Bernice Youtz Oral History Interview


Bernice Youtz Oral History Interview
July 2016
Bernice Youtz
Mingxia Li
extracted text
Bernice Youtz
Interviewed by Mingxia Li
The Evergreen State College Oral History Project
July 2016

Li: Ok, I’ll do a little bit self-introduction. My name is Mingxia Li, I’m doing the recording for the
Oral History Project for The Evergreen State College. I’m sitting with Bernice Youtz, she was with
The Evergreen State College right from the beginning. Good morning, Bernice.
Youtz: Good morning. Glad to be here.
Li: So, would you tell us something about your childhood, and where you were born, who are
your parents, some background information, their background, and what’s your childhood
inspiration or aspirations, and your relationship with your parents, if you would like to share?
Youtz: Yes, of course. I was born in Santa Ana, California, that’s in Orange County, in 1926. I was
an only child. My father was Howard Theodore Livingston, a mechanical engineer; my mother
was Bess [McChord] Livingston, who had been a high school teacher before her marriage. And
she was a homemaker after that. I had a good relationship with my parents; as I said, I was an only
child. My main memory is my childhood during the 1930’s, is what’s generally known as the
Depression years, and I think it had a capital “D” in my family. My father, although he was an
engineer, a Berkeley graduate, and had some years of experience working as an engineer, lost his
job in the 1929 stock market crash, when the company he was working for suddenly cancelled the
project he’d been working on, and he found it difficult, if not impossible, to find engineering work
for almost ten years after that. The country, the economy was such that people were just not
building, and therefore they didn’t need engineers to design anything for them. I have enormous
respect for my father; he was not only a very good, kind, man, a wonderful father to me, but he
worked very hard to support us, and he did anything. He went out hunting for jobs, he did
anything he could absolutely do to make enough money to pay the rent and buy some groceries.
And sometimes he could get jobs working as a draftsman, sometimes he read meters. There were
some times when he did pick-and-shovel work, building the transmission lines, bringing power in
from the Hoover Dam. Most of these jobs lasted very briefly, sometimes a few weeks, at most a

few months, and then he would have to go hunt for another job. So that’s pretty much the memory
of my childhood. Nonetheless, we always had a roof over our heads, and we always had (laughs)
enough to eat. We lived in Los Angeles, that was where my father tried to find work most of the
time, but we frequently visited my grandparents, who lived about forty miles away in Santa Ana,
and they had a wonderful backyard garden, grew almost every type of vegetable one could
imagine, and had fruit trees: oranges, peaches, plums, lemons, and a chicken house. So that’s
where most of our food came from. So it…was a good childhood, it was a happy childhood. We
lived in a neighborhood where there were lots of other children, and their families weren’t any
better off than mine was, so we didn’t know anything different. And we roller-skated, and rode
bicycles around the block, and climbed trees, and did all that sort of thing.
I started school when I was five, in kindergarten, and then when I was six I was in the first grade in
Los Angeles…I don’t remember anything particularly outstanding about elementary school. There
was one year when we moved back to Santa Ana for a while; my grandfather was very elderly,
and suffering from terminal cancer, and they couldn’t, my grandmother couldn’t afford to have him
in the hospital. She had a lot of practical experience in nursing, just, as they say now, learned on
the job, so we moved into their house, and my parents and I and my grandmother took care of my
grandfather. There was a very kindly, small-town doctor, who came by quite frequently to check
on my grandmother, and…they were old friends, had known each other for a long, long time, and
they joked and laughed with each other. So it was always good to see Dr. Wirley. So we lived there
in their house. I did go to school in Santa Ana that year, and really liked it. And my uncle, who
lived in San Francisco, was a wealthy member of the family, he was a high school teacher. He
never quite lost his job during the Depression. He took various salary cuts, but he always had a
steady income, so he was the one who sent checks to pay the bills. And that’s how we got by. And,
later in the 1930’s the economy began to pick up somewhat, and my father…there was industry in
southern California, Lockheed was built, and there was a demand for more electrical power. My
father really had worked in marine engineering, design of marine ships, and he loved that. I think
he would happily have done that all his life, but they weren’t building those passenger ships, or
even freighters, at that time. So he switched over to, as a specialty, at building power plants. And
he worked for the city of Los Angeles. So it wasn’t a big income, but it was a steady one, and there
was a lot more security for my parents, and they were able to build a five-room stucco bungalow,

which was very nice, and I went to junior high, and then high school.
I was in high school, I was fifteen, a junior in high school, at the time Pearl Harbor was bombed. I
remember it vividly. That was on a Sunday, and the next day we went to school, and we were
summoned out to the football field, and listened to a loudspeaker as President Roosevelt
announced the state of war with both Germany and Japan. And…things changed very drastically.
The West Coast of the United States was considered vulnerable, so we had a number of blackouts,
and almost immediately gasoline was rationed, which curbed everybody’s lifestyle a great deal. We
tried to use our car as little as possible, and only used it every few weeks to go to my grandparents’
house in Santa Ana to get our vegetables and chickens (laughs). And there was food rationing,
which went in almost immediately. Still, we certainly could not feel sorry for ourselves. We’d been
aware for some years of what was going on in Europe, and I remember…The first two little girls I
remember playing with in that area of Los Angeles were from Germany, who’d recently moved
there with their parents, in the early 1930’s, and they were Jewish. And I began hearing this talk
about how there was…I learned what the word persecution was. As a child I was just absolutely
outraged, it was just unfair that people should be discriminated against in any way for what they
were born into, either a religion or an ethnicity, you know. How could people choose what they
were, how they were born, and then somebody liked them or didn’t like them because of that, so…
I think that’s sort of what I grew up with. When I was a little bit older, after my parents built that
house, and then we moved into another neighborhood that happened to be predominately Jewish,
most of our neighbors up and down the street were Jewish, so I heard a lot of talk about how they
were worried about their families in Europe, and several of them sent for relatives, who came and
lived with them. There were some children in my school who had come from Germany or Austria.
So all of this was very much in my background, even before Pearl Harbor, and America entering
the war, and as I said, everything changed very rapidly. My father was working in engineering at
this time, designing power plants which were badly needed in southern California. And it was
ironic after those years of when he didn’t have a job and nobody wanted engineers. Now all the
younger engineers were being drafted, and men his age and older were working until ten o’clock at
night every night on building these projects. So my father was very busy and often exhausted, as I
remember, during those war years.

