|The Whole World Was Watching
an oral history of 1968
Chapin:Where and when were you born, and where did you grow up?
Doody: I was born in North Branford, Connecticut; actually, I was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on the 12th of April, 1930. I had the pleasure of growing up on a big, working farm in North Branford, and we had about four hundred acres, a large dairy herd, a roadside stand for vegetables, a lot of hay, a lot of work. And a lot of fun.
CC: Could you describe your family and your neighborhood?
AD: My family was absolutely incredible. I had two parents that probably should have been cloned. They were great, they had unconditional love for all of us, they encouraged us to take risks and big chances to be whoever we wanted to be. They supported us in endeavors, you know, that were a little offbeat. For example, my kid brother grew up to be a photographer, and was the official photographer of the first American group to climb Mount Everest. In those days, it was pretty primitive climbing, not the high tech we have now. My parents were pretty supportive of him; my mother, of course, was worried. They were very supportive of what I wanted to do. When growing up on a farm, I worked outside with my father, especially because a lot of men that left the farm to fight World War II, there in the service or in the military munitions factories. So I learned to drive anything with wheels on it by the time I was twelve or thirteen. I got up every morning with my father to milk cows, and do a lot of work. As was common with a lot of farm kids, I learned how to shoot a rifle and shotgun. My dad went into the high school where I went to school, called Hill House, and went to the rifle team coach to make it coed, so I could shoot with them. He promised the coach that if I could shoot with them, I could raise their scores, and once he got me on the team, he said, "Kid, you're going to have to practice, and not make a liar out of me." So I got to be a good shot with the rifle.
Our neighborhood was a wonderful one. Sparsely populated, about 1700 people right now. And in school when I was growing up, all six grades were in two rooms. Small school. Everyone knew everyone. That had it's ups and downs. Everyone was very supportive, but if you were about to get in some mischief, someone got on the phone to tell your mother. The community had eyes, but it was a great way to grow up.
CC:What were your parents' political views?
AD: Oh, boy. My parents were incredible. I've already said that, but wait till you hear this. My mother was a very staunch republican, but my father was a very staunch democrat. They had fantastic respect for one another's differences in opinions. I doubt you've ever heard of a man named Wendell Wilke, but he was a liberal, certainly left-of-center republican, and he ran against FDR in 1940. My mother managed his campaign locally, and my father managed FDR's. So when the phone rang, Chris, we kids would have to say, "Mom, this is for you," or take a message for my father. My father lost his hearing when he was 17. Total hearing loss, so we would take messages and either write them out or speak them out. He was a great lip-reader. We got our information primarily from the newspaper. My father read every single word in the newspaper, it seemed. And radio was, well, it wasn't just starting, but we had a radio, this was pre-television. And so mom used to listen to the radio. They subscribed to several magazines. Look was one, Life was another. They're both out of print now. Time magazine weekly, that kind of stuff. So, we were highly informed. We kids were encouraged to read. I do a great deal of reading myself. And we'd have discussions after dinner about politics. I remember saying, "I'm going to vote for Mr. Roosevelt," and my mother said, "Well, why?" and I said, "Because Dad is." She said, "That's not good enough. Tomorrow night, after dinner you will make a presentation about why you support Mr. Roosevelt." So I had to get my head together, and have some reasons. So they trained us to speak. And after dinner we'd have a speech. It was fun. That's where I got my information from.
CC:Who were your friends in school?
AD: My friends were mostly kids in the neighborhood and my cousins. Both my mother and father had six siblings. So I grew up with a passel of cousins. I was very, very close to the Doody cousins, and on any Sunday, I had anywhere from eight to twelve Doody cousins visiting the farm all together for Sunday dinner. So they were my pals, and the kids in the neighborhood. We walked the mile or two to each others' house after school. We didn't have bikes yet. Mostly farm kids.
CC: What did you think you wanted to do when you grew up?
AD: I wanted to be a pilot. I barely remember Amelia Earhart. Have you heard of her?
