The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Andy Landforce Oral History Interviews

May 2013 - October 2015 – 11:00a.m.

Video: “Growing Up, the OSC Years, Pearl Harbor and the 1942 Rose Bowl” . May 22, 2013

Location: Landforce residence, Corvallis, Oregon.
Interviewer:  Mike Dicianna

1:17:30 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


Mike Dicianna: To begin, this is the first session of oral history interviews with Mr. Andrew Landforce, better known as Andy. This interview is taking place on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 at one o'clock in Andy's home in Corvallis, Oregon. Present are Mike Dicianna, oral historian; Deborah Landforce, Andy's daughter; and of course, Mr. Andrew S. Landforce. This recording will be used for the Oregon State University Archives and all the forms for the release of the materials obtained today will be signed and on file.

Let's just begin with a short biographical sketch such as where you were born and a little bit about your early days?

Andy Landforce: Well yes, thank you. I was born Andrew Nicholas Swanson on February the 7th, 1917 in Seattle Washington to Clara and Jim Swanson. When I was about three years old (three and a half), my birth mother gave me to Else Landforce, which is her sister, and Mr. Landforce, which is the husband. And that was another lucky break in my life; to tie in with the Landforce's on a small farm with chickens, and pigs, and ducks, and cows to milk, and to develop a sense of responsibility and teamwork as I helped the family along. I lucked out in having a family that shaped me up when my behavior wasn't according to the ethics of my family. My family had a marvelous standard of conduct, and lived by a philosophy that when you have enough, you are reaping the rewards of life by being satisfactory, satisfied, and content. That philosophy prevailed throughout my life. I went to Snoqualmie school system there. [0:04:17]

MD: Basically, how was your childhood in Washington during the 30's? Were you a good student at school?

AL: With the philosophy in the background that I had, it was work, eat, and sleep. I lucked out in many regards; one was when I got into high school. I had an experience in high school that has shaped me the rest of my life, it's become a goal. It was because of football. I'm a farm boy in a lumbering town, and I turned out for football when I was fourteen years old. And I didn't know many of the kids, because in the summer they could go swimming and so on and I had hay to do, and beans to pick, and had to can the peas, and the beets, and the carrots, and so on. So you were cooperating with your parents. So I turned out for football, and Mrs. Landforce (which I call her mother, and Mr. Landforce father or Father Landforce) did not want me to go out for football because I was expending all of that energy when there was work to do. But Father Landforce said it would be good for him. He would need the fellowship, and companionship, and the discipline in playing a game.

So I went out for football, and it was kind of fun. I mixed with these fellas and found out I could run just about as fast as they could. And then when it came to tackling, I could tackle from the sideways, but I couldn't tackle straight on. The coaches said, "Hey, you got your padding on your head and shoulders, and power in your legs, just hit the guys at the knees and just keep running under them, and that's all there is to it."

Well, I couldn't do it. I was fourteen years old, and started milking the cows. Father Landforce is a good example of parents that stay in communication with their children. Because then I would talk to him about the experiences I was having at practice. And I was coping with a number of different things. One day, I came home, and was sitting there milking the cows – and you know when you milk the cows and you start on an empty bucket, you can hear it when it squirts in the bucket. And Father Landforce says, "Well how was practice today?"

I didn't want to answer. I said, "I quit."

Pretty soon he said, "Andrew, you let yourself down. You had a responsibility to the coach. What did the coach say? You had a responsibility to the coach and the other fellas you are playing ball with. You need to tell the coach you want to quit. Talk to him about it." No way can I talk to a man like that. I lay awake not wanting to talk to the coach that I quit.

The next day in school, we went into the study hall and the coach, Coach Clay, said, "Andy, we missed you at practice last night."

There was my break, so I went to coach and said, "I quit."

"Oh, Andy, we missed you. You could be a pretty good player. Why did you quit?"

"I can't tackle going straight on. The guys are starting to call me a sissy, and I can't take it. And I just can't tackle straight on."

"Oh, these are juniors and seniors, and Andy, when you get to be a junior or senior this is all different. You're not very big right now but you're going to get bigger. And you can run faster than most of those fellas, and you're one of our best tacklers on the open field. You have learned how to do that, so we'd like to have you come out. I think you should do it."

So I did. About half way through the season, Art Martindale is backing up the line. Unbeknown to me, the coach comes up and says, "They're making a lot of yards around end. Go in and take Art's place, and they may come through the line." Oh, my gosh, my heart was beating. I went out there and visualized all of the things I had to do if they came through the line. They opened a hole between Gene Phillips and Thurston Hogue, and here come the ball carrier right at me. And I remember I put my head my head down, and I hit him right under the knees, and he's on top of me, he made a yard. Okay, every time I see a ball player stand up and shout, I had the feeling "bring on the whole team", a tremendous sense of achievement and accomplishment. The next play was around then I dropped him for two yards. I ducked through the blocker. So I went off the field, stood by Coach Clay, went into the locker room, stood by him. After the locker, he was talking to a fella, and I stood by the coach. Nothing, nobody said nothing.

