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Sesquicentennial celebration

History of Iowa State: In Their Own Words

Sponsored by the University Archives, Iowa State University Library

Copyright 2006

 

Interview Transcript Selections

 

Oral History Interview with Julia Faltinson Anderson (1941)

April 30, 2003

Interviewer:  Mary Ann Evans

 

MAE:   What were your college years like?

 

JFA:     They were very interesting, really.  That was '37 to '41.  By the time I came to school, it was in the fall of '37 and I learned when I got here, the week, we had to come a week ahead of time.  I learned when I got here that there were two cooperative dormitories.  Now they prefer to call them residence halls, but we called them dormitories.  Barton and Alice Freeman.  And so I had been assigned to Welch Hall so I went over to Residence and said is there any reason I can't get in to that?  And there was space.  And so, like in the second week.  In those co-op dorms, what I think, I think the board and room, I'm fuzzy about some of this, but I think the board and room was like $5.00 a week.  That sort of blows one now, doesn't it.  But we worked an average of one to two hours a day, for that.  One week you were cleaning ground floor and first floor.  The next week you would be preparing dinner.  The next week would be third and fourth and then you would prepare breakfast, and then you had to get down there early.  It was a rotation.  Then out of six weeks, you got a week of rest.

 

MAE:   Were most of the students in that dormitory also from rural backgrounds?

 

JFA:     Yes, the majority were.  Not all, but the majority were.  There was a fair amount of stability.  One of the things from that school experience, graduating in '41, we still have a round robin going.

 

MAE:   Really?

 

JFA:     There were nine of us, and there are still seven, if you can believe it.  And two have them have lost their spouses and that's all.  It's amazing.  I didn't think we were that stalwart, besides.  But that doesn't happen very often.

 

MAE:   Did you ever think of any other major besides Home Economics?

 

JFA:     No.  Didn't occur to me.  Because of the kind of background I had, and my mother was interested in that.  She had, my father had graduated from high school, my mother had only gone through sixth grade.  She was self-educated, and very interested in that kind of thing, and therefore I expect it spurred an interest to keep going, you know.  Didn't need to repeat that.  No, it didn't occur to me to do anything else.  And then when I got here it didn't occur to me to do anything but Home Ec Education, therefore Extension.

 

MAE:   What were the courses that you liked the best?

 

JFA:     Oh, pretty much across the board.  We'd had a fairly good program in high school.

 

MAE:   Mm-hmm.

 

JFA:     Food and Nutrition, sure.  'Cause we'd grown up doing that, cooking for threshers and whatever was around, you know, so we were comfortable with that.  At that time we had to do the, a couple courses in Meal Preparation, after you had Chemistry, because all of this was applied.  That's been the theory and background of Home Economics over the years.  Applying physical, biological, social sciences.  And so the experience was there, and then learning why some of those things happened of course made it doubly interesting.  After we had those two courses, we had a summer project.  I haven't thought about this for a long time.  I had a summer project, and you had to prepare meals for your family and do certain kinds of things, and report on that when you came back.  We had to come back a week before school.  And then we congregated in the Foods Lab, by a date, you can be sure.  And then you selected, just pulled out of a bunch, a recipe from the food cart that was in the middle.  And whatever was on that, you prepared, with no recipe, it was just an assignment.  And no directions.  No you had a recipe, but no directions.  And the one that people dreaded to get was lemon pie, because the recipe had as much lemon, as much acid as it possibly could, and made it taste wonderful.  But if you did anything wrong, of course it separated.  And the other thing was muffins.  Because, of course, if you beat them too much they were too tough and they got tunnels and all this kind of thing.  And so one of my classmates drew muffins and she, this was before, no...

 

MAE:   Beaters.

 

JFA:     It was all hand done.  For chocolate cake, as I remember, you had to do 300 strokes.  For muffins it was like 24.  And she forgot that.  (Both laugh).  They were like about this high.  And she, then if you flunked it, you had to take another course in the fall.

 

MAE:   Oh, no.

 

JFA:     And of course, that kind of person didn't like it in the first place.  And that was a painful price.  So it was amusing and yet for her it wasn't.

 

MAE:   You didn't get the lemon pie though.

 

JFA:     I didn't get the lemon pie.  Can't quite remember what I did get.  But one of the funnier things that happened was, and this was a, I didn't see this personally.  But it was a home economics teacher that I knew, up in Plymouth County.  She was telling me about this.  When she was in school, it was not too different than that, though it had been some years ahead, and *President Hughes came walking through.  You know, he smelled the food and so he came walking through.  And so this one girl had had bacon muffins.  And so when she made those bacon muffins, she put the raw bacon in the muffin tin and then put in the muffins.  Well, he happened to select one of those muffins, and he couldn't get through the raw bacon.  And every time I think about that I just practically go (laughter)... So there were funny things related with all of it.  But it was, one of them I didn't like as well, was in terms of Textiles and Clothing.  I did that because I had to, not because I liked to.  My mother was a good sewer, but I didn't like it.  I got enough to get through, you know.

 

MAE:   Did you have a favorite professor?

JFA:     Well, probably so.  I haven't thought about that for a long time.  One of them was *Paulene Nickell.  She taught Management.  And we had to take three courses.  One in Family Finance, one in Management, preceding living in the house for six weeks.  I remember her talking about time, and effort and efficiency.  And one of the things that she said was, "There is a time to dust, and there is a time to draw the curtain."  That's still meaningful, even though it isn't very much to say in terms of our era, but it's still true.

 

MAE:   (Laughing).  That's true.  How funny, that's great.

 

JFA:     But basically they were a good set of teachers, they really were.  We had one teacher in Art that we were fairly sure, if you used navy and avocado, you'd get a pretty good grade, because she liked... you know some things like that would happen in any program.  But it was an interesting time.