I graduated from high school in 1943…I probably should back up just a little bit here. After Pearl
Harbor, which was in December ’41, and shortly before the start of the year, we heard this
announcement that the Japanese on the West Coast were to be relocated inland, and there were a
great many Japanese attending my high school. There’d always been Japanese in my schools, all
the way from elementary school on, and our student body president in high school at the time was
Japanese-American, and all of us kids at school were absolutely furious when we heard about this.
We said this can’t be; almost all of our classmates had been born in California, just as we had …
they were certainly American citizens, and we just couldn’t see how, you know…What if
somebody should come in and order us to get up and leave our houses and be moved somewhere
else? And so we were pretty furious about that. I think this began sort of one of the beginnings of
the generational divide, in fact, because a lot of our parents, including my mother, liked to believe
in authority, and my mother kept telling me, “Well, Bernice, you know, the president and the
government, they must know something that we don’t know, and they’re trying to keep us safe,
and if they say this must be done, why it has to be done.” But we kids at school didn’t see it that
way at all, it was just totally, absolutely unfair, and…I think we all have those days that we
remember in our lives, like what happened on the day we learned about Pearl Harbor, or what
happened the day Kennedy was shot, and I remember the day all the Japanese signed out of school
and left. And it was very quiet, which is unusual in a large high school, you know, there was none
of this…bantering, the noise and shouting at each other in the halls, and banging of the locker
doors. It was very, very quiet; nobody seemed to have anything to say. And we went into our
various classes and sat there, sort of pretending we were studying.
I remember each of the Japanese students had a report card, and would carry it up to the desk, and
the teacher would give a grade as of that day, and sign it, and...We kids weren’t old enough, I
think, to know what to say, you know. How can you say to somebody, goodbye, have a good time
at the camp? And we just, really didn’t say anything, and I remember sitting in physics class, I had
a desk right in front of the teacher’s desk, and one of the Japanese boys came by, and I heard him
in a low voice ask the teacher where he could buy a textbook to take with him to the camp. And
the teacher just handed him his copy. So that was one of the memorable…memories I have of high

The following year I was a senior, 1943 I graduated, and…Graduation that year was also
interesting. Many of the boys in my class were already in military service, they’d either volunteered
or were old enough to go. Some of them got leave to come home, and came back in uniform for
the ceremony. Some of them were already overseas, and I think all the rest of them who weren’t
already in military service went downtown the next morning and signed in. So, as I said I
graduated in ’43, and I started a college a week after I graduated from high school. At that time
many of the colleges had put in a three semester a year program, no summer school, just three
equal semesters that went year-round. I attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, and it was
one of those schools which did have military units on campus, so they were on this system. So my
freshman year started on the 4th of July that year, and there were two military units on campus.
Nearly all of the civilian men who were already there had almost all left, there were just a handful
of civilian men on campus. And all the others, it was known as V-12, and there was a Navy unit
and a Marine unit. And several of the dorms on campus, all the men’s dorms and one or two of the
women’s dorms, had been turned over to the military units. But we went to college; it was really
remarkably normal, we went to classes, and we just got used to it.
I’ve sometimes heard it said that girls are afraid to speak up if there’re boys in classes. Well, I don’t
remember that I’ve ever felt this way in high school, and I know that in college I might find myself
sitting next to a Marine in uniform who had just come in from the South Pacific, and it didn’t occur
to me not to answer a question if I knew it, or not to partake in the discussion, so…maybe women
are more different in recent years, but I don’t think my generation felt that way! And of course we
did have a good time. We used to have informal night dances called mixers, and there was a grand
military ball that we all dressed up for once a year, and we just got used to it. Going to classes all
the time. Of course we were following the news, which was terrible, it had been terrible in Europe.
We had watched, you know, the bombing of Britain had already taken place and nearly all of
Europe: France, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, were all under Nazi occupation. So the news
was absolutely terrible, but we just kept going, we used to read the casualty lists in the paper and
hope that we wouldn’t recognize anybody. I also remember in…well, let’s see, it must have been…
it was spring of 1945, somebody had better check me on dates here, that I was studying in the
library, and somebody came in with the announcement that President Roosevelt had died. And we
all went outside and watched the flag being lowered to half-mast.

And shortly after that, and again I hope my dates are all right, the United Nations held a charter
conference in San Francisco to write the...The U.S. of course had already invaded France, and
there’d been a good deal of progress, if we can call it that, in the war in Europe. In the spring of, I
think it was 1945, this conference was held in San Francisco, where representatives from all of the
countries who were allied against Italy, Germany, and Japan met to write a charter, which should
be an international organization, something of a successor to the League of Nations. And I had
been a reporter for the Occidental newspaper at the time, and worked on that, writing articles for it,
and I was also an assistant to the editor. It was the first…she was a good friend of mine, and the
first woman who’d held the post as editor of the college newspaper. We also had the first woman
student body president at that time, but anyway, we got word that some press organization was
inviting college reporters to come and be observers at the conference in San Francisco, and I was
very fortunate to be selected one of those, so I did go and spend a week in San Francisco with
another student, and we were reporters. We were certainly at the bottom of the journalistic totem
pole (laughs), but we were able to attend quite a number of meetings, and we met people. I
remember being introduced to Anthony Eden on the steps of the Fairmont Hotel, and uh, it was
quite exciting, I think.
There were some tremendously good things and bad things. We got the news about that time that
Allied Forces in Europe were liberating the concentration camps the Nazis set up, like Dachau and
Birkenwald, and we were getting dreadful news. We’d all known that that was terrible, but
somehow or other when we actually saw the photographs and heard the graphic descriptions of
what had been going on, it was a powerful time…Well, I don’t want to spend too much time on
World War II, but I am, I’ve always been extremely grateful that I did have that opportunity to be
there at that time. And then of course shortly after that, the German High Command surrendered,
and there was V.E. Day, I believe that was in May. We were very, very excited about that, except
that on the West Coast almost all the men we knew were still off in the Pacific somewhere, and that
battle seemed to be raging badly. It was one island after another: Okinawa and Iwo Jima, and the
Japanese seemed to show no signs of giving in. And everyone was sure that the invasion of Japan
was coming next, and that that would be very difficult…