I go home and come through it and get the bucket and go out with Father Landforce, and he said, "I understand you played Issaquah today. How was the game?" I said, "I got to play a couple of plays today. I visited with the coach, I did everything, and nobody said a word about me tackling. And I did it, father. I tackled him and smeared him down." And silence, I hear nothing.

"You know Andrew, I've been thinking about that. The coach didn't have any reason to compliment you."

"What do you mean, man?"

"Andrew, you just did what you're supposed to do." How many times in our lives as we went on, we worked on something personal that was difficult, we accomplished it, we just did what we're supposed to do? Then his next thing was, "Hey, when we're working our best and working for things it's immature to expect to be complimented. We should enjoy the fruits of achievement or failure because you can advance and grow on both of them." [0:11:38]

MD: That's just wonderful. I was reading up on you, and I found a reference in a 2008 article that talks about before you went to Oregon State College that you spent two years of aiming hydraulic cannons in the Alaskan hillside in search of gold? What's that story all about?

AL: The day after high school, the Depression is on. It's 1935-1936, I'm going to graduate. I'm raised by a family that says when you graduate from high school, you are on your own. You pay board and room, or work it out on the farm, but you get a job. I'm delivering milk to people who do not have work. The line is long at Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company, you can't get a job. I have a brother that's five years older, that's gone to Alaska. Communications with him said, "You might be able to find work up here."

I experienced that kind of love that you can't identify. It's that which builds respect and allegiance for the rest of your life. Father Landforce took me and Tom Holstein (Tom Holstein played ball with me all four years), and I had a wonderful girl friend, who was a girl friend – no commitments. Tom, Shirley, and Father Landforce took me to Seattle and put me on the USS Yukon, and just before we left he said, "Now Andrew, if you run out of money, we can sell a calf. Wire us, and we'll send you money." Mike, that's love, unqualified love.

I went to Alaska, and sure enough, I got into Fairbanks and I couldn't get a job. I went out there at the Fairbanks Exploration Company, gold mining, and I stood in line. I'm a kid, I'm nineteen years old. I come up to that line, and there's Mr. Fenton, he was employing these people. Of course, I'm just a kid, so I couldn't get a job, and I can understand that. Well, I ran out of money, so I couldn't pay the hotel-man, and I didn't want to wire money from home. So anyway, he saw my situation. I said, "I know how to work, and I can pay you someday." He said, "Okay well, we'll put you on the cuff. Do you not have any money to eat, do ya?" I said no, so he loaned me money.

I took some of that money, and bought some stamps and stuff to write home, but I wrote Mr. Fenton a letter, and said, "Hey I need a job. I'm the kid that comes up and asks you for work." So there became a job open on Gilmore Creek, forty-five miles out of town, there's a big old rig that goes out there once a week. There's no union, so they sent three of us out for one job. This is thawing land in front of dredges so that bulldozers push off all of the vegetation down to gravel. And we take pipes (like ordinary garden pipe) with nozzles on the end and run hot water down it. You stick this pipe in the ground that then you have a twenty-five pound hammer that clamps onto it and a rubber hose with a big main line of hot water. You put that into the ground, and that hot water melts a long distance, about six inches. So they sent the three of us out, but there was a lot of use, probably ten or twelve, out in this big field. So we start across this field, driving this pipe.

I learned when I was about twelve years old to read nature – understand what nature is trying to tell you and your situation. And so when I would hit that pipe with the hammer, I got four or five inches. After the second blow, the third blow, I was just kind of bouncing. I said, "Hey, wait a minute, I'm only gonna hit it twice." Pretty soon I'm out in front. I drove more footage of pipe in the ground than the old timers did. I got the job. That lasted me for two summers. Ten hours a day, seven days a week, from thawing to freeze up. [0:17:08]

MD: I'm reading your history that your daughter gave me that "getting away from common labor" was your quote. I know that this job had a lot to do with your decision to go to Oregon State College, because you wanted to get away from common labor?

AL: Right. And so right there, I got the job and had thawed enough land for the hydraulic. Then I was put on the hydraulic gold mine, which are these nozzles that are spraying powerful sprays of water that pushes the rest of the gravel down to sluice boxes. So I went from driving points onto a bull gang at Gilmore camp. And then I stayed with that all summer. I wintered over with my brother on a gold mine claim. The next summer then, of all things, at 19 or 20 years old, I got appointed foreman. Hey, wait a minute, I went from sixty-two and a half cents an hour to sixty-five cents an hour, and my friends back home would get a job with fifty cents an hour. So what happens, you live at nineteen or twenty years with a bunch of fellas that are up there, a few alcoholics and some drug and other people, so the morals and behavior and so on up there...So I know what it is to be hated, not to be liked at all. And so there's got to be a better way to make a living than common labor.

