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Gwil Evans Oral History Interview, November 21, 2008

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TASHA GALARDI: This is Friday, November 21st. I'm Tasha Galardi and I'm meeting with Gwil Evans in Strand Hall to do an oral history interview. Thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Mr. Evans, I'm looking forward to learning more about your life.

GWIL EVANS: It's my pleasure.

TG: So, I know that some of the questions that I'm going to ask are repetitive of the information that you sent me, but I kind of wanted to record them on tape.

GE: Sure.

TG: So, I already know the answers in advance to a few things, but... So, where and when were you born?

GE: I was born in Portland at the Emanuel Hospital, February 25, 1939.

TG: So, I'm very interested in your name. It's a little unusual. Is there some family history behind that?

GE: It's a Welsh name, and Grandfather was Gwilym, G-W-I-L-Y-M, Gwilym Owen Evans, and he was a streetcar conductor on the Council Crest streetcar line, and for many years, and the people who rode on the streetcar shortened his name for him to Gwil. So, when I came along, my parents wanted me to name - wanted me to 00:01:00be named after him, but they chose to leave the Y-M off, for which I have long been grateful [Tasha laughs] because of the - it's tough enough to get people to spell my name correctly with just four letters [laughs].

TG: Right. And what was your experience growing up, having an unusual name like that?

GE: I learned to answer to almost anything, and I somewhere have a collection of things that have arrived in the mail addressed to me under various names that were not the correct names but were very creative variations on it.

TG: I can imagine. I noticed here, in the 1960 yearbook photo, that it's spelled with two Ls, and at first, I thought it was a typo, but I found it in a few different places.

GE: That's one - that's probably the most common misspelling, is two Ls, and any more. In fact, when I sign up for something or ask people to make an appointment 00:02:00for me, I say "it's Gwil Evans with - and it's G-W-I-L, with one L" [laughs].

TG: So now, it says here that your column was Gwil's Quill, but here it's got two Ls, but in fact, in The Barometer, it was with one L.

GE: That's right. And this is from - what we're looking at is from the Beaver yearbook in 1960 I believe, and-

TG: Yeah.

GE: ...and this is a great example of the kinds of things I've gone through in life with misspellings of my name and sort of getting accustomed to if it's close then that's - at least I know who they're talking about [both laugh].

TG: Right, and every reference I found to you in this edition of the yearbook, it was spelled this way.

GE: [Laughs]

TG: So, that was a poor editing job on somebody's part, apparently.

GE: Right.

TG: Do you have brothers and sisters?

GE: No, I'm an only child.

TG: You're an only child. What was that experience like for you, growing up?

GE: Well, of course, I didn't know what it would be like growing up with brothers and sisters, not having had any, but now my partner, Bill Cook, had 00:03:00three siblings, and through him and his family I've come to appreciate what it means to have siblings, and respect that a lot. I expect that there were things that I missed, but truly I was, um, I had a good childhood and no - would have - there's nothing really that I would change about it. I suppose that one, there's the risk of being a spoiled only child because you presume that you should be the one that gets all the attention, and I don't know, maybe I was, but I had good parents and a fun childhood, really. I grew up to the sixth grade in Portland and then moved in 1950, in the sixth grade, over to what is now Lincoln City, in the Nelscott district of Lincoln City.


TG: How old were your parents when you were born?

GE: Hmm.

TG: Were they older parents, or-

GE: I think - no, I think they were... no, they weren't older parents. I think they were probably in their early twenties.

TG: So, was it a choice on their part to only have one child?

GE: I never really got clear about that, although I think my mom had a miscarriage at... and I'm going to say maybe after I was born, and that was always - I grew up in a family, as I think a lot of people in my era did, where it was... kind of the norm was don't say, and it was - became-it was clear that was a sensitive subject, and so they always avoided it, and I always did too.

TG: That was probably easier for both of you.

GE: Uh-huh.

TG: What did your parents do for employment?

GE: My dad, when we were in Portland, worked for a bakery which is still in 00:05:00existence, Franz Bakery, and he was first - well actually, even before that, when he was a very young man, I'm going to say like in high school and soon there, soon after high school, he worked at a tailor shop in Portland where his mom also worked, called Joy the Tailor. And he was a floor man at Joy the Tailor, which in those - this was a place that did custom clothing, and so he worked in sales and fitting people and so forth. And then his mom had a supervisory job there.

And then after that, he went to work for Franz Bakery. He was a route salesman. Then he became a sales supervisor, which meant that he supervised a number of people who drove bread trucks and made deliveries. And he was doing that when he 00:06:00and - I think he, probably more than my mom, followed his dream, his romantic dream, and bought a motel at the Oregon coast in... into which we moved in 19-December of 1950. And it was right on, right on the beachfront at [stumbles], at what was then a community, separate community, by the name of Nelscott, and is - and has then, has since, been subsumed into Lincoln City.

And once we moved there, my mom ran the motel and my dad entered into a partnership in a Chevrolet Oldsmobile dealership. And so, he sold cars for years over there and got into local politics and was - I think his first election was 00:07:00to the school board and then to the water board, and he was the water commissioner for a while, and then he and a few other community leaders looked at the situation where there were all these small communities adjacent to one another in that immediate vicinity, and there were multiple fire departments and multiple water departments and multiple police departments, and they said this doesn't make sense, why don't we have one community? So, they led a consolidation effort, which succeeded, and he was elected the first mayor of Lincoln City and - which is a non-paid, volunteer role - and he continued in that for I believe six years. For six years at Lincoln City, all the while still engaged in the automobile business.

TG: And did your parents have that motel for the rest of their lives?

GE: Yes, my mom died first, and then my dad ran it - actually, he sort of 00:08:00migrated it - more into longer-term rentals, but yes, I - that's where he was living when he died.

TG: Hmm, so you grew up for most of your life in a motel. That must have been an interesting experience.

GE: Well, it - yeah, it didn't - and it didn't really feel it. I'd say it felt more like an apartment house or something, but we lived on the second floor of this two-story structure, and it was, as I say, right on the oceanfront, and it was a scary place to live. I mean, I've... [laughs] people wonder why I don't have a lot of enthusiasm about going to the beach, and I think it's for having grown up immediately adjacent to the ocean and gotten through a lot of scary storms and that kind of thing.

TG: Is it still there?

GE: Yes, it's a - it has since been turned into condominiums.

TG: Aha, that's really interesting. So, you said before that you had a nice 00:09:00childhood and, but was there anything that you haven't mentioned so far that was particularly memorable about your childhood?

GE: Well, I think I did a lot of interesting things as a child, and growing up in a small rural - then-rural - community that was mostly tourism, fishing, and forestry, were the income sources at that time on the Oregon coast. And one of the things that I did in the early summers was I - this would have been in probably the seventh and eighth grades - I bought a commercial popcorn machine like those used in movie theatres, and adjacent to the motel, opened a little stand for selling sundries to tourists. So, it was amazing how you could pop 00:10:00fresh popcorn and the aroma of that would waft down the street and people would make their way to come buy popcorn.

And I had things like sunglasses and suntan lotion and those sorts of things that tourists to the beach might want. And I did that for a couple of summers. And then - and I don't really remember what year it was, but I was always into photography, and I mean from as far back as I can remember, always photography, always part of my life, and you know, I, in high school, took pictures for the yearbook and so forth. But early in high school I was so into photography that my mom sort of evicted me and my darkroom from my bedroom, and so I rented a building about two or three blocks away and opened a camera store, photofinishing lab, and portrait studio, and ran that for several years.


And in the course of that, I, of course, needed supplies and I needed to be able to get supplies wholesale so I could sale them retail, and in - and that led me to become at, at the time, the nation's youngest Eastman Kodak dealer. And it was great because in the wintertime when I was going to school the business slowed down, but I could run it on a part-time basis; in the summer when it was really - there were a lot of people, and taking pictures, it was a fulltime job and I earned quite a bit of money from that.

TG: Do you remember your first camera?

GE: Well, the very first camera I earned selling seeds in the neighborhood in Portland, and you know, I'm sure all my parents' friends bought seeds that they didn't need, and I sold enough seed packets to earn credits to buy a - some premium of my choice, which was this cam-roll film camera, took one-


TG: What do you mean credits?

GE: This was - I'm sure it was - I don't know what seed company it was, but the seed company had this notion that if you could get kids to go out and sell your seeds, you ought to have incentives. And so, you know, if you sold 100 seed packets, you might earn 100 credits toward your choice of any of these various premiums, one of which was a camera.

TG: Uh-huh.

GE: And in point of fact, a very cheap plastic camera with a plastic lens and so forth. But that's where it began. And then I just migrated through a lot of different cameras, but ultimately when I was running the camera store, I was working with Speed Graph-four by five Speed Graphics, a five by seven-inch Graflex, and some view cameras, mostly sheet film view cameras. In fact, I just ran across the other day a number of negatives, four by 5-inch negatives, from 00:13:00those days in Lincoln - in what's now Lincoln City - images of the place, of the town, and friends and-

TG: That you had taken?

GE: That I'd taken, and Nelscott Friendship Club. The local ladies who would meet once a month would always have me come photograph them at their meeting, and that kind of thing.

TG: Oh, well you should consider at some point donating those to the university because I think that would be a nice addition to your file that...

GE: Uh-huh. I expect that's where they will go.

TG: ...Larry's creating for you over there.

GE: Mm-hmm.

TG: You seem to have always had quite an entrepreneurial spirit.

GE: Well, I suppose. I don't know that I ever thought of it as entrepreneurial as much as pursuing my passion, and I've always - and again, that's a - that's probably a term that I picked up more in adulthood, but I, in reflecting on it, I think I had the good fortune to be able to pursue my passion, whatever that 00:14:00was, and in a small community it was easier to pur-I mean you know, if we had stayed in Portland, what are the chances that I would have opened a camera store and photofinishing lab and portrait studio and all that? And so, circumstances were such that I could pursue my passion.

