Esther Taskerud: I taught right outof high school and I went to summer school for six weeks and took a teacher's examination. I wanted to teach out of the eighth grade and I was only 12 years old then. But I was as big as I am now. My dad wouldn't let me go. It was over to a Russian community and he said, "Well if they put a bowl in the center of the table then you're supposed to eat out of it, get your share, what you are 1:00you going to think about that?" And it didn't ever occur to me that they would be any different, you know. But they were the real peasant people, a whole colony of them. So anybody could teach really. But I did teach two years in the rural school and that's, of course, you're the teacher and you build a fire and there was no running water or anything like that and then you're the janitor. All of these things.
Yvonne Loso: Almost like Little House on the Prairie.
ET: Pardon me?
YL: Like those Wilder books, Little House on the Prairie.
ET: Oh, yes. Yes, it was two years I did that.
YL: How old were you then?2:00
ET: Oh, when I taught? Eighteen. I'd already finished high school. But when Ifinished the eighth grade our high school wasn't accredited and so my dad thought I'd waste time going there so I went to a normal school and the subjects were way over my head but it was an interesting experience. I lived in the third 3:00floor of the President's home and everybody was older than I. I had just had my thirteenth birthday then and they were teenage girls and older who were there to become teachers. I had a room on the top, the third floor, and they would come up there and tell me all their love affairs because everybody else was bored stiff but a kid that age, you see, I was just all ears. So then I just went part of a quarter and that's when the flu epidemic came and they closed the school. So I went part of three years there and I took some home economics. I remember I had to make a hat and it was wire frame and Moline covered with flowers on it. I don't think there was ever a head born that would fit it. But, anyway, I went 4:00part of three years there and then our high school became accredited. And so I went back and graduated. There were four in our graduating class.
YL: You say you were only at this school a year?
ET: No, I was there part of three years because through the flu epidemic theykept closed. You know, people just died by the dozens.
YL: Where was this at? This is in South Dakota?
YL: Was that before the vaccinations?
ET: Oh, yes, the flu was new then, you see, they hadn't developed vaccines. Andthen I went to the lady who was secretary to the Board of Regents who was interested in me because I had lost my mother before I was seven and my dad didn't remarry again and so she had always been quite interested in me. So she said I should go to South Dakota State. And she gave me a coat of hers and a 5:00dress and fifty dollars. This was in the depths of the depression, you see. And my dad had sent money but I'd run out of money and I remember I went without five meals in a row and then I thought, well if I get out and walk, I'll feel better, you know. So I got just to the end of the dorm walk and a girl said, "Are you going to the WAA Walkout?" And I said well, that's Womens Athletic Association. I said, "Oh, I didn't know about it." She said, "Well come on and go." And we had hot dogs and hot dogs never tasted that good. But those were the 6:00kinds of times, those early years were where we'd probably go to school for a whole year, board room and everything for about $800.
YL: That was probably expensive.
ET: Oh it was. But I hadn't been there too long before I got a job. I took cashin the college cafeteria for my board and that was wonderful of course. Oh, I did everything. They redid all the mattresses in the dorm and they had some old tobacco chewing fellows from Arkansas do it. And I made all of the new cases. I got 50Â¢ a piece. You did housework for 50Â¢ an hour although some were even 35Â¢. But, of course, things were much less expensive. But those early years 7:00as you look back on them were a real experience. But one thing nice about being young, you don't know that you can't do something and you go ahead and do it. You know, when you're older you drag your feet, but when you're a young girl who you, the first thing you know, you've done it. Well anyway I taught two years, went to school two years and then times were so bad I had to quit. So I got a job teaching in a two school then. I took another exam and I had what you call a state certificate and I taught in Millbank, South Dakota. And I had forty-four in my fourth grade. It was a railroad town. I had three from three different families. I had three children so some of them were slow you see. But they 8:00didn't have remedial work, you know, that we do now. And then I taught there two years. Well I was so hungry for clothes and that sort of things, you know, that I had to get money from my dad to come home the first year. I just spent money and then I learned better. So then a lady in this district where I first taught said, "I will give you your board and room if you will come stay with us and teach my little girl." And so I stayed there and drove about three miles everyday with this little boy and girl and taught there another two years. Then I went back and I finished in a year and a quarter so. And then there was not a 9:00single home economics job. You just didn't get to apply. That was a frill. Music and home ec and and all those things were taken out of the schools.