AD: I was in love with what she was doing and I remember just being absolutely shattered when it came over the radio that she was reported missing, and I thought I wanted to be a pilot. I joined the civil air patrol during World War II when I was in high school. I lied about my age. I said I was eighteen, but I was only fifteen. I was tall for my age and I got away with it. And I did airplane spotting during World War II. You probably don't know about that. We had these cards, [gestures] like a deck of playing cards and you have a silhouette of every single American military plane, and all the German, and you had to identify them, like flash cards, till you got good enough. They'd let you go on what they called planespotting. And there was this pavilion, really just a shed with a deck on it. On top. And you'd sit on it up there and call in to the national guard in New Haven what plane you saw flying over. Always that. Then I got thrown out of the Civil Air Patrol when they found out I was three years younger than I claimed to be. So that's that. Then I thought about getting into aeronautical engineering, but, Chris, I am terrible at math. Wasn't good in the sciences, so that moved me away to other things. So I sort of drifted away.
CC:Was there any discrimination against people in your neighborhood?
AD: Interestingly, no. It was a small community, and my father had three wonderful friends. My dad was the son of an Irish immigrant. Have you heard the word 'mic'? They used to call my father "The Mc". Harry Shapiro had the farm next door, and they called him "The Jew". Anthony Spizaro, fella that came here from Italy, they called him "The Wop", and they called Stanley Usul "The Pollack". These men, that's what they called one another. No one got upset, there was no such thing as politically correct, they were each other's best friend. We didn't have minority families, but we had Italian immigrants that came to work in North Branford in a huge rock quarry. I have to hesitate. I don't remember any prejudice against them, but I do remember them being different. For example, I used to envy them because they came to school with fried peppers and onions in Italian bread and I had peanut butter and jelly and I thought they had the better lunch. So we were really kind of lost. When we went to high school in New Haven I was in with a lot of minority kids. African-Americans, blacks. We called them Negroes then. And I was the only white kid who made the high school girls' basketball team. My father made it very clear that I was the weakest player, that they were better than I, I had better be practicing. I had a tremendous respect for these gals. We didn't racism in the root meaning of the word.
CC:What sort of difficulties were there for women who served in Southeast Asia?
AD: I think you know that that's been a tough issue. Do you know about the monument in Washington that's been dedicated four to six months ago. That shows you women were in mostly [unintelligible]. They didn't get the recognition as the men. I'm not really a student of that.
CC: What were your personal feelings about the war, and how did they change over time?
AD: First, when Kennedy sent in his advisors, I was interested. I didn't have a strong position one way or another. But as the war escalated, I became more and more against. This caused us problems in our family. At that time I was married to my first husband, Arthur Jeffrey. He was an officer in World War II, and he believed that if your country said 'this is what you should do,' then that was what you should do. So we never had a great deal of difficulty handling on a personal basis. I think seeing my mother and father helped, because sometimes they just didn't agree. My late husband's son was drafted. And he believed that he was doing the right thing by going into the service. But as he saw body bags coming back from Vietnam, he said that if he got shipped to Vietnam, he would go AWOL and go to Canada. Living with us, was a couple of nephews, and one of them was one of the original hippies. Long hair, peacenik, protester. Our family was sort of divided. Our son-in-law was in the Air Force. He was very much afraid of the war, very much supported the war. He believed he was doing the right thing. It was tough.
CC:Did you lose any friends?
AD: Do you mean killed?
CC: What was your experience with college?
AD: I had to produce a great deal of my college expenses. So I worked as a waitress every summer. I had terrific jobs at big shore restaurants, on the southern coast of Connecticut. Lots of tourists, so I made good money.
AD: I'm not quite sure what you mean.
AD: We got married in 1962. I was not sure I'd ever marry a person because I'm fiercely independent, and I looked at marriage as being too confining. Jeffrey was terrific. He was older, he understood me, he put up with my crackpot ways. Yeah, we had a ball. Tough, though, when the issue of politics came up. We would go to polls. Like my parents, we'd cancel one another out. We'd be voting on the opposite sides of the aisle. It was on the issue of the war that our marriage. Our marriage didn't suffer, but, boy did we have discussions. Got a little heated at times.
CC:How would you describe relationships between men and women?
