Transcripts, Part 3

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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

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Portage: NewWI124 Richfield: NewWI149 Superior: NewWI027
Portage: NewWI171 Richland Center: NewWI165 Superior: NewWI087
Portage: NewWI248 South Milwaukee: NewWI254 Watertown: NewWI013
Portage: NewWI253 Spooner: NewWI060 Watertown: NewWI092

Portage: NewWI124

Interviewer:  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 Portage? Is there anything special about Portage that you think other Wisconsinites ought to know about?

Respondent:  Welp, I think, uh, my perspective may be a little skewed, because I’ve lived here most of my adult life. The only time I wasn’t in Portage was when I went away to college and law school and for a short period of time after I graduated from law school. Um, I think Portage’s history, um, is what makes it interesting and special in a lot of ways, as well as the geography. I mean, it really did play an important part in Wisconsin’s history, uh, given the logistics of the, where the location is as far as being a trade route. Um, so, I mean, yeah, it, it is, it is special in that respect, and in other, uh, in other ways it’s just your average, Midwestern small town.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. If you were trying to convince a friend to move to Portage, uh, what features would you highlight?

Respondent:  I would tell them that it is for the most part a friendly city—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  —and that it is uniquely situated. That it’s (e-, dista-,) it’s easy to get just about anywhere else from Portage. Um, I don’t know if I’d necessarily encourage my friends to move to Portage, because I like going to Milwaukee to visit them. [laugh]

Interviewer:  [laugh]

Respondent:  Um, our neighborhood in particular is pretty special. We all socialize together. We look out for each other. We watch each other’s kids, and pets, and we all get together, and, uh, you know, talk a lot, and hang out, and have fun. This summer, every Friday night, we had happy hour in the neighborhood where we’d all just congregate in someone’s yard, and everybody would bring beverages and snacks, and we’d sit around, and have a good time, and enjoy each other’s company. And one of our neighbors made a giant Jenga game out of two-by-fours, which quickly turned into a drinking game, being from Wisconsin.

Interviewer:  {Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So,} it, it’s pretty, it’s a pretty good place to live, and we have really great neighbors, and we all get along. It reminds me of the Portage that I knew when I was a kid growing up.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  You knew all your neighbors, and you talked to each other, and you barbecued together, and you had a few cocktails together, and I think that’s missing in a lot of communities nowadays, but, um, it, it’s alive and well on [beep].

Interviewer:  [laugh] Well, if you didn’t live in Portage, uh, where else would you like to live, and why?

Respondent:  I really loved Milwaukee when I went to Marquette for law school. Um, there’s something about Milwaukee where you have a big city, and big city opportunities, and big city excitement, but it’s got a small town heart. Um, people were friendly. Uh, it really isn’t like a lot of other big cities I’ve been to, but just it has a lot to offer. There’s a lot to do, the music festivals, and all the different church festivals going down, going on, and all the different ethnic groups, and it really has a lot to offer, and I really enjoyed going there. And I, we do try to get to Milwaukee as much as possible, but career-wise I don’t know that I would want to do what I do now in Milwaukee. I think it would be more of a challenge, and there’s a lot more problems. I, I deal with child support enforcement.

Interviewer:  {Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So,} um, given the poverty in Milwaukee, it’s a real hard situation to deal with, and it makes it real difficult, and as much as you try to separate your emotions from your job, it’s difficult when you see people struggling so much just to exist. So, uh, that’s a bigger challenge for my colleagues in Milwaukee than I face doing the same job up in this part of the state, so, but I, I do love Milwaukee.

Interviewer:  Hm. And, uh, I know that you talked briefly about Marquette, but, uh, I mean, other than that, uh, or even currently, how have you spent your working life?

Respondent:  Well, I graduated from Marquette in nineteen ninety.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Then I got a job up in northern Wisconsin, and I thought Portage was kind of backwards until I moved up to Merrill [laugh].

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  It’s a (bend) for them to put two non-country-western songs on the jukebox at the local tavern. Um, it, it was, it was really a difficult transition going from living to Milwaukee to living in Merrill, and my then fiancé was still down in Milwaukee, so I was only up there a couple of years. He, unfortunately, passed away, and then I ended up moving back to Portage, and I’ve been here ever since. I did some freelance legal work and then ended up getting a job in [beep] County.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And I’ve been there for twenty-one years. So I guess I like my job, [laugh] or I probably wouldn’t be there this long. But, yeah, I do, I do child support enforcement, and it’s a tough job, but it’s important.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And my mother has always told me that I was born responsible, and I do not tolerate irresponsibility in others, so I’m kind of good at what I do.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. And, so, you were talking about how your job can be difficult, or what are some of the trials and tribulations, or what aspects of it make it difficult for you?

Respondent:  Well, we’re dealing with people’s emotional issues surrounding their relationships and their children plus we’re taking their money on top of it. So it’s like throwing gasoline on a bonfire. Um, people aren’t happy in those situations—well, I think that’s the one thing that they don’t prepare you for in law school is the fact that you are going to be dealing with upset people, and then (to be) dealing with their problems, and they want their problems fixed the way they want them fixed and not necessarily what the law says or what the facts dictate. So, it’s, it’s, it’s tough in that regard because you get in to the profession because you want to help people.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So that’s why I did. Because if I wanted to be rich, I wouldn’t be a child support attorney. That’s for sure.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um, so it was never about the money. It was about, you know, helping people, and you try to help them as much as you can, but you, it’s just, you know, you get death threats.

Interviewer:  {Wow.

Respondent:  Uh,} yeah, family-law attorneys are more likely to end up dead than any other type of attorney. It’s more dangerous for the judges and the attorneys in family court than it is in criminal court. There’s a lot more raw emotion going on.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um, and, you know, I’ve been spit on, and sworn at, and called every name in the book, and (xx) a lot, and had my life threatened on a number of occasions, and I have to say that there are a handful of people given the opportunity would probably take that opportunity. So you can live your life peeking around the corner and being paranoid—and, just, you pay attention to your surroundings, and you pay attention to the ones that you know are problematic, and—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  —to be as safe as possible, and, yeah, (most though) for the people that are around you. You know, your family, your friends, your colleagues.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  I don’t worry so much about myself, but, um, it’s, there’s, there’s a couple right now that are in jail that tend to write some real interesting letters, and when I know they’re getting out of prison, I tend to keep an eye open on where they’re at and what they’re doing.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.}

Respondent:  But,} you know, you can’t live your life in a bubble either.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Yeah, the wonderful world of child support enforcement, exciting stuff.

Interviewer:  Yeah, I mean, maybe, the, you know, you don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to, but, I mean, has it ever come to having to get restraining orders, or something because, I mean, this sounds very serious, so . . .

Respondent:  Well, um, I (haven’t had) to do that, but (when) my husband and I got married. I did not take his last name, and everything that we have listed in the phone book or, you know, for anything, has his name on it—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  —so that it’s a l-, a little bit harder for people to track me down. I work in a different county than where I live.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  I work in [beep] County and live in Columbia County.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  That’s part of the reason why it’s (xx) to live here, because living here I am just [beep] and [beep] daughter—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  —you know, I’m not the lawyer. I mean, people know that I’m a lawyer, but (they’re like, they’re like, you’re a lawyer, and I’m like (xx)) mainly it’s, like, my home turf so that my, I got my posse. [laugh] I mean, I still occasionally run into people here that I have cases with, and one night—I used to shoot pool league—and I was with the girls and went into a bar and there was a guy sitting on the bar stool that was supposed to be in court (xx) that morning.

Interviewer:  Hm.

Respondent:  And, so, I asked the judge for a warrant. I walked up to him and tapped him on the shoulder, and he turned around, and all the color drained out of his face, and I said, “Oh, wow, funny meeting you here. I missed you this morning.” I said, “Well, I can handle this one of two ways.” I said, “I can walk over to that phone and call and get you a ride, and see you in front of a judge tomorrow morning in cuffs, or, uh, you can get yourself to my office by eight-thirty tomorrow morning and acknowledge your c-, your court date and show up, and I’ll quash the warrant.” He goes, “OK, OK, I’ll show up tomorrow morning,” and I said, “That’s fine. You only get one chance. You know you’re gonna be dealing with me for at least the next ten years, so—”

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  “—better take advantage of the opportunity. It may not present itself again.” And he showed up, you know.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.}

Respondent:  So} you know, I try, I try to be fair to people and try to be decent. You know, there are just people who have issues, who, you know, you’re concerned about. (I have) one particular person who, uh, has made threats against me, and the judge, and a couple of the public defenders, because he doesn’t like going to the county jail. He’d rather be in prison, because they don’t tell him what to do in prison. So, of course, when he gets out and doesn’t pay his child support, I’d be sending him back to county jail, and then he gets all agitated. (But) he made a bomb threat one time, and so they put him away for a couple more years, and then he got out, and I went to the D.A. and basically said, you know, we can wait until he actually figures out if he does blow something up or shoot somebody he can go to prison for the rest of his life. I said, I’ve got, like, ten felony child support (parts) if you want to charge him with that, and we can, you know, put, you can probably get him to stipulate to it, and he can go back to prison for five or six years. So that’s what happened.

Interviewer:  Hm.

Respondent:  So, you know, sometimes you have to kind of think outside the box, and it isn’t even necessarily about the child support. It’s about protecting the public.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, {mm-hmm.

Respondent:  ’Cause} I’m not afraid of someone coming after me. I’m afraid of someone getting caught in the crossfire, you know.

Interviewer:  Sure, sure.

Respondent:  But we have court security. I, I’ve, I’ve said in, in joking ways mainly, well, couple of the court security officers, if somebody pulls a gun in the courtroom, I’m jumping up and yelling “Bring it!” [laugh] And I said I, I, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll let them get one shot off at me and, and hopefully court security takes them out I said, but I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna cower or cry or beg or plead or run away. I’m just gonna [laugh] say “Alright, game on, (here we go.)”

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So, but, yeah, I mean, you just, it’s, it’s tough y-, I mean, you do feel for people. I mean, they, their lives are turned upside down, and, of course, they don’t realize that they play a role in that. It’s always someone else’s fault, and it’s your fault, so . . .

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Now} I usually say, sure, it’s my fault. Now let’s figure out where we go from here. And then you get people who just, you know, and the sad part is, is a lot of the people I deal with have substance abuse issues.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And that’s a large reason why a lot of them are unable or incapable of meeting their obligations to their families. (It can,) a lot of it has to do with people who have mental health issues and self-medicate and it’s just sad that there aren’t the treatment programs or programs out there to help people like that so that it doesn’t get to that point. I think they’re realizing that more and more and the money and the resources that you put in, the younger somebody is, if it is beneficial to society, for just a cost-benefit analysis, because you always put in more money on the back end with, with not as good results.

Interviewer:  {Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Respondent:  (So,)} oh yeah, I, I me-, it’s, it’s, it’s a profession where either you really get (at) it, and you love it, and you’re there forever, or you last a couple years, and you’re out and on your way somewhere else. So, a lot of the people, the professionals across the state, whether they’re lawyers, or just case workers, or directors have been in the program, like, twenty-one years. A lot of my colleagues are thirty, thirty-five years, and they’re s-, they’re some of the best people I’ve ever met in my life.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Amazing, hard-working, dedicated people. So it (is) a privilege to be a part of that group.

Interviewer:  If you could change something, uh, within your area of expertise with which you work, uh, what would you change, or what would you like to see changed?

Respondent:  I think it would be nice if we had the opportunity to spend more time with people, explain things a bit more. Sometimes I have that luxury.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  But, but most of the time I don’t. I’m the only attorney for my county that does what I do. I’ve got thirty-five hundred active cases.

Interviewer:  Wow.

Respondent:  And I also don’t think that, that the attorneys who do what I do are compensated for the amount of work they do.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  I mean, I, I donate a couple hours every week. I’m us-, I don’t get paid—I say, I don’t get paid till eight o’ clock, but I’m at the courthouse at six o’ clock in the morning.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Just because of the amount of work I have to do. So, it’s important, and I don’t think e-, e-, especially in the current political climate, especially in Wisconsin—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  I, I really don’t think that public servants overall get the kind of respect and credit that they deserve. I think it’s been really easy for certain political groups to demonize public employees, and, so, you know, the rest of society buys into that, and then, and, you know, th-, that all snowballs into lack of respect, and it isn’t just, you know, child support attorneys, and teachers, and—

Interviewer:  {Sure, sure.

Respondent:  —and} so it’s just, it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s, like, instead of saying, oh, hey, let’s wo-, all work together so that it’s better for everybody, it’s this mentality, well, you have something that I don’t have, so you shouldn’t have it either.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And, you know, it’s, it’s sad that it’s gotten to that point, but I tend to, I tend to believe that most people are decent and care more about everybody else than they do about themselves. So, I have hope. [laugh] Sometimes I (xx), because I have to constantly remind myself that I’m, am dealing with a very small portion of society in the work that I do.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  It really, it’d be really easy to get very jaded that everybody was irres-, irresponsible and nobody took care of their responsibilities, and nobody cares about their kids. And, I have to remind myself that there’s a much larger portion of society that I never see in the courthouse.

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


Portage: NewWI171

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 Portage? Is there anything special about Portage that you think other Wisconsinites ought to know about?

Respondent:  Well, [laugh] ok, well, I think Portage is probably in our history more than people realize. It was one of the very first places that was settled in the state of Wisconsin. And, I don’t know, a lot of people, it’s not a very big city, and so it’s, kind of hasn’t grown a whole lot, despite—which is kinda unique because it’s got such an interesting place with that. Interstate’s near here and everything and a river and it really hasn’t gro-, grown and blossomed like I would think a city in that particular spot would be. (xx) the early days of our state’s history with the Indian Agency House, and the settlers coming here, so I think maybe people would like to know a little bit more about the history of it.

Interviewer:  If you were trying to convince a friend to move to Portage, uh, what features would you highlight?

Respondent:  [laugh] I wouldn’t try to convince a friend to move to Portage. Um, it’s kind of a (dying) city. [laugh] I, I guess if I, I can’t answer that, because I don’t think there are, at this point in my life, I don’t think there are any really compelling reasons that I would try and convince someone to come to Portage, which is sad.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, sure, I understand that. Uh, if you didn’t live in Portage, uh, where else would you like to live, and why?

Respondent:  Oh, well, I do enjoy living in Wisconsin, in general, because it’s got beautiful lakes. It’s got the four seasons, which I tend to appreciate, but I, (I don’t know,) so I don’t like the cold winters, and the snow, and all that hassle, so right now if I had to choose I would choose Colorado, because still have the four seasons, my daughter has (relocated there), but the seasons aren’t as intense, and the winters are not as cold, so I, and I like, I love the mountains. The bluffs just don’t compare, so, um, but I, I, in general, I love Wisconsin, and I wouldn’t mind moving to another city in Wisconsin, but I’ve been here, like, forever, and I’m entrenched in my job, my husband’s job, et cetera, so I doubt that we’d be moving, but, maybe Colorado.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, and have you visited Colorado already, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Oh yeah, oh yes, several times since my daughter has moved there, {so . . .

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm,} and what did you do when you went out there, just to visit family, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Yeah, [throat clearing] but, um, let’s see, well, we went up in the mountains. We went to the (xx) (reservoirs,) we went (xx) in the Rocky Mountains. Um, we went whitewater rafting. We went fly-fishing, lots of fun outdoor activities {to do there.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm,} yeah, it sounds like a lot of fun. Uh, so, how have you, uh, spent your working life?

Respondent:  I’m a teacher.

Interviewer:  Yeah, what do you teach?

Respondent:  [laugh] I always laugh when people ask that because, not because it’s funny that I teach, but for the longest time, [throat clearing] I taught so many different things, that it was confusing. Um, up until last year, I taught K through eight. I was a technology instructor and taught children how to use computers, and I taught Spanish, and, um, then in the afternoons, I taught at-risk high school students that were trying to get their GED, and then, in the summers I taught, um, senior citizens that were trying to learn how to use computers. So, my joke was, I teach everybody from K through—I had, like, a ninety-year-old student at one point.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  So, I teach a lot of stuff, but, um, I enjoy it all, and I like the diversity of not having the same thing, same class, and age group every day, so . . .

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, and what’s been, uh, the most challenging for you to teach so far?

Respondent:  Hm, hm, hm. Um, I don’t know. I don’t, I don’t (feel) any one being particularly more challenging than, than another. I guess if I had to say, it’s probably my at-risk high school kids.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  But, it isn’t they’re challenging because of behavior issues, and it’s not that. It’s, they’re challenging because of their learning styles and they just (approach) a different learning (than) traditional ways. So I guess that’s challenging.

Interviewer:  Uh, what’s been one of your, uh, favorite classes to have taught?

Respondent:  Spanish, which I only have taught for the last five years, that I didn’t even speak until I (xx), um, when my daughter fell in love with a Hispanic young man. I don’t know why, but I became entranced with trying to learn Spanish.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And so I did, and then opportunity came to teach it, but I don’t speak it very well, but, obviously, I speak it well enough to teach—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  —little kids, so I just loved it. It’s just been, I guess I can use my technology a lot when I teach Spanish, and I love using technology when I teach, so . . .

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  It just fell into place, and I just, it’s something really, it’s something really different that I’ve never taught before and I really, I really enjoy it.

Interviewer:  Hm, well, that’s good. Uh, have you been doing the technology teaching—you said that you had taught students how to use computers—have you been doing that for a long time, {or is that recent, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Oh, yeah, yeah,} that’s for about twenty, twenty-five years almost. Um, [laugh] changed quite a bit in the twenty-five years I’ve been teaching. Kids nowadays don’t even know how to (xx) (their skills), so that’s OK. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Yeah, have you noticed, like, is it easier, do you think, to teach students now, or how has that changed over that period of time?

Respondent:  Well, I (xx) easier, it’s just that they have different skill sets coming in to (me.)

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um, back when I first started, children, especially kindergartners and first-graders had never probably even used a mouse because (xx) computers in the home, so I had to teach kids how to use a mouse. Well, that isn’t even an issue anymore. In fact, now it’s turned to the point—well, I, I don’t get to teach technology anymore. That just changed this year, but up until last year now, it’s, it is funny for me to watch, because the children are so used to their ipads, and kindles, and touch screens that they’d come into our lab, which did not have touch screens. Particularly the little ones, the kindergartners, they try and touch the screen, and, of course, it didn’t work, because we didn’t have touch screens. So, it’s, it’s not more difficult. It’s just they have different skill sets, and we have to adapt the curriculum to, to match what it is they currently know to what they need to learn.

Interviewer:  Hm, that’s really interesting. Uh, so, uh, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?

Respondent:  Yes, I do. I am a digital scrapbook designer. I do not like traditional scrapbooking in the least. It’s too tedious, and I am too particular about placements and things, and sizes and things, and colors and things . . .

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So I felt like I could never—although I liked the idea of scrapbooks—I never, I got very frustrated with it because nothing would work out right. Well, I al-, I also (evolved.) This is a hobby that didn’t exist twenty years ago, and so, once I learned that doing everything digitally, I could get the exact colors, and the exact placement, and the exact size, and everything that is frustrating to me as a traditional scrapbooker, um, I really glommed onto that. Taught myself, um, Photoshop, and I just adore, um, doing digital scrapbooking.