I wrote to Mr. Ronnick and Snoqualmie Falls lumber company and I said, "Okay, I want to be a meat cutter, an apprentice meat cutter, and eventually own my own butcher shop. So I'm going to go home to Snoqualmie, Washington, back to the Landforces." And so when I go up to the railroad station in Fairbanks, Alaska, one of the biggest events that happened in my life. I went in and I said I wanted a first-class passage back to Seattle. And the ticket master looked me over and said, "Do you have a coat and a tie?"

I said, "No, I've got my clothes and everything is in this pack board."

"I can't give you first-class, but I can give you second-class."

"I want second-class then", because it saved me money. My money was spent on clothing, and new shoes, and gloves and stuff. Anyway, that was the start because when I got on the ship in Seward Alaska and was going to go to Seattle, also Clarence Rhodes [?] was the director of the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey at Oregon State for Alaska. We became friends because I walked into the room and there was six people around a table and there was one space. I sat down and here's a patch on his left arm. We became friends and when we stopped in Juneau, two o' clock in the morning, this man and I went up to his office and got the address. He says, "If you go to Oregon State College and graduate in Fisheries and Wildlife, I'll give you a job." I'm out of common labor.

Okay, but a couple of things hit me pretty hard. When I graduated high school, I was recruited by Washington State, Dave Hollinsberry, and Oregon State, Lon Stiner to play ball. When I went to high school, I sized it up that all I needed was a C. I didn't study very hard in high school, can I make it through college? That's why I went to college. I got on a train, and left Seattle, and got down here to 4th Street where there used to be a train station. I took my pack board (or I think I had a suitcase then), and walked up to campus to the Associated Men's Hall, and that's when I went into Poling Hall.

MD: Now, in your early days before college, you've spoken of a couple mentors that you had. Are there any other people in your early days before college that were influential?

The person that was extremely influential to me was Father Landforce because I could talk with him. You're in a society as a boy where you don't debate with adults. You don't share differences of opinion. And you need somebody that listens. I had a man that listened to me. I'd come home, I learned at twelve years old that everyone can be your teacher if you're wanting to learn. The thrill I had at catching some trout and taking them home to Mother Landforce, and then seeing the two boarders that we had eating the fish I caught, I had to do better. I learned from other fisherman how to do that. When I went to high school, I said, "Hey, all I need's a C." Now I thought, "Man that's going to be tough going to college." But Father Landforce was one who said when I go to college I am going to go and match, like I was. "Oh no Andrew," he says, "I think you should join an organization. You should live with people, because they will teach you so much. You will learn about life."

Probably one other person was Mr. Schussman, the principal of the school. He was one that when I did real well in football, or basketball, or track, he then pointed out that I am part of a team. I ran seventy-three yards for a touchdown one day, and he called a student body meeting to point out how Pat Carrol had taken out the blockers. That to me is fabulous. That man came – when I was milking the cows I looked up and see the superintendent of the school sitting there behind those cows – and he wanted to talk to me about not getting a big head, about humility. I had a visit with him about how everybody helped me. I didn't do that myself. And to be sure to credit people that help you along. And then, listen to them. They're looking at you different than you're looking at yourself.

That was a mentor, but the big thing was Father Landforce. I shared with him everything. The thrill of catching a ten inch trout, Mother Landforce didn't have time to listen, but he listened to the whole story. I would say one other thing about a mentor. You could get two darn fifty cents to kill a bobcat for bounty. So always had an Norwegian Elkhound dog that we had bought when it was just a pup. Anyway, we get up there. We're going between the Snoqualmie and the Tolt River chasing a dog in the wintertime, at Christmas vacation. It got snow on the ground. I talked with Father Landforce in the woods, because at this time I had gone up in the mountains and gone fishing and hunting, we needed a deer and a bear in the fall every year for food. Sure enough, the dog took off after a bobcat, and we're going through the woods and I can't hear to dog anymore. I'm saying, "Hey, it's getting pretty late. I better go back to camp." I started back to camp, and I run right into my tracks. I'm lost. This is February, and it's going to drop down to 28 or 26. Father Landforce has talked to me about survival. I took a 20 gauge shell, and put it inside a 12 gauge shell and dropped it into wax, you've got the matches inside. They don't get wet from your sweat. So when you find out you're lost, stop. Gather all the wood and everything you can and make a place to spend the night. But I know what it's like to go absolutely hysterical, to lose it. You want to run – but stop. And I often thank you for that council, because I made a fire and sat by it all night, and never experienced any hypothermia or anything like that. So anyway, those are people that really had a bearing on me. [0:27:28]

MD: Let's talk about Oregon State College. One of the things that I wanted to do with this first time we're together, I get a little feel for campus life during your time at OSC from 1938-1942. What were your first impressions of the campus when you first walked on campus?

