The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Sort Interviews by Affiliation or Theme

An Oral History of the OSC Class of 1959

February 14, 2014 – 11:00a.m.

Video: “Vote Shamrock” . February 14, 2014

Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.
Interviewer:  Mike Dicianna

1:14:17 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


Mike Dicianna: Okay, it is February 14th, 2014. This is an interview for the Oregon State University 150th anniversary project. My name is Mike Dicianna, oral historian, and we're going to have the class of 1959 today, give us their Beaver tales. And so we'll go ahead and let the group introduce themselves.

Jim Schaeffer: I'm Jim Schaeffer.

MD: And you're from?

Jim S.: Where I live currently is Yakima, Washington.

Dave Socolofsky: And you're from?

Jane Schaeffer: Originally.

Jim S.: Originally—

DS: Some place down south.

Jim S.: Roseburg, Oregon.

Harley Smith: And your major?

Jim S.: I had a dual major. I have Business and then General Science degrees.

HS: Okay, I'm Harley Smith, my hometown was Belmont, California and it took me 24 hours to get up here on the bus the first time, and between Eugene and Corvallis I said to my—cause I had never been on the campus before—I said "really, this is really out in the country." So I arrived that day, it was a Saturday, a very nice sunny day, and there seemed to be a lot of commotion going on and there was a football game. At the beginning of the year, in those days, you didn't have pay anything, and we beat BYU, and I was told before I came up here that you guys will never win any football games, but of course that was the first game with Tommy Prothro, coached and a couple years later he led us to the Rose Bowl. So I now live in Stockton, California. I started out like a lot of young people then, in engineering and the old joke is the Dean Gleeson, who was the Dean of Engineering said "look to your right, look to your left, they will no longer be here next quarter," and he was absolutely right. And then, so I took some testing for interests and so forth and I ended up with a degree in Business.

Jane S.: I'm Jane Saling Schaeffer. I'm Jim Schaeffer's wife. We currently live in Yakima Washington and at the time I entered Oregon State it was from Corvallis Oregon.

HS: Long commute.

Jane S.: Yeah. However, getting there was a long commute.

DS: I'm Dave Socolofsky. Prior to coming to Oregon State I grew up in Salem Oregon and much to my mother and father's dismay, I chose Oregon State, while they were encouraging me to go to their alma mater at the zoo down south. The home of the potheads. But I began in engineering and I'm proud to say that of the three of us, I'm the only one that made it through.

HS: The only smart one.

DS: Started out in a general engineering course, then switched to electrical, I switched to mechanical, kept trying to find something that made more sense to me. Went in to see the Dean, I said "Dean, I need to broaden my horizons, I want to understand these business students are talking about, and how they learn so much but they stay up so late at the Peacock and—

HS: You better explain what the Peacock is.

DS: Well it's a—

DS: It's the alternate MU down at 125 2nd.

MD: It's still there.

DS: And I want to go down and see it again. But anyway, I graduated in '59 with the rest of them, in industrial engineering and now live, after traveling all over the United States, in Vancouver, Washington. And during that interim, I met my beautiful bride, Jean, who is a graduate of Oregon. An alumni I guess I should say.

Jean Socolofsky: I'm Jean Socolofsky, I am the significant other of Dave Socolofsky. I was born and raised in Portland and live in Vancouver now.

MD: Okay, this is great. One of the things I'd like to do is kind of go through our years. 1956, freshman year at Oregon State College, at the time, and you were all what was considered to be "rooks." Does this object, which is an Oregon State College rook cap, have any significance to you and is there a story to that little hat?

HS: Well I think if we didn't wear it they would take us down and throw us in the river. That was one of the privileges.

Jane S.: That was the threat. [0:05:00] The girls wore green ribbons. We did not wear the caps. Rook lids, they were known.

DS: Well, all I remember was going to the Rook bonfire and we had to wear it every Friday. And Jim and I were in the same fraternity and I remember the upperclassmen really got on our case if we didn't do things properly and this was one of the beginnings of discipline and it was like going through a boot camp and look at how great we are today.

Jean S.: Well that's pretty small [looking at the cap].

MD: That is a small version, yeah.

HS: Our heads have grown since.

DS: That might have fit.

HS: You know one thing about the freshmen year, I don't know how the rest of you had it, but one of the reasons I came to Oregon State is I wanted to get away from where I grew up and yet when I got here I got homesick and I think a lot of freshmen have to adjust a lot during that first year and it's not easy to do that, so you want to get away and all the sudden you get what you want and then you feel lonely for your parents or your friends and so forth, or your sort of feeling alone. Now my case, I lived in McNary Hall and it was a cardboard building that is, was right by Sackett. It was built in the Second World War and it was painted pale green. This is leftover pain from the Second World War and of course the young guys who had maybe a beer or two extra, they would punch holes through the wall. It was just really a crummy place to live in, so I then was thinking about joining a fraternity and I ended up joining Heckart Lodge, which is right next door, which was actually a new house and it was named after a man here in Corvallis who had given money to Oregon State and of course the nice thing, for me, is I—the reason why I came to Oregon State is that, in fact I never actually applied to come here, but I had a Navy scholarship and the first university, I only applied to one, which was Stanford. I was accepted as a regular student but I didn't get in the scholarship there, so I got my second choice and so basically the NROTC unit building was right behind Heckart, so for four years it was really neat. If I had an 8:00 class, I could get up out of bed on the sleeping porch and go walk about thirty feet and I was in class. But you, you've probably, what about your experience. You were both in fraternities your freshmen year.

DS: We were both Betas, and we were down on 9th street, which is a long haul up to campus. Not quite so bad as the engineers, but boy, you wanted to go clear up to the MU, that's a hike. And you talk about homesickness, I'll never forget early on, well first of all, we had to take the—what was it, the big SAT test we had to take? Everybody that came to school had to take the S-A-T, SAT test. And I had done real good in high school, grade-wise, I took the SAT test and then Dean Gleeson called me in, because I was scheduled for engineering. He said something to the effect of "Son, you might want to reconsider your career choice," and I don't remember what the reason was, but probably the house brothers kept me up too late and I didn't do well, but it scared me. So I—first year I really buckled down and hit the books hard. I can remember one night, on a Friday night early on, studying. Of all things, everybody else is having a great old time, and I was studying and panicking and I could hear the Corvallis High football game and boy that just, it tore me up. But after a time you start to settle down, but boy it was tough, when you first go away from home like that and it's a transition you don't kind of expect. It just all the sudden hits you.