I had been going almost ‘round the clock with this three-semester system that they had in colleges,
but at the end of my junior year I did take a semester off, and worked as a salesperson in the May
Company department store downtown. I was there, um…I remember meeting my father one time.
He lived, he was working not far away, and we just happened to get on the same streetcar on our
way home, and got off, went into our house and my mother was listening, had been listening to the
evening news as she always did. And she told us that a new and terrible bomb had been dropped
on Japan that was considered the worst that’d ever happened. And we couldn’t quite imagine, you
know, we were rather numb by this time. We had watched all the news of the bombing of, uh,
Britain, London and Coventry, and after the invasion of Germany, of Dresden, we just couldn’t
imagine how there could be a bomb that was worse than the ones they already had, but we began
hearing about it (sighs). I think it was within a week after that that there was news that it appeared
that Japan might very well concede defeat and surrender. I was working at the May Company that
day, and all day long there had been rumors that the war was about to end, and we kept getting
notices over the loudspeaker that as soon as they got that official word the store would close and
we could all go home. There weren’t very many people shopping there, so we all had our sales
books all ready, everything added up, all ready to leave. At four o’clock that afternoon, we got the
notice, and there was a mad rush downstairs to get out of the store and onto a streetcar on Hill
Street. And I noticed crowds pouring out from buildings all the way out, all the way home, and my
father also got on that same car, and I met him. And it happened to be my 19th birthday, and I
remember my father saying to me, “Well, this is probably the most exciting birthday you will ever
have!” (laughs)
Li: Wow…
Youtz: And so of course there was great joy that the war was over, and that this time it did seem to
be definite, there was no petering out, no lingering problems. And some of the men I’d known
came home, and all of a sudden gas rationing was lifted and we could go off to the beach and go
swimming and (laughs) enjoy ourselves. It, you know, it was a very interesting time. We were
becoming aware that there was tremendous destruction in Europe and in Japan itself, but...we had
this feeling, and it’s, it’s...seventy years later it’s tough to think…we felt that you know, this can
never happen again, there’s gonna be peace forevermore, there will never be any more problems,
which didn’t happen, but...We did our best, I think, at the time, and I had one more year of college,

I was a senior, graduated in June of ’46.

I recently went back to Occidental for my seventieth college reunion. I can’t quite imagine anyone
going to a seventieth reunion, but I did. And I was it: when the photographer called for a class
photo of the class of ’46, I was it! I think there must be some other of the class still around, but they
didn’t come. So, anyway, I did graduate. The following year…I need to move right along here.
But…I do think it’s…maybe the point I need to make is that World War II certainly did have a
profound effect on my generation, and continues to this day. The following September I went to
Berkeley, University of California at Berkeley, and spent a year getting a teacher’s credential. You
know, all the usual ed courses and student teaching and so forth.
I lived there at a place called International House, which was really a very, very wonderful
experience. It’s a large building, I think it can house six or seven hundred students, both men and
women, on the edge of the campus, and there were, uh…they tried to make it, I think, a little bit
less than half Americans and the rest...well, maybe it was one third Americans and two thirds
international students. And they came from all over the world. Well, I had lived up until this time a
really particularly sheltered, safe life, I think, in spite of what we knew of the war. But, all of a
sudden there were these people who came in, and I was meeting people who had been in the
Norwegian Underground, or the Dutch Underground, or had been evacuated somewhere. There
were people from countries I had never even heard of who were coming there, and so our
dinnertime and breakfast time table conversations were absolutely fascinating. We had, there were
Dutch students from Indonesia who’d grown up in Indonesia, and some of them had been in
Japanese internment camps during the war, but there were also native Indonesians, and it was the
beginning of the fact that they didn’t agree with each other, and the Indonesians wanted their
independence, and there was going to be another issue coming there. There were lots of Indian
students and I lived in International House at the time that the partition of India, when the British
gave up their position there, and India became independent and Gandhi was assassinated. And
some of the Pakistani people, some of the Muslims moved to Pakistan and others moved to a place
called East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh. Then of course there were the Palestinian Arabs
and the Palestinian Jews, and we were beginning to learn something, things that I’d never learned
anything about. Here I had grown up in this Jewish neighborhood of Los Angeles and all I cared

about was rights for Jews.

My very closest friends at International House was a young woman from Prague, a Jewish woman
who’d survived three Nazi camps, had her number tattooed on her arm. And she knocked on my
door one evening, about two or three in the morning, and said, “Excuse me, I cannot sleep, may I
come in and talk to you for a while?” She had a very sweet, lilting voice, so she told me to get
back in bed, and she sat down, and she began talking, and she talked for about half an hour, and
told me about her parents, who had died by this time. She was the only one of her family to
survive. But she didn’t talk about that, she told me about Prague and how beautiful it was, and
how she missed it. And she described it to the point that I felt if I ever got there I would be able to
find my way around from her description, and then finally she said, “Thank you, I think I can sleep
now. Good night”. We had an arrangement after that. Whenever she couldn’t sleep, she was
welcome to come to my room and talk to me. That happened maybe half a dozen times. As I said,
she never talked about the camps, she didn’t talk about the fear, about the bad things, and I think
that was probably why she survived. She had only anchored her mind on what she remembered
that was good and what she hoped for in the future. She was a remarkable woman. We kept in
touch for many years. She died a few years ago of cancer, and I still miss her, but I’m very glad to
have known her.
I certainly became aware that the world was a more complicated place than I’d realized, and thank
goodness the Allies had defeated the forces of Fascism, as we called it in those days. But there
were problems yet in the world. We heard of the announcement of something called the Marshall
plan that was going to get set up in Europe, and that sounded hopeful. I returned to Berkeley for a
second year, and earned a master’s degree in French literature at that time, which seemed a little bit
frivolous, although I didn’t think it was. I think, people have asked me why I decided to major in
French, and I think from early childhood and perhaps listening into this community in Los Angeles
where I knew these German girls and I also played with some French children, I was fascinated by
other people’s languages and I wanted to know them. And I wanted to travel, and of course there
was no way….My family couldn’t afford trips to Europe in the 1930’s, and then the war came and
there was no way of travelling. So I think I had a very great urge to see more of the world, and I
sometimes think perhaps I should have gotten degrees in history or political science. And now,

there’re these possibilities where you can take crash courses in other languages, and even learn
from tapes and discs and…but my choice, well, I thought if I take all these French classes in
college I’ll learn to speak French well enough, and maybe that will get me to some other parts of
the world. I still have enormous admiration for people who speak several languages, and I found
people at I. House who were fluent in English, but also spoke their native Chinese or Greek or
Russian or whatever language they had grown up with. And I still have enormous admiration for
these people.
After I finished my master’s degree at Berkeley, I went hunting for a job, I knew I absolutely had
to get a job. That was the whole reason for sending a girl to college in those days, was that you
could get something that would support you afterwards, and I knew that both my parents had
worked very hard, and they didn’t…I can’t say they put pressure on me, but the expectations were
there, that I was going to be a teacher. My mother had been a teacher, both of my grandmothers
had been teachers, it was just the thing to do. So I took a job in a town called Crockett, at a high
school there, on northern San Francisco Bay, in the fall of, it must have been ’48. Crockett was a
tough factory town; the C&H sugar factory had a refinery there, and ships came in from Hawaii
bringing the sugar cane. And as I said, it was a tough factory town. The company pretty much ran
the town. And all the kids looked upon making life miserable for new teachers; it was the favorite
school sport. And I had students in class who were almost as old as I was, and certainly a lot larger,
and it was tough. I was assigned, I had a terrible teaching schedule. In those days the existing
teachers, or at least in that school, dumped all the courses they didn’t want on the new teachers,
and also assigned us all the extracurricular activities, like riding buses to football games and
chaperoning Friday evening dances and so forth. So it was a mighty tough year, but somehow or
other I survived. And I decided that I wouldn’t go back.
I’d learned about some opportunities, Europe was opening up, and I really wanted to go. So I
applied for a French government teaching position, and was assigned one in France. So in the
summer of, late summer of 1949, I rode the train to New York, first time I’d ever been east of
California, and boarded the Queen Mary with a lot of other young people who were headed to
Europe for one reason or another. We were steerage class down in the lower part of the ship, but it
was fine. We had a good time together, and I arrived in France. My school was in a town called
Rube, which is a suburb of Lille, in the north, on the Belgian border. It was literally across the

