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Delmer Goode Oral History Interview, June 8, 1979

Oregon State University
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JL: How and where did your parents meet each other, Mr. Goode?

DG: Well, it was in the village, the area of Rose Creek, Minnesota. Rose Creek, Minnesota which is very close to the Iowa line, and they were young people there. I suppose, I don't know. I never heard them discuss how they met. While I remember my sister once just begging my father to tell her what he said when he asked my mother to marry him. And he said, "Oh, I didn't ask her. She asked me." (Chuckle) Which, of course, was mere spoofing. But that's about all I know about their courtship. Oh, I do know one thing. They went to dances together, and my father was a violin player, and he played a great deal in a 00:01:00small orchestra for dances, and he would take her and that meant that she had to have other partners. I could tell you an incident about that and some water lilies once, but that doesn't have anything to do with, I don't believe, with what you really want.

JL: What was your father's name?

DG: Horatio Fitch. H-o-r-a-t-i-o. Horatio Fitch Goode.

JL: And what was your mother's name then?

DG: Ella Kirby. E-l-l-a. Ella Kirby.

JL: Now what was this about water lilies?

DG: Well, once he was on his way to pick her up and take her to a dance where he was going to play. He saw some beautiful water lilies floating in a stream, and 00:02:00he got out of his buggy this was horse and buggy days of course, and he rolled up his trousers quite high waded into and there where he could pick some of these water lilies. And he brought two or three beautiful white lilies there. They were about as big as those flowers over there. (Pointing to a vase of garden flowers). They are quite large but they float around the water.

You don't see them as much here, I guess. I don't know, but they were fairly common in Minnesota. Beautiful. And so he gave her a couple or three, whatever number he picked, but, of course, she could wear one of them and did pin one of them on, but they were so big, you know. Seems just in fun or something why 00:03:00another young man got a hold of one of them, and here he was out on the dance floor. He had one of these on his lapel, and my father was helpless playing the music to which they were dancing, and it made him quite furious that she would let another fellow wear those. Although to me it seems perfectly natural that it would happen that way.

JL: (Chuckle)

DG: He wasn't dancing with her and she had to dance with somebody, and she had the extra lily. Anyway it was a sore spot all through our childhood. I remember when that would come up his face would get red, and she'd be embarrassed and so on. That's about all that I know of any difficulty they ever had in their courtship although they may have had their share. But, anyway that's the way they got acquainted, and they were married in a Catholic Church. My mother's family were Catholic. My father's family were non-church although they were 00:04:00religious. They had a good deal of interest in religion but they had never found a church to join. They lived in country places in Wisconsin as well as this place in Minnesota, so they weren't church people) and my mother was not a Catholic. When she reached the age to be confirmed, really become a Catholic on her own, she and another sister refused. They didn't want to be Catholics.

JL: Was that not unusual?

DG: I think it was unusual, and so they weren't. Here were two out of seven sisters.

JL: Your mother sounds like a very independent person?

DG: Well, she was. Not an assertive, not a bossy sort but she did her own thinking, excepting she was quite loyal to her husband. I heard her many times 00:05:00say, "Well, I'll have to talk with Mr. Goode." She called him Mr. Goode. "Talk with Mr. Goode about that." She wasn't one who made the decisions, and then pretended it was her husband. She consulted him. But they were good partners, and they got along smoothly.

JL: Did your father work as a violinist?

DG: No. He was a farmer. He was the son of a farmer and after his father died he became the operator of a farm which the father had left one half to him and another half to his sister, my aunt. But my father farmed that whole area. He sold that farm in southern Minnesota where they had wonderful soil, but he 00:06:00didn't have acres enough, and he got a notion that if he could go out into west central Minnesota to a place called Ashby he could and did buy a farm with twice as much acreage as he had.

JL: Why do you say he didn't have enough acreage?

DG: Well, that's what he figured. That eighty acres wasn't enough to support a family, for example.

JL: What was he growing?

DG: Oh, wheat and oats and so on. General farming but mostly wheat and oats. Corn. Yes, corn. And so when I was nine years old we moved about three hundred miles to Ashby, Minnesota. Well, now, let's see they didn't become 00:07:00Catholics, but out of deference for my mother's parents, why my parents were married by a Catholic priest and both of their children were baptized by a Catholic priest.

JL: Do you know what year this was?

DG: When they were married? They were married in 1888. On July 9, 1888 and I was born May 18, 1889, and my sister whose name was Florence was born August 26, 1890 I guess.

JL: She was a year older.

DG: She was. My mother used to call it sixteen months. It wasn't quite. So we 00:08:00were quite close together, but her name was Florence Camille, and her husband was named Francis Stalley and he was an Owl. You'll be hearing about the Owls at Moorehead. They got acquainted in that way, but their son, they had just one son, was Robert Stalley who is a professor of mathematics on the campus here. He lives up on the hills up here. I can't think of the street right now.

JL: Well, you were going to tell me where you were born.

DG: Yes. Well, it was on a farm five miles north of Rose Creek which was a farm that my grandfather had owned and I guess he had sold it a few years later 00:09:00is how we came to get this eighty acres. I don't know how many acres there were up north. But, up north where I was born was the farm with a farmhouse which no longer exists, so if you want a picture of my birthplace, there I don't suppose it was ever photographed, and it couldn't be now because it's nothing. (Chuckle) You could I suppose see this bit of bare ground and say it's the birthplace of Delmer Goode but that's all you'd get. (Laughter)

JL: Was your mother ever employed?

DG: Yes, well, in a sense. There were seven sisters in the Kirby family, and they all worked because their father was a farmer. When he retired he didn't 00:10:00have much income, and while they were young ladies, why they had to have money and all, and so they all had jobs. A couple of them were teachers. One was a cook, and my mother was a dressmaker, and she earned her money when she was unmarried sewing, and after she was married, at first, to help furnish our home, and then later to add to the income, because our income was never very good. She loved to sew and was very much in demand and made dresses for women out of the Delineator which was a fashion magazine and others. You could buy patterns, you 00:11:00know. But, she was very expert in sewing and very interested. She used to spend a great deal of time even after, in my memory, at her sewing machine. However, she never neglected her duties as a wife or mother or citizen of the community. She did her share always. She was always very very popular. People would come to see her. They would, of course, come to see her to get her to make dresses for them, but they would also come to see her to talk to her. She was always cheerful and hospitable and our home was always hospitable. Our house has had just scores and scores and scores of guests. At table and at meals and at gatherings of various kinds. We've never had but one real cocktail party here, 00:12:00but we lived most of our active life before cocktail parties were in vogue. But we had all kinds of parties where we served punch and coffee and so forth and so I just inherited hospitality, and it has carried over here.

