The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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The OSU Extension Service Centennial Oral History Collection

August 2007 - June 2009 – 10:00a.m.

Audio: Jane Schroeder . September 19, 2007

Location: Ballard Hall, Oregon State University.
Interviewer:  Elizabeth Uhlig

1:56:35 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


*Note: Interview recorded to audio only.

Elizabeth Uhlig: This is an oral history interview with Jane Schroeder for the Extension Service Oral History Project. Today is September 19, 2007 and we're in an office, or conference room in Ballard Hall at Oregon State University in Corvallis. My name is Elizabeth Uhlig and I'll be interviewing.

Jane, to start with, could you tell us where you were born and where you grew up?

Jane Schroeder: I was born in Altamont, Kansas and... population 500 people and to this day I think it hasn't changed too much between 500 and 499 and it was a community which had a high school that had an attendance of more than the number of people that lived in Altamont. And when I first grew up I was on a farm, probably didn't move into Altamont until I was in the 4th or 5th grade, and my dad farmed and it was flatland. The name of the town where I grew up called Altamont was named because it was the highest place in the county and that was... the altitude was 9 feet above sea level. So flatland Kansas was considerably different than what I moved to in Oregon.

EU: Was it a farming community then?

JS: It was a farming community and the other thing that was intriguing when I moved west was I just assumed all of United States was the same way. If you drove a square mile you had 360 acre farm and in that square mile, and when I came west it wasn't arranged that way. And I might talk about later the terrains of the areas where I worked.

EU: What did your parents do?

JS: My dad was a farmer. My mom a former teacher but after she and dad married she decided to be a homemaker, full-time homemaker. And I had a sister who was two years younger than I was and she was very talented and was a professional musician, played the cello, and she thought her big sister ought to be able to play just like she could and I played the violin but a far cry from her skills. She could play my violin better than I could when I took lessons.

EU: When you were growing up, were you involved in 4-H?

JS: Yes, very much so. My mom was a 4-H leader, and this was after we had moved to town. This was during the Depression and my dad had to give up farming, and he was very skilled in repairing machinery so he went to work for an International Harvester Implement Company and did machine repairs and so after we moved to town of course, Altamont being a small community, it was a rural community and 4-H Extension Service offices were right in Altamont for Labette County, which is the farthest southeast corner of Kansas. And so there were four states that were within almost breathing distance. Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, and when... this is jumping ahead a little bit but when Vick and I were married we went on a honeymoon and we were in four states and it only took a tank of gas, and that was because of the times and rationing of gas, all of those things.

EU: That was during the Depression?

JS: That was during the World War II.

EU: World War II, okay. Where did you go to college?

JS: Went to school at Kansas State which is Manhattan, Kansas, and that was about in the middle, north middle of the state, and I majored in home economics. I might go digress back a little bit, my mom was a 4-H leader and she helped organize leaders to do 4-H club work and was quite active in Extension. I can remember 4-H being an activity that heavily involved the students; everybody was in 4-H club work. I do not remember that there were adult home economic study groups as we've had here in Oregon but it may be my memory that keeps me from, because I wasn't involved in that, there may have been adult groups, but I know it was heavily popular in 4-H club work. And my mom was a good leader.

EU: What kinds of things did you do in 4-H?

JS: Sewing is one that comes to mind. Photography, design... we did interior design things that led to perhaps my decision to go ahead and do some work in that area, but it was diversified and of course there was competition at the county fair, just like, still that's being done today. And I can remember the first Extension agent in Altamont, Kansas. Her name was Grace Brill, and she would be so helpful to my mom in determining what she should teach in 4-H club work. And so I learned early on what the responsibility of an Extension agent was.


EU: So do you think that... when you went to college then, you knew you were going to study home ec?

JS: Yes.

EU: And did you know you would go into Extension work?

JS: Well I kind of... that was on the back burner. Interior design maybe took a more interest, but that was something that, in order to be successful you had to be experienced and financially that was kind of rough, and so when I graduated from college I was eligible to go to work for the Extension Service and continue to get education to help me do a better job of teaching, and so after I graduated I immediately went to work. I had a period of time between high school and college, because that was the beginning of the war, and since there weren't all that many college scholarships available for me to be able to afford to go on to college, I went to work for Boeing Aircraft Company and helped build airplanes. I was a rivet shooter.

EU: You were Rosy the Riveter.

JS: Rosy the Riveter.

EU: Where was that, was that in...

JS: That was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Exactly 100 miles from home.

EU: How old were you then?

JS: Well... how old when you graduate from high school? 18? And I can remember... in shooting rivets, there needs to be somebody on the back of the rivet to... they were called buckers, and my partner in riveting was probably a 75 year old man, and he was wanting to know how old I was and I wanted to be... pretend like I was older than I really was, and so I told him I was 25 and... no I guess I asked him if he could guess how old I was and he said, "Well you must be 25," and so I've never lied about my age since then cause I was only 18.

EU: Was that a big move for you? Your first time away from home?

JS: Oh yes, yes. And that was the first... there was a train that I could take from Oswego, Kansas to Tulsa, Oklahoma. So I took the train and lived at the YWCA in Tulsa and ride in downtown Tulsa that had a number of people that worked at Boeing. Actually it was Spartan Aircraft when I first went to work, and then Spartan was taken over by Boeing as the war, as it became more serious to build airplanes. But I'd taken the train down and my first job when I took my suitcases and everything, the train was so crowded we didn't even have seats, we had to stand up, and they just kept taking people on. And they didn't check suitcases and somebody swiped my suitcase, so that was not a very good beginning for riding the train, but I got a little smarter as time went on and kept track of my suitcase and didn't let it get out of my eyesight.

EU: When you moved to Tulsa, did you know you were going to work for the aircraft? For the company?

JS: Yes, and of course they were hiring everyone, because they needed workers, and a lot of the workers went into the service, so... this was back in 1942.

EU: And did they train you in riveting?

JS: Yes. I went to school, and I was a class A riveter. (Laughter) And that meant you were the best.


EU: How long did you work there then?

JS: It was three years, and when I decided to go to college that fall, then I'd given up my, given my termination date and within two weeks after that everyone lost their jobs because the war was over, and so they quit building airplanes.

EU: What was it like... what was it like during the war there? Being in working...

JS: It was a different way of life. I chose to work the graveyard shift, so that meant you worked at night and slept in the daytime, but you know, when you're 18-20 years old... there are too many other activities in the city, Tulsa was large enough that there were activities for you when you got off work, and so the swing shift... part of the time I worked swing shift. I'm not sure I remember the exact times but it was, on swing shift it was probably midnight when we got off of work, and then we'd choose, like on Monday night we'd go ice skating, and on Tuesday night we'd go to the movies. And they had activities planned because there were so many workers. The building I worked in was over a mile long, and these were huge planes. And another experience that got that I learned a lot from was that the wing structure of an airplane, the metal, the aluminum that holds the wings up is so much thicker that they hired people who were deaf to work on that because of the riveting being so noisy it didn't interfere with them. Well we worked a little farther north on the plane so that the noise wasn't quite so damaging to our ears.

EU: That was the days before protective ear muffs...

JS: Right, uh huh. No head gear was required. Some people wore it, but it was not a requirement, so again, not everyone used that. But we got acquainted with the mutes, and they had a language that... they were happy people and I learned a lot by making friends with people that couldn't hear. And so I did some growing up there.