And I also, during that time when I was running the camera store, I was also a stringer for The Oregonian, and I would write stories, news stories, about things. Usually, it was kind of ambulance chasing. It was, you know, the accident that would kill three people, and I'd be on scene with my camera and I'd take the picture, process it, write the story, put it on that afternoon's bus to Portland, The Oregonian would send someone to the bus station, pick that up, carry it over to the newspaper, and it would be in the next day's Oregonian. And that's, you know, those were the kinds of things that got my interest in 00:15:00journalism going, I think, was just I'd been working on the ca-the high school yearbook and the high school newspaper and taking pictures, and it all just kind of fit together.

TG: What's a stringer?

GE: A stringer is a person who - I don't... I suppose there are stringers still today - a stringer meant that The Oregonian couldn't afford to have - or any newspaper - couldn't afford to have a salaried person in a particular location, so they would identify somebody who could meet their standards journalistically and... and they would either, they'd establish a phone connection with you - that is, they'd know your phone number, and with my case, I would know their phone number - so, I was being alert to what is news, and if I saw something that was news, I would call them and say "thus and so has happened, would you be 00:16:00interested?" And they'd give me a yes or no. Or if they became aware of something, like they know something's coming up tomorrow and they'd like coverage of it; the Salmon Derby at Siletz Bay, and they'd say "we'd like coverage of that."

So, a stringer then goes to the location of the news and reports it. In my case, I was able to do it both photographically and in writing. And so, then you send it and it gets pub-and based on what gets published, not based on what you send them - based on what gets published, they actually measure the column inches. Didn't matter whether it was photograph or story; they'd measure the column inches and pay you per column inches for what you've done.

TG: And how much did they pay you?

GE: Well, I was just sitting here - I haven't thought about this in years, but... it was certainly less than a dollar a column inch. Now, you know, a 00:17:00dollar went further then, but... that's why you always, if you were sending photos, you always hoped they played them big so that, you know, if [laughs], if it's twice as big as the last one, you'd get twice as much money as you did for the last one. So, there were incentives like that. You couldn't get away with writing long, however, because The Oregonian had good editors and they would pretty much, you know, edit back down to what they wanted.

TG: So, it sounds that that wasn't a financial motivation for you to continue to do that; you just enjoyed doing the journalism and-

GE: Yeah, well it's all-I mean, it was always fun at the end of the month to get a check from The Oregonian. I think maybe it was more fun to see the news-the photo in the newspaper the next morning, in a statewide newspaper, that says "photo by Gwil Evans." And occasionally I'd get a byline in it. And I think I was one of the youngest stringers that they had at the time. Most people were adults.


TG: And what was your goal in earning money? Did-is there something specific? A nicer camera, a car? Were there things that you really wanted?

GE: Well, we didn't have much money, and by and large, if I wanted something, I needed to earn the money, and so... that was, that was probably the incentive. Yeah, I mean it wasn't driven by money, but I was aware that if there were things out - and in photography, then as now - if you, um, I mean there's always something to spend money on [laughs].

TG: Right, some new supplies.

GE: Yeah, or a new lens, you know, or the latest model of the camera, or that sort of thing. And I've been a techie all my life and I - there's always something technical out there that I would - I mean I, right now I'm shooting HD video with Sony's top-of-the-line professional HD camera, and I know what the next piece of equipment is that I want to buy to enhance that.


TG: [Laughs] so there were never any shortage of things that you wanted to...

GE: That's right [laughs], that's right.

TG: So, we talked a little bit, it sounds like you kind of considered Lincoln City more your hometown than Portland?

GE: Well, it was [stumbles], you know, it was through the sixth grade, and then sixth through the 12th grade, so it was almost half and half. More... I don't know, that's an interesting question. They each influenced me. I suppose that Lincoln City may have been the greater of the influences, and yet, by the same token, I kind of grew up with this love/hate relationship with the ocean that I don't know whether I've... whether I ever really registered in my head as having a hometown. I can - you know, like as we're doing here, I can say "well, this is where I grew up."


TG: When you went to college though and people would say "where are you from"...?

GE: Yeah, I'd probably say the most recent place, you know, from Lincoln.

TG: Right.

GE: Well, in Nelscott at that time, because it wasn't yet Lincoln City.

TG: And it was called Nelscott your entire time living there?

GE: When I was there, yeah, and then after I left was when the consolidation occurred.

TG: What do you remember most clearly about living in Portland as a child?

GE: Well, I - we lived in the Alameda district of Portland, so it would be northeast. Literally where we lived was 3124 NE 25th, which was between cross streets of Klickitat and Siskiyou, and it was in the Alameda school district, or - or and - the Grant High School district. And it was - there were a lot of post-World War II families living there, so there were a number of kids my age. And among the things that I remember there were... I had a lot of classmates who 00:21:00were Jewish, and our family didn't - hadn't prior to that, hadn't any, what do I want to say, close family relationships with Jewish families, but because of my classmate relationships and going to their houses to play and meeting their moms and so on, there were just wonderful things that kind of opened my eyes to things that were different; that not every family was like my family, and that was always good. That was fun. And most of them were far wealthier than our family. They lived in - they lived up on the Alameda Heights, so you had to go up the hill to these big houses where my classmates lived.

And so, that was a good experience. And then another, the other one that I would think of in terms of that experience was about two houses down from us was a 00:22:00family whose name was Miles, and Gordon Miles was a photographer - I mean he, he was actually a mover, but his hobby was photography - and Gordon had, at that time, a daughter who had no interest in photography whatever, but I was the neighbor kid from down the street and was really interested in photography, and he had a wonderful darkroom. And so, from Gordon, I learned a whole lot about cameras and photography and how to make wonderful prints and that sort of thing. And my mom and I were the babysitters for Gordon's wife, for their daughter, Sheila when Gordon's wife had their son, Dennis, Denny.

And so, our families maintained contact even after we moved to the coast. We were good friends. My - the point of this story is that Denny Miles then, whom I 00:23:00have now known since his day of his birth, then grew up and was an Oregon State alumnus, and then went on to be the press secretary for Governor Vic Atiyeh, and Denny continues today - to this day - as a political consultant, lives in Salem. And so, those are the kind - those are the sorts of things that I reflect on, coming out of the Portland experience.

TG: Was your family religious?

GE: No-well, my grandmother was Christian Scientist and my parents never really went to church, although they seemed for a while to see fit that it was important for me to go to Sunday school. And I want to, occasionally in Portland, to a Christian Science Sunday school, and then when we moved to the coast there was a Christian Science Sunday school not far away, to which I went. 00:24:00And I have to admit that I never really understood anything about that religion, and then throughout the rest of my life, I've never been religious. And in fact, I'd say at this point it - there's been a lot of things about churches and gay people that, if anything, would be pushing me away from organized religion. I mean, I think there's a lot of merit and there's a spiritual dimension to life, but I don't think you need someone to be the intermediary between you and God.

TG: Mm-hmm. So, so that - those were some great stories about Portland, and it sounds like you really value that connection, that long-term connection.

GE: Mm-hmm.

TG: So, what about in Nelscott? Was there some something besides your fear of the ocean and that experience [Gwil laughs], but you know, what do you remember most clearly about that town when you were growing up.

GE: I think the experience of a small rural community. And I don't think I would 00:25:00have used the word rural community at the time, but on reflection, that's what it was. It was a... if you set aside the tourism, which probably made the population grow by ten, tenfold in the summertime, if you set aside that, it was basically a community that had retirees, people who made their living in the forest, and people who made their living from the sea.

And so, they were really - we were surrounded by salt of the earth kinds of people, and the things that we took for granted are really quite amazing in retrospect. I mean, I remember being in grade school at Taft, at Taft Grade School, and it was immediately adjacent to the Siletz River. So, there's the grade school, the road from upriver, and then there's the river. And so, we could look out the window of the classroom, and would be prompted to do so 00:26:00rather frequently as the log trucks would pass by, and the customary load on these log trucks was one log, and the log would be eight to 10 feet in diameter.

TG: Oh my goodness.

GE: And so, we took that as just sort of oh, well that's what it means to be logging. Well, today you simply would not be seeing anything like that. And so, you know, I remember that kind of thing. I also remember that we would walk down from school at lunch hour to Siletz Bay, which was three or four blocks away, especially in the fall, and either get a sandwich or take the sandwich that we brought from home or whatever and just walk down there and watch the people who would be there for the annual Siletz Salmon Derby. And as you'd look across the 00:27:00bay, you could darn near walk across it on the backs of the fish, they were so, so present there. and Bernie's tackle shop would have all the color pictures of the people who had, in the previous day or two, caught big salmon there. And it was not unusual for the salmon to be so long that the person who caught them wasn't tall enough to hold the salmon's tail up off the pavement.

TG: These were adults?

GE: These were adult people, yeah. And again, everybody just took it for granted, like oh, well of course these salmon are going to be here forever and we're always going to be able to come fish this way, and aren't these beaut-and they were, you know, beautiful fish. And I remember things like that from living there.

TG: That must really have an impact on what you do now as part of the university and this, you know, Sea Grant. I saw the work that you've done with that. You 00:28:00know, you have a real in-depth experience of living on the ocean, and what used to be and what no longer is exactly the same.

GE: Mm-hmm. It drives home the kinds of things that we collectively, as a society, the responsibilities that we have to preserve, you know, the, at least the vestiges of those, salmon being a good case in point.

TG: So, what were the rural expectations for young men when you were a teenager and a young man, just in our culture in general?