JL: Tell me about where she sewed?

DG: Yes. She sewed way down in southern Minnesota. We lived in Rose Creek when I was five years old. We left this farm of my birthplace having sold that farm and bought this other one just a half mile or so from the village. So we lived in the village in quite a nice house, and it had, I'm forever wandering into 00:13:00details, but you see my grandfather was living. I never knew my father's father. I knew my mother's parents the Kirbys James Kirby and Mary Walls Kirby but my grandmother on my father's side I didn't know because she died six months or so before my father and mother were married. But my grandfather came on down and the aunt a sister my father's sister who was Ella Morrison. Ella Goode Morrison. She had been Ella Goode. My mother was Ella Kirby Goode. Goode was her married name, but my aunt's name was Ella Goode, and then she married a man named 00:14:00Morrison, and he was a railroad man who was killed in a railway accident within a year after their marriage. So she came back home with her father and her brother)and they all moved down from this farm five miles north and lived in this house. It was a house that contained a large parlor and a parlor bedroom on one sideband then in a wing there was a sitting room and another bedroom and then from there a wing, quite a long wing, that was a combined kitchen and dining room. At the very end of it was a pantry that went way across.

And my mother did food preparation and kept supplies and so on in this pantry, 00:15:00but the cook stove was in the large room and so was the dining table. Well, she used to do her sewing there. It was a convenient place, because it had a hardwood floor which was easily kept clean of scraps, you know, that would be trimmed off and one thing and another. Oh, well, my grandfather and my aunt took the parlor and the parlor bedroom, and then they built on a kitchen. It became a kind of a two apartment arrangement, but they put on a kitchen for them. Then my grandfather slept upstairs over their part of the house but he had to come through our part of the house to go upstairs. But that was the arrangement as 00:16:00long as he lived excepting in his last year. He went back with my aunt with his daughter to Denver to visit a daughter of his by a previous marriage who was a widow in some kind of business running a rooming. She was in Denver, and they visited her over a winter, and he died there.

JL: So you had six people living in your home then?

DG: In the two parts. Yes, that's right. Of course, we went back and forth a lot, but they had their meals my aunt and grandfather and we had ours separate and so on, but we got along nicely and used to go back and forth a great deal.

JL: You were going to tell me about your mother's sewing.


DG: Yes. Well, I know that sewing machine was very essential to her, and it was, of course, not as well equipped as a more modern sewing machine. You could embroider with a sewing machine now I understand. She didn't do any embroidery, but she did lots of tucking. I remember there was a vogue at one time for tucking. Fine tucks the whole yoke of a dress would be tucked silk Silk tucked. There was a lot of machine work doing that.

JL: How did she keep you and your sister dressed?

DG: Well, it kind of shames me to think that up to the time I was four years 00:18:00old, I wore what it was called kilts. Kind of skirts, you know, like the Highlanders wear. Kilts. That's the way they dressed boys. There was a "Little Lord Fauntleroy" time and so I was dressed with nice fabrics and so on and kilts. I didn't know any better. I thought they were all right but I can remember when the kilts were replaced and the thing I remember mostly was when my hair was cut. Because I had long hair. They used to do it in ringlets after the style of "Little Lord Fauntleroy" hair. Well, of course, it's nothing now. You see young men with, if not ringlets, something just as bad. (Chuckle) Some of these unisex things and so on where you can't tell a man's head from a woman's head. That's getting better though. It isn't as bad as it was. Well, 00:19:00when I was four that was before we moved down from the farm north I was taken by my aunt and my grandfather back to Wisconsin, where they had lived. Where my father and the aunt had been born. (Arid at that time or on that trip we traveled by train; we crossed the Mississippi River at La Cross, Wisconsin and we had to wait there to take a different train to go where we were going. And during that interval we saw a draw bridge, over the Mississippi, open up, and let a boat go through. I remember that very well, although I was only four years old I remember lots of things about that trip. I remember lots of things before 00:20:00that trip too. I have a memory that goes, I think, farther back than many because I have a good memory to start with and then I'm quite apt to hang onto something. If it's something worth remembering, I remember it. So I could tell you a lot of things before I was four years old that I remember.

JL: What kind of things stand out in your mind?

DG: Well, one was a time when my sister and I (we were just tots, you see) we'll say I was three or four and she was two or three, we were close of an age, but we were old enough that we were allowed or at least it happened that we got out into the barn and climbed up a ladder into a hay mound. Where hay was stored. 00:21:00And my sister was ahead of me and all of a sudden she disappeared and I had the shock of "WHAT IN THE WORLD HAD HAPPENED." Now she was here, now you see her, now you don't. That sort of thing and I got my mother, she said that I began to stutter after that. I never stuttered until after that. Well, I rushed back into the house to indicate what had happened but I told them the best I could and my mother and my aunt both came out and investigated. She had fallen through kind of a hay chute that let down into the manager of the stall below and there were two colts tied in that stall and, of course, I don't know it they couldn't have 00:22:00hurt her because she was in the manger and they wouldn't have. But they were scared to death seeing this child come down out of the sky and so they were pulled back as far as their tie ropes would permit and, of course, the two ladies got the sister out and no harm done at all. She fell on hay and she wasn't hurt but, of course, we were both scared.

JL: I guess.

DG: That's one memory just as clear as can be, you know, because that was startling enough to remember.

DG: I can imagine. What kinds of things did you like to do with your mother when you were small?