AL:: I walked from 4th Street right up to the middle of the campus. I remember one of the first buildings that I saw was the Library. It came up right through the trees, and where the trysting tree is right now. And I went from the library when you look across there, to the Ag Hall. And they were big. Then when I came in there to look at the MU, and that quadrangle, I didn't know where I was at. I remember asking a student where was Weatherford Hall, which was the Associated Men's Hall then. And they pointed it out. I walked across that campus and looked at the MU, and I think the Women's Building was there. The Home Ec was off to my right, which was there. I thought, "Wow, this place is big." You know, when you think of the little Snoqualmie High School. But the fear that I couldn't make the studies, and the need for survival my rook year is to fit in. I got the little green cap to put on my head, because every student that came (the women had a green ribbon, the men had a little skull cap that they put on top) was a freshman. I checked into Poling Hall. The freshman answered the phone. So I ran down the hall to get Mike so and so, and the freshman then cleaned up the bathroom. I swept the floors and so on. But I went studying. The first man that roomed with was Eli Switzer from Montana. So we have a club meeting. I start to learn about democracy. We have a club meeting in my freshman year, I'm desperate to make the studies. So in Poling Hall, we have a nice meeting where the club gets together. Everyone's excited, they put a white shirt on and go to the basketball game just down the road... Slats Gill was the coach then. Game time came, and I was in the room and Eli said, "Come on we're going to the game."

"I can't go to the game, I've got to study."

"Make it easier on yourself, come on to the game."

I said, "I just can't do it."

In walks about three or four seniors, they grabbed me, and either you're going to get tubbed in there, or you're going to go to the ball game. I started to learn how you build allegiance for Oregon State College. You start by cooperating, you start by doing the things that everybody else, you start by cultivating an interest that lasted and lasted all the way through. I learned from that. I felt better after I still made the grades. [0:31:40]

MD: I understand that your major shows as Agriculture, but what was your actual major and what kind of classes did you take, and did you have a goal for when you graduated, as far as what your studies were?

AL: You bet. I enrolled in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife that Professor R.E. Dimick had just started. So I'm about the second or third class to start. So you go when you started in as a freshman, you have to pass an English and math and I think a reading or social studies to get into the major, and so not freshman year. But the thing that was encouraging, when I took the entrance exam on math, I passed it. I didn't have to take, and when I took the one on English, I passed it. So I didn't have to take bonehead English. I got into 101 English and 101 Math right off the bat. And then you go into geometry and trigonometry as so on. The curriculum was set up to develop you as a total human being. You don't get into studying the life histories of the moles, and the gophers, and the deer, and the elk, and all the things you were interested in until your junior or senior year.

MD: I know that you're a member of Poling Hall, and that was actually part of Weatherford, it was actually a wing of Weatherford. And you gave us a little bit about your life there, but what was it really like being an independent vs. a member of a Greek fraternity house and how that fit into your overall social life as a student?

AL: Mike, by going into Poling Hall, and answering the phone, and doing the things, and going through the freshman year and sophomore year. I started to play touch football, and then baseball, and going through that. The Associated Halls were Weatherford, Poling, Buxton, Hawley, and Cauthorn. I ended up being President of the Associated Men's Halls. We ate our meals over in the MU. We then had teams (five groups) that we involved with the fraternities on the campus. It was a wonderful life, because in Poling Hall, the leaders were Al Hutchinson and Art Hutchinson, brothers, were leaders in that group. One of the things that I followed through with later on was to round out your life. ..You have studies, but you need to learn to be a human being that fits into society, that pulls your weight. And one of the ways to do it is to develop a social life. Poling Hall was where I started. We would get twenty-five or thirty of the fellas and we would arrange a dance underneath the dome. And the way we would do it, we would contact a girl's living group, wither an independent or sororities usually, and we would invite thirty girls to come up and join thirty fellas. The way we got them teamed up is the girls would send one of her shoes up there, so we'd get thirty pairs of shoes 'give you one, give you one'. Because the feeling was we wanted democracy. We didn't want any choice. We need to adjust to live with everybody. And so we need to have lessons in conduct, so we'd like to have the girls know who we are. We'd change our behavior so they'd like to know. Right off the bat, this informal thing was so friendly. You'd come around and find that you've got the shoe that matches mine. That was one of the many things that we were involved in.

That life was real beneficial. Father Landforce says, "I think you should join an organization with groups." That encouraged me along the line. [0:37:04]

MD: I'm a military historian, mostly World War I, but I'm really interested in the history of World War II. What I really want to get a feel for was on campus, with the students, did they have a sense of what was happening in 1938 or 1939 or 1940 in Europe with Hitler and the beginnings of the war? Was that something that was felt on campus?

