh]

Interviewer:  And does it take like a lot of people at a time?

Respondent:  Mm-mm.

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  No, it’s pretty small, and I don’t know what, how many they can take, but it’s not, no, it can’t take, it, I don’t think, like, just, probably less than a dozen. I don’t know exactly, but, um, and then, uh, k-, there’s kids on the island that have to be transported over to the school. ’Cause they go to school over here i-, in Bayfield, and so they, um, they have to come by the windsled then. Yeah . . .

Interviewer:  I see. Alright, um. Let’s see, uh, if you didn’t live in Bayfield or the area, um, where else do you think you would like to live and why?

Respondent:  Um, well, I, I have, I have been to, um, the Southwest, and I kinda liked New Mexico.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um, I was, i-, i-, uh, went to visit my brother in North Carolina, and I liked Asheville. Um, so, either of those two places. And my daughter had lived in Florida for a while, and we stayed with them for about three months a couple years ago, and I did not like Florida at all.

Interviewer:  Yeah, it, it gets a little too hot for me.

Respondent:  Well, yeah, we were there in October, November, December, which is supposedly cool, but it, I didn’t think it was cool. It wasn’t (for) me. I had to take, um, my, a walk, and I had to take my walk, like, early in the morning before the sun would start to come up, because I couldn’t stand it in the middle of the day. But I’d see other people out there jogging at one o’ clock in the afternoon and I just, I could-, I don’t know how they can stand it, but lotta people do.

Interviewer:  Yeah. Um, so in the—you said New Mexico—were you like in the mountains?

Respondent:  Well, um, by Albuquerque, oh, and, um, so, you know, there’s some mountains outside of Albuquerque. Um, e-, so, it’s, it’s sort of, but the city itself is not, um, and I did drive through Taos, and that was very pretty in there, ’cause that’s more in the mountains, too.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Yeah. I liked New Mexico. It was, I didn’t like Florida because it was too flat, um, and where we were there weren’t very many trees that I recognize. I don’t feel at home with palm trees and {xx

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.}

Respondent:  Too many old people. Even though I’m old, I don’t like to be around all old people, and, so, like, out in the Southwest, there’s still a few—at least up towards the mountains—there’s still trees that I recognize or feel comfortable with anyway [laugh].

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  I see.

Respondent:  And Asheville was cool, because, um, you know, that was, that’s also kind of in the mountains, and um, we were there in July, and it wasn’t that—I thought it’d be really hot and humid. It wasn’t bad when we were there, and I asked this, uh, clerk in the store if it was, if it got much snow in the winter, and they said, um, it didn’t, and, no-, you know, they get some, but not very much. It doesn’t last too long, so I thought that would be, and there’s, there’s a college there. I like, you know, it’s kind of cool. I like, I would like to be somewhere where there was, there would be something like the university, you know, because there’s always things to do then and see. But that was quite a while ago since we were there and I heard there’s a lotta other old people that found out about Asheville {now so . . .

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.}

Respondent:  Yikes, I, I don’t know if I could handle that [laugh], but . . . {yeah

Interviewer:  Alright.} Alright, thank you for that, um, uh, do you wanna talk about work? Uh, like, how, like, how have you spent your working life?

Respondent:  Yeah, I was a nurse. And I, I still work, um, occasionally, um, but, um, I started out my first job in health care was in nineteen sixty-six and I was a nurse’s aid. And, um, I, I, um, I liked it, and, um, then I found out there was a, um—I, I didn’t know this before—that there was a position called licensed practical nurse. And that was like a year program, and I thought, oh, that would be cool, so, I, um, you know, applied to go to Superior, um, technical school, and, but there, at that time, there was a waiting list, so I had to wait a couple of years. So I didn’t get in to that till, like, nineteen seventy. I took that and became a licensed practical nurse, and did that for several years, and then, um, Ashland, got an A-, Ashland, um, technical school got, um, Associate Degree nursing in eighty-two. And, so, I started taking classes there and graduated in eighty-three with that. So I became an RN then and started working at the hospital in Ashland, and I worked there ever since. So, it’s, like, it’ll be thirty-one years this September. (In early,) early two thousand they had, uh, Viterbo College at La Crosse started offering, um, outreach classes up here, um, for, um, an RN to get her B-, B.S.N, Bachelor’s of Nurs-, and I always thought I would want to do that, but I just, there was nothing close by. So I took classes for that, and, um, so, then I got a Bachelor’s in Nursing back in two thousand four.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  Yeah, so, I’m, I’m, I’m glad about that. Yeah, and I always loved nursing. I always, I mean, it’s very stressful. Very stressful, and, um, the shifts are, are, [forced air] they’re for the birds, but, um, somebody’s gotta be there. And um, {but the nice—

Interviewer:  And you said} you’re still doing it?

Respondent:  I still work occasionally, but I, the last, let’s see, um, in nineteen ninety-six I went in to outpatient care unit which was o-, only daytime and only weekday. So that, that’s worked out then. Uh, that ended up to be where I was just in cardiac rehab which is part of outpatient care, and, um, and that was just lovely, lovely, a lovely spot to be in but—

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Um, we have our, a, a union, and so it usually takes a while to get seniority to be able to get to the, um, the better, um, spots if you want them. Uh, you know, lotta people didn’t w-, wanted to stay, like, where they were and didn’t mind the shifts, but I couldn’t wait to be done with night shifts. I didn’t mind the afternoon three to elevens but nights I couldn’t do but cardiac rehab has been really good it, um, you get to see people come in fairly, uh, a lot of times, um, you know, debilitated with-, especially if they’ve had open heart surgery.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Um, some of them it’s not too bad if they didn’t have a heart attack and just had a stent before a heart attack, and, and they, they can be in pretty good shape. But, you know, you get to see people make progress, because they can be there for thirty-six sessions which, um, they can come three times a week, and so they’d be done in twelve, or they can come once a week, and they’d be there for thirty-six. Uh, e-, either way, they can do it any way. Three, one, two, or three times a week—but, um, you get to know people.

Interviewer:  {Yeah

Respondent:  You know,} you really get to know people and, um, and that’s kind of fun, and, um, over the years there’s been returnees, because they have another cardiac event and come back, and, um, it’s, it’s, it’s pretty interesting. I’ve liked that.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Yeah, but I liked it when I worked on the floor, too, in the, um, you know, taking care of people in the hospital. Then I worked in the ER for a while, also, um, and that was interesting.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  But, um, um, this is the way to end up, I think, because, well, like, in cardiac rehab we don’t have to lift people. We don’t have to, you know, a-, it’s a lot of back and forth walking across, helping people get on their machines, and taking blood pressures, and all that, but it’s not a lot of heavy work and {um—

Interviewer:  Right.}

Respondent:  Uh, and it’s people who want to be there voluntarily pretty much, uh, and, like, when I worked in ER, uh, a lot of people that come in there weren’t really all that cooperative, um . . .

Interviewer:  Yeah, I can imagine.

Respondent:  They don’t wanna be there, um, and so this is recorded, but, you know, it’s, like, uh, I never been told “fuck you” so many times as when I worked in the ER.

Interviewer:  [laugh]

Respondent:  And, um, and, uh I, I just, it’s a whole different thing, then, like, the cardiac rehab patients. Uh, nobody’s said that to me [laugh]. Yeah, so, I fill in, like, maybe two and a half days. It averages about two and a half days a month since I retired in two thousand ten, and I can kinda pick and choose when I wanna fill in because I’m not a regular employee.

Interviewer:  Oh, {that’s nice.

Respondent:  That’s nice,} yeah, yeah.

Interviewer:  Alright. Uh, so, good, um, and thank you very much for this conversation.

Respondent:  Mm-hmm.

Interviewer:  Uh, let’s move on to the next activity.

Respondent:  OK.


Burlington: NewWI019


Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. As I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, let’s talk, talk about any topic that interests you. Uh, shall we begin by talking about Burlington?

Respondent:  OK, sure.

Interviewer:  Um, is there anything special about Burlington that you think other Wisconsinites oughta know about?

Respondent:  Well, let’s see here, um, I’ve lived here for, well, thirty years, and it hasn’t changed all that much. Um, of course, it’s known as, uh, Chocolate City USA because of our Nestle factory, um, but I’ve never, I’ve never toured the factory or, you know, I don’t really know the ins and outs of it, um, but every May there’s a big chocolate festival, and that’s grown, um, throughout the years. When we were first living here it was just a really small, um, you know, local festival, but now it’s really blossomed into a, a large gathering drawing from other communities. Um, it’s just a really, you know, small, small town. Um, things, I guess, have changed a little bit in terms of we’ve gotten more shopping. Um, you know, more bigger stores have moved in, but, um, yeah, it’s just a, a nice place to live.

Interviewer:  Um, and if you didn’t live in Burlington, where else would you like to live?

Respondent:  Mm, well, that’s a good question. Um, I would think still somewhere in Wisconsin. Um, my family has a, a cabin in northern Wisconsin, north of Eau Claire, and I really like that area, um, so maybe somewhere y-, you know north of Eau Claire would be nice, um, but, I don’t know. I, I would also really like to live maybe outside of the U.S. Um, I really enjoy Canada, and I’d like to, I really like visiting there. And um, that’d be nice, to live somewhere, {somewhere—

Interviewer:  So this winter} didn’t deter you? [laugh]

Respondent:  [laugh] No, it didn’t. No, um, it, it was pretty brutal, wasn’t it? Yeah, it was, uh, the worst I ever can remember, but, um, no, I don’t mind the cold weather.

Interviewer:  [laugh] I am so surprised. [laugh] I’m very impressed though. You’re a real Wisconsinite.

Respondent:  Yes, absolutely, yes. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Um, would you like to talk about your job? Or your {working life?

Respondent:  (Well,)} sure, sure. Well, actually, right now I’m, I’m looking for work. Um, I have, I have two master’s degrees, actually. I have a master’s in creative writing, um, from Notre Dame, and then I have a master’s, um, of library and information science from UW-Milwaukee and so that’s kind of why I’m interested in this survey is, you know, you know, dictionaries, and literature, and, and all of that. Um, so, but, no, right now I’m looking for work, um, particularly in public libraries, um, but on the side I’ve wr-, I’ve been doing some writing. Um, that’s always been my first, my first passion, I guess.

Interviewer:  Writing what kinds of things?

Respondent:  Sure, well, right now I’m writing for a, just a small, um, it’s not even a, a paper here in t-, in Burlington. It’s in a, a smaller community up north, um, but it’s a little, a weekly column that I write, and then I’m also at work on a, on a novel which is taking much longer than I anticipated, but, um, but so far it’s OK.

Interviewer:  I, I mean, I know you’re, it’s still in progress, but would you like to tell me a little bit about your novel?

Respondent:  Well, let’s see here, um, well, my writing style first of all is, is quite lyrical. Um, I love poetry. I, I haven’t written much poetry lately, but, um, so my style is maybe a little bit more difficult for readers to [laugh] to, uh, to enjoy maybe. Um, but the, the basic plot is of an artist who is, um, who is not happy with her, her artistic endeavors. She’s a painter, um, and she, she falls in love, and then she falls out of love, and, um, I don’t know that’s about as far as I’ve got right now. It’s kind of a, a coming-of-age, but for a, a thirty-something kind of story.

Interviewer:  Very cool.

Respondent:  Yeah, yeah, it’s, I enjoy writing it. It’s just, um, it’s just difficult to stay motivated. I’ve been working on it for, like, two years now, and it just feels, like, oh, it’ll be, it’s never gonna end, but . . .

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  But there will be an end in sight. I am, I’m sure.

Interviewer:  You had mentioned that, um, that you were really interested in the study because your, of your background, um, in, like, library sciences, and, and, you know, like, the chronicling this as, like, a dictionary. How much do you know about the study?

Respondent:  Well, I, I should say I learned of the study, um, well, of, of DARE from the radio show, A Way with Words. I don’t know [laugh] if you know that, but, um, they, they quote, or they, they mention your, your work quite often, um, and it’s a call-in radio show where people ask questions about, um, meanings of words and origins of phrases and things, and so they use, um, uh, the dictionary quite often to help, help those callers. Um, so I know it from that, that regard, but, or, you know, in that instance, um, and then, of course, when I took the survey, then I, I read a bit more on your website about the project, um, but, no, I, and I know it’s been, well, I actually don’t know how long it’s been, um, an ongoing project. Whe-, when did it start?

Interviewer:  Um, I think it, i-, it’s gone in two different waves. Um, so, I think, the original wave, they maybe started like forty or fifty years ago and have just, um, finally finished going through all those recordings, um, and, and finally putting that together. So now this is kind of the second wave of, um, now maybe forty or fifty years later, uh, creating new recordings and gathering that data to start going through it again.

Respondent:  OK, right, right. And then so you needed folks from particular communities, or, or not really?

Interviewer:  Right, um, yeah, I think they were targeting specific communities and people who have lived there, um, for their whole life, or, for at least, just, um, maybe at least twenty [sic] or thirty years [sic] or something at least along those lines?

Respondent:  (xx), right, right, OK, yeah, yeah, no, I know it’s, um, well-regarded in, you know, in linguist circles and, um, for archival work, and so, yeah, I’m, I’m kind of pleased that I’m, I can help out with whatever, I’m, [laugh] whatever little bit I can do.

Interviewer:  Yeah, I was just curious about, about how much you knew or, or your interest in the project.

Respondent:  Right.

Interviewer:  Um, so I, I know you spend a lot of, of your time writing your novel, but, um, do you have any other hobbies or things that you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Respondent:  Oh, sure, um, well, of course, I love to read. That’s a given, um, and so I frequent the library quite often. Um, I like to cook. I, I especially like to cook, um, uh, Indian food. I had a, at Notre Dame I had a, a roommate from India, and so, um, she got me really interested in all the different spice combinations and different ingredients, so that’s fun. Um, I like to go to the movies. Um, what else? I’m pretty much a homebody, [laugh] so I’m not very exciting, but . . .

Interviewer:  Is there a certain genre of movies that you really like?

Respondent:  Oh, sure, um, well, I like, um, wow, this sounds pretentious, but [laugh] I like, um, foreign films, um, and so I get those generally through the library system, or . . .

Interviewer:  That doesn’t sound pretentious. [laugh]

Respondent:  OK, OK good. [laugh] I think maybe in my town it does, I don’t know, but . . . [laugh]

Interviewer:  I’m actually from an area close to Burlington.

Respondent:  Oh, OK.

Interviewer:  [beep]

Respondent:  Oh, yes OK. I actually, well, yeah, I interviewed at a library there, so, [laugh] I know a, a little bit about the town, but um, yeah, so yeah, just, I like to, um, I have a little nephew. He’s seven. He doesn’t live in Burlington, but, um . . .

Interviewer:  Where does he live?

Respondent:  Uh, he lives in [beep], Wisconsin, which is sort of by Wausau, between Wausau and Green Bay.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  So I get to, I get to see him pretty often, and, um, so he’s, he’s a joy, so, yeah.

Interviewer:  Do you have any other family that lives with you in Burlington?

Respondent:  Um, yeah, my parents live here, and, uh, that’s all. My sister and nephew live in [beep], and then I have, um, an aunt and uncle that live in [beep]. Yeah we’re, we’re a small family.

Interviewer:  Um, so, I mean, we can kind of take the conversation any way you’d like to go. I do have some more prompts or some other topics we can talk about if you’d like?

Respondent:  Um, yeah. Yeah, that’s fine. Go ahead. What are some of your, your topics?

Interviewer:  Um, do you have any pets?

Respondent:  Uh, no, I don’t have a pet. Um, [throat clearing] when I was younger, oh, like sixth or seventh grade, um, we used to raise rabbits, um, and we had, um, oh, oh gosh, we had a lot of rabbits. They were New Zealand rabbits, the white ones with the pink eyes, and I used to show those at the Racine County Fair.

Interviewer:  Oh, very {cool.

Respondent:  (So that was),} yeah, that was a pretty good experience. Um, I, we only, I, I was only in 4-H for a couple of years, and then I kinda got out of it so, so we didn’t have rabbits for all that long, um, but that was fun, and, and then we had dogs and cats when I was growing up, but, no, currently I don’t have a pet.

Interviewer:  Um, where did you last go on vacation?

Respondent:  Oh, boy, um, let’s see here. That was, um, Door County, actually. My, um, parents, my sister, and my nephew, and I went there for a few days I believe it was last summer, um, we finally got to a fish boil. We, you know, we’ve heard all about fish boils, but we’ve never gone to one. So we did that, and then we kind of, um, searched out different lighthouses, and that was fun, and we did mini-golf with my nephew, and, um, so it was just a, a small vacation, but it wasn’t, um, I mean, it, it was, it was really nice.

Interviewer:  Have you ever traveled outside of the country?

Respondent:  Yeah, um, about, oh, I don’t know, a number of years ago well, we went to Canada, um, and that, we went to the Maritimes which is, you know, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, New Brunswick. Um, that was awesome. It was, I’ve never been, like, really to the eastern part of the U.S., let alone eastern Canada, um, so that was just beautiful, e-, especially Prince Edward Island. You know, they just com-, well, I don’t know when they completed it, but they have the Confederation Bridge which, you know, links the mainland to the island. So we got to, um, we took that to the island. We drove there, and then, coming ho-, or coming back to the mainland, we took a ferry, so that was fun. Um, but, yeah, Prince Edward Island is just beautiful. It has red, um, like, red soil, like, deep red, like, like, clay, you know, the color of terra cotta.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  And so the, the, um, contrast of the red soi-, or re-, yeah, red soil against the green grass and then the, the blue, um, ocean waves, it was just magnificent.

Interviewer:  Yeah, that sounds gorgeous.

Respondent:  Yeah, it was really, really nice. Um, and then we, um, in Truro, Nova Scotia, we saw, a, um, harness-racing, you know, horses that had the little harnesses hooked up, and that was interesting. I’ve, I’ve been to a horse race before, but never, um, harness-racing so that was fun. That was on, like, Father’s Day weekend for, [laugh] I just remember that. Um, yeah, so that was fun. We, we drove out there actually, so it was a long, a long trip.

Interviewer:  Yeah, how long does that take?

Respondent:  Oh my gosh, um, well, I think all told, we spent, like, two weeks, maybe ten days, fourteen days, maybe, um, but we, to start out, we drove, you know, down through Chicago, and then went that way then into Maine, and then, um, coming home then, we came through, um, Ontario, and then the U.P., and then back home. So we did, we made a huge circle. [laugh] Um, yeah, it was really great.

Interviewer:  I was gonna ask you, um, where you wanted to go on your next vacation, or if there was a, another place that you really wanted to go, but it sounds like, maybe, back to Canada.

Respondent:  Y-, exactly right. I was just [laugh], yes, um, I wanna, well, I would love to go out to, um, British Columbia, and, like, Vancouver, and Victoria, British Columbia, ’cause I’ve never been, um, west. The furthest west I’ve been is probably, well, Idaho, but that’s, you know, [laugh] Idaho is (Idaho.) Um, no offense to Idahoans, um, but, yeah, I just, I, um, I think that must be beautiful out there, too, with the mountains and the, the water. So that’d be great. Or, um, I’d like to visit, you know, a big city like Toronto and kinda see what that’s all about. So, yeah, that would be, that would be a nice, a nice, next vacation.