Interviewer:  Hm, and, and I know you were explaining, like, how colors and placements could be different, but when you say digital scrapbook, is it, like, similar to like, like, a kindle book, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Oh, no, no, no. What I do is I take photographs, and I put them into a program like Photoshop, and then, uh, I essentially make it into art by adding different colored papers, different, um, I put text across, I essentially graphic design. (And then) graphic design with photographs, um, on the computer, and they are printed up into books. I don’t, you know, I don’t cut out the little pieces of paper and glue on the, the buttons. I have, I can, if I want, I can put a digital button onto the page, or whatever, so essentially it’s graphic design but I do it only with (family photos.)

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Respondent:  That make sense?

Interviewer:  Yes, yes, yes, that was very concise, thank you. Uh, where did you, uh, last go on vacation?

Respondent:  Hm, to Cozumel, Mexico.

Interviewer:  Is there any particular reason why you chose to go there, or is it on a whim?

Respondent:  [laugh] Well, (xx) to Cozumel, um, about five years ago. Once my daughter (lived) with this Hispanic guy, um, we started visiting Mexico, and he’d go along and help us out when we ran into language difficulties. We haven’t been t-, to, um, Mexico in, oh, a couple years. We’ve been (several) places, um, and, of course, (xx) because my daughter got married, um, she, they couldn’t go on her honeymoon, so they wanted to go on their honeymoon a year later, and then the company that she works—she’s very cheap, though, [laugh] very (frugal)—the company that she works for was taking everybody down to Mexico because they are event planners, and they were scouting out, um, a really good (secret) town in Cancun, so my daughter could not pass up that free opportunity, so the (event) company stayed there. Then they wanted to continue their honeymoon, and, so, but they were, they were trying to save so much money, so we went down. We rented a condo in Cozumel where we’d been before, and they had taken up scuba-diving in the meantime, and Cozumel is one of the premiere places in the world to scuba-dive. So we decided to go back to Cozumel, and, uh, let them scuba-dive and give them a few days alone for their honeymoon, and, but, then, uh, we joined them and had a great time. So we (xx) we wanted to let them scuba-dive and go back, ’cause we enjoyed it so much.

Interviewer:  Uh, have you traveled elsewhere, or just to Cozumel, or . . . ?

Respondent:  No, (we’ve been to) Mexico, I think that was our sixth time.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And, uh, we had been to Europe.

Interviewer:  Now, where did you go in Europe?

Respondent:  Uh, Germany, France, England, um, a little bit, we went into Amsterdam. Uh, we went over to, um, we went through Switzerland, and we went to, um, Salzburg. I’m trying to think. It’s been quite a while. That’s probably about ten years ago. We just, a coup-, a week or so, kind of just moved all around.

Interviewer:  And what’s been your, uh, one of your most favorite places to visit or revisit?

Respondent:  (I would say,) um, southern Mexico. My, my, probably my favorite place is Playa del Carmen which is, uh, right across from Cozumel, ’cause the beaches there are just super gorgeous, and they have so many fun things to do down there. (I know I’m supposed to keep talking, so I’ll just talk.) One of the fun things that we did was, um, when we went down to Cozumel, we went across the water and went back to Playa, and they have this fabulous place called Xplor, and it’s just, it’s just Disneyworld but real, and you get to go underground into these caves, and you can paddle silently through these caves on these little, tiny rafts, and you have to use your hands, and it’s just gorgeous, and it’s so quiet and so peaceful. Then they have zip lines all over the place, and, um, it was just most, one of the most amazing places I’ve been. I’ve been to Disneyworld, I don’t know, five times or something, and I, I love Disneyworld, but this, this is so natural, and so real, and so well thought out in a way that’s just m-, amazing place to visit.

Interviewer:  Hm. Now where do you plan to go on your next vacation?

Respondent:  I don’t know. [laugh] Um, I don’t know, someplace that probably, that my family wants to go, so, ’cause I’m, I’m up for most anything as long as I have something to do. I’m not the kind of person who lays on the beach and just sits there, or, I always want to have something to do, so, maybe we can find something fun to do that I haven’t done yet, and I’ve done lots of stuff, so it’s getting a little more challenging, but we like to t-, try different stuff.

Interviewer:  Uh, what are some of your favorite types of music to listen to?

Respondent:  OK, well, actually I was a music major in college, so you would think that I would like c-, listen to a lot of classical stuff, but I—not that I don’t like it, but I really don’t listen to it. So, of late the music that I’m mostly listening to, because I was trying to learn Spanish, was um, popular, um, Hispanic music like Enrique Iglesias, um, Juanes, and some of those kinds of people. Just, I would listen to music to help me become familiar with the language. That’s something that I still listen to.

Interviewer:  Hm, and have you seen any of these artists in concert?

Respondent: No, I have not been, done that. Don’t like the crowds, don’t like the, the (squishiness,) don’t like the parking, and the quality of the sound is a hundred times better if you just sit at home and play it on a really nice, quality stereo.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Enough.

Interviewer:  [laugh] Uh, do you, uh, have a favorite holiday?

Respondent:  Mm, no, (not) really.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, uh, do you play any, uh, board games or card games regularly?

Respondent:  No, not regularly.

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

Respondent:  [laugh] Wow, y-, (xx) OK, childhood, well, I just, I know I’m s-, supposed to be talking, so I’ll say, I grew up by Pauquette Park which is, anybody that lives in Portage they probably know what Pauquette Park is. It’s, uh, got a beautiful pond, and, and I lived right across the street, and I just spent hours and hours, um, if I look back at my childhood, it was pretty idyllic, and living on the river, I mean, I would go with my girlfriend, at the age probably of ten, and we’d go out on the sandbars, and, and, uh, I remember one time two guys came by in a boat, which was ridiculous, but they did, and we got in the boat with them, although my girlfriend said she knew th-, h-, one of the brothers of somebody else, so times were a little different back then. Of course, if my parents knew, they probably would have had a fit, but I had a very, it was very idyllic growing up in Portage when I did because it was a very safe town and a very, um, friendly town, and, I, I don’t regret that I grew up in Portage, but I do not see the same kind of a city today, and I wouldn’t be thrilled to have kids grow up here, although it’s still relatively safe and all that. I just don’t think it’s as nice as it was when I was growing up.

Interviewer:  OK, so, thanks very much for this conversation.

Respondent:  {Mm-hmm.

Interviewer:  Let’s} move on to the ne-


Portage: NewWI248

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. Now, shall we begin by talking about Portage? Is there anything special about Portage that you think other Wisconsinites ought to know about?

Respondent:  Well, of course there is. Portage is the historically French community that, uh, began as a portage, meaning moving your boat and all of your equipment from one river to another. And it was portaging between the Fox River and the Wisconsin River. And the first settlers in the area were the French fur traders et cetera, and that was followed closely behind by the English settlers, who came and mostly farmed. And some of them, um, did some merchant trading along the Wisconsin River because it was the superhighway that came through this area prior to roads and mechanized vehicles (xx) around the country. So Portage, yes, it is a middle-class farming community to this day, with some light industry and a great school system, I think. (Our football and xx do well). A lot of, um, natural beauty around also, with the river coming through. We have, um, prairie, mostly prairie in our area, there isn’t much, um, rolling hills; as you get toward Baraboo, they get more of that, with the bluffs. But our area, it’s, um, wooded, and lots and lots of, um, waterways, that, many little riverlets that find their way over to the Wisconsin River, Fox River, Baraboo River and several other little creeks in the area. So we have lots of things to look at and do, lot of fun activities. We actually have skiing, too, in the winter. Unbeknownst to a lot of people, Cascade Mountain is just outside of town {(So . . .

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.}

Respondent:  We have summertime things to do and lots of activities in the winter. Snowmobiling is a biggie, snowshoeing, what else about Portage, let me think. Oh, the downtown area has been, um, revitalized the last few years. We’ve got some cute little shops and some, um, kinda mixture of restaurants now, too, and some coffee shops that were struggling for several years, but they’ve been rebounding nicely in the last five to seven years. Oh, and MATC, too. Madison Area Technical College here in Portage that, (there are) large number of students, actually, who are, um, moving toward, uh, several different either credentials or degrees. Uh, we don’t actually have the nursing program here, but we have, um, classes that are required for the nursing program, so you can go to school here and then transfer all that (xx to) Truax (xx) for one year, comes time for them to start doing their clinicals or more specific kind of work (xx) campus.

Interviewer:  [laugh]

Respondent:  Should I just keep talking here?

Interviewer:  Uh, well, you know, it’s whatever you want. I do have several, uh, prompts I can give you, so we can talk about that, or if you have something you want to talk about, keep going.

Respondent:  Mm, um, I’ll take another prompt, {(I don’t know).

Interviewer:  OK,} sure. Uh, if you didn’t live in Portage, uh, where else would you like to live, and why?

Respondent:  Oh, good question. I would like to live, hmm, Austin, Texas, comes to mind.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  I really like that city; it’s just fun, musical town, they have, um, all kinds of little places downtown to eat, and, and live music everywhere, and it’s, uh, got things to do that you wouldn’t even think of, um, the hiking in the area down there, and also, um, they have a lot of waterways, too. They have, um, (rivers), you wouldn’t think Texas has a lot of rivers, but they have a lot of areas you can go kayaking, and, um, swimming, yeah, (xx) pretty (cool). It’s pretty warm in the summer, though, often in that (xx). (It does take a,) a bit of, uh, getting used to, if you’re from up here, anyway, not quite (so hot), so {(xx)—

Interviewer:  And have you spent time} living down there or—

Respondent:  No, (mostly) visiting. Both of our daughters have gone to college there, so we’ve visited. And as a younger child, my growing-up years, I spent time in Texas with, um, my dad’s sister, so we split the time, um, at Christmas, they would come up here one Christmas, we would go down there another Christmas, so I’ve spent quite a bit of actual time in Texas, but never lived there, no. I’ve vacationed, and visited family, visited the girls while they were in school. Actually, the younger, um, daughter, is still in college right now, so time to go visit (xx) sometimes (xx). It’s easier to fly in and out of Austin now, though. They have a nice airport. Mm-hmm.

Interviewer:  And so you, uh, highlighted that, uh, there’s a lot of music down there, uh, what {kind of—

Respondent:  Uh-huh.}

Interviewer:  —music do you like to, uh, watch live, {or have you seen—

Respondent:  (Well, down,)} yeah, down there it’s mostly country music, {um—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.}

Respondent:  —and gospel music, and that’s fine with me, I’m not a huge country music fan, but, um, I do enjoy it, so, uh, to listen to it is A-OK with me. Uh, my preference, I just really like classical music. I listen to NPR, Wisconsin Public Radio most of the time, (it’s my,) my first love, (xx) all day long. (That’s what I like to do.) Mm. {Mm-hmm.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.} Uh, so how have you spent your working life?

Respondent:  My working life. Um, I grew up working on the family farm.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And did that until I went off to college. Then in college I went through in nursing, so I was a, like a nurse’s aide, only going to school. Nursing school, you can, you take your first semester and pass all your courses, and they have you do a, like a nursing (skills class). Then if you successfully just, um, complete that, then, when I went to school, that was quite, (many) years ago, then you could work on, um, a floor at the hospital, and I went to school in, Chi-, uh, one of the suburbs of Chicago, Park Ridge, and the hospital, um, they’d let you work as a, um, a nursing assistant, so I worked as a nursing assistant during nursing school, and I waited tables down there, too. Um, let’s see, what else did I do? I cleaned houses. I was kind of a little entrepreneur when I was in my nursing course, coursework at Concordia in River Forest. (xx we xx) bulletin board, and it had, at that time there was (way) no Internet, that was way before all that, so there were three by five notecards stuck up on a bulletin board and the lady needed help cleaning her house, so I called and she (xx), and she had, um, a lady friend across the street who needed help, too, so I cleaned both of those houses. And then two more ladies that lived adjacent to these needed help, so I cleaned house for four different ladies during that year while I was going to school in, at River Forest. So it was busy, and I had to do some major scheduling juggling because I had fulltime classwork, too, but they were very appreciative and they were all good to me. I enjoy cleaning homes and got to know them. That was fun. And then now I’m a nurse, so I graduated and then I became an RN, and I’ve been working mostly at Divine Savior in Portage for all these years since I got married and I’ve stayed here, and primarily in the emergency department, so that’s where I am today. So I’m an, a nurse in the ER in Portage.

Interviewer:  Did you have to go back for more schooling to become an RN, or how does that work?

Respondent:  Actually, yes. Good question. The, um, coursework that I did, we were granted a diploma in nursing, and there are no more of those types of programs anymore.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So I did go for two years after I came back to Portage, I went t-, to, um, Oshkosh. I lived in Appleton.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And I worked on a Bachelor of Science in nursing, just traveled from Appleton to Oshkosh, um, for a couple years and finished up. So, worked in an ICU up there in Appleton in a cardiac intensive care where they would do open heart surgeries and (xx). Finished that, came back here to Portage, got married, and then (I’ve been working at Divine Savior since). Oh, gosh.

Interviewer:  Mm, that’s very interesting.

Respondent:  (Yeah, yeah.)

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

Respondent:  I do. I enjoy, um, reading and, I do that once in a while if I have time. (And wintertime, (xx) the hill I, uh, go up there and I ski when I can, um. I like to hike. My husband just recently retired, and we’ve been, um, trying to go to, I didn’t know Wisconsin had so many state parks. We particularly enjoy Devil’s Lake, at Baraboo, so I hike around there when I, when we can, but we’ve gone to several others, (of recent,) and just enjoyed them tremendously. So I like to hike. Um, traveling, if I could have my druthers and I was independently wealthy, I would travel, try and travel all over the world. Um, and we did take a big trip last year. My eldest daughter was in Malaysia. We took three weeks, oh no, four, four weeks, and we just backpacked and lived in hostels and traveled to see her in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam. (Coming home) we stopped in New Zealand and then, um, continued on, um, back, you know, back to the states, like.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  It was fantastic. (Yes,) the traveling, I would say, is another passion or pastime that I would like to do more of, because I do like it. I like to be, (see) different places. (I think) photography—I also love photography, so that would be a great way to combine (the two.)

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Traveling and taking (lots of) pictures.

Interviewer:  So, uh, what would be your dream vacation, then?

Respondent:  Dream vacation, oh, my word. Hmm. Probably hiking in the, on some trail, um, let me think, maybe over in Europe somewhere, just traveling from city to city if you could hike, um, you know, if there’s places you could go from country to country and just keep hiking through the countryside. (I would think it’s,), uh, I mean, traveling by vehicle is important and necessary but—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  —like in the, (just) being on foot, if you had that much time and energy, and your body wouldn’t break down and you could do that, I think that would be, that would be my dream vacation.

Interviewer:  Uh-huh. Well, that sounds pretty good. [throat clearing] Uh, so, do you have a favorite holiday?

Respondent:  Favorite holiday. Probably have to be Christmas. And Christmas in a cold climate. Christmas when it’s, if it’s warm, my girls spent some Christmases down in Texas, and I have, too, when I was younger, and it just didn’t seem the same. [laugh] Like, there’s no snow, (oh, xx,) I’m not sure I like this, uh, so, yes, I would say Christmas. Um, and for all the reasons that everyone probably naturally, lists:  the music and the lights and the (scents) and all of the joy Christmas, um, services at church and family and parties, yeah. I think that would have to be it.

Interviewer:  Hmm. And you mentioned earlier that, uh, you do enjoy reading in your spare time. Uh, what are some of your favorite books, or what have you got on your nightstand now?

Respondent:  Oh, gosh. Well, right this minute, [beep], I just Skyped with [beep]; she’s over in Madrid.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  She said that I need to get Unbroken. Um, it, uh, what’s his name? He was a Olympic runner, and he, um, served in World War Two, and he was a P.O.W. with the Japanese in the South Pacific.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And she said that was really good. Um, I just really need to finish, um, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society book. It’s historical fiction, but it’s, uh, set, again, in World War Two, um, British Isles, but Guernsey Island is between Great Britain and France.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And it was occupied by the Germans, and it’s a story set (with this, uh), native folks who live on the island. And it’s, um, it’s in letter form, so, um, it’s all set, it’s all, um, pieced together, kinda quilted together with all these letters. Very interesting, I just have to finish it. But those are some of my books that, you know, another one [beep], my son, wanted me to read, too. Um, it’s a (xx) military one written by a, I think, a Seal, (militar-), Navy Seal, and that one’s on my, um, my nightstand, too. I gotta finish that one. Yeah, I like historical f-, (xx) yeah, I like historical fiction, and I think I like (more just) history, uh, that’s what I like to read. ((xx) The Guernsey Literary Club, Guernsey Literary Society and Potato, Potato Peel Pie Society [sic], that’s how, it’s a really long, (xx) intricate title. Um, even though it’s fiction, it’s based on, um, a lot of truth, and she did, um, a great, tremendous amount of research.

Interviewer:  Hmm. I’ll have to look for that. That sounds interesting.

Respondent:  (It,) it really is. It’s really good. It’s not a long read, either, I shoulda got it done a long time ago, I just haven’t [laugh] concentrated on it. (I don’t know). It was really good, {(xx).

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm,} mm-hmm. Uh, OK, so thanks very much for this conversation.

Respondent:  {Sure. (xx)—

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


Portage: NewWI253

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

Respondent:  Um, I guess we have our canal, canal’s pretty cool. Um, Portage, you know, even though I’ve lived here all of my life, I really haven’t done too much research into the city.

Interviewer:  {Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um,} more of what my mom does. But, um, what I really like about Portage is its history of theater. ’Cause I did a lot of community theater. And, um, I found, I think, like, Zona Gale is such an interesting topic and just kinda some of her work. I guess that would be an interesting thing about Portage.

Interviewer:  And, um, are there any other places that you might want to highlight to Portage, um, so let’s say if you were convincing a friend to move to Portage, what w-, um, what else would you say?

Respondent:  Um, we have a lot of parks around the city. Those are nice to go to, a lot of green area. I’d say that’s a pretty convincing factor.

Interviewer:  And so, um, if you didn’t live in Portage, where else in Wisconsin would you have, like to live?

Respondent:  Um, I lived in, I went to school in Stevens Point, and I lived there for a little bit, and I think, um, I enjoy that area. Also Madison. I’m more of a big city kinda girl.

Interviewer:  And, um, and so, I guess, uh, what did you study then, when you went to school?

Respondent:  I studied English literature.

Interviewer:  And, um, were you part of any clubs at your schoo-, um, when you were attending school in Stevens Point, or . . .

Respondent:  Yes, um, I was a member of the government in my residence hall my sophomore year, and I was the president of the government and also a member of the residence hall association, and a couple other, um, societies on campus. One was National Society of Leadership and Success. Another one was the, um, our school chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta, which is, like, the international English honor society. And then there was one other one that I can’t remember. And I attended some of those meetings regularly.