street from Belgium, and I taught English that year in the Lise des Jeune Fille, the high school for
girls. It was a public French high school. It was also a boarding school, so I had a room and took
my meals at the school. And the students were the absolute contrast to those, the Americans I’d
known at Crocket. I walked into my first class in the morning, and all these girls in uniform
snapped to their feet and stood there in absolute silence. And for a moment I couldn’t figure out
how to tell them to sit down in either English or French (both laugh).
They were exceedingly polite, well-behaved, never spoke without being called on, turned in
immaculate, neat papers on time. My only problem was to try to get them warmed up a little bit!
And motivated, I think is the word now. But once again…and there was no ESL teaching in those
days; it was assumed if you spoke English you could teach it to people who didn’t know it. And
none of these girls knew any English. But somehow or other I figured it out, and we survived, as I
had in Crockett the year before, and it turned out to be a pretty good year, and we made good
friends and…I met a lot of friends in town.
Northern France is not tourist country; you’ll hardly ever meet an American who’s ever been there.
It’s very flat, it’s not beautiful, it’s been fought over through the centuries— there are no cathedrals,
castles, or anything that would attract tourists. There are coal mines and factories. So in some ways
it’s, it’s rather a grim place. On the other hand, I was the only American in town, and the local
curiosity, and people really did seem to want to meet me, so I got lots of invitations to lunch and
dinner, and I’d meet somebody there who would invite me, so I had a very busy social life that
year with a lot of families who were very good to me. And nobody spoke English, so I had to
speak French, which was good for me. I’d found that writing papers on Voltaire for my master’s
degree hadn’t really taught me how to buy tickets on the tram (laughs). So anyway, that was a
good year.
In the spring of the year, we had a rather lengthy Easter holiday, and I signed up with a student
group from the Sorbonne in Paris that was going to Italy for the holidays. And again, we were a
ridiculously international bunch; there were people from Norway and Japan and me, and (laughs) a
lot of French students, and it was really quite hilarious. We went off by train. And of course it was
an extremely inexpensive student-based tour, so we stayed in hostels and back street hotels, but the
food was good, and everybody was happy. Italy was sunny and warm, and Rome in particular was
very exciting. It was the first holy year since quite a while before the war. And so Rome was full of

Catholic nuns and priests from all over the world who were coming there, and there were masses
everywhere one turned around, and the Vatican was fascinating, and so was Saint Peter, so that
was a very good trip.
School ended in June, and there was another young American teacher in a town nearby, and she
and I decided to do some travelling before we came home. The American dollar went a whole lot
farther in those days, and even though our salaries at the school had been miniscule, we’d lived
there, and we could eat there, so our expenses were very minimal. So we decided to go to
Germany and Austria, which were still under military occupation at the time. So that meant getting
a lot of visas and permits and paperwork and so forth. But I remember Germany and Austria in the
summer of 1950, and it all seemed very peaceful, and it was just hard to believe that this terrible
war had been fought there not long before that. I came back through France, went to England…I
was becoming a very good tourist by this time (laughs). I got up early in the morning and walked
or rode buses or one thing or another all day long, determined to see everything, so...I saw
London, which had cleaned up after the bombing during the war but still hadn’t started rebuilding,
so there were areas that were cleared and empty. There were some buildings that still showed signs
of bad destruction, but I was just absolutely overwhelmed by the spirit of all the Londoners I met,
who were such positive, upbeat people, and again, very welcoming to me. I travelled up the north
of England, saw a little of Scotland; my ancestors had come from Scotland, so I was glad to see
that. Took a ferry boat over to Ireland, to Belfast. Again, I had Irish ancestors. And came back and
made my way to Liverpool, boarded a ship, a Canadian Pacific liner that brought me back across
the North Atlantic to Quebec. One of my granddaughters is now studying in Liverpool, so
sometimes I think about my time there.
Well, I had met a man named Byron Youtz at I. House, just before I went to France the previous
year. We’d been sort of part of the same student gathering for better part of a year, but hadn’t
known each other particularly well. He had a girlfriend, I had a boyfriend. But both of those
relationships had ended, and he and I got really acquainted with each other about three weeks
before I left for Europe. So he and I had what I’ve always called courtship by airmail. Nowadays I
see my granddaughters pick up the phone and call home, and there was, it was difficult enough to
phone Paris in those days, much less the United States, so there were no phone calls, there was no

email. But we did write long letters to each other, and waited for them to be delivered by mail,
and…I kept all of the letters he sent me, and he kept all the ones that I sent him, and I still have
those. So we were very well acquainted by the time I came back.
I returned to Berkeley, put my name on the list for substitute teaching, found a small apartment,
began taking substitute teaching appointments. Before long I actually got a permanent job in a
good high school nearby, which was not at all like my experience in Crockett. It was really quite
ideal: good principal, congenial colleagues, and I was very happy.
Byron and I were married six months after I returned. We were married on Saint Patrick’s Day,
spring vacation for both of us. And it was the beginning of a forty-year marriage that was
supremely happy. I’m extremely grateful for it. He had graduated from Cal Tech as a major in
physics. He’d been in the Navy during the war, although he hadn’t gone overseas. He’d been
stationed on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. He used to say that he fought the battle of
Treasure Island, and he’d been an instructor in radio technology and radar, so he’d been kept there
as a teacher and was still there when the war ended, so he had never gone overseas, for which we
were both very grateful. So he came, he had come back, had graduated from Cal Tech on the GI
bill, and had gone to Berkeley, where I had met him, and he finished his doctorate in physics in
1953, I continued teaching until then.
We were looking for jobs. He was looking for something, and physicists were very much in
demand at that time, so he had various offers and was being flown around the country for
interviews. But he would come home, and I could tell that nothing had quite caught his attention,
wasn’t exactly what he wanted. And quite a few of his colleagues had taken positions either at Los
Alamos or at the Livermore laboratories, and he felt that he didn’t really want to, although he had
this degree in nuclear physics, he really didn’t want to go into particularly weapons development
and research that might lead to that, and I agreed. So he was looking for, also considering teaching
positions, and one of those rather happenstance things turned up. He came one day from a physics
department meeting and asked me how I would like to go live in Beirut, Lebanon for three years.
And the physics department at Berkeley had received a request for somebody to teach physics at
the American University of Beirut. And it sounded intriguing, I’d had such a wonderful time
travelling in Europe, and I think he really wanted to sort of catch up with me. So we talked about

it, made some inquiries. He put in an application, he was accepted and hired by cable, and so in the
late summer of ’53 we again boarded a train across the US, and boarded a Queen Mary again
(laughs), and made our way down to Rome, where we flew to Beirut and began three years and…
it was fortunately a very, very happy time.