Interviewer:  You made me really wanna go to Canada. I’ve never {been there. [laugh]

Respondent:  Oh,} oh, well, yes, [laugh] it’s great. Yeah, you have to, um, well, when we went, we didn’t have to have a passport, but now, now, of course, you need a passport, um, which isn’t a big deal, but, and then, then we came close to, on another trip, we went close to Mexico, um, but I don’t, I don’t know, maybe when I was a lot younger, I was in Mexico, but I don’t think so, but on our most recent trip down south, we went to Texas and San Antonio, and we saw the Alamo and, um, all the different missions, and so that was another remarkable trip, too.

Interviewer:  Yeah, that sounds really great. I haven’t been down there either.

Respondent:  Oh, OK, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s nice. It’s, uh, yeah, it’s still the U.S., but it’s, like, a whole nother world. {[laugh]

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.} So we’ve actually already talked for fifteen minutes, and {thank you so much, ’cause you made that really easy.

Respondent:  OK,} oh, good, OK, good.

Interviewer:  So thank you for just keeping the conversation going.


Chippewa Falls: NewWI173


Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. As I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Shall we begin by talking about Chippewa Falls? Uh, is there anything special about Chippew-, uh, Chippewa Falls that you think other Wisconsinites ought to know about?

Respondent:  Um, let’s see. It’s kind of a cozy town, um, lots of, uh, historic buildings. It’s, uh, it’s a, old lumber town, and, uh, the, probably the biggest thing about it is we have a, uh, brewery, the Leinenkuegel, uh, family brewery that makes tons of, uh, different beers, and so they’re a, uh, big entity in Chippewa. Um, we have a really lovely, uh, park, uh, Irvine Park. Um, my sister got married there. There’s a little, uh, Duncan Creek that runs through it and there’s a little municipal zoo there, um, some historic buildings there as well. Uh, I don’t know. Um, we, uh, I, I’ve lived here for going on thirty-two, thirty-three years, something like that. When I was younger, we, uh, lived near St. Louis, and, uh, we would come up here to visit my grandparents who, uh, uh, lived here, and, um, it was always a big deal if we got to go to “Chippe-way.” They never said it “Chippewa Falls.” They said, “Chippe-way.”

Interviewer:  Is that, is that how it’s actually supposed to be pronounced, or, do they {just—

Respondent:  I don’t} think so. I think that was, I, I don’t know where Grandpa’s pronunciation came from, but I’ve never heard anybody else say it that way, so . . .

Interviewer:  And then, um, and then, so, when you were still young, your family moved over to Chippewa Falls?

Respondent:  Yeah, um, we live, um, kind of right in between Eau Claire and Chippewa. Um, we’re about eight miles out of either, either town, and, uh, the property that we live on is, uh, was, my great-grandfather, uh, homesteaded it, and, uh, we lived in, uh, the farmhouse that he built for a number of years, and then my husband and I just recently, uh, built our own home on the property. So, and my mother has a house on the property, too, so . . .

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  [cough] And we’re right along the river. The, uh, the Chippewa River runs right through Chippewa Falls, um, and so, we’re on the, uh, downstream edge of the, uh, river about seven or eight miles outside of Chippewa.

Interviewer:  And so, um, then do-, does your family do a lot of farming?

Respondent:  Um, the property was originally a farm, um, and we have, uh, kind of miscellaneous farm animals, but it’s more of a hobby farm kind of thing. Most of the property is, um, floodplain down along the river, and so y-, you c-, it, it has been farmed, um, but not in probably twenty-five or thirty years, um, but you can’t build anything on it, so it’s, it’s swampy, plain kind of, uh, working its way back into being prairie.

Interviewer:  N-,—

Respondent:  Uh, so, uh, yeah, none of us farm. Um, my parents, my father was a, uh, mechanical engineer and he commuted between here and the Cities, uh, for his job, and my mother has, uh, taught preschool, and, uh, she was a baker for a while, and, uh, now both of us, uh, work at the public library in Eau Claire.

Interviewer:  So then, uh, do you like to read a lot?

Respondent:  I love to read.

Interviewer:  And, um, so, um, actually I’m interested in some books. [laugh] Um, what are some good books that you’ve, that you’ve read lately that you think, th-, that, um, you would recommend to anyone?

Respondent:  Uh, well, let’s see, I am, uh, uh, in the children’s department so a lot of what I read is, um, either picture books or, um, young adult materials.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  Um, let’s see. There’s a new, uh, trilogy, kind of a fantasy, uh, fantasy trilogy called Shadow and Bone that I’ve read recently that, um, was appealing to me. I also really like, uh, fairy tale adaptations, and there’s a, a series that I’m, I’m waiting for the fourth book to come out. It’s, uh, I think it’s due out in November. Um, the, the, premise of all of these—well th-, the first one is, uh, Cinder, and so it’s the Cinderella story, but the twist to it is that Cinderella is a cyborg, so she’s part metal and, I, I don’t know what all, kind of part computer, part person.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  And then the second one in the series is, uh, Scarlet, which, uh, is a retelling of, uh, Red Riding Hood, and then the third one is Cress which is a retelling of the Rapunzel story, and in, in all of these they kind of get inter-meshed together, so Cinder continues to, uh, feature throughout the, uh, series, and I’m trying to think what the one that’s coming out in November is gonna be. Uh, I wanna say it’s, maybe, the Ice Queen, [sic] but I can’t quite remember.

Interviewer:  OK, well [laugh] personally, I love fairy tales and, um, the Disney fairy tale princesses and adaptations as well. Um, have you ever seen—um, just out of curiosity—have you ever seen, um, Once Upon a Time?

Respondent:  I started watching it, and I, I couldn’t quite get into it, and I, I was never at home at the right time, and so I have wanted to, uh, go back and try watching it again from the beginning but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK. I think, {it’s

Respondent:  Is it} good?

Interviewer:  I think it’s, it’s very interesting. I, um, I like how they do intertwine all the characters together and, um, how there’s always a twist to it, um . . .

Respondent:  Mm-hmm.

Interviewer:  But I’m re-, I’m really looking forward to this next season. Um, I did like, I really did enjoy the second season. It was about Peter Pan, and, um—

Respondent:  OK.

Interviewer:  —back in Neverland so it was really interesting. Um, but, I think if you continue watching it, I think the first season was a little bit slower, but, um, once you get into the second season, you, you, I think you might get a little more interested.

Respondent:  It’s one of those I have to save for when my husband is not home or {has—

Interviewer:  Oh, yes, [laugh].

Respondent:  —fallen asleep already ’cause he really wasn’t into it.

Interviewer:  Oh. [laugh]

Respondent:  [cough]

Interviewer:  And so, um, so, what are, what are some of your other hobbies that you like doing, then?

Respondent:  Um, well, I, uh, my mother and I have a flock of chickens that we enjoy taking care of. A couple years ago I had two pigs, uh, Kevin Bacon and Ham-I-am.

Interviewer:  [laugh]

Respondent:  So my, my eventual goal is to, uh, get part of the, uh, area between my house and my mother’s house, uh, fenced in and be able to have a horse and a cow and maybe some goats. So I’m kind of a farmer wanna-be.

Interviewer:  [laugh]

Respondent:  And I sing, and I write poetry.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow, and so have you, have you written some of your own music, then? Or, like, your own songs, I guess.

Respondent:  Um, I have written, not necessarily my own songs, but I have done settings of, um, other poets’ work. I’m in a, a threshold singing group, and, uh, we do bedside singing for people who are at the end of life, or who are, um, going through a time where they need healing song, people who are having, experiencing big changes in their life, so not necessarily, um, end of life, although a lot of it winds up being that. But, um, we have sung for people who are, uh, have just given birth, or people who are, you know, coming through a health struggle kind of thing, and all of the songs that we sing are what I would call spiritual without being religious. So they’re not aimed at any one creed or denomination. They’re just meant to be soothing, peaceful songs, and, and they, maybe, maybe and th-, a lot of them are not familiar tunes that, you know, people would know.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um, so I’ve written a couple of, uh, pieces, and some of the—[cough] pardon me, I have the cold that will not die.

Interviewer:  Oh, it’s, it’s getting that, around that time of year. [laugh]

Respondent:  Yes, and I think the late summer cold is the worst.

Interviewer:  Oh yes, {definitely.

Respondent:  You expect} to be ill in the winter, but right now when you’re wanting to get stuff done, and it has sucked all of the energy out of me.

Interviewer:  Oh, h-, . . .

Respondent:  So at any rate, but, the song repertoire that we sing from, um, a lot of the songs were written by a threshold choir in, uh, California, um, that kind of started the threshold singing, uh, phenomenon, and then, there are threshold choirs all over the United States doing the same kind of, uh, a capella bedside singing, and so I’ve written settings of a couple of poems that we thought would be appropriate for bedside singing, and I’ve also, um, written, uh, other musical parts for some of the songs in our repertoire. Um, when I, uh, went to school out of high school, I, um, went to Lawrence University in Appleton and was a Conservatory student there for a number of years, and then I dropped out of there and came home and, uh, worked as, at a daycare and as an optician, and, uh, before I went back to school at, uh, UW-EC and, um, got a, English degree with a Library Science minor. So I have music and poetry background.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow. And so, how did you, um, were, were you part of the, uh, threshold choir when, when you, when they first started in Eau-, or in Chippewa, or was it, you found that group, and, how did you come about that?

Respondent:  Um, they had a ad in Volume One which is the, uh, kind of, uh, arts magazine of the Chippewa Valley. So, um, they have, you know, listings of all the stuff that’s going on and then articles just talking about the Chippewa Valley community, so Eau Claire, Chippewa, Menomonie, um, and they, they come out every two weeks. So, it’s kind of like, uh, I think Madison, maybe, has a paper cal-, is it called the Isth-, Isthmus?

Interviewer:  Oh, yes, the {Isthmus? [laugh]

Respondent:  There’s a} hard word to say.

Interviewer:  [laugh] And so—

Respondent:  I don’t know if it’s quite the same thing, but, uh, there, there was a ad in the, uh, classified section of, uh, Volume One just saying, hey, we’re looking for singers to do this bedside singing kind of thing, and I had, I had just come through a illness myself and thought, OK, since I’ve gotten better, this is a, a way that I can, you know, pay it forward. So, I’ve been singing with them for three or four years, I think, and they’ve been active here in the area for, I think, six or seven years.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow. So y-,—

Respondent:  [cough]

Interviewer:  So, they were, it was still a pretty young group [laugh] then, {I guess—

Respondent:  Yeah.}

Interviewer:  —yeah, when you joined.

Respondent:  Yeah, relatively.

Interviewer:  And so, uh, do you, uh, just curious, do, do you have any children? Or is it just you and your husband?

Respondent:  It’s just me and my husband and our two, uh, cats, (Willow) and Brook.

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  And then my mother, uh, lives quite close to us, like, five hundred feet away, and she has a dog and a cat, so he’s, they’re, they’re kind of communal pets.

Interviewer:  Oh, [laugh] yes, so they just run around in the . . .

Respondent:  Yeah, yeah, they’re back and forth between both houses. At least, at least the dog and her cat, uh, are. Her cat is a tom, and my cats are both female and younger. They, we’ve only had them for about a year, so Edgar sometimes comes down here and tries to boss my cats around {wh-

Interviewer:  Oh.} [laugh]

Respondent:  —doesn’t go over very well.

Interviewer:  Does, um, does your mom’s dog get along with your cats, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Uh, e-, he does. He’s, he’s a very equanimical dog. The cats actually kind of try and, you know, boss him around and, and go right up to him and act, like, what are you doing on our lawn?

Interviewer:  Oh. [laugh]

Respondent:  Get outta here.

Interviewer:  Well, he’s all alone [laugh].

Respondent:  Yes, he’s more serious about them than anything, so they, they haven’t had, had any kind of issues.

Interviewer:  So then, um, so then, um, right now you work at the library, and y-, um, you do your threshold choir, and, and so do you also, like, what else do you like to do, then?

Respondent:  Um, well, I am attempting to learn to play the ukulele. There’s a ukulele club in Eau Claire. I haven’t actually ever gone to one of their rehearsals, but I keep meaning to, if I can ever remember which Tuesday they are. So, I’m attempting to learn the ukulele, um, and, let’s see, what else do I like to do?

Interviewer:  Is it, um, is it a free membership, or is it . . . ?

Respondent:  It is, yeah.

Interviewer:  Oh, that’s so nice.

Respondent:  Yeah, they meet at a pizza parlor downtown and, uh, play together, and they do gigs kind of around the area. Um, the little local, uh, radio station, out of Eau Claire, uh, has a bluegrass festival every fall, and so they played at that, and, I don’t know, it’s just a fun little instrument.

Interviewer:  And so, oh, and so, um, it looks like our time is up, and I just want to thank you for having this conversation with me, and let’s move on to the next activity.

Respondent:  OK.


Horicon: NewWI079


Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. Uh, as I mentioned for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, uh, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Um, shall we begin by talking about Horicon? Uh, is there anything special about Horicon that you think other Wisconsinites ought to know?

Respondent:  Um, uh, we’re the gateway to the marsh.

Interviewer:  And what does that mean?

Respondent:  The Horicon Marsh. It’s the world’s largest inland marsh.

Interviewer:  Oh, that’s interesting. I didn’t know that. If you were trying to convince a friend to move to Horicon what features would you highlight?

Respondent:  [laugh] I don’t know. There’s really not a lot here. [laugh] Um, it’s just that it’s a small town and quiet.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Then why did you move to Horicon in the first place?

Respondent:  I actually grew up here.

Interviewer:  And did you go to a school in the area, to college, or, what, what kept you there?

Respondent:  Um, well, actually, I just went to grade school and high school here, and I did move out of state for about five years, and then I moved back.

Interviewer:  Um, why did you move out of state?

Respondent:  Oh, my first husband was in the military.

Interviewer:  Did you enjoy that, moving around, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Yes, actually, I did.

Interviewer:  Uh, how have you spent your working life?

Respondent:  Um, mostly manufacturing, um, cleaning, that type of thing.

Interviewer:  And what do you do now?

Respondent:  I actually, uh, clean for the county, the Dodge County Housing Authority.

Interviewer:  And so what does that entail?

Respondent:  It’s just, um, cleaning the low-income housing, their community rooms, or public restrooms, and things like that.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Uh, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?

Respondent:  Um, well, I used to do crafts. I mostly just—yardwork, gardening, facebook, of course.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And what kind of craft work do you like?

Respondent:  Oh, I used to do a lot of, um, like, lawn ornaments, things like that.

Interviewer:  So, what did that entail?

Respondent:  I used to make flower pots—animals and stuff for the yard of clay pots, paint them, and (things like that.)

Interviewer:  Well, that sounds really interesting. How did you get started in that?

Respondent:  Uh, sheer boredom, actually, [laugh] when my kids were little.

Interviewer:  And how many children do you have?

Respondent:  Two.

Interviewer:  And do they still live with you? Are they going to school? How are their lives going?

Respondent:  Uh, my oldest actually goes to UW-Milwaukee, and my younger moved out and he’s working.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Uh, what kind of garden do you have?

Respondent:  Uh, we just do floral gardens. Um, (we have) raspberries, uh, things like that.

Interviewer:  Now, what do you mean by floral garden?

Respondent:  Oh, just (a flower) bed.

Interviewer:  And what kind of flowers do you have?

Respondent:  Day-lilies, uh, some annuals, perennials.

Interviewer:  Uh, where did you last go on vacation?

Respondent:  (xx) (my honeymoon we) went to Memphis and that was beginning of May, end of May.

Interviewer:  And what did you do there?

Respondent:  Well, we started out in Louisville, went to Churchill Downs, horse-racing, and then we went to Memphis, went to Beale Street, ate a lot of barbecue, dr-, heard some (xx) blues, and stopped then to visit some family on the way back home up in Kentucky.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Are you a big fan of blues music?

Respondent:  Um, my husband is more than I am. [laugh] It’s, it’s OK. I, I love barbecue, though, so . . .

Interviewer:  Well, what types do you love most?

Respondent:  Barbecue?

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Uh, ribs, brisket. I like smoked food, not putting it on a grill and slopping barbecue sauce on it.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Do you have your own smoker or secret recipes? Do you, do you cook it yourself pretty often?

Respondent:  Yes, I do have a smoker, and I do have my own rubs that I use.

Interviewer:  And how, how long does it usually take you? Like, what’s the process?

Respondent:  Welp, a brisket, you put the rub on it, and it, you know, it takes twelve to fourteen hours to smoke. You just set a firebox up beside—(get under a keep), and then it’s the smoke and, you know, it’s your apple wood in there and your sweet woods.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  But ribs, it only takes a few hours to do it.

Interviewer:  Hm. Do you have a favorite holiday?

Respondent:  I would say Christmas or Halloween.

Interviewer:  And wh-, uh, can you, care to elaborate? Why do you like those best?

Respondent:  Well, Halloween, it’s just, uh, the whole spooky idea of it, and, uh, Christmas, you know, family and friends and get-togethers.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Is there anything you’re particularly passionate about right now, reading a book, or playing a video game, or anything like that?

Respondent:  Um, not really.

Interviewer:  Have you read any good books recently?

Respondent:  No, I actually don’t read too often. I don’t really have time.

Interviewer:  What takes up most of your time?

Respondent:  Work, (our) dogs, yardwork. We have a pretty big yard, so, a lot of mowing, and stuff like that.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. And what kind of dogs do you have?

Respondent:  Uh, black lab and a miniature schnauzer.

Interviewer:  If you didn’t live in Horicon, where else would you like to live?

Respondent:  Oh, Florida, I would say, or Tennessee, or even Kentucky.

Interviewer:  And why would you like to live in Florida?

Respondent:  I used to live there, actually. I was a navy wife, and, uh, I miss the beach. [laugh] Uh, the weather, especially after this last winter [laugh]—had about enough. My husband said after he retires, we’re outta here. He’s actually from Indiana, so. Just wanna move somewhere warmer.

Interviewer:  So are there any, uh, current events you would like to talk about?

Respondent:  Um, not off-hand. I try not to get too political.

Interviewer:  Why is that?

Respondent:  Uh, because I’m not too happy with our (governor) right now.

Interviewer:  Why aren’t you happy with (him)?

Respondent:  [laugh] Uh, I don’t even wanna go there.

Interviewer:  Uh, do you have a particularly fond memory from your childhood that you’d like to share?

Respondent:  Um, just, I would say, my grandma used to manage a hotel in Wisconsin Dells, and I spent a lot of summers up there.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And I just grew up, basically, in a resort town. I mean, there’s nothing better. We used to get free passes to water parks and all the shows and stuff, so . . .

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  There’s a lot to do up there.

Interviewer:  Uh, what were your favorite shows to go to up there?

Respondent:  Um, I think Tommy Bartlett’s, um, we’d go on the ducks, the upper, duck-, up-, the ducks in Upper Dells. And our (family did) a lot of different stuff than what there is now, so. I think a lot of it is not even there anymore.

Interviewer:  Uh, what’s changed about it?

Respondent:  Well, there used to be Fort Dells. Um, when you’re a little kid that’s kinda cool. Then (xx) they tore that down, and I think there’s a Walgreens there now [laugh]. I’m not sure. And there was just more things to do downtown than what there is now. Now it’s just all waterparks, so it’s pretty much the same no matter where you go.

Interviewer:  Have you been to many different waterparks?

Respondent:  Oh, just in the Dells.

Interviewer:  And, uh, what’s the ducks you were talking about?

Respondent:  Oh, the ducks? They’re a World War Two vehicle that travel on land and the water and y-, you take a tour of Lake Delton. It’s (in a) historical boat (xx) Lake Delton. They’re basically driving across land, and then they just crash into the water.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Well, that sounds pretty fun.

Respondent:  Yeah, it’s pretty cool for, wh-, when you’re a little kid. [laugh] I don’t know, they’re kinda boring when you’re an adult going on it, but . . .