GE: Hmm. Well, I suppose the societal expectations were you - and if you'd look at maybe the expectations in the rural communities of the Oregon coast - I suppose it was you graduated from high school, got married, and got a job, and 00:29:00not necessarily in that order. I'm not sure what the order expectation would be, but graduate from high school, family, job, and so many of my classmates did exactly that and went back into, you know, working in the woods or catching fish. Very few from my high school went to college, and most of us who did then escaped from there. But I think in the greater society that the model was roughly the same; was, you know, that you finished your education and then got a job and got married and had a family and so forth.

TG: Did you feel pressure from your parents to fulfill that expectation and to stay in your hometown?

GE: No expectation to stay in hometown. In fact, they were very strong supporters of college education, and I don't think that I ever heard them say 00:30:00anything about "you ought to do what we do" or - and my mom, you asked about what she did, and she was, she ran the motel. She did have some occasional part-time jobs, but she ran the motel and she didn't - she really never did really like the Oregon coast. And her sort of dislike for it grew as she grew older. But I think her -- she -s a strong advocate for don't let yourself get caught in this.

TG: Hmm.

GE: And to, and to - and they both really - I think they both worked really hard to help me through college, although I always had jobs in college. But there were times when they would assist in one way or another. One of the ways that they assisted was my dad, being in the automobile business, would often have a 00:31:00car that I would get to use, and so that was nice.

TG: That must have been really nice [laughs].

GE: Yeah. Sometimes they were real spiffy cars [both laugh].

TG: You would have - must have been the envy of a few of your friends.

GE: Yeah.

TG: So, how were the gender roles distributed within your family? Like what did you feel like men and women were kind of expected to do inside the home and outside the home, based on what your parents modeled?

GE: I think we had a, maybe more of a shared, set of shared responsibilities than might have been common in some families because to keep the motel running, which was... in my estimation, it was never economically... an economically sound model. It was always something that if you factored in the family's labor for it, then [laughs] I can't imagine that it ever turned a profit. You know, 00:32:00that... presumably, your labor is worth something, and so if you were to add that into just the cost of operating this and what its income was, I doubt it ever paid for itself, let alone paid my parents what they invested of their own time.

But what that meant was, in the higher seasons, every Sunday all three of us did all the stuff. So, I've cleaned toilets and mopped floors and done laundry and folded laundry and run the mangle and washed the windows, and my dad did that and my mom did that, and all three of us cooked. You know, whose turn is it today to make the pot roast, and that sort of thing. And my dad loved to cook and was a good cook. My mom was an excellent cook, and I was pretty good at a few things. And I think that probably... I think maybe, if nothing else, it 00:33:00taught me maybe humility. It was just that, you know, there's work to be done and you're - if it's going to get done, everybody kind of needs to pitch in and do it. I don't think there were - I mean, the role model was sure, my dad had more structured employment outside the home, but it was clearly a shared responsibility.

TG: Was he the head of the family, the ultimate decision-maker?

GE: ...

TG: In your perception as a child?

GE: No, no. I think that it was - I think they had a pretty shared model. There might have been certain things where he got to decide and certain things where my mom got to decide, but I think they talked about a lot of things. And then... hmm. I don't... I don't ever really remember the sort of well, I'm the man and I 00:34:00- therefore I get to do X. Never anything like that. And if anything, I suppose it may have been a little more matriarchal.

TG: That's interesting.

GE: Yeah.

TG: So, you talked about the move you made from Portland to Nelscott; that was the only move that you made as a child? Those were the only two places that you lived?

GE: We had moved from one house to another in Portland when I was a youngster, but I don't remember much about that one.

TG: Did your family ever travel?

GE: Very little. I mean, and Bill always kids me about that today, is that neither did we ever take any vacations, and pretty much, with few exceptions, we still don't. And I mean, I grew up in a family where I think I remember one vacation, and we went up to Idaho to Lake Pend Oreille, I think, and... it was - 00:35:00that was kind of nice, but it was - when you own a motel, you don't take vacations.

TG: Even during the slow season?

GE: Mm-mm. Because a lot of times that was when the cars were to be sold, and school was in session, and there wasn't a lot of money anyway, so you know.

TG: So, you graduated from high school in Nelscott.

GE: Yeah, Taft High School, mm-hmm.

TG: And what year was that?

GE: Fifty-seven.

TG: Fifty-seven.

GE: Yeah.

TG: And then where did you go to college after high school?

GE: I went to Reed in Portland immediately after that as a chemistry major because my high school chemistry teacher had told me that that was the career I was suited for [laughs].

TG: And how did you pick Reed?

GE: Well... it had a good reputation, academically. I was a good student in high 00:36:00school, and it was a college that I was familiar with because my aunt and uncle lived near Reed in the Eastmoreland area of Portland. So, I was acquainted with it as a place. And so, my grades were such that I was eligible to get in. My chemistry professor had me convinced that I was to be a chemist, without really knowing what that meant, and so one thing or another, there I was at Reed. And it was the first time that I had realized that I might not be the smartest kid in the class or the person getting the best grades. That was the first time I had realized that.

And I was surrounded by people, most of whom were from California or the east 00:37:00coast, maybe half of whom had gone to prep schools and who had grown up in homes where the over dinner conversation would be about the merits of the current United States monetary policy.

TG: Oh [laughs].

GE: Or foreign policy or politics, and where the kids were expected to debate their parents using sound logic and accrued facts [Tasha chuckles]. And that was just a very different environment than the one that I had come to Reed from. And although I loved it, it was a great place, it was - like so many kids here, we know at OSU that, you know, it's something like there are 3.4 changes of majors per student on average, or something like that - and well, to me this notion of 00:38:00chemistry, and then I'm surrounded by kids who have been talking about chemistry and physics with their parents since age five, and I'm not really getting it the way that I was accustomed to getting school, it was a hard place academically to feel really at home. And I think I was just immature for it.

And then, to top it off, there was a professor who had no patience for me, who was always critical of anything that I wrote, and his admonition was I don't know what you're going to do in life, but don't ever let it be about writing [both laugh]. And I think he was probably well-intended, but I was at, you know, whatever age that was, 18, 19, something like that, and I was not accustomed to 00:39:00that kind of response to anything I'd done, and so it was - it didn't feel like a good fit. And plus, it was - I was running through mon-burning through money faster than what I was really prepared to do.

So, it seemed it like Oregon State was a good place to come, and my cousin, who was my only other age-related relative, had come to OSU - OSC, then - the prior year, because he and I were the same age. He had come as a freshman here, and then, without getting too far off track, he became ill and died during the freshman year, and so there was kind of experience of well, Roy had had a good OSU first year, and maybe that meant this was a good place for me to come.


So, I came to Oregon State and really - I went into General Science and just began exploring what the possibilities were. And I connected back up with a high school who was here at OSU who was active, Ard-by the name of Arden Olson, and Arden was actively involved in The Barometer and he said, "oh, this is just great, you'll - I know you'll love, you ought to come get involved." And that's sort of was where I found my place, things that worked. I was taking science courses that I enjoyed and then I was - I had wonderful writing teachers who helped me regain confidence that I might be able to write something.

And in particular, a writing - a journalism teacher whose name was Adelaide V. 00:41:00Lake, and Adelaide was an outstanding teacher, and she was former society editor of The Oregonian and a former publisher of a small weekly newspaper that she owned. And Adelaide was just this most delightful - I think she's the teacher everybody wishes they get, you know? And she sort of, she inspired me and kind of gave my life direction.

TG: Well, that answers my next question, which was how did you decide to come to OSU, so you got two in one there. So, what was your eventual major?

GE: Well, it was... it was General Science with a strong Chemistry emphasis, and Journalism. And there was no real way to, at that time, to major in journalism at Oregon State, because University of Oregon had the journalism degree. But there were many journalism courses, and outstanding journalism teachers here, so 00:42:00I took every journalism course, but I had to have an academic home and so that was sort of why the science bent, and I enjoyed the science side of it.

And that - and actually, as it turned out, with no particular... wisdom about what it was doing, was I discovered later that I had emerged as something of a science journalist, that I could write about science in a way that people who weren't scientists could understand it. And the other thing that coupled nicely was that I was here - the last couple years of being a student at OSU was when OSU was just literally getting its feet wet in the oceans, doing the earliest, earliest work in ocean research. So, I took some oceanography courses as an undergraduate, and it turned out that later then those came back. It was an 00:43:00interesting dimension to the science journalism.

TG: Hmm. So, did you get a minor in journalism, or just...?

GE: Yeah, it amounted to that, but I don't think the university had any way to call it that because the University of Oregon was so protective about it owned journalism.

TG: I see. So, my next question is about the student organizations that you were involved in. So, I - some of these pictures that I brought, is that - I don't know how you say this in-

GE: That's - Phi Kappa Tau is a fraternity, was a fraternity, and it was over on 13th, just north of Monroe. In fact, I think it was 127 NW 13th.

TG: You have a thing for numbers [both laugh].

GE: Phi Kappa Tau was the fraternity to which my cousin had pledged, so when I came here, this group saw me as what they called a legacy at that time. You 00:44:00know, it's kind of like if I'd had a brother who was here and that person had gone on, then I come as a little brother and it's - you're the legacy. Well, that this group saw me as the legacy for my then deceased cousin, and so they invited me to, you know, live there and pledge. And it took me about less than one term to discover that fraternity living was not for me; that it was, it was not serious enough, that scholarship didn't matter particularly, it was more about playing around, and there was more horseplay and stuff that just didn't resonate with me.

And so, before that fall term was - apparently I had - I was there long enough to get my picture taken [Tasha laughs], but before it was over I moved... I guess I moved directly to Weatherford, which was where I lived - here's another number - I lived in room 346 in Weatherford for the rest of my time at OSU.