DG: I don't remember much. I don't think that we (pause) we probably were 00:23:00held and rocked because my aunt who had lost her husband just practically adopted me. She was lonely and bereaved and all and when I came I was named after her husband. In her husband's name. It was Delmer Morrison and I was named Delmer Morrison and I'm sure that she gave me a lot of attention and I don't doubt that she rocked me but I don't remember being rocked and I don't remember my sister being rocked. I don't think it was a period though, there have been periods, when they thought children, or infants should be left alone. They know better now. They should be fondled and rocked and given attention but I don't think we were particularly neglected but we were certainly not fondled as much as some children are because, for instance, I don't ever remember EVER remember 00:24:00seeing my father and mother kiss each other. You wonder what kind of people they were the kissing that goes on nowadays but that I don't ever remember. People in those days were more reticent than they are now. So they were reserved but they were congenial and I don't think there was ever any real rift between them.

JL: What kinds of things did you do with your father when you were small?

DG: Well, just as a little kid I don't remember so much. I played with my sister mostly. People would take us up on their laps. Our parents and visitors and members of our family. We were often held and made quite a bit of and my father 00:25:00used to but I don't remember him even "jouncing" us around like they do. Guess I was too young to remember that or I took it as a matter of course. I don't remember that. But later, I remember when he was trying to make use of me when I was a kid of about, that was after we were in the village and he was farming this land a half mile from the town, he took me and another boy of my age out once to pull mustard. Mustard was getting into a field and he wanted the mustard pulled. But we weren't any good at it. It wasn't interesting to us. I guess he decided we were damaging the green more than we were doing any good pulling mustard. He let us try for a half hour or so and then he sent us on home. That's one experience I remember with him. (Chuckle) And later I used to ride horseback 00:26:00sometimes when he was around. He didn't neglect me but he wasn't one to play with us. I don't remember his playing games with us. We had toys though and we played together, my sister and I.

JL: Were you closer to one parent. More than the other?

DG: I had a lot more relation with my mother because I was one around the house a good deal although I did play out with other boys but I was much more of a hand to hang around my mother than to hang around my father I know that, because even in the beginning I never took to farm work. It didn't appeal to me. If I had been eager to work around horses or do anything like that why I would have 00:27:00been more with my father. That's what his work was and he put in long hours and I later got plenty of farm. He wanted to make me a farmer. His father had been a farmer and he had taught school awhile when he was a young man but he didn't care about it. But he was a farmer and he took for granted more or less that I would become a farmer.

JL: How did he feel about the fact that you weren't interested in farming?

DG: What?

JL: How did he feel about the fact that you weren't interested in...

DG: I don't think he ascribed it to a lack of interest he just thought I wasn't old enough to care about it. But after I got into my teens then I began to have duties. I learned to milk and I did quite a bit of milking. And I learned to 00:28:00drive horses and I plowed. I plowed with a single plow. I don't know if that was with one horse or two. I think with one horse and I also drove a plow that was called a gang plow where I drove four horses. He'd have to hitch them up so that I could control them but I could manage four horses and a plow and I shocked grain and I raked hay and I gathered help to haul hay and put it in the hay mound or put it in a stack. Things like that and all, just a round of duties, 00:29:00and I enjoyed being on a farm. We had hills and I loved them and all that but the actual the idea of becoming a farmer I wasn't ever faced with it until I ran out of opportunity for schooling. My sister and I were always kept in a good school. In this Rose Creek place where we lived until I was nine we attended a two room school and I went through that until I was in the second room which I think was my fourth year. Corresponding to fourth grade. We had good teachers and then that's when we moved and...

JL: What do you remember about the school?


DG: Well, I liked school. One thing I remember is when I was in about third year on a Friday afternoon the teacher, of course, had beginners and about three o'clock a half hour before they would be sent home she called these beginners up front and we older ones were in our seats. If you can imagine a room that had three grades in it; the other room had five but we were supposed to be working but the teacher started Alice in Wonderland and read about that scene where the rabbit disappears into the ground it was fascinating and we weren't supposed to be listening but we were and the teacher soon discovered that we were all listening and she let us listen and after that the next Friday or whenever she 00:31:00continued the story she read it to the whole room. (Chuckle) Alice in Wonderland I remember that incident but I liked school and I got along just fine in school. I remember another incident in a geography class when I was maybe about third grade or second grade it was probably third grade though. We were talking something about the tropics the question came up about.

JL: Go ahead.

DG: The question arose whether bananas had seeds. I'm sure I was one that didn't believe it; I'd never seen seeds in bananas and the teacher said, oh they are there. She said we'll go get some, so she picked me, gave me a little money to 00:32:00go down to a store nearby and buy some bananas, dozen or so. We all had some banana to eat and we opened up the bananas and found that inside are little black specks. And those were seeds.

JL: Ohhh.

DG: I remember that. I'm giving you a lot of trivial stuff. I don't...

JL: Ohh. I think it's interesting.

DG: (Chuckle)

JL: I think that's interesting.

DG: These I have written out for myself, you know, but I have never put anything like this in it. (Chuckle)

JL: I'm interested in why you are the way you are today.

DG: Well, I was in my fourth year of schooling when we moved. We moved the first of March, 300 miles to Ashby, Minnesota and immediately were put in school. The farm that we owned didn't have a house to live in and we had to stay in the 00:33:00town and rented rooms until a house could be built. So, we were immediately put in school. It was a three room school and my mother went with my sister and me, and we heard afterwards, that the people observing it, thought that she was an older daughter and that she was going to school too. Because my mother at that age was quite young looking. My aunt who lived with us had hair that turned grey rather young and so they assumed that she was the mother and that my mother was the older daughter. But my mother just took us to school to see that we were well started and she didn't stay. Well, they put me, I had come out of fourth 00:34:00grade but they examined me and they found whatever kind of proficiency I had and they immediately put me in fifth grade and I was nine years old. Well, this was March and the first of June why I had three months in fifth grade and I was then promoted to sixth grade for the next fall. Sixth grade and the next, of course, in May I became 10 years old and I was in sixth grade.

JL: Did your parents, your father and mother, encourage you to study and continue your books.

DG: Oh, yes, they made many sacrifices of their own convenience to keep us in school. They believed in that.

JL: Were they educated themselves?

DG: Just grade school. My father taught country school awhile. He could you know, 00:35:00by writing an examination getting a certificate but he didn't care about teaching. My mother never taught and she finished grade school. My mother, both of them, were really quite intelligent people. I think, if anything my mother more so than my father although my father was they both had good heads. But, they weren't educated beyond grade school.