Interviewer:  Uh, are you a fan of movies?

Respondent:  Yes, I watch a lot of movies.

Interviewer:  Now, what movies have you seen recently?

Respondent:  Uff, well, Ender, oh, what the heck was the name of that one? I’ve seen some pretty bad ones, um, Hunger Games.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Uh, oh, ph-, Captain Phillips, we watched the other night and World’s End. That was a pretty cheesy British movie.

Interviewer:  What are some of your favorite movies that you’ve seen?

Respondent:  Oh, actually, I think I like, uh, Sense and Sensibility, and, uff—be hard to think of any right off-hand. I have probably about two hundred DVDs.

Interviewer:  What’s, uh, Sense and Sensibility about?

Respondent:  It’s just, it’s based off a Jane Austen book. It’s a period movie.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Uh, do you watch any television shows, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Yeah, especially the history channel. Um, I got hooked on Duck Dynasty. Don’t ask me why, but they’re funny. Uh, (xx) a lot of documentaries. Um, we like to watch Pawn Stars, uh, Big Bang Theory.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. And what are some of your favorite documentaries you’ve watched?

Respondent:  I just like watching them. I mean, I couldn’t name one off-hand. They’re just wh-, when, when they talk about Rome, or (xx), or things like that. [Speaking to dog:] Wanna go outside?

Respondent: The dogs want out.

Interviewer:  Sure, sure.

Respondent:  [Speaking to dog:] Come on, Buster.

Respondent: The one dog gets really crazy. [Speaking to dog:] Come on, Buster. Go outside (xx). Come on, Buster.

Respondent: Oh, he won’t go.

Interviewer:  Do you have any, uh, you were talking about watching the history channel. Are there any historical periods that particularly interest you?

Respondent:  I don’t know, I kinda like World War Two era. Um, Middle Ages, Dark Ages are kinda interesting.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And why do you, why do you find them interesting?

Respondent:  Just the (feudal) people that (lived) back then. You know, you get the modern conveniences now, and what it was like, you know, to make your own clothing. I don’t know. I think it’s just something people take for granted nowadays. [Speaking to dog:] (Go on.)

Interviewer:  And what about World War Two interests you?

Respondent:  I think it was just more the culture at that time.

Interviewer:  Can you elaborate?

Respondent:  I like, um, just the way America kind of stuck together back then, you know, for the war effort, and, you know, how crazy it was with the Nazis and the fact that all those people died. It was just insane.

Interviewer:  Uh, if you could live in any period in time, when would you choose?

Respondent:  I think I’d go back to the eighties [laugh]. Relive my youth [laugh].

Interviewer:  Strictly for the youth, or were there any, uh, cultural aspects that, uh, make you wanna revisit that?

Respondent:  Oh, uh, the eighties was a, it was a fun decade.

Interviewer:  OK, so thank you very much for this conversation. Uh, let’s move on to the next activity.


Horicon: NewWI146


Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. As I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Shall we begin by talking about Horicon? Is there {any—

Respondent:  Sure.}

Interviewer:  —specific? Um, how long have you lived there? Is there anything specific about Horicon you like particularly, or anything of that nature?

Respondent:  Uh, I mean, uh, pretty much I moved here when I was, moved to Horicon when I was two, and, uh, I’ve lived here most of my life. Uh, attended University of Wisconsin at Platteville for, uh, six years, and then came back. Uh, there’s nothing particularly I, particular I like about Horicon, but there’s nothing, uh, that would make me wanna leave either. So it, it seems to be a good middle ground to (allow)—and, plus, obviously, my job is here, so . . .

Interviewer:  Interesting. Is other, any sort of events, or anything like that, that take place in Horicon that you would, like, enjoy, like, attending or such?

Respondent:  Um, well, not anymore. There, well, I mean, we used to have a festival, um, um, the Marsh Days. They called it Marsh Days ’cause the Horicon Marsh is kind of a big deal, um, around here, uh, and we used to have a sp-, a celebration for that, but, uh, it wasn’t really that well attended, uh, especially in the latter years, and they stopped that. They’ve been kind of trying to bring stuff back, but it’s not, uh, so far I mean, uh, th-, this is a town of, uh, you know, between four, you know, three and four thousand people at this point, so it’s not really supporting a lot. Um, major employer, uh, John Deere, uh, typically, um, uh, people are starting to, uh, commute to more and more other than living in Horicon. I believe the population is on a slight decline currently, uh, so that’s, that’s about it. There’s not any particular I like to attend, so . . .

Interviewer:  Interesting. Um, if you didn’t live in Horicon, where else would you like to live?

Respondent:  Oh, I’ve, uh, I mean, where else would I like to live? Uh, shoot, a lot of places. I mean, uh, over the years I’ve spent some time in Ireland. That was cool, and I mean, just as a, a vacation mostly. I’d say, uh, Dublin would be cool to live in. I’ve, uh, spent some time in Denver. Uh, once again, uh, not any, you know, anything, any spec-, spectacular length, but enjoyed that city. (xx) Colorado Springs quite a bit.

Interviewer:  Are there any particular reasons you like those places?

Respondent:  Uh, mostly, uh, mostly just, the, I don’t know, the general atmosphere, uh, uh, you know. They were a little more, um, I don’t know if I wanna call it, um, sophisticated, but there, there, there was a general, you know, just kind of a progressiveness to it, I suppose.

Interviewer:  Interesting. Are there any, sort of, like, sights you like to see at those places? Or any, sort of, like, things you like to do there?

Respondent:  I’m a big fan of museums, and that kind of thing, and Denver had a pretty good museum, and, obviously, uh, anywhere in Europe, you know. They have so much history that to, to see the architecture and see the, (all) the cities, and to see what has happened, on almost every corner, ended up to be, uh, you know, quite interesting, so that, at that point, the whole, the whole city is a museum, for good and bad.

Interviewer:  Interesting. And, (xx) turn the tide of the conversation a little bit. Um, how have you spent your working life? You mentioned that you attended Platteville. What did you study there?

Respondent:  I, I, I initially started studying, um, engineering, uh, ended up changing my, m-, major to, uh, Industrial Technology and Management and, uh, finished my degree in that.

Interviewer:  And what exactly does that mean?

Respondent:  Uh, Industrial Technology and Management is really um, uh, we describe ourselves as uh, technologists. Uh, I, I study and use industrial technology in kind of the same way a biologist studies and uses the principles of biology. Uh, so you’re talking about, um, methods of manufacturing products, methods of, uh, optimizing workflow, op-, uh, and workforce development, that kind of thing.

Interviewer:  Interesting. And how have you applied this to your career, or other c-, any sorts of jobs?

Respondent:  Well, uh, I currently work in the, uh, (aftermar-) automotive industry, and, uh, the, obviously, the parts that we make and the things that we do are relatively technical, so, obviously, uh, having a, a broad basis of technical knowledge to produce the things that we’re doing in our field is helpful.

Interviewer:  Definitely. And is there, like, a favorite part of your job, or a favorite part of what you do for a living?

Respondent:  Oh, uh, the, the, th-, the mechanical, technical usually electronic, technical aspects, uh, fascinate me. Um, I’m very, you know, technology-oriented, and, uh, I prefer, you know, I, I prefer that kind of thing. I mean, I’m, I don’t, I don’t, it’s not that I dislike working with people, but, um, for some reason the technology fascinates me more.

Interviewer:  Interesting. Is there anything about the technology, or any specific type of technology, or program, or something like that, that you have?

Respondent:  Yeah, unfortunately, no. I mean, I, I, I enjoy a broad base of things from, uh, from the, uh, how the old cotton gin works to a modern smartphone. Uh, really it’s quite a broad field. Any, any kind of, uh, any kind of progress that we’ve made as a, a country, as a people, as, you know, humans, uh, has kinda fascinated me over the years.

Interviewer:  Interesting. Now, um, uh, do you have any sorts of hobbies that you’d associate with technology, or do you, like, just have any sorts of hobbies that you-, you’ve been involved with?

Respondent:  Oh, I, I mean, yeah, I, I build, I build computers. I do, you know, I dabble in some programming. I, I have, uh, collectors cars, uh, that I, I restore, that kind of thing. Um, pretty much, you know, I’ll, ba-, basically I, I’ll fix anything from a transistor radio to a V8 engine. It’s not, uh, uh, th-, that, that’s the thing. I love to get in to stuff. I mean, I’m one of those kids that took apart the {telephone when I was a child.

Interviewer:  Interesting.} Could you tell me a little bit about the process of you doing, like, reassembling, like, putting back together a computer, or something like that?

Respondent:  Well, the, the, the fortunate part about, at least computers, uh—obviously, you probably have my demographic information. I’m, you know, thirty-(seven) years old. Um, in, in my lifetime, since I’ve had the, you know, wherewithal, and uh, to start, you know, working on computers, most of the computer stuff is pretty well, uh, I don’t know if I wanna say plug and play, uh, being, uh, actually technically a copyrighted term, but, uh, you, you basically, the stuff only goes together one way. And the primary part, the primary fun, I guess, of it is to select components that will, uh, work together in the most efficient manner, because y-, you can’t put them together—I mean, OK, you can, but it is very difficult to put it together wrong. It’s just to optimize what you can do with it, really.

Interviewer:  Interesting. And does that take a lot of time trying to optimize what you do with building computers {or anything?

Respondent:  Y-, i-,} y-, you can, if you let it. I mean, if you, especially if you put in, uh, a price point. So, what you’re trying to do is hit a certain level of performance at a certain price level, and you can, you know, mix and match manufacturers and, you know, like, a processor and a motherboard and hard drive, and try to see which components you can spend less money on, and which you have to, you should spend more money on. You try to optimize performance, uh, and actually to be honest the same thing can be said for, uh, automobile racing, ’cause there are some parts you really wanna spend your money on, and there are some parts that you can get away with, uh—I don’t wanna say cheaping out—but going with the less expensive alternative.

Interviewer:  Interesting. And kind of going along with that, um, so, you mentioned that you have some other hobbies too, like, you collect cars, (there’s n-,) car collecting is that correct?

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  And can you tell me a little ’bout, a little bit about that?

Respondent:  Um, I, once ag-, this, this, once again, relates back to my, my interest in all things technical is I have, um, I have some cars ranging in years from the early sixties to, uh, well, my daily driver is, uh, in the two thousands, but, uh, basically I like to find the cars that represent, uh, that well represent either a technical pinnacle of a, a time, or a, a, a, a, kind of a general sense, that hav-, are good representation of the period they’re at. I mean, currently I only have four vehicles, uh, four of them, because, obviously, cars are expensive. I can only get so many. They’re hard to (store,) but, uh, so, that, that’s kinda why I do that.

Interviewer:  Interesting. And could you tell me a little bit about the cars you have?

Respondent:  Uh, well, I have a, a nineteen sixty-one Oldsmobile Dynamic Eighty-eight. Uh, I purchased that one because of its, uh, relative rarity being a car that the body shape, the body style, the styling of the (xx), you would say, is, was only produced for one year, uh, and that’s, you know, that is really, you know, it’s also a fairly good representation of the end of the fins era of automobiles, wherein the nineteen fifties you had automobiles with large fins, and as GM and Ford and Chrysler were starting to down-size their cars a little bit the fins were going out of style. It was a good representation of kind of the end of that period, uh, and the beginning of the next period. Um, I own a, uh, a nineteen seventy-nine, uh, Porsche Nine twenty-eight, which, uh, pretty much represents the, the pinnacle of late seventies technology in automobiles. Uh, there wasn’t, uh, no car that was faster, or had more luxuries, or any of that kind of thing at the time, and the reason it’s so old is because it was affordable for me, uh, to get.

Interviewer:  Interesting. Alright, and if there are any-, you mentioned you have two other cars. Is that correct?

Respondent:  Yeah, well, I have a, a, a two thousand and six Pontiac Grand Prix, which is just a, a car. It’s, it’s what you drive to work, you know. And, uh, I have a, a sixty-five Chevrolet pick-up, which is a representation of pick-up trucks from the sixties.

Interviewer:  Interesting. Is there something you would say is, like, most rewarding about, like, owning these cars, or representing these different periods in time?

Respondent:  Well, the, the most rewarding thing is the, what you, what you come to try to learn about what the people who were making them at the time were thinking. There’s no better way to understand what the person who was designing the vehicle, and building the vehicle, and what they wanted to use it for, than to basically have taken it apart and put it all back together.

Interviewer:  Interesting. And you say the (xx) relates to other types of technology as well?

Respondent:  Yeah, I have, you know, disassembled computers, and I have, uh, oh, there’s a, I, I got a couple motorcycles laying around that are kind of the same thing. Uh, I’m, you know, I’m staring at a, a shelf full of parts from various electronic devices that, you know, once in a while, I use the components to fix other, you know, electronic devices that may fail, you know. It’s, I’m the kind of person that’ll spend three hours to fix a five dollar radio just because I find it fun.

Interviewer:  Interesting. And what would you say draws you to this the most, like, trying to, like, fix things or put things back together?

Respondent:  The, the challenge. I mean, why, why, why climb Everest? Be-, because it’s there. Y-, there’s no, there’s no real reason to do it other than to say you’ve done it, t-, t-, to challenge yourself to do it.

Interviewer:  Interesting. And let’s switch gears up here for a little bit. Um, do you have any vacations planned for the near future, or have you recently gone on a vacation?

Respondent:  Um, y-, yes and no. I mean, my, uh, most of my vacations are, uh, kinda working vacations, uh, things where I have to travel for work. I usually, you know, if I, if I have to go somewhere, I, I hopefully can swing an extra day to see a museum, or go to an art gallery or something to kinda get to know whatever city I end up in.

Interviewer:  Interesting. H-, do you have a favorite museum you’ve ever visited?

Respondent:  I, I still have to say that the, my, my favorite museum is still the, uh, the Science and Industry Museum in Chicago.

Interviewer:  Did you have a favorite exhibit?

Respondent:  Um, they actually have a, uh, World War Two German submarine, a U-boat there, which is kinda fascinating to see what those men (xx) through to, to you know fight that war in a metal tube under the water.

Interviewer:  Interesting. OK, thanks very much for this conversation. Let’s move on to the next activ—.


Howards Grove: NewWI010


Interviewer:  (xx) OK, uh, let’s begin. As I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Uh, shall we begin by talking about Howards Grove? And, um, so is, is there anything special about Howards Grove that you think other Wisconsinites ought to know about?

Respondent:  Um, they have Silver Dollar Days, which is always kind of, it’s kinda unique.

Interviewer:  And—

Respondent:  (But,) it’s like a community picnic thing.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.

Respondent:  I don’t know how to (xx) it. Um, more like a firemen’s picnic, but it’s for the rec club, you know, raise money for the recreation for the kids.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  You can (xx) Bossy Bingo and it’s like, um, everybody’s, like, buys a square of the field, and then wherever the cow does her thing, that’s a win. So it’s (kinda,) I think that’s kinda unique. Not a lot of places probably have that. {Um—

Interviewer:  Wow.}

Respondent:  (xx) [laugh] What kind of stuff do you wanna know?

Interviewer:  Um, so, well, um, so, like, what are some highlights about living in ca-, Howards Grove? And, um, so, going back to the Silver Dollar Day at, um, so, it’s, so d-, is, are there, like, games and prizes, or is it just like a picnic for the community and it’s free, or . . . ?

Respondent:  It’s free to go, you just, they just, like, they have games and stuff for the kids to play, and, um, lotta people standing around drinking beer, that kinda stuff.

Interviewer:  And so is Bossy Bingo separate from that, then, or—

Respondent:  {Yeah.

Interviewer:  OK.}

Respondent:  Those are two separate events. They’re in different, one is at one park, and the other one’s at the other park; there’s two parks in this town. It used to be Howards Grove and Millersville, and then they combined the two into Howards Grove.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.

Respondent:  Yeah, so, technically, I live in what was Millersville, and my dad always gives me a lot of crap about that. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Um, and so, well, what did you do as you grew up in Millersville or Howards Grove?

Respondent:  [laugh] Um, I went to school and, you know, hung around, did stuff that kids do, did back in the eighties that you probably shouldn’t’ve done then, and you can’t do now. Um, but, uh, let’s see, used to have gravel pit parties. I don’t think they can do that anymore either, but you find, like, a gravel pit and you’d    have a (quarter-)barrel and bunch of kids would go, build a bonfire and hang out in the gravel pit and drink. That was fun. {[laugh]

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.}

Respondent:  Um, I don’t know.

Interviewer:  {Um, so—

Respondent:  (xx—)}

Interviewer:  Oh, yes, go ahead.

Respondent:  It, nothing really remarkable, it was just hanging around, finding things to do. And then, um, I went to college for a little while, and then I got a job in a factory, and I worked in a factory for about twenty-five years, and now I went back to school, so, back to college.

Interviewer:  (And) so, is there, is there a college in Howards Grove or, like, around that area, or where did you go to college?

Respondent:  There is, yes. We’re close to Cleveland, and we have Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  So that’s, um, where I’m currently attending, and then just west of Howards Grove on Highway A, about maybe five or six miles, there’s Lakeland College.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  [throat clearing] And that’s been there for, I don’t know, a hundred and fifty years or something, so I was gonna finish up there. Um, my dad went there for a year when he was younger, so that’s kind of one of those things, he always wanted one of his kids to graduate from Lakeland, so . . .

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  I (get to) do that. [laugh] Um, (xx), we’re real close to Sheboygan, so no problem with finding a restaurant or shopping, but there is, like, a little grocery store, a little Piggly Wiggly in town here.

Interviewer:  Oh, {OK.

Respondent:  So that’s} pretty (xx), yeah, and then, you know, you walk in there and everybody knows everybody.

Interviewer:  [laugh]

Respondent:  [laugh] Like, the kids see their teachers outside of the classroom, and they freak out, they’re like, “[gasp] They’re a real person.”

Interviewer:  [laugh] I remember that, doing that as well. Um, so what, did you work in a factory in Howards Grove, or was that {outside—

Respondent:  I worked} way up in Manitowoc.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.

Respondent:  Um, yeah. I always drove from wherever we lived. I drove up to Manitowoc to work. I didn’t follow, most of my family worked at Kohler and I did-, didn’t go that direction, I wanted to find something else, so . . .

Interviewer:  I see.

Respondent:  Um.

Interviewer:  So if you, if you didn’t live in Howards Grove, um, or where else would you like to live outside of Howards Grove if, if, you know, if you weren’t going to college right now? {Or—

Respondent:  Oh,} if I could, like, anywhere in the state?

Interviewer:  {Oh, yes.

Respondent:  (Well,)} I wouldn’t leave Wisconsin, but I would live in Madison.

Interviewer:  Oh, I {see.

Respondent:  Or} near Madison, yeah. I, I like that area. I have some relatives that live in Jefferson, which is not really close to Madison, but closer than I am now. So [laugh] I like going down that way.

Interviewer:  And so, um, I guess we, we can talk about anything else, too, if you, if you don’t wanna talk about Howards Grove anymore. Um, what do you like doing during your spare time?

Respondent:  Um, I have kids, so (good) kid stuff. Um, (xx) I have, um, one son that likes being in Cub Scouts. So we do the, you know, selling popcorn and candles, and go to the Cub Scout meetings, let the kids run around. My daughter wants to get into Girl Scouts, she wants to be a Brownie, ’cause she’s seven years old now, so I guess we’ll be selling cookies, too. [laugh] (xx) you know, we just, um, I don’t know, we live by a park, so every time there’s a baseball game or whatever, we just go down there and hang out and my daughter plays with the other kids, and, and it’s, it’s very kind of laid-back. Um, it’s really not a lot of stress here, I like it, you know. Does that make sense?