MD: And Jane, what was your living arrangements when you were here? You lived at home probably.

Jane S.: I did. I have a brother who was one year ahead of me in high school and college, so with two of us in college at the same time and two younger brothers, my father was an industrial arts teacher at the high school and stretching that was not easy. So yes, I lived at home for the majority of the time I was in school and lived in the house, sufficient, one year.

Jim S.: What house?

HS: Yeah, what house. [0:10:00]

Jane S.: Oh, sorry. I'm a python; Phi Beta Phi. My degree is not in engineering, in education. Which I've chosen not to use. But I'll add couple things. Harley was talking about typewriters. We took typing; there were no letters on there. No. they were just black circles and you learned to put your fingers where they belonged.

MD: I didn't even have to do that when I learned to type.

HS: You know, I don't know if—talking about living arrangements, I don't really get a clear picture of what you have now. In fact, Heckart Lodge and Reed Lodge, which are co-ops, have been converted into other usage, and so forth, but the living units were really strong then. The sororities are strong, fraternities, the co-ops less so, but there was a lot of identification for yourself to your living group and there were a lot of activities. There was a lot of leadership training that went on with house officerships and so forth and I don't know whether the younger people are getting that same experience. I know my daughters, when they went to school at some of the UC schools, they, for most of their years down at Berkley and Santa Barbara, they lived off campus, which I felt was a real loss because I felt that those four years being on campus, being a part of a living group besides the academic was really an experience that I'll never forget.

DS: Yeah, me neither.

HS: That's why, and in part that's why I'm still doing stuff with it.

DS: Yeah, I thought the living groups were all very, very strong. And it seemed like all activities were kind of organized through the ASOSC group, but then the individual housing groups really supported it and it did seem like that's where the grassroots of all activity began and—

Jane S.: Administration supported it.

DS: Yeah, that probably helped, yeah.

Jane S.: That's a big difference now.

HS: Because when we had dances, Dean Poling and other leaders, Helen Moore, who were the Dean of Men and Dean of Women and so forth, they would all show up.

Jane S.: Yeah, they'd drop in.

HS: They'd make a—they stayed ten, fifteen minutes, and then go to the next house.

Jane S.: Plus we had some pretty special names for our all school dances, in addition to our living quarter dances. Ray Conniff comes to mind, Dave Brubeck. Oh yeah.

MD: Wow.

Jane S.: And for a little tiny school we had some really important—and that ballroom was filled.

HS: Uh-huh, it definitely was.

Jane S.: It really was.

DS: Kingston Trio.

HS: I think we used to pay them like $5,000 to show up. And that's a lot of money in those days.

Jane S.: Yeah. Sonya and I double dated with them one night. Jim and I and Sonya and Bobby?

Jim S.: Yeah.

Jane S.: Yeah. Girl's perspective: yes, I pledged Pi Phi, I made my grades. I was initiated. The rules were pretty strict for girls coming to school. Yes, we took the SATs and we did have to make certain grades in order to be initiated after the first term. So my initiation was actually in February of '56. They had housing closing hours. Pi Phi house at that time was on 30th and Harrison. It's a beautiful old house; it's now on the Historic Register. We used to call it the Pink House because the main floor, the living room and the dining room were both painted a shade of pink. We had closing hours. It was 10:30 on weeknights. It was extended on weekends, if there was a big dance or etcetera. We had meals together, including Monday night before our chapter meeting; everyone was expected to be there.

Jim S.: And sit down together

HS: Yes. And etiquette. We had to—

Jane S.: Oh yeah.

HS: You would get fined if you didn't do everything right, which I think it sounds like a simple thing, but it was important later in life that you conducted yourself nicely. And we had a house mothers. Every living group had a house mother, living in the house. So [0:15:00] there was a lot of discipline. If you got in trouble, Dean Poling or Helen Moore would—

Jane S.: First you—

HS: —be around the corner.

Jane S.: Yeah, and then you had the discipline within the house. As a freshman and sophomore, every Saturday you had chores. We cleaned the house. We did not have maid service. We had a cook, we had one assistant to the cook, and other than that we had house boys. And it was a way for guys to make some extra money. They would set the tables, serve the meals, help clean up, and it was, they were paid for it. And it was a good deal.

DS: We also were instructed not to fraternize with the ladies.

Jane S.: The first year, when you were a freshman, all the girls lived in the dorms. No—you may be a member of a sorority, but you did not live in the sorority, you lived in a dorm. I don't know if I should mention how I managed to go to meetings, keep my friendships in the dorms, how many times I set off the alarms [laughs]. But it was an important time, and I still have friends from the dorm years throughout school that are important to me, as well as my sorority sisters.

HS: In the co-ops, getting back to work, we were required to work four hours a week, so we had a work manager who had to assign for every quarter, and your jobs would change around, and then I think once every quarter there was like a Saturday night deal where we went through and cleaned the whole house, so that was a part of the obligation unless you were an officer of the house. So it was—and that created discipline—

Jane S.: They weren't excused.

HS: No? Well our president was.

Jane S.: Oh, okay.

MD: You made a special law for yourselves, then.

MD: Yeah. Well no, they, that was—and of course they were all, there was either men's living groups or women's living groups, there was nothing, no combination like you have today.

Jane S.: Well no, you were invited to a coffee—what do we call them, coffee?

HS: Coffee pledges?

Jane S.: Exchange?

Jim S.: Exchange.

Jane S.: Exchanges, yes. And I mean to tell—you dressed and you went and you had punch and cookies and you visited with the guys in that fraternity or the guys in that living group. It was a way of getting acquainted off campus as well as on.