JL: How did they encourage you to continue with your studies?

DG: Keeping us in school. See, when we built on this farm which was four miles south of this town of Ashby there was one school nearby and it wasn't a good school. They didn't consider it good enough for us. We'd have had to walk a long way to go to school and it was a one room school and so on. So, they always 00:36:00arranged even though we were living four miles from town for my sister and me to be in school in Ashby where we started in this three room school.

JL: Why do you think that they encouraged you to be educated? If they themselves...

DG: Oh, they believed in education. I don't doubt that they'd have liked more than they got. They got all they had a chance for. That's all.

JL: Did they discuss politics and philosophy and religion with you two children?

DG: No. The only time I remember anything religious being discussed was when my father someone started him up on the story of the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. My father held forth awhile on that as a preposterous story. You see, they weren't too strictly in their, too orthodox. 00:37:00He said, "Preposterous." He said, "It's like suppose your mother would bake a lovely looking cake and bring it in here and say, 'now you mustn't touch this'." That was the logic of it. If this was tempting fruit why should they his idea was why shouldn't they touch it and so forth. That's the only biblical discussion that I ever remember, (Chuckle) and it was pretty critical.

JL: He sounds like he was a very pragmatic person?

DG: Yes. Yes, he was a Mason and to be a Mason you must believe in God so I know he was no infidel or atheist. He believed in God but he was not brought up in a church and he did join the Congregational church here in Corvallis in his later 00:38:00years after my parents moved here.

JL: I see. You mentioned that he had been a violin player.

DG: He played by ear, too. He played by ear not by music and the result was in his later years when he lost his hearing, much earlier than I have been affected, he had to give up his playing, of course.

JL: So were you taught an appreciation for music?

DG: Yes, well, my aunt was a music teacher to some extent. She had this farm that she had the receipts from but she used to teach music. She didn't have 00:39:00anything to do especially after my grandfather died. When she didn't have to keep house for him and she lived alone, she used to teach music and she also, taught organ, we never had a piano in those times. Reed organ and she always sang in a choir. She sang in the church choir and so I had quite of bit of influence of that sort and when I was about 12 years old, before my voice changed, I had two experiences singing. I'm not a singer but in those days they evidently thought that anything I did was worth listening to so they put me in a cantata. A church cantata. I had a part called Mickey McGiwn of Tumble Down Alley. In a Christmas cantata and I sang an aria (Chuckle) and then later at 00:40:00a Christian Endeavor meeting where adults were present it was a big regular church service I sang a solo once but no one ever asked me after my voice changed because I'm not able to sing and I never sing now excepting sometimes in church or when I'm alone. I'm not alone much now but I used to walk a great deal after dark when I was in country areas and I'd sing at the top of my voice and enjoy it very much but I was all alone. One thing, let's see, just a flash of something occurred to me, you might be interested in. (Pause) Well, go ahead.


JL: I'll ask you what kinds of things did you do in your leisure time when you were a teenager.

DG: I was very interested in planning houses. Somehow I got interested in house planning and we were kind of itinerant ourselves. We lived on our farm, in our rather small house that we built and we later added a kitchen to it but it was still small but we lived in rooms mostly when we were going to school in Ashby. Our aunt would stay with us while our mother would be out on the farm and so I became kind of interested in floor plans. And I don't know just what started me on that but I used to draw floorplans of houses.


JL: Hmmm.

DG: I remember drawing the floor plan of the house that we had had in Rose Creek and I don't ever remember drawing the floor plan of our little house on the farm but I used to draw imaginary houses that I might like to live in or that others might like to live in. I drew many of them and I had a school tablet of rough paper and I would, I'd have a ruler, and I would draw the plans and sometimes other people would be interested in them. I remember a young girl, older than I, approaching the stage of being a young lady said, "I wish you'd plan me a house" and so I said, "All right" and I said, "What do you want?" And she said, "Well, I want a tower." They had towers in those days and so I had a plan that I adapted and put a tower on the house for her. Well, that interested me. I was 00:43:00interested in planning buildings and I think when I entered the University of Minnesota which was a long time afterwards that if Minnesota had had a course in architecture then, (they do now), but if they had one then I might have entered architecture.

JL: Hmmm.

DG: And it wouldn't have been too bad I'm sure because I was interested but I didn't. I got sidetracked to other things. I was always interested in most of my studies. Very interested and I went on as I started a while ago to say that I went as far as I could go in this little school. It had changed from a three room to a four room school and they put in two years of high school and I took, 00:44:00in addition to finishing eighth grade I took, oh, I know what I was going to tell you, about that I'll go back to it. In addition to finishing eighth grade I took the two years of high school and then I'd got as far as I could but I had in the year before they put in the two years of high school I had but following my own eighth grade I had gone to school and they taught some ninth grade subjects and I took several ninth grade subjects that were just added on. You had to pass state examinations even to finish eighth grade in this school. It wasn't an accredited school. You had to pass state examinations to get to finish eighth grade which I did and then for each high school subject you had to pass a 00:45:00state examination. And so I took many of these. I took enough state examinations this year that I had after finishing eighth grade I finished several high school Subjects and I had certificates from the state department certifying that I had passed and...

JL: What did you aspire to be in those days?

DG: I didn't know excepting I wanted to finish college. My aunt had planted in me the idea of finishing college.

JL: How did she do that?

DG: Oh, she used to talk about it. Talk about people in universities and awe and about my going and one thing and another.

JL: What was the feeling towards university people? What was her feeling towards them?

DG: Well, people who were college people in those days were highly regarded. 00:46:00If there was a college graduate in your town, no matter whether it was a married woman or a man in business, of course, if he was in some kind of business like a doctor he would be a college man but they were always highly regarded. You speak of a college man with considerable respect. And we had some college men. Our school principal, for example, the one who taught most of the high school work was a college graduate and so I got the impression that it was something to be a college graduate and I intended to be one.

JL: But, you didn't really know what you wanted to go to college to study?