EU: So then you decided to go to college?

JS: Yes.

EU: Did your parents support you in that decision?

JS: They supported me in that decision. They weren't able to help financially but I borrowed money and they were supportive all the way through, and I had an aunt that was very helpful. Two aunts, actually, that were help with some finances, and in those days there weren't college loans like there are today to help students.

EU: And you weren't able to take advantage of the GI bill or anything like that even though you worked in the defense agency.

JS: No, Right. In fact, the first year in 1946, when I started, the fellows were all still in the service, and so I lived in a men's fraternity because there were not enough men to have the house open, and so there were 59 steps in the front yard, and it was on a hill in Manhattan, Kansas. And I think there were probably around 70 of us in this house. Had a house mother and a cook and it was my first group experience of women living together and it was a good experience. We all learned from each other and because I was trying to work to help pay my way through school, I worked in the dining hall and after the first year we moved into a larger dorm that was a converted apartment house, and 7 of us lived in a unit but there were over 100 in the dorm. And I would work on the morning shift for breakfast and to go work at 6 o'clock in the morning before I had classes at school. That's where I learned to section grapefruit. And it wasn't a bit unusual to section 70 grapefruit. We had a dietitian that... it was important for us to get our Vitamin C, and so that was part of the beginning of my home economics career probably.


EU: What were the women studying there at Kansas State? Were most of them in home ec or all different academic departments?

JS: All different academic departments. And I had made up my mind that I did want to take home economics and a minor in design, and Kansas State was well known for a good school in home economics. It's still a program but the names have changed. You don't hear the word... every university has different names for what used to be home economics, but it revolves around family.

EU: Kansas State was a land grant?

JS: Yes. All Extension Services are an extension of the university out into the community, and the land grant monies made this possible for all... there's a land grant university in every state. In Kansas it happened to be Manhattan. In Oregon it's Oregon State.

EU: So what kinds of courses did you take at Kansas?

JS: Boy that goes back a long ways... of course there were food projects, practical cookery, because of the students being fed on campus I got exposed to not only working for money but a learning experience because Kansas State was one of the universities that was known to be training people for cafeteria work, for quantity cookery, for industry, and it went along with my work but it was part of the home economics program. I think the book Practical Cookery was a book that every university used for home economics to learn how to boil an egg or prepare yeast to raise, for making bread. There was a standard for what we learned, which people don't need to know today. Maybe they don't know but maybe it would be helpful if they did learn.

EU: Maybe they should, yeah. And you were also interested then in clothing design?

JS: Yes. Kansas State had an excellent clothing department in Van Zyle Hall... again I had a training program for work... because I worked all the time while I was in school, I got in on all those experiences of quantity cookery, and then it went along with the home economics programs that we did. In the design field, interior design, that was a part of family living and home economics and Van Zile Hall. And I can remember our art teacher and some of the things that I still use today that were helpful as a result of the training that was given to me in school.

EU: And when did you graduate?

JS: In 1949 I went to work in Marion County, Kansas, and then as you think in terms of cities and the names that they have in the west, it was kind of interesting because in the county that I went to work in, it was Marion County, there was a Burns, there was an Antelope, there was a Florence... the names of when people came west in covered wagons, they couldn't think of any new names so they just named them the same names that were in Kansas.

EU: Yeah, I think every state has a Polk County too...

JS: I think so, I think so. Didn't know any Altamont's, so there weren't too many that migrated from my home town.


EU: And you mentioned your honeymoon. So when did you get married?

JS: We were married in '52.

EU: In '52.

JS: I had... well I should go back, digress a little bit. After working in Kansas as a home economist for three years, I decided...

EU: Was that with the Extension Service?

JS: Yes. My first job was in Marion County, kind of in the middle of the state, and Hillsboro was another town that was in Marion County, and that's where my husband was from. And so I got acquainted with Vick while I was working in Marion County and had taken the job... well I applied for jobs in Wisconsin and in Oregon, because those were famous for being excellent at Extension Service work, and was working in Oregon before I even heard from Wisconsin. It happened that the director for Extension Home Economics was coming to a convention in Kansas City and she called probably less than a week after I put my application in, and she was coming to a conference there and wanted to get together with me to interview me for my new job, and I was successful. So it was quick action after I applied to come to work in Oregon, and my first job in Oregon was in Wasco County, and at that time Vick and I weren't... we had pretty well thought that this is the guy, or the woman... we wanted to get together but at the time I came, we hadn't made that decision yet, so I worked here two years before we were married.

EU: Why did you leave Kansas? Why did you want to leave Kansas?

JS: I guess the exploration in my body that just wanted to get acquainted with the world, and I couldn't do it all in Kansas. And I've never regretted it. I would go back to Kansas and live if I had to, but I'm real happy in Oregon.

EU: And when you... that first job in Kansas then, what kinds of Extension Service projects did you do, or what kind of work? Were you a home ec agent?

JS: I was a home ec agent but I did 4-H club work as well as adult work, and the adult programs in Kansas were a little, organized a little differently than in Oregon so that they were not the popularity that they are in Oregon. In comparing Marion County work with my first job in Oregon, I spent a lot more time in 4-H club work than I did with the adult home economics programs. But one of the early programs in home economics Extension was, as a result of the need to be able to feed themselves and keep alive during the Depression, and a program that was nation-wide in practically every state I think was a mattress-making program that involved husbands as well as the homemaker of the family. And those mattresses, I don't know if there are any in use anymore today, probably not, but those were pretty important, you know. They were covered with muslin and because of the size that they were working with, it was a traumatic job because they couldn't afford to buy mattresses, they just, they had to make their own. Well, can you visualize someone today trying to make a mattress to be able to sleep on; it would be next to impossible.

EU: So I think in this interview we'll probably talk about these changes and the different programs, and how the Extension Service... how the programs offered by the Extension Service changed with the times.

JS: Definitely. When there's a need.

EU: So. You said you were in... you went to Wasco County.

JS: Yes. And Wasco County, having lived in Kansas, flat flat flat Kansas, I was just awed by the differences in the two counties, one of them because of the hills. The other was the layout of the land and the farming that was based on a square mile. And my first job in Wasco County was to go out to an Extension meeting that was up Mill Creek. Well, how do I know where Mill Creek is? And I said, "Are there signs that tell me?" and I was to go for, I think 13 miles on Mill Creek, and how do I...

EU: ...on a paved road?

JS: Well I can't remember, I think it was party paved. But I said, "How do I keep from getting lost?" Well, there aren't any other roads; you just go up Mill Creek. And they often times did find a creek, to, the road, to be, to go along. I'm not sure why. That's where the road was, but 18 mile... they just all fingered out, the creeks all came into the Columbia River, and there were roads to along with it. But Wasco County was a narrow county and a long county and...

EU: What city did you live in?

JS: The Dalles. And that was right on the Columbia River where the wind blows an awful lot. But the...


EU: Before the windsurfers came.