Interviewer:  Which one did you enjoy the most?

Respondent:  Um, I would say being in the residence hall government. ’Cause I got to know, made some friends through that, um, got to know the campus a lot better, which I really enjoyed.

Interviewer:  And so, um, what, and so what, why did you go to Stevens Point for college?

Respondent:  Um—

Interviewer:  Or {what’d—

Respondent:  I originally—}

Interviewer:  Oh, yes, go ahead.

Respondent:  Yeah, I was, sorry. [laugh] I was originally going there, um, because I wanted to be a theater major, and they have a really good theater program there. But, unfortunately, I didn’t make it into the program, so, um, but I really liked the campus when I went to visit, and I think that was part of the reason. I thought the area was very beautiful. Um, it’s like an hour (away) from my house, and it’s,(xx) the cheaper end of things, so {(that’s why) I went there.

Interviewer:  Yeah.} Yeah, so, um, I actually lived in [beep] before I, {I moved to Madison—

Respondent:  Oh, OK.}

Interviewer:  —so I do know a little bit about the Stevens Point area, and it is, it is really nice up there.

Respondent:  Yeah, it’s really pretty.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. And so, um, what about, um, so what about your work life, and so what are you doing now?

Respondent:  I graduated from Stevens Point in December, last December, so I’m kind of on, like, the in between (parts) of employment, {so—

Interviewer:  Oh.}

Respondent:  I worked in the Wisconsin Dells over the summer, but it was, like, a seasonal thing, so I’m done with that now. Um, and, I’m trying to find something in Milwaukee for a little bit. I’m not really sure what I want to do yet, but I’ll figure it out.

Interviewer:  Do you like traveling?

Respondent:  I do.

Interviewer:  Have you, um—

Respondent:  It’s one of my favorite things.

Interviewer:  [laugh] And so, um, have you gone to other, uh, how many other states have you gone to, then?

Respondent:  Ooh, um, a lot. Uh, when I was younger, I don’t even know which ones, um, my family and I used to travel. We went to Florida for a couple years and we went to Maine, and I’ve been to Washington state, I’ve been to California, um, where else, I went to New York, Pennsylvania, and we went through and, like, you know, the surrounding states, like, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, um, I don’t know, and just kinda through some of the states, ’cause whenever we went to, with the exception of California, we drove to all the states, so . . .

Interviewer:  Oh, {wow.

Respondent:  We went} through a bunch of other ones, too, on the way. Yeah, makes for some long drives.

Interviewer:  And so, um, w-, w-, well, which state did you like the most, then?

Respondent:  Washington, I think.

Interviewer:  And what, um, what is the reason that you like, you liked Washington the most? Or what did your family do during your time there?

Respondent:  We, um, my mom’s family lives out in Washington, or actually she lived like off the coast of Washington on San Juan Island.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  (xx) We went to Seattle for some of the time there. [tweeting sound] Um, and I’d always wanted to go to Seattle, too, just ’cause it’s, like, big city, lotta young people there, and I like the idea of a city, like being close to the water, too, so we just kinda did a lot of exploring around Seattle and, um, and then we went out to San Juan Island, too, which was very pretty. A lot of nature-y stuff, there wasn’t a whole lot to do there, but it was just (very xx). [clicking sound]

Interviewer:  Oh, hello. Hello?

Respondent:  Hello.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK, I’m sorry, I thought I lost you, {um—

Respondent:  No,} still here.

Interviewer:  And so, um, I guess, uh, is there anything else that you’d like to talk about, or what are some of your hobbies that you like to do?

Respondent:  Um, I read a lot. Um, again, traveling, too. Um, I actually last year studied abroad in London, so after being there for a couple months, I kinda have the traveling bug. I (would, I guess I’d say) traveling’s (just) a huge hobby of mine, too, I guess, if you can count it as a hobby. Um, I write occasionally, just kinda little stuff, nothing big. Um, yeah, that’s about it.

Interviewer:  So, um, in, so have you st-, have you, um, gone to other countries before t-, before then, um, aside from London, were you able to travel to other s-, countries in Europe?

Respondent:  Yeah, while I was there, um, I, one of the first, like, the first months that we were there, I went to Ireland for a couple days. I went to (xx) with some of the (friends) who were also on the study abroad trip. Um, we went to Dublin, did a little sightseeing around there, we went to Galway, and we went to the Cliffs of Moher, which were so pretty, but it is so terrifying, ’cause I’m not a heights person, I don’t like heights, and they don’t have, they do have kind of a protective gate around the edge of the cliff.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  You could actually climb over, so we got pretty close to the edge, {um—

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.}

Respondent:  —so that was terrifying. But, um, yeah, they were definitely really interesting. Um, and then we also went to Scotland for one of the weekends when I was there, too, and (I mean,) Scotland’s pretty much like, Wis-, it’s not exactly like Wisconsin, but pretty close, lot of greenery. And went to Paris for a couple days, too, so that was pretty cool.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Yeah, I, {uh—

Respondent:  And I} would do it all again.

Interviewer:  Heh, yeah, I, I really want to travel to Europe as well, and I, especially Europe, and Scotland, I know they’re such beautiful countries, {um—

Respondent:  Oh,} yeah, you should totally do it.

Interviewer:  Yeah. And so, um, and, and then, um, when you, so you went there for a year, and then you came back, you we-, you went back to school last year for, like, another year, or did you go for, like, a sem-, did you {come back for a semester?

Respondent:  Yeah, I was actually,} I was only in London for about four months, {so—

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.}

Respondent:  —like the equivalent of a semester. Um, and then, yeah, I came back to Stevens Point and then finished up my schooling so I was only there for another semester more. And then I was done with school.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow. Well, um, happy belated congratulations. [laugh]

Respondent:  [laugh] Thank you.

Interviewer:  And so, um, I guess, uh, so what else do you like doing during your free time? Or do you, uh, do you {have any—

Respondent:  (Um,)

Interviewer:  —pets, or, that you’d like to talk about, or . . .

Respondent:  No, we used to have a dog, but we had to put him down a couple years ago, so we don’t have any pets anymore.

Interviewer:  Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.

Respondent:  Oh, that’s OK. It’s been, like, six years, so . . .

Interviewer:  Oh, heh.

Respondent:  (xx) [laugh]

Interviewer:  {Um—

Respondent:  Yeah,} it’s not, I don’t (lead), like, a very exciting life, so . . .

Interviewer:  And, oh, I’m sorry, what did you say?

Respondent:  I don’t lea-, lead that very of exciting life.

Interviewer:  Oh, heh, oh, that’s fine. Um, so what kind of books do you like to read?

Respondent:  Um, a lot of books. I read mostly fiction. Um, lot of classics, the occasional fantasy and science fiction, although not much. Um, I just finished Gone Girl, ’cause I knew the movie was coming out, so—

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  And I owned it for a couple years, and I was, like, I should probably read that, and it was a very good choice, I would recommend it if you haven’t read it.

Interviewer:  Yeah, um, I, yeah, I heard that the movie was coming out, well, it, that it came out, and so I do want to read the book. Is it, it’s like a thriller, isn’t it, {kind of, or—

Respondent:  Yeah,} um, thriller, mystery, it is great. It’s, like, a little over four hundred pages long, but I think I read it within a couple days, so, like, one of those books that really, it really keeps you going, you don’t wanna put it down, so . . .

Interviewer:  Oh, {OK.

Respondent:  You} would probably finish it pretty quickly.

Interviewer:  And, uh, do you have any other books you’d like to recommend? I’m looking to see what kind of books to read, too.

Respondent:  [laugh] Um, let’s see, I just started the Game of Thrones series, so I would probably recommend that, too.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  And then, um, yeah, I don’t know, those ones, I mean, if you start reading Game of Thrones, it’ll probably take a lot of your time up.

Interviewer:  Heh, um, and so, um, and I guess, so, have you, have you seen the movie, then? I think it came out, did it come out last night, right? {Or . . .

Respondent:  Uh,} it came out Friday, last Friday, I think.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  Yeah, I did. I saw it Sunday.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow, was it good? Was it like the book?

Respondent:  It was, it was so great. Yeah, um, and I think the author also wrote the screenplay for the movie, too, so—

Interviewer:  {Oh.

Respondent:  —it was} pretty faithful {to—

Interviewer:  Pretty} spot-on?

Respondent:  There are a couple things that were left out, but I mean, even if you haven’t read the book and then you go see the movie, you’ll be able to follow along.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.

Respondent:  It’s (got) the same effect.

Interviewer:  Have you—

Respondent:  (xx)

Interviewer:  And so what other movies have you seen recently?

Respondent:  [clicking sounds] Um, uh, I saw Let’s Be Cops, heh, that one, it wasn’t that good. I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. There was a lot of, like, lowbrow humor {I guess—

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.} W-, what was it about?

Respondent:  [intermittent clicking and tweeting noises and distortion] Um, it’s these two guys who, um, are kind of, like, unsatisfied with their lives and one of the guys is a creator of a video game with female cops (xx), I don’t really know, and then he somehow has two police officer’s uniforms—

Interviewer:  {Oh.

Respondent:  [intermittent clicking and tweeting noises] —in his house} and then one day the two guys decide that they’re gonna wear these uniforms, and they go out and about and then, like, people actually think that they’re cops, which, for them, is cool at the beginning, but then they kept getting themselves in trouble, and then there’s like some Russian (xx) boss, or something, involved. [laugh] Yeah, it’s one of those things. I don’t know, it wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible.

Interviewer:  Um, so have you, I know that this movie came out, uh, this, the earlier, a little bit earlier this year. Have you seen, uh, The Fault in Our Stars?

Respondent:  Yeah, I saw that, too.

Interviewer:  Did you like it? I just watched it, like, a couple weekends ago.

Respondent:  Um, not really. I don’t, I tried reading that book.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Last summer, I think it was. And I got about twenty pages in and I stopped. I just, yeah, I’m not against, like, young adult novels, but that was one I just couldn’t get into, {(and, I—

Interviewer:  Yeah.}

Respondent:  —the movie was OK, but it wasn’t one of my favorites.

Interviewer:  I know, I thought, I thought it was, I thought it was just, like, like, a very cute movie, though, heh, {um—

Respondent:  Yeah.}

Interviewer:  —yeah, with, with the young love and, um, I, I think it’s a little bit unrealistic though, heh, {um—

Respondent:  Oh, yeah, definitely.

Interviewer:  Yeah.}

Respondent:  That was, that was one of the things that got me, that I didn’t like about the book, um, I didn’t think, it was the same thing with, like, the The Hunger Games. I didn’t think, the premise was, like, unrealistic, but, I don’t know, I didn’t really like the writing style of both of the books, and, like, the way, and I, I read one of John Green’s other books, I think, and I didn’t mind it, but, um, (when I was) reading The Fault in Our Stars, I was, like, I am not sixteen anymore, but I remember being sixteen, and I don’t remember anyone talking like this {ever.

Interviewer:  Yeah,} heh, I agree.

Respondent:  Yeah, that’s why I couldn’t get into it, is the dialogue.

Interviewer:  Oh, I see. All right, well, um, that’s, and that’s all that we have for this portion of the study, so thank you so much for having this conversation with me, {and let’s—

Respondent:  Yeah [laugh]}

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


Richfield: NewWI149

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, uh, Richfield. Is there anything special about Richfield that you think other Wisconsinites ought to know about?

Respondent:  Well, it’s very pretty here. It’s a lovely place to live, ’cause it’s close to the city, yet it feels like you’re out in the country. I like it because it feels like where I grew up.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um, on the other hand, the politics are very right-wing. [laugh]

Interviewer:  [laugh]

Respondent:  So, at times, um, that’s a little bit disheartening, but, um, um, but as far as the community itself, it’s safe, it’s pretty. Um, I love the fact that I can have huge flower gardens and spend lots of time outside.

Interviewer:  If you were trying to convince a friend to move to Richfield, uh, what features would you highlight?

Respondent:  I would highlight that it’s so beautiful to start with. Um, I would highlight, also, that there’s, it’s, the same reason that I’m here, that it’s close enough to the city that you still have things like music and theater that you don’t have to drive forever to get there. Um, and that it’s quiet here. You don’t have all the noise that you have living in the city, and it’s safe. I guess safety is important to people.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. If you didn’t live in Richfield, uh, where else would you like to live, and why?

Respondent:  Oh, so many places. I’d love to live back in Madison. [laugh] I lived there for ten years when I was, was younger, and I think it’s a wonderful place to live. I like living where there’s four seasons. Um, I think warm places are great to live, but I, I would prefer to live in a place that has all four seasons.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Yeah, what’s your favorite season?

Respondent:  All of them. [laugh] (In) spring, I like spring best because of the way that things start to come to life again. Um, summer because everything is growing, and fall because the colors get so brilliant, and winter because it’s just a unique time to be outside.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Uh, how have you spent your working life?

Respondent:  Oh, let’s see, I worked in the communications industry for about twenty-ei-, twenty-nine years, retired. Um, I had been a business major, but I went back to school and got an education degree and then spent ten years teaching in the central city in a high-poverty school. Um, then I got fired a series of times like many people my age as they brought in an entirely new staff and paid them all less, so, um, the past several years I’ve been semi-retired. I’m a part-time agricultural worker, and a part-time tutor, [laugh] university, and a substitute teacher, and right now I’m doing nothing, (looking) in my yard.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Uh, what subjects did you teach?

Respondent:  Um, I taught self-contained in sixth grade, so I taught all of the subjects, and then I taught, um, middle school science for a few years, and I currently tutor reading.

Interviewer:  Mm. And you said you were involved in some part-time agricultural work now? What i-, {what is that about?

Respondent:  Yes, I work at a} family, um, in what is a family-owned greenhouse. I work for a guy, um, in the spring I go in, and I do transplanting for a few months, and then he’s open for a couple more months, and I work in the sales house then, and then he closes for the season.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So, migrant agricultural workers have been replaced by well-educated women with gray hair. [laugh] The entire staff is made up of old ladies with gray hair.

Interviewer:  [laugh] Uh, so, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Respondent:  In my spare time?

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  I enjoy my pet house rabbits, and I especially enjoy my garden. Um, I like to hike, but due to an injury a couple years ago I’m somewhat limited in the type of hiking that I can do anymore. Um, anything that’s outdoors, basically, I like to do.

Interviewer:  Now what kind of garden do you have?

Respondent:  I have two acres full of flower gardens.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um, so it could pretty much be a full-time job for me if I wanted it to be, and I have a small vegetable garden.

Interviewer:  And what kind of flowers are you growing? Is it to sell them, or just for therapy, or therapeutic reasons, {or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um} they’re for my therapy, I guess you could . . .

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

Respondent:  Well, I like primarily shade gardens, so I’ve got about seventy varieties of hostas, and I also have a lot of native shade plants like trillium, and, um, mayapples, and native ferns, and native sedges, and, um, right now the sky asters are starting to bloom. And then I also have, I’ve got a small, um, I call it a prairie garden. It’s not big enough to be a prairie garden, but, but full of (bell)flowers, like, um, coneflowers, and rudbeckias, and Joe-pye weed, and things like that. Lots of dahlias, I like dahlias.

Interviewer:  Hm. And what are you growing in your vegetable garden?

Respondent:  Well, um, I grow a few tomatoes that I have strategically placed in pots where there’s full sun in my yard, because I live in the Kettle Moraine area, so it’s very, it’s pretty wooded.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um, so growing tomatoes is a challenge, but I always think there’s gonna be a miracle, and I’ll have enough sun, and I grow green beans, and lettuce, leaf lettuce, and spinach, and, of course, zucchini.

Interviewer:  Hm. Uh, do you have any other hobbies, uh, that occupy your time?

Respondent:  Um, I read a lot.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Yeah, I would s-, I read a lot.

Interviewer:  Uh, what’s one of your, uh, last books that you really enjoyed?

Respondent:  Um, I just finished reading Natchez Burning.

Interviewer:  And what’s that about?

Respondent:  It’s a novel, and it’s in current time, but it kinda takes you back with the family drama that brings out events that took place during, um, the civil rights movement in the nineteen sixties.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Uh, so where did you go on, uh, your last vacation?

Respondent:  Uh, I haven’t taken a vacation in several years. My, my husband, uh, has brain disease.

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  So, we stay pretty close to home, but before that we traveled a lot. We did the Annapurna trek in Nepal. Um, we’ve bicycled through Costa Rica. We did a lot of fun things.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And, uh, what was, uh, you said you’ve traveled a lot, what was one of your favorite places that you’ve been to?

Respondent:  I think Nepal was probably one of the favorites. I love the mountains.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um, I, um, let’s see, South America, too. The Andes, I love the Andes.

Interviewer:  Uh, what’s the longest you’ve spent abroad?

Respondent:  Um, couple months at, (at time.)

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. And was that in Nepal, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, Papua New Guinea.

Interviewer:  Mm. Have you had any really unusual meals while you were traveling?

Respondent:  Um, well, I would say, perhaps yes. I’m a, I’m a vegetarian, so I, you know, I’m probably a little bit particular when I’m traveling and may miss some things that other people might eat, but in the years before I became a vegetarian, I sampled, um, like, the African game (meat,) and when I was in Africa. Um, and New Guinea was kind of interesting, because, um, there’s a lot of local fruit and vegetables available, but it’s still very protein-starved population. You see a lot of malnutrition in children.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And one of the things I ate there is they just take, um, bananas and throw them into the coals on the fire to cook them, and then you kind of take them out, and brush off the charcoal, and eat them that way. So, that was kind of different I thought.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. Yeah, I’ve never heard of that before. Sounds interesting.

Respondent:  [laugh] It was not very tasty. [laugh] Yes, interesting is a good word.

Interviewer:  Um, so do you have a favorite type of music?

Respondent:  Uh, p-, I like a lot of music. I, I like, um, a lot of world music. I like reggae.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  But I also like classical music. Um, there’s not too much that I’m not fond of in small doses.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  But I would say my preference would probably run towards the reggae or African music.

Interviewer:  Uh, what are some of your, uh, favorite artists or composers?

Respondent:  Uh, well, Bob Marley, for one. Um, oh, half the African guys I never can remember the names. Um, also like, it’ll come to me in a moment, I also like Joan Baez, um, Paco de Lucia. I like his work. Um, who is the, oh, Milton Nascimento, the Brazilian guy, like his work a lot.

Interviewer:  Hm. Uh, do you have a favorite holiday?

Respondent:  Um, yeah, Thanksgiving.

Interviewer:  And how do you celebrate it?

Respondent:  Um, we usually celebrate it, um, making special things that we like. We always make stuffed tofu triangles with wild rice.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And it’s harvest season, so there’s all the, the pumpkin, and the squash, and things like that to cook, so it’s a lot of fun. I like to cook, so . . .

Interviewer:  Well, what are your, some of your favorite dishes you like to cook?