DG: No. I wanted an education. And I didn't know the word, I guess, "liberal 00:47:00education" then but somewhere along the way I got the idea partly from reading that I wanted a liberal education. I remember reading a story, a novel, a historical novel, about the French poet who was a writer of ballads and he was kind of a wild poet, I can't say his name right now, but he was a figure in this. The title of this book was, If I Were King and part of the story, the King of France who was kind of bored with his job had disguised himself and in company with one or two others similarly in disguise were making a round of 00:48:00taverns in Paris and that's where they got contact with this young man who was quite a singer. He would sing like one nowadays with a guitar. He would sing and play for the entertainment of the people in the tavern or anyplace and often collect money that way too. To buy drinks and food. Villon, VILLON. Franc I'm very poor at French but VILLON. Famous French poet.

Well, he was in this historical novel and the king spotted him and one of the things that he sang was a ballad that he had written called If I Were King. It had a lot of wild things about him. If I were a king I'd do this and this and 00:49:00this. It was kind of addressed to a lady. The things he would do for her if he were king. Well, the king got interested and I suppose he had drunk plenty and got a wild idea that, well "why don't we just give him a chance at it" and so he had him kind of waylaid. First of all they gave him something. The king got them to give him something that would just make him dead drunk I suppose. They may have given him chloral hydrates like "knock out drops". Something that made him helpless and then they took him while he was unconscious, they took him into the royal palace, and they cleaned him up and put him in royal garb, sleeping garb, in a royal bed, you know, when he woke up 00:50:00they treated him like he was king and they told him he was king and so on. And, of course, he was full of all kinds of bewilderment. But that was part of the story, but the thing that I meant to mention was in one of his escapades he got he often did things that were in defiance of the law and he got caught. He was in some kind of a brawl and they were going to hang him and he appealed. He said, I have a master of arts from the University of Paris and I appealed. He could go to a different type of court because the privilege was granted to a master of arts at the University of Paris. Something like the special privilege 00:51:00given to the clergy and in that way he saved his life because he got better treatment. Well, I didn't ever intend to be a lawbreaker, but I got the idea that to, well, be a Master of Arts does carry not only distinction but some kind of privileges. When you get a degree it often says "with all the rights, responsibilities and privileges thereunto." That sort of thing.

JL: So it was your aunt...

DG: And I wanted to be a master of arts. Go on.

JL: I'm sorry. So it was your aunt that instilled you with this desire to go onto college?

DG: I'm sure she was a factor although there were no college people in our 00:52:00family. But, I think she was the one who really encouraged it and as it turned out she helped me to get through the university.

JL: How did your father feel about you going into education...

DG: That I started to tell a while ago. When I couldn't go to school anymore in Ashby, I'd had three years of it, I, oh, I just had to go on to school. There wasn't anything else I wanted to do and so I began to agitate. I wanted to go away to school. I didn't know just where, but I did get some contact with a young woman who had been my Latin teacher and she was a graduate at Moorhead, which was a Normal School, at the time. It's Moorhead State University now, but she was a graduate there. She studied her Latin there and 00:53:00when she had heard or I may have talked to her she sort of came to my rescue to help me and I'm not sure of the chronology of it. Whether this was before or after my conference with my father. But in the middle of the summer we had a time in our household when I began to agitate that I wanted to go away to school. I didn't know anything about what the cost were involved or whether my parents could afford it but they had always managed some way to keep me in school up to that time and there wasn't anything left. I wanted to go away to school and my father then disclosed his wish that I become a farmer. But, at that time, it became perfectly clear to him that it was the farthest from my 00:54:00thoughts. That I didn't want to be a farmer and so he just threw up his hands, not angrily, but I'm sure he was disappointed. There was another side to it though. We'd had some trouble with our crops. There had been a disease called Black Rust that had just ruined the wheat crop. Two years in succession and all the work, the expense of planting seed, and then tending to it and harvesting it and so on and having nothing but kind of worthless straw. It wasn't even good straw that was left after a devastation of this Black Rust. So he was almost ready to quit on his own but I think perhaps he was keeping on because he wanted me to have some kind of an outlet. I'd be the owner of this 00:55:00farm maybe and all that. But when he found out I didn't have any interest in that why he decided first of all that they would send me away to school and then second that he would rent the farm and buy some kind of a thing in the town. No, I think that happened before that. Before I was through school. That was something else. But he had rented the farm already but this thing that I speak of this day that I speak of was in this farmhouse. I remember that. When he decided they'd send me to school.

JL: How did you feel?

DG: Oh, as if I was going to heaven and it was a place I wanted to go. Right now I'm sure I'd want to go to heaven but I like it here. But, I was ready to 00:56:00go. (Chuckle) Yes oh, I was in a transport. And so I got ready. This lady this teacher wrote to the president at Moorhead State Normal School and was told him about me and got me to send him the State Certificates that I had for all of these courses. The equivalent of three years of high school work and he looked them over and I had good grades. There were three ways you could go with a State examination. You could fail. The second one you could pass and the third you could get a pass plus. There wasn't anything higher than a pass plus and almost all of mine were pass pluses. So, he was quite impressed that I was college stuff and so he wrote, put it in black and white that if I came to 00:57:00Moorhead that I could graduate from the five year course in two years and so I went there. To go for two years and I took the advanced Latin course. I'd had two years of Latin and I took...

JL: What year was this?

DG: ...this was the fall of 1906.

JL: And how did you get there and how far was it?

DG: Went by train. It was 75 miles and I went in company with a sister of this teacher who had helped me who was going back for her senior year. She had been teaching and she was going back for her senior year and she helped me a great deal in Moorhead getting settled and all that. She was very kind.

JL: I wanted to ask what kind of women got a university education back in the 1890's?


DG: Well, exceptional. Not like it was commonplace like it is now but these girls, there were three girls in this family this Latin teacher who helped me, and the other the grade teacher who helped me get started at Moorhead, Mary was her name. Mary Barnes, the other one was Kerry Barnes. Mary Barnes helped me but they had a younger sister, Ethel Barnes, who went to McAlister College about the same time that I went to Moorhead and McAlister College is a college in St. Paul, Minnesota and she was just the same kind of person that I was. She took everything that we had and had to go away to college in order to 00:59:00continue that. So, and then there was a girl, oh, in a fairly wealthy family in the town, Ethel Rug land, was her name who went to Carlton College. But, these were all exceptional. There were relatively few in town who went even to Normal School.

JL: What...