JS: (Laughter) Right. They rightly picked a good spot because of the wind. And again, because of dry land Kansas, I was so intrigued by the mighty Columbia and all of the water activities that came along with living there. There was a pattern, and I don't think that's typical today, but at the time, in 1952, many of the Extension offices were located in the Post Office buildings, and so for my office window I could look right out to the Columbia River and gaze at the river every day I came to work. Wasco County, The Dalles, is close to Celilo Falls, which was an Indian community, and much of the work that I did in my responsibility for home economics was to work with homemakers in Celilo, the little community in Celilo, where the fishermen came in the fall to fish for salmon. And I'd never eaten any salmon except out of a can when I lived in Kansas, and it was a real fun experience to observe the Indian lifestyle and the family responsibilities that they had. I can remember working with a group of home makers... I'm not sure how we publicized the program, but it was such that one of the members in the audience was a man, who had been in the service, and he wanted to be a cook, he wanted to be a chef. And so he came to that meeting because he thought maybe that could help him get his job that he wanted, and of course I lost track of where, what happened to him, whether he went to work in The Dalles or whether he followed through with his career, but there was one man and 13 women.

EU: What did you teach them? What program was it?

JS: You know I can't even remember, that goes back too far. It went on for several weeks so it was different subjects every time. The Celilo Indians were...

EU: Do you remember what the name of the tribe or the group was?

JS: Uh... I should be able to tell you that... The Celilo Indians after the dam backed up the water so they could no longer live there, the majority of them came to Warm Springs, and the... I need to fill in those three tribes that are in Warm Springs.

EU: When you worked with the Celilo Indians or Indians in that area, were the programs that you presented for them different from other programs?

JS: There might have been some similarities, but we tried to gear it to the planning of what they wanted to learn, and this is pretty typical of the home economics program in all of the counties, is that we had advisory committees that would determine what the needs were and then we would base our programs on those subjects to meet those needs. And the subjects varied from upholstery classes to refinishing furniture to proper diets for good family meals, making bread... The Wasco County was boot-shaped, and in order to go to Antelope which was in Wasco County, I could drive the full length of Sherman County in order to get to that point. And it just seemed that it was so interesting because when we would offer trainings, an Extension study group would be made up of homemakers within a community and they would select leaders to come to take training and take back to their own group based on what they learned. And so not only were we helping to teach methods but the women who were involved as leaders learned leadership skills to help them broaden their world. And the ones that lived in Antelope would come to... Sometimes we'd do training in Maupin but a lot of times they'd drive the full 99 miles up to The Dalles for that training program and would be the first ones there. It was important enough for them to be on time and that was pretty typical.


I can't remember the number of groups that we had in Wasco County, and after being an agent in Wasco County I moved to... Well Vick, I guess I skipped that part where Vick came into the picture, but when we were married, Vick mentioned that he had after high school had come west and had worked... one of the first jobs he got was harvesting sugar beets, which was a job he decided he didn't ever want to do anymore. It was a pretty hard, back-bending job, but after I came west, he called and he said, how... well, he came out to visit, Christmastime and we were engaged, and he said, "How would you like to live in Oregon? Because I really liked it when I came out here and worked earlier." And I said, "Well I wouldn't object at all." And so that's how we ended up in The Dalles as... I had worked there two years before we were married, and so then Vick moved west. I went back home, we were married in Kansas. The temperature of the day for the wedding was 118 degrees, and we lived in an apartment which had a beautiful view of the Columbia River.

Vick wasn't sure... he had worked with his dad in bulk oil deliveries and a Pontiac car agency, and so he was looking for work for that kind of experience that he'd already had and ended up as... he was bored to death and he took a job in a furniture store as a sales person, and that evolved into... he enjoyed it and ended up becoming manager at the store in The Dalles, and that's what brought us to Central Oregon because Bill Healy, whose dad owned the store in The Dalles wanted to buy the stores from his dad in Central Oregon but he didn't want the store in The Dalles, so Vick had the experience of closing that store out and it was three stories high. And it took awhile but that's when I moved from being an Extension agent in Wasco County to becoming Extension agent in Deschutes County. It's because of Vick's job transfer to Redmond.

EU: And how many years were you in Wasco?

JS: Well, let's see... probably seven years. And two of those as a single person, and then after Vick moved, another five years. We moved to The Dalles in... or, moved to Central Oregon in 1959. (Pause) And our first... our son was born in The Dalles, and then when we moved to Central Oregon I was pregnant with our daughter and she was born shortly after we moved to Redmond.

EU: I think we'll stop here, take a little break. This is the end of Part 1.

JS: Okay.


Elizabeth Uhlig: This is Part 2 of the oral history interview with Jane Schroeder.

Jane, before we move on to Deschutes County, let's talk a little bit more about Wasco. Do you want to talk about some of the programs and maybe some of the experiences you had giving trainings?

Jane Schroeder: Okay. You think back on all of the wonderful experiences that happened while you were in a job, and the person who... my feeling is the person who benefits the most from doing some of these trainings is the benefit that we get and learn from other people. And of course the whole basis for the adult study group programs is to help people help themselves, and throwing in a little bit of leadership skills to go along with it, and those experiences make that person be a better citizen in their community and become involved because it opens their world to more than just working in their own homes. And sharing they became 4-H club leaders and were Extension... part of what we call the Extension family that was involved, and in the rural communities, this was the whole basis for group activity often times. But I think of an experience when I would do some trainings in Maupin, which was in the southern part of the county, so that the people who lived in Antelope didn't have as far to travel, they wouldn't have to come to The Dalles for the training program.

This grange hall had... I needed to get there early enough to start the wood stove and get it warm before the people came for the training, and this was a training that we did... one of the things that we did within the training, and there were other things, but I remember the white sauce technique that I was teaching, and it was different than the techniques that they were using, and it was hard for them to accept to change the method in which they made white sauce. That ended up being a good experience for learning another method. Sometimes we oftentimes get set in our ways and don't want to change. There was one homemaker in particular that couldn't see any difference in the technique that I demonstrated than what she used and I just used it as an example; If you're happy with the way you're using and you don't feel that you want to change, you don't have to. And this is the way we learned. When we... the training... the location of the grange hall... I can't remember the name of the grange hall, but that wood stove and building the fire and having an old stove that the mice enjoyed as much as anything, probably because it was warm and they didn't freeze to death if they crawled in the oven with the pilot light. But it was a learning experience for me, and I learned a lot by that.

I also learned a lot with handling of automobiles, because one of the responsibilities that was given when I was doing a training program for another person that wanted to become an Extension agent was also to teach her how to drive. And we arrived in the little town of Dufur, which is south of The Dalles, and needed gas and I had let this gal drive. And I always bought gas at the... probably the only station in Dufur that had gas. He was so proud of his new gas tanks that you used to fill up the tanks, and the gal didn't slow down enough when she turned in, and she drove up over the curb and put a great big dent in his brand new tank. So I wasn't a very good teacher in driving. (Laughter)


EU: What was it like? I mean you must have driven all over the counties there, by yourself?

JS: Oh yes.

EU: In all weathers?

JS: And I could write a book on some of those experiences. Like the time we took a shortcut south of Tygh Valley, and there'd been a washout on the road, that we started down and the road just didn't look very good. So I asked the women if they'd like to walk down rather than ride down with me, because I wasn't sure that I could... I was so far into the bad road that I couldn't back up, it was a hill. They walked down and they were glad they did, but I finally made it to the bottom of the hill. It was the worst road I've ever driven on. The... oh there are so many wonderful experiences. Tygh Valley fair, county fair of course. Extension is always involved in fairs because of the 4-H club members and the exhibits that they have. And because of the fair being in Tygh Valley, oftentimes you set up your tent and stayed the whole time at the fairgrounds rather than drive back and forth to The Dalles. I would guess it's probably... maybe 50 miles to the fairgrounds from The Dalles. Beautiful setting on a river and lots of activity, it was a big event, and still is. And... oh I forgot what I was going to tell now... just the location of the fairgrounds was... and I'm not sure of the history of how it was... why that particular location was chosen as the fair sight rather than The Dalles but it made a beautiful... it was flat land.