TG: Huh, that's interesting. Got the same room all those years.

GE: That's right.

TG: That doesn't happen anymore, I don't think [Gwil laughs]. So here, this is 1960, so you were an associate editor at The Barometer.

GE: Mm-hmm. I went through - Arden Olson, who I mentioned earlier, you know, really was the person responsible for getting me into the journalism program here, and work on The Barometer. And in those days you began as a reporter when you enrolled in J 111, the introductory course, and part of that coursework was working on The Barometer, and then you'd turn in carbon copies of what you wrote for The Barometer for Adelaide Lake to grade.

And Adelaide set high standards. For example... [laughs] if you misspelled a 00:46:00name, it was an automatic F [Tasha laughs]. So you know, she - but she was clear and fair and all that sort of thing. So anyway, I worked my way through a variety of roles, and somewhere on one of these photocopies that you brought with you, it identified a role that I had on The Barometer as sports editor.

TG: Right, on this one from 1961.

GE: And I had to laugh because Chuck Winstrom, who was at that time The Barometer editor, found himself in a pinch when his sports editor quit, and he needed somebody to be the sports editor, and he called on me, and I think he made the assumption that I knew something about sports. And for the life of me, and to this day, I know very little about sports. I've never played them and I've never - I don't follow them on TV or in the newspaper or anything. And so, here I found myself [laughs] as The Barometer sports editor and it was - I did 00:47:00my best in it. I did my best, first of all, to dissuade him, but he insisted, so I took it on, and what it meant was I got to sit in the press box at football games and that sort of things, but he - I think he began having second thoughts when I would - my stories about football games would report on how nice the uniforms looked and [both laugh] and colorful the day was, and that sort of thing. And as I recall, he soon found another person to be the sports editor.

TG: I think it's so ironic that your teacher had this issue with misspelling, and here your name is misspelled in the yearbook.

GE: [Laughs] that's right [laughs].

TG: That's some funny irony for history's sake, isn't it? So, this one must have been you - this is your senior year, in 1961.

GE: Yes.

TG: And it lists that you were, I guess, nominated or voted or somehow to be an outstanding senior, they just picked you on this page. But it lists the things that you were involved in. I don't know if this is just your senior year or if 00:48:00this is during your entire time at OSU. It's quite an extensive list. You were rather active here on campus.

GE: I was active, yeah.

TG: What is this Blue Key?

GE: Blue Key still exists at OSU. It's - Blue Key and Motor Board are senior honoraries, and so... they select each year the people who have been sort of self-identified by high grade point average and a lot of involvement in student activities. That tends to be who - and Blue Key was the male group, and Motor Board was the women's group. Sigma Delta Chi is a journalism honorary...

TG: So, we have a journalism honorary at that time, but no journalism degree?

GE: That's right, yep.

TG: That's interesting.

GE: Yep. This - I was in the Student Senate, on the AMU Board of Directors. I 00:49:00was on the Educational Activities Board by virtue of being The Barometer editor.

TG: So, you were editor this year in 1961?

GE: That's right, mm-hmm. And that's what had me on the athletic board too. The Barometer editor at that time was always a member of the OSU Athletic Board, and then various other things that I just got - happened to get involved in.

TG: And so, it looks like your photography was in the yearbook.

GE: Yes. I - well, and that happened... because until my senior year when I was editor of The Barometer and paid - that was a paid role - I had a part-time job the other two years, as a sophomore and junior, as a photographer for Hise Studio, which was at that time - the business still exists in town, but it was - 00:50:00it's different than it was. Hise Studio, at that time, was a Corvallis-based business that did about two-thirds of the photographs of all graduating high school seniors throughout Oregon.

And so, I went to - I got acquainted with Frank Hise when I was in high school and he learned that I was a photographer. So, when I came here, he hired me, and I shot... for him, I shot all of the Beaver activity photos, and the Beaver, the yearbook, contracted with Hise Studio and Ball Studio. They split the business to cover all the activities that went on at OSU, so sporting events and social events and academic events and programs. And Ball and Hise each would hire student photographers, and so I worked for Frank Hise a lot, like 20, 30 hours a 00:51:00week sometimes. And in the summertime we'd shoot 4-H summer school and that sort of thing.

So, it was - that's what got the Beaver photographer identification here. I did house dances so that you know, you would go to the fraternity or sorority and there would be all these people in their formals and so forth, and get a group shot and then you take pictures of the individual couples and so forth. So, I went to more social - I probably went to more social events than anybody you could imagine, but not in a social way [both laugh].

TG: Right, you were a photographer. At that time, did everybody pay for college outright? Did they have loan programs?

GE: Um... hmm...


TG: Did you take any loans to pay for college?

GE: No, I didn't take any loans. I pretty - but of course, you know, tuition was, I don't know... seems like it was $83 a term.

TG: Oh.

GE: And then there would be, you know, housing and so forth. That was when Oregon supported higher education on a very, very appropriate manner, and the state paid most every dollar for the cost of a person's education, and it was at that time fully consistent with the land grant mission of providing education for people - higher education - for people for whom it might not otherwise be available. I mean, that's the fundamental land grant mission, and it really worked in those days. So no, I think loans were available, and certainly scholarships were available, but they were less important because of the way that the state fulfilled its responsibilities in higher education.


TG: Hmm. So, how do you feel that student life was different when you were in college, versus now? I mean, this is obviously a big question, but what glaring things?

GE: Oh, I think there's, there is probably... a greater degree of informality. I think the - I think students are probably less intimidated by professors and administrators and so forth. For example, there was a Dean of Women here... and I'm wrestling for - I... hmm, I have to think about her name, but Dean of Women who pretty much was the [laughs], she was the keeper of morals for the campus. 00:54:00And she - I'm pretty sure I want to say Helen Moore [phonetic] - she saw to it that nothing untoward might go on that would sully the reputation of the women, in particular. So, that meant that there were - women never were allowed to wear jeans or shorts on campus, and neither were they allowed to wear patent leather shoes, because of the reflections.

TG: Hmm.

GE: And that if there was any sitting on laps to be done at any social event, there were, in all of the living quarters, things called fussing pillows, and it meant that if a girl were going to sit on a guy's lap, then you had to get a fussing pillow, and the pillow would go on first, and then the girl could sit on 00:55:00the guy's lap. And those were dictated by the Dean of Women. I mean, that's just an example of the sort of structure that was in - I mean, there was very much this in loco parentis notion that the university not only was about education but was very much about looking out for the welfare and morals of its students.

And that was a time when on-well, the president had decreed that there would be no alcohol served by any business on Monroe Street, and that was honored by the Corvallis business community. And it was only a year or two after they had relaxed the rule, and prior to that, there had been the rule that if you smoked, you had to go stand on the north side of Monroe street.

TG: Hmm. That's far [laughs].

GE: So, it was that; it was that kind of, you know, it was that kind of environment. It was also an environment where you couldn't browse the stacks in 00:56:00the library; that you would go to the card catalog and select the book or books that you were interested in, write those on a form that was nearby, carry that to the seemingly elderly ladies at the desk, who would then go into the stacks and retrieve your book and bring it to you at the table, all the while making sure that you didn't speak loudly [both laugh].

TG: So, life was definitely different at that time. So, what was the cultural environment here in regards to homosexuality, for men or for women? Was it, was it ever talked about? Did you know of any gay people here on campus at that time?

GE: I don't - I think we all pretended like it didn't exist. I mean, when I was a student here. I really - I do not remember anything in that era that related to gay people.

TG: But-

GE: I mean, it was as if there weren't any.

TG: Was there a cultural message that it just wasn't accepted? I mean, were 00:57:00there - you know, you still hear this today sometimes, you know, boys will joke oh, you're being queer-

GE: Mm-hmm.

TG: -as if that's a derogatory thing.

GE: Mm-hmm.

TG: So, was that the case then, that that was - it was a derogatory...?

GE: I don't think it even came up. Um...

TG: Was it like nobody-

GE: It just wasn't on the radar screen. I mean, the sexuality things that were on the radar screen at that time was that there was a professor, um... Kirkendall in the - I think he was in the Psychology Department, who - he did some studies on human sexuality, and I used to do, serve as a stringer for The Oregonian when I was here, too, and so I would be in the news, university news 00:58:00bureau, college news bureau, and there would be debates in the news bureau about oh my god, Lester Kirkendall just went to the American Psychological Association and gave a paper; do we dare report on that? Because it was about human sexuality, and my goodness, would we ever want to acknowledge that there is such a thing [both laugh]? You know, and [stumbles], and if the news bureau did do a story, you could count on there being a lot of criticism because kind of like how dare we talk about that.

TG: So, on either, whether it's heterosexual or-

GE: Exactly.

TG: It just wasn't discussed.

GE: Exactly, yep.

TG: That's interesting. So, you graduated in 1961 from OSU.

GE: I did, yeah.

TG: And then what did you do?

GE: Then I went to work for the Associated Press and worked as a desk editor.

TG: Where was that?

GE: In Portland. And the - and that was a delight because it was a total immersion in professional journalism, and I had outstanding supervisors... 00:59:00and... and it was - the Associated Press was fun to work for because at that time, and it's still true, they talk about a deadline every minute, which means that this is a news organization that is serving newspapers and radio stations and TV all around the world, and actually, in relation to newspapers, somewhere in the world there was a newspaper that was going to press at that moment. So, in that context of a deadline every minute, it meant that news was volatile and it had a time value, and so the people who worked for the Associated Press needed to not let news get old, lest one of their member newspapers or other 01:00:00members not get news that they could have used in a timely way.