Respondent:  Um, I make a lot of stir-fries. I like to make, like, um, mujaddara or (xx,) um, and, um, Indian dishes, like, (xx) and there’s a, um, green bean and potato dish that we make very frequently.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Um, (but, uh, spring rolls,) I don’t know. I like to cook. I like to eat. [laugh]

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

Respondent:  Well, let’s see, we could talk about the disasters going on in the world this week, but that would be, um, depressing. The Middle East is scary right now, um, but I think more scary than that is what’s going on in our central cities. We, um, the Missouri police shooting last week has me feeling a bit distressed both for the family that lost their son and for the police officer and the police officers who are going out on duty every night. I, you know, I think the truth finally, probably lies somewhere in between what we’re hearing right now, but, um, just very sad situation. And now, there are demonstrations are starting in Milwaukee, and I think our situation where you have large groups of people who are becoming poorer, and poorer, and poorer is gonna create a situation where cities are gonna see a lot more situations like this. You can’t have a fifty percent unemployment rate and expect that democracy is still gonna work.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So that’s the depressing things going on in the world.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  The Middle East, too. Like, when did the crazy people become in charge?

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

Respondent:  I have lots of fond memories from my childhood.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  I, I grew up in a, in a small town in southwestern Wisconsin—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  —where it was the job of children from the time the sun came up till it got dark out at night to go outside and play, and that’s what we did, and we had so much fun when we were kids. I lived in, in town, but town consisted of three thousand people, and so I lived about half a mile from a stable that raised horses, and that’s pretty much where I lived when I was growing up—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  —and that’s how we kids spent our days. I didn’t own a horse, but the guy who owned the stable trained horses for people so I always had a horse to ride.

Interviewer:  [laugh]

Respondent:  And we, you know, we had free access to farmers’ fields and pastures, so we rode just about everywhere we wanted to go and could spend the whole day imagining. (It was) wonderful. Kids don’t get to do that anymore.

Interviewer:  Hm. That does sound pretty good. Uh, OK, so, thanks very much for this conversation. Uh, let’s move on to our—


Richland Center: NewWI165

Interviewer:  —gin. 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 Richland Center? Um, is, is there anything special about Richland Center that you think other Wisconsinites oughta know about?

Respondent:  Well, we’re in the, pretty much the center of the un-, unglaciated area. Uh, and that’s the little bit of, uh, contention on that, but it, it’s pretty much believed that this is an unglaciated area of the state. It’s a beautiful area.

Interviewer:  Um, i-, and if you were trying to convince a friend to move to Richland Center, um, what features would you highlight? {Uh, well, but . . . [laugh]

Respondent:  [laugh]} Well, I love it here, but I’m not sure. The beauty of the surrounding area, the, uh, seclusion is, it’s not terribly secluded. We’re about an hour from Madison, an hour from La Crosse.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  Uh, we have a good hospital, good schools, but that’s pretty much it.

Interviewer:  Well, if, if you didn’t live in Richland Center, um, where else in Wisconsin would you like to live?

Respondent:  Oh my, that’s a, that’s a hard one. Uh, I w-, I really wouldn’t care to live anywhere else.

Interviewer:  And is, is there a reason why? Or is it just because you grew up in, or you’ve {lived there—

Respondent:  I grew up here,} but it, it is a very nice area of the state.

Interviewer:  OK. Um, and, well, how have you spent your working life?

Respondent:  Could you say that again, please? I don’t hear the best.

Interviewer:  Um, I’m sorry. Have you, uh, how have you spent your working life?

Respondent:  I raised children until I was thirty-nine, just doing part-time things, then I, uh, took a job with the, uh, well, it was part of the Department of Commerce, but United States, uh, Census Bureau, and I did, uh, I was a field representative, and then I was a, a, eventually, a senior field representative, um, doing door-to-, not door-to-door, but a sample survey, for several of the other government agencies, they contracted with the Census Bureau to do that. So I traveled quite a bit.

Interviewer:  Oh, do, um, do you like traveling then?

Respondent:  Oh, yes.

Interviewer:  [laugh] Um, wh-, where have you traveled that, um, you wouldn’t mind going back to visit again?

Respondent:  Oh, [laugh] I’d like to go to England again. I didn’t get to see as much of it as I’d like, that’s where my ancestry’s primarily from.

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  Um, I went to the Holy Land and Egypt. I would like to, in, um, fantasy world, yes, I’d like to go to the Holy Land again, but I wouldn’t go because I don’t think it’s safe anymore.

Interviewer:  Oh, yeah.

Respondent:  Uh, there’s a lot of places I haven’t been that I’d like to go, and I’m not gonna get there, but . . .

Interviewer:  So, um, going back to, um, when you were visiting, or traveling, how long would you stay in those, uh, different places then, or countries?

Respondent:  In the country itself, couple weeks.

Interviewer:  OK. And what, so you didn’t have much free time, then?

Respondent:  Not a lot of free time, no.

Interviewer:  And where else would you like to travel, then, {other than—

Respondent:  I,} I’d like to go to, uh, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island very much. I’m an {Anne of Green Gables person. [laugh] I’d like to take the train trip across Canada. I think that would be very interesting.

Interviewer:  And so, how do you, um, how do you enjoy your spare time? Or what, what hobbies do you like, or do you do?

Respondent:  What do I do? [laugh] I’m a busy person. The-, they laugh at me. I, I’ve always done quite a bit of sewing, uh, dressmaking, that sort of thing. As of now, I do primarily costume sewing for the local community players and the various plays that are presented around town. I bowl, have bowled with the same, two of the same, people for over fifty years.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  I’m not a good bowler. Uh, I’m very active in my church. I’m a Methodist, and, uh, course I have grandchildren, and they’re, children and grandchildren, and they’re primarily my main interest, but they don’t live here in Richland Center, so I fill my time with other things (until) I do get to see them.

Interviewer:  Would you be able to see them during, um, the n-, these holidays that are coming up?

Respondent:  Will I see them during the holidays? During the holidays, yes. I don’t know that I’ll see anybody absolutely right on Christmas Day, but I’m expecting the family from Iowa tomorrow for overnight.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  And then, uh, the family from, uh, well, I have a daughter in Madison, well, actually, I have two daughters in the Madison area, but the one daughter and, uh, is from Madison, and her daughter and granddaughter are from Onalaska. They’ll be here, uh, right after Christmas, so, yeah, I’ll see everybody, and my, one of my sons was here yesterday.

Interviewer:  Oh, so, um, and during, and for, um, this, these seasons, um, well, for Christmas, or for New Year’s, what do you and your family do?

Respondent:  Eat. [laugh] No, we, we celebrate the Christian holiday. I’ll be going to the Christmas Eve service at my church, and, uh, if there’s anybody here they go with me. We’ve always done that, and then, uh, we have presents, and usually if there’s anybody here, we open them on Christmas morning, but, uh, the family that’s coming tomorrow, they’ll, uh, we’ll have at least one good meal, and then we do a lot of visiting, and that, that son is Mr. Handyman, and so anything I need fixed he fixes while he’s here.

Interviewer:  Oh, that’s nice.

Respondent:  Yeah, very nice. [laugh] And, uh, then it’s just of, a celebration of the birth of Jesus and the celebration of giving gifts and, and receiving gifts and just being together.

Interviewer:  Um, and is there anything that you would like to talk about?

Respondent:  Oh, anything I’d like to talk about. [laugh] I talk all the time. Um, of course, I’m, a, very active in my political party, too. I didn’t (even) elect to say that, and I’m a Republican, and, uh, don’t always agree with everything they do either, but, [laugh] but, uh, and so under the right circumstances I do talk politics. I talk church under the right circumstances. I don’t think it’s smart to discuss religion or politics with someone who is not of the same leanings as I am, in a contentious way. I have friends that are very opposite politically, very opposite in their, uh, choice of—I guess Richland Center’s primarily a Christian town. We got, like, thirty churches at last count in a town of five thousand people.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  [laugh] Yeah, it’s r-, kind of ridiculous, but [laugh] they all seem to be surviving. Um, I, I care about, uh, that’s one thing I probably missed. I’ve got a couple of families, very low-income, that I’m very close to. They help me out in ways that they can. I help them out in ways that I can, that are local. I have a, another friend who’s, uh, fixed, well-fixed financially, but she is not in good health, and she has a handicapped son, and another son who’s very bright but lacks common sense, in my book, anyway, and I look after her when I can and take her places when she’s not able to drive. She is mostly, but right now she isn’t, and, and, uh, I have a couple ladies that come at seven o’ clock every Tuesday morning for coffee and just catch up on how everybody is. That’s, that’s the kind of life I lead.

Interviewer:  Well, that’s, it sounds like a very sweet life. [laugh]

Respondent:  [laugh] Well, I’m never bored. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Oh, so, I, um, I was wondering, um, when you were talking about bowling, and you have bowled with, um, two of your friends for about the, the past fifty years, you said?

Respondent:  At le-, well, it’s over {fifty.

Interviewer:  Alright, o}kay. Um, h-, d-, have you guys done any competition, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Oh yeah, we’ve been to state tournaments, national tournaments. Uh, but we’ve never won anything, but, uh, we go, we’ve gone. We haven’t gone just lately. I had the, my whole bowling team here last night playing cards. We, [laugh] we only bowl every other week now, so we try occasionally on the off-week to get in a game of, well, it’s a dumb game, but it’s royal rummy. You c-, you can visit and play that at the same time.

Interviewer:  Oh, what is that, what is that game?

Respondent:  Royal rummy?

Interviewer:  Yes.

Respondent:  It’s a card game, and you have a, well, it’s just a sheet that we lay out on the table, and you have to put, uh, well, you could use chips. We use pennies.

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  And, uh, there is all the various hearts from ten of hearts on up, and that, I think (xx) (there’s) thirteen places you have to put pennies, and then if you get to play that card, you get, you get the pennies that are on it. So you might possibly spend two dollars in a, the evening, [laugh] not that anybody’s gonna go hungry on it, [laugh] and then we have, of course, dessert, and, and nuts, and chips, and that sort of thing.

Interviewer:  And so, do you, um, what other games do you enjoy playing, or {board games, or . . . ?

Respondent:  I like to play} Scrabble, and I play that with, uh, uh, the children and grandchildren that come, one granddaughter in particular, and the eleven-year-old now is getting so she can play by herself. And, so, uh, that helps keep me on my toes. I try to do things. In fact, I was just doing the Word S-, the Wonder Word in the State Journal just now. I’ve already done the Word Jumble. I try to do those. I’m trying because of my age, and I don’t know if you have that or not, but (I’m) trying hard to keep my mind active. I see so many of my friends that, well, many of my friends are dead already, but many of them are in the stages of Alzheimers, too, and I, I can’t help but feel that the more active I keep my own mind the more I might possibly stave that off.

Interviewer:  Oh, yes.

Respondent:  So I read a lot, too.

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  And I watch dumb TV. I do not watch that one that’s so popular now, the Duck Dynasty.

Interviewer:  Wh-, um, what kind of books do you like reading?

Respondent:  Historical fiction set in, uh, Scotland back in the, anywhere from the (tens,) thousand on up through about the eighteen hundreds. That’s my absolute preference right now. I read other things. I read some intelligent things, too. I like history a lot. Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson are big heroes in my book. Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd has always been one. I got to visit his grave in Arlington Cemetery at one time.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  I thought it was, I mean, nobody else thought it was too exciting, but I did. [laugh] The group I was with wasn’t particularly impressed. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Have you been to, um, Washington, D.C., multiple times in your life, then, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Yeah, I can’t tell you how many times, probably three or four. I have a, my only first cousin lives in Arlington and works in Washington, D.C., so we visit him couple times and he’s been a tremendous tour guide, but I’ve been there other times when we didn’t see him also.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.

Respondent:  When I was raising my family we did the tourist things in Wisconsin, because we couldn’t afford to take a weeklong vacation, so we did just the daytime trips, and took picnics, and . . .

Interviewer:  Oh, I understand. [laugh] Um, so, um, so, h-, I know that you had mentioned before that, um, you are a fan of {Anne of Green Gables. Have you read the books?

Respondent:  [laugh] Multiple times. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Oh, OK.

Respondent:  I owned the book unti-, it had been given to me as a gift when I was a child.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  And, um, but then I gave it to my granddaughter because she also is a {Anne of Green Gables fan, and I gave her my book which is a o-, (old) hard cover (with the) nice paper that books don’t have anymore and, and autographed to me. I was named for a friend of my mother’s who had the same name as I have, [beep], so that was, I think that was inscribed in that book, “From [beep] to [beep].”

Interviewer:  Oh.

Respondent:  And then my granddaughter named her child with the middle name of Anne with an e. If you ev-, familiar with {Anne of Green Gables you know that was very important to her that they spelled her Anne with an e.

Interviewer:  Yes. [laugh]

Respondent:  [laugh]

Interviewer:  Have, have you seen the, uh, the TV series of {Anne of Green Gables as well?

Respondent:  Oh my, yes.} [laugh] Oh, yes, and that was very well done I thought.

Interviewer:  Um, I, I actually haven’t read the books but then I have seen the, the TV, the TV series, and I really enjoyed it. {Um—

Respondent:  Yeah, y-,} yeah. You’d read the book, you’d probably cry. I did, and I still do if I read it again.

Interviewer:  Oh, [laugh] um, so what other, um, TV shows do you like watching, then?

Respondent:  Well, right now, I’m wat-, because there’s not a lot on, I, I like the old movies, and I watch some old western movies with John Wayne, and, uh, I’ve always been a Gene Autry fan, and I don’t know if you’ve ever even heard of him, but he was a western star when I was a child, growing up.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  And, uh, and they, w-, they still have his movies on. He’s long since dead, of course, but, um, I watch those. I don’t watch a lot of TV. I (was,) just when I’m tired in the evening I’ll sit down and it-, Pawn Stars, American Pickers, uh, Antiques Roadshow. I like those things. Um, right now, I’ve been watching some of those Christmas shows on the Hallmark channel.

Interviewer:  Oh, huh.

Respondent:  They’re pretty gooey, I know, but I don’t wanna strain my brain when I sit down to rest.

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


South Milwaukee: NewWI254

Interviewer:  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 South Milwaukee? Uh, is there, is there anything special about South Milwaukee that you think other Wisconsinites ought to know about?

Respondent:  Well, we are on Lake Michigan. We have a fantastic park system, lovely trails through the park. We have, um, one trail called, um, Seven Bridges that was constructed during the Depression by the CCC workers, I think they were called.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And so, it’s, it meanders through the woods, and it, um, with, um, downward with a creek running near it, [throat clearing] and it, um, it outlets at, um, Lake Michigan, and it has a covered bridge that you enter it with a sign that—enter all who, you know, would like to come here. So it’s very, the, I would think it has sort of a German look to it, the bridge, the covered bridge, actually.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So, um, so that’s, and it, we have a, eighteen-hole golf course—

Interviewer:  Hm.

Respondent:  —part of the county system, and, um, a nice bike trail going through which you can also use for walking, which I do. So, so, it’s, it’s just a lovely very quiet community that you can wander around almost at any time of day or night and feel comfortable and safe with, and, actually, the, in the high school, ten years ago when the new high school was built we included a performing arts center of, um, symphony-caliber acoustics, and so, and we do rental series. We do a series, and we do rentals, and we have, um, I would say, world-class performances there. The Milwaukee Ballet performs, um, on occasion there, and we’ve had Milwaukee Symphony play, and so it really is lovely. The school system, you know, is pretty good.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And, um, active with the k-, the fine arts department is active. The music department is, the recreation department with sports is quite active, so it’s just, it’s a nice, well-rounded community about ten, fifteen minutes south of Milwaukee, so you really have the large city with great accessibility near you, and, um, so it makes, it’s a real comfortable drive so you’re very seldom blocked up in traffic to get down, to downtown Milwaukee, so, but, yes, now I’ve run out of [laugh] something to say. {Ah!

Interviewer:  Well, if,} if you were, uh, trying to convince a friend to move to South Milwaukee what features would you highlight?

Respondent:  Um, affordable housing.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  Uh, public bus, um, public bus ability, transportation. Uh, a, i-, it’s, you know, an easy, nice community. Store-wise, not so much, but, um, because we’re sort of blocked in, so we, demographics don’t le-, does not lend itself to having a lot of box stores or, uh, franchises want to set up, you know, or allow a business to be opened outside of—we did get a Walmart. We have a McDonald’s, you know, I mean fast foo-, a few fast food restaurants. We have a lovely floral design store that has been in business for over fifty years—

Interviewer:  Hm.

Respondent:  —and, um, which is just, you know really nice. We have th-, nice jewel-, jeweler, a lovely little local coffee shop next door to the post office, which is quite old and ni-. You know, it has one of those stately looking post offices which is really good. The sad thing was we orig-, we had one of the Carnegie libraries, but it was kind of it, it, it had, it had outdated itself and was too small, so they, you know, tore it down and built something else, which I think, now, is a little small because of the fact you need the, um, computer, much more of a computer system set up in the library, and so we have the, it’s wi-fi, but we don’t have, like, a computer room that the newer libraries all have.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So, but, otherwise, and the neighborhood’s very diverse as far as the architecture for the homes. So there really isn’t, uh, there are not sub-divisions built by one developer so all the homes kind of look the same. It’s really very much, very individualized which is really kind of fun.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So, and nice-sized lots for the most, for the most—the city did away with allowing thirty or forty-five foot lots, so they’re, they’re all mostly, um, forty-five minimum, usually sixty foot by one twenty so that makes a nice-sized yard for the most part. Some are larger, so it’s, the architecture is nice. The streets are nice, well-maintained, a lot of sidewalks. The walkability is, is of (xx) (ease), and, actually, you can walk to all the schools. It’s just, y-, you can do it, i-, it is accessible from the, from all the neighborhoods to walk to the high school and the junior high and the grade schools because there is no in, in-city bussing unless they are, um, special education students are bussed, but, otherwise—

Interviewer:  Uh-huh.

Respondent:  —you’re on your own. So, unfortunately, too many parents think their children should not walk, and so they pick them up, [laugh] and then—they need that exercise, but they aren’t getting that, so, but, so how many minutes is that?

Interviewer:  [laugh] Uh, well, currently we’re at, uh, six and a half minutes, uh, so . . .

Respondent:  That’s all?

Interviewer:  Oh, yeah, uh—

Respondent:  Oh, my gosh {[laugh].

Interviewer:  Oh, don’t worry} I have plenty of questions to ask you. We’re very interested. {So, u-, u-, so—

Respondent:  OK, oh, good, so, OK} ask some more questions.

Interviewer:  Sure, sure, uh, so if you didn’t live in South Milwaukee, uh, where else would you like to live, and then, why?

Respondent:  Well, I have thought about that.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And so, um, I’ve always wanted to live more in the downtown area, ’cause that would just be the, the art community, and the music community, I just really enjoy that, and that would be fun, and I have a lot of friends that live in that area, and that would be nice, but then, um, the costs are higher so then that would be a problem, but I would like that just because of the accessibility just to the downtown feel and the excitement and the vibes you get off of that. It’s just, it would be interesting. It’s so, the art galleries are there which I would love to meander through more, and, um, it just, I would enjoy that immensely, but, that would be fun, and so, then the other features would be my children don’t live near, so, in time, when I decide to sell my home—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  I have to decide where to go, and the chil-, and my children don’t live close to each other either so, so that will be a, a decision-making kind of thing, so—and on my bucket list is to go to the Southwest, Santa Fe, Albuquerque—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  —and, um, so, and Taos, so that would be fun to see, but it’s too far from everyone, but it would be wonderful to just go there and spend like a couple months and just, you know, check it all out. So, that would be lovely, so . . .