EU: Did you every year then go to the county fairs?

JS: Oh yes, yes. Judging of contests for 4-H club members as well as adults. There were what we called open class exhibits, and there were people who did just beautiful stitchery work and would compete. I remember another surprise to me because I'd never experienced the activity before, but at the fairgrounds it was always a big discussion among the fair board members as to how to handle the beer drinking at the fair. In this particular case they built a beer garden with a fence around it, and if you wanted to drink beer you had to go into this beer garden and that way they could control the drinking on the fairgrounds and it didn't interfere with others that wanted to come to the fair and not have to experience the beer drinkers. That was a new experience for me. The animal show and the horses... horses were big activities in Wasco County and the dressage of the women riding was a wonderful thing to observe. Judges, when you have fairs, there are people that have been trained to be judges and this was one of our responsibilities as Extension agents. Oftentimes we would go to other fairs and judge at those fairs. That was just expected of us, to trade back and forth with the different counties and judge. And that was, that opened up many, many avenues of the differences in the different communities and learning experiences of 4-H members.

I can remember one time there was a little girl... I was judging at this particular fair, and I don't remember the county, but this little girl was baking... cooking... doing a demonstration on baking cookies. And she was very very very nervous, and she... her mother was the only person out in the audience that was watching this demonstration, and of course the mother was kind of wringing her hands and worrying about her little girl, and the little girl I think observed that her mother was nervous and so she became nervous and by the time she got the batter together enough to make a dough, she started eating part of it, or licking the spoon, or things that you know, you're not really supposed to do in a demonstration. And the mother just became so mortified, and by the time the little girl got her cookie dough to put into the cookie sheet to bake, I think there was only half of the batter left. But this is the way we learn, this is the way we grow.

Another experience with a cooking demonstration was a boy that wanted to be a chef, and he took the 4-H foods project and he was the only boy among these kids, and this was in Deschutes County. But he was just a natural with being able to talk to the public and was not upset, not disturbed, not scared. And he got ready to roll out the dough with his rolling pin and he'd forgotten to bring his rolling pin. And he just looked over at the judge and he said, "Would you excuse me just a moment?" and he disappeared. When he came back he had a coke bottle that he was holding. And so then when it came time to roll out the dough he took this coke bottle and rolled out his dough. And the judge gave him credit for being innovative but she also reminded him that if he'd make a list of what he needed in his demonstration then those kinds of things wouldn't happen.


EU: He probably never forgot it again.

JS: He probably didn't. This is the way we learn, by our mistakes. But demonstrations for 4-H kids is probably one of the most educational tools that they could be involved in, because they have to... they learn many things by preparing a demonstration and doing it away from home. They learn a lot.

EU: So even though you were the home ec agent, you obviously worked closely with 4-H.

JS: Yes. More so in Wasco County than in Deschutes County, because the first person that goes to work in a county is the ag agent, and that's usually a man and some of the smaller counties only had ag agents, and then sometimes we as home economists would go over and help those counties with home economics programs. It was a varying thing depending upon where the locations were. But in Wasco County... well the first person is the ag agent. The next person is the home economist. And then the next person was a 4-H club agent, and oftentimes that 4-H club agent was a man, and then if it was a large county like Marion County or Lane County, then there would be a man 4-H agent and a woman 4-H agent to handle the home economics part of the program. And in Wasco County we had an ag agent, I was the home economist, and then we had a man 4-H club agent, and those were the 3 that were in our county. When I moved to Deschutes County, we had an agriculture agent, we had a home economist, we had a man agent and a woman 4-H agent, so it was a real variable and most of the counties that are more heavily populated had of course more agents.

And one of the programs that deviated away from the traditional ag and home ec trainings was a leadership program that the state of Oregon was really put on the map for with their training for people to become good leaders. And when we were in The Dalles, there used to be a restaurant and I kind of think it was called the Old Mill Restaurant, I know it was on the Columbia River, and so the staff from Corvallis came to do trainings... Mable Mack was a long time agent and probably in your interviews, or some of the others have mentioned Mable. And the trainings were held in a location to handle everybody but then we went out to dinner afterwards and went to this Old Mill Restaurant. And after we ate dinner at the Old Mill and went back to our hotels, in my case I went back home, that night the Mill burnt. The restaurant burnt. And so everybody chuckled the next day at the training about that Extension leadership must have burnt the Old Mill. Of course we didn't.


Leadership training is kind of the name of the game with a lot of the trainings that I was involved with. If you are in a group and you come and take a lesson to take back to your own group, you're going to learn skills that you wouldn't if you just went to school to learn how to do it yourself. You'd have to learn it well enough and practice enough that you'd become skilled and learn a lot in leadership. The Extension... well let's talk about some other activities in Wasco County. The Celilo Indians was a community eight miles, six to eight miles east of The Dalles. And during the time I was agent in Wasco County, the Indians had a traumatic thing happen to them. The Dalles dam was built, which meant that they would lose their fishing rights on the Columbia River that had been there for years and years and years and years.

EU: This is because the water would back up behind the dam...

JS: And where they fished. So the water level was so much higher that the falls just weren't there to fish anymore. Everybody I think probably at one time or another has seen pictures of the Celilo Falls and the Indians fishing. Very dangerous work, and they were very skilled at building their great big dip nets and during the season of the salmon run, and I can't remember the length of time, probably a month maybe, when they would take advantage of the fish spawning, and became very skilled. And the families had their own platforms for doing their fishing that they would build when the water level was lower and not as dangerous to build those platforms. And then...

EU: And these platforms then extended out over the river, over the Falls?

JS: Over the Falls. And then in addition, to get to those platforms that they built, they had geared up little trolleys that you ride in to scoot over to the dam, or to the platform, to be able to fish. And all the tributaries of water coming down, they'd dip their nets and come up with huge salmon that were just... it was fascinating to watch. It was better than any movie I've ever been to. And it just was so new to me, having lived in Kansas and never had any salmon except canned salmon that we would open and it was already cooked. The activities that the Indians did during the harvest of the salmon... the planked salmon. Have you ever tasted planked salmon?

EU: I'm not sure that I have.

JS: They build an open fire pit and then put the salmon... weave the salmon onto the stick and season it, and the salmon just melts in your mouth after that's roasted. And the activity and the games that go along with it and the Indians from other tribes would come to Celilo for those events and activities and it's something that's been lost that can never be brought back. It's something we miss.

EU: Where you there? Do you remember when the river rose?