And so I was working for Montgomery Ward. I worked for them for nine monthsabout at $12.00 a week and then my board and room came out of that of course. And so then I was trying to get away from insurance man that was a pest and I said to this lady, "Could I sit in the car with you until he goes by?" and she said, "Sure," and then she said, "You know come home with me I'm making a cake. One of the girls is getting married and I'm having a party for her and the teachers." And so on the way home she said, "You know why don't you apply for that job?" She said, "My sister-in-law is on the school board." And so I applied 10:00for that job. So then I taught fifth grade for a year and it was when I was giving milk to the youngsters at recess time that I got a telephone call about the Extension Service and so I never did get a chance to, except for my student teaching, to really teach home economics. Originally when I was in the eighth grade a lady come to our town and gave a demonstration. She was the county extension agent and she was the prettiest thing you ever looked at. She had on a white starched uniform and had dark hair and big snappy eyes. I can see the demonstration as if it were yesterday. She made an angel food cake and pan 11:00broiled a steak. Well I'd never seen a steak pan broiled before. You put the fat in, you didn't just broil it. Well anyway I decided that day that I wanted a job like that. I wanted to be like that. And so that was my goal, but this was the route that I went to try and get it. Incidentally at that time our dean was a very fine person but she didn't have too much to do with it. She'd give you an extension job if you couldn't get anything else. But teaching to her was so much more important. And, of course, at that time really the work out in rural areas was even more important because threw wasn't anything, you know. But then from then on I was in Extension.
YL: So had you shown an interest in Extension before they offered you the job?12:00
ET: Oh they knew all the way through. From the time I was in the eighth grade.That's why I said yes, from the time I was in the eighth grade I wanted to be an extension agent. I wanted to be like her. And so I've often told folks I think sometimes we don't start exposing kids early enough to get them interested in 13:00home economics. We used to bring 2,000 in here for 4-H Summer School and they lived in sororities and fraternities. And so they just idolized them. We were terribly careful about who we got for their counselors. We had two in every house. I know a lot of this has no application but then that first job my salary for the 12 months was $1480 but I had to buy a car because they didn't provide cars then. And my car was $650. That was a standard Plymouth and what I mean by standard was that it had four wheels and a steering wheel. There were no frills. And then in addition I made some payments on my debt cause I had had to borrow quite a lot of money. And it's interesting, when I had something to pay I saved money like the experience in Millbank. I spent it all. But here I got along with 14:00that $1480.
YL: Amazing. I don't think I could do it.
ET: Then I was in the county for three years and then went to the state office.And every time I made a change I think the world's coming to an end cause I know there can't be as nice of people there as there are here. But there are. And so then I traveled all of the counties in South Dakota. We divided it into three areas and you work in each area two years. Then I wanted to do graduate work but I couldn't get a leave of absence. I don't mean a sabbatical. I mean a leave of absence. The director we had at the time was rather short sighted and he said if 15:00you go everybody will want to go. Well, so I had a chance to go to Ames and I was supposed tow work three months a year on my masters but I stayed there three years and I didn't even get my vacation so I told them I was going to resign and they gave me leave without pay. But they wanted me to take another state leaders job and I wasn't interested in that. And so that was how I went on and finally did my graduate work. I had a wonderful background from South Dakota State but I had more problems that were in the area of human relations than I did in subject matter because I could refer to the specialists for subject matter but there wasn't anyone to help me in all of the human relations problems and in youth 16:00work especially. And so that was what I wanted. And one night the director of rural education at Teachers' College in Columbia gave a speech there and afterward I went up and talked to him and I said, "You know I think you would understand what I want to do." I wanted to prepare myself to do counseling of rural young people because they had such poor counselors as far as orienting them. And so he said, "Well when you get ready come to school you just let me know." And so in about two weeks I sent my credentials to him. Before you knew it I was at Columbia. But now I don't know if any of that is going to be 17:00relevant or not.
YL: That's exactly what I was going to ask you. Exactly. Those were my firstquestions. I wanted to know about your teaching. But I did wonder, were you at Columbia and then you moved to Iowa?