So, working in that kind of high-pressure environment was a delight with good supervision. At that time, we sent the news by wire. So, the newsroom character - and I worked mornings in The Oregonian newsroom in the Associated Press office there, afternoons in The Oregon Journal newsroom, which was several blocks away in Portland. And so, you're surrounded not only by Associated Press writers and editors, but surrounded by the writers and editors for two really good newspapers. So, it was a great way to learn and be part of a network.

The thing I loved about that, and that was fascinating, was sending news by wire means that you've got - and the AP had several different wires, like the sports 01:01:00wire and the general news wire and the Oregon wire and so forth - every one of those had to have - was the news was sent from a different, different device. And there were union telegraphers who would take your - to whom you would hand your copy, and these guys usually were... were cigar smokers, and so they'd have a cigar dangling out of the corner of their mouths, and they were, tended to be cynical, and I soon - one of the things I'd learned early was that their union contract said that they could not be subjected to any whistling in the newsroom.

And I mean, there are all - so, it's just a strange, interesting place. And these machines were incredibly noisy, clackety, clackety, clackety, [Tasha groans] clackety, as news was coming in and news was going out, and so forth. And so, I got to work there and pretty much - with supervision - but there were 01:02:00points at which I was the only person on for the AP, and so I'd write whatever was the current news story, and out of my typewriter with page one, while I'm still writing page two, and handing it back over my shoulder to a telegrapher behind me who is sitting there sending it out on the teletype. And they used to love to get ahead of me. They wouldn't get - they wouldn't be able to get ahead of the professional writers who were there, but they would love to get ahead of this new kid on the block [Tasha laughs] and then give me a bad time about not keeping up with them, in terms of my writing. So, it really forced me to learn to write in this environment that was a smoke-filled room with lots of noise, people talking, phones ringing all over, and you just had to be really focused on what it was that you were about.

TG: And how long did you do that?

GE: I did that until, just for a relatively short time because I then went to 01:03:00Stanford for graduate work and it was that fall, I don't remember when we started, but you know, it was probably four months or something like that.

TG: So, you went to Stanford; did you get a master's degree in journalism?

GE: Uh-huh. Yeah, well actually in... in communication research. The folks in journalism here had really encouraged me to do graduate work, and I had a choice of going to the University of Wisconsin, Madison in Agricultural Journalism, and there was a person here who was a graduate of there and was an advocate for that, and then the other choice I had was going to Stanford, and there was a person here who was a graduate of Stanford, and he was an advocate for that.

And I didn't really - having come out of a family that did not have - I mean, I 01:04:00was the first person who had gone to college and I didn't have the benefit of understanding really how universities worked or what graduate education meant and all that, so it was more - I think my choice was more - I mean, today I would make the choice about it on a programmatic basis; well, do I want to go into agricultural journalism, do I want to go into, at that time, communication research? I'd make a programmatic decision. I think then, California weather was just [Tasha laughs] way better sounding than Wisconsin weather, you know?

TG: That's - I was just going to say, it's about the weather, isn't it?

GE: Exactly, exactly.

TG: I saw that one coming [laughs].

GE: Yeah, exactly. But, so I went to Stanford that it truly wasn't about journalism. It was about communication research, which was based on psychology and sociology, and statistics, and actual research practice, and with some 01:05:00outstanding teachers. Wilbur Schramm was the leading communication theorist in the world at that time and he was there. Merrill Samuelson was there doing some outstanding work on adoption, and Quinn McNemar was a psychological statistician doing some remarkable work there, and Leon Festinger was there and he had just developed his theory of cognitive dissonance, so I got to take courses and do work with all those wonderful people, and it was a great experience. Really great.

TG: So, your master's is in communication research?

GE: That's right, mm-hmm.

TG: And what year did you get that degree?

GE: I was - I got, I did it on a fast-paced schedule and got that in... in '62. And I don't remember the month because it was - they grant degrees in - advanced 01:06:00degrees, at that time, on a different schedule.

TG: Hmm. And so, did you go right into the military from there?

GE: I did. That was Vietnam War era and I was on deferment, so it was a case of either be drafted or go into the military, and so this kind of fit with the - you asked earlier what was the model in those days - and so, I think part of it was, you know, well graduate from school, get married, get a job, do your military obligation, if that we were presently involved, and military obligation was indeed very present. And so, I chose to enlist, and I chose to-

TG: Oh, so you weren't drafted?

GE: No, I chose to enlist in the Air Force, in large part because their recruiter made it sound like I could do what I wanted to do and truly could go 01:07:00through the officer training school and emerge with a commission. And I did that and actually emerged with a regular commission, as opposed to a reserve commission, which is what most people emerged from that with. Regular commission goes to a few people who are selected because the military believes that they want them as career people.

So, I had a regular commission, which worked to my advantage in the Air Force, and I immediately, after officer training school, went to Rapid City, South Dakota, and within about a month moved into a slot as the director of information for that Air Force base. And it was a slot that called for a full colonel, and I was a second lieutenant as director of information. And it was an 01:08:00important military base because it was the Strategic Air Command's largest military base that had B-52 bombers, KC-135 tankers, Titan 1 missiles, and my job was to get the farmers around that area into a frame of mind such that they didn't mind our planning 150 minuteman missiles on their land; digging holes, silos, and running cables across their land and that sort of thing.

So, I had the community relations responsibility for the installation of the 150 nuclear-tipped minuteman missiles. And as a second lieutenant in a colonel's job, that is, you know, that was a big challenge. And I, once again, I had great 01:09:00mentors. Really, really good mentors that, to this day, still give them credit for things that I use now. And so, got to do that in Rapid City, and then the sort of culmination of that was after we got these in the ground, somebody at the headquarters said, "you know, we ought to make sure that these work."

TG: [Surprised] oh [laughs].

GE: And so, we had the first launch of an operation minuteman missile from an operational site, because always before they had been tested at Vandenberg Air Force Base. So, this is the first time ever a minuteman, which was really the major missile for the strategic defense of the United States during the Cold War, we had the first launch of one of those missiles from an operational site, to demonstrate... mainly to demonstrate to Russia that we could do it.

And so, this missile was just like all the other missiles, except that they 01:10:00didn't put as much fuel in it. So, on March 1st of 1965, we had the world's press gathered there, and my job was media relations for that. And so, there was all kinds of build-up, and Time Magazine, Life Magazine were there, and all the major networks and big long lenses on a cold winter day on the South Dakota prairie. And so, a lot of hoop-dee-doo leading up to it, and then the thing, you know, [laughs] the way they actually get there, you fire it - I mean, there's these guys underground in the capsule and they get the command and they fire it - and sure enough up it comes, and it, you know, flies up and it's quite spectacular, and then it runs out of fuel and falls to the ground, and it all happens in maybe - it's all over [Tasha laughs] in 15 seconds or something, you know [both laugh].

TG: It's kind of like Christmas morning, isn't it?

GE: That's right [laughs].

TG: And where did it fall?

GE: It just fell downrange on some more of South Dakota prairie.


TG: Oh.

GE: I mean, it fell right where we thought it was going to fall. But it was a fascinating thing. And I got to work with Jules Bergman from ABC News and National Geographic, and then that was a success, so I got invited to go work at the Strategic Air Command Headquarters in Omaha and moved there and had more good sup-really good supervision and... nice experiences. I got to do national media relations and work with more of the national media, and did that until '66.

And in the meantime, I had developed early-onset rheumatoid arthritis that was really giving me a lot of problems those days, and they put me on a temporary disability retired list while they watched my case. And it's not unusual for people to get that in their twenties, and then it goes into remission. And... 01:12:00so... the long and the short of it was that about the time I went on temporary disability retired list, a job opened up here are Oregon - two jobs opened up here at Oregon state, and they invited me to come out and interview for those, and I did. And then I got my choice of which to take and took one of them, and the rest is history [laughs].

TG: Well, there were two things that I was going to ask about later, but this is probably the right time. So, what did you think about the Vietnam War? It was interesting because you were in the military in that time and...

GE: Well, I was in the - I was in Strategic Air Command Headquarters when the first B-52 strategic bombers - and mind you these are bombers designed to fly into Russia and attack targets there, carrying nuclear weapons - and so what 01:13:00happened in the Vietnam War was, I mean, we know the war was one for which the United States was not well-equipped, and so they were trying everything, and so they decided that they were going to use B-52s flying out of Guam to attack insurgent targets in Vietnam with essentially heavy conventional bomb loans, much like World War II.

So, here they're repurposing these strategic bombers to do the counterinsurgency attacks, which in my estimation were never very successful, but it was interesting because... we would get the aerial pictures, the motion pictures of these attacks, back at headquarters within a few hours of when they were 01:14:00actually made in Vietnam, that they'd rush them back by high-speed jets. And so, that - and so, I was often involved in the screening of those images of the bombings and so on, and it made the war certainly very much, very real. And... I think that - I often - I... I, certainly at the time, bought into the notion which was the United States' line at that time, which was if we don't stop them in Vietnam, the communists will just continue on, you know, marching on down, and the next we know they'll be in Australia and New Zealand or whatever. So, the communist threat was really big then, and that was part of the, was part of the military strategy, was to counter that communist threat as perceived by the United States.

And you know, I guess at that time I was ready to believe that that was true. I 01:15:00mean, a guy in my twenties, I'm no expert at that. You presume that you - and you hear this from your bosses and presume that they must know what they're talking about and so on. But it did seem, I think even - I think even that early the futility of the war seemed... seemed to be present. I don't know that we talked about it a lot at the time, but there were so many reports of things that didn't work, even - and I had a very high security clearance, so I saw top secret and certain higher-level documents that would... you know, if you had any skepticism at all, it would probably fuel that.

TG: And how do you think that this experience affected how you view our country's foreign policy decisions today?