JS: Definitely. When I first moved there in 1952, they were just closing out a canal that you could actually take a boat from The Dalles out to Celilo Falls. The canal was closed off earlier, because it was beginning to interfere with the construction with the dam and so that was the first thing that happened. And it was many years for them to build the dam, and so during the construction of the dam the Indians still could do their fishing during that season. A story I might tell about the fishing during the season is when that happened it was just like a village in itself, and there were people standing watching the Indians do their fishing, dip netting. And many of them were photographers, and we had a camera club in The Dalles of which I was a member, and we'd all go out there and spend hours taking pictures of Indians catching salmon, dipping their nets, waiting for the light to be right and so forth. But one Sunday Life Magazine was there to take pictures of the Indians as they were fishing, and they didn't always fish from platforms. There were little tributaries that came down where the water level would just really be flooding down and they'd dip their nets down in, hoping to catch a salmon. And in this particular instance, this fellow dipped his net down in just as a little boy above him fell into the stream, and instead of getting a salmon in his net, he caught the little boy in the net and didn't even know that the little boy had fallen down. And that picture was in the Life Magazine, the full page spread on the back. And of course The Dalles was real proud of that picture. I'm sure that the man that got the little boy was very proud that he dipped his net at the right time.

EU: I'll have to look for that picture. I wonder what year that is.

JS: I would guess '53, '54, somewhere along there. I can't remember how long... it took awhile for the dam to be built, but The Dalles camera club, which put together a slide show of the Indians fishing and it, was a very popular program that we did. We set it to music and commentary on the pictures that we took. And Wilma Roberts probably took 60% of the pictures but she was a beautiful photographer and we can be real proud of those pictures and it's something that we need to preserve.


EU: Do you still have your pictures of the...?

JS: I have a few but they're not like Wilma's.

EU: Could you talk a little bit about Wilma? She was a professional photographer?

JS: Wilma and another fellow owned a photography shop in The Dalles, Mello's Camera Shop. And Wilma just had a knack for taking good pictures, she knew what she had to do to get a good picture and her strong suite were the pictures she took of the Celilos fishing, and the other strong suite that she had was Sherman County wheat fields, and Wasco County wheat fields. And of course having come from flat Kansas we grew wheat, but they were all on flat land. And the hills...I just couldn't believe that wheat could grow on those hills because they were so steep and there'd be these big flooded areas where it would rain and wash all the silt down to the bottom of the hill... they still raised wheat. But Wilma could just sit on a stump waiting for the right light to happen and got beautiful pictures of the wheat growing as it ripened in the harvest. So those were her two strong suits but she was an excellent photographer and we all... The Dalles can feel good about some of the pictures that... she taught classes in photography for many years and we'd travel throughout the United States and give her workshop pictures. She would come down to Deschutes County down at Gil's Guest Ranch, and the photographers that would come for this training to learn would come every year because they appreciated and enjoyed...she'd get the farmers to... the cowboys that had horses to do demonstration and thunder runs so that they could get the pictures of the horses and the dust. And this was all part of the workshop and so these people that were retired had time to come and join the class each year because they got so many experiences and had so much fun.

EU: Could you go back again to the Falls? You said you were there when the water was rising? How was that?

JS: Oh it was a very dramatic experience. The engineering of building a dam on the Columbia River, when you think about the quantity of water that flows down that river, my first thought would be it's just impossible. But you know, there have been bigger dams built. The closing of the... the opening of the dam I guess I should say, was you know... activity took place and you watched the water level rise behind the dam, and beginning to worry about the salmon and whether they could get on up the river to spawn. It was... dramatic may not be the right word to use because it was technology that generates electricity and... for movement forward in the eyes of some. In the eyes of others it was very destroying.

EU: I've heard, or read accounts of Indian, or women that were there just... after the water rose, and then there was just a silence when you could no longer hear the rapids. It's just very sad.

JS: It was a form of death. The word death for many people was a part of that... you know there were two sides to it; the gladness of what it was doing for our progress and then the sadness of losing what they had. There is one location that the Indians can still fish off of platforms and that's at Sherars Bridge which is on the Deschutes River between Tygh Valley and Wasco, in Sherman County. But it's not anything compared to what was lost on the Columbia River. It was a community that, now as you drive by on the freeway, there's a sign that says Celilo Park, and it's used more for windsurfers. You don't see any fishing done at all. Maybe in the fall they may put their boats in at Celilo Falls for sturgeon fishing.


But going back to Wasco County... Wasco County for Extension agents, a lot of it was wheat farming for the agricultural agent, and 4-H was a very strong program in Wasco County. The home economics program was relatively new; I was probably the third agent that came to Wasco County. Frances Harvey, an agent that had worked in several counties in Oregon, after she was in Wasco County she went to Jackson County.

EU: I'm going to say, it's not Douglas, it's south of there...

JS: It's farther south... But Frances set the stage and did a lot of organization in the 4-H club program as well as the adult home economics program. And I felt very fortunate to follow in her footsteps, I learned a lot. That's one thing about being an Extension agent. We're hired to teach and help people help themselves, but I feel that many of the things that I know now I've learned from the people I've worked with, and I value that experience.

EU: And I think other people who have worked with you, they talk about you as being an excellent mentor.

JS: Well of course I probably could get them into trouble real easy. (Laughter) Especially when it comes to driving. (Laughter) Yes, Donna Gregerson was one of the gals... Nancy Webber, a gal who now, (she and her husband) own a... assisted living place in Bend, and Donna Gregerson ,who became county agent... and staff chairman eventually in Benton County. I guess the philosophy of watching and being involved in what we do is a form of training program and some things I probably did right and some things they just as soon not have learned. But it's a peoples' program, and the program in Wasco County as well as in Deschutes County, and perhaps because I'm remembering Deschutes County, it wasn't quite as long ago as Wasco County... the programs that... the women that ran the Extension study groups that met once a month and I provided the trainings for their leadership programs were programs that helped them be better homemakers and help their families party through 4-H club work and partly through the adult women who attended these classes and learned, and then there were leadership skills that were learned at the same time.


The upholstery classes were... upholstery is a hard job, it's hard work, it's expensive to buy all of the materials to even be in the workshop, but the satisfaction that they got from having a chair that they had re-upholstered and it was beautiful, it was just like new. It was a wonderful feeling that they had of an accomplishment that they were very proud of. Furniture re-finishing kind of fell in the same category of being able to make like new that old furniture that looked so horrible before. Those were workshops that were not just one meeting, they were... the upholstery workshop would try to find a place where we could do the workshops and leave the chairs because that was something that would be hard to take home every day and then bring everything back the following week. Very intense training program, and some followed through and actually made careers of doing some of the work that they had learned through Extension.

But the Extension study groups ranged in age from newlyweds to seniors, and I think specifically of a group in Bend where it was a nutrition program that was offered. There were these two people who would always be the leaders because they were such good cooks. In my eyes, they might have been good cooks but they were also good leaders; they knew how to re-teach the people in their groups. In Deschutes County we had at one time we had 36 groups that met monthly, and then we added to those 36 groups young homemaker groups specifically. And oftentimes the young homemaker groups would meet at night because more and more, the young homemakers were working during the daytime, but they still wanted to be able to develop new skills to make them be better homemakers. The Extension study groups, because of the times, because of many women working again, the need for those groups has minimized and I'm not sure I can put my finger on why that is the case. The technology that has come forth, the prepared foods... we can make a list a mile long of the reasons why the programs aren't the same as they used to be.

EU: So when you moved to Deschutes County you lived in Redmond?

JS: Right.

EU: And you soon had 2 children?

JS: Yes.

EU: Was it unusual for a woman to be working and have a career?