Interviewer:  And so, why do you choose the Southwest? What is it that’s appealing about it to you?

Respondent:  Um, Georgia O’Keefe, the artist.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And to, to do that, that would be based out of Santa Fe, and just, and, um, and Agnes Martin painted down there, so that would be interesting, and they have, just, the scenery. I just always wanted to go to the Southwest and see the desert. I think it would just be beautiful, so, the mountain ranges and the sunsets and sunrises and just the distinct, um, land that’s there available, the landscape, so, that would be nice. I’ve been to Colorado, but I haven’t been farther west, so that would be nice. Well, I take that back. I did. I got to, did get to L.A. once and San Francisco twice, so that wa-, those were both fun. L.A. didn’t really appeal to me, the little bit I saw of it. San Francisco was lovely, and it was real accessible just to get around.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  You know, between the t-, public transportation, and walking, and the bus, and the train, and everything, it was really fun. So, and the two wine tours were fun. So, one to Sonoma and one to Napa, so that was great.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So, it was lovely.

Interviewer:  And did you go out there just for th-, some vacation time? Or, visit family or friends, or, {when you were in San Francisco and L.A., or . . . ?

Respondent:  I went (xx)} I went o-, for San Francisco, I went with a, a, a girlfriend both times, and we went, um, for, um, art exhibits that were there.

Interviewer:  Hmm.

Respondent:  So we, and so, we took in that, and then everything else in the city, just walked around, and, you know, had a great time. So we went to two, um, separate art exhibits. We went back for them, and so it was really just it was uh, Van Gogh and Impressionists, and it was just Post-Impressionists, and it was just really a great time, and L.A. was only supposed to be getting off one plane and getting on another, but there was a delay, and so we wound up spending twenty-four hours in L.A. on our way to Australia.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So, then, since we had this day that y-, you know, you have to do something, we took a bus tour of L.A., so that turned out fun.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  So, that was nice, you know, the real, you know, tourist-y kind of thing, but it’s a great way to, you know, just see highlights of the city. So, that’s what we did, and that turned out to be, you know, really nice, Rodeo Drive, and, um, Knotsberry Farm, the market, and, you know, seeing the Hollywood sign, and Venice Beach, and the whole bit. So, that was neat.

Interviewer:  Yeah, sounds like fun.

Respondent:  It was. So, that was great.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, so, how, how have you spent your working life?

Respondent:  Um, I’m a beautician, cosmetologist, and I owned a beauty shop for thirty years, and then I closed it, and now I just work part-time for fun, so that’s how I spent my working life besides, you know, maintaining a home and—

Interviewer:  Oh, sure.

Respondent:  —raising, you know, two children with my husband, and, um, which I still have the home, and, um, but, and then engrossed in different volunteer activities, so that’s how I spent my working life.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. And wh-, what kind of volunteer things have you done?

Respondent:  Um, well, when my children were involved in school I was in the Girl Sc-, uh, Brownies, and then, um, Music Parents ’cause my children were in music.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And so, involved with that, and, like, the PTO or PTA.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And then, I was in, then I’m a, sing in my choir with my terrible voice, but that’s OK, and then, um, I’m a, a docent at the Milwaukee Art Museum which is an absolute f-, fun volunteer job, so I give tours to, at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And I’ve done that for over ten years, and now I’m also involved with the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center. I’m on the board, and then I volunteer as an usher and stuff, and so that’s fun. You get to see all the shows, and, you know, interact with the, with the people, and, um, so I do that, and then, just, you know, little bits and pieces at church, and then a real part, part-time job is the last couple years I’ve done the costumes for the high school play and musical, so, um, in the background, deal with doing, outfitting (xx) the actors from the high school, getting them ready for the shows, so . . .

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Respondent:  That’s fun.

Interviewer:  Yeah, sounds like it. So, I mean, I understand you’re doing a lot of volunteering activity, but do you have, uh, any other hobbies that you do in your free time?

Respondent:  Oh, yes, I’m a vora-, I love to read, so I read a lot, and I have my yard to take care of, so I garden.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And, um, I like to cook, but it’s just for me, so we, you know, I just do singular-type meals. I like to do that, and I do some knitting, and some ha-, and some sewing, and stuff but not on a regular basis.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And then I walk every day, so, I like to walk, so, and then just do other spur of the moment kind of things. Once in a while a movie, I’ve done glass-blowing, and, um, that was fun, and, just, you know, one-shot kind of artsy-crafty kind of stuff, then, now I just signed up for Osher through, um, the UW-M system, and so I’m, a, gonna take some classes in that, from there so that should be interesting.

Interviewer:  Yeah, what’s Osher?

Respondent:  It’s like a ce-, it’s, um, for retired people, and it’s, um, you take cl-, uh, you know, educational classes of, um, so one I’m taking is gonna be on, um, Hildegard Von (Bringen)[sic] who is a thirteenth [sic] century mystic and just learn about her life, and, you know, what she did, and then another one I’m taking just for fun, ’cause it’s being done by fellow docents at the art museum, and they’re gonna talk about our collections, so I thought that would be fun to hear what they have to say, and, um, so those are the two I’ve signed up for so far, ’cause I’ve just got in to the program.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, yeah, that sounds interesting, so—

Respondent:  Yeah, it’s kind of like, um, auditing classes, so—

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And I always promised myself that I would do that, when I re-, retired or semi-retired, and so, that’s what I’m doing.

Interviewer:  Alright, OK, well, thanks very much for this conversation. Uh, let’s move on to the next activity.


Spooner: NewWI060

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

Respondent:  Sure.

Interviewer:  So if you were, if you were trying to convince a friend to move to Spooner, what features would you highlight?

Respondent:  Uh, it’s a small town. It’s, um, (has) friendly people. There are a lot of, um, galleries and arts and antique places, and it’s a big retirement area, actually. The majority of Washburn County in which Spooner is located is, um, um, has a higher percentage of people over sixty-five th-,[laugh] actually than other counties in Wisconsin.

Interviewer:  Alright. And you mentioned some kind of, um, art and art galleries. Do you go to a lot of gallery shows, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, I, I’m on the board of directors of the Shell Lake Art Center, um, which, which is the longest running art, um, jazz camp in the United States actually.

Interviewer:  Oh, that’s cool. What type of jazz camp is it? Is it, um, any particular age group, or . . . ?

Respondent:  It’s a, it’s a summer camp for, um, junior high and high school.

Interviewer:  That’s interesting. Can you tell me m-, a little more about it, or your participation {in it?

Respondent:  Well,} it’s through the, it’s through the summer. There are weekly camps. They have, um, you know, concert camps, uh, jazz band camps. The jazz band camps are the most popular. Swing choir camp, um, you know, it’s, the kids, stay in the dorms. Um, it’s been running for, I think we’re on our forty-fifth year now.

Interviewer:  Wow, that’s a long time running.

Respondent:  That’s actually, (xx)(started out) associated with the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

Interviewer:  Interesting. Is it still, or . . . ?

Respondent:  No, um, the university wanted out so we just started to do it on our own.

Interviewer:  How long have you been doing it on your own, or, has it been running on its own?

Respondent:  (Probably) about ten years now.

Interviewer:  Wow, wow. Have you ever participated in it as, um, not a, a board member, or . . . ?

Respondent:  No, but our, our kids did. I, I, I, I’m on the board, yeah.

Interviewer:  Alright. And what instruments do they play?

Respondent:  Uh, actually my kids participated in, one in piano and then in the swing choir.

Interviewer:  That’s pretty cool.

Respondent:  Yeah. [laugh]

Interviewer:  And, um, I don’t know, is there, what other things about Spooner really interest you?

Respondent:  Um, I suppose just the fact that I’ve been here a long time, [laugh] and I know a lot of people {so . . .

Interviewer:  How} long have you lived there?

Respondent:  Uh, we moved here when I was nine in nineteen fifty-four.

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

Respondent:  Some place next to the ocean.

Interviewer:  And, East Coast, West Coast, anywhere in particular, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, no it does-, I guess it doesn’t really matter. My, my husband’s from the East Coast. We met in college, and I thought, “Wow, take me away from all this,” and he came up here, and he says, “Oh, this is nice. I like it here. Let’s, let’s just live here.”

Interviewer:  Of course. {Uh—

Respondent:  (I’m going)} oh, OK. [laugh]

Interviewer:  So where is your husband from on the East Coast? Is it warm, cold, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, northern Pennsylvania, Delaware Water Gap area, in Pennsylvania which is on the Appalachian Trail.

Interviewer:  Have you ever been to the Appalachians, or, or, like, the Appalachian Trail?

Respondent:  Um, yes, I, I’ve been to that area. That’s, th-, actually that’s one of his goals is we’re gonna, we’re gonna do the Appalachian Trail someday. I’m going (xx) better hurry up [laugh].

Interviewer:  Wow. I’ve heard that’s a pretty epic trail to, to {tackle.

Respondent:  Yep,} yeah, yeah he follows the blogs that people do [laugh] as they’re hiking.

Interviewer:  Have you, do you hike a lot, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, not as much as we would like to.

Interviewer:  Where you usually hike?

Respondent:  Uh, Superior National Forest up by Tofte.

Interviewer:  Is that your favorite place, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Yep, it is.

Interviewer:  Why? Any particular reason?

Respondent:  Oh, it’s gorgeous. When you get up on the, you get up in the Sawtooth Mountains, and you can see Lake Superior and nothing else. There’s just trees and Lake Superior.

Interviewer:  Wow, sounds beautiful.

Respondent:  Yep, {especially in the fall.

Interviewer:  Do y-,} is that when you u-, when you usually go?

Respondent:  Yep, this year our goal is to hit, um, every state park in Wisconsin.

Interviewer:  It’s a big goal.

Respondent:  Yep. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Are you gonna—}

Respondent:  (Uh, gotta)} start some place [laugh].

Interviewer:  Are you gonna camp, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, nope, well, we might if we, wh-, when we hit the southern ones, but we wanna do, you know, we, we can hit quite a few up here as a day, on a day trip, so . . .

Interviewer:  Do your, do your kids like to do this with you, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, yeah, we usually, we usually have one vacation during the year with all the families. This year we’re all going to the Outer Banks for a week and renting a house. Otherwise we’ve done a houseboat up on, um, up in northern Minnesota, all fourteen of us on a houseboat for a weekend. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Wow, and it was y-, uh, have you done this more than once, or . . . ?

Respondent:  We did the houseboat twice ’cause it was so much fun so . . . [laugh]

Interviewer:  How many people usually go with you? You said fourteen, is it . . .

Respondent:  Fourteen.

Interviewer:  Extended family or friends?

Respondent:  No, it’s just our, just, just our immediate family, kids and their kids, so, kids and grandkids.

Interviewer:  Wow.

Respondent:  And, and nobody killed each other at the end of the trip.

Interviewer:  That’s a good sign.

Respondent:  [laugh] Yeah.

Interviewer:  Um, well, is this, are you more of a water person? Is this something you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Respondent:  We do, um, well, we, I grew up on a lake, um, and, and my husband used to be a lifeguard, so, you know, we enjoy water sports. Our kids are into water sports. One of them has a cabin on, northern Minnesota, and we all meet up there once in a while, too, and they’re, so, and she has all of the toys, uh, (xx) water—

Interviewer:  That’s fun. {That’s really fun.

Respondent:  —you know, skis,} and the jet-skis, and the knee boards, and whatever it is. They have it [laugh].

Interviewer:  That’s really fun. It must be really fun for the grandkids, too.

Respondent:  Yep [laugh].

Interviewer:  What’s your, do you do the water sports as well, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Nope, not anymore. [laugh] I swim.

Interviewer:  Did you used to, or . . . ?

Respondent:  No, just water-ski, I used to water-ski. And downhill-ski. The kids are, they’re into downhill skiing, too, so . . .

Interviewer:  What’s the, uh, what’s that called with water-skiing, when, um, you use one, one foot?

Respondent:  Um, I don’t know, just single-foot skiing [laugh].

Interviewer:  I, I thought there might’ve been a term for it.

Respondent:  [laugh] There probably is. I, I can’t think of it right now.

Interviewer:  Yeah, I’m more of a swimming person, too, but do you usually like to swim in, like, pools, lakes, outdoors, or indoors?

Respondent:  Doesn’t matter.

Interviewer:  Hm. What have you been, what have you spent, um, in, in your working life? What have you done working-wise?

Respondent:  Working? Um, I started in, well, we, when I grew up we had a resort, so I started cleaning cabins quite young, [laugh] um, and then I got a job, um, before college working at the hospital, the local hospital. Uh, they were friends of my parents, uh, administrators, so got a job in the lab washing, at that time, it was washing the test tubes and actually developing the x-rays by hand, dipping them in the solutions.

Interviewer:  Wow.

Respondent:  And, and taking the EKG’s, um, and then in college, I worked in the cafeteria. Uh, um, out of college, after I got married, I still worked at the hospital, but then I went in to medical records and started transcribing the doctors’ dictation and did that for quite a few years and then, um, got a job as the administrator of the clinic in town. I did that for ten years, and then we bought our own business in a, in a separate town, actually, in Rice Lake which is about twenty-five miles away, a video store, and we actually still have that, and we still do that.

Interviewer:  Do you sell or rent the videos?

Respondent:  Uh, both.

Interviewer:  Alright. What would you say was your favorite job of all the things you’ve done?

Respondent:  Favorite job. Actually, I, I like the video store. I like seeing the people. I never got to see people much in my other jobs other than doctors and I get to see a lot of different people.

Interviewer:  That’s nice, wow. Do you, do you usually have regular customers, or . . . ?

Respondent:  We have a lot of regular customers, so you get to know them, and you get to know which movies they like, and you can say, “Oh, you won’t like that one. You better try this one instead.” [laugh]

Interviewer:  So are you a movie buff?

Respondent:  I, yep, I am.

Interviewer:  Oh, me too, me too. Any particular type of movie or just anything?

Respondent:  I like them all. I’m not, no, I take that back. I’m not into horror.

Interviewer:  Not into horror?

Respondent:  No horror. I j-, it’s interesting because I used to be when I was kid. I used to stay up late to watch, you know, the Shock Theater and Dr. Macabre, and watch the, they just didn’t, w-, aren’t quite as gory as the ones are now.

Interviewer:  That’s the thing. I’m, I’m less of a gore, but I’m a huge horror fan. I don’t know. The gore just seems like a lot. What did you, I don’t know. Do you like thrillers and stuff, though?

Respondent:  I do like thrillers. I like, I like just about everything else.

Interviewer:  OK, would you have a favorite thriller movie? I don’t, big fan of thrillers. I’m trying to {find new ones.

Respondent:  Um,} no, I just, I like, I have all the James Bond movies. They’re my favorite, and, and I like Harry Potter, and I like Star Trek, and I like (xx) [laugh] so, but . . .

Interviewer:  So more of the serious?

Respondent:  Um, pardon?

Interviewer:  I’m s-, more of the serious type thrillers?

Respondent:  Oh, [laugh] OK. {Yep.

Interviewer:  Do you,} who is your favorite James Bond?

Respondent:  My favorite James Bond is now, um, what’s his name, the new one? [laugh]

Interviewer:  (Is that) Daniel Craig, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Daniel Craig, yeah. I was very, I was very disappointed when he—well, though, Sean Connery is still in there—but I l-, I couldn’t believe when I, when they picked him, and I went to the first one, and I’m going, yeah, OK, and then I saw the movie, and I thought, nope, he’s my favorite now. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Yeah, he brought a lot to the character.

Respondent:  Yep, he’s really good. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Have you ever seen Layer Cake?

Respondent:  No.

Interviewer:  He’s in that one. That’s pretty good.

Respondent:  Oh, OK. (xx) look, look that one up [laugh].

Interviewer:  Yeah, but, I don’t know. Do you have a favorite Harry Potter? Harry Potter was, like, my, my jam when I was little.

Respondent:  [laugh] No, I, um, I like the books better. I like J.K. Rowling’s books. I’ve read the rest of her books, and I like her books also, so. She is very creative.

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm.

Respondent:  And she’s probably one of the few people I can read where I have to stop and actually l-, look in the dictionary and find wh-, what she was talking about [laugh].

Interviewer:  Yeah, she does use a lot of made-up words, though. That really tricked me when I was younger.

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  But, do you have any other favorite, favorite authors? Are you more of a mystery, or fantasy . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, now let me see. We just, both my husband and I, just got done with all of the Jack Reacher books. I sort of liked, enjoyed those [laugh].

Interviewer:  What are those ones about?

Respondent:  Um, well, Lee Child writes them. I think he’s written eighteen now, but it’s, um, it’s about a, you know, guy who’s (ex-) army special forces, or m-, military police, and he goes around saving people. You know, he doesn’t mean to. He just runs into these situations and usually beats them up somehow, but . . .  [laugh]

Interviewer:  Trouble finds him.

Respondent:  Yep. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Of course. [laugh]

Respondent:  And he can always get out of, like, ah, he’s not gonna get out of this one, and he does.

Interviewer:  Like what sort of situations?

Respondent:  Um, oh, you know, burning houses, and jails, and, uh, [laugh] whatever. He can get out of it [laugh].

Interviewer:  Are these, are these just random occurrences or villainous?

Respondent:  Um, uh, y-, yeah, they’re villainous. I mean, he’s, th-, there’s always a bad guy too, so . . .

Interviewer:  I hear they came out with a movie of that recently.

Respondent:  They did, which was interesting, the people, and we hadn’t started reading the books before the movie, um, so we watched the movie first, but the people who were, and it was funny after we started reading them because Jack Reacher in the books is two hundred fifty pounds and six feet four.

Interviewer:  Wow.

Respondent:  And they picked Tom Cruise to do Jack Reacher [laugh]. Who is, what, five-nine or some—

Interviewer:  Yeah, I think he’s, like, five-six.

Respondent:  Five-six, yeah [laugh].

Interviewer:  Not, not {quite.

Respondent:  So,} that was, that was, uh, so, so the people who were into the books before the movies were highly upset, but I thought he did a good job. He was fine.

Interviewer:  Was the movie good other than that, that character {bit?

Respondent:  It was} good. Yeah, it was good.

Interviewer:  Was it one of those action ones with a lot of . . . ?

Respondent:  Uh, with a lot of tw-, yeah, twists and turns, yep.

Interviewer:  OK. I like those when they have the kind of, I don’t know, mind-benders.

Respondent:  Yep.

Interviewer:  How many books are there? Is it . . . ?

Respondent:  Uh, Jack Reacher? I think eighteen, eighteen or nineteen.

Interviewer:  Wow, wow. Have you read all of them?

Respondent:  Yep [laugh].

Interviewer:  Do your husband, do you and your husband usually read books together?