HS: Well one thing I remember about discipline in the fraternity house, and I would be curious if it was the same in the independent houses, but we had the first year, I think it was just the first year, none of the freshmen could go anyplace but to their study desk in the room every night Sunday through Thursday and you had to stay in your room and study 'til 10:30. And then after that you could go down and watch TV or whatever. That discipline and rule really helped the transition from kids coming out of high school to make the first year of college.

HS: We didn't have that situation.

Jane S.: We had study hours from the end of dinner, actually, until quarter to 10, and from quarter to 10 to 10:30 you could have a coffee date.

DS: That's fast.

Jane S.: But those, oh yeah. But those—

HS: We had study hours, but it was only to be quiet, not to disturb anybody else. We didn't have to stay in our room.

Jane S.: Oh, I mean it was quiet.

DS: But as freshmen we had to stay in. Next year, I think was when we could—you still had to be quiet, but you could leave your room.

Jim S.: And you couldn't use the telephone.

Jane S.: Nope.

DS: Yep, right. All kinds of...

MD: And there's only one telephone.

Jim S.: That's right.

Jane S.: Right.

MD: Well let's move on to the big year, 1957, the sophomore year. Of course the big event of that year is the 1957 Rose Bowl appearance of the Oregon State Beavers. Any memories of the Rose Bowl, both on campus as well as, Harley, you going to the game.

HS: Well you know, the first thing, let's just talk about football in general, because we're trying to give a history lesson here. But at that point in time, blacks were not allowed to live in fraternities, so we ended up as a co-op, having a lot of the black players live at Heckart lodge. [0:20:00] In fact it was sort of funny, because sometimes we'd say, "well the score of the game was Heckart lodge 18, UC Berkley 12." But there were only a few black guys that Tommy Prothro brought up. They were Earnel Durden, Ted Bates, Paul Lowe, Vic Hall, Amos Marsh came a little bit later—that made the difference at that time. Because you'd—when I look at the football teams today, they've got like 120 people on the sidelines and probably in our day there were about 30 people, so that was—

DS: And we were two-for-two in two, which—and still we didn't have anywhere near the number.

HS: So that's an interesting thing, because that's all changed now. And it was difficult for the black kids because there weren't a lot of black girls on the campus at that time.

Jane S.: There weren't any. There weren't any.

HS: Yeah, and so they were really isolated. They were brought up from L.A., they were way far away from home and—but they did okay. They behaved themselves. There were a few problems, but anyway, bringing—Tommy Prothro bringing in those players was enough to—in the second year—and we went to the Rose Bowl game and I drove down there for it. We had to beat Stanford. It was either going to be Stanford or Oregon State going to the Rose Bowl game. Some of us drove all the way down there and we beat Stanford 20-19 and that got us an in, and the only thing I think I mentioned before we got here; the next bowl game that I went to was the Fiesta Bowl about ten years ago and there's a world of difference. I mean the original bowl, the Rose Bowl game, we did go to Disneyland, which was new, but there was an alumni dance before the game and the parade and that was it. And the Fiesta Bowl ten years ago, it started like a week ahead of time before the game, with all the activities. So that's what I remember. Now Jim played football, freshmen year I guess?

Jim S.: We had a freshmen team, kind of like a junior varsity team, and the freshmen had games with other college freshmen and I came to Oregon State on a partial football scholarship, along with Nub Beamer and Danny Brundage, who also were part of the Beta fraternity, and it was in that freshmen year that I discovered that Ted Bates and John Woody were about ten times better than I, and as it turned out, they both were named national All-American team. So I dropped out of football after my freshman year.

But I also went down to the '57 Rose Bowl. I drove down with; I think there were three other students from Oregon State, Gary Simpson and I can't remember who. Anyway, so we drove down for that and you're absolutely right, it was a totally different—and Jane and I were at the Fiesta Bowl also, and what a difference, like you've pointed out, that...

HS: The other thing I didn't mention is Ted Bates, Ted Bates was All American in the '58 season and I have a clipping, and he was an offensive tackle, and he weighed all of about 230 pounds, where now today would be like 300, probably.

Jim S.: Yeah, I was at 185 in those days. So that's–I was used as a blocking dummy, primarily.

DS: Well Jim, I remember one big party, and I think it was after we beat Stanford, the house took the couch and several—quite a bit of the furniture out in the middle of the—

Jim S.: Street.

DS: Intersection—and they built a great big bonfire and they started a celebration.

Jim S.: Yeah.

DS: And there were celebrations like that all over campus, as I recall. In fact, I think there were so many that the police didn't even bother us.

HS: And I have two stories on the Stanford game. First of all, I've watched maybe ten, twenty-thousand football players in my life, and there's about ten I remember. One of them—two of them happened that day. One was with Paul Lowe, who must have run about 100 yards, to gain 5 yards. He was running back and forth and it was going towards the north, and that's all he got, and that led to a touchdown later on. And then late in the game, Earnel Durden was a wingback, and he ran around, and we were on the west side of the building, so the shadows were on there, and he gave us gain—yarding position, or what do you call it, anyway, he gave our team the final deal [0:25:00] and I had lunch with Earnel one time and says "that was one of the greatest runs I ever saw." He says "you know, when I got back to the bench, I got chewed out by the coach, because he said 'why did you let that Stanford guy catch you?" And you know that's life, isn't it? It was a real funny story, but those two runs were spectacular, and of course going to the Rose Bowl game was even—and of course we lost to Iowa, but it was a great experience.

Jane S.: As a matter of fact, it was. Along with two friends of mine, I served on training table that year.

Jim S.: For the football team.