AL: In the background of your mind. You started out with it. If you are in the School of Agriculture, you are required to go to ROTC freshman and senior year. And in the infantry, and if you were in business I think you were in infantry, my roommate went in the Navy, which by the way I traveled more miles on the sea than he did. But anyway, in the background of our mind this conflict was reviewed not only in the Barometer, but in our ROTC classes. This is a stark statement. When you get to be a little farther on in ROTC, what you are able to learn and teach and execute may save lives. I think, "Oh no, oh no, that is tremendous responsibility." So it was in the background of our minds all the time. I don't know about the other students, but it didn't matter who it was. In Poling Hall, Bill Weatherford would line us up in formations. I remember thinking, "Oh no no, let us not dramatize the war." Anyhow, yes it was.

MD: When I first saw that you were in school from 1938-1942 my first thought was I've got to ask Andy what was the feeling on campus with your classmates and classes on Monday morning, December 8th, 1941 after Pearl Harbor?

AL: Mike, if you've ever felt weak, empty inside... oh my God. The country's at war, we've been attacked. You can feel this attitude in class and everything. And then it hits. You open up that piece of paper and you are ordered into service right now, in those days after December 8th. You're ordered into service. Mike, that means in those days, you're going to walk off and leave your tuition, you're going to leave everything. You're reporting for duty. I'm a senior, and I'm the president of the student body, and I get this order. Then what am I going to do? Also, I'm a cadet colonel in the ROTC at this time because I elected to take my junior and senior year in the ROTC because I could get paid. Anyhow, the upshot of that was, you were recovering from this and in ROTC this became very serious that you study. But the bombshell dropped when the orders came down to every Japanese student. They were ordered into a concentration camp. This really struck everything. I mean I can remember students coming to me as president of the student body. "This is terrible, these are students. We have classmates. They're citizens." So I got with the president F.A. Gillfillan. He was a second lieutenant in World War I. President Gillfillan and I go down to the commandant at the ROTC office there in Alexander building on the campus. We go in there and talk to the commandant about our concerns of the students there and the inequality, this is just wrong. He looked at us and he said, "Gentlemen, the United State of America is at war. The orders will be carried out." And there we left...

And there is Yoshihara, the right end on the football team, and he's Japanese. And the Rose Bowl is canceled because they couldn't have a big crowd on the west coast. You talk about being down ... and the spirit of the team, everything crumbled. Everything crumbled. Mike, you got me started on this. Because then, where spirits were down, because up until this time, if we played a ball game in California, some of us student leaders were the ones who got the tickets and got to see. And we rented a train and went down there by train and so on. Here, everything is cancelled. And we are not going to go the Rose Bowl. Coach Wade from Duke called Lon Stiner and said to him, "Will you fellas come back here to play the game at Duke if we can get administrative authorization?" Percy Locey was athletic director at the time. It was all cleared that we would go back. The spirit in the whole campus just picked up, and we start coping with the war, and coping with how many of us were left. Because I was president of the student body and had an influential position, I was a cadet colonel; I got deferred until July 14th, 1942 before I went in the service. It was a serious time. You hit a nerve on that, because you are talking to a fella that schemed every possible way to desert the army. There is no way that I could figure out how I could get lost forever and still be a citizen, because you need a job, you will be on a payroll. My brother and I went way out on Nome Creek in the winter of 1936, and people knew those two boys were out there gold mining. You think you're lost, you are not lost, you are known. So you better say, "Well, suck it up and see how long you can last." [0:45:40]

MD: This was something that my heart is just ...full, because this is the one thing that I wanted to hear from your voice. Let's talk a little bit about the Rose Bowl. You made that train trip across the United States with the team. And I understand that you were at the game in the radio booth?

AL: Yes. When you get on a train and you leave here, and you're headed to Raleigh, North Carolina, and we go to Portland and up the Columbia. This was my first time sleeping on a sleeping car, even when we went to USC. Anyhow, so what do you do with the coaches and their wives? We had classes. They coached us on our classwork and the things we had to keep doing. Plus, one of the exercises was – well this was after, I think we stopped in Chicago, maybe in Notre Dame field where we worked out . And then we went from there I remember going to Washington D.C. and going through the Washington Memorial and all those. But someplace back there before, all the ball players were given a slip of paper and they said, "Don't sign your name, but write down one thing you need to do to improve your ball playing. Write it down, and then pass it to the coaches." I remember Lon Stiner saying to Jim Dixon that we learned what we hadn't done. There was a lot of information on where athletes need to improve on. It was a good teaching technique, but Hal Moe and his wife were there at that time with us. .. (recent visit to rest home) She was 102 years old; I visited her here in the manor about a month ago. She remembered me Mike, and she remembered what we did in Durham, and she remembered the banquet, and she remembered the speech that we had.