YL: You didn't move to Iowa?
ET: No. I moved to Iowa from South Dakota because I wanted to do graduate workand I couldn't get a leave. Because I felt so many needs you know. And then this Dr. Sear let me go through the catalog and take the subjects that I felt I needed: Adult Education, Adult Psychology, Psychology of Adolescence, Mental Health and Psychology of Family Relations and Family Social Relations and he just let me build my own program and there were only two courses that he added. 18:00And then I stayed the summer too because there were so many things I wanted to get. When I took home economics we had one or two electives and I took all of mine in dramatics, and was very happy that I did because it gave me a lot of things I needed. And in those days people couldn't afford the recreation so we had one act play tournaments and we had lots of recreation leader workshops, folkdancing, all these things because there we no television, you see. There were none of these things. In fact I can remember my senior year in highschool 19:00was the first time we had ever heard a radio. We all went down to the big garage in town and we stood in a line and put on these earphones and listened to the radio.
YL: What did you hear when you listened to it the first time?
ET: I can't remember.
YL: Did they have music or did they do a variety cast?
ET: It was a speaking program. I'll never forget after I went to Brookings Icame back to Aberdeen where I had been just an outstanding 4-H girl and she said, "You know Miss Taskerud, we don't have fun at all like we did when you were here." She said, "All we do is go to a movie or something like that." You 20:00see they made their own fun every weekend at the school in their community. They had made all there own fun and we had lots of programs to help them. So it's changed lots with some of it's progress, some of it isn't.
YL: I'm going to ask you later on about how it's changed. I wanted to talk toyou about when you came to Oregon in 1947 as an assistant state 4-H club leader.
ET: I came here without knowing what I was going to do. That year ever so manyjobs were available. But we had a girl, a clothing specialist from Oregon State, in school. There were 17 states represented at Columbia that year. She and I 21:00were looking at an outdoor art exhibit down in Greenwich Village and all of a sudden she said, "How come you've never come to Oregon?" And I said, "Oh I guess I've just been happy where I was." And I didn't think anymore about it and about two weeks later I got a wire saying would I be interested in a job in Oregon? And I said, "Well I wouldn't know but I'd be interested in knowing more about it." And so Mrs. Sager said the director was going to be in Washington, D.C. and if I were interested he'd come down to New York. And it was a night about, oh, rainier than this and I can just see myself yet. You always wore a hat then. And 22:00so I can see this hat with a feather in it. Well, anyway I went back to the dorm. Oh first, they told me, I was at a meeting at West point, and they described Mr. Ballard to me and they said he's baldheaded and redfaced and he doesn't talk much and they had quite a description. He's kind of hard to talk to. That's what they said. So I met him at eight at a hotel downtown and the first thing I knew it was eleven.
YL: Oh he wasn't so hard to talk to?
ET: And so when I got back to the dorm I said to the girls, "You know I thinkI'm going to go to Oregon." And they said, "What are you going to do?" and I said, "I don't know, but whatever it is it will be interesting." With the vision that man had, you know, it would. And then I did some questioning and everyone 23:00said, "Well it's one of the best in the nation." And we had people on the staff who knew the program and there were Washington people who came down there quite a lot too.
YL: Why was it considered the best in the nation?
ET: Well, the first director was a very wise man and the funding of it was sothat the state had a lot to say about what programs they would have. And they were fortunate in the quality of people that they got because I think in extension you've got to have someone who has a little missionary spirit, you know. And they were the right people. And then Mr. Ballard, when I said vision, 24:00they worked with the people. He had terrific faith in people. And the staff worked with people seeing what they felt their needs were, you know, and giving them information to help them see what their needs were. So the program was built solidly in the counties, you see, and that was what made it outstanding. And they planned, they had planning conferences where they would plan 10 years ahead. Then they would do annual planning too. But for instance, Klamath County used to be a great apple growing county and when they got to studying it they found that they weren't strategically located market wise to ever get much of any place. So they switched them to potatoes and they made great progress then. And then we had a real fine state leader here in home economics too, Miss Nye, 25:00who got things started on a good organization. She was a good organizer and got things started well. And we've always had a good School of Home Economics. So, I was never sorry I came. Ames is a terrific school but there are a lot of things I like here.