DG: But even if they went to college it was just to graduate from college. Like this girl from this wealthy family I don't think she ever even thought of teaching. She just went to get a college degree from Carlton. But the girl who took music at McAlister became a music teacher.

JL: How large a town was Ashby, Minnesota?

DG: It was about, oh, 400 people. Just a village.

JL: What kinds of things did you do as a family before you left for college? 01:00:00Did you do many things together?

DG: We went on picnics sometimes. We did visiting back and forth with friends. For instance, we were four miles south of Ashby and we had several friends particularly one family six miles north of town who had come from Rose Creek too about the time that we came and we used to visit them on Sunday and we'd have usually two meals with them. Get there for dinner and have an early supper and drive home in time to do the other milking for the cows that were over ready, by 01:01:00the time we'd get there, no doubt. The cows should be milked at the time that they're used to, you know, but a little delay although it's pretty hard on the cows it's not fatal. We used to do that. They would come to see us, too.

JL: You wouldn't travel long distances to cities...

DG: Well, we went once there was a man from Rose Creek who had some lambs within reachable distance from where we were and he came to kind of investigate his farm and we went with him with all our whole family and slept in a house on this farm. No one was living in it and we took some bed clothes along, you know, 01:02:00and slept. There must have been beds in the house and there was a stove because I know we got meals but anyway we stayed all night there. That was a kind of an adventure, you know, that we had. And we had some others like that and then we would go for picking things. One of the droll things was to go over on an island to pick gooseberries. Mrs. Goode just shudders at the thought because gooseberries are so very, very sour, you know. They just set your teeth on edge and you have to use lots of sugar. But, we would go across the lake to an island to pick goose berries to can and make jam. Gooseberry 01:03:00jam and...

DG: We never... Are you going now? We never had anything but a wagon that would hold the whole family so if we went we had to go with pretty crude accommodations for transportation with a wagon. We did have a buggy and a horse that we could use with us and three people or even four if one or two of them were kids could go in the buggy. But it wasn't like it is now when people have a car when they can get the whole family in the car because the only thing we had was a wagon and it wasn't very cozy. But we used to drive or in the winter time with sleighs. We would go in sleighs. But life was 01:04:00different. My father and mother had their own life. They always belonged to card clubs, for example. They played cards in both towns that we lived in. Both in Rose Creek and Ashby.

JL: Tell me about card clubs.

DG: Well, they didn't play contract or I don't think even bridge. They had a game, well, I'm not sure because I never played it. But they had games that they played progressively. Good games. 7up may have been one. I'm not sure. I used to hear the names but games that I never myself learned or played. Later they played 500. After they came here to Corvallis they belonged to a club that, a dinner club, and they played 500 and they had good times.


JL: I wanted to ask. I know now. You never had left home, by yourself, like you did when you went to the Normal School? Is that correct? Is that the first time?

DG: No, excepting in connection with going back and forth I thought of mentioning. Once when the family went up to this place six miles north of town and were there for Sunday, they left me there, on invitation, for a whole week with this other family. The Sullivan's was their name. And so I had a whole week there they were on a farm and there were the hired man and a young man, a son, in the family and in the evening they would take me on a lake for fishing 01:06:00or just for boating on the lake. Almost every evening something like that. So I had contact with these young men. They were very nice to me. They never took me out to the field though and during the day I used to lie around and read. They had some reading. They took a Chicago paper that had a continuous story about a little news boy, I remember reading and so on. Well, once while I was there during that week I walked, oh, about a mile and a half to another farm where some friends lived and who had invited me and I spent, I guess, I probably spent the day there. I remember, they made fudge in the afternoon and I had supper there but the fudge wouldn't get hard enough to be packed and so 01:07:00after just giving up on it they gave me some of the soft fudge in a tea cup and with a spoon for me to eat while I was walking home. It was getting dusk. I remember that walk still and I had this candy to eat and (Chuckle) with a spoon along the way. Those were an example of things. My father and mother always went to dances, too. They attended dances and the latter days, of course, my father didn't play. They just danced and one thing my mother did in connection with dances especially, I guess, when they were not so inclined I guess they went to married peoples dances and then there were dances for young people, too. And for these young people's dances they used to get my mother to get up a 01:08:00supper. People in those days danced very fast. The dancing was very fast and it was quite strenuous and they didn't dance too long because they would get out of breath and there was usually quite a wait between dances. And then at the end they'd had a lot of exercise and they needed a supper, so they didn't just have a coke or something like that. They had to have a supper with sandwiches and cake and coffee and so on and salads. My mother would get up a dance supper for them and I can remember as a child the dance couples arriving in the winter time and leaving their coats and, of course, I'd be in bed but I knew what was happening. Leaving their coats and they'd had this happy evening of dancing and they would come for the supper. I remember my mother preparing 01:09:00chicken for the sandwiches. She would make what were called "pressed chicken" sandwiches.

JL: Why was she chosen as the one to cook the supper?

DG: Why was she, well, she was a popular person and she was a good cook and very accommodating. Some women, you know, why the idea of getting up a dance supper would scare them to death. To having a few guests would scare them but my mother was used to entertaining and getting meals and she didn't mind getting a meal for it would be quite a company, you know. A whole dance group, of course...

JL: Where was this held now?

DG: What?

JL: Where was this dance held?

DG: This was in Rose Creek. Way down when I was a little kid.

JL: No, I mean in what structure. In the community hall or the church?

DG: Oh, community hall. Not a church. No. No, church people didn't dance in those days. Except Catholics. Catholics danced. But, most people 01:10:00didn't. There was quite a bit of Puritanism and church people didn't dance. That is they didn't dance in church. Some of them danced but not necessarily in church.

JL: What kind of dances did they do?

DG: In my day, well, I remember, what they danced to the waltz. They had the waltz. They all knew how to waltz which was a beautiful dance and two step. Two step and then there was a fast dance called a "Scottish" which I never learned. But, I knew how to two step and waltz. Those were popular dances for long, long afterwards, but, that's what they danced. And then square dancing. Quadrille.

JL: Ohhh.

DG: Square dancing. They'd have some square dancing always at a dance.

JL: How did people react who did not approve of dancing? How did they react to 01:11:00your parents and people you knew that danced?