JS: Well, it became more common as it happened. It was hard work, sure. You do a day of training and come home and you think, "Oh, what can I fix for dinner?" And my husband was very helpful in helping to raise the children. He had a job at Healy's Furniture that he could closed; when he locked the front door to the furniture store; it was easy to forget his job. My job entailed a lot of night meetings. It entailed traveling to Corvallis for training to help me be a better teacher, to help the people that I worked with in the counties. There were pluses for having this job because of what I learned from working with people and what I learned from Corvallis. We had specialists in each of the fields that we worked with, and the family life specialist, Roberta Anderson, you have in the archives. And Roberta just lived her job, just did a beautiful job of helping us to help the people in our counties with programs.

The programs were determined by an advisory committee in each county, and this was a membership of 15 to 18 people that would determine each year what our programs might be for the following year. And so we would attempt to have a variety in the programs, we'd attempt to determine what the needs were. And any one given year there might be more concentration of food programs. There was a period of time when sewing and learning to use a sewing machine and learning how to take care of it, learning how to do different construction... tailoring for example, as compared to making a blouse or... there was a push to, at one time, for making men's shirts. Well I don't know very many women today that make men's shirts because of the other involvements that women become interested in and participate in. Many of them are working and there isn't time to make shirts. There were times when a sewing machine was a necessity in a home; that isn't true anymore. I'm not sure who takes care of the mending, maybe it's just throw it away.

EU: I think that happens, that's what I tend to do. Let's take another break.

JS: Okay.

EU: This is the end of Part 2.


Elizabeth Uhlig: This is Part 3 of the Extension Service Oral History with Jane Schroeder, Schroeder.

Jane Schroeder: Well let's talk about that.

EU: Okay.

JS: Vick was German, grew up in a German community and the Schroeder, the "oe" in Schroeder was an umlaut and that was pronounced "Schrader". Well the umlaut got dropped, but the pronunciation didn't. Vick's philosophy on his name is he'll answer to either one.

EU: (Laughter) Either one, okay. But it is "Schrader".

JS: Yes. We say "Schrader" but if you call me for dinner and call me "Schroeder" I'll still be there.

EU: You'll still come, okay. So you moved to Deschutes County in 1959.

JS: Right.

EU: And did you always then in the rest of your Extension Service career work in Deschutes County?

JS: Uh, no. In Deschutes County... and I lose track of times of when all of this took place. The older I get the more I forget, but the... in '59 when we moved to Deschutes County, I was pregnant with our daughter Jenny, and so I didn't intend to work right away. But as it turned out, two months after we moved to Redmond, the Extension agent that had worked there moved to another county, and so I had an opportunity to take a job. During that 2 months I joined an Extension study group before I had taken the job in Deschutes County, and I can remember a gal by the name of Evelyn Youman [?] that... I lived in her neighborhood and she invited me to go to an Extension study group and I thought, well I'd like to do that. That would be a fun experience. And so I took... that year I took a lesson from the Extension agent that was there and did a program. And when they found out that I was an Extension agent... I didn't tell them I had been and Extension agent... Evelyn just came unglued. "You cheated on us! You didn't tell us that you were an Extension agent." But she was one of our best leaders and really did a thorough job of taking a lesson back to her group.

Our daughter was born in August and we had moved there in July, so there wasn't much time. It was... it's hard to remember but I think I probably was not working for a period of 4 months after Jenny was born. And then when the job for Extension agent opened up, it just seemed natural to go ahead and apply and go back to work.


EU: So you were the home ec agent.

JS: Right.

EU: Were the programs that you offered in Deschutes different then from the programs in Wasco County?

JS: The process was exactly the same where we would... the different groups would bring leaders in, and one of the things that I did concentrate on in Deschutes County that I didn't spend a lot of time on in Wasco County was the organization of new groups in the different communities. When I came to work in Deschutes County there were probably 11 study groups in various areas in the county. La Pine was a... the southernmost point of Deschutes County for people to live in Deschutes County, then it moved into Klamath County. Some of the people... there was a group that was in La Pine, but because the community was small, the activity that revolved around the study group was more than in some of the other communities because that was the social time that the women really enjoyed getting together and there wasn't the interference of a lot of other activities. And La Pine was 50 miles south of Bend. In order to take the trainings that we offered they would drive from La Pine to Bend for the trainings and always they were the first ones to be present. They were always there on time, and they would... their attendance for their group was probably the best of any of the groups. It just was a part of... there wasn't the interference with other activities to prevent them from having a group that really enjoyed what they were doing. And some of the best 4-H leaders that we had, some of the best activities that happened in those communities revolved around the Extension home economic study group. The ... I think there were 11 groups in Deschutes County and I kept working in the different communities and getting groups together and I think when I retired we had 36 groups.

EU: Some of these groups... you talked about some of the food and nutrition... what about home furnishings or kitchen design?

JS: Home furnishing... Kitchen designs... there were programs that we did that we involved the total family. We involved... I think of a kitchen planning group that we did in Bend, where the husband and wife signed up for the classes and they were interested in remodeling their kitchens and we had some good examples of working through, building a design and doing the kitchen remodeling. And the men enjoyed those classes as much as the women, and hopefully learned to think of their needs and what they could afford as a result of the teachings of the kitchen planning. One of the things that evolved from this kitchen planning program was my interest in this from the very beginning, and after I retired I became a kitchen and bath planner and did it for a living for 20 years.

EU: In Redmond?

JS: In Redmond.


EU: Did you have your own shop then?

JS: I worked out of my home. I went to work to work for a company in Bend, Kitchen Concepts, and worked there for 3 years and then I decided I could free lance on my own as well. Designed some beautiful kitchens that they were proud of and I was proud of. And even though I'm retired, right now I weakened and agreed to do a design and so when I get home I'm going to follow through, the kitchen cabinets are about ready to be installed.

EU: So you still... you're still active in that then?

JS: Yes. I'm retired. The only time I do it is somebody twists my real hard. This is a beautiful home that was built in 1941, and they decided to keep part of their cabinets. And the home was built by a lumberman so the wood...everything was just top-notch in choice woods. And the fellow who built the home was a real clown and he did funny things in the home that were unique and you'll never see again. And one of the things that he did in their playroom was to... instead of mounting the window straight up and down like it usually installed, he put it at an angle. Another thing he did was to inset in the linoleum in the bathrooms, he did an inset of an outhouse. Another thing he did was put some plumbing at the front door, so that when somebody came to the door... when a salesman came to the door that they didn't want to see, they could see who it was by the way the house was built, and they could push a button and drown him with water. (Laughter) So the home is... was beautifully designed and built and it's... they're restoring and modernizing it right now...

EU: But keeping some of those old unique features.

JS: Right. And the cabinets that were in the original were just as beautiful as when they were first built. So they're doing the lower cabinets and changing the color schemes and the floor and the things to bring it up to 2007 look.

EU: Does your husband work with you on any of this? I mean with his background in the furniture stores?

JS: Well, probably had to put up with me on it. (Laughter) He... to use as an example, when he was in Kansas and after the service, after he got back from the service, he was going to be... his dad was going to let him get into the business and for one reason or another his dad didn't want to quit and Vick decided he was tired of waiting so that's when he came west and we got married. But he... in the furniture store he was up to snuff on all of the new stuff that was being made and when he got his first job with the Heallys [?] in The Dalles, then that's why we moved to Redmond because the son wanted the other stores and he didn't want the one in The Dalles so then in Redmond he managed that store for Bill Heally [?]. And then after, oh I'm not sure what year... we decided that he'd like to own a store and so we bought a furniture store in Madras, and that's when we moved to Madras. I can't even remember the year. It must have been 1969, '70. Time goes by so fast. And we owned the store for 8 years and decided to move back to Redmond. And as it turned out, I was doing more and more tri-county work in Jefferson, Deschutes, and Crook Counties. And Redmond kind of seemed to be the hub of that. And because of the Deschutes County agent at that time when I moved back was moving to another area.