It was sort of a golden year in Middle East relations, we’d hear bits of attention here and there.
There were troubles over in Tehran, but that was 1500 miles away. That’s when the CIA had
delivered a coup and upset a man named Mosaddegh. We used to read about it in the paper, but it
didn’t affect us in Beirut, and Beirut seemed to be very stable, and quite prosperous. There’d been
no war damage, there were lots of Palestinian refugees, some of our colleagues were Palestinians,
and some of my students were, his students and mine, because I was offered a job when we first
arrived there, in fact two jobs, two different schools. I actually found that I was being argued over,
and my salary went up for several days while I was making up my mind which job I’d take. And I
took one at a place called International School, College, which was essentially a French [lise], and
offered the French baccalaureate, which I was familiar with from France. And it was also on the
campus of the American University, and probably a majority of their graduates, although they’d
earned the French baccalaureate, also qualified in English, and became students at the American
A number of my husband’s students were Palestinians, and some of my students were. They were
refugees, who’d fled from what had become Israel, and I realized that all this sympathy that I’d had
for Jews, that I’d grown up with, and how strongly I felt their tragedy and still do to this day, that
possibly Israel, the state of Israel, maybe hadn’t really been the right thing for the Middle East. It
had certainly been a disaster for the Palestinians who lived there. So we learned a lot about Arab
politics and Palestinians while we were there, some of our colleagues on the AUB faculty, in fact,
were refugees from Palestine.
One thing we noticed at that time, my husband and I, was that Arabs, not only in Lebanon, but also
in several other places (fortunately times were peaceful, and we could travel quite a bit)…
Damascus was only two hours away, and it was a great place to go for a weekend getaway. We
also visited Egypt on a somewhat longer trip, and saw all of the usual tourist sites. We went to
Jerusalem when it was still a divided city. Where we were on the Jordanian side, was under

Jordanian control, but right across the barbed wire was the Jewish city of Israel, which we could
not enter with Lebanese residence permits, and visas and our passports. But we did see the
Jordanian side, we were able to visit the West Bank and Bethlehem, Ramallah, and so forth. So
there was a lot of talk of that, and as I say we found out that Arabs were absolutely crazy about
Americans, it was…Right in the middle of a dinner party, somebody might quote from our
Constitution or Declaration of Independence. And the boys in my high school classes knew a lot
more American history than the kids I’d left behind in California. And what’s more it really
mattered to them, and gradually we came to realize that America had never been a colonial power
the way Britain and all the European forces had been, and on the contrary we’d actually been a
colony ourselves at one time, which I don’t think very many Americans remember that well. And
we’d thrown off the master and gone on to prosper as nobody else in history, and they all wanted
to be like us! And so I’ve always felt that it was, it’s been an enormous tragedy that somehow or
other successive American government, and probably most the American population, never
realized what we had in the way of friendship in that part of the world, neglected it and even
abused it for far too long. We’d all be a lot better off if we had paid a bit more attention to it.
But anyway, our three years there were extremely happy. My husband enjoyed his classes, and I
did too. I taught for one year, and then our first child was born after we’d been there one year. It
was a daughter, whom we named Margaret, and later came to call her Margo. Life was very good.
We had a comfortable apartment, we were a block from the beach; we had a view of the
Mediterranean. The American University campus is very beautiful, it’s one of the most beautiful
campuses I’ve ever seen, built on a series of terraces descending down to the sea. They had their
own swimming beach, and…it’s a hot country, begins to get warm. So along about the end of April
swimming season starts and lasts into November. And my husband taught summer school, but
everybody got up very early in the morning. I think his classes started at seven at summer school,
and then he would come home, and we would have lunch and take a nap, and then go to the
beach, along with everyone else. The Mediterranean water is very warm, there’s no cold shock
going into it. And one of our colleagues had come back from a summer in France previous year,
and he was telling us all about a man named Cousteau who had gotten very interested in undersea
observation, and he brought with him several snorkeling masks which we all tried, and went out
and ordered them from France as fast as we could so that we could go snorkeling and see baby

octopi and tropical covered fish and so forth. As I said, life was very good.
The Lebanese were enormously hospitable; we got tremendous numbers of invitations to homes,
we met lots of people. Lebanese food is excellent, it’s some of the best in the world. There’s a lot
of French culture in Lebanon, so the food is sort of a mixture of French and Arabic, and it doesn’t
get much better than that. And French and Arabic are the two official government languages. We
tried our best to learn Arabic, not very successfully. I went…immediately signed up for Arabic 1 at
the university. Again with my liking for languages, I thought, well I’ll do this, and I sat in a state of
somewhat amazement for two weeks, couldn’t figure out what was going on, until I realized they
were teaching classical Arabic to read the Koran, and I wasn’t there long enough to need that. So
we found a faculty wife, a Palestinian woman, who was fluent in English, and had developed her
own little course in conversational Arabic, which…so I think there were three of us couples who
would go to her house twice a week, and she taught us how to talk to the cleaning women and
bargain for tomatoes and hail taxis and all of those things. So we’d gotten to the point where we
were not helpless with Arabic, but it must have sounded pretty awful to anybody who really knew
it! And I think the problem was in Beirut so many people spoke excellent English or French that
we did not have to bring out our awful Arabic. We used it more when we went to Damascus, and
we went up to Aleppo, and that’s where we’d drag out every last word of Arabic that we could
think of because we really needed it. There wasn’t much French, and virtually no English in
Aleppo in those days.
My heart breaks when I think of Aleppo today, and I just can’t imagine what it would be to…they
had a marvelous souk, sort of the end of the old, the Western end of the old Silk Road, and we
would, could wander for days at a time through there. There was absolutely everything available,
and again we tried out our very bad Arabic, bought a few things. My husband bought a, we called
it an abba, one of those long robes that the men wear, and I bought a few things, and some jewelry,
and…One time, after our baby daughter was born, some of our friends persuaded us that we could
leave her with them for a few days, and we went on a trip up to Aleppo, and I remember we found
some lunch one day at a little café in the souk, and there was a young mother with her baby, and
she and I got into a conversation, and I showed her pictures of my baby, and…It was all sort of in
Arabic, sort of in Arabic…(laughs). But I remember that, and I wonder where those people are
now. Another American couple came up one time when we were in Aleppo, and the two couples

