The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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June McCallister Oral History Interview

July 3, 2014 – 10:00a.m.

Video: “Matriarch of a Five Generation Oregon State Family” . July 3, 2014

Location: McCallister residence, Salem, Oregon.
Interviewers:  Mike Dicianna, Chris Petersen

1:07:13 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


Mike Dicianna: Today is July 3rd, 2014, and we are visiting with one of the matriarchs of Oregon State University—a family that goes back five generations to the origins of our college, almost 150 years ago—June Geil McCallister, the class of 1940.

June McCallister: Right.

MD: Today we're going to be interviewing her. My name is Mike Dicianna, oral historian with OSU Special Collections and Archive Research Center. And I'm accompanied by Chris Petersen, also with Special Collections. So, June let's kind of start a little bit with some biographical information, like where you were born, your childhood. I'm real interested in growing up during the thirties in Corvallis.

JM: Oh, it was a wonderful time to be in Corvallis! I lived down right close to the college, and so I just grew up as a part of the college; knew that I would go there eventually.

MD: And you went to high school at Corvallis High School?

JM: Went to high school there. I started school when I was in the fifth grade at Roosevelt School.

MD: Oh, wow! Now, did you meet your husband when you were in high school?

JM: Yes, my senior year. They had lived in Salem, and because there were three college age children, Doris and Alan and Margery, and Doris and Alan were in college, they decided to move to Corvallis where it would be more convenient. And his father worked for the state, so he could do his business from Corvallis.

MD: Okay, because I saw that—I was looking at some dates and it looked like you guys might have ended up knowing each other before you went to the—

JM: Yeah, yeah.

MD: —before you went to University. So that's pretty interesting. Early school experiences, when you were like in high school—do you remember much about high school, your high school days?

JM: Oh, yes, I do remember a lot about high school. Corvallis High was a great school, and we had a good sports team there, always. And we had a wonderful football coach, Mush Torsen, who was an Oregon Stater, and another one of the coaches that was an Oregon Stater. So we always felt a part of Oregon State as well as Corvallis high School.

MD: Yeah, because the whole city of Corvallis, really, for so long—

JM: Oh absolutely, yeah.

MD: Everything about it was Oregon State. Well, let's move into your college days. You enrolled at Oregon State College in 1937. What were your first impressions of being a college student then, on campus?

JM: [Laughs] Well, it was exciting to be a part of the college, but even at that, I had always felt that I was an Oregon Stater from the time I was in high school. We were—

MD: Now, when you first started you were a freshman, which was known as a rook.

JM: Right.

MD: You were a rookess, and so you had a green ribbon. Tell us a little bit about the green ribbon for being a freshman.

JM: Right. Well, yes. The green ribbon and the rook hat, the green rook hat—the girls all had to wear a green ribbon on Wednesday, and if they didn't they were in trouble. [Laughs] And that year I was one of the ones who caught them if they didn't have their ribbon on. [Laughs]

MD: What were the consequences?

JM: Oh, not bad. It wasn't anything serious, but they were just given a little reminder that this was Wednesday, and it was the day they were supposed to be wearing their ribbon.

MD: Well, I see that your major in college was—you were in Secretarial Science.

JM: Yes.

MD: What type of classes did that involve, when you were there?

JM: Oh, I can't imagine what they're like now. I think of them using computers, and the equipment that they have, and we used the little typewriters [0:05:00], and our books for shorthand. And the teacher stood up and read to us, and we wrote down in shorthand what he was saying. And I'm sure it's a lot different today.

MD: Very much so. Did you have any favorite professors while you were at Oregon State?

JM: Yes, I did, Doctor Yerian, Y-E-R-I-A-N. We all loved him. He was so nice! I think later, after I was out of school, he became the head of the department. But he was very friendly and very good with all of the young people, and we all enjoyed him a lot.

MD: Now, most of your classes were in the Commerce Building?

JM: Oh, yes.

MD: Because that was the School of Business.

JM: That's right. Mm-hm.

MD: Well, one of the things that always interested me on campus is what campus life was like during the different eras of the folks that I speak with. And you were there during the late thirties.

JM: Yes.

MD: And so what about the life in a sorority? You were a member of the Sigma Kappa house.

JM: Yes. I did not live in the Sigma Kappa house until I was a senior. I was the president at that time, and I did live there in the house that year. But I didn't when I pledged, when I was a sophomore.

MD: You lived at home, because—?

JM: Yes, I lived at home.

MD: Yeah, because you could, yeah. And you were president that year?

JM: Yes.

MD: I understand that the presidents of all the different sororities were members of what was called the Standards Committee?

JM: Oh, well there was—

MD: Because I see a picture of you as part of that.

JM: Yes.

MD: And one of the duties of that was to kind of regulate the social rules.