YL: How about the weather? Was it hard to adjust?
ET: In Iowa?
YL: No, here in Oregon.
ET: Oh, well Iowa. No I didn't have any trouble here. There was a girl who hadgone to the University of Oregon at Columbia when I was and she said, "Do you mean to tell me that anyone of their own volition would go to a place like 26:00that?" And she said, "The web foot is no myth. It rains everyday and everyday and everyday." And it may have when she was here, you see, cause sometimes we get more and so I came knowing it was going to rain. And then I'm not mood anyway so it didn't ever bother me. Anyway I got here the first of November and they were having homecoming and I was so sad because it rained. And then we went around and looked at all the house signs and all and it didn't make any difference. But at home in South Dakota when it rains you stop everything. You know they just don't operate. But here rain doesn't stop them at all. No the climate didn't bother me. Iowa in the summer. You know they say you can hear 27:00corn grow and I said that is true. Because I remember once we laid in the lake until about two in the morning. It was so hot and gummy you couldn't go to sleep, you know. And it is more humid and that's what does make the corn grow. But there are beautiful things there. Each place has its merit. South Dakota, the drought was so terrible.
Well, when I went into the state 4-H office it was real real bad. Then on top ofthat the grasshoppers and then they were followed by the Mormon crickets and so you couldn't even see where an onion had been, you know. And they canned Brussian thistles before the little crickets came out for spinach or whatever. 28:00There just wasn't anything. I said to one family, "How in the world do you stay here?" "Well all that we have is here and our friends and the powerful are wonderful." It is real interesting. In South Dakota somebody came 100 miles to a meeting and you don't make any fuss over it at all. In Iowa they came 25 miles and you had to spend the first quarter of a meeting telling them how much you appreciated seeing them. Well there are 25 counties there that have 12 townships. Excuse me, there are a hundred counties and they had 12 townships to a county. Patawatomee had 24 so they divided it into two counties so 100 counties in Iowa. So the psychology of distance is so different. Extremely different. You go 100 miles to a dance in South Dakota. That's nothing. You're 29:00home and go to work the next morning. It's just the psychology. And in Iowa if they get just a little crop failure, you know, the world's going to come to an end. South Dakota? Well we really can't complain. We had a good crop last year, you know.
YL: It's a different outlook.
ET: Different ah huh. It's a richer. Of course they had greater investments too.
YL: Did you miss South Dakota and Iowa after coming to Oregon quite a bit orwere you so busy here?
ET: Well, I was so busy. I missed the people but I kept in touch. In fact nextweek a girl who was a real unhappy girl and at the state fair I told her there was a young man I wished she could meet. She was a pretty red haired girl. But 30:00she had been having some problems with her mother and all. They will have been married 35 years now. And I've kept in touch with her. They are just lots. I've enjoyed every place I've been because they are wonderful people wherever you go.
YL: So when did you come to OSU exactly?
ET: In November, 1947. I got in here the 31st and I came on the train and theytold me that there was no railroad in Corvallis so I had my trunk shipped to 31:00Albany and I came on the sleeper and they let me off down near Shedd somewhere. You know that great big long train. And it rained just like this. And so I walked up and said, "How can I get to Corvallis?" And they said, "Well there wasn't any transpiration really to Corvallis," and there was a man there getting the mail and so I asked him if I could ride to Corvallis with him. And I got over here and then I found out they did have a railroad station and I could have had my trunk shipped here. They didn't have a passenger service but they had a train.
YL: It was hard to get your trunk over?
ET: I had to have it brought over. I mean I had to pay to have it brought overwhen it could have been shipped here. But it was and I didn't know anyone here. This girl that I did know wasn't here just then but she came soon and everyone 32:00was so friendly. And she had told me, the girl who was in the 4-H club department, they had just haired her and she didn't have experience. She'd been a county agent but no state experience. And so they were sending here around the United States for six weeks visiting different states and then there had been just one woman in the 4-H department. And so then after a little while Mr. Ballard decided that they needed two and they did because the home economics enrollment was the largest. And Portland was one of the first cities in the United States to have 4-H club work.