DG: Oh, all right. Some people were straight laced and they might criticize teachers but teachers always danced. I had experience later on when I was a principal and superintendent of schools with that attitude towards dancing. For instance, in the last town I was in in Minnesota, superintendent of schools, there were two Lutheran Churches which were pretty straight laced and the pastors, at least, admonished their parishioners not to dance and all that sort of thing and very few of the young people did but some did and then there were others. There were Methodists. Good Methodists were never very much on dancing either, but, we had a rule that we would go only to invitation dances. 01:12:00In that way we could sort of limit it and could tell the school board and any of the critics and complainers that teachers don't go to public dances. Of course, public dances in a small town, I remember in one town where we went as a matter of course. There weren't anything but public dances and the public was as good as anybody else. But in a large city public dances are different. More promiscuous, of course, although some people will attend a public dance in a large city and dance only by couples, you know. Not mix with the crowd except to use the same music. But, we never had too much trouble except somethings we didn't do this last town we just never played cards because there 01:13:00were strong church objection to card playing.

JL: Where was this?

DG: This was at Clarkfield, Minnesota.

JL: Ohh. This was [unintelligible].

DG: That was after I was on in my twenties.

JL: Let's go back to when you went to Morland Normal School.

DG: Moorehead.

JL: I'm sorry.

DG: Yes. Moorehead.

JL: Moorehead Normal School.

DG: Yes.

JL: What did you study there?

JL: My first four courses were Cicero, in Latin. Latin. Cicero. Physics, Zoology and Physiology. That was in the fall. There were three terms like here and during the fall term I wasn't interested in athletics. I'm not good 01:14:00in physical games. I remember playing a "three hole cat" baseball and I bought a tennis racket once intending to learn to play tennis but in none of those things was I any good and lam very sensitive and it bothers me to think of people watching me in my ineptness and so on and so I just in the course of a few years dropped out of athletics. I wasn't in athletics. And anyone my age who wasn't was kind of an oddity. Well, during my first term at Moorehead, there weren't very many young men in this Normal School. It's quite different now. It grants degrees now. It's a Liberal Arts College granting degrees as well as teacher training. But, in those times it was teacher training and relatively few men attended although there were a lot of nice men who did.


JL: Why didn't they attend?

DG: Oh, just they weren't planning to be teachers. They'd go someplace where they'd get preparation for business or law or medicine or something like that.

JL: And you wanted to be a teacher then?

DG: Well, I must have to go to a Normal School. The reason I went was because of the influence of these three there were three in the Barnes family that had gone to Moorehead. There was a young man that had gone too. Well, the young men were all I don't know what they were playing, basketball, I guess, but anyway they were around and I want in their athletics so I was kind of alone in the late afternoon and I used to take long walks and I used to walk to Fargo 01:16:00across the Red River, which was, oh, maybe a mile and a half or two miles and the same distance back. And I would take a trip. These nice fall afternoons and all and then once wandering around I happened to go up to the attic floor of the building it was a building with a steep roof, and up in there was quite a high, sealed, large, room where the manual training work was being offered. Woodworking it would be called now and I wandered up there one afternoon and, oh, my, I was just fascinated. It was just such a wonderful place. The atmosphere. The saws were running and people were sawing and pounding and 01:17:00working on wood things, you know, and I got the idea why couldn't I do this? And so before the winter term started I went to the president. He had already made out a program for me of four more subjects. Some more physics and other subjects. Four of them and I asked him if I couldn't take manual training. It wasn't on my schedule. Then he thought, "Oh, that I couldn't handle it." Well, I said "I don't think it wouldn't bother me at all. I think it would just do me good. Be relaxation for me and so forth". And I finally, I am sometimes persuasive and sometimes not, but, I was persuasive then and he let me 01:18:00do it and so I began then taking a fifth subject. I took five subjects at a time all the rest of my time at Moorhead. This was my first year, but I still had another year. And all the time after I got started taking five subjects I just kept on doing it. Carrying five subjects and I got good grades and all and there was no complaint about that. But that's the way I got started at Moorhead. I liked it all. I liked it all, very, very much. Then in the second year, I'm jumping now, the year 1906 and '07 I was at Moorhead and I finished one year there. Four subjects fall term, five subjects winter, five 01:19:00subjects winter. Then I got to be 18. I was 17 when I went there. I got to be 18 and my father thought I ought to teach. I could teach and we were at that time we had moved again to a place in North Dakota and so I wrote teachers examinations in North Dakota and I got a school. I passed and I got a school under a certificate and taught which was very close to this Red River where Moorhead and Fargo are but, of course, many miles north of Moorhead and Fargo and the school was nine miles from town. A little town and I roomed still farther. So I roomed and boarded ten miles from town and because of that I was 01:20:00quite close to the river. I could walk to the river on a Saturday, for example.

JL: This was in North Dakota?

DG: Yes. Yes...

JL: How did your family happen to move to North Dakota?

DG: Well, that's part of my father's history. After he decided to give up farming; for a time he had bought a restaurant in Ashby and ran a restaurant for two or three years and then, I guess, he must have gone back to the farm because at the time that they decided to send me to Moorhead I know was on that farm. It was the farm when I was 17, but he was discouraged and through a friend of his who was in the grain buying business he got a job buying grain. Running, 01:21:00what was called, "running an elevator". Bought grain from farmers and then shipped it by rail mills in Minneapolis where it was ground into flour. The famous Gold Metal and all that kind of flour. He bought grain and his first post elevator was way out in a bleak place just out in the open in North Dakota. But, as soon as there was an opening in a town (because he wanted that so my sister could go on to school) he was given a post in a place called Forest River, North Dakota and it was there we were living when I wrote these 01:22:00examinations. I wrote the examinations in the county seat town of Graphton. But, when I got my school it was in the county below. South of Grand Forks. That's how that happened and then I that was six months term I taught there the full six months.

JL: How did your first teaching job go?

DG: Oh, it went fine. I enjoyed it and that's when, I guess, that's one thing I was going to tell this matter that I never sing. We didn't have any organ or any instrument in this school and I'd been used to singing in school, so, I figured I had to get them to sing and I did and I taught them some songs that they wouldn't have known otherwise. I would just sing them and then lead them 01:23:00in singing and they learned a number of songs from ME who is not a singer and so on. But, they also were able to sing songs they knew and I learned some of their songs, too. Well, that was an example of ways in which I got along. It was a one room school. I had 28 in it and they were of all ages. Not very many of eighth grade level, it just happened, but they were of all grades and I'd have the different grades in turn have them in class work.