JM: That's right. They kept—they had weekly meetings, and they sort of planned out what was allowed and what was not allowed. And [laughs] what we—the things that were—at that time the sock hops were very popular. On a Friday night, the sororities would all open their houses, and for a nickel a dance, any of the fellows could come to the sorority and dance for five cents [laughs], with any girl that he met there. And it was a nice way to socialize, and it gave a little bit of money—not much, but a little bit of money for the group.

MD: [Laughs] I love it. Now, the other thing is what are your memories of, you know, some of the other social activities that were going on on campus during that time?

JM: Oh, they had some tea dances that they had at the Memorial Union Building, and the tea dances were a lot of fun. They had some good orchestra that played, and I think it was from four to like six in the evening on a Friday night, that they played. And that was well attended and really liked by the students.

MD: Now, did you attend—I mean, as a sorority member and I'm sure as a student at Oregon State College, it was kind of almost expected that you'd attend the football games and all—

JM: Oh, yes.

MD: —all the sporting events?

JM: Oh, I loved football from the time I started as a freshman. Then I was already a Beaver [laughs] because I had lived there all those years, and we all knew that you were going to be a Beaver if you lived and went to Oregon State. [Laughs]

MD: And did you go to like football games when you were in like high school, or a kid?

JM: No, I didn't go. I went to the high school games when I was in high school, but I didn't go when I was in college. And I did go to some of the games when I was a freshman, but not all of them.

MD: You had a pretty busy schedule, I notice.

JM: Yes, I did.

MD: As far as your Secretarial Science.

JM: Yes.

MD: You appeared to have been a very good student.

JM: Well, I would say I was a little better than average. [0:10:02]

MD: Because yeah, you had a real busy schedule. How did you maintain your social life, and your academic school?

JM: Well, you had to study when you could. All four years that I was in school I worked at the college telephone exchange, which was right in the Administration Building, right behind the Registrar's Office. And I worked about three or four evenings a week, there at the telephone exchange, for Mrs. Lowe, who was the head of the college telephone service.

MD: And that was just like being a telephone operator, and connecting lines and—?

JM: Well, yes it was. I won't tell you. We got in on some pretty good conversations. [Laughs]

MD: And well, where you were at is the Administration Building, which is now what we call Benton Hall, which is where the Music Department is at now. But at that time it was the administration for the—that's where the President's Office was.

JM: It was the administration. We were right behind E.B. Lemon's office.

MD: Yes, okay. Kind of also brings up another thing that I just love talking with folks about, is the people that they knew during this time, like Dr. Lemon, the President, Peavy, at the time. Did you have much contact with some of these people? We have buildings named after them now.

JM: Yes, of course, every one of them has a building named. I'm always surprised to go down and hear that some building that I think of as the old name is now a professor. [Laughs]

MD: And it may have been somebody that taught you, or a person that you knew on a regular basis, and now they have a building named after them.

JM: No, not really, not when you were a little freshman, only freshmen, and besides working every—most of the time, you were having to study and keep up with class work. You didn't have much time to spend with a teacher, with the professors. But they didn't have much time for you, either. [Laughs]

MD: Now, during your time, the library was in what we now call Kidder Hall?

JM: Yes.

MD: But what are your memories of the campus library?

JM: Oh, well, the kids all went to the library in the evening and that's where they met their boyfriends for dates. [Laughs] It really wasn't for study. It was for a good time. [Laughs]

MD: Well, let's kind of shift gears a little bit. I'm interested, naturally, in your family genealogy, but let's talk a little bit about your husband, Alan. I see that he graduated in 1942.

JM: Yes.

MD: Now, did you meet in college really? Or, you knew him from high school.

JM: We met in high school.

MD: Were you a couple?

JM: We started going together when we were in high school.

MD: High school sweethearts.

JM: We were seniors. [Laughs]

MD: That's great! One of the questions that I always am just moved to ask is where were you, and how did you hear about Pearl Harbor in December 7th, 1941? And how did it affect your husband, who was still in school at the time?

JM: Yes. We were married at that time, and I'll never forget when we heard that, and we were having breakfast. And it was such a shock, terrible shock! And we both thought, well, this has changed our life right now, and life will never be the same as it was before.

MD: Now, did Alan go into the military? Did he serve?

JM: Yes, he did serve in the military.

MD: In the Army?

JM: Air Force.

MD: Oh, okay, because I'm a little shy on some of my research on his later days. Actually, what was life after Oregon State College for you and the family?

JM: What was it like?

MD: Well, yeah, how was it like? Where did you go?