And then when the 4-H leader, Mrs. Gillen, she was later a counselor in home ec,33:00said that the Dean of Women had a room for me. And so I went over to her house and visited with her and her husband and I said that I'd heard that she had a room for me and she said they would talk it over and I could come back the next day. So I went back the next day and she said yes, they thought they would like to have me live with them and I lived there a whole year before I found out that wasn't the room she had at all. The Dean had a lot of room listings and I just 34:00was driving with the other girl in the 4-H department and she said, "There's the place where Buena had a room for you." But we were the very dearest of friends and her daughter and granddaughters have been very close to me always. But that's just how things happen you know. You don't plan them. They say life is what happens while you are making other plans.
YL: So Corvallis must have been really small back then compared to as it is now?
ET: I think it was about 14,000.
YL: Was it more rural?
ET: Oh yes. You see, this was all a big farm right here. However I was here so35:00little that I didn't pay much attention to Corvallis because you see I traveled the whole state and so it wasn't as if I were here all the time. Then you see the changes.
YL: Was that a hard life constantly traveling?
ET: Oh yes it was very strenuous. I'd lots of times get in at two in the morningor you know anytime. But it was strenuous but you liked it because it's so exhilarating each place where you go, you know. That gives you the pickup.
YL: Did you stay in one part of Oregon more or travel to one part of Oregon more?
ET: No. We had, well again, the state was divided. Now wait a minute. Yes itwas. I was going to say it wasn't in 4-H. It was. We divided it subject matter 36:00wise so that for instance at one time I would work with all the foods clubs and somebody else with the clothing and so on. And then we divided the events too. But it wasn't until I got into supervision that we definitely had counties like 12 counties that you work in you see. And might go to the other counties; those were your staffs. But so many of the counties like Eastern Oregon didn't have women agents.
YL: We were talking about how it was before you had 12 of your own.37:00
ET: Oh, supervision. We went to counties to judge 4-H exhibits for instance. Andyou mentioned something about changes. When I came here a judge was like a 38:00Rajneesh. You just don't ever question the judge. You don't go near them. They work and they are the ultimate and so I had a different philosophy of judging and I felt that if it were worth anything it should be a learning day. And so I would encourage them to go with me while I judged and I would show them why each one was better than the other. And we'd talk about it because we had such wonderful illustrative material. And then we also had some problems with the 39:00leaders and the parents egos getting wound up in this thing which isn't easy. And so I've never found a youngster that I couldn't explain this to until Aunt Gertie or somebody else put in something. But if you can prove to them you are fair that's all they ask. I'll never forget over in Pendleton o Umatilla County they were having a lot of bickering going on over there and so they wanted me to come out and judge. That water's so hard and their elbows were just horny, you know. See when I was a home agent we made our own cosmetics because there wasn't any money and you'd melt Crisco and beat it with an egg beater and put in some oil of geranium or something and so I said, "You can't afford a lot of lotion 40:00and creams. You just put Crisco on your elbows." I didn't think anymore about it at all cause they get grimy to, you know.
And so the next year they wanted me to come back again and I normally didn't goto two but I wanted then to get their eyes on the right goal post and so I went back again and one of the leaders came up and said, "You know the girls are disappointed." And I said, "What's happened?" And she said "You haven't mentioned their elbow." I remember Agnes Kolhorn was one of the residence staff 41:00here. She had been an extension specialist then but she was a very learned person and we were over in Deschutes County judging an exhibit and here was a batch of baking powder biscuits and they were as black as your hat up about that far. And I said, "Agnes, you just put your conscience to sleep when you judge those biscuits. Cause this poor little waif, some old fellow living alone had taken him in, and he told me how he baked those in a dutch oven. I could just see how much grease there was in there when he put them in, you know, and to find something good to tell him about those biscuits because his whole heart was 42:00in them. And so lots of times you can still have taught them that they aren't perfect and they can see that they weren't blue ribbon, but you can't really always tell them how horrible they are. You can tell them about some of the things they did wrong but not that they are awful biscuits. And so that's why I say it's wonderful.