AD: Let's talk generally first, Okay? As you know, the women's movement sort of followed the civil rights movement. And it made us say, 'wait a minute!' We had such protests as 'Ban the Bra,' and picketed the Miss America Pageant and all that stuff. I was not at all restless. Remember I said my parents supported us in whatever we wanted to do? So I went on to graduate school. I was the first woman to get my Ph.D. in our department down at Penn. State, and my parents encouraged me to do what I had to do. My late husband, and since happily re-married, felt very supportive of my career. I didn't change my name. I changed my name legally, when I married Doctor Jeffrey, but I never changed professionally, I was always known as Dr. Doody. Then when Doctor Jeffrey died, I went back to my maiden name. Legally back to my maiden name, which was Doody. Then when Ellis and I married six years ago, I never changed my name after that. So I had a lot of support from my parents, my late husband, and my current husband to do my own thing.
CC:Did you stay at home with your children?
AD: I didn't have children until Doctor Jeffrey raised his. I did not stay at home. I was at URI, and I had an advantage that people that teach do. I was generally home from the university by the time the kids got home from school. So it wasn't a problem
CC: Was music an important part of your life?
AD: Interestingly, Chris, no. I have a tin ear. I can't carry a note. So I never was very musical. I tried playing the violin, and after two weeks, I couldn't stand it. My parents couldn't stand listening to it, either. So I never did get into it. I think, Chris, I told you my dad was deaf, so we didn't concentrate, in the household, on things he couldn't enjoy, like music. We talked a great deal; had conversations after dinner, so I never got in the habit of listening. I do listen to music. I appreciate classical music. I listen to, but I don't have a connoisseur's taste. I like blues. I love jazz.
CC: Did you become active in any political or religious office?
AD: I ran for public office, so that would be political. I ran for general assembly in 1982 in Rhode Island. I have not been an active participant in any religious groups. I have been active, and am active now in South County, and at the Women's Resource Center. I've always been active, and been as active I can.
CC: Did you ever join a commune?
AD: (laughs) No. In this house, we've always had people living with us. So, in a way, it's been a commune. No, I never did get off with the hippies.
CC: Did you join the people at sit-ins, freedom rides, and such in the Sixties?
AD: In the Sixties, I had undergone some hip surgery which left me first in a wheel chair, then chained to crutches. I've had two total hip implants, and you said 'in the Sixties.' I couldn't get around, and therefore I was unable to join the freedom riders. I felt very strongly about it, and I helped coach kids from the University who went south in the summer to register voters. A very dear friend's son was in jail for a while, which was very scary as you know from reading about that. White kids, northern white kids in the South, mixing with blacks were the target of kidnappings and murder. So I felt very strongly about that. When you think about Martin Luther King, he was twenty-six years old when he led the Montgomery bus boycott. Have you read about the Montgomery bus boycott?
AD: Yeah. Twenty-six years old when he got on the national stage. He was so courageous. I visited his museum in Langdon, and his church, where he preached. I still use the 'I have a Dream' and other speeches in my communication course, in the unit on public speaking. (unintelligible) I got the video of him. What's fascinating, is thirty years he still effects the students, they still choke up.
CC:When did you first become aware of the Vietnam conflict?
AD: Very early on, because I'm a political junkie. I was very interested in what Kennedy was doing, and not a strong fan of LBJ's when he was into it. So I got into it very early on. I could see that it was a prominent issue in the '64 campaign for Kennedy.
CC: Did you know anyone who dodged the draft?
AD: My nephew threatened to burn his draft card, once. I knew lots of kids from URI who did, my students.
CC: So you felt it was okay to burn draft cards?
AD: I thought you should do, if you liked. Here's the way I feel, Chris. I don't care what you think, as long as you think something. If it's anarchy, that's okay. I think our system can stand it. I think burning your draft card was a statement of conviction. Those people went to jail, went to Waterbury, Connecticut Federal Penitentiary over there. It took courage to do that. Like the Boston Tea Party. It was protest. They dumped tea overboard. It's part of our political heritage, protesting. I'd hate to see us ever give that up.
CC:Did you participate in demonstrations, protests, and rallies?