JM: Well, he went to work for Chevron Oil right after he was out of school, and he worked for them just a year [0:15:00], and they decided—and that was in 1948. And they decided to send us to Hawaii. And we had never anticipated going to Hawaii, let alone living there. So that was quite a pleasant shock. And we had to wait that year to find out for sure that he was going to get that particular position. There were three people who were up for that job, and we didn't know whether to go take our vacation, or to sit around and wait to hear [laughs] what was going to happen. And he talked to them about it, and they said, "Oh go ahead and go. Just leave a telephone number where we can reach you."

And we went down to see my brother and his family in California. He worked for the Forest Service. And we got down and were down there one day when Alan got the call that he had been the one who that had been chosen for the job, and that he was to get over to San Francisco as quickly as he could. So he got in the car and drove to San Francisco, and found out about the job. And we were—when he came back we were so excited that we were going to get to go over and live over there! And it was wonderful that—we were there for nine years, and that was a wonderful time, except that I hated to see Hawaii change to what it is now from what it was at that time.

It was really a beautiful country at that time, and not as many—as many tourists as are there. And there were three hotels in Waikiki, and they were beautiful old places that were lovely. And the grounds were so gorgeous! And now, they're just—almost every inch is covered. And on Kalakaua Avenue, the Gump's—San Francisco store, the big store, Gump's—had a big establishment there, and when I went back after we had left there, it was a McDonald's restaurant. [Laughs] And on every corner at that time was a little Japanese sushi sok, and it wasn't like it was. When we were over there it was so Hawaiian, so musical. There would be lei ladies on Kalakaua Avenue, on the street, selling leis, and in their muumuus. And Hawaiian boys would be sitting around playing their ukuleles and singing. And I like to remember it that way.

MD: Oh, yeah.

JM: And the Big Moana Hotel had a great big porch that faced the ocean, and a lot of Midwestern people, who were able to afford to go over to Hawaii, sat out there and listened to the Hawaiian music, and watched the boys climb the coconut trees. It was really a beautiful time to see Hawaii.

MD: Yeah. So then you came back to the United States. Mike told us a little bit of the story.

JM: Yes, he was over there, yeah.

MD: He was young when he was there.

JM: He went to school.

MD: Yeah. And so you came back to the United States. Now, when did you retire here? I mean this is, like—?

JM: We retired here in 1982, from London. We came back from Hawaii, and Alan worked in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the company offices, and then the company sold the—the company that Alan had worked for, it was a subsidiary company, and they kept a number of the men who had worked for Chevron. [0:20:00] And there were seven of them they kept and sent over to London to start a new company. Chevron Oil UK. And we lived over there for seven years, in London.

MD: Oh, wow!

JM: Yeah. [Laughs] That was fun, too—exciting time.

MD: And so that would have been during the late seventies?

JM: Yes.

MD: Yeah. I had some other kind of questions about—well, first about Alan. Alan Finley McCallister.

JM: Yes.

MD: He graduated in '42, and so he had a degree in agriculture.

JM: Yes.

MD: And went to work for Standard Oil. I'm filling in some genealogical things. What were his activities while he was at Oregon State College? I know he was a member of—

JM: Phi Delta Theta.

MD: —Phi Delta Theta. Was he an athlete, or was he just a Phi Delt?

JM: He was a Phi Delt. [Laughs]

MD: Yeah, because that's kind of the athletic fraternity.

JM: Yeah, right.

MD: Did the two fraternities, or your sorority and his fraternity do things together?

JM: Oh, at different times. You always were doing something with one of the fraternities, and it wasn't always the same one. It was whatever one happened to be on the list. [Laughs]

MD: Now, when did you guys get married?

JM: In June of 1941.

MD: Oh, okay so you were still—well, you had just graduated, and he was still in school.

JM: Yes.

MD: Yeah.

JM: June the 7th, 1941.

MD: Well, I'm also very interested, because one of the stories about this McCallister family that's so special is that the roots of your family go back to the origin—

JM: Yes, we do.

MD: —of Oregon State University.

JM: William—William [laughs]—

MD: Finley.

JM: —Finley was the first President, and his younger brother, Hugh McNary Finley was in the first class. And he married Emma, who was in—Emma—I don't know her maiden name—who was in the second class, and they had four children, Ross, and Edna, and Ada, and Percy. And Ada was the only one who married someone who could carry on the McCallister part of the history. And she married Mark McCallister. I think he was the class of '05.

MD: Yes. And she was Class of '03.

JM: And '03. And he took woodworking. That wasn't his major, but after he was out of—after he had graduated, he taught some woodworking classes there at the school. And they had four children, Doris, and Alan, and Marjorie. Oh, three children, Doris, Alan, and Marjorie, and all three of them graduated from Oregon State. And of those three, Alan and I were the only ones that could carry on the McCallister tradition. And we had three children, and all three of them married Oregon Staters, and all three of them had at least one child who graduated from Oregon State.

MD: And you have some great-great grandchildren that are the sixth generation?