I remember being down in Jackson County one time and they had a leader that theyhad to get rid of. She is the dirtiest housekeeper and she's this and this and this and they wanted me to tell them how to get rid of her and so I said, "Well how did you happen to have her in the first place?" Well the kids wanted her and I said, "Well I think I'd look a little further if the kids wanted her." And I 43:00said I think you may find ways to help her. And I didn't fuss with it anymore until the next year and how much she had learned. Of course she had learned right along with the kids, you know. You see there are so many changes like this that take place without taking a person apart. Now if her character had been off color or something like that but she probably was more interested in kids than she was in dusting. And kids felt comfortable around her I imagine, you see.
YL: It must have been very rewarding for you.
ET: Oh it is. A girl who is now a minister was the most gosh awful awkward44:00little girl. She wasn't well coordinated and she just couldn't sew and do the things in the projects but her heart was in it. And she was sitting on the little stoop out in front, this was over in John Day, crying and I sat down and talked to her and helped her see what she had done that was real good. Well, she turned out to be a home agent finally. And now is a minister. But there's so many like that that you can encourage and still be honest with them and you can, I think. There are a lot of those like that. One of them who is now an agent up in Portland, I went there and she was at her wits end because her first baby was 45:00a colicky one. And even just somebody to listen to, I think lots of times, is all that a person really wants. But there are, as you way, rewards almost everyday. Now this girl, the Sunday before last her daughter was here and her son-in-law was a soloist in one of the churches and they had three little children and she loved being a mother. She could do other things but she said, "I've never been so happy. I'm just having the best time." She has these three cute little kids and they are so loving. This little one had never seen me before and she came right up and started loving right away, you know. So I said, 46:00"Well Lou Anne until you get these in school just go on being as happy as you are cause nobody can do for those youngsters what she's done cause they are just such loving little things.
YL: I wanted to ask you what you though as being one of your greatestaccomplishments while you were at Oregon State in your work. If there was one that you could pinpoint?
ET: Well I would say leader development because it's an ongoing thing as istossing a pebble into the pool. Having people in leadership development, young 47:00people as well as adults, seeing where they are at a point where if you just shove them they're equal to it but they don't have the courage enough to do it. I recall a lady who was president of the state council. She was chosen as a delegate to go to a meeting in Australia and she came into the office. She married into a family where they were all college graduates and she wasn't. And her mother-in-law never ceased to remind her of it. And she had lots of ability and was a wonderful person. This trip was overwhelming to her, and she must have stayed for a couple of hours. And when she left she said, "You know I think I 48:00could take a tiger by the tail." And I think working with leaders like this and you get to know them. Now I knew it was perfectly safe to shove her because of the people she'd meet there and experiences she'd have. She was ready for it. And she'd been depreciated when she didn't deserve it, you know. There are more. Well I know there are a lot of cases in adult work too, but more in 4-H. I got a letter not long ago from a fellow I haven't seen for 20 years and found out he's a dentist down in Roseburg. We took him to Chicago.
YL: The things that people remember that make an imprint on them and you're not49:00conscience of it at all.
ET: Like one day I remember, I think it was state council, a lady said, "Oh I'vebeen so anxious to meet you." She said, "My little girl said you put your arm around her at 4-H summer school." Well I'd bet I put my arm around 500. But that particular moment it was important to her, you know. And so I think these little things are rewarding; it's what happens in the lives of people. And I got a six page letter from a girl I haven't seen since 1933 and recalling things that I've completely forgotten. These come back. I was in London with a friend whose 50:00husband was working, doing some work in the British Museum and he had to go to the Agricultural Attache before he could be permitted to go into the museum and someway he happened to say that his wife was there with a friend from South Dakota and so this fellow asked who. And he was a fellow I'd coached in a play when he was a freshman in college. So we got to eat at the Embassy. I didn't contribute anything particularly to him, but I mean here is when you can watch these people.
I've been so fortunate to live this long because then you can see up to thesecond generation now and that has been a great thrill to see what people can do 51:00with their lives. Unfortunately you aren't able to follow through on your failures as accurately. They don't seem to appear because I know there are lots of them that you've misfired surely. But it is very gratifying and I think that the leadership development is probably the most productive. And then helping people see the business. I think we've had a real unfortunate wave go through of being so self-centered, me, my, who am I, and all the, you know, and not 52:00realizing they have to think bigger than that because if each of us thought just of ourselves our country wouldn't last long. And the team spirit that you've got to have when you do things like this. You've got to have team spirit. It's got to go beyond yourself and maybe we could make an exception for you but if we did that for everybody it would happen. And so I'd say that probably.