AD: Yup. I was in most in most major rallies here on campus. In 1967 I was chair of the faculty senate and there students protesting, storming the senate. Those were very tumultuous times, and in 1968 I was leader of senate. Three or four rallies, and had one on the quadrangle. Do you know the quad on campus? The commons, the green. In any case, I helped raise fourteen hundred dollars. I passed the hat at one rally to take out a full page ad in the Providence Journal sending a message to President Nixon. Nixon and Agnew were calling college students 'bums.' The full-page ad said, 'dear Mr. president, we respect our students, they are not bums.' And we signed it 'faculty and senate.' Walt Mueller was the president, then, of the faculty, senate and chair. He signed it. I went up to Providence to buy the ad with the money we had raised. Chris, we raised fifteen hundred and thirteen dollars, from when we passed the hat and had megaphones. So, yeah, I went deep in that stuff.
CC:Could you describe what you did in the women's movement?
AD: In the women's movement, I did not become part of the women's studies at URI. But I was a very strong advocate of bringing more women coming on campus. (unintelligible), I'd go off on meetings and protests. On campus, as chair of the department, I started making sure we hired women in our department. Dr. Anderson was still with us in those days. Dr. Brownell was the second women I hired. She's now the winner of an award for sciences. Winifred Calwell, I hired her. I brought in many women. I felt that if we hired the best we could, in several cases we win. I fought the president of the university, Dr. Warren. These are the kind of things that don't happen anymore, Chris. I told you about Doctor Jeffrey. I met him on campus. We married in December of 1962. In March of 1963, I got my contract. But I didn't have my merit raise. If you had done a good job, you get merit raise. I went right up through the chair, the dean, the provost, the president. I said, "Doctor Warren, I understand that you're the one that vetoed my merit raise." He said, "That's right, Art's making enough for the two of you, now that you're married you don't need it." And that was the attitude then. So Dr. Warren and I went head to head; we really argued. I could see it was getting nowhere, so I told Dr. Warren I was going to leave his office, go down to see Foster Sheldon, he was the town clerk here, and have my marriage annulled, because obviously it was my marriage that was standing in the way of my merit raise. I was living with Arthur as a common-law wife. He threatened to fire me then. Then I said I would take out a full-page ad in the Narragansett times so everyone could he was against marriage. He went berserk. He used a couple of terms that are really profane. Then he said, "You wouldn't dare!" And I said, "Mm-hm?" and started walking out his door, and he said, "Yes you would! Get back here." So I got my merit raise. Chris, My merit raise was a hundred and fifty dollars. That's not the issue. The issue was he had to look at me as a professor and not 'his wife.' Boy, that really scorched me. So I've been a strong advocate, a representative, for several women who have gone through grievances when they didn't get a promotion or salary raise because some women are able to get in highly volatile confrontation situations. I always support women students do all I can. Both men and women, really. I encourage them to do what they can.
CC:What were your thoughts on affairs in the Middle East?
AD: I'm tired of that. Interestingly, my late husband and I were in the Middle East when the Seven Days' War broke out. We evacuated from Beirut. Three hours after we evacuated, Beirut, Istanbul as the Israelis call it. Think about it, Chris, there ought to be a way for those folks to sit down and talk things out. Same thing in Ireland. Why don't they leave? I think it's unfortunate and it's a tragedy. But I don't know what the solution is.
CC: Did you support the (unintelligible)?
CC: What was your reaction to US atrocities in the war?
AD: I think if you take a look at studies it would appear that the first time US troops were ever involved in atrocities was in Vietnam. I think it's because we had such strong anti-Asian propaganda in World War II, because of the Japanese. We used to call them the sneaky japs and all that stuff. So we had an attitude toward the Vietnamese. They were called.. geeks.. Do you know what the slang was? "Gooks!" "Geeks" have computers, right? "Gooks" are Vietnamese.
CC: I saw it in Good Morning, Vietnam.
AD: Yeah, right. So, we had an attitude that was pretty horrible. I was horrified when the My Lai incident went public. I read in the past three days. Did you read about the two men who intervened? Between the people who were being shot?