JM: Yes. Yes.

MD: Mike was talking about his grandkids, that are—

JM: Yes, he does have, well, two little sons who are not old enough yet for college, but we have them marked for Beavers. [Laughs] We have them pretty well indoctrinated in.

MD: We have to work on that, because we have to have this unbroken lineage.

JM: Well, I don't know. I'm sure there is other lineage that goes straight down, that can have their—tie their family in every generation. [0:25:00]

MD: There's very few that have the connections that the McCallister family have.

JM: Is that right?

MD: Yes. Your family is a unique story in the history of Oregon State, considering it goes clear back to William Finley, our first President.

JM: Yeah, right.

MD: So that's one of the things I was curious of. Your mother-in-law—

JM: Yes?

MD: —would have been of the era that she would have possibly known William Finley. Was she born at the time? Did she—?

JM: Yeah, she knew him, and a number of—at that time there were a number of—I won't say a number, because there weren't that many professors and all who were all related. And she knew many of those people, and they were just regular people that they visited with.

MD: Yeah.

JM: Yeah.

MD: Because I understand there's a connection to Cauthorn, Thomas Cauthorn?

JM: Oh, Cauthorn was also his mother's relation. She was his mother's family. And they had so much history also with the college, the Cauthorns.

MD: Oh yes, very much so.

JM: Yeah.

MD: Buildings are named after these people, too, so.

JM: Every year at Memorial Day, my son and I—my husband and I did go, and now my oldest son Mike and I go down to the Corvallis Pioneer Cemetery, and put flowers on Finley's, Hugh Finley's and his wife's tombstones. They're there in Corvallis Cemetery, along with Ada and Mark McCallister.

MD: A little bit about Mark Dow McCallister. He was quite involved with the college, clear through.

JM: Yes, he was, and he was a great backer of the university. He always, when he could—he was a Senator for a number of years, and always when he could promote Oregon State, he was very anxious to give them every opportunity he could to, and a lot of his friends were Oregon Staters that were in the political field.

MD: Yeah, because he was president of the Alumni Association at one time, and I've seen many, many images, pictures of him as part of the Alumni Association.

JM: Yes, right.

MD: And then, so you were married to Alan at the time, and so you were involved with—I'm sure you were involved with a lot of the early Oregon State College alumni.

JM: Yeah, right. A number of the professors, and always the president of the college and dad were very good friends. Alan and I went to—while Alan was working in Honolulu, we had to go on business to Hong Kong, and we were standing in the lobby of the hotel, Peninsula Hotel there in Hong Kong, and Alan looked over and he says, "That's Dr. Strand over there." And [laughs] I said, "It can't be!" And he said, "Well, it is." And about that time Dr. Strand looked up, and Alan went over and said, "Dr. Strand, it's nice to meet you over here." And he said, "Well, Alan," he said, "You know, I just visited your father in the hospital". He was not well, and we had been to see him a week before he had left and come to Hong Kong. So it seemed like a small world.

MD: Yeah. I run into that quite often when I speak with people. The community of Oregon State College, it's just interconnected in so many ways.

JM: Yes, it is. That's true.

MD: Now, during Alan's time, when he graduated in 1942, we have interviewed a man named Andy Landforce, who is the—

JM: Oh, I remember him

MD: Yeah. He was the student body president in his senior year. [0:30:00] And so there's, like I say, another connection.

JM: Sure. Well, I will say that I was on the train in 1943. Mike was a baby, three months old, and I was taking him back to [pause]—I was taking him back to New Haven, Connecticut, where Alan was in school at the time. And I was sitting on the train with this baby, and somebody came up—two people came up. First it was a woman who came up and spoke to me about taking a tiny baby on a train. At that time it was during wartime, and almost Christmastime. Mike was born in September. And she said, "I know it's very difficult to travel." And so she said, "I would like to meet you. I'm Alice Roosevelt." She was President Roosevelt's daughter. She was going back to be with the President and his wife for Christmas. And she said, "I just want to congratulate—." I told her I was going back to meet my husband. She said, "I want to congratulate you. I think it's very hard for you service wives to make such a trip." And it was a difficult trip. But about two days later, someone else came walking down the aisle and he said, "June, what are you doing here?" And it was one of the county agents. At the time, I worked as secretary for Bill Teutsch. Did you know Bill Teutsch?

MD: I've seen the name, yeah.

JM: He was head of—director of the Extension Service. And he said, "What are you doing on this train?" And I said, "I'm going back to New Haven, Connecticut, if I ever make it." And at that time I didn't think I might. And he said, "Well," he said, "I'm going back to New York to a meeting." And he said, "I'll be happy to help you along the way." And I don't think I would have ever made it without him. He found a Red Cap in New York City, and they were like hen's teeth at that time. And he was just the greatest person to have on my side. That was really quite an experience!