Jane S.: For the football team. Ted Bates taught me to cha-cha. Gary Lucard lives in Yakima. Gary came back from the Korean conflict. He was already married to Mary when he started at Oregon State and I still see him occasionally in Yakima. Tommy Prothro was a very interesting coach. He did not talk a lot, but he had the ability to control by presence. Remember that long overcoat that he always wore? Black overcoat. He would walk into training table and on game day you could absolutely hear a pin drop. There was not a sound; I mean there was not even a clink of silverware and dishes. They were that focused. It was really an interesting situation. We started, was it the 1st of—about the 1st of August, and went all the way through, even after school started. It was long hours because their first practice in August started at about 7:00 in the morning and they had to have breakfast in an hour, etc. So it—we started early. And one of the other gals that worked with me drove a Model-T and we'd pile into the Model-T to get to, at that time it was Gill Coliseum, where they had their meals. We did not go to the game, but wished them well and knew that they were well prepared.

MD: Now—

HS: Class politics.

MD: Yeah. You're—you guys are starting to work your way into the class politics, and that's one of the big issues we have here. One of the quick questions I'd like—do you guys have any memories of the Kidder Library and how you guys studied and what did the library mean to you?

DS: I was just asking when we were up in your office, the archives—

Jane S.: "Where was that?"

DS: –"what is that building over there?" And I don't recall spending any time there.

HS: I don't either. And I was thinking about this the other day, because today research, they do it on the internet, if we did research as undergrads, it was unusual. We would go to the library, but most of our studying was out of books and the lectures that we went to. So I hardly ever went to the library.

Jane S.: Three ring binders were big.

Jim S.: Yeah. Most of the sororities and fraternities had pretty good files of theirs, also, where other term papers, graduate papers were kept on file in sororities and fraternities.

MD: Oh, that's interesting.

Jane S.: Yeah, quizzes were good for quizzing each other before midterms. You would not expect the same questions, but it really started you—

DS: Same subject.

Jane S.: Yeah, same subjects.

DS: Oh. So let's start talking about politics. Campus politics are kind of a thing that's been going on for a hundred years, but I think your era, during the late fifties, was something a little special.

HS: Well, first of all, I lived at the co-op, I was still thinking about going into a fraternity, but I got into Heckart Lodge the second quarter and then I was elected, the only one in my class, I was elected to be a class officer, or house officer. And then of course that set the deal; I was going to stay at Heckart Lodge rather than go to another [0:30:00] place, so I was membership chairman at the end of my freshmen year, and then in the sophomore year I was elected house president. So that sort of started my trajectory, and then a part of the independence is that we had our—like the fraternities had IFC, Inter Fraternity Council—we had our independent deal, officers, and I became an officer in there, so I wasn't a class officer, so I forget who are sophomore class officers were.

Jane S.: I forget about the sophomore, yeah.

DS: I do too.

MD: I know who the junior class president was.

HS: Yes, yes.

DS: I remember that, I think [laughter].

HS: [Pointing at DS] And vice president.

DS: Yeah.

HS: But I don't know where—how did you guys get your first election?

DS: You know, I've thought about that. I started out, I think some of the fellows in the house, George Boston is one that comes quickly to mind, and Jim was encouraging as well, but several of the brothers encouraged us if we were at all interested whatsoever to get involved in politics, and someone talked me into becoming engineering senator. So I'd be representing the school of engineering, in the ASOSU senate, so that's kind of how I began, and then one thing just leads to another; you get involved in some various activities and chairmanships, etcetera, and next thing I know, again through the encouragement of the brothers, they asked me to consider junior class president, and the same thing for president. In fact, I'm note sure how we all got together, it kind of seems to me that there was encouragement there, that we get together before you and I even talked.

HS: Well we had the talk—Jane was—you were student body secretary as a sophomore.

DS: Yeah that's right, yeah.

HS: Which is really unusual. In other words, usually they're all seniors, but she was elected student body secretary, so you had to be elected by the whole student body for that position.

Jane S.: No.

HS: No?

Jane S.: No, that's appointed.

HS: Oh it's appointed. Okay.

Jane S.: Johnny was—Johnny Rice was student body president when I was a freshmen and I volunteered in the office to answer questions, answer the phone, type, etcetera. So sophomore year, Carol Frisch Rice was second vice president. Charlie? What's his name?

HS: Dunn.

Jane S.: No, before Charlie.

HS: Abbecott.

Jane S.: Abbecott. And Gary—anyway. So that's why I was appointed. I guess I was always underfoot. Then I decided okay, enough of the secretary business, so then came junior class vice president, and there again, always underfoot, so when they decided to run, they decided I should get out from underfoot.

DS: She was the only one that knew what was going on.

HS: Here's another historical thing, and it's really interesting. Fifty years ago there [were] different social norms from today. So for student body officers, the student body president was going to be a male, the first vice president going to be a male, the second vice president was a female. So the men got the two top positions and two-thirds of the total top positions, and the females had the third one, and we just accepted—I don't remember thinking—

DS: —we never thought about it.

HS: –"well that's unfair," we just—that's the way it was. And then of course they obviously, wisely got rid of that, but that's a different—

DS: Well back in those days, though, that was about the distribution of male and female. In fact—

Jane S.: Yeah, it was.

DS: In fact, one-third would be more than the actual percentage of females in the college.

Jane S.: Yeah.

DS: Well what a difference that time makes, but yeah we never thought about it, that's just the way it was.

Jane S.: Well Mike, there's something else about student politics, and that is when we were in school, we were on speaking terms with President Strand, both vice presidents, Dean of Men, Dean of Women, knew us by name, could call us on the phone. There was a very good relationship there, whether it had to do with campus politics, whether it had to do with living groups, whether it had to do with social situations, etcetera, they were accessible and they knew that we would be accessible to them.

HS: And the alumni association was a big part, because the resolutions that I wrote, there were three of them, basically the alumni association helped me out there. They called me into the office and said "what do you think about this, Harley?" And I was the only one that had taken a Robert's Rules [0:35:00] of Order course. And this was a—it was a one-unit course and I had taken it because I was thinking about running for student body president, that meant I'd be the chair of the student senate, and the term that I lost to student body president I said "well gee, I wasted my time," but then they taught us how to write a resolution, so—but the important thing, I think what you're saying, is that there was a very strong relationship, not only with the faculty, administration and also the alumni association.