Here's how I got into the booth with Bill Stern... Duke has a lot of class... They treated us with royalty, and were very hospitable all the way through. We had this very fine banquet were the team from Duke and the team from Oregon State are there, and the coaches, the media, the President of Duke University, and some other folks. Bill Stern is the master of ceremonies. This lovely occasion where Bill introduces the different people and so on, and then Coach Wade made a good speech, a good speech in welcoming the Oregon State football team. Then, Bill Stern, when he was talking about the team, he wanted to introduce Coach Lon Stiner. But he started to introduce the team it was very obvious when he was talking about Duke and when he was talking about Oregon State he knew the ball players in Duke, but he didn't know very much about us. And it got to be quite lopsided. He finally introduced Lon Stiner to the group. And Lon Stiner got up there with a lot of class and a very comfortable demeanor, thanked everybody, but when Bill Stern at the very end said to Lon Stiner about how pleased he was to have the Oregon State team come so far from the west.

We had lost a game in the conference. "Coach Stiner, how do you think your boys from the tall timbers on the Pacific coast will compare against the Blue Devils, champions of the east coast?" And they introduced Lon Stiner. And Stiner got up, and the last thing he said he turned to Bill Stern, and he said, "Mr., Stern, that's a very, very pointed question, and we will give you the answer on the field." When we dressed down for this game, I'm sitting beside Don [?], where we had kind of a camaraderie, "Now, don't goof up today. Today do this and do that." There wasn't hardly a word. I'm sitting there beside Durdan, and you're dressing down, and I'm dressing down with him. We sit there and he ties his shoes, and he busts it. My training from the Depression, we'll tie it up and make it work. But this trainer saw it a brought him a new pair of shoes. I am dressed with Don and the rest of them. And here comes Jim Dixon. And Jim says, "Andy, Bill Stern needs a spotter up there at that broadcast booth. And we'd like to have you go up and join Bill Stern and spot for the team." So I dressed down in street clothes and went up there and introduced myself to Bill Stern. They hand you a piece of paper and a pencil, a tablet. My assignment is: when a play is developed and finished up, who carried the ball? Who did this and that? Who made the tackles? It was fun because we kicked off to Duke, and Lloyd Wickett went down the field and brushed a blocker aside and tackled, and oh what an efficient, clean tackle that was, even though they weren't quite going at each other. Wickett hit him and drove him off to one side. And I thought, "Wow, that's the way we felt in the dressing room. I mean, let's bring on that team." And that set the tone. I didn't have to wait until the play was over, I wrote down Lloyd's name on this thing. And pretty soon Bill Stern says, "Are you sure?" I'd write down if the ball went to a certain play, I knew who was going to carry the ball. So I'd write it down, so Bill Stern asked me to slow down. He wanted to be sure. And I wanted to say, "Well, Mr. Stern, I've been right every time, haven't I?" [0:53:44]

MD: So you're basically doing color for the game like Curt Gowdy or Madden?

AL: Yeah, right. Yeah.

MD: So it was exciting to be at the game, how many students actually ended up back in Durham? Very few I understand.

AL: I was not able to contact any of our students. When I had a little free time, I visited with the President of the student body at Duke. And compared student government, and the philosophy of student government, which was somewhat similar to ours. Their stadium holds 56,000 people. The day of the game, it was overcast, and before the game it had drizzled a little bit. But during the game, I don't remember that it was raining or coming down. But it was a beautiful gray day there. When the game was coming to the end, while it was interesting to be up in that booth because you could feel the pulse of the crowd, and of course the predominant effort and noise was that Duke was favored by a great deal by all the people there.

I had an event that changed my life and gotten me involved at Oregon State. And that was the game we won 20 to 16. When the game was over and people started to file out, just before they started there was a weak applause. And I thought, oh, how wonderful. Here we have a grand social event that there's a certain segment of people that still feel this is a marvelous athletic event, where great athletes get together and perform on the field, and there is a winner and a loser. Duke was able to lose like a man. You win like a gentleman, and you lose like a man. But that was class. And I came back to Oregon State, and was hoping to develop that wonderful feeling so that you would have a good feeling of your comrades and your friends with the University of Oregon, another good institution in this state. And you'd have these fine people on a social event – don't dislike each other. To be a winner in athletics, does not mean you are better than I am. And I still believe it, I still feel that way. But the camaraderie that happens with some of us here, where we joke about the relationship between Oregon State and the University of Oregon, I had to go through the way, and I absolutely cringe when I go through the paper, and they talk about a war, The Civil War. I think oh no, don't the people know what war is? The ought to be a better term to identify our rivalry. Anyway, you got me carried away, Mike. [0:57:14]

MD: Yeah, I've got a question here, and there's no reason to ask it. How proud were you to be a Beaver that day? I think I've got that feeling just being with you.