And then the interesting thing was that when we were coming up to Oregon State to Mike's graduation, when he was graduating from school, we stopped at Crater Lake, and we had—we were in our trailer, and we stopped at Crater Lake and went into their historical building there. And I heard a man talking behind me. And he was saying—and I recognized his voice, and it was the county agent that had been so good to me, and I hadn't seen him since that time. And I turned around and talked to—spoke to him, and he remembered helping me. And his daughter was working there at Crater Lake. And I told him that I was there to—had been up to Mike's graduation, and he was the one that probably that Mike got to graduate, because [laughs] we lived through it!

MD: [Laughs] I'd like to touch a little bit about Alan's World War II involvement. He was in the Air Force. Did he serve overseas?

JM: Yeah.

MD: And where were you when he was overseas?

JM: I was in Portland, Oregon working at—oh [pause], well, working down on the river, Willamette River.

MD: Oh, the Kaiser Shipyards?

JM: No, it wasn't Kaiser.

MD: Oh, but it was one of the shipyards?

JM: It was one of the shipyards. [0:35:00] And we were building LSTs for the military. And some of them were used during D-Day, and we were so—I worked in the electrical department of the company.

MD: Now, was Mike, or I mean, Alan—was he a pilot? What did he do in the Air Force?

JM: No. He was in the photographic service.

MD: Oh, okay.

JM: Yeah. He was in photoreconnaissance out there.

MD: And was he in Europe or the Pacific?

JM: He was in Europe, in France, in Italy and France. I have a book there that tells some of his story.

Unidentified: It has pictures, too.

MD: Oh, we love pictures. I love pictures. Well, I know this has been going along a little bit. Is there any memories or special thoughts that you might have about Oregon State College, and being a Beaver, that you want to share, because a lot of students and young students of today are going to be watching this, and learning from you.

JM: Oh! [Laughs]

MD: What's it like to be a Beaver for as long as you've been around?

JM: Well, I'll tell you, it has been a long time. [Laughs] And I just don't—now I think back of all the things that we did when we were young, and all the fun times that we had while we were learning, and I think how fortunate we were to have lived during that time, when we didn't have the worries that young people have today when they're on a campus. And it was so—we just walked around and life was—nobody bothered anybody else, you know? There weren't troubles on the campus. The biggest problems were kids drinking beer, I think, at some of their parties, and that was the biggest problem that I can remember there being on the campus while I was there.

MD: Chris, did you have any?

Chris Petersen: Yeah. I'm wondering, are there any family stories about William Finley?

JM: I'm sorry?

CP: Are there any family stories about William Finley?

JM: No, I don't have any stories about him. I know that Mother Mac and Dad Mac saw him from time to time, but I didn't—I wasn't in on any of the occasions when they were—I wasn't there when he was there. He was gone by the time I was there.

CP: Do you know anything about his personality, or anything like that?

JM: No, I don't. I can't tell you anything about that.

CP: Did your parents talk much about their college experience?

JM: No, they were not college graduates. I mean, my mother was a college teacher, and she went to Western Oregon Teacher's College when she was young. She had graduated from high school when she went there. And she taught school for many years. I went to her school until I was in the second grade.

CP: What did your father do?

JM: He worked in Corvallis, in real estate.

CP: Do you remember much about community life growing up in Corvallis? Events that were important to people who lived there?

JM: [Pause] Well, our lives were all so involved in school that that's what was important to me. And church was important, too. We all went to church in those days.

CP: Were there places of business that you remember going to frequently?

JM: Places of business?

CP: Yeah.

JM: Nolan's Department Store. And the Sunnybrook Dairy was the most important place the high school kids ever went to. [0:40:00] The dairy had the biggest and best hamburgers. They'd be great today! [Laughs] They really were. And on Saturday night, the high school kids went to one of the two theaters. For a dollar, two of you could go to a movie, and go to Sunnybrook's and get a hamburger and milkshake, and share it. And we all met there, and just had a good time. Sunnybrook Dairy was a big fun place when I was in high school. Not in college, but in high school.

CP: So it was downtown, Sunnybrook?

JM: Downtown Sunnybrook, yeah.

CP: And was the Whiteside Theater one of the theaters?

JM: Oh yeah, yeah. Whiteside, and the other one was on—there was only one other theater. What was the other one? Whiteside and—

CP: It wasn't the State, was it? The State Theater?

JM: On Main Street.

CP: I'm not sure, but it used to be called the State. It might have been something before.

JM: I'm sorry?

CP: There used to be a theater called the State Theater. It's not there anymore, but it might have been called something different before then. I'm not sure.

JM: Yeah, it probably was. It wasn't called the Oregon State.