Jane S.: Yes, there was. And they worked well together. Also, alumni, at all levels, were in and out of fraternities and sororities. They would sit in on chapter meetings, they would sit in—come to our social functions; several of the administration would drop in to social functions. They would appear at bonfires. There was such thing as "tail flappers," which is upper classmen; went to all the games, sat together, made an impression. They wore flat hats and white shirts and there was camaraderie and there was a wild support, obviously, if you're going to the—if your team is eligible to go to the Rose Bowl, you're going to be supportive. But we were a smaller campus, we were about 5,000 when we were—when we entered, and just under 10,000 when we were graduated. That's a lot of people to say hi to, but it is also small in comparison to a USC or Stanford.

HS: Yeah.

Jane S.: But we had a lot to be proud of.

MD: Well the big year for politics is your junior year, 1958, and the big run for the presidency and the birth of the Shamrock—.

Jane S.: -the Shamrocks—

MD: - Party

Jane S.: And here we sit with our shamrocks on.

MD: It's something we don't see today, different parties, but there are, I understand, it was a going thing.

Jane S.: It was a norm.

HS: Well, first of all, the campaign itself was really complicated, technical and comprehensive. I mean we had everything. We talked to all the living groups, we had parades, we had posters, we had match boxes, we had those buttons, Larry and I had a debate in the Memorial Union. It was really a lot of work. And I don't know what they do today, but it was a great experience.

MD: Now it's more electronic and online now, but there is still a component of that in student politics.

HS: And then there was all of this—we have supporters for us and supporters for the other group, and there would be all these Barometer articles attacking each other, which is like a national campaign or—

Jane S.: It was. Very much like it. By the way, the other party's name was the Sunshine Party, that year, which was one of the reasons why we came up with the Shamrocks, because all three of our names start with an S and they had already taken Sunshine. And actually, the truth of the matter was that our shamrocks were much more identifiable. One of my sorority sisters loaned me her emerald green poodle skirt, that I wore to every, I swear, living group on campus. We had a green stamp pad with a shamrock and stamped napkins. We did not spend a lot of money. We didn't have a lot of money, but we sure made do with what we had. And I have a younger brother. He is almost twelve years younger than I am. He was our leprechaun. And there are people, like Carline, who knew all that, and when she would see him at the country club here in Corvallis: "Hey leprechaun!" He is now 6 foot 4; has perfectly white hair.

HS: There was also the symbolism; St. Patrick had the shamrock being a symbol of three in one—

Jane S.: Yeah.

HS: –and so that was part of the idea of it, and we've been together for—

Jane S.: Eons.

HS: Fifty years now, [0:40:00] and we've gone to what, about thirty homecomings?

Jane S.: Yeah.

HS: And so forth. So we had a good grouping, but it was sort of exciting because the fella that beat me, I almost became his vice presidential candidate, and we got very close to making a deal and I felt a little uncomfortable because I felt that we wanted to do a little bit more than what the typical party were doing at the time, so both of them, actually, were sort of better known than I was around campus, but we formed our group. And the other interesting thing is that even though we were a group, we were voted individually, so I lost the president, but then Dave and Jane won their respective position, so at the end of the year it was the president of the other party and then them, who had the offices. So, which is sort of a—

Jane S.: And it was essentially one office.

HS: Yeah, yeah.

DS: That's probably a different way of doing it than what a lot of other colleges are.

HS: Yeah. And I don't know what they—

Jane S.: Yeah, even then.

HS: Yeah, I don't know when they—

DS: We ran as a party, even though it was individuals then.

Jane S.: Yeah, even then.

MD: Hmm. I understand there was some toilet seats involved?

HS: Oh yeah. Well I—you know Heckart Lodge is down by Sackett, so I had some of my classes over at Bexell Hall and I get up one morning, I'm starting to walk across the quad and I see all these toilet bowls and of course there were nice signs that says to the Shamrock: "flush the shamrocks" or whatever. And then they—and in the Barometer ads the other, they would say "the three S's," which is a play on words and the obvious word. But it sort of got mean spirited.

MD: So it was politics as usual.

HS: Yeah, it was.

Jane S.: Yeah. It was. But it was never anything physical. That has come later. Now, not necessarily in the politics on campus, I don't know about that, but there is much more nasty physical stuff that goes on these days. We didn't have that. I could walk from my family's home to the sorority, 10:30, 11:00 at night, by myself. I could walk from Sackett Hall home, not a problem. I would not feel that comfortable today.

MD: And nowadays there's call boxes all over campus wasn't even a thought then.

DS: Yeah, I've noticed that.

Jane S.: Yeah, or carry a phone, etc., etc. Personally I'd rather carry a .45, but...

HS: So let's talk about the legislation, because our year basically had some of the most significant legislation of any graduating class, so we wrote the resolution about changing the name from OAC to OSU and interestingly enough, then I graduated and so it hadn't become—the state had not approved it, and we got a lot trouble from our Duck friends in the legislature. They didn't want us to become a university, and I understand it got to be a really tough battle, and I was told about some of things that went on. But at any rate, we had the name change, and of course we had qualified, and that's why you're missing an important part of the resolution that had all the details. We were qualified by the national association; we had this and that and the other thing, so there was no doubt that we should be a university. Then we had a resolution to acquire the carillonic bells that has played music for the last fifty years, and I was looking at it trying to find something the other day, it was a $32,000 item then. Now I understand it's been replaced about two or three years ago and I think it cost like a million dollars or so.

DS: Oh, wow.

HS: And then finally, we didn't have a big liberal arts presentation, so the final resolution was to establish a liberal arts division, and now we have a pretty robust liberal arts program here at Oregon State. Again now, we have to think this is fifty years ago. Fifty-five years ago. Or, fifty-six years ago, if you account for everything.

DS & MD: Yeah.

HS: So that legislation was—that was pretty productive.

DS: Far seeing.

HS: Yeah.

MD: Which is an important time for Oregon State College at the time, to be able to petition to become a university, and across the nation that was a big deal.

Jane S.: Well, and the carillonic bells was not a small deal for a college this [0:45:00] size. Other things on our platform, little by little, almost every single one of them have come to pass over the years, which says something about the thought that went into it, the effort to put together minds to come up with the platform, that over the years we can still look back on and say "I'm glad we did this, I'm glad we said this."