EU: So when you moved to Madras then, you were the agent in that was Jefferson County?

JS: Yes.

EU: And so you were the home ec agent.

JS: Right. And during the time I worked in Jefferson County, Ivy Hilty was the Extension agent at Warm Springs, the Indian Reservation. And Ivy and I exchanged programs back and forth from time to time. And she would help me with my programs and I would help her with her programs. And Ivy did a lot of one-to-one work with the Indians and she had groups that met regularly and it was a wonderful experience in working with the Indians because of their ability to not be uptight over time. The meetings were... I'm not sure how to describe it. The time for the Indians isn't... it's important but it isn't... it isn't always a priority for being on time. This sometimes frustrated Ivy because of being there to do a program. It's... they continue to... modernize their way of, the American way. And I think all of us are guilty of ready-mades and that's changing the needs for some of the trainings and that's the advantage of advisory committees, to determine what is needed in the future.


EU: So did you have advisory committees at Warm Springs then that would help decide and plan?

JS: Ivy did. And they... their programs were... some of the programs that they were interested in would be similar to the ones that we did in Jefferson County. The Jefferson County was a much... the geography of the communities in Jefferson County were much closer together than those in Deschutes County. And Prineville, I remember doing an upholstery workshop in Prineville which was in Crook County, and it was in Paulina, and Paulina is probably 60 miles from Prineville... 50 miles... it's a long ways I know, especially from Redmond. And the satisfactions of that workshop were just tremendous. And they would come from all over, it was an agricultural area, rural area, and they didn't live very close together but they'd be there by 10 o'clock and worked like troopers. We worked in a grange hall and we could leave the furniture right there so that over the 6 week period they would bring their chairs and drag them out from the corner that they'd stored them in and all went home with a finished product.

EU: Can you talk a little bit about quote "the rural areas"? I mean, compare the services in cities, Extension Services in cities to rural areas?

JS: The programs... I guess I don't... I think of Central Oregon as being a rural area. Is that your impression?

EU: Yeah. But again you have cities. I mean, small cities but...

JS: The... I think there were... I think with the programs that we've had in the past; there was a greater interest in some topics because of the nature of the program. I'm trying to think of an example that, where there was a greater interest. And upholstery might be one. The people in the rural areas had time to work on fixing up their furniture and whereas those in the more populated communities, like Redmond and Bend, there were other conflicts so they didn't have time to do that, the same work. That's just... same with furniture refinishing. And yet the satisfaction of the time that they gave to that project was real rewarding for them, even in the more populated areas. The need... I think of a time when we did an upholstery workshop and I said, "If you're here... if you have one piece of furniture that needs to be upholstered and that's why you're here, you may be ahead of the game to have it done professionally than to go to the expense of buying the equipment that you need to refinish it. But if you have several pieces that need this work down the road and you want to learn how to do it, then that's fine. Its worth what it's going to cost you to go ahead and be serious about this? But if you only have one chair, you're probably better off to have it done by somebody else. And very seldom did anybody drop out.


EU: You mentioned a couple of times the tri-county areas? And so could you talk a little bit about the structure of the Extension Service in these... and did your job change when you had responsibilities for the 3 counties?

JS: During the time I was agent, there were... there was an agent in Crook County, a home economist in Crook County and there was a home economist in Jefferson County and one in Deschutes County. Oftentimes when we would go into the other counties would be when they quit and they had not filled that position, and so we would go in and do programs based on what they had planned in each of the counties. And each county had an advisory committee, and so we would... I would stick with the programs that they had planned. There were some programs that we would do on a tri-county basis, and of course the fairs... each county had their own separate fair and we would exchange back and forth as judges for in the 4-H program as well as the adult, what they call open class programs, where they would compete. A project that has started since I was an agent in Deschutes County was a real fun thing activity that takes place because we always felt so bad wasting the food, but yet when they exhibit a cake to be judged to see for quality product, here this beautiful cake was sitting there for the public to look at for a week depending on how long the fair is, and then you had to throw it away. Well what they're doing in Deschutes County now is take that cake and cut a piece of cake and display it, and then they put the other cake out for anybody that walks by that wants to sample it. Wouldn't that be a fun thing? And that way it doesn't go to waste.

The programs in the tri-county areas... I'm not sure I know how to describe this... Each county did their own program planning so there may have been duplicates on the programs that were offered and they may have had a completely different agenda. The programs are planned for a year ahead and the pattern for the study groups was to not meet during the summer time and then start in September, just like school, and then finish just because of summer activities that would interfere with trying to continue during the summer months. The programs varied and sometimes as we would offer programs depending on the skills of the Extension agent, the specialists that does the teaching from Oregon State University would come and do the program in the county. One program that we did for a number of years in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson Counties was a Christmas program, getting ready for Christmas. And we each would have our topic that we would present and the attendants for those programs; it was a public meeting, not for the study groups. It was just a total county-wide offering, and they didn't have to be study group members to attend. And we think we did some pretty good programs that were fun, but they might not have been programs that would be recommended by the University, so those were discontinued. But it was a fun event.


EU: Could you talk a little bit about the relationship between like an agent and the county with Corvallis, with the University, with the Extension Service at the University here?

JS: In the home economics program when I first started, back in 1952, there were specialists... As an example we had a family life specialist, we had a nutrition specialist, we had a clothing specialist... I said family life, didn't I? And so if our local county advisory committee had a program that they... we feel inadequate in and have not had the training... Well I'll use upholstery as an example. If I learned how to upholster from the specialist, the home furnishing specialist on campus and then taught that program to the people... sometimes that specialist would come out and do the training. That's not a very good example. If I can think of another activity... but the specialists enjoyed coming out into the county because they're just like we were, they learned by doing and by what the people were wanting to learn. Roberta and her family life experiences as a specialist, we just loved to have Roberta come out and do the program because she did it so well.

EU: This is Roberta Anderson?

JS: Yes. Who was a family life specialist for a number of years on campus. The home furnishing specialist, Dorothy Brown, I don't know whether you've met her or not, but Dorothy just loved to come out to the counties and do the programs, but it would be impossible to do that in all of the counties all of the time. And so we agents would come in for trainings to help develop our skills so we in turn could help with the other programs in our counties. And when we did our Christmas specials, each of us had our own skills that we would use and then we'd share all of those with all the counties, which made it a much easier... and sometimes we would involve some of the people that are in the study groups that were particularly skilled in leadership, that would help do those presentations.

EU: There seems to be a real network in the Extension Service, mainly what we're talking about with the women in home ec between the University and the counties and the people you serve. I mean, it just seems like a real strong structure for promoting and serving women.

JS: Definitely, definitely. And now that there are fewer and fewer home economics specialists to help with those programs, the ones that come forth that still continue to meet are because of the experience they've had in the past that makes them be a stronger group. And I'm not sure I'm describing that real well, but in some of the counties, those groups even though they have no help from Oregon State anymore because of lack of personnel, continue to meet and still the membership is learning what they want, they themselves want to learn. There's less group... or, planning for the total counties, it's more on an individual basis.