Interviewer:  Oh, yes. [laugh] Um, so, um, then do you, so when you, um, I guess n-, now that you’re going back to school, or is it, like, you’re taking online courses but you spend, you are spending more time at home, or . . . ?

Respondent:  It’s a combination, um, because most of the classes, they, uh, um, they tell you it’s gonna be, like, two hours of homework for every hour that you’re in class, so my homework is, like, literally thirty to forty hours a week, {’cause I’m—

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.}

Respondent:  —I’m, I’m a nut case, and I took twenty credits this semester.

Interviewer:  Oh, my {gosh.

Respondent:  So}, yeah, I know. But I wanna graduate in spring, so [laugh] I just wanna get done. So, yeah, in, in between going to classes and doing homework, I don’t really have a social life, but I make sure that the kids are happy. That make sense?

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Yeah, OK.

Interviewer:  And so, um, do you, do you just have two children then, a boy and a girl, {or—

Respondent:  I have} a boy and a girl that are, um, from my second marriage. They live with me now.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um, my first marriage ended in nineteen ninety-four, so that child from that marriage is twenty-one now. He’s engaged, he lives on his own, he’s also going to LTC, so it’s kinda cool I see him in the halls sometimes, but [laugh] so (xx like) I did the do-over, like, started out, first marriage, mm, not so great, did some other stuff. [laugh] Got married again, started over, so . . .

Interviewer:  And, and so then how did you meet your second, or your current, husband?

Respondent:  Uh, right, yeah, we’re divorced, too, but {I met—

Interviewer:  Oh.}

Respondent:  —him at work. Yeah.

Interviewer:  Oh, I’m, {I’m sorry about that.

Respondent:  (It’s OK.)} We get along great, so. He lives, like, forty miles away.

Interviewer:  {Oh.

Respondent:  Very} nice, he lives in [beep], I live in Sheboygan County, um, and he works in Cleveland, which is by LTC, so we pass the kids off in Cleveland, and we get along fine.

Interviewer:  Well, that’s good.

Respondent:  That’s nice, yeah.

Interviewer:  And it’s, it’s convenient then, heh, having to me-, uh, meet at a, at a spot where you both go.

Respondent:  Yeah, it’s kind of, it’s weird, I don’t know. I don’t understand why he bought a house way up in [beep], because he’s been working at the same (farm) for, I don’t know, fifteen years. So why he bought a house way the heck on the north side of [beep] is still beyond me, but, you know.

Interviewer:  And, and so, um, so what are, what do you like to do, um, what’s, aside from, heh, having to balance out making sure the kids are happy and, um, doing homework? Do you, when you do have time to yourself, do you, like, do you have a hobby? Like knitting or collecting something, I don’t know . . . [laugh]

Respondent:  I, yeah, I knit, I sew, I crochet, um, I, like, paint. I like to remodel things, that’s one of my favorite things, is knocking down a wall.

Interviewer:  Oh, heh.

Respondent:  [laugh] (I mean), one time I, I knocked down the, the west wall of the house, opened it up, put in a big, great big glass door and built a deck.

Interviewer:  {Oh, wow.

Respondent:  All by} myself, yeah. Yeah, ’cause I wanted more light in that side of the house. [laugh] So, yeah, it’s, it still looks good. I drive past and I see that house, and I’m like, “You’re welcome. I did that.”

Interviewer:  It sounds like a really, yeah, a really great project; it sounds really big. Do you, do you do {that, like—

Respondent:  (People xx)} me when I have a Sawzall in my hand. [laugh]

Interviewer:  {W-

Respondent:  [laugh] I’m sorry.

Interviewer:  [laugh] Oh, no, that’s {fine.

Respondent:  Probably too much information,} but one of my jobs when I was working (xx), I worked in shipping. And some of the stuff we had to ship out was really big, and we had to build crates. So I did a lot of building at work, I got really used to using great big, you know, pneumatic (xx) and a Sawzall, and, you know, all these great big, (scary) power tools. (Um,) that’s kinda where I got used to the idea that, you know, I can build things myself, so . . .

Interviewer:  Wow. And I know that it’s, it’s trending now, too, a lot with the do-it-yourself projects, too, so that’s really cool that, uh, yeah, you built, you buil-, you built your own deck and a glass, and a glass door, um, or put in a glass door.

Respondent:  Yeah, that was, it’s, it’s (still), too bad I don’t live there anymore. [laugh] But that’s OK. Um, oh, what else, like, sometimes when I do have time, I go out with my friends, and we just, um, kinda go out to eat and go shopping and stuff. That’s, you know, in the mom world, that’s fun.

Interviewer:  (Yeah, heh.)

Respondent:  [laugh] You know? When there’s no kids around, and you can talk about whatever you want? Yeah, that’s fun, but there’s, other than that, I mean, maybe go bowling once in a while.

Interviewer:  Um, so, oh, so, um, are your friends also married, too, then, or have children?

Respondent:  Yeah, most of my friends that I, are like my age are, are in a situation where they’re, either they’ve always been single or they’re divorced, and they have kids, you know, anywhere from little toddlers all the way up to grown-ups, because when you’re going to, um, like, a place like LTC where you have non-traditional students, you get to meet people o-, of like a huge age range, so a lot of my really close friends are pretty much in the same boat that I’m in, that [throat clearing] they either have little kids at home or they have kids that are, like, going off to college, and they’re doing the empty-nest thing, so it’s kinda fun to watch that, too, (xx). [laugh] Yeah, my house won’t be empty for another fifteen years. [laugh] (But, it’s neat.)

Interviewer:  And so, um, I guess, well, what are you studying for school?

Respondent:  I started out going for paralegal.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And I’m currently taking my last class for that degree, but it’s, you know, (xx) doing the internship and everything, I found out there’s not a really, a lot of good-paying jobs around here for paralegals.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So I started taking accounting classes, and then when I graduate in spring, I’ll have a degree in paralegal and a degree for accounting, so hopefully {I’ll be able—

Interviewer:  Oh, cool.}

Respondent:  —to have a job around here.

Interviewer:  Yeah. [laugh] Um—

Respondent:  But I really don’t wanna leave this area, because, like, the Howards Grove school district is, I think they’re really good.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  My, one of my sons, my, my son that’s turning ten has Asperger’s syndrome, which is a form of autism.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And they, they handle him very well here. They know how to calm him down and get him to focus, and so I really wanna stay here, because they know what they’re doing.

Interviewer:  Yeah, I was just going to ask if, if you have thought about moving, uh, out of, um, Howards Grove to, for, if you wanted to find a better job, but in that case, yeah, I, I would have to agree. Um, and so, um, then how, so, what, what exactly is Asperger’s syndrome?

Respondent:  [throat clearing] It’s a form of autism. It’s within the autism spectrum.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And it’s just, they’re, a child would be, like, really super good at maybe reading or math or something like that, but they have, like, no physical coordination whatsoever.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  And they are very sensitive. They’re, it’s like, emotionally easy to get them to cry. They, like, in my son’s case, if you go around a corner too fast, he’ll feel like he’s falling out of the car.

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  So (xx) yeah, between our house and Sheboygan, there’s five roundabouts in a row.

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  [laugh] So we have learned to get used to going, we, you know, I’m like, “We’re going around.” He’s like, “I’ll hang on.” And that’s how we deal with the circle feeling. And, um, sometimes he just likes (xx) to stand there and spin around in a circle.

Interviewer:  Heh.

Respondent:  So then I have to stop him, and be, like, “No.” ’Cause, he’ll do it in the grocery store.

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  Or wherever, or, yeah, it’s, it’s a little different. It takes a while to get used to—

Interviewer:  Well, {he sounds—

Respondent:  (xx)}

Interviewer:  Oh, yes, go ahead.

Respondent:  But you just, it’s a matter of just figuring out how to corral him back to what normal people do sometimes, but (xx) normally he’s a very happy child. He’s very smart. He’s just not real coordinated.

Interviewer:  Well, heh, well, he sounds like a really cute, fun kid. [laugh] And so, um, well, it looks like our, um, our time is up for, um, this part of the study, so I think, um, this portion of this, uh, interview. So thank you very much for this conversation, and let’s move on to the next activity.


Janesville: NewWI192


Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. Uh, as I mentioned for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, uh, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Um, shall we begin by talking about, uh, Janesville and Milton?

Respondent:  Uh, sure. I guess so.

Interviewer:  OK, uh, is there anything special about Janesville and Milton, uh, that you think other Wisconsinites, uh, oughta know about?

Respondent:  Well, I always thought, uh, Janesville was an interesting city because, partly because it’s located about halfway between Madison and Rockford and not terribly far from Milwaukee or Chicago. So it’s near a lot of larger areas with a lot of, uh, a lot of things to offer but also it’s, uh, more of a mid-sized town, so it’s not really like living in a big city.

Interviewer:  Yeah, um, and GM is located there. Is that right?

Respondent:  Yeah, or it was.

Interviewer:  It was.

Respondent:  That was a big loss. Uh, trying to think if that was six, seven years ago now that, uh, GM went under, and, uh, it was a huge economic blow to, to Janesville. That was our biggest employer. And, uh, lot of people, uh, had, it was a lot of fallout from that, where, uh, quite a few people had to, were unemployed for a long time and had to look for something, uh, usually lesser to do for work. And, uh, I don’t know if the city has still quite recovered from that. I-I know for a while (y-, oh) Janesville had one of the highest, uh, unemployment rates in the state.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And the, uh, the property is still there. And, you hear from, you hear from time to time about ideas that people have to use it for something else, something new, and it’s still officially owned by GM, and, and, I think it’s not absolutely out of the question that they’ll never use it for any manufacturing again. But I think it’s like ninety-nine percent. I mean, it, it would be, uh, everyone would be pretty surprised if that happened.

Interviewer:  Yeah. And, um, so, was there a noticeable difference, um, like, when GM closed, would you say, like, uh, for em-, the employment, and, like, the jobs around in the Janesville area?

Respondent:  Yeah. It was, well, um, I think it was, uh, harder to find jobs because so many people were looking for them, you know, when GM went under. And, and it was surprising to see people that used to work there working in other places, you know, like retail jobs and things, that I didn’t expect to see them in, and suddenly there they are because they, well, they had to do something. A few, a few people, I think, took a package to move to another location to continue to work for GM, but, uh, I know for most people that was, uh, that was, uh, just not willing to do that.

Interviewer:  Yeah. Uh, that, that kind of splits up families and stuff.

Respondent:  Yeah. It can be hard if you have kids in school or whatever. Maybe your wife has a good job or your spouse has, so, yeah, it was pretty tough on the community. But I, it’s kind of slowly coming back, but, uh, {but—

Interviewer:  Yeah.}

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Um, if you were trying to convince a friend to move to Janesville, uh, what features would you highlight?

Respondent:  Hm. Boy, I guess it’s, it has advantage of, uh, lower cost of living than some other places, you know, if you compare it to Madison, for instance.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  The housing costs are lower. It can, I think you can get a good deal on a house here. It’s, it’s not always as easy to sell it as you might like, but, um, but there’s some, some nice economic advantages. We, we’ve been happy with the school system here with the kids, and, uh, and like I said earlier, it’s just, uh, it has some nice conveniences, some of the conveniences of a larger city, but, um, not quite all the problems of a really large city.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  So, uh, it’s, and then, and again, within a pretty reasonable driving distance of a lot of things. So I think that, those would probably be the biggest attractions to people coming to live here.

Interviewer:  Yeah. Um, so let’s see he-, if you didn’t live in Janesville, uh, where else would you like to live, and why?

Respondent:  Yeah. Really, I don’t know. Really didn’t have a-, another, another in mind, um. You always think about the differences you would experience in other climates, ’cause, y-, you know the winters aren’t—

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  —particularly fun here. But, um, but e-every climate it seems has its advantages and disadvantages. So it’s, um—although, I guess, the California climate doesn’t have any disadvantages I can think of, but, but then you’ve got, you know, high cost of living and, you know, other issues there. So it’s, uh, yeah, it’s always hard to find what you would call an ideal place to live, I guess. So it, I don’t know, sometimes, I guess you go with what you’re used to.

Interviewer:  OK. Um, thank you. Uh, let’s talk about something else, uh . . .

Respondent:  Sure.

Interviewer:  How have you spent your working life? If you’d like to talk about that.

Respondent:  Um, gosh, um. Oh, it’s been kind of a, a,—I always find it really fascinating to talk to people about how they got where they are in their career, because it’s always so different for everybody, and it’s, it’s usually a really indirect route that got them where they are, and, and usually at some point in the story there was a, a good bit of luck. A, sort of, something fortunate that happened to them that, uh, was unexpected, um, or unlikely, and there it was, and, and it brought them, changed their life or their career direction in a way that they might not have even foreseen, and then suddenly they’re doing something that might be unrelated to what they went to school for. Or, um, so, and it was, I guess, it was kind of that way with me too, um. I worked in a, a family business here in town when I was growing up. Uh, we ran, uh, a weekly shopper, like, advertising paper.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  And, um, so that w-, I did all kinds of aspects of that business, uh, through high school and as young adult through college, and, uh, and continued to do that until I was, uh, in my late twenties. And then, um, went back to graduate school and, uh, for English degree and intending to teach English at the college level.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And, um, the, uh, once I finished with that, it was, uh, difficult to find a full-time opening doing that. There were part-time positions available, but we had a small child by then, and I needed a job with, with benefits, um, so, um, I was working, uh,    a lot of different jobs, retail jobs and variety of things, uh, for some years, um, and eventually, uh—

Interviewer:  [cough] {Excuse me.

Respondent:  —found a,} a position with a, a computer training company that was looking for people who liked to teach, and I had done some teaching as a grad assistant.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Uh, and, uh, ended up learning how—I didn’t know really anything about, uh, computers at the time. This was, uh, several years ago, and, uh, but they kind of, uh, help you, sort of help you train yourself really, uh . . . [laugh] {and, uh—

Interviewer:  Yeah. Is this} a place in Janesville?

Respondent:  This was in [beep].

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.

Respondent:  Yeah, and so, uh, ended up working there, and then kind of finding a job at a, another similar place that was a better place to work in terms of a little better pay and a little better, uh, situation as far as how, how they treat you, how much time you have to prepare for classes and things. And then, uh, eventually I was, I did classes as a vendor for [beep]. I would come there. They would hire people from my company to come there and do classes, and so I kinda got to talking with people there about what it was like there, and the culture, and they, uh, they, uh, spoke highly of it. So I ended up watching their website and applying for things for three or four years, I think, and eventually, um, got a spot there. So, uh, corporate trainer there, and, uh, I d-do, still do software classes, but, um, a lot of other things too, you know, just whatever they need. You kind of learn it and teach it.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  So, it’s, it’s worked out well for me, but it, it took a l-, lo-, much longer time [laugh] to get there than I had hoped it would.

Interviewer:  Yeah. That’s {interesting.

Respondent:  (So, but,)} yeah, so it’s like, I thought maybe I would teach English, but I, I don’t, but I still teach. So it’s, like, kinda related but kinda not.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Um, so what do you enjoy doing in your spare time, or if you have any hobbies?

Respondent:  Uh, well, I, um, we, uh, for many years I’ve played in a band, uh, on the weekends, um, and it’s, uh, when we were, when I was really young, like, right out of college, we, um, we, we played a lot. And, but then, as you, you get married and start to have kids and y- play less because it’s just too much, and, uh, and now, now it’s, uh, I’ve been doing it, uh, just over thirty years, and so I’ve, um, we only play maybe, we probably average one a month, maybe. Um, and that, that’s enough for me. It’s, it’s fun to do it, but if I did it a lot, it gets a little tiresome, um, ’cause it’s a lot of the same songs you’ve played for years.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Uh, it’s, it gets to be not as enjoyable to be up till three a.m. as it used to be. It’s, uh, when your sleep hours change, drastically, one day suddenly it’s, it takes a little longer to recover from it than it used to.

Interviewer:  Yeah. Definitely.

Respondent:  But it’s been kinda fun that, uh, just in the last couple years, my son—my oldest son—has become our bass player. So it’s been really fun to be able to do that together and kinda share that activity. I think it, it giv-, it gives us a reason to spend more time together than we might otherwise.

Interviewer:  So what do you play?

Respondent:  Guitar.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  I play guitar and I’m, I guess you’d call me the main singer, but, um, he sings, uh, several as well. So, uh, so yeah, it keeps us busy, and, uh, yeah, it’s a, just a fun little thing to do.

Interviewer:  Yeah. Uh, what are you guys called?

Respondent:  Uh, well for, for many years, we were called [beep]. And, uh, just in the last couple of years we, because we changed all our members and changed materials some, we are calling the band now, uh, the [beep].

Interviewer:  Hm. I’ve seen you.

Respondent:  Ah, really?

Interviewer:  Yeah. [laugh]

Respondent:  Ah, wow. {Where

Interviewer:  [beep],} uh—

Respondent:  Oh, OK.}

Interviewer:  [beep] Campground. {Probably.

Respondent:  Oh,} wow, {yeah.

Interviewer:  Many y-,} many years ago.

Respondent:  Yeah, we had good times at [beep].

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  That was fun. It was, uh, it was nice to play for, like, an all-ages audience.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  You know, where it’s not just a bar thing, and it’s outside, so at the time {it, it w—

Interviewer:  Yeah, on that,} slabs of pavilion.

Respondent:  Yeah, at the time it was a nice escape from the smoke, ’cause bars were so smoky.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Uh, not an issue now, but, but back then, yeah. Yeah, we had lots of fun times at [beep]. Have you been there any time recently?

Interviewer:  Um, mmm, yeah, I, I usually go, uh, every summer. My grandparents live at, like, the top of the hill there.

Respondent:  OK. Does it seem like, maybe, I wanna say five years ago now they’ve changed owners?

Interviewer:  Yeah, they did. Um, I was related to the family that used to own it.

Respondent:  OK. Yeah, they were really (nice).

Interviewer:  Yeah. And so, I don’t know who own it now, but, um, when the, the lake flooded, and so they, like, built a pool, and the beach isn’t the same anymore. It’s, it’s, uh, different now.

Respondent:  Yeah, I know the last time we played there, it was, we, we had only, they only booked us, like, one time that summer. This was the new owners. And, we, when we played, uh, like, no one was dancing or anything, and then we went on break. They had a d.j., and he would play hip-hop or something, and the dance floor would be packed.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  And then he’d stop and we’d start again and they’d all sit down and go away. [laugh]

Interviewer:  [laugh]

Respondent:  And then, that’s when I thought, you know, they’re not gonna have us back next summer.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  It doesn’t look like it. So, I don’t know. I guess that maybe the crowd just got too young for us.

Interviewer:  Yeah, maybe. Um, let’s see here, um, have you, uh, where did, where did you last go on vacation, or what countries have you traveled to?

Respondent:  Oh, gosh, um. The only time I’ve been overseas was, uh, many years ago. We went to Italy for a, a ski trip with my mother. Uh, my wife and I went when our first son was, was quite small, and, uh, so, it was, uh, hard to leave him, uh, but we went for, oh, I (xx) wanna say a week, um, and, uh, that was, that was fun. It was in the northern, uh, th-, the Alps in northern Italy.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um, kinda straight north of, uh, Venice and, uh, it was, it was a really fun time. And we, we have some friends who live in France that visit us from time to time, and we, one day we took a train to Switzerland and met them there just for the night and, um, had dinner and spent the night in a hotel and then came back again. Um, it was as close as we got to actually going to where they live, um, but that was, uh, that was nice. I’ve always wanted to go back to Europe again and, and see some other places, but, uh, just haven’t, haven’t made that happen.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Otherwise, uh, yeah, just traveling domestically. And, uh, I think the last place, well, the last place I went was, just, driving to Florida last year on my son’s spring break to visit my mother who is retired down there. And, um, very nice visit, and, um, nice to have some, a lot of sorta one-on-one time with, with my son as well, so, uh, that was nice, uh. My wife wasn’t able to get, uh, off work that week, so just the two of us went.