MD: Yeah, the Whiteside is being—

JM: The Whiteside has been there forever, you know.

MD: It's being restored, and it's coming back to life.

JM: Right. Oh, is it?

MD: Yes.

JM: Oh.

MD: So they're working to—

JM: As the Whiteside?

MD: Yes.

JM: Oh, that's interesting.

MD: So they're working towards trying to make it a going concern again. But it's historic. It's a historic landmark.

JM: Yeah.

MD: I'm interested; now when you were on campus you probably ate in the dining halls. And did ever anybody go over on Monroe Street, next to campus? Is there little restaurants there, like the Electric Lunch?

JM: [Laughs] Oh, yeah, people ate at the Electric Lunch. A lot of the kids ate there, and that was a good meeting place at noontime. And actually, I didn't go out that much and eat because I didn't have the money [laughs] to go out and have treats during the week.

MD: Were there other meeting places like that, though, that people went to, besides the Electric Lunch?

JM: There was one up on the corner, Van Buren where it turned to go down—made that sharp turn. There was one right there on the corner that used to be a big meeting place, because it was right up there amongst the fraternities and sororities, where people would meet and have a drink or whatever. Not many were drinks. [Laughs]

CP: How about on campus?

JM: On campus? No, there wasn't.

CP: Was the Memorial Union?

JM: Well, the kids went up to the Memorial Union to the sitting room, and would meet up there and visit, but there wasn't any eating that went on there.

CP: There was an ice cream parlor there at some point, maybe not when you were there.

JM: No. No, there wasn't an ice cream—not that I remember.

CP: Did they have the Music Room then?

JM: Have what?

CP: The Music Room, where you could listen to records.

JM: No, no.

CP: That must have been later, too.

JM: The big music that I remember from Memorial Union was the tea dances. That was the time that we really enjoyed the music that they had there.

MD: Down in the ballroom?

JM: Down in the ballroom, mm-hm. And Dick Moat's Orchestra played quite often. He was a Corvallis High School graduate. And his father, Dr. Moat, was at the college. And Dick had a good little band that he brought up to the room—room where we danced, there. [0:45:01] And that I remember was a fun time.

MD: Well, I've seen lots of photographs of the big dances, like the Military Ball and the Junior Cotillion.

JM: Oh, yes.

MD: And all those type of things throughout the year. Now, I suppose you went to those?

JM: Some of them Alan and I went to. And we went to all of the Phi Delt dances, and the Sigma Kappa dances.

MD: Favorite songs that you remember?

JM: Well, if you asked me a year ago when I listened to my old friend on television—oh, what was it?

Unidentified: Lawrence Welk?

JM: Lawrence Welk.

MD: Oh, yeah.

JM: Yeah. He played all the songs that we knew and sang at that time. And we really enjoyed them.

CP: Do you remember dance cards? Dance cards.

JM: I'm sorry?

CP: Do you remember dance cards?

JM: Dance cards? Oh, yes. You always had a dance card that you took. You had at your dance, and your friends who wanted to dance with you signed up for what dance they wanted to dance with you.

CP: I'm wondering if you have recollections of other traditions that we've come across in the archives. There was a tug of war, I believe, between the freshmen and sophomore class. Do you remember that?

JM: No, I don't remember the tug of war. I've read about it, but I don't—I don't remember it as being a part of the time that I participated in, no.

CP: How about the homecoming bonfire?

JM: Oh, yes, I do remember that very well. That was not far from where I lived, and so I watched it while it was being built up from the ground [laughs], up as high as it was. And that was an exciting time—a good, good thing.

CP: You mentioned attending football games. Do you have memories of Bell Field?

JM: Oh, yes. Oh, yes, I do.

CP: What was that like, Bell Field?

JM: [Laughs] It was like a high school, a little high school field. There wasn't much to it really. There were a few seats, wooden seats around, and that was all. There weren't any big seats available. And actually, I don't remember that many people from outside, from the city, who came in and attended the football games. It was the college kids that were there.

CP: So, it was the college kids and the staff of the college?

JM: Yes.

CP: Were you part of the Serpentine?

JM: Yes, I was. Do you know about the Serpentine?

CP: Tell us about it.

JM: [Laughs] That was something! That was the year that we defeated the University of Oregon, and I don't remember the score but I know that it was a very exciting time. And the kids started on—actually on Saturday, really rallying around, and by Sunday it had gotten up some steam. And they had a bunch of—all the kids had were old cars to begin with, and they went up to Dr. Duboc. Dr. Duboc was the Dean of Men, and they went up to his house, and they wanted a free day on Monday because we had won the football game. And Dr. Duboc wasn't going to fall for that one, and he said, no, that was not possible. Maybe they could have a dance.