MD: Well one of the stories that I pulled up with my research on the class of 1959—

Jane S.: -Oh dear.

MD: –was a first female student in an NROTC class, and I checked and I can't find any others, so you apparently are.

HS: We think the nation.

Jane S.: Yeah.

MD: That would be an interesting study.

HS: Because we had to go to the Chief of Naval Operations to get approval for her [pointing at Jane S.] to take that class.

MD: Wow.

HS: So we believe that she was the first female NROTC student, which also would mean that she was the first midshipman female, because they didn't have it at the Naval Academy at that point in time.

MD: Yes. And what was the class and what was your experience?

Jane S.: It was an excellent experience. It was initiation into naval—a lot of history, vocabulary, recognition of ships and planes. Our instructor was a submariner and he said yeah, he had to clean up a couple of his jokes, but in general—but the other midshipmen were very, very nice to me. We were not in a situation where we could study together very well, but it was an excellent class.

HS: What year was that? Sophomore year or junior year?

Jane S.: Junior year. Which I wasn't real popular at home, because my father was a military colonel and my brother was a—what's the one from Army?

HS: Major?

Jane S.: Oh yeah, but the name of the group.

HS: Yeah, I forget.

Jane S.: Yeah, but anyway in ROTC and he went on to a military career. So—but I wanted something different, and it was a very good learning situation. It really was. If anybody really wants to learn how to study, take NROTC. You work hard. I ended up seventh in the class.

HS: We were graded strictly in the curve, so I—we had a guy in rotary who went to Stanford and I was telling him how hard it was to get a B grade here at Oregon State, and he said "well at Stanford all of us get A's in military science," which really frosted me because our class president, who isn't here, Ken Noteboom, always got a better grade than I did.

MD: Now did you go all the way through NROTC?

HS: Yes.

MD: Graduated with a commission?

HS: Yeah.

MD: And what did you do with that commission?

HS: I went—

Jane S.: –went to sea.

MD: Yeah, went to sea.

HS: Well I was sort of always a little bit lazy, so I—we had midshipmen cruises. So each summer we would go on a cruise. Freshmen, for me it was freshman cruise to Europe, sophomore cruise was air training and marine training and then senior or junior year was on an aircraft carrier to Japan, which was really a nice complement and a great experience. It was fantastic. So what I did notice my—see they have mid watches that you have to get up and watch and be on duty at midnight to 4:00 and I said to myself "that's not particularly attractive." But I saw one guy who had like a 9 to 5 job and he was a supply corps officer, the business person on the ship, so I said that's for me.

So I—when I graduated from here I went to—down to Athens, Georgia to supply corps school—and you know talking about relationships, when I got down there, I went with Dick Love, who was our IFC president, and we were both supply corps officers, and Dean Poling, our dean here knew the dean down there at University of Georgia and so Dean Poling made us go down and introduce ourselves. We spent an hour or so with the de—and he's a very famous dean down there. They, the University of Georgia, [0:50:00] they've named a whole huge building after him and so forth. So there was that connection where, because of my relationship with the dean of men here, it affected me later on. And when I went—after the navy I went to UC Berkeley and you didn't, in those days we didn't have GMATs or whatever, we came back here to Dean Clifford Maser who was the dean of the business school, and if we wanted to go to Berkeley we talked to Clifford Maser and if said it was okay, he would tell the dean down there, Dean Cuey, and that's how a bunch of us got in. And if it was okay with him. So there were all these relationships that carried on beyond the normal thing. Anyway, so I was in the business part of the navy, then I got out after three years, so. And you were military too.

DS: Yeah we, first two years at Oregon State you had to be in the ROTC program. So I guess if you made no choice everybody wound up in the Army and after two years of that I found out if I stayed in ROTC I'd get some money. So that sounded like a pretty good deal. And then of course after you graduate you go on to officer basic school, but the training, I thought, at Oregon State was phenomenal. After getting out and going on to two years of active duty, it just made it a very, very easy transition, because we had such great instructors here and I think it would be a lot harder for people from a lesser background of experience to do as well. And I frankly enjoyed the military a lot, actually have sort of considered a third career, but it was just a great association. I remember going back to base with the officers and met a whole bunch of Betas from other colleges. We all became good buddies and any time we could sneak off post we did so and I remember making several excursions to places that possibly weren't supposed to be; New York, Washington D.C. regularly. Went to the Mardi Gras, which was a little—well I was out of jump school, I guess, but a bunch of us got together down there and we said "well," we had a weekend off and they said "you can't go more than 250 miles," I think it was, and a couple of us looked at the map and we said "well, just dead reckoning I'd say that's just about 240-some miles," so off we went.

But it was a great experience and I—like many other things, I put back to the experience of Oregon State, just made it so much easier for life later on. And it probably does—

HS: -And that's a good combination, the military—I really—one of the highlights of my life was Oregon State, but added onto that was the military life that I had.

DS: Yeah, I agree totally.

HS: And I still have friends from the military and I have investors for forty years that I met at Oakland Naval Hospital. It's a—course as Oregon State is a land grant school, we have to have—offer—ROTC training along with agriculture and I forget what else, so if I was recommending either—and now of course there's another variable. Females could not be in the ROTC in the 50's, and of course that's all changed, and of course what's happening in my particular field, supply corps, very often there are now, the females are gravitated towards the type of work we had. So everything's changed, so—

DS: But I think all the experiences were similar, but in my case the responsibility we had was really phenomenal for the age that we were and the active experience we had—when I was first made First Lieutenant, I had a company under my command plus another company of Koreans, plus something like fifteen civilian advisers and I was the only officer for the whole thing, out in the middle of nowhere in Korea.

HS: And you were 22 or 23.

DS: Yeah, I was 22, 23 years old. There was a major construction involvement. I had something like fifteen or twenty of these great big earth movers, all kinds of dozers and just a phenomenal construction company, that's what it was. So it was tremendous experience for everyone going into construction, which I didn't happen to desire, but it's a great experience for anybody that's growing up, and I would recommend it be a requirement for all young people.