Interviewer:  Yeah, OK.

Respondent:  Yeah, so.

Interviewer:  Alright, uh, OK. Thanks, uh, very much for the conversation. Uh, we’ve hit fifteen minutes, {um, so let’s—

Respondent:  OK.}


Jefferson: NewWI148


Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. As I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Uh, shall we begin by talking about Jefferson?

Respondent:  We could, yes.

Interviewer:  So is there, is there anything special about Jefferson that you think other Wisconsinites ought to know?

Respondent:  Um, I’m connected with, I’m the curator of the Jefferson museum, and Jefferson has a very uniquely historical downtown that we’re trying to preserve right now. Uh, it was founded in, somewhere around eighteen thirty-six, eighteen thirty-seven is when the first settlers came here.

Interviewer:  Wow, wow. (Oh, are s-, those) buildings still intact then, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Well, n-, not, um, no, because what happened was when they first started putting up something other than huts, just regular buildings, they were made out of timber because the entire Jefferson area was covered with forest and as happened in most of the ti-, cities, uh, those burned to the ground within five, ten years, and they keep building, and finally Jefferson instituted a law in about, uh, in the late eighteen hundreds that said all downtown buildings had to be made out of block or brick, and so all the old buildings have vanished, and the, I’d say, the oldest building we have downtown still standing is, um, three-story building that was built in about eighteen sixty-seven.

Interviewer:  Wow.

Respondent:  And that’s still used. It was just sold. It was a hardware store, and it was just sold, and now they’re going to redo the front and have, like, dance classes and tae kwon do classes, those kind of things in there. {[laugh]

Interviewer:  That’s really interesting.} So is it like a community center now, or . . . ?

Respondent:  No, um, it’s been vacant. The man who owned it died two years ago, and it just sat there. They couldn’t sell it because the, as in all buildings, downtown buildings at that time, on the first level were stores and then on the second level would be apartments.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  But this one was not made for apartments. Um, the second and third floors were made for, like, the Masonic Lodge, and the Eagles, and the Elks, and, you know, those kind of, um, private organizations, so they’ve stood empty for, like, fifty, sixty years.

Interviewer:  Wow.

Respondent:  Yes, and I wish I could have gone up there just to see what was there when they were cleaning the place out.

Interviewer:  Wh-, so no one used them since the Masonic Lodges were there?

Respondent:  Right, mm-hmm, yep.

Interviewer:  Interesting. Do you still have people in the town who, who remember that, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, not that I know of, because it went back so far. Uh, I don’t know of anyone who can say, oh, I remember when. I know about it only because I read a lot of the old newspapers of the time, and, um, I read that that’s where they met, and they had a real, very big organization because, uh, that was way before radio, or any recreation, or movies, and so the men would get out of the house by going to their lodge meetings at night, and so this particular place on the third floor of this building had a piano. It had couches. It had meeting rooms. It had offices. I mean this was really a nice, big place, chandelier, uh—

Interviewer:  Wow.

Respondent:  Yeah, [laugh] and I know that only by reading. I, I have not been up there.

Interviewer:  That must be beautiful, though, if, if it was converted.

Respondent:  Oh, I’m sure it was, y-, you know, once upon a time, a-, because the wealthy people, the wealthy men would be the ones that were members. Um, you almost had to have money to belong to these private organizations then, and so they had money from some place to, uh, y-, carpeting on the floor, you know, very nicely done.

Interviewer:  Wow. So is the, is most of the community really involved in this kind of preservation, or interested {in it?

Respondent:  Um,} the downtown is, because, uh, in two thousand eight, the city decided they better do something or all the buildings would not survive downtown. Um, you know how today in any city, most cities, everybody wants to go on the outskirts and build those big, box stores and that kind of thing, and so the city got together, and they made this program where they give low c-, they give grants and low-cost loans to, uh, businesses to improve their, the outside of their building, and they’ve done, since two thousand eight, they’ve done that with twelve of the old buildings. In fact, the first one they did was an ancient old hotel which had fallen into ruins. I think it was, they say it was built in the eighteen fifties, I think it was more eighteen seventies, but, um, n-, nobody was in it, because you couldn’t use it, and that was the first place that used this grant-loan program. It’s just beautiful now. They have it as a restaurant, and since then there’ve been twelve, so in a small town like Jefferson, it is small, um, that’s pretty good that you have all those businesses wanting to improve their place. Then the idea is the stores will be more rentable or leasable, and then that will raise the tax base, so it really helps everybody, uh, (xx), you know, anyone that has any business downtown.

Interviewer:  That’s great that the local business owners are so involved.

Respondent:  They’re, actually, even people in, I know a couple of them, even people that have no interest in history whatsoever, once they get into, what was this building before I bought it, they get really into it. Um, a lawyer bought an old building. Well, this was turn of the century that it was built, and found out that it was a, a little sweet shop, uh, druggist next door had a little sweet shop, and where he served desserts and ice cream and that kind of stuff, a-, you know, and you can, h-, he left on the ceiling that w-, it was a beautiful copper ceiling when he built it, and so this lawyer kept this original ceiling and had it fixed up, and very pretty, uh, on there. So you can tell people that have some kind of, uh, uh, interest in their buildings, and they’re kind of proud of the history of their buildings.

Interviewer:  Yeah, that’s no, that’s really interesting, especially if there’s such a background to it, why {wouldn’t you?

Respondent:  Yes,} yes, yes. You just have to find that out, and I’ve also found that people, you know, who live in these old houses they never think about why the old house was built, and when they find out they get really excited about it, uh, the fact that their house was—well, I just talked with a coach at the local high school, and I found out where he was living, and my first comment was, “Oh, you’re living there? Do you know the history of that house?” And, um, he didn’t realize that it was owned by a millionaire and who made a lot of money in a huge corporation here in town and i-, he was very impressed, and he got excited about that. So i-, that’s fun to see. Anybody who’s interested in history gets excited about that.

Interviewer:  That’s really interesting, well, because it becomes a part of your own history.

Respondent:  Right, {right.

Interviewer:  Wow.} So what was the deal with this house that the, the coach owned? What was, it was, (somebody in the,) in the town?

Respondent:  Oh, right, this guy, you know, how teachers m-, kinda move around until they decide where to settle, and, um, he came to Jefferson not knowing anything. He’s a history teacher which is probably why he was interested, too. Um, came to Jefferson, just was looking for some place to buy, this was a house that just needed a little fixing up, very close to downtown but not hemmed in by buildings or anything, and so he fixed it up, and then he found out the history behind it, uh, because our downtown, I think, like most downtowns, the oldest houses are very, very close to the downtown.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  You know, so, uh, you, y-, anybody that would, builds around, or, uh, owns a house close by the downtown, you’re pretty well-assured that that has history to it, (well) over a hundred years or so.

Interviewer:  That’s amazing. Um, so do you do any of the, the restorations yourself? Or, are you involved in those, uh, directly?

Respondent:  No, the only a-, as close as I have gotten is, um, trying to find pictures of the buildings so that the people know what it originally look like on there. Uh, I did it for a lady has, um, insurance office, and the insurance office had been a carwash. Well, she needed to fix up her office, but she wanted to know what was the building, if anything, before it was a carwash, and was, it was, um, an automobile garage built somewhere around nineteen seventeen. Uh, so then she came and got a-, all the old pictures from the museum of what it looked like, as many as I could find, uh, looked like back then, and the same thing with the lawyer’s office, and with this new one that they’re doing right now, and (xx) Hotel, uh . . .

Interviewer:  Wow, so that insurance office, did it actually look anything like an auto garage or have anything {like that still—

Respondent:  Yes,} [laugh] right, there was nothing glamorous about that at, that at all. It was, um, well, originally on that space had been an old barn, and that was torn down, and then there was an empty spot, and they, this man who owned a lot of property on that block decided to put up a garage, and it was just cinder block, you know, just a, big, nothing fancy, just very, very basic, one level, and, uh, then the [beep] decided to buy it, and they fixed it up a little bit, put their logo on the front, and this kind of thing, and that’s the way it was for about twenty years. Then it fell into disrepair, and then the carwash people bought it and gutted the whole thing, so it’s come a long way. That one out of all of them, I think, has gone through the gr-, the most transformations.

Interviewer:  Definitely, wow. It seems like your town has a lot of history to offer. Um, if you didn’t live in Jefferson, where else would you, would you want to live, and why?

Respondent:  Mm, I’ve never really, the only thing we’ve ever talked about is, um, getting lake property farther to the north, and, you know, we said when we retire which we have r-, done now. We have retired, um, we’d live there, but then my daughter and her children moved here, and I don’t wanna leave them, so, um, you know, I’ve never thought about really living any other place.

Interviewer:  Well, it seems like your town has so much to offer.

Respondent:  Only if you like history. [laugh] You know how kids are. The kids always say, “Oh, it’s so boring, you have to go to the big city.” You know, but it just depends upon what you’re interested in.

Interviewer:  Person to person.

Respondent:  Yep, it is.

Interviewer:  How did you, or how did you decide you wanted to get into history? You’re a curator, so . . . ?

Respondent:  Right, but I hated history in high school and college, so I had nothing to do with it then, whatsoever. This just came about, um, oh, when I started doing my family tree back, maybe, ten years ago or so. Uh, I, I really got into that, and so then when I’d find where an old family lived, I’d wanna go see, you know, where the house was, where the farm was, whatever, if it was still here, and that’s, that’s where it all sprang from. It’s rather a recent discovery.

Interviewer:  Interesting. When, so, are, have your, most of your relatives been in Jefferson, now, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, my mother’s side, my father’s side from Ft. Atkinson which is a town to the, about five miles south of us, so it’s basically the same area of the state that they all came from.

Interviewer:  Did you find anything interesting in your family history? Or, I know a lot of people find, um, really strange things they didn’t realize, or really {interesting little factoids.

Respondent:  [laugh]} Oh, yeah, uh, my father always told us that we didn’t wanna investigate too closely because we’d find out we have horse thieves, drunks, and something else. There was a third rotten word, and I can’t think of what it was, um, in it, so he said, “Oh, you don’t wanna go back too far,” but I really haven’t found, they were, I, what I found is they were all very hardworking people.

Interviewer:  That’s good to {find.

Respondent:  Um,} the, most of them were German background. We have one line that was from, an old line from England, um, but once they got here to the United States, they all were hardworking farmers. Um, and then the one section, the one family, uh, went into politics, and that’s continued. You know how, if you study your genealogy, you see something in common through the years, and, um, politics is kind of, come up through the last, mm, hundred, two hundred years, of, um, one’s, one little line, one little tree limb.

Interviewer:  That’s really interesting that it’s continued like that.

Respondent:  In, you know, just by sheer chance because nobody’s studied it, and, you know, not me. I’m not connected with politics in any way, but my brother, for instance, is and my father, and my grandfather, and my great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfa-, you know, it just continues back through the decades.

Interviewer:  So sh-, it seems to be a, a shared hobby somehow through some connection.

Respondent:  Right, right. I-, i- I just find that interesting, because that’s certainly not, you wouldn’t think of that as genetic, like, hair color, or eyes, or anything like that, but it, just the fact that that happened, um, over the years was kind of interesting, I thought.

Interviewer:  That is really interesting. I wouldn’t have expected that.

Respondent:  No.

Interviewer:  Wow. Wow, so when did you start working as a curator?

Respondent:  Um, about five years now. I just volunteered to help, and I was told, oh, we don’t need any help, and I said, well, let me come down and see if there’s anything I can do, and the place was an absolute mess, and so for the first, mm, maybe two years, I basically just cleaned, cleaned and organized. That’s what I did, and then from there, then I was elected to curator, asked to be curator, and now I’m actually doing research and stuff like that. {But, it was, you know, I just learned.

Interviewer:  Are you,} mm-hmm, wow, so are you researching mostly Jefferson, or do they have you doing outside areas as well?

Respondent:  No, no. I-, I’m just local, you know, just things that went on here. Jefferson Museum is a local and very, very typical, um, local museum for our size city, and so we just are concerned with Jefferson, basically people who lived in Jefferson.

Interviewer:  Alright. Well, OK, thank you very much for this conversation. It’s been very interesting. Um, let’s move on to the next activity.

Respondent:  Sure.


Jefferson: NewWI197


Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. As I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Shall we begin by talking about Jefferson? Um, is there, uh, is there anything special about Jefferson that you think other Wisconsinites ought to know about?

Respondent:  Well, we’re, now we’re working on a, um, creating the third medical college in Wisconsin, so that’s been a busy time. Um, the Wisconsin, uh, School of Orthopedic Med-, of Osteopathic Medicine. And it’s been going on for about a year and a half, and now we have, uh, some new players in the game, including the State of Wisconsin and, uh, Boldt Construction of Appleton, so, um, that’s exciting here, (could) change the city a lot. Jefferson’s about eight thousand people, so that’d make a, a huge, uh, impact on the city. Um, otherwise, not (real excitement,) but (we) just got a grant, uh, announced yesterday; it’s two hundred fifty thousand dollars from the state, uh, for help in the redevelopment of a block downtown, uh, which will tear down the existing buildings and then, uh, a new Ace Hardware store, a new NAPA Auto Parts store, and some offices will be built on that block. Uh, that’ll start later this summer. So that’s a change. Um, just finished, uh, redoing the town center, (it’s,) last week, actually, we just finished (doing) downtown center, um, which is a lot of parking lot back of, uh, the stores right downtown, and it looks very nice, green space and a lot more parking, um, area. So it’s, it’s a change of look, we renamed some alleys. I’m on the [throat clearing], excuse me, I’m on the, uh, city council; I was mayor here for years and retired and then went back onto the city council, so I’m president of the council, and I’m also head of the, uh, the development authority. And so that’s why these city things c-, come to my mind {first—

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.}

Respondent:  —’cause I’m involved with them a lot, so, um, but, uh, we, we named several alleys because we have some development on those alleys, and the alleys had no name, but now they have to have an address, so we had to come up with names, so we did that. Oh, gosh, I don’t know. Is that enough? {[laugh]

Interviewer:  Well, let—}

Respondent:  Wanna know anything about, else about Jefferson? [laugh]

Interviewer:  Well, um, what do you, well, what, what’d you, um, grow up doing in, in Jefferson?

Respondent:  [throat clearing] Um, uh, my father, my mother died when I was young, and my father was a, uh, was a circuit judge here, and, uh, for about forty-five years. And, uh, so I grew up, uh, in a nice, uh, calm life, went to college, and I taught, uh, high school here, uh, for thirty, I don’t know, thirty-five years, uh, at the local high school here. So I was born and raised here, and then came back here after college, and I taught school here for thirty-five years, so, and, uh, so, (gosh,) heh, I’ve been here forever.

Interviewer:  Heh.

Respondent:  Um, I taught [throat clearing], uh, AP European history, and I did it over a, uh, television, uh, hookup, uh, with, uh, three other schools, and so I would teach it at seven o’clock in the morning, an hour before school would normally start. And I had students in Deerfield and Fort Atkinson and Jefferson, um, sometimes Palmyra.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  So, um, and I also taught sociology, and I taught, uh, economics at MATC for a while, at night, so, did both of those. And then my, I guess a hobby, my hobby was kinda politics. I was council, I was on the city council, then I was mayor three years, and then retired from that for a while and then went back into it about five, six years ago and been on the council since. I’m retired now from teaching and (everything), so . . .

Interviewer:  Oh, OK. Well, that’s very interesting. That sounds like a, an exciting life. Um, do you, so, now that you are retired, then what, what do you do during your free time?

Respondent:  Well, I’m involved a lot with the city; so I probably two, three days a week I’m doing things with the city, {so—

Interviewer:  OK.}

Respondent:  —uh, there’s a lot of meetings and, um, I’m also on the utility board. City of Jefferson has, City of Jefferson has its own, um, electric and water utility, and so, uh, we have a, a board, local board that runs that, and I’m on that board, and, um, so we’re down there, we have meetings there, too, and I keep that going, and (so,) that one’s doing quite well, it’s a little easier, but, uh, um, we have that. (Yep.)

Interviewer:  And, and so, if you, if you didn’t live in Jefferson, where would you like to have lived?

Respondent:  Oh, I don’t know. We’ve talked about it off and on. We like to go up, uh, to northern Wisconsin, we like it up there, but only in the summer. Uh, my wife, especially, is not a cold-weather fan.

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  So, uh, we do spend, uh, in the winter we spend some time in Florida. Um, I don’t think I’d wanna live in Florida on any permanent basis, but visiting in the winter’s nice for a while. Um, we talked about moving when we retired, to, uh, South Carolina, actually; that was the, that was as close as we’ve ever come to think about moving out of Wisconsin, so, um, I don’t know. We decided not to, but, uh, that’s about as close as, I guess that would be my answer, ’cause I’ve, it’s the only one we’ve really ever considered, uh, beyond Wisconsin here. Uh, if I lived in Wisconsin, we’d stay here, so . . .

Interviewer:  And so, um, do, then do you have family in South Carolina, or was that {just—

Respondent:  No.} Nope, we vacation there a, a lot, and we, uh, happen to, to love some of the cities there, the Charleston area in particular, and, and, uh, it’s, location-wise, it’s nice for, uh, Virginia and, and, uh, Georgia, which we (both) like also, and actually into Tennessee and Kentucky, which we visit often, and, but not, no relatives, just, uh, we just always liked that part of the country, uh, um, historically, I like history, and so it’s close to a lot of historical, uh, attractions for me, but, and the climate’s nicer for my wife, so. That’d be it.

Interviewer:  And so, uh, do you travel a lot, then, {or—

Respondent:  We d-,} yes, we try to, mm-hmm—

Interviewer:  {OK.

Respondent:  —yeah,} we do (a little). We’ve always done, as much traveling as we could afford. [laugh] Uh, it’s a problem. But, yeah, we’ve always done traveling, and we still do; we do more traveling now, ’cause we have time.

Interviewer:  Oh, that’s good. [laugh] Um, so, um, have you traveled out of the country before, or—

Respondent:  Yes.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  Yes, we’ve been to, oh, gosh, let’s see, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, um, Czech Republic, uh, oh, uh, Hungary, um, been to England, heck, several times, uh, been to Ireland several times. Um, the Caribbean area, been to a lotta times. We’ve done cruises on the, in the Caribbean, yeah, which we like. (xx) (Europe,) we’ve done the ocean crossings on the ships, which we really do like a lot, so . . .

Interviewer:  Wow, that sounds, sounds like a lotta fun. [laugh]

Respondent:  Yes, if you like cruising. [laugh] And it is, it’s very relaxing.

Interviewer:  And, um, is there anything else that you would like to tell me about, um, Jefferson or, um, what you spend your time doing now?

Respondent:  Well, um, I, I spend quite a bit of time (on the) computer, um, (and I) do a lotta e-mailing, um, I’m also, I, I collect, uh, presidential campaign material. I have a fairly large, uh, collection of that, and I spend time on that, buying and, uh, searching for, uh, materials I don’t have. I’ve got probably about, oh, four thousand different items—

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  —um, going back to eighteen twenty-four.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  ((xx) Um, it’s, I’ve done that (for a) lotta, lotta years, so kinda fill up an area here in my office back here, so [laugh], uh, I just spend time with that, that’s a hobby of mine and—

Interviewer:  [laugh] And so, um, do you, do you usually have to, like, search online for the other materials that, that you would like to get?