Respondent:  Um, we do if, uh, although, he’s, yeah, usually I’ll read it and hand it to him, and then he’ll read it [laugh].

Interviewer:  So {(xx)—

Respondent:  Y-, I} read them first. H-, he wants to make sure they’re good before he reads them.

Interviewer:  That’s fair.

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Do you usually, um, get recommendations from anywhere in particular?

Respondent:  Um, usually from our kids, probably.

Interviewer:  How old are your children?

Respondent:  In their mid-forties.

Interviewer:  And men-, you mentioned that they have children as well. Do they live all near you?

Respondent:  They all live in the Minneapolis area.

Interviewer:  Do you get up there often, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, well, not often enough, I mean, it’s, uh, I mean it’s not that big of a deal. It’s a two-hour drive, but they’re, you know, they’re all busy with their families, so, but, but we usually plan something.

Interviewer:  That’s {nice.

Respondent:  (xx)} we (xx), did a birthday party. I went down, and we did, um, we went to see the new Hobbit movie.

Interviewer:  Which Hobbit movie is this {(xx)?

Respondent:  Uh,} Desolation of Smaug.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK, OK.

Respondent:  Um, we wanted to see that. U-, u-, usually we wait for the DVDs, obviously, but, [laugh] but that one we had to see on the big screen, {so . . .

Interviewer:  Was} that good?

Respondent:  It w-, yes, it was good. Actually, I liked it better than the first one.

Interviewer:  I haven’t seen either of them. I should check that out.

Respondent:  Yep. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Well, thanks very much for this conversation. Now let’s, let’s move on to the next activity.



Superior: NewWI027

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 Surper-, Superior? Um, is there anything special about your hometown that you think other Wisconsinites might like to know about?

Respondent:  Well, one thing, you don’t pronounce it Superior, like, it’s, the locals don’t pronounce it like a superior piece of cake. It’s Superior.[SUH-perior]

Interviewer:  Oh, Superior? [SUH-perior]

Respondent:  Yeah, that’s how it’s pronounced locally, with an s-a instead of an s-u.

Interviewer:  Interesting, very interesting. Is there anything else, like, that you think, like, people in Su-, Superior, they talk about, like, talk differently or say anything differently?

Respondent:  Um, [throat clearing], well, one time I was in Ohio at a horse show, and happened to sit next to a bunch of ladies, and they said I sounded like I came from Canada.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow. Interesting.

Respondent:  And I met a young girl from Texas a few years ago that said I sounded like I was a Finlander.

Interviewer:  [laugh] Wow, very interesting.

Respondent:  But we don’t sound like the people, there is a difference, I work on the reservation in Minnesota, and as you get west onto little bit more remote reservations like Red Lake and White Earth, they don’t sound like the Indians from this area.

Interviewer:  Oh, interesting.

Respondent:  They have a slightly different, and I don’t even know if I can mimic it [laugh], at this point in the game. I’m trying to think about it.

Interviewer:  Oh, no, for sure, interesting. And Superior, is it, for, and, just for my own edification, um, where is it actually located in Wisconsin?

Respondent:  It is at the northwest corner.

Interviewer:  Oh, inter-, so, so definitely near Minnesota, that definitely makes sense {then.

Respondent:  Right,} right; matter of fact, we border, they call it the Twin Ports, with Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin.

Interviewer:  Oh, cool.

Respondent:  If you can imagine the most western point of Lake Superior.

Interviewer:  OK, yep. I can definitely see that in my mind.

Respondent:  OK, {all right.

Interviewer:  And,} and then just another question here, um, if you didn’t live in Superior, where else would you like to live?

Respondent:  I don’t know. I don’t know if I’d want to live on my reservation; that’s a little too scary at times. Um, today I’d have to say someplace warm [laugh], ’cause it’s been so cold {for the past month.

Interviewer:  Oh, my goodness,} I understand completely. How cold is it up there by you?

Respondent:  Well, um, let’s see; if I look on my computer here, I work in Cloquet, Minnesota, it says minus nine. It was minus twenty-one at my house this morning.

Interviewer:  Oh, my goodness.

Respondent:  So it’s warmed up a bit.

Interviewer:  Yes, I, I fully understand. [laugh] In Wisconsin as well, definitely cold {(here.)

Respondent:  Right.}

Interviewer:  Uh, is there anywhere specific, like, where you think you would want to {live that’s warmer?

Respondent:  Not,} mm, not, not specific, no, it, I don’t know if, you know, maybe in London or someplace [laugh], you know, someplace in Great Britain, you know, that type of fantasy thing, but not, like, you know, I’m pining to move to, you know, Green Bay or something like that, no, you know. If I’m, you know, gonna stay here, I’m gonna stay here, I guess.

Interviewer:  For sure. Um, what do you actually do for your job or for a living {(around here?

Respondent:  I,} I work on the Fond du Lac reservation in Cloquet, Minnesota, and I coordinate the energy assistance program and educational programs that aren’t attached to the school, so like GED and driver’s education and those type of things.

Interviewer:  Interesting. What’s your favorite part about doing that?

Respondent:  Well, you get to work with a lotta different people, and, you know, people come in and they’re on their last leg, they can’t afford to buy fuel and things like that, and you’re able to assist them, so they can keep their families and their houses warm.

Interviewer:  Very nice; it sounds very fulfilling, what you’re doing. Um, what do you do in your spare time, then? Do you have any kind of hobby {or anything that you (xx?

Respondent:  Um, I show} horses.

Interviewer:  Oh, very interesting. So, could you tell me a little bit about that? I actually don’t know too much about horses. [laugh] Respondent:  [laugh]} Well, I show (in) an event called pleasure driving.

Interviewer:  {Interesting.

Respondent:  And that} is where a horse pulls a two-wheel cart.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  And then they are judged on their obedience and their way of going.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  Lots of times people think that you’re racing, and you’re not.

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  You know, it’s, (um, how) the horse, excuse me, how the horse behaves, and, um, like I said, their way of, their way of going, yeah, how they move and that type of stuff.

Interviewer:  Interesting. And do you do that with different types of horses?

Respondent:  No, I do it with quarter horses.

Interviewer:  OK. And what [laugh], I’m sorry, I really don’t know much about horses.

Respondent:  Quarter horses. A quarter horse was an American breed of horses developed in the United States, that originally was, um, an outcross between some thoroughbreds and some native mares back in the seventeen hundreds that were good at running quarter-mile races.

Interviewer:  Oh, that {makes sense.

Respondent:  They’re} (xx) compared to a thoroughbred, which has speed and a lot of stanim-, I can’t say the word, stamina for a long race, a quarter horse excels at, um, quick bursts at short races. So if you were going to run, you know, quarter of a mile or an eighth of a mile, a quarter horse would probably beat a thoroughbred. But then when you get on to running for, you know, mile and a quarter, the thoroughbred is gonna kick in and beat the quarter horse.

Interviewer:  Oh, for sure. And is there any kinda like, p-, like physical attributes that, like, are different about, like, quarter horses?

Respondent:  Um, well, they, they have a much more developed back end that can do with this burst of speed, so many of the ones that I’ve had have had a lot of infusion of thoroughbred in them, so they are sort of taller and leaner-looking, compared to being sort of smaller, and compact and sorta chunky-looking.

Interviewer:  Interesting. So, like, at the, so, you, do you take the horses to shows, then, kind of?

Respondent:  Yeah, the, I work with a trainer in Minneapolis, and then, um, we go to shows in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and we’ve, I’ve been as far away as Ohio.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow, and how, what are the shows like? Could you, like, walk me through one of them?

Respondent:  Well, most of the shows are, like a, a two- or four-day horse show, with half of the ve-, half of the events on one day and the other [cough], excuse me, [cough] the other half on the next day, and then lots of times they’re multiple-judged, so when you’re showing, you’ll have two or three judges there, so you get two or three placings. And then, after two days, they’ll start up over again, with the exact same list of classes. Um, there’s probably about fifty different classes that they have. The horse show in Ohio was a little bit different. That horse show was about a three-week-long horse show.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  And, it just, you went through the classes once, but the horse show is so big it takes up the, uh, entire fairgrounds in, um, Columbus, Ohio.

Interviewer:  Oh, my {goodness.

Respondent:  Ohio} state fairgrounds, and, like, we had, we’ve had stalls in, um, you know, like a hockey arena and things, where they just put up stalls, and there’s, it’s just a huge, it’s hard to imagine how big it is.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  And, uh, there’s so many horses that for many classes they have, um, what do I wanna, what I wanna call them, um, like heats?

Interviewer:  OK.

Respondent:  And so you have to qualify in this heat to move to the next division, you know, because if you’ve got two hundred people entered in the class, you all can’t be in the ring going around at the same time.

Interviewer:  Oh, for sure. Wow, those seem very extensive.

Respondent:  Yeah, those are, there were very, very big horse shows there in Ohio.

Interviewer:  Is there a lot you do with the trainers to prepare the horses for shows?

Respondent:  Um, yeah, the horse lives at the trainer, just north of Minneapolis, probably for about six months to seven months of the year. And then I drive down there once or twice a week and practice with the trainer. And work on different things that are necessary for a driving horse to be able to compete. Um, they work at three speeds in the ring. You have a walk, um, a park gait, which is sort of like a slower trot, and then a road gait, which is a faster trot, like you’d wanna do like if you were gonna go to town and get the mail.

Interviewer:  Oh, OK. {(xx)—

Respondent:  And the} transitions between these gaits need to be smooth and, uh, you know, they can’t ask for you to go from a road gait to a walk and have the horse take, go around the ring two or three times before they do it. You know, they have to be, the transitions have to be smooth and the horse has to be obedient, not throw its head around, {um—

Interviewer:  Oh, for sure.}

Respondent:  —and then they have to also back up. And one of the interesting things about showing in this class is, you get to wear glittery clothes and big ladies’ hats.

Interviewer:  [laugh] Oh, that sounds like a lot of fun. Do you have, like, a favorite thing about training horses {or working with—

Respondent:  Um, just being with the} animals.

Interviewer:  Oh, for sure. Do you have, like, how many horses do you normally {work with

Respondent:  I,} [laugh] I just have one.

Interviewer:  {Just one?

Respondent:  That’s all I} can afford at that, at that rate I could send them to private sch-, I could send a child to private school for a, for a semester with what it costs to keep the horse with the trainer {and all that kinda stuff.

Interviewer:  Oh, I understand.} Can you tell me a little about your horse?

Respondent:  Well, the horse that I have now, his name is Lyle, and his registered name is, um, it’s All or Nothing.

Interviewer:  Very nice.

Respondent:  And he, he’s just three, and I’m just starting to, he’s just starting to be trained, w-, for driving. It, you know, takes a while, you don’t just, um, take and hitch them up to a cart and say, “Let’s go.” Otherwise, you can get killed.

Interviewer:  Oh, I understand.

Respondent:  There’s a lot of, you know, ’cause they don’t understand what this is behind them. So there’s a lot of work with, you know, they have to learn to stand, stop, stand still and not turn. They have to get used to having these wooden things up along the side, um, they have to, when you’re moving in a cart, the horse, they have to turn differently than what they would if they were just standing on the ground and turning, so it takes a lot, and you need to make sure the horse doesn’t get scared. ’Cause they can get scared and then they can take off, and there you are, sitting in a cart, bouncing along the road. {[laugh]

Interviewer:  Oh, I believe it.

Respondent:  A horse,} you know, a horse you can’t stop. Um, the horse I had before, that was a mare, her name was Millie, or The Lady Wears Prada.

Interviewer:  [laugh] Oh, very nice.

Respondent:  And, um, she was, um, had a typical diva personality [laugh], let’s just say. Things were gonna be done her way, and it was like, “No, horse, they’re not gonna be done your way.”

Interviewer:  For {sure.

Respondent:  But,} but, um, she also was used as a hunter, jumping over fences.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow. Did that involve additional training, then?

Respondent:  Yeah, that’s one thing the trainer worked on. I have no interest in jumping over fences, but part of it is, if you can get them trained for that, too, you know, you can increase their value and, you know, if you need to sell them, you know, who may want to, want to buy a hunter, compared to a driving horse. There’s not a lot of people that do driving these days.

Interviewer:  Oh, for sure. What made you interested in driving?

Respondent:  Oh, I’ve always been doing, interested, um, I think since I was a small kid.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow. Have you been doing this your whole life, then?

Respondent:  I’ve been sh-, had a horse, I think I got one when I was fourteen.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow. {(xx)

Respondent:  And I’m now, I’m,} I’m now, I’m now fifty-six. {[laugh]

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.}

Respondent:  So it’s been quite a while.

Interviewer:  Yeah, for sure. It sounds very {interesting.

Respondent:  And,} yeah, and, um, what was I gonna say about, ’bout it? Even, like, my Barbie dolls had [laugh] carriages and things that they drove around in, and sleighs and little horses and stuff.

Interviewer:  Oh, for sure. So is there, um, so, let me, um, switch gears a little bit here. Um, do you, did you have a nice Christmas?

Respondent:  Yeah, I had a, a normal Christmas.

Interviewer:  Normal? And what’s a normal Christmas for you?

Respondent:  Um, getting up, sitting around and reading books [laugh] (and xx).

Interviewer:  Did you read anything good over this Christmas?

Respondent:  [laugh] I finished a book called I Danced with Rommel [sic].

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  You know who Rommel, the German general from the, World War Two?

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  About, some, sort of a, a biography of some lady through World War Two that, um, her husband was a German officer. And living through World War Two, and towards the end, her and her husband got invited to some dinner, and of course, you know, they don’t have a lot because it’s during the war, and, you know, she got some dress and borrowed and wore it, and they went. And, as they’re having this, you know, introducing him in the dance and walking in, it’s like he’s supposed to open the, open the dancing. And he just walks over and picks her and dances with her.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow. {(Bet) her husband didn’t like that.

Respondent:  (Yeah,} well, her, it was, Rommel was her husband’s supervisor, husband’s general. And he had a lot of respect for him, so she, they sort of thought it as being a, a real special, you know, honor, that he picked, you know, her to dance with.

Interviewer:  Oh, {for sure.

Respondent:  And then her,} her husband ended up getting killed in Russia, he got sent to Russia during that last assault and got killed. There she was with five kids, ’cause every time he’d come home from the war, she’d get pregnant again—

Interviewer:  Oh, no.

Respondent:  —and have a kid, and then he’d come home and oh, gee, you know, the kid’d be afraid of him, they hadn’t seen their daddy. {[laugh]

Interviewer:  Oh, for sure.

Respondent:  [laugh] (Then she’d)} get pregnant and have another one.

Interviewer:  Oh, no.

Respondent:  So there she was at the end of World War Two with no husband and five babies.

Interviewer:  Oh, wow.

Respondent:  Yeah, so I, more interested in learning what would have happened to her afterwards.

Interviewer:  Yeah, for sure.

Respondent:  Yeah, how she raised all five of these children.

Interviewer:  Interesting. It’s funny, ’cause the title of the book doesn’t really {cover her whole entire life, (just that one) event there.

Respondent:  (xx),} yeah, and I kept saying, “When, when is she gonna dance with this guy?” when, you know, the book was good, it was something that, you know, you got off Kindle for ninety-nine cents or whatever, you know, and the book was good, but it’s like, OK, when is she gonna dance with this guy, when is she gonna dance with Rommel?

Interviewer:  Oh, for sure. Oh, my goodness.

Respondent:  And it was like in the last, second-to-last chapter of the book, I think. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Yeah, definitely, oh, my gosh, leading up to it try—

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  —try to build up there. All right, well, thank you so much for the conversation. We’re actually gonna move on to the next activity now.


Superior: NewWI087

Interviewer:  Uh, let’s begin. As I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, uh, let’s talk about any top-, uh, any topic that interests you. Um, s-, I suppose we could start with, um, where you live. I’ve never actually been up to Superior. Um, what would you say, um, would be the most special thing about Superior that you’d, um, that you think other people might wanna know about?

Respondent:  I think that probably the fact that we’re right on Lake Superior, which is, um, you know, probably something a lot of people would be interested in.

Interviewer:  It’s always funny, because, like, you consider Wisconsin to be, like, a Great Lake kind of state, and I’ve only ever really seen Lake Michigan.

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Um, what is it about Lake Superior that, um, {um—

Respondent:  Well,} it just, it’s, it’s a huge lake, and you can stand on the shore, and look—it is like looking at the ocean. You can’t see the end. I mean, you can see some shoreline in the distance, but it’s, it’s like being on an ocean. You can’t see the end of it. The water’s very clear and very cold.

Interviewer:  Um, how are the beaches up there by the way?

Respondent:  It depends on where you are. Now, we have a beach here called Wisconsin Point, um, actually pretty close to where I live, as the crow flies probably about a mile and a half, although you have to go in kind of a circuitous route to get to it, but, um, that is a sandy beach. A lot of people swim there during the summer, but again, the water in Lake Superior is quite cold compared to, say, a smaller lake. Um, now, if you go on the north shore, which is actually in Minnesota, and, I think, some of the places along the south shore (as) we get further east, the shoreline is quite rocky, and there it’s even colder than what it is here.

Interviewer:  I hear you, yeah. Lots of cold lakes around here, anyway.

Respondent:  Yeah, but they usually, I mean, we have some small lakes in Douglas County here, too, that warm up quite a bit during the summer where people go swimming, and, you know, they’ll be, like, bass lakes or, you know, stuff like that with, with weeds, but Sup-, Lake Superior is cold. If you go there in July, it’s, you may not even wanna go in the water. I think a lot of people just lay on the beach or something.

Interviewer:  Say you were gonna convince a friend of yours to move to Superior. Um, what would be the, the highlight feature?

Respondent:  Well, I think if I was gonna recommend Superior to someone, whether they were a friend, or not a friend, just someone in general, I would say the, uh, probably the most attractive feature is the fact that there is a lot of, um, wild land around here. Some of it is actually what you might consider forest, or, you know, sort of almost, like, forest primeval in a way depending on where you go. Some of it, like, right around where I live here in the, uh, far eastern part of the city, there are just miles and miles of undeveloped land, nothing. Some of it is swampy. It’s not really ideal for hiking or anything like that, but there’s a lot of wildlife, so, uh, it’s almost like you’re, you’re living in the, the woods even though you’re in a city.

Interviewer:  It’s always weird for me, ’cause, you know, I’ll, uh, I’ll go, like, camping here and there, but, or, you know, being mostly from the city, and you’ll drive along a road, and there’ll be, like, you know, big forests and stuff like that, but I’ve never really, you know, sat down and imagined, like, wow, actually kind of going into undeveloped land without having, like, a road, like, really nearby.

Respondent:  Yeah, you, you, c-, you can. I mean, I’ve, uh, when I was younger, I’d go on the woods around here, and just follow deer trails, and stuff like that, and just kind of, sometimes I’d get a little bit lost, but usually due to the fact that this is a city, and there’s noise, it’s not like being out in the middle of nowhere, like the BWCA. Um, you can sort of orient yourself by the noise, and right where I live here, there’s a couple of railroad yards actually, so they make a lot of noise. You can usually hear that, you know, or get a good idea of where you are, but nonetheless, it’s not, you know, there’s no houses. There’s no roads. Um, there’s a lot of wildlife.