JL: Was that difficult to handle?

DG: What?

JL: Was that difficult to handle so many students?

DG: No, I had been taught how to do it, you know, and I managed very well.

JL: Did you find you liked education?

DG: Oh, yes, I liked it. When the school superintendent, the county 01:24:00superintendent, visited, a woman, she later wrote me a recommendation. After I graduated at Moorehead I used her as a reference because she'd seen me teach and one of the things she included in the recommendation was "he keeps a neat and attractive school room". (Chuckle) I had the windows with interesting decorations in them, you know, and so on. I had a little difficulty keeping them in order. I know while she was visiting they were getting a little noisy and I didn't want her to get an impression of a noisy schoolroom and so I called them to order. I said, "Listen and see if you can hear a pin drop." And they all listened, a whole room full all listening. You can hear a pin drop on a 01:25:00hardwood floor. They could hear it. That impressed this visitor, I'm sure, that I had them under control. They might be a little restless but they weren't lawless. But I managed pretty well. I got better in that respect. I never was very tolerant of any kind of disturbance. I insisted on people paying attention and tending to business. Well, I enjoyed that very much. At Christmas time, here they were those kids, mostly Scandinavian although there were some other nationalities represented, but they were a long way from the church. It was a pretty dreary thing, it was a Lutheran Church and the services 01:26:00were in Norwegian and the whole thing wasn't very exciting for these kids and as Christmas approached I knew they would have a nice Christmas but still I thought we had to have some Christmas in school. And so there was a country store nearby, right near this school. Nobody living there excepting the man that ran the store, I guess it had a few rooms at the back, but I could go over there and buy things. But I went over and bought some mosquito netting which I cut up in some kind of string or yarn that I cut up using a darning needle and I made bags. Oh, about this big of mosquito netting...

JL: You've got a half of [unintelligible]

DG: ...and I filled them with candy and nuts, you know, that I could buy at the store and so I had a sack of candy and nuts for each of the kids and we had some 01:27:00Christmas program and so forth.

JL: How was a male teacher regarded in the town?

DG: Oh, all right I think. They thought I was all right.

JL: Wasn't it the custom or the tradition that women usually taught in the small schools?

DG: Yes, although it was better for a man. For woman would have been hard. That may have been one reason they had a man and I don't know whether they had women part of the time. They must have, but, it was hard because, for instance, after my mile walk in the morning going to school, taking my lunch pail with me I'd arrive early in this building that was, oh, indescribably cold, 01:28:00you know, in North Dakota in the winter time. Indescribably cold. Just quaking with cold and I'd have to start a fire and I used to, of course, keep my wraps on and I'd start the fire and that was the time when I was learning to dance and I used to go around and around and around the room to keep warm while the room was heating up, after I'd got the fire started. And I'd practice dance steps. Two step and waltzing and so on. It helped me quite a bit but it also gave me exercise and so on. Well, for a girl to do that would have been harder? But I don't doubt there were sturdy girls that did it. I don't know, but that may have been one reason because there were no big boys in the school that were a special problem. They might have been to a girl. They 01:29:00weren't to me anyway. Well, anyway when they got these we had a Christmas program and then when it was over and I distributed my candy bags. They all lined up and they came each one to me and shook hands and thanked me for the candy bag. That was a kind of a Norwegian custom, they were taught to say "thank you". Go up and shake hands and say "thank you" and they formed a line to do it. I'll never forget that line. They were very appreciative.

JL: Your first class, yes?

DG: (Chuckle)

JL: So you stayed there the whole year then?

DG: Six months. That's all those poor kids got was six months of schooling. Then I took another spring term. A school that had only a spring term. That 01:30:00was for three months and that was right near Forest River. I could, part of the time, I could go back and forth. I really roomed though in a farm house near the school and they liked me there. I got along fine there except three little bohemian children who hardly knew English and they didn't know how to read and yet they were school age and I didn't know what to do with those four kids because, I didn't although I'd had a year in Normal School, I still didn't know how to teach reading to beginners. You'd think that I might have devised a way but I didn't. I have it on my conscience still that those poor kids spent under my tutelage as it turned out three and a half months in school 01:31:00without learning to read because it's so important for them to learn to read. But I did everything else for them. I gave them all kinds of activities. Pictures that they could look at and things of that sort and I read things to them and one thing and another but to get them to read I wasn't able to which was too bad. But, the school they liked me. There was a woman who was the real "queen bee" of farm family. She was a member of the school board and she operated her own family. I'm sure that she was the one who made the decisions even in the family. But, she was something to reckon with in the district. She was on the school board and yet, I think, was the main one picking teachers and she decided she [unintelligible].


So they wanted me to stay longer. I learned that she watched the school ground. She had field glasses. She was a mile away but she watched the school ground at recess time to see how they behaved and so on and then, of course, she had some kids in school who reported to her. They wanted me and they'd have had me even longer only we had a hot spell start and the kids just couldn't stand it anymore and so after two extra weeks beyond my contract they decided they would close school and then they had a picnic on a river. It wasn't on the Red River this was at Forest River. It was on a small stream but they made, in this family they made homemade ice cream. Big freezer for the whole 01:33:00picnic and all the parents brought or sent food for it. And we had a great picnic. A big time. A lovely day. And lots of food and lots of ice cream and then they wrote it up in the paper and they ended up that I wouldn't be back the next year because I was going to attend college in the east. Well, I was going to attend college in Moorhead which was not much east of this. It was mostly south but they called it attending college in the east. (Chuckle) But, I went back then to Moorehead for my last year in the fall of 1908.

JL: I understand you also went to the University of Minnesota?

DG: Yes. That was afterwards. I also attended University of Chicago one quarter.


JL: Why did you go to the university?

DG: Of Minnesota?

JL: Yes.

DG: I wanted to be a Bachelor of Arts with all the privileges, rights and responsibilities thereof to appertaining, (Chuckle) When I went to Minnesota from Moorhead...