Respondent:  Yeah, there’s {a—

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.}

Respondent:  —there’s a lot of, uh, um, Internet sites, (I mean,) there’s eBay, of course. EBay really is, uh, probably the one I use the most, and it’s, it’s, uh, on any given day, there’s thousands of items that are listed for presidential, um, pins and buttons and ribbons, things like that, uh, so I, I probably check that out practically every day, and, and, uh, I bid maybe on four, five things, and sometimes I don’t get anything, sometimes I get one or two, just depends, but, um, it’s, uh, kind of a interesting hobby for me, ’cause it kinda combines history with politics {and, uh—

Interviewer:  Oh, yeah.}

Respondent:  —I like both of those, and it’s, and it’s pretty colorful, too, it’s kinda fun. You know, it doesn’t take up a huge amount of room. I, I mount everything on boards with descriptions of everything, so that takes me a little time, but I mean, it’s, it doesn’t take a huge amount of shelf space to hold the boards, so it’s, it’s, other than collecting cars or something, I guess, {(that would)—

Interviewer:  Oh, yeah.}

Respondent:  (—doesn’t take as much room.)

Interviewer:  And so, do you, um, since they are, uh, from the past, then, uh, do they usually run a little more expensive, or is it {actually cheaper?

Respondent:  Yeah, they can,} yeah, they can (come in) anywhere from, I mean, some of the more modern, uh, I don’t go very modern; I g-, I used to, I c-, when I started collecting, I collected, um, all the way up to, uh, George H. W. Bush.

Interviewer:  Wow.

Respondent:  Oh, um, but I haven’t been doing that at all for some years now. I kind of go up to, to, uh, Eisenhower, and I’ve not even been doing that really too much (time); I’ve been working more in the eighteen hundreds. Um, it’s where I’m doing most everything now. Um, particularly interested in the, the, Lincoln era and the pre-Lincoln era, so, um, that’s where I, I’m kind of (always) looking. And things there can run a lot; like a, a nice ferrotype, um, badge for Lincoln in the eighteen sixty election could run twelve hundred to three thousand dollars, and {(whatever)—

Interviewer:  Oh, my gosh.}

Respondent:  They’re valuable. Um, but, you know, like a, a, uh, John F. Kennedy, a small John F. Kennedy pin could run three or four dollars.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.

Respondent:  So they kinda, you know, jump all over the place, uh, um, price-wise, but it, it’s interesting.

Interviewer:  (If it), heh, it is very interesting; I, I haven’t met anyone who collects, um [laugh]—

Respondent:  Well, believe it or not, there’s a organization, um, a national organization called APIC, which is American, American Political Items Collectors—

Interviewer:  {Wow.

Respondent:  —and} it’s tens of thousands of members, and every state in the country, and, and we have regional shows, we have a national meeting and show.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  This year it’s in Denver, um, it kinda varies every year from, uh, city to city, and um, (xx). Nobody knows about that unless you get into the hobby, {(xx)—

Interviewer:  Oh, OK. [laugh]}

Respondent:  [throat clearing] Uh, we get a monthly news, uh, newspaper, and, uh, a quarterly, uh, magazine, um, so this, like, it’s, it’s actually a real widespread hobby. I, uh, I was surprised when I started that it was . . . I didn’t think about it; you didn’t think there’d be thousands of people doing it, I guess, (in my mind), but, uh, there are lots and lots of people, which i-, in a way is good, because it drives up the price, the value of the, the material, the more people that collect, there isn’t going to be any more Lincoln pins, and (xx) so, um, there’s more people that want them, pushes up the price.

Interviewer:  Heh.

Respondent:  So that’s OK.

Interviewer:  Have you sold any of your items, or . . .

Respondent:  Very rarely.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  Very rarely. I’m, I’m not to that, that point, I’m gr-, I’m greedy. I, I have a lot of duplicates, and I really probably should get, get rid of the duplicates, there’s no reason to, to keep them, really, but, um, I do, just ’cause I’m, I don’t know if I’m too lazy or I just don’t want to get rid of them, oh, um, but I think one of these days I have to try that, I’ll have to try to get more technological and, and be able to use eBay, I guess, uh, to do that. But I can take them to shows, too, uh, the shows, they say the regional shows, they, um, Wisconsin has one—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  —uh, in Milwaukee, uh, but, uh, it’s very small b-, by comparison, it’s a one-day event, {uh—

Interviewer:  OK.}

Respondent:  Yeah, uh, every six months there’s one, um, the biggest one we have reg-, our region would be in Indianapolis, and Indianapolis show is an annual event, and that’s a big thing that runs from Thursday through Sunday.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  And there’s thousands of people that attend that, and, and, hundreds of vendors who sell, um, materials, and so if you want to buy or sell, those are the best place to go, I guess, (really, to,) to find things, so, and sell things.

Interviewer:  Oh, that’s, that’s very interesting. I’ll probably have to look it up sometime. [laugh] But I, I never, I haven’t actually met anyone before who collects, um, pol-, political items. But that’s re-, that’s really interesting, um, and I guess, um, that’s all the time that we have for this conversation, so thank you so much for talking with me.

Respondent:  {Sure.

Interviewer:  Um,} let’s move on to the next activity.

Respondent:  Yes.


La Crosse: NewWI196


Interviewer:  OK, uh, let’s begin. Uh, as I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, uh, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Um, you know, I’ve never been to La Crosse. Uh, is there anything special about La Crosse or Onalaska that you think other, uh, people ought to know about?

Respondent:  A lot of people like to know that it’s part of the driftless area. Uh, that is, uh, the area that was, uh, basically not touched by the glacier that came through, um, uh, Wisconsin twelve thousand years ago.

Interviewer:  Oh, I understand. I’ve never heard of, I’ve, I’d know that, you know, glaciers been through a lot. I’ve been camping a lot, and I just kind of, how I picked it, up on it, but I’ve never known that, like, there was a specific driftless area that it had never been through.

Respondent:  Uh, yeah, southwestern Wisconsin, uh, is, um, uh, considered to be the driftless area, and, oh, it’s, uh, from, well, heh, the best way of finding out where it is is by, uh, driving around the area, and when it gets really sharply hilly, you know you’re in it.

Interviewer:  Oh, I was gonna, yeah, I was gonna wonder what that did to the geography, but never did that.

Respondent:  Yeah, the, uh, the, the geography, the hills are, in the Coulees, are, um, lot more sharply defined, so, um, you get the, the rock out-, outcroppings. It’s not the, most of Wisconsin is, um, rounded, you know, and, and much smoother well it was bull-dozed by the bo-, [cough] by the glacier, uh, and then you get the—I know this because, uh, a lot of this because I rode a bicycle ride called SAAGBRAW, which, it was sponsored by the old Milwaukee Sentinel, and the guy, uh, the route that I usually rode on was, at, uh, every year, went from La Crosse to Milwaukee, and the guy who was the, kinda, the tour director of it, um, did the route, and he loved geography and geology, and so we got to see a lot of, of, heh, a lot of Wisconsin’s geology, uh, on the bike ride.

Interviewer:  Oh, I have never heard of that bike ride. How long does that take?

Respondent:  Uh, that, it is a, well, back then it was about a week long. Um, it would start on a, uh, Monday and, um, or, the Monday morning early and then go to, um, uh, the following Saturday. There were, it w-, they, they ran it, um, three, there were three routes, uh, with three hundred twenty-five people on each of them, and tha-, they would go end up in Milwaukee on the same day. [laugh] Um, th-, I think it started, um, the name was from, it w-, Sentinel Active American Great Bicycle Ride Across Wisconsin when the newspaper, newspapers were doing that kind of thing, and the finishing thing, which I never did, um, the three bike routes would come together on that Saturday at the state fair, and they’d ride around the track, I guess. When I was doing it, we’d just, uh, have a picnic at the end. [laugh]

Interviewer:  That (actually) sounds pretty relaxing to be completely honest, uh, or, (at) least the picnic at the end. The whole bike-riding thing, I, you know, I, my bike’s in a garage somewhere back in [beep]. I haven’t ridden a bike in a while.

Respondent:  Oh, yeah, it, um, you’d end up with a pretty sore ass. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Ah, w-, I can only imagine. Um, let’s see, if, say you didn’t live in, uh, in La Crosse or Onalaska. Where would you like to live and why?

Respondent:  Um, right now, I’m thinking the Virgin Islands. Um, and, uh, we’ve vacationed there. We just got back from vacation there, um, week or two ago, and, uh, we, um, it was the second time we took our family there on the island of St. John, which is, um, about two-thirds national park, and it’s just beautiful. The, the sea is azure, and the, uh, beaches are pure white, and it’s a pretty good place.

Interviewer:  What was the appeal behind, uh, the Virgin Islands, you know, before, when you were kinda planning the, uh, vacation? What, what kind of spurred, like, oh, let’s go there?

Respondent:  Um, we did, we didn’t, uh, we wanted to go someplace that was nice, and, uh, we wanted to go someplace that didn’t have a lot of crime. Um, speaking English was, um, it wasn’t the biggest thing, but it did play into it, and it’s an English, well, it’s, uh, it’s the Uni-, part of the United States. It’s a territory of the United States, so, um, and then the price, so we got a g-, uh, my w-, well, we, my wife got a pretty good t-, deal, and we liked it so much, uh, two years later we all went back.

Interviewer:  I’ve only been told stories about it. I know I had a friend who went mighta been last summer or the summer before that, and they loved the absolute, uh, well, dirty word out of it, so, um, God, I really kinda wanna say dirty words, too. It’s terrible. {(xx—

Respondent:  You can, you know.} The first time I did this, uh, uh, back in the, what, nineteen sixty six, or something like that, and, uh, the interviewer said, uh, “You can say anything you want to say,” and he gave as an example he talked to some farmer. Um, they wanted a description of what you would call somebody lazy, and the farmer said, “Um, you probably aren’t gonna print this, but back on the farm they said you were fucking the dog.

Interviewer:  Uh-huh. That, y-, now that would, I’ve never heard that one before, {actually.

Respondent:  I’d never heard} it either. I, I like using it now.

Interviewer:  I would, I would be tempted to use that now, if only I wasn’t in a professional environment.

Respondent:  Yeah {[laugh]

Interviewer:  Uh, let’s see,} uh, [laugh] uh, wait, h-, so how often do you go on vacation? ’Cause it sounds, like, uh, so, you wanted to go somewhere nice, but how often is that? Uh, how often do you do that exactly?

Respondent:  Uh, well, that was, uh, well, we go, uh, my wife and I go on vacation as much as we possibly can because we’re retire-, sort of retired, and, uh, but taking the family, that’s a, a bigger deal, and, so, that was, um, the time before that was, uh, two years ago, and I think we’ve kind of taken our family, um, maybe, every other year on stuff.

Interviewer:  Do you prefer to go to, with the family, or do you like, kinda, you know, uh, you know, smaller trips, or smaller, less crowded trips?

Respondent:  Uh, well, we like both. [laugh] Sorry. Um, beca- I, I really like having family around. We have a, a fairly large, blended family, and so it’s a lot of fun to have everybody together, and they all get along well. [throat clearing] Um, I don’t know. We don’t, uh, see them as much we like. We have, uh, two of my, uh, kids are, well, they live in the Madison area, so even though it’s only a two-hour drive, it’s still, you don’t see everybody as frequently as you’d like.

Interviewer:  Oh, yeah, I understand that. S-, yeah, whenever we’d go camping a lot, there’d, sometimes it would only be with just, like, you know, the family, and other times it would be with, like, a huge group of people because some family invited—oh, let’s invite all the friends out there, {you know.

Respondent:  Yeah,} where do you camp?

Interviewer:  Um, uh, do you know where L-, Long La-, I’ve, we’d been to Long Lake a bunch of times. Uh, we were up in Door County, um—

Respondent:  Oh, you know, uh, Larry the Cable Guy has, uh, got a place on Long Lake.

Interviewer:  Oh, yeah?

Respondent:  Uh, near, up near Cable, Hayward.

Interviewer:  OK, I’d, oh, it’s been so, it’s been a long time since I’ve been to Long Lake. Uh, previously yeah, we actually live—I don’t know if you’ve ever been to, um, let’s see, the Richard Bong campground?

Respondent:  Oh, um, no, we’ve never been there. Th-, that’s state, uh, s-, is that a state park? Or, a st-, it’s a state area, anyhow, right?

Interviewer:  Yeah, the, uh ,you can camp up there, too. The problem is, uh, well, the problem with it now is the lake is drying up down there. Like, everything is, it’s something—

Respondent:  Really?

Interviewer:  Yeah, something is draining out all the water, and the beach—they c-, they describe the beach as being broken.

Respondent:  Wow, w-, I, isn’t that on Lake Michigan?

Interviewer:  Uh, no, it’s, it’s, uh, hm, it’s not too, I don’t think it’s too far. I can’t exactly remember because I, um, like, I couldn’t point it out on a map, but, well, I guess if it was labelled I could, but it’s not too far away from Lake Michigan, but it’s not, like, connected to it I don’t think, not directly.

Respondent:  No, I, you know I’ve seen that on the, uh, uh, or I’ve, I heard about it. Well, I recall the, uh, discussion when they, uh, put it, finally did it, you know. It was supposed to be an air base during the, uh, Cold War, and it, for some reason the government—I don’t know if they just started it, or they ever completed it, but then they wanted to abandon it. [throat clearing]

Interviewer:  Oh, yeah, I d-, I do remember that now. (This,) um, yeah, you can go and fly, like, um, RC planes out there. People do that a {lot, too.

Respondent:  Oh, yeah?} {Oh.

Interviewer:  Yeah.} There’s also, like, a, like, there’s like horse trails out there. There’s, um, I think, actually, there’s some, like, duck-hunting in, like, the fall, or, li-, right around the beach, but—our broken beach, I guess.

Respondent:  Oh, OK, yeah we’ll have to give that a try. We haven’t camped as much as we, we had. My wife decided to work during the summer, and, um, so, it’s kinda wrecked our summer activities. [laugh]

Interviewer:  I understand, yeah. No, we haven’t actually been camping a lot, uh, too far recently either. We, we used to do it, like, multiple times in, in a summer, and then we sold the camper to someone. That’s, like, oh, OK, we, we don’t really wanna, we, they got tired of the whole, you know, go out and do camping thing. They kinda burned themselves out on it, uh, the parents did. Now, actually, just previously this past weekend, my brother and his girlfriend went camping, and we, like, stopped out there on, like, Saturday night. We had brats. It was pretty fun.

Respondent:  Oh, yeah, hang on just a moment.

Interviewer:  Sure.

Respondent:  [Speaking to someone else:] I’m on the phone!

Respondent: It’s my birthday.

Interviewer:  It’s your birthday?

Respondent:  My wife wants me to, uh, uh, grill, do some grilling, I think.

Interviewer:  Aha. What are you grilling?

Respondent:  Steak.

Interviewer:  That, how do you take your steak?

Respondent:  Pardon?

Interviewer:  How do you take your steak?

Respondent:  Cooked. [laugh] Ah, well, I, I always hope for a medium rare, myself.

Interviewer:  I l-, I’m actually, I, I like it a little bit more well done, myself.

Respondent:  Oh, {sorry.

Interviewer:  Just a} little—I mean, I, not, not, you don’t have to be sorry for anything. It’s just I, I’ll take actually anything, but some odd reason it’s, if it’s too, like, chewy, then it’s not, like, I’m not getting, I don’t know. It’s, it’s some, it’s too weird. Like, I can’t have it too chewy.

Respondent:  Oh, are you a picky eater?

Interviewer:  Some could describe me as that.

Respondent:  Uh-huh.

Interviewer:  Depends, yeah. I, there are a lot of things that I won’t eat, but on the same vein, like, the more things are on something, the more likely I am to eat it.

Respondent:  Like, ketchup?

Interviewer:  Uh, ketchup, actually, I’ve, within recent years I’ve been, I’m warming up to ketchup.

Respondent:  Oh, OK, um, and, uh, tell me how you got this, uh, this job of, of working for the dictionary?

Interviewer:  Well, um, this study came to u-, yeah, this study came to us from the Dictionary of American Regional English. They just finished up the last volume from the study in, from when they were talking to people in the sixties. They finished up their last, like, encyclopedia [sic], um, yeah, maybe, like, last year. They said, oh, we wanna do it again, so let’s, you know, w-, let’s take another sample of, um, you know, Wisconsin residents, and that’s just kinda how this started. We wanna do another big version of it, l-, another, you know, another huge round, but the, this was slow-going for this thing, because we can’t find too many people to talk to, actually.

Respondent:  Really?

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  See, uh, I, I found out that you were doing this—there was a, um, uh, notice on the city of La Crosse website, maybe still there even, uh, encouraging, with a, a link to the, uh, the study, to the website.

Interviewer:  Tell more people. We could use them.

Respondent:  Ha, so is this your interest, or are you just doing it?

Interviewer:  Um, half and half. My brother worked here, um, a while back, and he said, “Yeah, no, go do it,” and I said, “OK,” but I’m a, I am actually a sociology major, so it is, it does kinda half and half. Some studies are certainly better than others. This one I would describe, this one, I would say, is the best study we can possibly call.

Respondent:  Yeah, I would imagine it’s pretty interesting. I, I, and I would really be interested to hear how the, um, language has evolved. Um, uh, I was interested, well, like, doing this bike ride, uh, that I told you about, SAAGBRAW, uh, there were an awful lot of people from, uh, southwest Wiscons-, or southeastern Wisconsin, and they were saying things that I had never heard before. For instance, um, if you wanted to get a doughnut or baked goods in the morning, they would say they were going not to a bakery but to get bakery, and I, I don’t know if that still is, um, uh, something that they talk, how they talk or not, and we here, uh, one of the things that was, uh, pretty frequent. If you saw the, uh, uh, place to get water, it would be called a bubbler, and you don’t hear that anymore.

Interviewer:  Oh, you do.

Respondent:  Very, very rarely do.

Interviewer:  Uh, that was a, that’s actually a big thing when you, um, people were, kids were coming to college. It was, like, uh, a lot of, you know, people from Milwaukee and, like, southeast Wisconsin were, like, no, it’s a bubbler, and then everyone else is from l-, you know, Philadelphia or somewhere else is, like, no, it’s a water fountain. You’re, like, are you insane? This is a bubbler. You’re in Wisconsin. You call it a bubbler.

Respondent:  What about, um, uh, the stuff that you drink, pop, soda? It, uh, now here I would say, “I, I wanna get, uh, pop,” and you, you hear a, a lot of people they, they’re not as defined on saying, “Well, I wanna get soda.” I don’t know. Maybe that’s just s-, something we do, we, that’s said around here, but . . .

Interviewer:  Uh, alrighty. Well, uh, thank you very much for this conversation. Uh, let’s move on to the next-


La Crosse: NewWI198


Interviewer:  Uh, let’s begin. Uh, as I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Um, you know, I, again, I’ve never been to La Crosse, uh, l-, and I’ve spoken to two other people who have been there, uh—

Respondent:  [laugh]

Interviewer:  What would you say, or, um, what would you s-, if there’s anything special about La Crosse or Onalaska that you think other people ought to know about, what would you say that is?