EU: When I interviewed Roberta Anderson, she talked about, or asked me to ask you about... in 1970's there was a re-organization in the Extension Service and... what about the role of the women supervisors? Did that change?

JS: It did. There used to be a team, a man and a woman. The man particularly, not necessarily agriculture and the woman home economics, but it was a leadership team that would help us as agents in the county do our jobs better. And the... I'm sure the reason, one of the reasons that that was cut back to just a man was budget reasons, lack of money, you know. Money isn't everything but it's way out ahead of whatever's in second place. And so I think that did affect programs to a certain extent.


EU: Was that a frustration for you and the counties?

JS: It wasn't for me because I'd been around a hundred years, but for those who were beginning and needed help, I imagine it was a frustration. They felt that maybe the rug had been pulled out from underneath them, that made it more difficult to make their program presentations. The programming oftentimes unfortunately is controlled by money, and what can be done in the counties. Deschutes County, the Cooperative Extension Service, when they use the term "cooperative," that means cooperative between federal, state, and county. And part of the money... the majority of the money came from federal, part of it came from state, and then the counties a very small amount. Well more and more, the counties have gone to much more money from the county than from the state and federal. And so that organization structure has changed through the years. The year I retired in 1980, the Deschutes County I think was second in the state to change their funding pattern, and more county money came in to the use, to the Extension service budget. And from the county standpoint... I can't remember for sure, but it was, it seemed like such a small amount for the county, and then by law that increases each year 6%, and it had to be voted on by the citizens in Deschutes County and it carried because we worked hard at explaining the reason for it, and so it's still in effect in Deschutes County. I can't speak for the other counties but I know that... the federal funds have dried up considerably from what it used to be when I started in 1952. But the Land Grand Universities, in every state there are federal funds then that can be utilized by the state and the counties, and that is diminishing through the years and so other alternatives for fundraising had to be done.

EU: Okay let's stop here. This the end of Part 3.


Elizabeth Uhlig: This is Part 4 of the Extension Service Oral History with Jane Schroeder.

Jane, could you talk a little bit... we... in listening to your stories you've talked a little bit about the changes that have happened in the years that you worked for the Extension Service. Can you talk a little bit about that change and how that's... what impact that has had on serving the people?

Jane Schroeder: I think as a family growing up in today's world, they are faced with so many more things than what families used to be faced with. Let's just take the computer as an example. And that computer has opened the world to answer questions that a lot of people might have. And of course we are all at different levels in obtaining that information, but it's made life be a different world entirely. And so there may be a less opportunity for some people there's a less need for the structure of the study groups and, as it used to be. There's something missing by not getting together as a group and missing the opportunity for group learning has been minimized by the forces, this is my own personal opinion, minimized by the forces that are available to us today for continued education. And that is received by families in a different way, and that may be good and it may not. It depends on the person and how industrious they are to seek that information. The need for information; use food, nutrition as an example. The homemaker today is faced with a lot of decisions that are difficult to get an answer for, and they don't realize that there could be an opportunity to help solve that and enjoy family living as well. That's not very well described, but it's a busier world.


EU: Latte stands on every corner...

JS: Right, right. It... being an old retired agent, I can look back and look at the experiences that so many people gained and I feel that people are losing something by not continuing to do that, but because of the outside forces that are there today... and forces isn't the right word, but the outside opportunities that are there today are so much broader than they were back in 1952, 1960, and so forth. It's just a different tone in education.

EU: Looking at the past 100 years of the Extension Service history, if you could describe just briefly what you think the goal of the Extension Service is when you worked there, for example.

JS: Well the real short goal is to help people help themselves, and there's nothing wrong with that still today. But the way that they help themselves is different today than it was in 1952, and the... the opportunities to find the answer for family living are probably the same today as they were back then, but how people handle this is different. I'm not sure I like that technology, but it can be confusing for some; need for it is still there, but there are so many opportunities out there that weren't there back in 1952. And some people handle this well and some people don't.

EU: How do you think... what do you think the legacy of the Extension Service is, and do you think that... how do you think it might be different 20 years from now, 50 years from now?

JS: That's the magic wand isn't it? I think there's still a need for it, and part of the need comes from human relationships and the togetherness of a community. The history... I'm on the historical commission for Redmond, the City of Redmond, and the history of Redmond is fascinating if we have all of the pieces that continue along as we live our lives in Redmond, Oregon and the struggles that went along with even having a good water system, for example. Its education falls along with that, and the opportunities for education for a woman today is greater, broader, and so Extension service is playing a lesser role today than it did 25 years ago. And that may work for some people in a community like La Pine, that's a long ways from a civic center, that may be... that's more important. The Extension service would still be just as important, if there was the leadership to make it happen. So... I'm not sure that's a good description but it's a fact, and I think the computers have made probably one of the biggest differences. That computer, that little old box has so much information in there that we've never tapped, but it takes the knowledge to be able to tap it, to take advantage of that knowledge.


EU: And maybe... One thing I wanted to ask you about is... you said once... you had two careers after you retired, and one was with your kitchen and bath design business, and I understand you've done some traveling?

JS: Well my husband and I organized a travel business for seniors. I went to work for a travel agent, with the idea of doing group tours. And so, very selfishly, we decided we'd like to pick where we want to go and take some people with us. And some of the group leadership skills that I learned as an Extension agent made that job easier because one of the things we used to do in Extension Service often time was to do tours of homes and more local types of things. But over the next 20 years we've probably organized 80 different tours that have gone all the way from Australia and New Zealand to Europe, to you name it! It could be as far away as Australia and as near as Pendleton, Oregon, because every community has something that they are proud of and would like to share. And the comradeship of the people that traveled with us was wonderful. We might go by air, we might go by bus... it's been a fascinating world, and great people that have traveled with us.

EU: So probably the woman who wanted to leave Kansas for Oregon, I mean, that interest in the wider world is still much a part of your life.

JS: Yep. And I haven't been to Iceland yet, I haven't been to Russia or India. There's a lot on the list still to see.

EU: Are there other areas that you think we didn't cover that you'd like to add?

JS: It's a good feeling to think of this career. I've enjoyed it very, very much, and I've been the one that's benefited the most from it, I think. It's... there are some wonderful people out there, and it's a good feeling to know that you've helped people live a more enjoyable life, made life easier for them, and yet I always yearn to be able to help the person that didn't know how they could be helped. And I think of a story, a family interest story. A woman that came to an Extension group, that had four children, that was struggling to raise those four children, and the good results that she got from being a part of that group and how it may have sparked her; her interest may have started through an Extension group, of wanting to do more for her family. And she was real skilled at sewing, and with four children she had an opportunity to really use that sewing and she just was a real supporter of Extension and what she had learned through her study groups, through her 4-H... her children in 4-H club work, and then her husband lost his eyesight and she decided to go ahead and get her GED and go on to college because she knew she'd have to support her family. And she just... I think Extension needs to take part of the credit for helping her with her enthusiasm and what her needs were. And she took advantage of that situation and is a wonderful homemaker that has broadened her knowledge and the knowledge of her family and her community.


EU: So when we talk about the legacy of the Extension Service, and your legacy, is the help that you've given to these people.

JS: Right. To help people help themselves.

EU: Alright well thank you very much, and thank you for the oral history.

JS: Well, I've enjoyed talking about a wonderful career.



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