AL: I was humbled with that audience at the end. And I was proud to be a part of it. The people that I associated with, you never felt a sense of their superiority or anything like that. I felt, I remember feeling a sense of pride that we had played a game fair and square all the way through, and won. I think Duke's class in those few hundred or a thousand people that applauded really hit home with me. So I come away with a sense of appreciation for Duke University. And fifty years later, Mike, we have a reunion of the teams back there in Durham, North Carolina, and they treated us again with a great deal of friendliness and camaraderie, and joking. And Tom Prothro, who had become one of our coaches, with the captain of the Duke team. I remember that hospitality on the 50th reunion. I think twelve of us went back. My wife went back with me on that.

MD: I want to get into politics on campus. We're just now at Oregon State University getting ready to elect their new student body president. The politics are in process right now. I understand that you were one of only three independent Oregon State College presidents in thirty years. Which the Greeks on campus started in 1915, and that's basically all the history of student body presidents, and you were one of three. What was it like running as an independent?

AL: At first, in May 19-whenever it was, I was elected student body president. I had, and still have, great admiration for Ron Davis. He represented the Greek group. We saw eye-to-eye on this. Then later he became president of the Blue Key. Because of this feeling of the independence, we weren't quite as good of people as the fraternity, or as the Greek organization and so on. And I backed off and I said, "Hey wait a minute, we're both Oregon Staters. It doesn't matter where you live. We are here to learn how to make a living. And I'm trying to get away from common labor, and we're all Oregon Staters." I took that stand right from the beginning – that it doesn't matter who you are. It's can you do this job? Can you help us with this Sophomore Cotillion or the Military Ball or different activities that we had?

That was where Slats Gill stepped in and really helped me. I played basketball, I enjoyed it. I lived just a block and a half away from Gill. I loved to go over there and watch practice. And because I would a student in there, Slats and I became acquainted. Then when I became president of the Associated Men's Halls, and he read about it in the paper, we became pretty good friends. And when we started talking about student influence, he like my attitude that regardless of where you live or your affiliation, you're and Oregon State student. He's the one that came along and says, "Now Andy, there's no crime in having difference of opinion. The fault lies in the betterment of your arguments. So have patience and listen." I think I learned from Slats about how difficult it is to listen. Where's the merit in what you're talking about. Don't get carried away and answer on an emotion. Answer on an evaluation or common sense about it. What an assignment: to learn to listen. Because you listen to a person, you're half way through. You've got a prejudice, you've got a feeling, you've got your own thoughts, and you're going to defend them. But you're president. You're assignment is to get the best out of the group. So I'll listen to you, and I'll listen to you, and I'll listen to you, and then I can put some of the merit together. Slats, thank you. We talked quite a bit about student government. So as I became president of the student body, my feeling at that time, and some of student leaders, because the fraternities and the sororities, they did a better job than the independents in teaching manners, allegiance to your organization, coping with conflict within your groups, and then studies. At that time, we encouraged every living organization to compete on the accumulated grade point average because in college, grade point was valuable to the individual. I think it was valuable in the method of getting the grades - your characteristic determination to study or how you could train yourself to concentrate. Frequently the busiest students on campus with things were some of the best chairmen I had, because they could concentrate. They didn't spend a lot of time, not like me that had to go over it, and over it, and over it to get the juice out of what I'm studying. They could concentrate. Again, Bill Weatherly [?], I remember walking into his room at Poling Hall, and he's concentrating so hard he doesn't hear you walk in. Now there's a skill. [1:05:28]

MD: I should aspire to those kind of skills. I noticed that I the 1942 Beaver Yearbook, it has a full page about you, which I've got a copy of that for you. It talks about how you appointed both Greek and independents to the various committees and it seemed like that was a major accomplishment that you, Republicans and Democrats, that type of thing, going across the party lines to make your appointments in your government. Is that something that you were conscious of? Did you really pay close attention to that?

AL: Yes, yes. Mike, there were only 4,500 of us here. And I made a really special effort to know each president of an organization, men's and women's organizations, and some of the other leaders and people. You were an Oregon Stater, not a Sigma Phi Epsilon. Well, Ken Robinson was a Sigma Phi Epsilon, and he agreed with me. I got support from that attitude with the Dean of the women. And the Dean of Men. They picked that up and we had visits about how important it was for a student at Oregon State to get as much training as they could as a student. Somewhere along the line, I think either Slats or George W. Peavy (was president for a while) about involving people in service to the university to build allegiance and pride. I looked for good quality people. Actually, one of the great benefits that the student body president job did was trained me and gave me practice in looking at the good qualities of people, not the negative. I felt good about it went I found admirable philosophy and traits. I can also think of Jim McAllister from Enterprise, Oregon. He was president of the senior class, fine man. Anyway, I can never remember being persuaded, independent versus Greek.