Respondent:  Oh, I w-, I would say the first thing that everybody notices about La Crosse is that it is absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful. Um, the scenery is amazing, um, the bluffs—we have the Mississippi River going by. If you go up on the bluffs, you can see for miles and miles and miles and miles. It’s spectacular, and I think that would be the thing that most people, m-, m-, the most positive thing that most people would associate with La Crosse.

Interviewer:  Do you go to the bluffs often? Is tha-, is hiking one of your, kind of, big things?

Respondent:  Actually, kind of, yeah. Uh, I haven’t been able to do it too much this summer, broke a finger. But, um, yeah, h-, um (xx) forest trails, um, go up and hike and do, you know, the little five-K’s. Lot of, we have a lot of little five-K run things that go through the forest and also through the marsh. We have a spectacular river, La Crosse River Marsh, that kind of separates the city, northside and southside, so a lot of people hike through that. I go through there o-, quite often with my dog, Molly. So, yeah . . .

Interviewer:  Uh, you mentioned five-K’s. Do you do those often?

Respondent:  Um, w-, yeah, w-, quite a bit. Um, there’s usually one for Oktoberfest, and there’s one for, um, to support the nature center and EcoPark, and, you know, virtually every community group or community event has one. So, there’s, I mean, there’s, like, something, there’s, like, one going on, like, every weekend.

Interviewer:  Uh, do you, do you generally walk them, or do you run them?

Respondent:  I walk them.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK. I was gonna say, ’cause five-K’s are what we, what I did in, um, high school for cross country, and I was, like, ooh, what’s g-, time gonna be? But I guess not.

Respondent:  Yeah, no, I’m sorry. I’m not that kin-, I’m not that good—bum knees. {[laugh]

Interviewer:  Oh, I understand.} Uh, say you were gonna try and convince someone to move out to, uh, La Crosse, or Onalaska, I guess. What would you, what would be your biggest feature? What would you, how would you sell it to them?

Respondent:  I would say that scenery’s spectacular. If you’re an outdoor person, this is, it’s a great place to be. I mean, if you like to run, walk, bike. I, uh, it’s incredible all year round. Um, it’s very pet friendly. I think, um, if you have dogs, a dog, or something. I mean, it’s a great place for you to be a pet owner. Um, I would say the health care is pretty top-notch. To have Mayo and Gundersen Lutheran both, like, in a city of this size and just literally block, bo-, blocks apart from one another is pretty incredible. Um, the people generally are pretty nifty, although I think the folks from Onalaska can be a bit of, a bunch of snobs. I’ve dubbed Onalaska—’cause I’m from La Crosse. I’m from the south side of La Crosse, which is different from the north side of La Crosse, which is not the same as being from French Island, which is definitely not the same as being from Onalaska. OK? A person from the south side of La Crosse is not from Onalaska. Never tell them they’re from Onalaska. Um, I’ve dubbed people from Onalaska, I’ve dubbed Onalaska to be little h-, um, how did I call it? Little Beverly Hills on the Prairie. They’re a little bit snobby up there, but, you know, if you can get past that, I mean, most of the folks in La Crosse are pretty laid back, uh, pretty open-minded bunch. That’s how I’d sell it to people.

Interviewer:  Alright, now I’m interested. Uh, could you go into more detail about the differences between being from La Crosse and Onalaska? ’Cause I nev-, I, you know, you look at it a, on a map, and it says, like, oh, there’s where La Crosse is. I have had, before doing this study, I haven’t had no idea what Onalaska is. So now I really wanna know.

Respondent:  OK, well, OK, what Onalaska is, Onalaska is like a little, a little bedroom community of La Crosse. I mean—to the north of town—and, you know, it’s just, it was, it, it was small and everything, but in recent years there have been a lot of folks that have moved out of La Crosse, um, and have moved to other communities, bedroom communities of La Crosse. Onalaska being one of them. Um, a lot of it happened when the city took back a publicly owned golf course several years ago from the private group that owned it. And so, all the richie-rich mucky-mucks moved themselves up to Onalaska, and they kind of have a very high opinion of themselves, and it’s kind of silly, because, you know, th-, they really aren’t. I mean, I think they think that they’re more glamorous, more amazing than they are, but they’re not really, they’re kind of, you know, they’re just Midwestern schmucks like the rest of us working for a living. They just don’t wanna own it, um, so, they, they’ve gotten kind of high-falutin in the last, probably the last twenty years, and, so, they were always pains before that, but now, you really c-, if you’re from La Crosse, you can’t really stand them half the time, you know. You just wanna take them and shake them and go, oh, get over yourself [laugh].

Interviewer:  Aha. {I]]

Respondent:  Aha,} yeah. [laugh] (xx)

Interviewer:  Alright, {let’s

Respondent:  See, I’m fifth generation La Crosse from the south side, you know. And I always, I always say to people, you know, you know the game six degrees of sev-, of Kevin Bacon?

Interviewer:  Yes.

Respondent:  You could play that game with me on the south side of La Crosse. It’s true. I’m related to everybody.

Interviewer:  That would be w- wh- now, what’s what I’m thinking of? Uh, that would be an achievement, I would say.

Respondent:  Yeah, well, yeah, like, like, literally, ’cause we go back, my family goes back five generations. So, if you name some family, particularly from the south side of town, and I’ll go, cousin, second cousin, yeah, my second cousin’s aunt Mary so-and-so such-and-such, you know, and, so, that’s how far back, you know, we go. And, like, all through school and everything, I mean, I’d go to school with somebody, and I, they’d go, you’re s-, so-and-so. Yeah. Well, I’m such-and-such. Do you know that your uncle dated my mom’s sister? Or something weird like that. Seriously, every time.

Interviewer:  [beep], now, now it sounds like there’s more going, not s-, oh, it’s not just, it’s not just, uh, oh, the people from Onalaska. There’s some blood, uh, there’s some old blood grudges going on here.

Respondent:  [laugh] Oh, but in a nice way. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Of, of course. Uh, and, and, at, at best it’s (cordial) and professional. OK, um, let’s see, uh, what else can I, l-, let’s say, let’s say you didn’t live in La Crosse, (said) five generations of family. Where would you l-, say there was somewhere else. Where would you like that to be and why?

Respondent:  Oh, oh, that’s very easy. Either San Diego or San Francisco, California, because my dad was in the navy out in San Diego, um, long before I was born. I was out there very briefly, like, for just a couple of years, and my dad’s great aunt, um, lived out in San Francisco so we had family i-, in California. Um, we had family in Los Angeles, but nobody wants to live in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is [non-verbal noise]. Los Angeles sucks. San Francisco and San Diego, though? Amazing.

Interviewer:  I haven’t been to either of those places. I went to, I went to L.A. a few summers ago. We went up to the area where, um, UCLA is and then {we—

Respondent:  Oh,} yeah.

Interviewer:  And then we drove around to Santa Monica, which is absolutely beautiful, and then around Venice Beach and stuff, but—

Respondent:  {Yeah.

Interviewer:  No, we} we weren’t too in the thick of, like, L.A. or {you know, we drove around a little bit but it was—

Respondent:  Yeah, you don’t wanna be.} Trust me. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Which would you prefer? I’m gonna make you choose. San Diego or San Francisco?

Respondent:  OK, now, since my name’s not gonna be associated with it, and my dad’s not gonna hear this ever— personally? San Diego. Loved it when I lived out there. San Diego, we always used to joke that you could plan a family reunion ten years in advance and plan to have it on the beach, and the odds are that it would be sunny and seventy-five with no rain.

Interviewer:  And then . . .

Respondent:  The weather was amazing.

Interviewer:  Ah, (OK).

Respondent:  People were amazing. I just kinda liked it. I mean, I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. It’s a navy town, but I liked it.

Interviewer:  Ah, I understand. I was waiting for the punchline that said oh you can, you planned it, uh, ten years in advance oh d-, did, so {seventy-five and raining and then all of a sudden—

Respondent:  That is the joke about San Diego. Anybody} who’s ever lived out there, that is the punchline. It’s j-, c-, the weather is the same, so much the same, sunny and seventy-five all the time, perpetually, that you could plan a family reunion any day of the year, ten years ahead of time, and the weather’s gonna be in your favor.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK. I, I {missed that—

Respondent:  I think} when I was out there, I think it rained once.

Interviewer:  Oh, no, {the—

Respondent:  Swear to God.

Interviewer:  Done. Well, {shoot.

Respondent:  Yeah.}

Interviewer:  Speaking of, n-, I don’t know why this pops into my head, but speaking of, like, odd weather in par-, in certain parts of the country, I went uh, sixth grade I went down to, um—not that this is of any interest to you—I went down to Alabama for, um, space camp one time.

Respondent:  {Oh.

Interviewer:  And here I am}, you know, born in Alaska, right? Or, Alaska—Wisconsin! Goodness gracious! You know, I have snow on the mind. That’s the point of the story. I go down there and, you know, on the last day we’re there, it starts snowing, and everyone’s kind of bundling up going, oh, God, it’s snowing in, uh, in Alabama. What’s going on? I’m, like, this is, this is nothing. This is nothing to me. {I’m in a windbreaker, and I’m fine.

Respondent:  Um,} a dear friend of mine who has been my friend for a very, very long time since we were, like, in high school, she, um, she was born in Memphis, Tennessee, moved up here about the time she started junior high school, lived up here, spent some time in the Navy, and everything. She recently in the last year or so moved down to Alabama, and so they had the bad weather this winter, and she was just like—I was just laughing. I’m like, what is this? You’re not driving? Why-, I mean, this is nothing to you. She says, “It’s not me.” She says, “If it was me alone I could handle it. It’s everybody else down here. They don’t know what’s going on. They’re confused.” She was laughing about them in Alabama. They don’t know nothing about weather, snow, ice, mm-mm, don’t do it.

Interviewer:  Oh, even then, though, after a while up here you just get tired of it, especially after the past few winters, which, it’s been like [non-verbal noise].

Respondent:  Too cold. {I know it was like—

Interviewer:  Too cold,} too much snow, too much ice.

Respondent:  —too cold, then the year before was too snowy. This one should be just right, you know, like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

Interviewer:  Oh, th-, now that would be, now that would be a sight to behold.

Respondent:  [laugh] That would be funny. That would be funny. Too hot, too, too snowy, too cold, just right.

Interviewer:  {That’d be nice.

Respondent:  That,} I don’t know.

Interviewer:  All I {a—

Respondent:  Would} anybody believe it? I don’t know. [laugh]

Interviewer:  That’s all I ask for. I ask for some, I ask for some green grass in March, maybe, and then snow on Christmas. That’s all I really want out of, out of winter.

Respondent:  I understand. I-, i-, i-, I should see patches of green grass around St. Patrick’s Day—

Interviewer:  Right?

Respondent:  —and a little snow for Christmas. The rest of the time, mm, I could care less about the wintery stuff. I used to when I was a child. I used to go out and muck around in it. Now about all I do is take the dog for a walk, so, {you know.

Interviewer:  Take} the dog for a walk and then shovel out the driveway, again.

Respondent:  There you go. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Especially when you have a city that plows the snow right back up where you just shoveled it.

Interviewer:  Right?

Respondent:  Classic.

Interviewer:  You know what, though? {There was a—

Respondent:  What?}

Interviewer:  —few, a few St. Patrick’s Days ago I remember in Madison it was like sixty, seventy degrees outside. Everyone was really happy because that was you know a big time in Madison as you might you know as you might {imagine. And then, yeah, yeah, an-, anyway—

Respondent:  Oh, yeah, I know Freakfest on Halloween, uh-huh, uh-huh, I know [laugh]}

Interviewer:  —anyway, um, yeah, it was that Sunday. It was really nice. I had, uh, I was living in a place where I, like, had to open my windows and, like, take down this, like, plastic covering, and I couldn’t, like, close them again.

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  The insul-, it was insulated with, like, uh, paper towels, and then on the Monday I woke up at ab-, like, thirty-nine degrees in my room. That was a horrible morning.

Respondent:  [laugh]

Interviewer:  Absolutely terrible—I was {ve-, I was upset.

Respondent:  I left—I swear to God this happened to me this last winter. I rolled the window down, went in the house, didn’t remember that I had rolled the window down—it was at night—went to bed, got up the next day to go to work, and it had snowed, and it blew in the car, so I had to shovel the actual inside of my car out, passenger side. I had to get the brush out, brush the snow off the seats, everything else, (just) mopped everything down with paper towels. It was pretty grim, so I never like to leave windows open in the winter. You (forget them.)

Interviewer:  Uh, nope, ke-, keep those things closed and never open them again.

Respondent:  [laugh]

Interviewer:  Oh, that j-, that sounds like a wonderful day.

Respondent:  Oh, it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t fun. I was kinda cursing the whole time, like, (gol) darn it.

Interviewer:  Well, as is tradition, of course.

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Uh, well, we’re, we’re just about done with this. Let’s see, uh, {I’m gonna,—

Respondent:  OK.}

Interviewer:  I’m gonna, I’m gonna, s-, OK . . .

Respondent:  Well, don’t you wanna know why people shouldn’t come to La Crosse?

Interviewer:  Yeah, sure, why shouldn’t {they come to La Crosse?

Respondent:  You shouldn’t come,} You should not come to La Crosse for Oktoberfest, and here is why. People who are from La Crosse do not do Oktoberfest. The only people who do Oktoberfest are people that are not from La Crosse, and everybody gets really crazy out of control, and it’s ridiculous, and it’s silly, and you wanna stand up on your roof and scream at them through a bullhorn, “I do not come to your home town and pee on your lawn. Why do you think it’s OK to do it to me?”

Interviewer:  You sound like you’re speaking from some kind of experience.

Respondent:  Well, last year they sat there, and they tipped a bunch of cars over, and this happens to be a part of town that I have to drive through to get home from work. I actually told my boss, I said, “I do not do Oktoberfest, because I will not drive the o-, the way I have to drive home on Friday and Saturday night with these crazy people is I have to drive right through them, and I do not really relish the idea of my car being picked up and tipped over in the middle of West Avenue with me in it.” So I, I will not do it. As a German American, I find Oktoberfest incredibly offensive.

Interviewer:  Mm. I understand wholeheartedly.

Respondent:  [laugh]

Interviewer:  Alright, then, uh, thank you very much for this conver—


La Crosse: NewWI247


Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. Uh, as I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, uh, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Um, or we could talk about, uh, La Crosse and Onalaska. I’ve, (only, I’ve only ever) actually spoken to one other person, uh, who was from there. Um, what would you say, if there’s anything special about La Crosse or Onalaska that you think other people ought to know about, what would you say it is?

Respondent:  Um w- I, I, I, let’s see, it’s very, I find it’s very interesting here in this area, because we have the Mississippi River, and, but, we have our, the bluffs, and we have a lot of beautiful nature, um, a lot of things that we can do outdoors. Um, we’re across from Minnesota, not very far from Iowa, and it, it’s just a, a neat little niche area. Um, it’s a small city, but y-, it, it’s got kind of a small town feel but, but large enough where we, we have a lot of things going on, and we have the schools and the colleges here, and, uh, th-, tho-, those are the things that primarily come to mind. Um, we also have, uh, great health care, I think. We have a couple of places in town that, um, educate, um, and promote good health care, so, um, those are, I guess those are probably things that I think of.

Interviewer:  Uh, you mentioned, uh, outdoor activities. Do you do a lot of stuff outside?

Respondent:  Um, I, I used to. I do a little bit, but I used to even more so in the past. It’s, um, bi-, bicycle riding, we’ve got bike trails, um, once again, you know, bicycling down to the downtown area, maybe near the river, go to the parks. Um, we, you know, do a lot of, where I live, um, we have a lot of walking, hiking areas, uh, that we can go to. Um, I, I enjoy being outside gardening. Um, I don’t, I live about a block away from an arboretum, so that’s somewhere, one of the places we can go where if we go for a walk, we can go down that way through the arboretium, arboretum, and, uh, you know, it, it’s just kind of pleasant, yeah.

Interviewer:  Uh, (you’ve grown) your own vegetables outside?

Respondent:  Um, this year I, I, I’ve got a few pots with, um, vegetables in them. I’m primarily more with flowers, uh, but I, I currently am growing tomatoes, um, some green peppers. Um, that’s kind of what I’m doing right now.

Interviewer:  Sounds a lot like the garden my mom is making. Um, let’s see, uh, what else, what else did you like to do outside, uh, you know, more in the past anyway?

Respondent:  Oh, um, well, uh, y-, f-, well, like be, be able to take, um, uh, car rides, or trips, go to parks, uh, go to the beach. Um, my husband used to have a boat. We used to, you know, get in the boat and go out on the river, um, find a sandbar, uh, get, uh, you know, go out on the sandbar, and spend a few hours out there. Um, other things, too, um, when my kids were a little younger they liked to play baseball, so we used to take them to, you know, baseball games, and tournaments, and things like that.

Interviewer:  Mm, let’s see, if, let’s say you were trying to convince a friend of yours to move out there. Uh, wh-, what would you be, what would you highlight?

Respondent:  Um, if, i-, if I was going to try to convince someone to move to the La Crosse area, I would say, um, s-, some of the things that would attract people here, um, we, we have a quality education system. Uh, the cost of living, and, um, the cost of living’s pretty good. The, uh, real estate isn’t too outrageous compared to some other areas, I guess. Um, if, well, let’s see, as far as job market, um, depending, you know, what kind of work they’re looking for, or planning on. But I would also reco-, you know, recommend some of the culture, and some of the, the uh, well, the activities that you can do outside, but they, you know, we have, um, the Pump House, and, um, some historical places, and th-, there’s a lot of things going on in town. We have theater, things like that.

Interviewer:  Uh, what’s a pump house? I’ve never heard of that.

Respondent:  OK, well it’s, it’s referred to as the Pump House Fine Arts Center. It’s, it’s downtown—not, not too far from, you know, the river, um, but it’s, it’s kind of our, our local cultural, um, art house, where, you know, they, they can put on different displays, rotating displays, and, or they’ll have, um, activities going on down there that are usually clos-, you know, whether it’s music or art.

Interviewer:  Alright, then. Uh, say, say you didn’t live in La Crosse. Where would you like to live and why?

Respondent:  Hm. Um, if I had an option to, let’s see, well th-, I suppose there’s always been a couple of other places. Uh, I alwa-, I always thought New England or out East would be kind of neat, kind of interesting, or I, or I thought western Europe.

Interviewer:  Uh, what attracts you about New England for, uh, for starters, I guess?

Respondent:  OK, well i-, out in New England I, I think of, uh, the, the locale, the, the history, um, the culture, uh, those kinds of things. Um, uh, it would, it would, I think because the, the cities are a little bigger, the, uh, there might be more or different things to do. Um, and once again, too, I’m kind of a history buff. It would be kind of neat to, to go out there and, and explore, you know, you know, Massachusetts and Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, um, otherwise, uh, going to western Europe, uh, i-, it’s something, I’ve, I’ve always been very interested in foreign language, and I, I studied foreign language, and, um, my daughter has gone to Europe backpacking, and I think it would be nice to, I’ve always been very interested in history and the culture of the different countries in western Europe.

Interviewer:  Uh, is that, uh s-, then, I would say, your, your greatest interest in terms of history is, uh, western Europe, and what age would you say that is around there?

Respondent:  Uh, what do you, OK, I’m not sure how to, what do you mean what age?

Interviewer:  Oh, uh, and, so, what was, what would you say is your favorite or most, what would you say is the most interesting part of history that you’ve studied, I guess?