bargained with the taxi driver to drive us somewhere else to the west, out to the Turkish border,
where there was an ancient community from the 4th and 5th century, where an early Christian
hermit named Saint Simeon, Saint Simeon Stylites, and I do not remember whether he sat on a
forty foot tower for sixty years or a sixty foot tower for thirty years, but one or the other. And this
was considered very holy, and people came from all over the Middle East, big churches were built,
sort of cathedral sized churches, were built around there. Nothing that big would be built in Europe
for another thousand years. And a whole community of places for people to stay, sort of the
equivalent of the motels of the time, I suppose. And that’d all vanished, there was none of that, but
there were some of these, what we called Bahai villages nearby, that was where the Syrian people
They were farmers, and they all came out to talk with us, and they found us very funny looking
Westerners, but they were very friendly. And again we pulled out all the Arabic we could think of.
And there were the remains of a Roman road that went across the modern highway, and we talked
with those people and patted pet goats, and met babies. And again, you know, that’s where so
much of this fighting is going on, and so it’s heartbreaking, I don’t know what to think about it, but
I’m glad we had the opportunity to be there.
We really saw a lot of Lebanon during the time that we were there. The campus coop set up
Sunday morning trips. They had an old school bus, which was not at all comfortable, but it ran,
and we had to be up at the campus at 7 AM, sometimes 6, on a Sunday morning, and then the
whole busload of us would go riding off to someplace in Lebanon. And we had an English
speaking guide, and in fact there was a man named Zane Zane who was a professor of history, and
his family had been influential in…They had been from Persia originally, and they had been
influential in the establishment of the Bahai’i faith, and by this time he was a professor of Middle
Eastern history at the American University, and an absolute wellspring of everything that is to be
known about history in that region. He must have seen all of this countless times, but he would
faithfully go along and tell us all about the Roman Ruins at Baalbec or Alexander the Great’s
Palace at Tiber and Ciden and…Up in the mountains above Lebanon is very beautiful country, it’s
very mountainous. There are a lot of little villages that are up in the mountains, and in fact it’s very,
it gets very hot in Beirut in the summertime, so anybody who can afford it has a summer cottage
somewhere up in the mountains. We never did, we survived the summers in Beirut, but we would

sometimes get invited up to these lovely little shady mountain towns. And, uh, the cedars of
Lebanon, some of them were still there. The Turks under the Ottoman Empire unfortunately did
too thorough a job of cutting, deforesting much of Lebanon, and hauling the lumber off to Turkey,
but the Lebanese government, after it became independent, even under the French mandate after
the first world war, began doing a lot of reforesting, so many of the cedar forests were coming

And agriculturally, it’s a very rich land, it’s, it’s not a desert. There are orchards, they grow oranges
and grapefruit and lemons and avocadoes, and apples. Lots of wheat, so there’s…we ate very well,
all the time we were there. Round the clock we could get fresh fruits and vegetables, and I liked to
go shopping at, there were little shops out in our neighborhood, but about once a week I would go
downtown to the grand souk and take my basket along and walk through that, and there would be
great mountains of purple eggplant and lots of tomatoes and all these things, so as I said, we ate
very well, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a good life.
My second child, my son Greg, who many of you know, was born in July of 1956, just before we
came home. In fact, we were packing to leave, and all the time we were anticipating his birth, and
I’ve always felt very involved with the Suez Canal because we had planned to ship all of our
household goods, by this time my husband had been hired by cable and accepted a position at
Reed College in Portland, Oregon, so we were going to the West Coast of the US, and we thought
it would be best to put our household goods on a ship that was going through Suez and the Red
Sea, and the Indian sea, and across the Pacific to Portland, Oregon. And one night the man, the
man at the university who helped Americans with all of these complicated arrangements, phoned
and said that President Nassar of Egypt had just closed the Suez Canal, and he strongly
recommended that we put our goods on a ship that was going in the other direction, that was going
west across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and through Panama. The only catch was, that this
ship was leaving the following night. So, we thought we had a few weeks to go, but... So I spent
my thirtieth birthday frantically both taking care of a baby who was a few weeks old and a two
year old, and with my husband and several of our neighbors who came in to help, packing
everything we possibly could except what we were going to carry on the plane. And packing to
leave and somehow or other miraculously we did get everything, and porters came and hauled our

stuff away, and it got on that ship, and we met up with it some months later in Portland, Oregon.
So we left in late August, and flew first to Rome, stopped and spent a few days to catch our breath,
and moved on to Copenhagen. The jet flights, jet polar flights, had just been inaugurated, so we
were flying an SAS plane, flight, from Copenhagen to Los Angeles, which made two refueling
stops, one in Strohmsfjord, Greenland, and one in Winnipeg, Canada. So with our two babies we
boarded that flight and arrived in Los Angeles (laughs). And there were my parents and my
husband’s parents, and numerous other people ready to greet us, and in due course of time we
made our way to Portland, and Reed College. Am I dragging all this out too much?
Li: No, no, it’s good.
Youtz: OK. And so we moved into Portland, a city where we had never been, where we knew
nobody, and I don’t want to dwell on this too much, but I would say reentry to the US was
difficult. It was cold, it rained, and I had these two babies. We got there barely in time for my
husband’s classes to start, so he went off to the campus and I was alone every day in a not very
adequate house. We hadn’t had much time to shop for a rental, and this one left a lot to be desired.
And we really felt quite lonely. The people next door were friendly, but they wanted to know
where we’d come from, and when I said “Lebanon” they said, oh yes, but they didn’t know there
was a university there. And I realized they thought Lebanon, Oregon, which was down in the
Willamette Valley, and when I explained Beirut, in Lebanon, they were quite mystified. They
certainly didn’t know such a place had ever existed. But they were friendly, but nobody from the
college was friendly, and nobody invited us to dinner. Here we’d been overwhelmed when we
went to Beirut, with everybody trying to help us move in and find our way around, and invitations
to lunch and dinner and anything we needed. And nobody paid the slightest attention to us from
It took several months to find out that Reed College, progressive and liberal as it was supposed to
be, had become extremely pro-Israel, which was the thing to do at that time, in the early 1950’s,
from ’48 to ’50 on. They were very suspicious – the rumor got out that we were Arabs, and the
chairman of the physics department was able to explain, no, we were Americans, we’d just been
there for three years. Well, that was almost as bad: why would any Americans go to an Arab
country!? And there must be something wrong with us. So they felt that Arabs were the enemy, not
much better than the Nazis, and they just didn’t want to have anything to do with us. And so it was