Interviewer:  I’m curious. Do you think the noise, like, helps you sleep at night, or do you think it’s, uh, disturbing?

Respondent:  Um, it doesn’t, you get so used to it that it doesn’t bother you. Now, I’ve heard (tells,) um, that having, living in a noisy environment is supposed to cause health problems, but, actually, we have a, um, the main highway coming into town right in front of our house, and right on the backside is a railroad yard. There’s a lot of noise. And it’s, you just get u-, blank it out. You just get used to it. As a matter of fact, if I go somewhere, and it’s too quiet, you know, like a, say it was a motel or something, I have to have a TV on all night long, or a radio on, or I really can’t get to sleep.

Interviewer:  That makes sense, ’cause I, I used to live in, um, [beep], and it’s right on, like, a highway, and, um, and now we live in, like, [beep], but it’s weird, because now it’s, like, you don’t hear, you just hear silence. You don’t hear, like, cars, {like, going by (xx)—

Respondent:  Right, you just,} it’s, like, so become so much part of the background, that you don’t even pay attention to it, unless something unusual happens, like a siren, say, or, um, a very, very noisy truck going by, or some, um, railroad cars clanging together, or something like that. You just don’t even pay any attention to it.

Interviewer:  Say you didn’t live in Superior. Where you think might be the ideal place you would live?

Respondent:  Um, I don’t know. It kinda depends on what you’re looking for. Um, I actually one, one place that I thought was very attractive (we’ve been to) is Flagstaff, Arizona, because you’re up in the mountains. You have a four-season climate. There’s snow in the winter, if you’re interested in that, not quite as severe as here in, um, northern Wisconsin, but you could get in your car and drive two hundred miles or less and be in the desert. So, I mean, any time you wanna take a vacation in warm weather, just jump in your car and drive probably more like a hundred and fifty miles.

Interviewer:  That sounds, act-, actually sounds kind of appealing when you really think about it.

Respondent:  Yeah, really, I mean, you can get away from the cold. You just take a little drive, that’s all, and it, it’s, I don’t know how cold it gets in the winter. I mean, I was there in March, maybe, and there was s-, some snow on the ground, and, of course, you, it’s right at the, um, bottom of a ski hill, if you’re interested in that. There’s actually mountains there, where people go skiing, so if you wanna drive to snow, you can always drive further up and look at the snow, if you’re interested in that, or you can drive down south and look at the desert.

Interviewer:  Did you go to, uh, you said you went in March. Did you go for skiing, or did you go for something else?

Respondent:  No, I just went kind of, um, my parents used to live out in, uh, Mesa, Arizona for a number of years, and for five or six years, I would, um, take a vacation from my job and go out there for, you know, a week, ten days, two weeks, something like that, usually toward the end of winter, beginning of spring.

Interviewer:  Oh, uh, how often do you make your way out there, actually?

Respondent:  No, not anymore. They’re deceased, and, um, they actually moved back to Superior several years before my father died, so that was sort of the end of that vacation, because you, you know, I’d pay for my, um, plane ticket and, you know, personal expenses, but I had a place to stay, I had people to stay with. That’s not there anymore.

Interviewer:  Oh, I understand. That makes sense. I don’t really actually make my way out of the state too often. It kinda makes me sad.

Respondent:  Yeah, th-, Minnesota here, right on the border, we go a lot. You know, you go there a lot, but, um, I really ha-, don’t do much traveling outside of the state either. It’s been, you know, probably twenty years since I’ve been on a plane, so, I mean, you know, I’ve, any other trips are just usually, like, um, day-trips or short, you know, maybe one or two nights overnight somewhere.

Interviewer:  Well, actually, how big is the city of Superior exactly?

Respondent:  It’s, uh, I think it’s about twenty-seven thousand right now, and then you’re right up against Duluth which has close to ninety thousand, so it’s a metropolitan area of maybe a hundred twenty, hundred thirty thousand people.

Interviewer:  Oh, that’s, oh, that’s good.

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Just because, like, I’m, I think of, like, northern Wisconsin, I think of all, l-, all, like, small towns. I never really think of, like, bigger cities up there besides maybe, like, Eau Claire or something.

Respondent:  Yeah, it’s kinda funny, when that, years ago, when I was in graduate school, there was a, a person who said that, um, before he came to go to school in, um, I think it was in Minnesota, he thought the entire northern half of Wisconsin was nothing but a huge forest of trees that were, you know, like, a hundred feet tall, or, you know, something like that.

Interviewer:  That’d be interesting.

Respondent:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Let’s say, um, wait, what do y-, what actual-, do you, do you do f-, for a living? I’m curious.

Respondent:  I’m retired.

Interviewer:  Oh, I understand. Uh, what did you do for a living?

Respondent:  Well, I had a number of jobs. I, um, taught school for several years, and then after that, I managed a bookstore, and then I w-, uh, after that I worked in, um, call centers.

Interviewer:  Ah, oh, what kind of call centers?

Respondent:  I worked in a, just a, um, couple of telemarketing companies where we did, mostly not sales, it was, like, we did surveys over the phone, and also, um, verification, which means somebody’s changing their phone service from one company to another. Um, the FCC requires that there be an independent third-party verifier on the line to make sure the preson, person really agrees to what’s going on, because before they did that, I guess there were a lot of people that (would get) calls, and they’d say, well, we’re gonna give you a lower rate, and we’re changing your phone service, and the people never even knew what they were doing, and that, that goes way back to probably the late eighties, early nineties before cell phones got so popular. Nowadays, I’m surprised that they even have a market for that, that anyone’s even bothering to change their long distance plan, ’cause how many people use long distance on a landline? I mean, there are some, for sure, but not that many anymore. I don’t think. So, I don’t know what the profitability is in that, but they, they still do that some, and then, um, for a while, I worked for a collection agency, and I really hated that, so . . .

Interviewer:  Um, well, what did you do at the collection agency?

Respondent:  Called people up and tried to get them to p-, pay their credit card bill.

Interviewer:  Oh, I can imagine how that would be awful.

Respondent:  Yeah, it was, and it was, like, um, you know, I’ve, when I, um, took the job I was excited. I thought it was gonna b-, be a good job because it paid well, and, um, the hours were ideal for me, but once I got into it and I found out what a racket the credit card business really was, that I didn’t know, I, I really didn’t like what I was doing. Um, there’s some more regulations on credit cards right now, but at that time, a person could take out a credit card for, say, a credit limit of three hundred dollars, and we saw this as a matter of fact because there’d be a record of the purchases that we, on the screens we were looking at, max it out at McDonald’s, not pay their bill, get, uh, like, a twenty dollar late fee for not paying their bill, plus a twenty dollar over-limit fee, and all that would accumulate. So every month they didn’t pay, they’d get another, um, forty or fifty dollars added on, plus interest, and this would just go on and on and on. It was just crazy, and, you know, the people signed, um, something stating that they knew that they would be paying an over-limit fee and a late fee, but how many people read that tiny print? So I thought we were just sorta taking advantage of people, but that’s why I didn’t like it. If it was just clear-cut, well, you owe us fifty dollars. You made a purchase. Now pay it. That would be fine, but just to keep charging people fees and fees and fees and interest on fees to where you started with a credit card for three hundred dollars, you end up with a two thousand dollar credit card bill just in fees. That’s ridiculous.

Interviewer:  I can only imagine how difficult it would be to get people on the phone for that, too.

Respondent:  It was somewhat difficult. I mean, some of the people would pay right up, or they try and make deals, or something. Yeah, other people would try to avoid the phone calls. They’d have somebody a-, else answer the phone and say so-and-so wasn’t there. You know, that sort of thing, that went on a lot, but you just call them over, and over, and over again, and over, and over, so . . .

Interviewer:  It’s hard enough to get people on the phone for surveys we do, and s-, most of the time, we’re trying to give them money.

Respondent:  Yeah, [laugh] yeah, I’ve done, yeah, I’ve done a lot of surveys myself, mostly market research, um, studies, and, yeah, that’s hard to get people on the phone, too, but, um, generally it’s not the same as getting on the phone and being nasty with someone which was, collections was.

Interviewer:  Um, you said you worked at a teach, uh, as a teacher. Uh, what’d you do?

Respondent:  I taught science in grade seven through twelve in a very, very tiny school district, which I’m amazed is still there. The school district was, uh, Gilmanton. Um, it was about thirty miles south of Eau Claire, and, um, I taught all the science classes, all the grades, seven through twelve. Did that for five years.

Interviewer:  Um, may I ask why you stopped teaching?

Respondent:  Um, I wasn’t happy in the school district, and frankly they weren’t really happy with me, and I had some other kind of changes going on in my life, and I was, um, actually intending to look for another teaching job elsewhere, but, um, sort of an opportunity, um, became available to move back to Superior, my hometown. This was back in nineteen eighty-two. At that time there were very few teaching jobs available. There were none available here in Superior, in my field, and I actually did some subbing for a while, but I hated that because it was so irregular. You never knew from one day to the next whether you were gonna be working or not, so I, I stopped doing that, and I got, um, the job working in the bookstore, which I really enjoyed, and I did that for, I think it was, thirteen years. Um, I really loved that job, but then, it was a chain bookstore, and corporate just decided to start closing many, many locations, and the store I worked in was one of those, and that was the end of that.

Interviewer:  Um, say, uh, what would you say was, like, your favorite thing about teaching? Because I, you, like, always have those thoughts, like, when you’re a kid, of {(xx—

Respondent:  Yeah, I, I, I tell} you I liked, um, I liked, basically, liked the teaching part. You know what I mean? Where you would actually try to, um, impart some information, or, um, develop somebody in some way, but there was too much trying to maintain discipline, and doing other petty little things, that I really didn’t care for that much, although I could stand it. It was more like the, I, I just wasn’t happy in the school district I was in after a while, because so many things were so limited, and so I just decided to move on.

Interviewer:  Oh, I understand. What, uh, what kind of chain bookstore was that?

Respondent:  It was a B. Dalton’s, um, which actually was bought out by Barnes and Noble about, oh, I don’t know, five or six years before the store actually closed.

Interviewer:  That must’ve been why I’ve never heard of that chain.

Respondent:  Yeah, well, you’re probably too young. I think they closed the last store, um, maybe, four or five years ago. There were, they were dwindling down, and dwindling down, and they’d only be, like, in smaller towns, and different places, and finally they just, that was the end of it. They closed them all. At one time they had, like, about nine hundred stores. Just about every mall in the United States had a B. Dalton, along with a Waldenbooks, and, um, when they were bought out by Barnes and Noble, um, the company, you know, the president of the company, the, whatever, decided basically use the B. Daltons as a way to open up more Barnes and Nobles. You know, they used some money made from B. Daltons to open Barnes and Nobles. So they opened Barnes and Nobles everywhere, and then they started closing the B. Daltons, and they just, the B. Daltons were all smaller stores. Ours was one of the smallest because we were in a little mall in a smaller town, but some of them were qu-, quite large, you know, and had big volume of sales, but they just decided to focus on Barnes and Nobles and close B. Daltons, and that’s the way it, you know, that’s the way it was.

Interviewer:  Oh, that makes sense. Well, um, th-, thanks very much for that conversation. Uh, let’s move on to the next—


Watertown: NewWI013

Interviewer:  Let’s begin. As I mentioned, for the first fifteen minutes of our interview, uh, let’s talk about any topic that interests you. Um, I suppose, starting to talk about Watertown, I’ve only maybe been there about once or twice. Uh, is there anything special about Watertown that you think other Wisconsinites, uh, ought to know about?

Respondent:  Oh, brother. [laugh] Um, that’s hard to know, uh, let’s see. I can tell you that we have a, a yearly celebration where the whole city gets together. It’s called Riverfest, and it’s free, which is really cool, and you go out to Riverside Park, which is the main city park in Watertown, and we listen to music. And they make money off of what we drink and what we eat. Otherwise, it’s totally free. Anybody can wander onto the park and listen to the bands play. And that’s been going on for at least fifteen years, I think. And I think that’s totally awesome for Watertown to do that. {Otherwise—oh, go ahead.

Interviewer:  I’m gonna} Oh, no-no-no, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.

Respondent:  Because I’m not sure what to talk about. [laugh] Um, I have lived here my whole life, and I do think it’s kind of sad how, like, the downtown is dying, because there used to be a whole lot of stores downtown where you could go shopping like a JC Penney’s, and a Kline’s store, a Kresge’s, a Woolworth’s. And now there’s really nothing down there, so the town has been changing over the years. Hum, um [laugh]. I don’t know what else to talk about. {Um . . .

Interviewer:  Uh, well about,} about that, um, Watert-, that city festival. How many times have you gone?

Respondent:  Well, in the last couple of years, I don’t go as much, but in the beginning I used to go every year. And I, basically, I would tell people I lived out there, because you would just stay out at the park and listen to the different bands that came to play, and you would see all the people from Watertown. It really is a, a nice gathering of people. And they’d have a craft fair, and they’d have different, um, activities going on around the park. And some of the bands that played were, like, Three Dog Night, and somebody from the Supremes, which was the first year, which was really cool. They used to like to do the older bands, so it, it would attract, I think, my generation, and now it’s slowly been changing to the younger generation, and I don’t have the urge to go out there as much anymore. But I think people still do enjoy going out there. And it was just, it’s a family atmosphere, and you just lay your blanket on the ground, and you pick your seat where you want to lay your blanket, or you pick a chair where you want to sit, and that’s your spot for the whole, entire weekend. {Um . . .

Interviewer:  Wo—.} That’s like, that’s, that actually really sounds interesting. ’Cause the only thing I can really compare that to would be State Fair. I don’t know how many times you’ve gone to that.

Respondent:  I’ve only gone to State Fair one time, and that was years ago. That was so long ago, that the group I saw was called the Carpenters, and I know they no longer exist, so it’s, it’s been a while. I wonder, it probably could compare to that. But the thing is, is, the big thing, I think, is that it’s totally free, so if you can find a parking spot, you walk into the park, and you can experience this music that’s going on. And it is, you know, it’s bigger bands, that have seen better days, but [laugh] they still are very enjoyable to listen to, and they play the music that people like to listen to, and you can dance, or you can just sit there and listen. And it’s, it’s all generations of people. It is really pretty awesome, so . . .

Interviewer:  Is it all, is it all local bands, or, um, how big, do you think, the bands that they get out there?

Respondent:  Um, the biggest one that I can think of, of off the top of my head is Three Dog Night, and they came twice. Um, in the very first year, was somebody—I don’t remember her name—but she had been with, I think, the Supremes, and she was really awesome. Oh! The guy from, um, oh, Hermit-, Herman’s, Herman’s Hermits, or whatever. Herman and the Hermits? That main guy—I can’t think of his name. He came, and he would make jokes, and one of the jokes was a pronunciation thing, and he would talk about how we like to eat brats [brɑts] but he would call them brats [bræts]. And it w-, it was just fun to see, and you’re sitting right there. You can get a front row seat just because you get there and claim that spot in this open area. {Um . . .

Interviewer:  That’s pret-,} yeah. I’ve never, that kind of concept is always weird to me. Is that, like, the whole weekend? Like, you put your towel out, and, like, no one, you know, no one {takes it or runs off with it?

Respondent:  Yes, yes, and it} yeah. They respect your spot, yeah. And it is almost like—I always find it kind of funny how people will try, if they’re walking, they’ll try not to step on your blanket even and . . .  [laugh] And I’ve gone there when I’ve had, my kids are grown up now, but my kids were little. I’ve had my little kids with me, and then my mom would be there, so it, it’s definitely a multi-generational thing, and you sit there and wait for your type of music to play. They would have fifties, and they would have country, and the, the rock from the seventies and . . . [throat clearing]. It’s just a fun time, and you see everybody from Watertown there. [laugh]

Interviewer:  How big is the town out there, by the way?

Respondent:  I think it’s about twenty-three thousand, something like that. That’s probably about right. So it’s a bigger, little city. I think it’s the biggest city in Jefferson County. We’re actually cut in two by Jefferson and Dodge County.

Interviewer:  Say you were gonna try and convince a friend of yours to move out to Watertown. What, um, what one feature do you think would be the highlight?

Respondent:  Oh, brother. [laugh] I’m not sure, because we actually think of eventually leaving Watertown. We’re at that age where, a few years down the road, we’ll retire, and then we’ll move to where one of our kids are. Because at the moment, Watertown is kinda sad, how the downtown has died, and it’s, it’s lost some of its things that you’d want, I think. The schools are good. That would probably be a plus, and they’ve started an immers-, immersion, a Spanish immersion, um, class at one of the public schools. So, it’s showing that they’re trying to keep up on top of education in Watertown. I guess that is a plus.

Interviewer:  So, you said you wanted to move to one of, where your kids are. Where, um, where would be, um, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna flat out ask where your kids are, but, uh, {where would you move, then?

Respondent:  Right. One i-} One is in the Madison area, and one is in Green Bay area. And it is, like, the Green Bay-Appleton area that attracts us. ’Cause we figure it would be nice to be somewhere where there would be things happening. Where you could go and see a play, or you could go and see a concert, and you could go downtown, and there would be some stores to choose, to shop at, and we would be close to one of our kids.

Interviewer:  So what is it about the Green (Bay) area, um, that kinda takes the cake over the Madison area?

Respondent:  I think, with Green Bay, it still has that small town feel to it more than Madison does. That would feel more comfortable, in that area, but they still have, they have restaurants that you can choose from. And they just have different activities that go on in the area, and yet we still like the, the small town feel. Madison is a fun place to visit. There’s always something going on there. But we’re more at home in the small town.

Interviewer:  That makes sense. I’ve always, I grew up in [beep]. You know, it’s a suburb of Milwaukee. So I’ve never really had that small town kind of experience. So I-, whenever I’d speak to, you know, someone from, uh, I suppose related to this study, and they always say, “Oh, I’m, you know, from northern Wisconsin, kinda small town vibe.” I’m always, uh, actually really interested in that. What is it about small towns (let’s) say in your, um, in your opinion that kinda, that, I don-, I don’t know, kinda rings, rings true in your mind, I guess?

Respondent:  It, um, being able to know a lot of people, or if you don’t know somebody in particular, you would know somebody who would know somebody who does this or that. And it’s easy to find out things, and it’s almost like, even though we do have a, a newspaper in town, sometimes you find out the news before the newspaper does. Just because, in some magical way, things get out by word of mouth, and you just get to know people better or more people better? I’m not sure. Like, I have family in the Milwaukee area, too, and I love Milwaukee. I think that is cool, but I, it’s nice to have relatives who can show you the ropes and tell you where to go and what places are safe to go to and what places are fun places to go to. And, I don’t know, in Watertown you can feel like you’re mainly safe, and you know exactly where you can go, and what’s what, where things are, and who lives here, and things like that. Does that make sense? [laugh]

Interviewer:  I suppose it does, yeah. Say you weren’t limited by, um, where your w-, kinda, where your kids were. If you were gonna live in one place that wasn’t Watertown, ’cause it sounds like you (are) kinda itching to leave, where do you think it would be, if it wasn’t, yeah, if it wasn’t limited to where your kids were?