YL: Thinking about how it has changed would you say that the focus has changed alittle? Would you say the focus in extension has changed a little?
ET: Well, oh yes, there have been terrific changes. However I feel that thebasic skills of family living have not changed. They are still important and I 53:00think that we've gone too far because let people be without electricity or without some of the packaged stuff that we have and your basic skills are what are going to matter. I know one of our girls went to Equador as an IFHE and she said, not IFHE, Peace Corp. She said, "You know, really my home economics wasn't of any value to me. What I used was what I learned from my Dad when we went camping." And hopefully in your home economics you can develop enough resourcefulness so that you have alternatives cause you can't help anybody unless you can start where they are. There's been a lot of poor teaching done 54:00and so I think the whole business of consuming is you have to help people now. That has enlarged greatly and because though there's lots of information, how do they evaluate it? Because there's a lot that's just poobah you know, really. And 55:00so they need help. And then well there are quite a few on low income. We've had a wonderful low income program in extension in Oregon. I was on the national committee. I was chairman for awhile of the Extension Home Economists with the Land Grant counties or states and they are coming up with a program for low income because you see their whole pattern is different. Many of them are not meeting goers and you almost need to one-to-one basis and then we've had the 56:00language barrier too.
And so up at Polk County, for instance, we started there just with canning. Andthey've brought in. I've gone up and watched their sessions there. And then with the RISE program of teaching the women on welfare to be equipped to work in motels and restaurants and places like that. And then it was so thrilling to go to the graduation of some of those because the whole family would come just proud as your parents would be when you graduate from college and then they'd tell you how much it helped them in their own homemaking and their own family living - really which is stronger than the job they get. But there are a lot of those programs. It's too bad we didn't have the personnel. And some of these new 57:00programs arise and then we go because we've worked with these different agencies and they'll say, "Yes, but it's what you're doing that they are crying for." But somehow you can get money to start something new when you can't get it to expand something that's established. Because here you see we have a base at the 58:00university of research and backup specialists have been able to work with many of them no improving planning. So people are the ultimate winners there. They can get better houses for their money. Of course we've been expanding all the time as far as adding correspondence courses and workshops in addition to the study groups. With the number of women working now this has modified some of the methods a lot because you can't reach them and the study groups have been 59:00wonderful and they've developed leadership. For instance when the agent or the specialist teaches leaders, those leaders may not think the leader does as good a job teaching as they did but probably the women are going to get as much out of what she presents as they would have out of the original teaching because she's one of them. And they work hard at their leadership but not all of them are able to participate in groups like that.
YL: One other question I have is you've done a lot of community and churchservice work since you retired and I wanted to know what exactly you've done?
ET: When I first retired I worked with young homemakers and that was in60:00cooperation with Benton County here and the Y-Round Table provided the babysitting and so they brought their children and we tried to hold the groups to about a dozen. And they talked about anything and everything that was of concern to them. And we didn't let anyone in after the second meeting because, any one new, because the girls had a rapport with each other and it was fascinating because they helped each other solve their problems. And I did that for a couple of years and then I was on the Phone Home Board for about six years and on the Y-Round Table Board and these were all very interesting. And the 61:00Focus Club here. I was with that for some time. And the library, taking books to shut-ins and that was rewarding too. And I was on the Wesley Board at Church, the Church Board, but there are always so many things and opportunities. There are so many that I would like to do that I haven't had a chance to do yet.
YL: You haven't had time to do everything that you want to do?