Respondent:  Oh, OK. Well I, I suppose if I was going to go out to New England, um, the Revolutionary War time or period, possibly a little earlier, um, you know, sixteen hundreds, seventeen hundreds, and then, as far as Europe, um, wa-, ya- prior to the, the Middle Ages, and, um, th-, the Dar-, you know probably to the eight hundreds, that kind of thing.

Interviewer:  What drew you to, uh, Revolutionary times, like, what drew you to that era in terms of, um, your history study?

Respondent:  Hm. Um, I think, I, I think it’s because of the, the initial founding, um, of our country, and of the people that came to this country, and how we created and formed our country, that kind of thing, and then, plus people who moved here to, to start and create new lives, and, and, uh, and the struggles, and, and the, everything that everybody had gone through to get to a point where they decided they wanted to create their own country.

Interviewer:  Uh, so, how about, um, western Europe, then, you mentioned around the eight hundreds. Uh, what is it about that time?

Respondent:  Um, I, I, I do quite a bit of studies for the, um, English history, French history, um, as far as the, the different, um, you had your different kings, and leaders, and, and, um, wars, the, the, um, the different, uh—what’s the word I wanna use—um, the different groups of people or factions that, that, um, competed or fought against each other to, to cre-, create or establish, um, new, new communities, new, uh, territories, the different cultures, and the different tribes of people that moved back and forth trying to, to create or make new homes, um, create or establish territory.

Interviewer:  How about, so, uh, say you’re gonna talk to, I guess, me. I have very little, lo-, limited knowledge about that time period. What would you say is the most interesting, I guess maybe, faction, or king, or event that you would, you know, say you would wanna get a friend interested in it. What would you, what would you tell them?

Respondent:  Oh, um, well, well, I think, um, I’m thinking of, uh, I think Charlemagne. I, th-, that-, I’m thinking around the year eight hundred and Charlemagne and the Plantagene-, Plantagenet, um, group, and, the, um, how, how he fought and, uh, conquered different factions to, to unite and create a larger whole, I guess, or, you know, I guess they weren’t officially a country yet, but they were, you know, he, he, he conquered and, and fought and by bringing more territories in he upgraded, you know, a form of country or s-, or, or, a united, uh, land.

Interviewer:  Geographically, where did that, um, where did that occur in western Europe?

Respondent:  That would be I, I guess, um, where currently, currently where, um, France is now, uh, probably not so much down towards Spain, but France and Switzerland probably up in-, up into, not, but not quite over, across to England.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK. I remember, I remember the name Charlemagne, and I remember probably learning about him, you know, back in high school, but I, nothing ever comes to mind when that, you know, {when that name pops up.

Respondent:  Oh, sure.}

Interviewer:  (It’s just) been so long, um, and was hi-, was History your, say, your major in college? I mean, ass-, uh, assuming you went to college?

Respondent:  Um, I, I did not graduate college. I’ve had some college, um, but I did I, I didn’t create that as a, uh, I mean, I didn’t take that on as a, a major or a minor, but I, I’ve just as a kid, though, I have always been very interested in history and different, different areas of history, pri-, primarily western history and, and American history. Um, and, I guess, on top of that with, ’cause I, I, I studied French, Spanish, and German, and I think that all kind of ties in ’cause then when you do a lot of language study, you end up studying a lot of culture and history as well.

Interviewer:  Alright, um, so, y-, uh, have you ever been to western Europe yourself? Have you ever gone on vacation or, you know, anything like that?

Respondent:  Um, well, so far, um, well, in high school, I was able to go to France, uh, for a trip, and then about two years ago, um, I went with a friend and some other people. We went to England.

Interviewer:  Uh, what’d you do out there?

Respondent:  Um, well, in England we went to visit—uh, my, my friend, um, has a daughter who married an Englishman, so we, we all went over there—it was around Christmas time—and we went to visit with them, so we went to, uh, the southwestern region of England and ended up going back to London in time for New Year’s.

Interviewer:  How was that out there? I can only imagine it must have been {huge.

Respondent:  That was} cool. That was fun.

Interviewer:  Um, could you describe it for me?

Respondent:  Um, any, anything in particular, or she, she lives, um, she lives in, um, southwestern England, uh, probably about ten miles or so from the channel. Uh, we ended up taking a train out there to visit her and her husband, and, uh, we did some sightseeing and touring in that region or area of the country. Um, then we drove along the coast up to, um, E-, along the English channel, rather, up the other direction towards some of the other larger cities there, and that was kind of fun to go to some of these bigger cities and, and be able to see some of the places where some famous p-, you know, like Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy and, and, uh, these other creative people lived, or went to church, or they were born, that kind of thing. And then, um, so we had fun doing that, and, uh, ended up, let’s see, then we ended up taking the train back to London in time for New Year’s. So we stayed, we stayed, um, in a really cool area in London near Knightsbridge. I, apparently, that’s how it worked out, but we were near the, um, ale-, um, Harrods department store, and we ended up, um, we went to s-, go see Buckingham Palace—we went all over to see all the traditional tourist-y things—but, um, it was, um, not enough time. It went really fast, and, and we ended up going to some really cool restaurants and stuff, too.

Interviewer:  Uh, w-, what was the, uh, I think we’re alm-, we’re just about done here. What would you say is the, um, what would you say is the best thing you ate in London?

Respondent:  Well, I, in, in London we, we went to an Indian restaurant, and I had some kind, I can’t remember what it was called, but it was some kind of a, a d-, a dinner with shrimp in it, and it was very good. And then, another we tried, um, when we were down in southwest England, um, we went to a beach town, and the beaches are pretty cool down there. They’re more rocky, a lot of rocks and things, and, um, anyway, we had kind of a traditional, you know, fish and chips where they wrap them in newspaper kind of thing, and, and trying some of the tr—oh, we went for a traditional tea, that kind of thing. That was cool, too.

Interviewer:  OK, uh, thank you very much for this conversation. Uh, let’s move on to the next activity.


Linden: NewWI195


Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. As I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, uh, let’s talk about any topic, uh, that interests you. Uh, I’ve never actually heard about, um, Linden as a town or city. Could you tell me about it?

Respondent:  OK, Linden is a village. It’s about six hundred of us here. We’re about eight miles west of Dodgeville, Wisconsin, and then four miles south on Highway Thirty-nine. Um, it was a mining town back in the day. I was actually born and raised in Mineral Point which is eight miles west of Linden. That also is a mining community. Um, there’s a cheese factory here, and if I had to tell you the name of it now I couldn’t do it, and I know it’s a name that you’d recognize, um, Sartori. I think that’s the name of it. Uh, one church, one, two, three bars, four if you count the Legion. A post office, a gas station, um, if you want a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk you go to the station. If you want a beer, you go to the store because the store’s the tavern. [laugh] Um, beautiful little village park, in fact, um, Iowa-Grant high school will oftentimes, will have their, um, baseball teams come over and practice a-, at this field. Um, we have the (August Frolics,) of course. Um, it’s a Methodist church. Uh, there’s a senior citizen apartments. I don’t remember how many units, maybe eight to twelve of those. Years ago, back in the sixties, it was kind of, uh, rough and tumble, and over the years [laugh] it’s mellowed. I think everybody got older, and they couldn’t rough and tumble anymore. [laugh] Um, boy, this is hard when there’s no feedback.

Interviewer:  Oh, I’m sorry. I’m just kinda letting you go. I’m just kinda letting you {go on, I’m sorry.

Respondent:  Oh, OK. [laugh]} Um, you know, I’m raising my two grandchildren, and, for the past few years, and they’re, they’re now, uh, fifteen and thirteen, but one of the biggest things for them was the fact that they could feel safe. They can go up to the station by themselves. They can go up to the park and play. Everybody watches out for everybody else’s. Uh, s-, if I catch somebody doing something wrong I’m gonna scold them just the way I expect them to scold my grandkids. That’s just the way it is. Um, I can’t think of anything else. [laugh] I don’t know what else you’d like, like to know.

Interviewer:  Oh, that’s, oh, that’s OK. I’m always kind of fascinated with, um, small town aspects ’cause I’m from, um, Milwaukee, myself. Now I live in Madison, and I’m never really used to that kinda, like, really tight-knit, communal thing where, you know, you look out for your neighbor. It’s always a little more, like, private and reserved, I guess.

Respondent:  Well, my second husband passed away in two thousand two, but, and we married in ninety-three, and one of the concerns he had about getting married and living here was, [laugh] because he was from Milwaukee originally, was he was afraid he’d be bored, and then more than [laugh] once he made the comment, “My God, there’s more going on here, you know,” [laugh] “than there ever was in Milwaukee.” Um, I think it gave him the opportunity to wind down, too, and r-, and relax. Um, he had an uncle that lived here, though, and I think it enabled him to connect with him in ways he wouldn’t have otherwise. It also got him the opportunity, um—Blackhawk Lake is just a hop, skip, and a jump from here and so is Governor Dodge. Loved to go bass fishing. He could come home—he was a truck driver—so when he got home his time was limited, but he, he, you know, could scoot over there, and he loved that. Um, we had a garden, and he’d never done that. I think one of the, the best images I ever had of him was him sitting—he was over six foot, he was a big boy now—sitting in that garden cross-legged in his shorts and his tank top planting tomato plants. And then when he’d come home during the summer, he just thought that was the coolest thing since sliced bread, you know. You could come home and pick tomatoes and green beans and, you know, whatever you wanted. That was, that was pretty cool, so, um . . .

Interviewer:  I’ve been to Governor Dodge once, um, long time ago. I’ve only e-, I was up there camping, but I’ve never been to, uh, Blackhawk Lake, you said? Um . . .

Respondent:  Mm-hmm that’s over toward Highland. If you, if you came through Dodgeville and kept going until you got to Cobb, you’d turn right in Cobb, and if, if I had to tell you the highway number I couldn’t do it, and then about halfway between Cobb and Highland you turn to the right, and go down to Blackhawk Lake. A lot of people around here camp there in the summertime. It’s close to home, and they don’t think it’s ’cause i-, it’s as large as Governor Dodge, but . . .

Interviewer:  Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s been a long time since Governor Dodge. I can hardly remember it. I just remember the fact that I was there at some point. {Um, uh . . .

Respondent:  Cool. So} you’ve never been to, like, Dodgeville or Mineral Point or anything much this way, then?

Interviewer:  Maybe driven through it? I’m not entirely sure.

Respondent:  Yeah, if, and the, the four-lane, you would’ve gone past Dodgeville and Mineral Point, just edged the skirts of them, heading toward Platteville.

Interviewer:  Are there a lot of, um, like, big y-, you had mentioned, like, if, you know, if you go, if you want, like, milk or something (you get it down at) the station. Is there a lot of, like, Walmart or, like, big kin-, ch-, chains like that nearby? Or how exactly far do you have to go?

Respondent:  Dodgeville would be the closest. Dodgeville is the closest, and that’s twelve miles from here, and that’s got a Walmart, and a, uh, Walgreens, and a Farm and Fleet. The next biggest one for us, I guess, would be Platteville, and there you’ve got your big Walmart, and Menards, and oh, KFCs, and Culvers, and there’s a Pizza Hut, and a Country Kitchen, and a Culvers in Dodgeville, too, but as [dog barking] far as big chains otherwise, um, not, not a whole lot. {I’m sorry—

Interviewer:  How often do you—} Oh, oh, that’s OK.

Respondent:  That’s my grandpuppy. [laugh]

Interviewer:  How often do you find yourself getting out to stores like that? Or is everything you really need, like, kinda in that, uh, small t-, like, kinda village, or do you find yourself {going out—

Respondent:  No, no} you have to. I work i-, in Mineral Point, um, which is eight miles west of here and so I, my meat and basic groceries I’ll pick up at Point Foods, the grocery store there, or Kwik Trip, believe it or not, they’ve got a lot, oh my God, if you want a deal on eggs and milk and et cetera. So those I hit. Otherwise you wind up going to Dodgeville or Platteville. I find myself going toward Platteville mainly because I think they have a bigger selection, and if they don’t, you’ve got more options. There’s K-mart there. Um, it just seems like I tend to go that way. We get paid twice a month, not every two weeks, but twice a month, and then you have a tendency to pick up the staples and the basics there, and then you pick up, I pick up the fresh meat at Point Foods, things like that, your milk, et cetera.

Interviewer:  That’s always something that {(xx—

Respondent:  The station is, is basically, um, [laugh] soda, milk, um, there’s some cheese there, and some luncheon meats, um, oh, eggs, butter, milk, bread, Tombstone pizzas. There’s some ice cream, um, more the ice cream bars, et cetera, and that’s about it. It’s kind of a emergency stop. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Little, is it a little more, like, over-priced than you might find at, like, a, at a Walmart or a {Pick-N-Save, something like that?

Respondent:  Right, right.} Yeah, it is, and I can understand that. They can’t buy in the bulk, you know, so for the convenience and the ability to have it and not make a trip to town, it’s certainly worth it.

Interviewer:  That’s always {(xx—

Respondent:  Pick up} the local newspapers there on Thursday, too.

Interviewer:  I just then, how long has it been since I’ve actually read a newspaper. You see, like, you see, um, like, here in Madison, you have, you know, there’s like a, like, little stands and stuff, you can go and just get, like, a free paper if you want it, but I’ve never, ever really once actually done that.

Respondent:  Oh, wow. No, we have, we call it the, um, the, it’s the Dodgeville Chronicle and the Mineral Point Democrat. They’re a dollar each. [laugh] The Democrat is two full sheets of paper. [laugh] It doesn’t take you long to go through it. But it gives all the local news, you know, Linden, and Rewey, and Waldwick, and all these little bergs, and Ridgeway, and Dodgeville. You gotta check the obituaries. They have (xx), a history file that goes way back from the beginning. It’s snippets they’ve taken from the newspapers over the years. That one’s in the Democrat, and they’ll, um, [throat clearing] you go back and read that, all the happenings, and the Chronicle is the one if you wanna keep up on the latest in the, who got the speeding tickets and broke the law, and they always have more obituaries in the Chronicle. I don’t know, um, but, yeah, that’s, (I’m), my best friend and I, that’s our Wednesday night ritual. If you buy it at Kwik Trip or Ben Franklin there in Point you can get it the day before, or it would come to the mail to you, and so we have Pepsi, and snack, and the paper on Wednesday nights. Woohoo! We’re living large. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Is that still, like, uh, do y-, how many other people do you know who still, like, read the newspaper around where you live? I say it, like, you know, “still read the newspaper,” as if, like, I’m, I suppose, you know, my family we’re always more used to, like, you know, pulling out an ipad or something and looking at, like, a front page of some website. I would, um, how d-, how does that work?

Respondent:  Boy, that’s a good question. Um, when I speak of the paper, I’m speaking of the weekly paper that we read once a week. I don’t subscribe to the daily paper. Um, I think [beep] and [beep] still do. A lot of them maybe just get the Sunday paper now. I, I don’t think there’s anywhere near the readership that there used to be for, like, the State Journal, or Cap Times, Telegraph Herald, any of those. I think you’re right. I think they probably check, you know, the ipads or whatever. Um, I never thought of that. I, I guess I do both. It depends on what you’ve heard or seen on television or the radio, if you wanna go and check it out more thoroughly. I find that a, we have an ipad at work. I don’t even have internet here at the house, um. [laugh] We live pretty bare-bones here. Now, [beep] got it on her phone, and I’ve got a little bit of it on mine. We don’t have landline phone anymore. We have, I have a Straight Talk phone that’s thirty dollars a month, and I get a thousand minutes, a thousand texts, and whatever gigabytes, or whatever, of internet. [beep] has Straight Talk, and we pay forty-five a month for hers, and she can do everything but the dishes with that thing. Um, yeah, now that you say that, I would be curious to see what the readership is for the, I, we have, um, there’s a couple here in town that’s done it for probably ten or twelve years. They got their kids to do it, and of course the kids graduate from school, and they move on, and Mom and Dad have still got this paper route, and they’re in their fifties, but they deliver the papers, and I, I’ll have to ask them some time if it’s gone down. I’m sure it has.

Interviewer:  Hm, so you had mentioned, um, uh, you and your second husband moving up there. W-, if you had to, say, convince a, another friend of yours to move up to Linden, what e-, what would be your, uh, big selling point? How would you, how would you convince them?

Respondent:  (About, (xx)?)

Interviewer:  O-, oh, I’m sorry. {(xx)

Respondent:  Just,} to visit me or just to visit Linden?

Interviewer:  Uh, to move there, uh, to, actually, {like—

Respondent:  Oh,} to move?

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Respondent:  Um, I guess it would depend on the friend, but, wow, um, clean little community, friendly people, faith, um, lower taxes. Um, got the basics here you need, but you’re just a short drive away from anything beyond that. Um, I-, a-, the people, I think, as much as anything. Although, I had a, a friend of mine make a comment, and she’s lived here longer than I have. I, I got married at eighteen in nineteen sixty-eight and moved here, and I, she made a comment to me just within the last month or so that if you weren’t born and raised here you’re never taken in as part of the community. I disagree. I, this is my home. I was born and raised in Point till I was eighteen then I moved here. This is home, and I’ve had things happen to me over the years. I don’t think I could raise these kids if I lived anywhere else. There’s just a support here that’s beyond belief. It’s, it’s a good place to be. It used to be a rowdy little, oh my God, you know, Friday or Saturday nights you knew the cops were gonna be coming to town, and somebody was gonna be brawling at one of the bars, and, you know, but that’s long gone. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Was that more of a big, was that more of a big deal? Um, was that as big of a deal as it might be in, say, in, like, Madison? I know if, like, a fight breaks out in a bar here, a-, it’s kind of, like, a, I, I’m not entirely sure, it might be a bigger deal, but I can, my assumption would be in a small town, it would be, it might be, like, oh, OK, you know, you get heated on, like, a Friday or Saturday night, and then you come back on Sunday or Monday and you’re totally fine. Is that kind of how it was, or, or how {exactly—

Respondent:  [laugh] Back then} it was, you, you, yeah, and I don’t think just Linden at that point. I think it depended on the age, depended on the time. It depended on the laws. Um, Friday night fish fry is the ritual, you know. Um, anymore I do the blue-haired shift where you go up right after work to the Polar Bear, which is an igloo-shaped bar here in town, and you have your Friday night fish, and, I don’t even have a drink very often anymore, you go home. I think for a lot of them, like, when the games are on they’ll go down to the st-, what, the store, which is the bar, or the Polar Bear. The Polar Bear’s not open on Sunday. The store is. Um, no, you don’t see the crowds, and any, and I’m not talking just Linden anymore, but anywhere around here, you don’t see the crowds that you used to see in the past. The laws have gotten stricter. People just don’t, they either can’t afford it, or they don’t wanna risk, you know, their insurance, their driving, their record, et cetera.

Interviewer:  Oh, I understand that. Um, w-, y-, you had mentioned sports. What is, like, the biggest kinda is it more, like, college football? Is it NFL? Or what would you say is, like, the biggest kinda . . .

Respondent:  Both, both. Around here, it’s the Badgers in any sh-, you know, whether it’s basketball, football, and of course, the Packers. [throat clearing] We have a few, God help them, Bears fans. In fact, the gals who run the Polar Bear, they came from Chic-, from Illinois, and they’re Bears fans. So when the Packers play the Bears, they’re open, and it’s packed. Um, so it’s the basics, yeah, yeah.

Interviewer:  Oh, if we hadn’t’ve just, uh, hit the fifteen-minute limit on this conversation, I could go off on the Packer’s playoff game this past Sunday, but, {alas—

Respondent:  [laugh]} Yeah. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Thank you very much for this conversation. Uh, let’s move on {to—

Respondent:  You bet.}

Interviewer:  —the next—

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