And everybody said, "Well, we'll meet in the morning." Oh, and Wagner's—John Wagner had said that if they won the game, they could throw him in the mill race. And on Monday morning, the kids started a serpentine in their old cars, and people on the running boards and all over the cars [0:50:01], set down to Wagner's, and they were going to get John Wagner to throw him in the mill race. And [laughs] so I was on my way. I had been stung by a hornet on my ankle, and my leg was swollen, and I was on my way up to the infirmary to get whatever I needed. And the serpentine came around, and I saw some kids on it that I knew, and they said, "Come on, June! Come on."

And I went and jumped on the car with them, and rode with them all the way. And once it got out of sight of Corvallis, it got past Wagner's, and they said, "On to Oregon!" [Laughs] They just started hollering that, and there were—I don't know how many cars were in that group, maybe twenty or so, and went all the way down 99. And the kids were all hollering along the way, and by the time we got down to—oh, one of the little towns, they had been notified that—Eugene had been notified that Oregon State was on its way.

And so the Eugene kids all got balloons and filled them with water, and they were all waiting for this group to arrive. And they did. And when they did, they made the girls go down to the eating place down in Eugene, the big eating place where everybody gathered. And then they got the boys, and made them slide down the O, the yellow O on Skinner's Butte. And my brother was in that group, too, and he had to slide down the O. And we had to hunt for our car when we were going to go back home. And then the police caught us on the way back home and were fining the driver of the car, so we all had to kick in and give some money to the driver of the car.

And when I got back to Corvallis, I went into the—oh, to the health place and showed them my ankle, and it was really badly swollen at that time. And he said, "Oh, it's a good thing you haven't been on that ankle today. That's not a good thing at all. You go home and put a cold cloth around it, and put it up." [Laughs] And he gave me a—I don't know; I remember him being very adamant about the fact that I shouldn't have been on that ankle all day. [Laughs] You know, it was funny. But that was in Life Magazine. That came out in Life Magazine. Somewhere in my cedar chest I think I have that Life Magazine that told about that. How did you know about it?

CP: Just from work. We come across these things from time to time.

JM: Oh. I just wondered. I've never seen much about that.

MD: It's one of the great campus legends.

JM: Is it?

MD: One of the great campus stories that we have.

JM: It should have been. It was fun. It was a time that we remembered, you know? That serpentine up through—that was up by the Commerce Building that I jumped on the car, and rode all the way to Eugene! [Laughs]

MD: Now, Alan was still in school in 1942, when we went to the Rose Bowl.

JM: Yes.

MD: The 1942 Rose Bowl that wasn't down in California. It was in—

JM: No, it was back at—

MD: —North Carolina.

JM: Yeah.

MD: What was it like, everybody on campus? Were they excited about the Rose Bowl?

JM: Oh, they were excited. And we had really planned to go back there and attend that game, but we couldn't do it. I was working, for one thing [laughs], and he was in school, and so we didn't get to go. But it was an interesting and a very proud time to be a part of the campus. [0:55:06]

MD: Well, it was our one Rose Bowl victory.

JM: Right, yeah.

MD: And we had to go clear across the United States for it but.

JM: Yeah, yeah.

MD: So, what was the celebration on campus?

JM: Not much.

MD: Not as much?

JM: Not much, no.

MD: Yeah, because nobody actually went. I mean, it was—

JM: Yeah.

MD: They weren't able to have the huge contingent go down.

JM: No, no, they didn't. There wasn't. I don't really remember anything that big. At the time, I remember that it was a big win, and a time that we were happy to be Oregon Staters, but not that they made a big, great big do out of it.

CP: What do you remember about basketball?

JM: Oh, not much about basketball.

CP: They played at Langton Hall then?

JM: No, they played at Gill Coliseum.

CP: Oh, did they?

JM: Yeah.

CP: So it was pretty new at that point, wasn't it?

JM: Yes, it was. Yeah.

CP: I'm interested in knowing more about your telephone job.

JM: Oh?

CP: Yeah.

JM: [Laughs] Well, you mean, what it was like?

CP: Yeah.

JM: It was just one little room that was in back of E.B. Lemon's offices. And Mrs. Lowe was the chief operator, and she had four college girls that worked for her. And we would take turns working at—she worked the day shift all day, and once in a while when she was really busy, she would have one of us come in and work with her during the day. But at night, she always had somebody there. She wasn't there. And she would—I worked a lot in the evenings. I could study when I wasn't tending to the telephone. And we could listen in on the conversations [laughs], and hear what was going on. And some of the things were pretty good. [Laughs]

CP: So, how did it actually work? I mean, what did you do when a call came in?

JM: What did we what?

CP: When a call came in, what would you do?

JM: We would put a plug in, and then when they would give us the number that they wanted, we would—it had two different plugs. Then you'd put the other plug in and then open the key, and then they could talk.