GE: ...Well, I'm not sure I've really thought about that. Um...


TG: People must ask you, though. You've been in, you know, [stumbles] - you know, you've been in Vietnam, you were involved at that time, and the lessons that it seems like you've learned about fighting wars and-

GE: Yeah, I was never in Vietnam. I was always - I mean, I was, you know, relating to it from a headquarters, but I am a Vietnam era veteran and... I think maybe what I've learned, and truly agree with when I see in actions today, is that military force is really the last thing that you resort to, not an early thing to resort to, and that especially in this world it's so much more important to be about finding diplomatic solutions, and working together and 01:17:00finding commonalities and being patient and not being sword rattlers.

For one thing, there seems to be more and more wars of insurgency like - and Vietnam was the perfect example of that - but an organized military force is not effective against insurgencies. I mean, it's very expensive, and so it's very expensive and not very effective, and so one doesn't want to... one wants to do everything you can to exhaust all other possibilities before you ever get to that.

TG: So, at the same time is when President Kennedy was shot.

GE: Mm-hmm.

TG: Where were you when that happened?

GE: I actually was on leave in Portland, and I think that's like 45 years ago tomorrow, isn't it?

TG: I don't remember the date exactly.

GE: Kind of seems to me that's the case. But I was on leave from... somewhere.


TG: Well, that was '63 right?

GE: Sixty-three...

TG: And so, it seems like in '63, were you - in '63 you would have been in Rapid City still.

GE: Yeah, I think I had - I was on leave from there and I was in Portland and I was staying in a motel with my folks because I had just gotten home, and I think maybe they had met me in Portland and we stayed at a hotel overnight before going home, and it was - it was in that hotel that we turned on the television and got the news. And then I remember calling back to the base to see if that meant I should terminate my leave and go back, and they said no, that that wasn't necessary. But yeah, I remember that pretty clearly.

TG: And did that have an effect on you?

GE: Well, I think the same kind of effect it had on anybody who respected John Kennedy, it was what a tragedy. I mean, because in many ways this, the election 01:19:00of Barack Obama, is for me reminiscent of the election of John Kennedy. He was elected when I was Barometer editor, and I just remember the feeling on the campus at that time was one of hope and enthusiasm and connection with a young, younger man, and a man who offered promise and so forth, and very much the thing I've seen with the Obama election. And so, it was just this great sorrow. And I remember, not real clearly, but I do remember when Franklin Roosevelt died and how my family felt. I mean, I was a little kid them but I remember how my family felt then. It was that same feeling, really.

TG: And we didn't really talk about this before, but how did you experience World War II? Obviously, you were young, but where does it fit into your memory?


GE: Well... my - several members of my family, male members of my family, were called to war, some drafted, some volunteered, whatever. My mother's - no, my dad's sister's husband went in as a Navy officer and served on several ships during World War II. My dad was drafted, but he went into the Marine Corps, and he served in the Marines during World War II, but not for a long time. He was a later - because he was older at the time, he - they didn't draft him until they needed to draft older people [Tasha laughs]. And he - and I think the people who were in his same Marine company, or whatever the unit was called, called him Dad 01:21:00[Tasha laughs]. I mean, he was enough that, you know, he may have been 10 years older or five years old, but it was that kind of... And then my mom's younger brother was drafted - actually, I don't know that he was drafted, but he went in right after high school. He went into the Army in World War II. He had a scholarship to Harvard which could have deferred him, and instead, he volunteered for the Army and was killed in the Pacific a short time later. And he was a favorite uncle for me. He was a real neat young man.

So, those are the kinds - and so I - there were periods when many of the men in our family were in the war, and so I remember my mom and myself being alone in the, where we lived, and then my dad's sister spending a lot of time with us. 01:22:00And actually, growing up through those several years with my mom and my aunt, who always had fun together and laughed a lot and everything, was - I mean, even in their later years just before they died, we would, when we were together, we would all laugh about good times that we had together and crazy things that these two women would do, I mean to entertain me or whatever.

So yeah, it was - there were scary times. I mean, I remember much of that time every night was blackout, so you weren't allowed to drive cars a lot, but if you did, you'd turn on the headlights at night and there would be like a half-inch slit through which the lights would shine, and that was all that you were allowed to show because there might be Japanese airplanes overhead or something.


TG: Yeah, it seemed that that was a time when there was real fear, even here on our mainland, of -

GE: Oh absolutely.

TG: -attack.

GE: Absolutely. Yeah, that when - after the war and when we moved to the coast, the people who lived in the Nelscott, now Lincoln City area, talked about how they had assigned people who lived there who would take turns walking the beach at night looking for Japanese invaders.

TG: Mm.

GE: Yeah, it was, it was very much in evidence.

TG: So, we kind of got a little distracted there because I wanted to get those things in where they fit. So, when you were in the military, it's kind of that same question about when you were at OSU; was there any cultural message homosexuality at that time? Was it discussed?

GE: Well yes, you bet. I mean, it was - first of all, when you went in, you had 01:24:00to fill out a form that inquired about your sexual history, and you know, and as I recall, the question was are you now or have you ever been a homosexual, or are you now or have you ever engaged, or do you now or have you ever engaged in homosexual activities and so forth. I mean, it was that explicit. And...

TG: And if you said yes?

GE: Then you were out. They wouldn't take you. I mean it was that... it was that... and but of course that carried then with it all kinds of social stigma that, I mean, so what do I do, go home and tell my mom that you know, well they sent me back because I'm a homosexual? You know, and my guess is that probably most, most people growing up have sexual activities with people of the same sex. 01:25:00You know, it's part of experimentation. So, now you're confronted with a military form that asks, and then you're going oh geez, did that time ever - does that [Tasha laughs], is that what they mean? And so forth, you know.

TG: Right.

GE: And so, from day one it's made clear that that's not appropriate. Now I didn't really encounter it until - I mean encounter it really in any substantive way. I mean, in training they tell you that that's not allowed and so forth and that we don't have homosexual people in the military and so forth, but I didn't really encounter it until I was a squadron commander for the 821st Combat Support Group at Ellsworth, which was a job I had in addition to being director of information, you know. So, it's just like around here, that you often find yourself with multiple jobs [Tasha laughs].

And so, I was a squadron commander for this unit of, I think we 600 people, 01:26:00and... and for the most part, that kind of a squadron is run by the... the NCOs, the noncommissioned officers, the senior master sergeants, and chief master sergeants and so on. They'd been running them for years and, you know, here's a new lieutenant who doesn't know nearly as much as they do and you - so, you have to trust them a lot and everything. So, I remember though, I hadn't been squadron commander for very long until one of the chief master sergeants brought to my attention that he had identified these two young men who were... I don't remember how he would have framed it, but they were roommates and he had determined that they were homosexual.

And so, it was therefore up to me to deal with that. And the regulation had a 01:27:00number. I don't remember what it was but it's the homo-the regulation deals with not having homosexuals in the military and all the fine print related to that, and it was something like - I don't remember the first digits, but it was like 12-69, is the-

TG: [Laughs] interesting choice.

GE: Is - yeah, exactly. And so, he brought these two young men in and we talked and they confirmed that they had had homosexual relations, and so he gave them a choice of do they... did they want to fight it or did they - were they going - you know, fight a discharge, or would they sign the papers and so on. And we discharged them, and I remember signing the papers as the squadron commander as a dishonorable discharge for these two gay guys. It was fir-I think it was the first time that I knew that I was really talking to somebody who was gay, and 01:28:00the word, I don't think gay ever appeared. I think it was always homosexual. But - and you know, and I'm - so, I'm sitting there, and probably aware of my own inclinations but not ever really having acted on those, and yet - and having great empathy for these two men and thinking about the trag-and that was a very difficult - I mean, especially in retrospect, that was a difficult one to process, was so how is that, how's all that sort out.

And actually, I think for me the temporary disability retirement, based on the health condition, came at a good time because, had I stayed in, it would become more and more apparent to me that it was a conflict of interest and, and that, you know, it would have been a great career had that not been in the way.

TG: And what do you feel... This is not on my list, but it just came up, like 01:29:00what do you think is the most appropriate way that the military should - what kind of policy should the military have?

GE: They should forget it. They should, they - it's kind of like they ought to be like Israel or anybody else of the more progressive militaries, is you know, turn loose of it. It's not a big deal. And I mean, it's been established more, in more and more military situation-and there's even advocates among very senior military people in the United States that it's like - and I think Obama actually, I think Obama, during his presidency, it'll go away.

TG: So, there should just be no policy about it? That it's-

GE: Yeah, I mean it's kind of like... do we have policy against blue eyes or brown hair, or...

TG: Right.

GE: You know? I mean, the military was the first place, under Harry Truman, where they said we're not going to make any distinction about people of color. 01:30:00And it's kind of like do the same thing here.

TG: But we still have "don't ask, don't tell," technically, right?

GE: Oh, we do now, yeah. That's what I think ought to be gotten rid of, and get rid of regular number such-and-so 69.

TG: Whatever it is at this point.

GE: Yeah, uh-huh. Yeah.

TG: So, so you were talking about coming back to OSU. So, you were offered these two positions; what were those two positions?

GE: One was as assistant editor for the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, which would be a science journalism kind of job, and the other was a split appointment in the Department of Journalism to teach journalism, and the other half of that was to do public information work for the university.

TG: And which one did you pick?

GE: I took the second one.

TG: Uh-huh.

GE: And so, I was teaching journalism and doing public information work, and it 01:31:00just - that was a good fit, although it was interesting that as time went by... and I moved through various positions, I then had the editor and the assistant editor for the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station reporting to me; that there was a convergence [laughs], sort of, of careers there, such that the job that I didn't take ended up being one that I was the supervisor for.