AD: They landed the helicopter. They both were decorated. With the highest honors. I thought, "great". The GI had a fabulous reputation in World War II. GIs fed starving kids in Europe on K-Rations and all tht stuff. It just was different.
CC:What did you think of LBJ's declaration that he would not run for a second term?
AD: That was wonderful. He wasn't my favorite president. I felt he was an opportunist. I respect him for pushing through the civil rights legislation, something that Kennedy couldn't do. But I just think that Lyndon Johnson's ego got in the way of his making decisions. Part of that was because he was getting body counts, and he started getting distorted information about Vietnam. They were telling him what they thought he wanted to hear instead of what he should have heard. I've often said that every administrator needs somebody in his cabinet like Kennedy had. Bobby Kennedy told his brother, President Kennedy what he had to hear, whether or not that's what he wanted to hear. I was delighted when LBJ decided not run.
CC: How did you hear about Kennedy's assassination?
AD: First of all, I couldn't believe it. Our son was driving up to college, in the University of Tennessee, and he pulled into a hotel. He turned on the TV to catch the news before he went to sleep, and that was the news. Since his father and I weren't watching television, he called us to tell us. We couldn't believe it. He was so upset. I couldn't believe it. I was stunned. Do you know the name Roosevelt Grier? Rosey Grier? He was a football player down at Penn. state. A former student of mine when I was a TA. He was one of Kennedy's bodyguards. He took it really bad. He was so outraged. I was in New York when Martin Luther King was assassinated. They were very close to one another. I just couldn't believe it. I wondered what happened.
CC:What did you think of senator Joe McCarthy and George Wallace?
AD: Well, you can imagine what I thought of George Wallace. He was a racist man. I can remember what he did preventing the kids from going to the university in the state. I thought Joe McCarthy was a man who was taking the high road on idealism. Being a political candidate I was quite sure that Oliver couldn't win that election. I respected him.
CC: What did you think when Richard Nixon got elected?
AD: I thought I would throw up, heh, heh. I don't know if you've ever heard of this woman, Helen Gahagan Douglas. She was in Congress and Nixon ran against her in the early fifties. He got involved in dirty tricks, he lied about her voting record, he beat her on the Red Scare, McCarthyism. Have you read about McCarthyism? That was loose at the time. He was so dishonest then. My heart broke, because I was so proud of Helen Gahagan Douglas. I think she was the only woman in Congress at the time. I just couldn't believe that he could get elected. I never liked Nixon starting with the fact that I never trusted him. That lack of trust went back to the Helen Gahagan Douglas campaign in nineteen fifty, the earliest, I don't remember the exact date. He was so dishonest.
CC: What did you think of the space program and NASA?
AD: It was very exciting. We got interested in the space program. My parents can remember their parents talking about the Wright Brothers Flight. My mother used to chase automobiles when she was a little kid, and yell, "Get a horse!" because they all knew that cars would never make it. My parents sat in front of the television and watched the first man land on the moon. It's just incredible. I was very excited about the space program and still am. I think now that they've discovered water on the moon, and when we get that international space station in orbit, we're going to have a new round of conflict on who controls what minerals on the moon. Who gets them, if the moon is rich in minerals. There is also an opportunity for adventure, but conflict, too. It's really exciting. And of course, I think you know who's just been named to head up the next space mission.
CC: What did you think of the counter-culture of the Sixties?
AD: I in no way think it's the most important phenomenon of the Sixties. The most important phenomenon of the Sixties was the civil rights movement, and the emerging women's rights, the increasing awareness of the homosexual community. Social Issues. The counterculture was attractive. It was a media event. It did have a profound effect on family values, promiscuity, music, drugs and those kinds of things. But I don't think impacted social things. I used to love going to class in the Sixties, because it was like going to a Halloween party. The way the kids dressed was absolutely outrageous. People at the Salvation Army in Providence would get upset because the college kids would go up there and buy out all the old clothes and wear them to class, while the people who really needed them didn't have access to them. You had radical change, some of the music, the Beatles, for example. The first time they came on the Ed Sullivan show they were considered so radical, all the pictures had to be shown from the waist up, from the way they were gyrating. If you look at them now, it's crazy. They were tame compared to what follows.