Jane S.: Yeah, it should.

DS: But you get to see the world, and you learn so much about how great America is, see what it is elsewhere. [0:55:00]

Jane S.: I did not continue with it for several reasons. One of them was because it was a groundbreaking situation. They didn't know what to do about a uniform; they didn't know whether or not they should ask me to march...

HS: Which would be unladylike, I guess, you know what I mean?

Jane S.: Well, it depends on the uniform. But I think we also had a stronger patriotic feeling. All of us at this age have been affected in one way or another by the Second World War, and so consequently we had a very strong patriotic feeling and I think that that has diminished perhaps as a campus thing. It's not a strong thing, any more than the strength of every student going to every football or basketball game. The strength of that loyalty needs to be worked on. One of the things that we have tried to do, particularly after the tree, or from the inception of the tree, actually, is to get the alma mater sung at the end of sporting events again, and we're still working on it. We found, speaking with students who are waitressing, walking around, working in retail around town, they don't know the words, they have no idea what the Trysting Tree is. Now it appears, according to Mike and Sid and Kent that the Trysting Tree Lounge, which went from very little use is now a very busy place, and we know of at least two engagements and one wedding that have taken place under the tree.

MD: Oh yeah.

Jane S.: And we're very proud of that. And I think rightfully so, but we're not through.

MD: Let's talk a little bit about the Trysting Tree, because this will be something we're going to move into here in another half an hour, forty-five minutes. What was your guy's involvement and how did that all come apart, because I've studied in that lounge and sat there and just stared at the tree.

HS: It all starts with Dave's—

Jane S.: And the bench—

HS: Dave's recommendation. We were playing Cal about ten years ago, and Dave said what?

Jane S.: We were walking around campus—

DS:—Well, we started with "let's go see what campus is all about today," and then we started off and I think I came up with something, "let's run down"—we were standing in front of the Armory—I said "let's go take a look at the Trysting Tree," we all remember that from school. So we went down there and said "well what happened to the tree?"

Jim S.: It's gone.

MD: Yeah.

DS: So then we start looking into it a little more and then we started sharing some of our experiences and then we said "you know, we've got to do something to bring back that memory," so we—

HS:—Well I think there's—I had to add a little bit—when we got out of the car—

DS: Oh, I remember that.

HS: There was a girl attendant and we asked her where the Trysting Tree was.

DS: And she said it was across the river.

HS: And she didn't...

DS: No, she said "across the river."

HS: Well, she couldn't figure it out. She says "Oh, the Trysting Tree Golf Course." Okay, and we said "no, there's a Trysting Tree over there," so we walked a little further and the baseball team had just won the national championship, and this is in the fall, and they're already practicing, so we walk past them, we go to another parking lot, we see a guy there and we ask him the same question: "do you know where the Trysting Tree is?" The same deal: "I don't know," and then he said the golf course. So we—that was, and then of course the tree looked ugly and then we said to ourselves "you know, this is really strange," because when we were freshmen we were taught about the Trysting Tree by Dean Poling and Helen Moore and so forth, and it was part of the education process.

DS: And one of the great traditions of Oregon State.

HS: And so that's how it—and then it got more complicated, "well what are we going to do about it?"

Jane S.: Well, we worked through it. We had no idea what we were going to do. We were thinking okay, maybe we can have a tree like this [indicates a small tree], maybe we can put it in a glass case, possibly at the alumni center, "no, you can't have the alumni center 'cause we'd have to move it" and so forth and so on. So okay, [1:00:00] we can't have the alumni center, the alumni center suggested that we speak to Memorial Union. Originally we spoke to the Memorial Union, and did you know that you cannot have anything on those front steps, all the way out to the lounge?

HS: In the quad.

Jane S.: It has to be open so that a fire truck can go up there. Seriously. And you know why the width of the walkway is as it is?

MD: For a truck?

Jane S.: For cars.

MD: For cars, yeah.

Jane S.: When my parents were on campus they would drive up to the bottom of those steps, let the lady out, and the car would go park. And that's—they're wide enough, so that's—anyway, so okay we had thought maybe we could use that space halfway up the steps and put something there. Nope, can't do that. Anyway—

Jim S.: Couldn't suspend it from the ceiling.

Jane S.: Couldn't suspend it from the ceiling. I mean we considered literally—

HS: Our paper files on this are about this thick.

DS: Everything was "no, no, no."

Jane S.: But then Mike and Kent and Sid came back to us and said "we are considering updating this lounge area. Would you like to walk down and take a look and see?" Okay, from there then it was "get in touch with the sculptor. And there again, Raymond Hunter is younger than us and when we sat down and tried to talk to him about the Trysting Tree, he heard "Twisting" Tree, and we went "you don't know about the Trysting Tree?" So then we had to go back and start over and he made new drawings. And we were absolutely enthralled. No two ways about it, we were fortunate enough Hunter invited us out to the castle and we got to see the tree in progress and we saw how Raymond's daughter pounded every single one of those leaves, individually.

Jim S.: Hand done.

MD: Wow.

Jane S.: Yeah. She is invited today and I don't know if she will be able to come or not, because she's been married and so forth in the last couple years, but she was a big part of putting that tree together. And that tree is in that corner, I think, probably the nails or whatever, bolts that go into that wall, Raymond said that the entire wall could fall down and the tree would still be there.

HS: Well it had to be made earthquake proof.

Jane S.: Yes.

HS: So it'll be there for a long time. And now, I was just thinking about it the other day, it's almost going to be in the center of the whole MU.

Jane S.: Yes!

HS: I'm just thinking it's like the heart of the MU now, there'll be—you can go out so many feet this way and so many feet to the new area, It'll be in the center. At least that's what...

Jim S.: It was about two and a half years, from inception to...

MD: Having it installed, yeah.

Jim S.: Two and a half years and—

MD: We're going to be moving in that direction here, but let's have a few minutes to just give us your—

Jane S.: Okay, one last thing about the tree.