CP: So there was a plug for a particular number?

JM: Yes.

CP: Huh. It's fascinating to think about that.

JM: [Laughs] Yeah, I'll tell you, today, people with telephones wouldn't believe what they worked with. I remember that at that time, Mrs. Lowe telling us about downtown at one of the banks, the banker always came in at a particular time and would sit down at his desk. And some of the girls always got there early, and they thought it would be a big joke if they put plastic—a brown bag over his telephone, and told him they were dusting the lines, and that he shouldn't use the telephone because there could be dust. [Laughs] And he believed them, and he didn't bother the phone, until finally he said, "Well, can I use the phone now?" And the girls then just broke out laughing, because it been such a hilarious amount of fun. [Laughs]

CP: What can you tell us about the year that you lived in the sorority?

JM: I just lived my last year, my senior year there.

CP: Well, what was it like in the house?

JM: Oh, I enjoyed it, and the thing I always remember about it was that I always had to sit at the head of the table, and I had to mind my manners. We had a lady as a house mother who was very anxious for us to all be young ladies, and so she insisted on us doing all the things we should do. [1:00:04] And I remember having to be on my best behavior [laughs] all the time.

And the one thing I do remember was my senior year we had to—Dr. Vance was the head of our department, and we had to choose a product that year, at beginning of that term, and then carry that product all the way through the term. And you had to figure out a plan to introduce your product, and how to advertise it, and how to really promote whatever it was you were trying to promote, all through a series of products. And that was our term paper when we had to write it up at the end.

And at the very end, two of us, one of the girls in the house and I, that were seniors, were working on that project, and it was the night before we had to turn in the paper and we worked all night! [Laughs] And that was the only night I ever stayed up all night to try and get a paper finished, was that night. And it was, you know, it was a big deal, because your term grade very much depended on that. Yeah.

MD: Some things never change.

JM: Yeah.

MD: And students today are still staying up all night to do their papers.

JM: [Laughs] I wonder if they still have to. I still remember having to figure out—I had a toothpaste, a new toothpaste that I was promoting, and that was my project for that whole term. And I remember how I used to think about that, and work on that, and we stayed up all night to try and get that completed. [Laughs]

CP: Did you say that you were the president of your sorority?

JM: Yes.

CP: What were your duties as president?

JM: Oh, you had to attend the meeting. Every Monday night was meeting night. And all of the girls were supposed to be there that night. And you had to conduct the meeting. And then the big affair was when there was—you were inducting a bunch of new members into the sorority, and I'm sure every sorority had a different process for becoming a member. And I remember having to learn a lot before that, and having to be able to give it. And it was a very nice program and a very nice process, really. And then we had dinner afterwards down at the hotel, which was unusual.

CP: The Hotel Corvallis?

JM: No, not—

CP: The Julian Hotel?

JM: Not the Benton Hotel, no. What was it? Another little place that we all had dinner down there. That was nice.

CP: Do you remember anything about the induction process? What you had to do?

JM: When you became a member?

CP: Yeah.

JM: Well, we really just had to agree to certain things, and [pause]—

CP: There was like a ceremony?

JM: Yeah, it was a ceremony, but there wasn't any hanky panky stuff about it at all. It was very serious, and very meaningful, really, for a bunch of girls. And it was very nice. I still get the magazine.

CP: What was it like being a woman on campus at that time? There were a lot of rules, weren't there?

JM: [Laughs] Well, I will tell you that my freshmen year I thought it was pretty neat [1:05:02], because I worked at—once in a while I was called by the Benton Hotel when they were serving a meal, and they would ask me to come in and serve. And I would go in. And then just before school started, they came to me and said, "We're going to be serving the football table during this year. Would you like to serve on that table?" And I said [laughs], "Well, yes. I think that would be great fun."

And so I did serve, and I really enjoyed it because I knew all the football players. And it was really fun walking on a campus during that time, because I'd see a football player, and I'd be with some girl, and I'd speak to them. And they'd say, "Oh, wasn't that So-and-so, the football player?" And I'd say, "Yeah." "And how do you know him?" [Laughs] So that was a lot of fun for me that year.

CP: Well, I think that's about all I have.

MD: Yeah, I think we've had just a wonderful conversation!

JM: Oh! [Laughs]

MD: I mean, the students of today are going to watch this, and learn about what it was like to be a Beaver, back, many years before they even thought about it.

JM: Well, I'm sure, many years. Yeah.

MD: The Class of 1940 is now represented in our project of collecting stories and memories of alumni, and we thank you, June, so very, very much.

JM: Well, I really didn't intend to do this, or I'd thought about it a little bit more. I've been thinking about it all week, see. [Laughs]

MD: You've been great.

JM: [Laughs] [1:07:08]


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