AD: A couple of things, Chris. I say, absolutely. I was reading the New York Times, just today. It was an article that might interest you. There's a lot of websites and chat groups that are discussing racism in America. I'm very involved with the international students on campus and also minority students. I talked to a young man who came in from Texas. He thinks that there isn't any real racism. Other kids say it's institutional. It's here. Has it gotten better? Yep. Do we have a long way to go? I think so. For example, when my daughter was in high school, the white kids were hanging together, and the black kids were hanging together. I seems to start to take place in high school. It seems to be tied up with social events, dating. Is it that way now?
CC: Yeah, I think so. (pause) Do you think there are problems now that grew out of the Sixties?
AD: I can't think of that one off the top of my head, I don't have an immediate answer. Problems now that grew out of the Sixties?
CC: Things that are bad now that started in the Sixties; that are a result of things people did then.
AD: I'll tell you something you may not want to hear. One thing that has bothered me is that out of the Sixties we relaxed our curriculum in the core courses. I think that we had more academic rigor. Have you heard about grade inflation? Well, I have every grade book I've ever used at URI, this is my fortieth year. When I look at the grades I gave in the late fifties and early Sixties, they were much more rigorous. Maybe one or two A's, two or three F's. Much more rigorous. A lot of us faculty, myself included, got involved in what was called grade inflation. That is, grades were more generous. If kids got a decent grade average, then they wouldn't be drafted. Instead of Vietnam, they'd have a college deferment. A lot of people say that's where it got started. So, I think we've relaxed some of our academic standards. That I regret. We're not as rigorous as we used to be. Teaching compositions. Do you get much writing in school?
CC: Pretty much.
AD: South Kingstown has a good reputation. I generally can spot in my classes kids who come from South Kingston. They're, hmm, literate.
CC: I like to read a lot.
AD: Oh, that's great. Well, anyway, I can't blame the deficit on Vietnam. Certainly, Reagan did his share. Ongoing social problems, I don't think they grew out of the Sixties, but many surfaced in the Sixties. Racism; still struggling for equal opportunity in the homosexual community. We're getting there slowly. Women's issues are still issues. They're less than they used to be. I think women made more gain than any of the other groups. I'm an optimist, Chris.
CC: Do you think it will be impossible for America to get along with Vietnam?
AD: Probably not. I'm not involved personally, so I don't think about it much. I think normalizing our relationship with Vietnam makes sense. I teach a course in that. If we can't resolve our conflicts, we can talk about them. We talked about boycotting Cuba. The only way to get along with Castro is to sit down and talk to him, not to avoid him. I am very much in favor of normalizing relations with Vietnam.
CC: Could you describe your school when you were a child?
AD: Chris, I did the first 8 grades in the local school house. It was a very small school with three grades in one room. Because the town was too small to have a high school, we were bussed to another one. So, my high school was bigger.
CC: Could you describe your college experience?
AD: Well, I had a rather rambunctious time then. I went to what is now central Connecticut. I went to the state teachers' college. I got thrown out of there. My parents negotiated so I stayed there the rest of the semester. I was hitchhiking to a basketball game with three of my roommates. That was something that young ladies didn't do. So they wanted to bounce me and my friends out. My parents negotiated, got them to let me finish the semester. Then I transferred. My parents wanted a Catholic school called St. Joseph's. I spent one week there and said I couldn't survive there. Then I looked at the University of Connecticut. Had a lot of fun there but I didn't get serious. I finally ended up at Emerson college, in Boston. It's a school that concentrates on the humanities. So I loved it, and I loved it primarily because it was down in Boston.
CC: What was dating like in school?
AD: Sure different than it is now. When you say 'school', do you mean high school or college?
CC: Either. Both.