TG: [Laughs] that's interesting. So, you've been here at OSU for over 40 years, and what are some of the other positions that you've had?

GE: Well, a lot of interesting positions, and I think when - see, when I came here, I really didn't know I was going to stay here this long, and were it not for continuing to have a lot of interesting opportunities, were it not for that, 01:32:00I might not still be here. So, early on I was doing those two jobs, general public information work for the university...

TG: And teaching journalism.

GE: And teaching journalism...

TG: Is that the only time you taught here?

GE: Well, that's another - we can come back to that one.

TG: Okay.

GE: But the, the half time that was not about teaching journalism got me into starting a new quarterly newsletter for the university called OSU Scope, and I was the editor and publisher of that for the whole time that it was published which was, I don't know, several years. And then that got me to being - I guess that called attention to what I was doing with that newsletter at a time when the alumni association lost the editor of The Oregon Stater, and so they asked 01:33:00me if I would become the editor of the alumni magazine.

So, I did that, and at the same time this, the work that was going on in the... in the oceans was growing here a lot, and since I had taken those several oceanography classes some years before, I was really the only person at the time who had a combination of science writing and a background in oceanography, some background in oceanography. And so, they needed a public information rep, so I started doing public information work for the then-brand-new OSU Marine Science Center at Newport-

TG: Wow.

GE: -and the Department of Oceanography, which was then a department, not a college. And that was fascinating, and so I did stuff like get certified as a diver so I could go out and dive with the research divers and take underwater pictures and that sort of thing and broadcast - I remember broadcasting from the 01:34:00bridge of one of our research vessels when we were on top of a mountain off the coast of Washington that is as big as Mt. Hood and comes to within 100 feet of the surface, and so I was sending radio broadcasts back from there about our work.

And so, you know, in every one of those jobs I found myself meeting neat people, and my network around the university grew, and it was just there was all kinds of rewards in that. Then Bill Wick, who was an extension agent in Tillamook County, and Roy Young, who was then the Dean of Research here - he was a botanist and he's still alive in town - he went on to be the acting president of the university for a while, but Bill Wick, Roy Young, Herb Frolander, an oceanographer... and Emery Castle, who was in Ag. Econ., and I worked on 01:35:00developing the proposal that led to OSU's being named one of the first sea grant colleges in the country, along with Texas A&M and University of Rhode Island.

And so, once we were named that, they needed somebody to do public information work, so I was named as the first director of communications for the Sea Grant Program, which then introd-got me introduced - I'd never really had much to do with Cooperative Extension before that, but I - through that, I became acquainted with Cooperate Extension, and within, I don't know, maybe two or three years, then Cooperative Extension asked me if I would become the leader of their communications program.


So, I migrated out of the Sea Grant Program and into being department head for communications for OSU Extension. And then, while I was doing that, we changed deans here, and the dean in the - Ernie Briskey, new dean here, said, "I'm merging the Extension communications unit with the Agricultural Experiment Station communications, and I want you to be the head of that department." So, I was head of the Extension communications department for 10 years and head of the Ag. Communication department for 10 years.

And then, during that time, the president of the university was faced with the retirement of the director of University Publications, long-time director Ken Munford. And he retired - he was also the director of the University Press, the scholarly book publishing arm. So, the university president, Robert MacVicar, 01:37:00then said, "I would like to have you be director of University Publications, director of the University Press, while you continue to be department head." So, I took on those roles and did that for a while, all the while kind of - I think both he and I knew that he wanted me to look after... he wanted me to look after some things that needed to be done in those two units that were overdue. It kind of needed to be disrupted a little bit and changed around. And so, I did that and then relinquished. It was just - it was - I was working... I've never been reluctant to work long hours, but I was working way too long hours, and so got them to pretty much where he wanted them to be and then stepped from those and 01:38:00continued as department head until '92 when I got offered another job, which was to head the OSU Foundation.

And the people here in the College of Ag. Sciences said, "Wait a minute, we don't want him to leave." So, they offered me a job to head up a variety of things here in the dean's office, and so I had two job offers, and really the one here was just more attractive. So, I came over here in '92, and I've been up to a lot of things here since then.

TG: Which of those positions have you enjoyed the most, and why?

GE: I think I enjoyed whatever one I was in the most. I mean really, truly, they've all been fun. And not, not without their own - their challenges, and not without their down moments and that sort of thing, but I think my philosophy has 01:39:00been this business of follow your passion, you know? And so, if you're doing it, you better be passionate about, and therefore, if you're passionate about it, it's probably got some rewards and has fun. And in fact, I always try to make my job fun.

So, I wouldn't pick one out as better than another. I mean, at the moment probably the best is the one I'm in, and it's just I've got great people to work with and a lot of - there's a lot of important challenges that we're facing. We're facing, as always, ever limit-tighter budgets and so forth. We've got tremendous people in this college. I've learned from everybody I work with, and... Now, that said, there was a moment when... I was asked to be the - 01:40:00principal investigator was the official name, but it was essentially project director - for a... for a grant that we had, a project that we had in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and this was in the nine-early nineteen-nineties.

I wrote the proposal to them and had the support of John Byrne, who was president, and... our dean then, C.J. Weiser, director of the Experiment Station Thayne Dutson, Emery Castle, who I mentioned earlier, had the support of all those people, and Roy Arnold, who was, at that time, was the Provost, all of those people supported our getting this grant from the Kellogg Foundation. And the foundation said, "We're going to select 10 land-grant universities in which 01:41:00we are going to invest major money to help them prepare to do - better do their job in the 21st century."

And so, there, as you might imagine, there were a lot of universities competing for that. We were one of the original ones selected and I had the privilege of being then the project director for that. And it was about - it was really about cultural transformation for the university. And what I discovered, soon discovered, was that no one had a clue about how to transform culture in a university. And so, there were - that meant... that meant that for me there was some real downtimes because Kellogg was not directive. It is never directive with its grants, so they give you a lot of latitude and framework within which to work, and a lot of latitude.

There was down, many downtimes for me because I felt like once we got the grant, 01:42:00the people were sort of patting me on the head and saying "well, there, there, good luck with your grant," and yet it was really about the whole university. And so, going from some pretty downtimes, we started sorting out that what Oregon State most needed was a better capability to build relationships - excuse me - relationships within the institution such that there was improved communication, there was a cultural norm of make commitments and keep them, and a recognition that the informal system of the university is really what keeps it alive and vital.

So, what we ended up doing then was bringing in a corporate trainer by the name of Paul Axtell to conduct a series of two or three-day workshops for faculty, staff, and students, all of which would be voluntary. We didn't want any 01:43:00captives. And we called these Conversational Skills for Convening People and Influencing Decisions. And we did the first one and had a number of leaders in the university there for the two-day, full two-day workshop with Paul. And these people were so impressed and found so much value in it that they went back and told all their friends and colleagues, so the next time we offered it, we filled the hundred slots really just [snaps fingers] like that.

That was in... I'm going to say we started that in '96 or '97. We are still offering conversational skills, and we now are offering - at that time we were offering it multiple times a year; now we're offering it once a year under the Provost Fund for Excellence. When we announce it people sign up. It usually fills in less than a day, and we've now trained close to 3,000 faculty, staff, 01:44:00and students in this, and they report it has not only changed - I mean, I regularly get these reports that "this has not only changed my professional life; it has totally changed my relationship with my family in positive ways." And so, today Oregon State is different because of that, and... there are still places on the campus that don't have a clue it ever went on, but the people who participated still refer to that as a life-changing experience. So that, I suppose if I were going to pick out one thing, it would be that, in terms of... feeling like it made a big difference.

TG: But my next question was going to be which has been the most challenging, and it sounds like that may have also been the same one.

GE: Yeah, I think so [Tasha laughs] because - and it goes back to this point that by and large we do not know how to make cultural change, and it's scary and, you know, there's - we can think of all kinds of reasons why we - life 01:45:00ought to stay the same, and yet the route for us into cultural change was a positive one because it was like people began to discover what it means to be listened to, which is one of the main skills that we teach in conversational skills, is listening.

And what - and we [stumbles] introduce people to the idea that very seldom in life is there a moment when someone will simply listen. I mean, it's the gift that you're giving me today, this afternoon, is you're not interrupting me, you're not, you know, I'm not halfway through a thought and you ask a question which then redirects where I'm going and so on. You allow me to speak and reflect and you afford me the opportunity to have pauses in my thinking. Well, this workshop introduced that kind of a concept in terms of the gift of 01:46:00listening, and it has made a significant difference here.

Paul and I have done similar workshops at other places like University of Hawaii. I remember doing one and the chief business officer took the first day, then he went as he did every day and picked his wife up for work and asked her "how was your day," and she began to speak as they drove home, and he told me it was a 40-minute drive to the other side of the island [Tasha chuckles], and that he just listened. And when they got home, she said, "You have never, ever listened to me without interrupting before." And then he went on to report that, that that discovery for the both of them just changed their relationship. And we have got - we have reports like that from participants all the time.


TG: So, it must feel like you've really made a difference in people's personal lives, which is powerful.

GE: Yeah, yeah.

TG: Now, I did interrupt you before about the teaching thing; we were going to get back to that. So, did you teach again after you taught journalism when you first came back here in '66?

GE: Well, I taught, I taught forever long that was, several years, in credit courses. I've since taught mainly at request for - from other faculty members in guest lectures, helping them do seminars and that kind of thing, in terms of credit courses. But I think that really maybe the place where my teaching has continued has been as, really as a result of the Kellogg project. And one of the things that I've done and sort of have a reputation for at the university is being pretty good at the design and management of meetings. And so, I have 01:48:00taught lots of people, both professional people in the university and the students, about design and management of meetings. And so, and that's pretty regular.