MD: How are we doing? Do you want some water?

AL: Fine as far as I know, you're making me forget that I'm quite a ways down Twilight Lane. I mean, this is just plain fun, thinking about some of these things.

MD: One of the things about being a student body president, you probably have pride in your accomplishments. What was your greatest accomplishment as Student Body President at Oregon State College?

AL: Working with student leaders, F.A. Gilfillan's influence. That if you have a friendly attitude, that you have an attitude that is positive, you can cope with disappointments, and detours you have to take. So we started to say hello to each other as we walked onto campus. Maybe because I remember George W. Peavy and I meeting on the quadrangle, and Peavy said, "Greetings from the Big President to the Little President." And we would walk and visit about student government and every student that I served with, F.A. Gilfillan and his family (wonderful people, by the way) of student interest. Oh shoot Mike, you bring up a thing, when I was working with F.A. Gilfillan again. So what happens, we come back with a victorious team and Rose Bowl, and we end up on the train downtown here and the city gave us a key to Martin Chaves, who was captain of our team. Anyway, I get back up in the MU in my office, and here comes a group of boys, men, and women. "We don't want to go to school tomorrow. We want to celebrate." Well, you go to the President, and ask to have school cancelled. Wow, wait a minute. These are friends of mine, these are student leaders. Ask him to cancel classes. So I went over to his home, his wife answered the door. But anyway, I went over to his home and sat down with the President and told him about this pressure, and he said, "Andy, there is no way that I have the authority to cancel classes. But what if nobody went to class? Can you organize a group of people and get the word out to the campus and everything that you don't need to go to class?" But he said, "I would suggest that you make it into an event. What do you think about having a serpentine of students going through the campus?" I said okay. I go back and get ahold of these leaders, and the next day we've got a PA system that comes off of the MU as the students came on. But we got the word out by telephone to all of the different groups that we were going to serpentine the campus. So F.A. Gilfillan gave us that idea. [1:12:33]

MD: There is just the most wonderful photograph in our archives of that serpentine. I'll get it for you. Just putting that story, and President Gilfillan's approval to it brings this simple photograph about students on campus, to this is what this is all about, our speaking with each other. Now, President Strand, who came in just as you were leaving, did you have any dealings with him at all?

AL: Yes I did, yes. He and I had a good relationship. He was a cowboy from Montana. He hit it off quite well on student government, and he offered me, later after I got connected with the university, to be Assistant Dean of Men, and join Dan Poling, when Dubach retired. One other thing, Strand became one of the County Commissioners here in Benton County, and so we got involved in steelhead fishing and we needed a boat ramp. Frank Parch [?] and I, and Mike Huber [?], and Chris, and anyway, we invited the County Commissioners to go down the river with us. President Strand said, "Andy, don't invite me unless you expect me to go with ya." And he did. I took President Strand down the river, and we got the Millcreek boat launch set up, but Dr. Strand had a lot to do with it.

MD: You've had all these names, August Strand, and President Gilfillan, and George Peavy, these are all now historic names of members of the faculty and past presidents of Oregon State College at the time. We look at them now from a historical stance, but you lived this time with them. Can you think of any of the other deans and instructors I the agricultural department that you had some special relationships with?

AL: You know we were concerned with total development of the student, faculty people were. But also, carried that with us as we came into it from a number of different sources. And so, I took a course in my curriculum, and Professor Dimick was making out my class schedule and he put me down for Agronomy. And I said, "Prof, I am more interested in Mammalogy or the life histories of the different crustaceans or the predator." And he said, "Andy, I want you to have class from George Hyslop. That was an illustration of where you want to just meet the instructor for the influence he has on you as a person. And out of it comes an interest in agronomy ever since. But George Hyslop, they had the farms named after him over here, was that kind of a man that I could talk to about lots of different things. So when you mentioned that, I thought of George Hyslop. [1:17:00]

MD: Now these are all important names for students of today to understand where they come from. You know, what formed Oregon State University of today versus what is was during 1940 or 1939, or for that matter, even 1916, that type of thing. I want to have histories like this by speaking with people like you so that students of today can understand the history of the college that they're part of and have an appreciation for our history. So that's one of the reasons why you're so important, because you know all of these people and you make friends with them.

AL: They were a part of my life where I was very insecure. I wanted to get away from common labor. The other important individual, a terrific individual, was Frank Ballard. Frank was President of Oregon State for a few months, until he got offers. But he became the Director of Extension, that was another person that taught you the importance of a person's approval of their wisdom, I think one of the things that prompted me to get as much good out of Frank Ballard as I could. Frequently when he met you on the campus, you're working for the extension service, and Frank would say, "Well, you've been at it for a year or a year and a half, are you doing any good?" [1:19:06]


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