MD: What it is about—oh, uh-huh?

Jane S.: The MU staff were terrific to work with.

DS: Oh boy, yeah.

HS: Number 1.

Jane S.: They really were. And we will forever be grateful to them for their time and effort and etcetera that they gave to us to get this done.

DS: Well once we started the [unintelligible]—

HS: That was a great partnership.

DS: –then they just said "we like the idea, we're going to make this thing happen," and they did it. So together it just worked out beautifully. I don't see how it could ever have been a better partnership to put that together.

Jane S.: It was really great working with them. Okay, go ahead. Sorry my—

MD: Final thoughts about Oregon State, your time at Oregon State and what it's done for you the rest of your life. Start with you, Jim.

Jim S.: Well it was definitely a great time in our lives. I was not quite as homesick as some of the others. I was glad to be away. But at that young age, new experiences, it opened the world. Because I had been in one small community my entire life, and all of the sudden, wow.

HS: Well for me it was really serendipity, because like I said before, I only applied to one university, and what happened in the navy part of it is I had picked out another university [1:05:00] to be second place, but it happened to be across the United States, the middle of the country, and so he is trying to figure out, trying to save our tax payers money, and he says "well why do you want to do that?" and I gave him the reasons, but he's still calculated that they had to pay me, I don't know, 6, 7 cents a mile to get to the campus area and get back, so he's trying to save money, and then I said "one of the critical thing is to"—because I'd like Stanford, it was about the same size, I said "smallness, and away" and then he went through is list and he said "well Oregon State, what about Oregon State?" And I don't know anything about Oregon State. I knew about some of the basketball players and so forth, and so it slipped in there as second place, and that was—that's the rest of the story.

It was just a—'cause it's been a wonderful experience for me. I would not want to have gone any other place. Of course I have a degree from Berkley as an MBA, but there's no heart there, it just—I was an adult and it's a graduate school thing. So my experience is just fantastic. I came here, I realize I came here and I almost said that I knew one half person, that was somebody that I knew at a different high school, and it turns out that I found out the other day, I actually knew one and a half people. I had forgotten that I walked around as a freshman in high school with this guy and I forgot that he came up here, and then he left. But then to see this whole progress and this whole relationship has lasted since I got here in '55 and that is what, in two years it will be sixty years, right?

DS: Fifty-five.

HS: No, no, no, from freshman year.

DS: Oh yeah, from freshman year.

HS: Yeah. And so it's been a lifelong relationship. It's just wonderful.

Jane S.: I was just thinking, you were talking, as many times as we've come back for homecoming, there's another association. We have a friend, who was a Beta at Washington State, and for years when we were in Spokane, he and his wife and Jim and I, if the game was in Pullman, they bought the tickets and we bought dinner. And if it was here, vice versa. We did that for a number of years and that was particularly why you guys were in military, because we were in Spokane for what, six years?

Jim S.: Yes.

Jane S.: Jim and I were married at Christmastime of our senior year and so then when the first outpatient was too Spokane, and so it was kind of interesting. Homecoming has brought us back, time after time after time. We've seen changes; while we were in California for a number of years, we were not available to actually go to homecoming festivities, but we still got the Oregon Stater, we stayed in touch and of course my parents still lived here. So we would come up—I mean it was so bad that we would come up once a year and had a dental appointment for the whole family. And I don't know if you're familiar with the name Bill Paul. Okay, his first summer out of dental school I worked for Bill, and that's where we'd make the appointment, and he would set aside an entire 2/3rds of a day and then run the whole family through. I mean that's...Corvallis, Oregon State, like I said, at last count there's about twenty Salings and so forth that have been through and through Oregon State, so yeah, it runs deep.

DS: Well my experience is similar; it's just almost from the time we got here, the association started making, first with the fraternity because in those days the houses would start rush week, and then they would select many of their candidates to live in the house the first week so you became bonded almost from the beginning, but you just met more and more people, it was just a great community to grow and mature in and the engineering school is one of the best, as far as I'm concerned, in the country. It just continues to grow, it's well respected; it's a tremendous discipline. The faculty was just so close and personal that it's something, an experience I'll never forget.

And after I got out of the service I was down in the Bay Area, in fact I was thinking about going to Stanford myself, [1:10:00] and then I started looking at what I'd have to give up. I'd have to get rid of my sports car, I'd have to work long hard hours, I couldn't go out and play anymore, I thought "that's a pretty dull life, I think I'll find an alternative." So what I wound up doing is I used their employment center as a vehicle to find out where all the jobs were and I was shopping around the Bay area, primarily thinking I'd like to live someplace between San Francisco and up into the Northwest, and all the sudden I get a call from Boise Cascade, and I never could figure this out, but they called me down, asked me if I'd like to come up and have lunch and dinner with the president of the company and some of the vice presidents, and at that time, Boise Cascade was kind of the darling of Wall Street and I thought "wow, this is pretty heavy stuff, how'd this ever happen?" and I had to think about that for a long time, but I finally concluded that the Dean of Engineering had arranged it and recommended me and never told me. I had written him a letter and said "I'm out of the service now, I'm looking around to see what is available and if you happen to hear of something, let me know," and he never said a thing, but I think he made that arrangement, and so I had another beautiful association; forty years with the company living all over the United States, trying to reside back in my favorite part of the world, which is the Northwest.

But all that time it was just fun, the association you had with other college graduates, other schools. Primarily it would be the Pac-10 at the time, but the competition would go worldwide and the only disappointment I had is those unknowledgeable people back east who weren't aware of how great Oregon State was. And they didn't think much of the football team either, because we were competing with the bottom of the—the bottom ten. So those weren't heady days, but since then it just keeps getting better and better.

Jane S.: Yes.

MD: Well this has been kind of the first chapter of our look at the class of 1959, it won't be the last. I thank everybody, as well as Oregon State University and here at the library, we thank you for your time, and we're going to move over to the Trysting Tree Lounge for our next session.

Jane S.: Okay. Sounds good.



Download Transcript (PDF)

Return to Main Page