Respondent:  Well, I do know, and this is crazy, ’cause it would be a big town, but we like the Seattle area. I’m always talking we, ’cause my husband and I, and we tend to agree on things. We like the S-, the Seattle area, and we also like the warmth. So a warm place, I don’t know where that would be. A place that’s not too hot and humid, but [laugh] nice and warm, and I would like to be by water.

Interviewer:  Yeah, that sounds like northern California.

Respondent:  OK. [laugh] And I’ve never been to California, so I don’t know. [laugh]

Interviewer:  I’ve been to, um, L.A. and Santa Monica once, but from what I have heard, you know, um, out and about, uh, in Madison is that, like, southern California, or not south-, northern California is like, you know, where it’s always, like, that sixty degree warm, and you’re by an ocean, so, you know, it’s apparently beautiful, though I’ve never been there.

Respondent:  And that’s what I would love. I would love water, but I would also wanna have a place where you can grow flowers, because I love to garden, and . . . [laugh] I need all that. And I do like the four seasons, so I would need a little bit of the snow, but not as much snow and cold as we’ve had this year. Um, [laugh]. . .

Interviewer:  {Are you as goo—

Respondent:  So water} is a, uh, is a very important thing, in my mind.

Interviewer:  Um, why would you say that is?

Respondent:  Um, just because I can-, like, I’ve been to Arizona, and stuff like that, and there are parts that are beautiful, but they’re so brown. I need green, and for green you need water, and I just need that, that feeling, the fresh air and the, I don’t know.

Interviewer:  I think I understand, yeah. I’ve, well, {let’s see . . .

Respondent:  [laugh]}

Interviewer:  Growing up in Milwaukee, I’ve ne-, I didn’t make my way down to Lake Michigan too often, but, yeah, I suppose I can kinda see the {(sentiment.)

Respondent:  OK.} And I have been, like, Lake Michigan and we’ve gone to the Audubon Center. I think that’s where you can get along the, the lakeshore there. I, I like the sound, I like the feel [laugh]. It’s really pure. It’s just, it’s nature at its best.

Interviewer:  Oh I understand {that, yeah.

Respondent:  Although Cal-,} California, though, always scares me, because, you know, they have their, their mudslides, and they, heh, they have their earthquakes, and they have the extremes all the time.

Interviewer:  That make-, yeah, I, I can probably see where you’re coming from. It is a really big state, anyway.

Respondent:  Mm-hmm. And I haven’t been there, so I really can’t tell you. [laugh]

Interviewer:  I’d recommend it, at least, you know, for a {visit anyway.

Respondent:  OK.}

Interviewer:  Then, even then, ’cause, if you visit southern California, it’s going to be completely different than when you visit northern California.

Respondent:  Huh.

Interviewer:  Well, um, OK. Thank you very much for this conversation. Let us {move on to—

Respondent:  Uh-huh.}


Watertown: NewWI092

Interviewer:  OK, let’s begin. Uh, 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 Watertown?

Respondent:  Sure.

Interviewer:  The, {anything—

Respondent:  Uh,} sorry, go for it.

Interviewer:  Oh, I’m sorry. Is there anything special about Watertown that you think other Wisconsinites ought to know, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, I know (us and) Watertown (general) we always like to talk about how we used to have the most bars per capita in the state. I don’t think we do anymore, but we’re very close, and whether or not it’s an actual recorded statistic, but we do have a very large amount and variety of churches which we always like to tell people, too.

Interviewer:  Interesting. What, what was the highest amount per capita?

Respondent:  I don’t know the actual number, but we were, I believe at one point, we did have a, um, most bars per capita.

Interviewer:  {Interesting.

Respondent:  Like the} bars, taverns, that sort of thing. Yeah, we still have quite a few, but I don’t re-, I think we’ve fallen out of the most per capita in the state now.

Interviewer:  Are they all, all family-run style, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Mostly, yeah, um, they’ve all been passed and sold, you know, through the generations. Uh, there’s a couple that are attached to chain restaurants now in the past ten, fifteen years, but for the most part they’re all just independent places scattered around the city.

Interviewer:  Very cool. What’s the oldest one that you know of?

Respondent:  Um, that I don’t know. I do know, um, our M and M bar is in the oldest commercial building in the city. It was built as a hotel back, I’m not sure exactly the date, and then, um, it was moved to its present location, but it’s the oldest commercial building in the city.

Interviewer:  That’s very interesting. And so is this something that if you were trying to convince a friend to move to Watertown that you would highlight as a feature, or . . . ?

Respondent:  I would never convince a friend to move to Watertown. All my friends have moved out of Watertown, so . . . {[laugh]

Interviewer:  Oh, oh.}

Respondent:  Watertown’s a nice enough place to live, but I’d never understand why people would move here. I can understand being born here and living here, but there’s really no reason to move here.

Interviewer:  So {what—

Respondent:  It’s an} attractive little town, but it doesn’t really boast anything exciting.

Interviewer:  What’s kept you there then? Is it . . . ?

Respondent:  Family, I’ve lived here for a very long time. {And my job’s here, so . . .

Interviewer:  That’s nice though.} That’s nice though that it has that, that sense of community.

Respondent:  Mm-hmm.

Interviewer:  But, if you didn’t live in Watertown, where else would you, would you like to live?

Respondent:  Um, I really don’t know. As much as I enjoy visiting cities such as Milwaukee and Madison, actually living there, I don’t know if I’d want to because, you know, my whole life I grew up on a farm, and then I moved to this small town when I was five, so I prefer the smaller places and something where you’re in the country very quickly, so . . .

Interviewer:  You get to know people better, I, I think.

Respondent:  I guess, I don’t know. I don’t go out of my way to meet new people. I’m very terrible at that. [laugh]

Interviewer:  (I am) too. Um, I think it’s nice, though, with a small town you get that, that built in sense of friendship, though.

Respondent:  Yeah, you get to know, you know, the people (here and there. I always say,) like, I mail a lot of things, so I know the people at the post office, and we joke around when I go to buy stamps or mail a package and so, things like that.

Interviewer:  That’s nice. What have you, so what do you do for your, for your living, or what do you do for your job?

Respondent:  Um, I work at a group home for people with developmental disabilities. I’ve done that for almost twelve years now. I kind of fell into it. My, almost everyone in my family has worked in that, um, worked actually at the facility we work at, I work at, um, for, my mother started when I was two. So everyone just (xx) did it as we went along, and we always said in our family, you don’t, you just take a turn. You don’t, you know, it’s not a choice. You just do it anyway— [laugh]

Interviewer:  It just {happens.

Respondent:  And so} I fell into it when I needed a job after high school. Uh, and I really liked it, and I still really love it, and so, here I am twelve years later [laugh].

Interviewer:  That’s interesting, though. Do you still work with, with most of your family, then, or . . . ?

Respondent:  No, I’ve actually never, uh, worked directly with my family. It’s a large enough place that, um, you just don’t. My sisters, when they worked together, they did both work on the same floor, but the institution itself has pretty much gone away. They’ve gone, moved more towards group homes, and so I’ve worked in a group home my entire time. So, I work with a small pool of other employees.

Interviewer:  Oh, alright, alright. What do you enjoy doing in, in your, your spare time? Do you have any hobbies, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Um, all sorts of things. I do genealogy, so I research the family tree. So that really (xx) on a lot of, um, my hobbies. I’m always off running to some cemetery or library or meeting very distant cousins or calling them and that’s, a lot of my traveling has been that. I went out to Montana last year on a genealogy trip. I was just, went down to Missouri to visit a very distant cousin, so that’s a big thing. And then, just doing stuff with my friends in general. Um, we go to Brewers games a lot, and we always go camping every year. That, um, we’re doing in July. It’s our twelfth year.

Interviewer:  {You do it every year?

Respondent:  So, that’s one of the things.} Yeah, we’ve been doing it every year. This will be our twelfth year of doing it, so . . .

Interviewer:  That is {quite the tradition.

Respondent:  It’s always really fun,} and we all look forward to it. Starting June, we start the countdown. As soon as we get to forty days, we get down to the actual planning of who’s driving, and we make up a menu. We’re very organized camping planners.

Interviewer:  Very committed.

Respondent:  So that we’ve got enough,} that everyone’s got, yeah, exactly. It’s not just, you know, throw some clothes in a bag and get in the car. It’s, you know, we all have tents, and cooking stoves, and, um, what-not, and then we get together and figure out what we’re gonna have for the menu so we can buy all our groceries. And we kind of plan OK, we’ll go hiking this day, and canoeing this day, and this will just be a swimming day, so . . .

Interviewer:  That’s really cool, though, {that everyone’s so into it.

Respondent:  Not some fly-by-night organization.} Mm-hmm, it’s a lot of fun, and we’ve had, like, the same four or five people who have gone, um, all twelve years now, so it’s a lot of fun. And then, every year there’s usually one or two other people that have come who’s either a new friend or a boyfriend or girlfriend. Sometimes they stick around. Sometimes they don’t, so . . .

Interviewer:  Alright. Have these other friends from, from childhood also from your town, or . . . ?

Respondent:  No, um, actually about half of them are from Watertown, but I didn’t become friends with them until after high school for the most part. Um, all of my child-, I have one childhood friend. Oth-, otherwise, the rest of them, I’ve always made my friends through work or school, so . . .

Interviewer:  Mm-hmm. [laugh]

Respondent:  But so, we’ve known each other for n-, most of us fifteen years at least, so . . .

Interviewer:  Do you, like, usually go to the same campsite, or . . . ?

Respondent:  No, we try to do, um, something new. We usually spend two years at the same park, and then we’ll move on to another one because then we can kind of rate them, like, what has good camping, what has good swimming, what’s crowded, what has good campsites in general. This year we’re going up to one near Door County. Otherwise we’ve gone, um, you know, down southern Wisconsin we’ve gone to Devil’s Lake a couple of times. We’ve gone up north a couple of times. Usually we kind of all get together in January, and (just), um, p-, it’s like I said. It’s very organized. So we’re all, (xx) someone will pick a, a park, and then we’ll kind of give reasons why we wanna go there, and then we’ll kind of vote as a group. And so, I would say, like, oh, I really wanna go here because it’s got good hiking. The swimming’s not so great, but, um, it’s got a canoe place, and another person will say, well, this place has horseback riding, and the hiking’s really great, and so, yeah, like I said. It’s a very organized, almost, um, not exactly professional, but yeah, very, very much put-together, so we know what’s going on, and . . .

Interviewer:  Well, that’s great then. You know what everything has to offer.

Respondent:  Exactly.

Interviewer:  You mentioned Devil’s Lake. Have you, have you been to Devil’s Lake for the first time on one of these trips, or . . . ?

Respondent:  Yes, actually our first two camping trips were at Devil’s Lake, and then we went back there when we had, when we, um, had our tenth one ’cause we thought ooh, we’ll bring it back to where we started [laugh]. So Devil’s Lake is very nice ’cause it’s, of course, got the big lake. It’s got a nice beach. It’s got a lot of, of hiking. The only problem with that, I was just talking with my friend, is you have to drive to get to hiking. You have to drive to get to the beach where a couple places we’ve stayed, you know, a hiking trail goes right past the campsites, so you can just get on there and go. But, you know, Devil’s Lake is very nice. It’s very developed, but it also has, I think, over three hundred campsites, so it’s always very busy at the same time.

Interviewer:  It, it was {really crowded.

Respondent:  But it’s nice ’cause—} Yeah, it’s nice ’cause it’s, it’s, it’s not that far of a drive, and it’s by Baraboo, and then we used to always, the last day of camping then, we go to Noah’s Ark on the way home, and go swim there, and that was our big ending to the trip. {But—

Interviewer:  Noah’s} Ark is so much fun.

Respondent:  Mm-hmm. I haven’t gone now for a couple of years ’cause we’ve gone down south camping instead. So it doesn’t make as much sense to drive back up. And then, we’ve tried to do little, um, trips here and there, but, you know, as we get older, and more of us are getting married and starting to have children, it’s harder to synchronize schedules, so camping’s pretty much the big hurrah for the summer.

Interviewer:  Of course. I forget what, you mentioned earlier, how, how long do you usually go for each, each trip?

Respondent:  Usually we go, uh, four to five days. We used to go, um, three days, and then it got (xx) up to four, and now it’s gotten up to five, and we always joke by the time we’re in our sixties, we’ll probably be going for weeks at a time, so . . .  [laugh] And we always try and figure out how old we are to where we can still camp and sleep on the ground. We’ve all moved to air mattresses. None of us can sleep just straight on the ground anymore. How long we have, can still do it until we have to start getting campers or cabins, {and so . . .

Interviewer:  Or} tempur{pedic sleeping bags.

Respondent:  I think we’re (xx),} yeah, we’ll still be OK with sleeping in tents probably for the next ten years, but after a while, I don’t know if we’ll be able to anymore. Everyone’s getting old and craggedy, so . . .  {[laugh]

Interviewer:  That’s understandable, though.

Respondent:  Everybody, you know, this person’s got a back problem. This person’s got hip problems, now, already. This person just has sleeping problems, so . . .  [laugh]

Interviewer:  What, what {would—

Respondent:  We} always joke about how. I was gonna say, we always joke about how we’re getting older now, and so we have to accommodate ourselves. [laugh]

Interviewer:  Of course. Well, I think that’s a main concern for, for a lot of people when they do that, though, accommodations, but what would you say is the thing you most look for? Like, or (xx) would it be the hiking, or the swimming, or something else?

Respondent:  I think the biggest thing that we all really look forward to is just going there and not having to go to work for four or five days, and just, we can get up in the morning, and decide what we wanna do. Like, it’s really great. We all get up at well, most of us get up about the same time, and since we all have jobs that we have to be there, we all have first-shift jobs, so we all usually still start getting up between seven and eight. And so everybody wanders out of their tents slowly, and someone makes coffee, and w-, and then we decide it’s time to make breakfast, and then, so we sit around eating and drinking our coffee and deciding, OK, are we gonna go hiking today? Or, maybe it’s gonna be hotter, so we’ll go swimming instead, and so, just a very laid-back, slow-pace thing is what I think we all really look forward to, just being able to be in the woods with each other, and we can just do whatever we want that day, so . . .

Interviewer:  That’s nice. That’s a lot of freedom.

Respondent:  Mm-hmm. I think that’s what we all really look forward to.

Interviewer:  Do you have a favorite campfire food? Or, like, {camping food?

Respondent:  Not really.} We, none of, like, we always plan to make s’mores every year, and then we don’t because everyone always has this really romanticized view about s’mores, but they’re really not that much fun because it’s really hard to get a nice squishy, warm marshmallow, and your cheese ends up, or, your, not your cheese, your chocolate ends up not really melting, and then your marshmallow starts on fire, and you make about two s’mores, and you’re just completely done with the whole process. So mainly we just, we’ve got a couple, um, foods that we stick to. We don’t actually ca-, cook on the campfire that much. We’ve got camping stoves and griddles. We used to always do hobo meals—

Interviewer:  What’s that?

Respondent:  —which is where, um, you’re taking, uh, large sheets of tinfoil, and you put in your, like, potatoes, and carrots, and onions, and meat and then you squirt a bunch of ketchup and mustard, and but now we’ve gotten older, we’ve started putting, like, butter and wine, and made them, you know, rather gourmet, and then you wrap it all up and throw it in your ashes, in the coals, for a half hour to an hour, and then it cooks all up, and then you eat it that way. So that’s the main thing that we only actually cook over the campfire and everything else we just do on a stove, or a griddle, or whatever we’ve got along.

Interviewer:  That sounds delicious and you sound {like you have this down to a science.

Respondent:  Mm-hmm, it’s very good.} Yes, [laugh] after twelve years, you know, you learn something (xx) in the woods. {[laugh]

Interviewer:  That’s true, that’s true, you would.} What about, uh, you mentioned genealogy as something that you like to do with your time. What, how far back have you found anything?

Respondent:  Um, I’ve traced, between me and other people, we’ve traced, um, I’ve traced every branch of my family coming to America, and then some of them, other people have traced a couple generations back in Germany. I have, um, one line is traced through the early sixteen hundreds. One is traced to the late fifteen hundreds. Once I get to where we came from, when and where we came from in Germany, I usually stop, because I don’t read German. I know very little German, just because, uh, growing up my grandparents knew German, and they would always talk, uh, German around us when they didn’t want us to know what they were saying and then so, the only German we ever picked up was swear words, but other than that, um, yeah, I just trace (all) that, and then go forward, because that’s where you have a higher chance of finding an actual photograph of these people and learning more about them. Where, while it’s nice to know, you know, your family that lives six hundred years ago, you’re never gonna find a picture of them. You’re never gonna find where they’re buried, and it doesn’t make them come alive as a person as much as when you can find a picture, you can visit where they are, you can find an obituary, a little story about them somewhere, and you get a better idea of who they were and what they were in this world. Where, you know, six hundred years ago, you really have no idea anymore.

Interviewer:  That’s true. You can get a stronger connection.

Respondent:  Mm-hmm.

Interviewer:  What got you started with that?

Respondent:  Um, I always kind of had an interest in history in general, and I think a lot of it was my grandparents were always around when we were kids. And my family, we were all very big storytellers, and we always talk about, remember that time we did this, and remember that time we did that, and so, my grandparents would do that a lot. My grandma especially would talk about often when she was a child, and when, um, either she was a young, married woman, so I think a lot of that was that I grew up with a lot of that. And then I found a family tree that my mother had when I was, I think, a senior in high school, and I got kind of interested in it then. And then I kept working back a little bit more and more, and then I would ask my grandparents or their brothers and sisters, and then it really just took off, and I’ve never stopped, so . . .

Interviewer:  That’s great to know that much, though, about your family history. I think {that’s really difficult.

Respondent:  Yeah, it’s a lot of fun} and my friends always, they, you know, kind of make fun of me, because slowly but surely I found, like, even just, my eighth grade class, I’m related to at least half of them.

Interviewer:  Wow.

Respondent:  So ’cause, [laugh] so ’cause for the most part my family was not that adventurous. Once we came over from Germany we were like that’s, that’s fine. We’re not going anywhere else. So [laugh] we’ve (been, uh,) stayed in the same town for five, six generations, and so, and back then everybody had fourteen children, so you get down a couple generations and everyone’s married to anyone, everyone anyway, so—

Interviewer:  Of course. Well—

Respondent:  (It’s) always fun to find those marriages, like, this lady, now, married her cousin, and that man married his second cousin, and I know one woman who’s great gra-, three of her great-grandparents are the same person because her parents were second cousins and her grandparents were cousins.

Interviewer:  Oh, my gosh.

Respondent:  [laugh]

Interviewer:  That’s crazy.

Respondent:  Mm-hmm.

Interviewer:  That is a really, very interesting topic. I think, I think a lot of, a lot of the times people can learn so much m-, more about themselves through that history.

Respondent:  Definitely, yes.

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