I mean, sometimes it's because it's a dysfunctional group that says "we can't bear to have another one of our awful meetings, will you help us"? Or it's somebody in a class, a leadership class or something like that, saying "well, meeting design and management is really important to leadership; will you come teach this?" So, I think I... you know, it's kind of like "where do you teach?" well, I feel like I teach on demand and wherever there's a need and an opportunity. So, that may be my long-range, long-term contribution to the institution.

TG: One of the questions that Larry specifically wanted to know is why you have chosen to stay at OSU for so many years, and I feel like you've kind of answered 01:49:00that, in that they've given you so many interesting opportunities.

GE: Never gotten bored.

TG: Right.

GE: I mean really, I think that's it, is there's always been one more challenge. And great people to work with. And then I think there's all the reasons that make OSU attractive to - when we're out trying to hire people, you know, faculty and so on, is we can pay them lower salaries simply because they like to live in the Willamette Valley and all the wonderful things that surround us.

TG: In your 50-year association with this university, what person or event do you think has had the most significant impact on the university?

GE: On the university?

TG: Mm-hmm.

GE: ...

TG: Going all the way back to your time here as a student.

GE: ...Hmm... Wow... You know, I don't, I don't think I can identify one thing. 01:50:00I think what has an impact on a university is, I mean it is what the university - the university isn't the buildings, it isn't the - it isn't - fundamentally, it isn't the curriculum; it is the people. And so, if you look at OSU... and the people who have been leaders at OSU over the years, each of those people has left his or her own mark here in a rather unique and wonderful way.

And my privilege has been to be able to work with those people and be part of whatever mark they've left. I mean there was one, there was one person for whom I worked whose name I mentioned earlier, Ernie Briskey, who Dean of this college in the early eighties, and he was the most awful person I ever worked for in the early years of our relationship. I mean, I just, I hated to have to deal with Ernie, but he and I got to a point where we sort of had a rapprochement and came to respect one another, and I actually was one of the last people to talk to him before he died in Wisconsin not long ago.

Ernie was one of those people who came in and just kind of if the car-if the college were a deck of cards, he just took that deck of cards and threw it up in the air, and everything landed, you know, willy-nilly. And everybody was very disturbed by Ernie's disrupt. So, here was a guy who, even to this day, there's a lot of people who will not give him credit for one thing. For anything. But he 01:51:00did make a diff-I mean, we're sitting in a room surrounded by images and sculpture from the Art About Agriculture Program, and that's one of the things that he started while he was here and that is still the first - I mean, it is the first, and the largest in the nation. So you know, different people make different contributions, and I've just had this great luxury of working with so many of them.

TG: What changes have you seen here at OSU in regards to the opportunities and the difficulties for gay and lesbian students and faculty, you know, anybody who's here?

GE: ...Well... I don't know that it has been dramatically different from what simply - I mean, from what has gone on in the larger society. I think OSU, in 01:52:00recent years, has made a real effort to be an ever-more inclusive society, or ever-more inclusive community... That said, this is a - Corvallis is simply a community that isn't very diverse, and I think it's been hard for Corvallis and OSU to come to grips with well, what does diversity mean. And I expect that there were, maybe still are, people who do it in Corvallis or on campus, who do a double-take - I hope it's not true on campus - but do a double-take when they see a person of color, or something goes through their head that this is - this person is different.


I expect the same thing was or is true, was true, at a point when "geez, I didn't know we had any queers in our community," you know? And I think we're - we have certainly gotten along farther down that road of being past that. I think there are a lot of people on campus who have worked really hard at being - at providing leadership for being inclusive. And there are - and that's both men and women. I think one to whom a lot of credit goes is Larry Roper as the Vice Provost for Student Services. Larry gets it in a big way and has provided gentle leadership that has helped students and faculty and administrators begin to, you 01:54:00know, really begin and progress beginning about what does it mean to be inclusive.

So, I mean there were times when I was the - among the earliest - of the Gay and Lesbian Association faculty advisors. I used - as soon as I was identified, I began getting threatening phone calls at home, either pick up the phone and answer it and get threats or have threats left on the answering machine. I got a death threat through campus mail here. Th-

TG: When was that? What year was that? Or do you know when that was generally?

GE: Oh, it probably would have been... it was probably, I'm going to say, about 01:55:00'75, '76, somewhere in there.

TG: Okay.

GE: And Bill and I have had garbage dumped on our front porch and, you know, mailbox knocked down and things like that in those earlier years, eggs thrown at our house. I mean, there was just clearly, you know, just this sort of thing. And [stumbles], what it drives home is what... imagine what people of color have had to put up with for, you know, centuries. And I think what it does is it reminds you you're part of a minority and that there is hate out there and so forth. But you can't dwell on it. You sort of just have to go on.

And so anyway, I think that in the bigger picture what's happened is that - and 01:56:00this is a point that my partner always makes, that Bill always makes - is the more gay people who are out... that straight people have to confront and say "oh, well I guess I do know a gay person and she's my niece," or, you know, "he's my neighbor" or whatever. And Bill grew up in a church and he got a word there that I didn't have, but he always said "well, this is witnessing," and that - so, being out as a gay person is witnessing, and so the more that people who might otherwise be prejudiced have to confront that there are gay people around them and that they have - and that they have prejudices about gay people. The more they have to confront that, the better it is and the more likely that 01:57:00once they start getting acquainted with gay people, they'll find that we're not scary and we're pretty much more like them than not like them, and so forth.

So, I've seen that change. And so, you know, you look around and see that we have a resource center and we have a person who's actually on payroll for the university to help provide a positive and supportive environment for young men and women who are gay, lesbian, I mean LGBTA, all the, and... So, those are big changes. I mean, that's a far cry from Helen Moore and patent leather shoes [Tasha laughs] and that sort of thing.

TG: And the pillow [laughs].

GE: Uh-huh, exactly.

TG: So, when did you meet Bill? When and how did you meet him?

GE: Nineteen...seventy-one. And I used to swim every morning at the YMCA, when 01:58:00Corvallis had a YMCA, and he was the lifeguard. And so, I would swim six o'clock swim, and we just got acquainted there, and I invited him over for dinner and we had dinner and exchanged - we'd go out for dinner occasionally and so on, and so for - that was for several months, and then we started living together on our anniversary, the date that we picked for our anniversary is March 17th, 1972. So, what does that make it? March 17th of '09 will be 37 years.

TG: And were you open about your - I mean, you were living together - were you living together as gay men, or at that time was it-?

GE: Yeah, we came out to our families very shortly very after because we were getting the business of "well, I don't know why you're not coming home for 01:59:00Thanksgiving; you don't have any reason to stay there," you know.

TG: Right.

GE: It was like "Well I - excuse me, I do have," so on [Tasha laughs]. And they had, you know, we went through some, not very many issues, but I mean there are stories about the coming out to parents and so on. I don't - they're longer than what you probably want to go into [Tasha laughs] today, but they handled it, you know. They came to grips with it. And families, our - ended up our families both have been very supportive.

TG: So, so you guys have basically been open since the beginning of your relationship.

GE: Yep.

TG: Including on campus with your coworkers and everything?

GE: Yep, yep.

TG: And what does - well, is Bill working now? What does he do?

GE: He designs - actually, the word is sukiya living, but it - what it means is he designs Japanese gardens and Japanese interior living spaces. And the Japanese make no distinction; that those are one, and so he works with clients 02:00:00to design Japanese gardens and Japanese living spaces.

TG: You guys have obviously had a very long relationship. What are the keys to the success of that?

GE: Well, I think for us the big then that we have had in common that has worked every day and to this day is our garden. And we began that in 1976. And we live on an almost acre lot right here in Corvallis and on a hillside, east-facing hillside, and most of that space, except where the house is, is a Japanese garden. And it's one that we've been at work on that long, and the Japanese say that a garden gets beyond being new after 25 years [Tasha laughs], and so we're well into that, and it's quite a mature garden, and wonderful.


And of course, it works for Bill to bring the clients there to see examples of where theirs might go and so forth, but for us, it has been a common denominator and it's what we do... whenever we have a chance. I mean, people say "oh, gee, it must take a lot of work." Well, it takes a lot of work but it's - it is because that's where we want to be. And so, it has a lot of spiritual dimensions to it, and I mean spiritual in the sense of being about something together is a very positive and spiritual sort of experience, and we complement one another in terms of what we do.

TG: How do you think your experience living in this country over your lifetime has been different because you are a gay man? Your place in the world?

GE: I think - I have occasion... Yesterday in a, in a conversation that Cary 02:02:00Green, our head advisor and assistant dean, and Larry Roper were leading over in the Leadership Center, and we were talking about... what builds community and what you do that students recognize and value in terms of just how you behave as a community member. And it really, in my estimation, what makes relationships worked is if they're based in authenticity. And if... if you, at some point in your life, are confronted with saying to the world "I am this," whatever this is, "I am this," and it's something that is the subject of revulsion to people 02:03:00or that they don't understand it or they're afraid of it or whatever and you're still saying that, if you say that, it's kind of like well, what is there worse that I can tell you about myself, you know?

And so, it forces you into approaching the world with a kind of authenticity. It's kind of like okay, what you see is what you get. And I'm not something else, this is what I am. This is who I am, take it or leave it. But... so, it - you leave any pretense at the door, I think, and then you just are who you are. That's what I think has been a very empowering - that's been the gift of being gay, for me, is that I don't pretend to be anything other than what I am or who 02:04:00I am, and if people like me, that's because they like me for who I am. And I think it's worked to have - to build us some marvelous relationships. That make sense?

TG: Yeah, it's perfect! That's a - that answers the question exactly.