AD: Dating in high school, certainly didn't start as early as it does now. There was a lot of hand-holding and kissing. Very little sexual encounters. Nobody did it. It wasn't part of the social moray. Everyone was terrified of getting pregnant. There was no such thing as a safe abortion. We didn't get as involved as they do now. In college, you had to sign out when you went on a date. Your beau would pick you up and get checked out by the house mother. You had hours. In my Freshman year in college, I had to be in the dorm at eight p.m. Every once in a while they'd pull a bed check, to see if everyone's there. It was like a fire alarm would go through the dorm. You'd have to stand outside your room. The house mother would walk down the hall. It was very, very different. We still wanted beaus, boyfriends, but you didn't go steady. You'd date more than one person at a time. That was okay. It was very, very different. Boys always paid. You never called a guy. You'd die before you called a guy. You just sit around hoping a guy would call. Girls were very passive; not assertive. Once in a while six or eight kids would get together and pool their money for a pitcher of beer. Girls would get flowers more often then they do now. There was more romance involved.
CC: Who were your favorite authors?
AD: I'm not sure who my favorite was. My favorite books were always ones that dealt with history, biography and art. I don't have a few favorite books. My reading is more often determined by subject. I read a great deal about those things.
CC: What was your reaction to the Cold War?
AD: I think the Cold War was sort of a shock. I was a kid during World War II. We thought, "Well, we've gotten this straightened out." I was very worried during the Korean war. I thought that might lead to World War III. That was a very scary part of World War II. I respected how quickly President Truman acted, getting the United Nations involved. Stalin was a pretty ruthless guy. It was scary because we talked about having bomb shelters, we'd go through drills in school. What to do if a bomb drops. It was always in the back of your mind somewhere.
CC:Where were you when the Cuban Missile crisis came along?
AD: My late husband served in World War II, he had active reserve status. He was on active reserve. He was alerted when the Cuban Missile Crisis came along. I was moved to the newspapers again. We didn't have television then. Like a lot of people, I thought we were heading to World War III. I had a lot of students who came up to me and said, "I want to enlist, I don't want to finish the semester." We were really ready to go. We were against these gentlemen. A lot of patriotism then. That was scary. I have a book of The Kennedy Tapes, and reading it, you realize how close we were. And by the way how strange Kennedy was.
CC: Did you like Jerry Ford?
AD: By the way, he was not a pushover. Have you read or heard his inaugural address? When I play it for my students now, I think, God, he really was a hawk, he really was tough. He made it very clear that we were no pushovers. But he also held out an olive branch. Obviously, I was happy to have Nixon gone. I've already told you how I felt about that fool. I felt Kennedy was a saint. I'll tell you what Kennedy had that made him respected. He had a great cabinet. He had the best minds in the country.
CC: Did you join the ROTC?
AD: No. I went to a small college in Boston, and there wasn't an ROTC. I doubt if I would have joined, because if there had been anything in aviation, I would be first in line.
CC:Do you have any closing thoughts about the Sixties, anything you'd like to share?
AD: As radical as some of the Sixties behavior was, I found it a very exciting period. One thing you haven't mentioned is the Peace Corps; a lot of my students asked for a recommendation. They really believed they could make a difference. Students put their life on the line. Freedom Riders getting lined up to go to the South. What I saw was a very intense commitment on the part of young people to make a difference. That I cherished. It was very, very exciting. For a number of reasons, I see kids drifting through, worried about what job they're going to get. I think part of it is because your generation hasn't seen inspirational leadership. We had great senators, Senator Fullbright down the list to Sam Brady. Margaret Chay-Smith, first woman to be elected to senate; she stood up to McCarthy. Declaration of Conscience. People like that. I told you about LBJ. Now we're living in the post-Watergate era. I'm sure the current atmosphere in Washington isn't the kind that would inspire you to think nobly of leaders. And that I deeply regret. Bankrupt on the old leadership. I think there's some people that would like to run for national office, but are backed off by the press, the lack of privacy. Kennedy, the media would protect him, FDR, the media would protect him. There's a wonderful story about Bess Truman. She was getting dressed for a state function, she had to attend with her husband, the president. And a reporter came knocking on the door. Wanted to see her press secretary. Wanted to know what Mrs. Truman was going to wear that night. She said, "tell the reporter it's none of his damn business." She wouldn't meet with him. And the reporter backed off. Now reporters are everywhere. So, there is no such thing as a private life for public figures. It makes people say, who needs it? That's a problem, too.
CC: Thanks for your time.
AD: Thank you.
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