a very lonely first winter. My husband was having a…loved his, he had excellent students, Reed
has always had top-notch students, and they were friendly. Some of them invited us to dinner in
fact, if they lived off campus and had a house. But it was just very hard to crack the faculty, the
faculty outside of the physics department, and I wanted to go straight back to Beirut, where I’d
been very happy. (laughs) But, somehow or other we made it through the winter.
Portland springs are beautiful; the rhododendrons and the roses begin to bloom, and we began to
crack the campus social life a little bit. I met other young mothers with children, and that’s always a
good start, and they sort of forgot about the fact that we had lived in an Arab country. Nobody ever
asked us about it, and so things were alright, and we made it through the summer. The next year
was better; we were sort of part of the faculty, part of the community, by that time, and had made
quite a few friends. The children were getting older, and we decided that it was time to - oh, my
husband was granted tenure, and became an associate professor, so we decided that we would buy
a house, which was another experience, and we did find an old Craftsman style house up on the
slopes of a park called Mount Tabor, and moved in and did some of the remodeling and slowly,
gradually began fixing it up, and the children got older, and…Our third child was born, another
boy, David, while we lived in that house. So life was good, and I had no complaints, and we both
became very fond of Reed; I respected it, and it certainly had top academic credentials, and we did
make a lot of friends there, and they seemed to have forgotten about our Arabic background,
whatever it was. So we stayed there, actually, for twelve years. In fact, my husband was acting
president of Reed College the last two years we were there (laughs), which I found rather
ironically amusing.
I liked our house; by that time, my children were in school, I’d made a lot of friends, I’d made life
for myself in Portland, I would have stayed on indefinitely, but Byron had, did have some worries.
Happy as he was with Reed College and his students and his colleagues, he was getting worried,
even at that time, back in the 60’s, at the cost of tuition at private colleges and realizing how far out
of reach a place like Reed was for so many highly qualified American students. He’d been on
some national committees by this time; in fact, one of them was based at MIT, and we’d spent
several summers taking the family back and finding a place to stay somewhere around the Boston
area, and thoroughly enjoying getting acquainted with New England, and made friends there.
Through his contacts, he learned that the state of New York, what’s called the SUNY system, State

University of New York, was planning to start a new college on Long Island, at a place called Old
Westbury, and a man named Harris Wofford, had been named president of the college, and he was
scouting for administrators and faculty. And he asked my husband if he would come and be
provost there. And Byron had had quite a bit of administrative experience by this time, although he
really didn’t like it, he preferred teaching. But this opportunity of starting a new college, which
would be small and liberal arts, something like Reed or many of the other small private colleges
around the country, but still part of the state supported, tax supported, tuition base, so that students
could go there for the same, what they would pay at one of the state universities. And this appealed
to Byron a great deal; he was very enthusiastic about it. And he took me back once and we looked
at it. And so that was the second big decision that we had to make, and he resigned from Reed and
accepted the position at Old Westbury.
We sold our house and bought one on Long Island in a little town called Locust Valley, and loaded
up the old Ford Station Wagon (laughs), and drove to New York! And the kids were all in school
by this time, the youngest in elementary school and the two older ones in high school. And two
years, 68-70 were, a mixed blessing, I think is the phrase one often uses, had its ups and downs. I
guess in a word, if any of you listening to this or reading it, remember the 60’s and early 70’s, it
was a time of great turmoil on many college campuses. Students were impatient, a lot of it was
fostered by the Vietnam War protests and the draft, some of it was a feeling that college teaching
had become outmoded. Students wanted something newer and more practical and more relevant,
and there was also some of the generation divide. Students were resenting their parent’s values, and
parents didn’t understand their children. So those two years, I think it’s now hard to realize, that on
a brand new college that was just getting started, that hadn’t really been organized, were to say the
least, difficult. And it was on an old estate, which someone had willed to the state of New York.
There was a Tudor manor house, which was the first building, and then some huts got set up and…
Again, I’m not going to go into too much detail on this. It was trying to get a new college started. A
lot of the students, many of them were black students, who’d gotten there on upward-bound
fellowships, and many of them were from Harlem or Newark, and had heard that a college
education was the way to get ahead in the world, and they were very eager to get a college
education. And the other half of the student body were a lot of rich kids who had dropped out from
Harvard or Yale and had roamed the world and were mad at their parents for one reason or another

and were mad at the government for the Vietnam War, and were thoroughly envying protesting,
went to protest meetings more than they spent time on campus, and certainly not much time
studying. So it was rather hectic, not to say frantic, and again, without dwelling on it too much, it
all sort of looked as if it was coming to an end, and my husband really didn’t want anything more
to do with it. The president resigned, and Byron did not want to be acting president again (laughs),
particularly in such a chaotic situation. And we decided we were really Westerners, and we better
come home again.
But we didn’t know where. So we were sort of wondering where to go, and I began wondering
how we were going to feed three growing children, and what kind of a job we might find, and
serendipitously, that was just at the time that Evergreen was started, I think ’68 it was specially
sanctioned by the legislature and Byron had been on several national committees, so he was
known by some people, and Charlie McCann and Charlie Teske, a dean, were coming around the
country looking for new faculty, and they offered Byron a position at the not-yet-built Evergreen
State College in Olympia, Washington. We decided that, as I said, we were Westerners, it was time
to go home, and “let’s go”! So once again we sold the house, packed up the same Ford Station
wagon, with a boat on the top of it by this time, a Sunfish, and drove the kids across the country.
Moving into Olympia, I sort of felt that a cloud had lifted from above my head and shoulders. I
was taking a deep breath. The two older ones enrolled at Olympia High School, and came home
happy. That in itself was enough. I just didn’t much care what the academics were, but they were
happy. (laughs) And there didn’t seem to be a lot of drug dealing and one form of tension and
another. Bob Sluss took us out on his boat one evening and we had a picnic on Squaxin Island and
watched the full moon rise, and we decided, we have come to heaven. And…that…of course the
college was still mainly a big hole in the ground, where the Evans Library would eventually
emerge, but Byron went off to work, and his office was in, you’ve seen photos of this I’m sure, in
one of those temporary trailers that they had parked there. And he met, there were 18 of the first
faculty. They had come from various places, and I have always felt that one of the real secrets of
why Evergreen thrived and so many other colleges shriveled and died, was that a number of that
first faculty had been people, like Byron, who’d been at a college that didn’t work, an experiment
that really failed, so they were getting a second chance, they knew what really did not work, they