ET: Yes this is true. I was on the Jackman Institute for sometime and thenearlier this National 4-H Foundation when that was being established. And now that is developing. They're conducting leadership workshops for people from all organizations. It's gone way beyond 4-H club work and it's a wonderful center. But there's the Symphony Society I've been interested in that. There I was given a membership for Christmas and the first meeting I attended would I just be with them on the program planning committee? Well then, at that one meeting everyone had been chairman except I so I was chairman of that for awhile. These are the kinds of things that just happen. But there are just so many opportunities here in Corvallis, so many. Anyone who is bored it's their own fault. At the Symphony some said, "Well how come you are working with the Symphony? I didn't know you were a musician." And I said, "No I'm not but I think that I enjoy music perhaps more than musicians do because it's just beauty to me. I don't know that the oboe isn't doing just right. I don't have any real special talents at all, but when I did undergraduate work I took some courses in music and art and all just because I enjoyed them and I did. When I was at Columbia, on top of everything, I got three or four classes in "Enjoyment of the Symphony," and "Music for Children," and "Art in Everyday Living," and things of that type. Because home economics, I think, sets the state to really enrich your own life too. So I've worked in some of those things when I've had choices. And when I first started in extension we did a lot of work in art appreciation and music. We had music identification programs because then there weren't as many of these things in schools all. People hadn't had that opportunity so they were very interested. We had reading programs trying to help people enrich their living through expanding their horizons a little.
YL: You also received a Community Service Award form the U.S. Agriculture?
ET: Oh that was based on the senior leadership project. We were losing some 4-Hclub members in the older ones. They kind of lost interest and so we developed a junior leader project which helped keep them interested. We had about 900 of them and then it also enriched the 4-H program because youngsters of those ages kind of idolize these older kids. And so they were able to do some fine things in the way of leadership too. And that was a very unexpected honor. That's what happens when your cohorts are rooting for you I guess. They were wonderful.
YL: Tell me something about your hobbies. Did you ever have any time for hobbies?
ET: Oh I've done, well I haven't recently had any special hobbies. For instanceduring my growing up years I did a lot of different crafts and the hand work and all, a great deal of that. And then when I was teaching I took bridge lessons but I don't play bridge anymore. Now I'd say my hobbies are more music and appreciation things than that sort of thing. And when I was in the 4-H program we did a lot with recreation - folkdancing and folk music and that sort of thing. But when I got into administration it was different. I get my real thrill out of working directly with people and in administration your results are all indirect. You don't have time to do some of these participation things yourself as much. But I like gardening very much and I like traveling. I've traveled quite a bit and things of that sort. I hope yet to get some hobbies that I can really excel in because I haven't done anything just for amusement. This girl who just called, her mother does the most beautiful creative stitchery and she's done a great big hanging and all and I admire so much the folk and sewing, you know, just beautiful things. I enjoy sewing but it's not relaxation to me as it is to some people. And I'm not an artistic person so I can't paint. Some of our folks have done a lot of work in art since they retired - real skill.
YL: Did you have anything else you wanted to add?
ET: Well no, I think you mentioned something about the rewards of the working inhome economics and I think where you're dealing in the lives of people it's very satisfying and when I look back the real richness in my experience has been the folks. My associates and volunteer leaders and parents or especially young people, watching them reach their potential, and I think if you can get them involved in something that helps them reach their potential that this is a great satisfaction. And I'd think of all kinds of things that are more relevant perhaps. I was trying to think of things that had changed over times. As I say I'll come up with something after you leave.
YL: Well you said quite a few things before.
ET: Yes, but a lot of this, I hadn't even realized you were recording. No Ihadn't. I had a great thrill when South Dakota State gave me an honorary doctorate because I never could have earned one.
YL: Now when was that?
ET: I was just looking to see.
YL: Was that in the 1950's that you received that, your doctorate?
ET: No that was 1962. No, when I first entered extension service I went up onJuly 1 and it was at the time that we had extreme drought and the drought stricken animals were slaughtered and we established canneries and my first week I went into this cannery. First I went to a 4-H camp and from there went to this cannery and we were taking workers off the streets you know, people who had worked for the city and so on. All these people were unemployed and so they were paid for their work at this cannery but had no more notion about how to do it than anything. And so there was a man hired but it was part of our job to go in and help them get organized. We had three shifts, 24 hours and that meat, the animals were so poor that you couldn't tell it. It was just like cutting rubber, you know. And then they had canneries like that established that we had to work with too and then the making of mattresses and quilts. People could come and make their own mattresses. The surplus cotton was shipped up from the south and that was part of the work release program. As I said you're young. You don't know you can do these things. The first round I stayed the whole 24 hours and then I probably would have been there the next 24 because it was really important that they had help but the County Fair was going on at the same time so I had to get out there. But that very first week I thought now it would have discouraged me to death but it's just a challenge when you are young and interested.
YL: Well I think that's just about it.