were not starting out starry-eyed, they knew what problems had to be addressed, and I think they
were pretty practical about going about it, that first year, the planning faculty.
People often talk about the founding fathers, and it was a bit ironic because they were all men, and
that undoubtedly had been one of the early faults, and we all became aware of the fact that why on
earth aren’t there a few women on this, and so Nancy Taylor, who’d been hired really as sort of an
admissions director and was doing a lot of outreach for the college, was invited to join the faculty.
So they realized that was a mistake, and as they were recruiting faculty, a lot more for the coming
year, they were very careful to look for capable women, fortunately (laughs).
So that was the first year; I think it was a lot of fun for all us. That first faculty group and the
families that came with them were small enough that we could all meet in each other’s family
rooms, or on the beach somewhere, and we, most of us had teenage children, who got acquainted
with each other and formed their own little group, and my kids and the Unsoeld kids became
overnight pals, and all four of them rode bicycles off to Olympia High School; we lived on Cooper
Point, so it was 11 miles each way, but they were the bicycle brigade into Olympia High School.
And uh, as I said, they were happy, and doing well in school, and all sorts of activities, making lots
of friends, sort of building their own lives.
I met people, there was an organization that had already gotten started, even before most of us new
faculty arrived, it was known as ECCO, Evergreen College Community Organization, and I will
always be very grateful for these people. They were a group of women in Olympia who had
decided, as soon as they knew that there would be a college there, that they wanted to have
something to do with it, and they wanted to welcome us. And some of those names you may know,
Maurie Hazeltine, an artist, Mingso Dat, whose husband was, I believe, one of the early trustees,
um…Hannah Speilholtz, I loved Hannah dearly, she was absolutely marvelous. And she and her
husband Dr. Jess Speilholtz, became early enthusiasts for the college. They entertained us and the
faculty, they later entertained students. They were sort of everybody’s grandparents among the
student body. They were absolutely wonderful people. Not everyone in Olympia was that
welcoming, some of you may have heard in the past there were…colleges weren’t all that popular
in the late 60’s, early 70’s. There’d been…a lot of people in Olympia thought, this is a nice
peaceful town, we don’t want all of these long-haired hippies running around here. So some of
them were downright hostile, including the editor of the Olympia newspaper, who was never

happier than when he found a derogatory piece of news about Evergreen to print in the
paper….And we had troubles with some of the legislators, who had not been in favor…and some
of them told us, you know, oh, you’ve just got a year or two, you know, we’re going to close that
place down. They were either going to close it down or turn it into a police academy, was one of
the rumors that went around.

So ECCO was a group of women who were enthusiastic, who saw the need for a college of this
sort, and they were a tremendous help in introducing around town, and they formed this
organization, and then as more faculty women and faculty wives arrived and the organization got
larger and took to meeting about once a month, they organized venues for us to go out into the
community and meet people. And we talked to church groups, and PTA groups, and groups at the
library. And we tried to, sometimes we’d take one of the original faculty members with us, and
tried to explain what the educational structure was at Evergreen, and why it was being done that
way, and so forth. So I think that did a tremendous amount of good, and ECCO kept going.
The students all showed up the first year, ’71, before the college was really ready for them. The
buildings weren’t completely built yet, so a lot of meetings were held in faculty homes, and some
of them were held in parks. And some of the first programs took their students off camping for a
week or two. I remember Byron was with a group, I think his group went down and camped at
Spirit Lake at the foot of Mt. Saint Helens, at the Y Camp there, which is no longer there of course,
and held their first week of classes there. And others went to various places, but slowly, gradually
the buildings got finished, people moved in. I don’t know, we just sort of…it became respectable,
and I think the town gradually became more accepting.
So, let’s see…my children grew up, graduated from high school. My daughter Margo decided that
she did want to go to Evergreen. I’d always had a rather fixed idea that children should not attend
the college where their father was on the faculty, but she was determined to do so. Someone said,
she revolted didn’t she? (laughs) Rebelled. And I will say it was very good…for her. I think she
got a lot out of it. And she graduated in 1978, and…as did her husband, she met him at Evergreen.
And Greg went to Evergreen for two years, I think thoroughly enjoyed it, and sort of, he’d decided
by that time that he was going to be a musician, specifically a composer, and he essentially milked
the resources of the college, the faculty, the resources, everything he could get, and knew he

needed something somewhat broader. So with the blessing of the faculty, particularly Bill Winden,
he went up to the University of Washington and enrolled in their school of music, and graduated
there. But he has sometimes told people that he got his education at Evergreen, and his technical
skills at the U. Of course he took various other classes while he was at Evergreen; in fact, some
very heavy political science, economics, courses and…felt that those gave him a good background,
it wasn’t just music, it was a broad background, and Margo felt the same thing, and…she later
became a computer programmer for the federal government…she’s worked at that for many years,
still does, but she didn’t do anything with computers at Evergreen, and took a variety of humanities
programs. And I asked her one time what she remembered about Evergreen, and she said she
thought the best course she took there was Andrew Haufman’s course on the Russian Novel
(laughs). So we just never know what’s going to appeal to people! And that became, that was
important to her, and I think it’s sort of what we all need.
I think Evergreen was able to provide this to a lot of people. A lot of people have gotten technical
skills, and they’ve gotten broad, humanistic depth courses as well. So I continued to follow it, I
would sometimes audit a class myself…
Oh, one of the things those of us in ECCO did: when the college first opened, and the library
opened, and there were huge books literally by the tons, trucks of books had been…and we
volunteered, through ECCO went up there, and were given a crash course in book cataloguing,
and we unpacked those boxes, and put books on library shelves (laughs), hundreds, maybe
thousands, of them. So that was some of the things that we did.
I think one of the things Byron really enjoyed he had a very specific background himself,
graduated from Caltech in physics, Ph.D in physics from Berkeley, and yet he had very broad
interests in humanities, and he thoroughly enjoyed teaching, being in a program at Evergreen,
where he would be teaching with, say a political scientist, an artist, and somebody from Irish
literature. And he was always learning something, and he never liked to repeat the old yellow
lecture notes, he always wanted to do something new and see how he could fit it in with…I think
that’s what he really enjoyed, was teaching with other people, that collaborative faculty group.
We went to France for an academic year, and took our younger son, who was in high school, with
us, and enrolled him in a French lise. Byron was very interested in alternative energy by that time,
and the French, he felt, were doing quite a bit in that field. And solar panels, and using the

technology of tide-to-power power plants, and things of that sort. So were able to rent a house in
southwest France, and we took our younger son David with us, both our older children were in
college in the US at the time, so we left them behind, and we went off to France, and we visited a
number of places around France, which were doing alternative energy, including a huge solar
panel facility in the Pyrenees, it was getting solar heat, and using it to develop energy, and…this
gave us an excuse to see a good deal of, travel around France, and…We put David in a French
lise; he’d had several years of German at Capital High School, and no French, so he went total
immersion into a French lise, but seemed to manage pretty well, was in an English class, he was
very interested in art by this time, so he took an art class, which was a hands-on experience, and
fortunately got a very supportive teacher, who helped him with that.