Dartmouth College Oral History Program
The Dartmouth Vietnam Project
August 12 and 28, 2015
Transcribed by Mim Eisenberg/WordCraft
PEARL: This is Joshua Pearl with the Dartmouth Vietnam Project interviewing Carol-Anne Pease. It is currently August 12th, 2015, at around two o’clock. I’m sitting in the Rauner [Special Collections] Library on campus at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and I’m interviewing Carol by phone, and she is sitting in Ottawa, Canada.
Is that correct?
PEASE: Yes, that’s right.
PEARL: So, Carol, can you start out and tell us when and where you were born?
PEASE: Oh, yes. I was born July 14th, 1945, in New York City.
PEARL: And can you tell me about your childhood?
PEASE: Sure. We moved from New York when I was four, and we lived in Roslyn Heights, Long Island, until I was 11, and I would say those were really wonderful years for me. I was very happy there. I had lots of friends. I loved school. It was just a lovely time. It was a great place.
At that point, it was almost all a Jewish neighborhood. There were only three of us who were not Jewish. And so my growing-up context was that I was kind of different than the others, but it never was a problem. I always felt very much a part of the group and very happy, and I would say I had a really happy childhood.
PEARL: And was there any specific reason why you moved from New York City to Roslyn Heights?
PEASE: Well, that was—my parents decided to do that. My father worked in New York City, as many people did at that time, and I was an only child, but they felt that suburban life would be better for a child than city life, that I would have more scope and, you know, it just would be a more child-friendly environment. So I think that’s basically why they moved there.
PEARL: And what neighborhood did you live in in New York City?
PEASE: Oh, it was in Manhattan. I don’t know exactly where. I just know it was somewhere in sort of the main Manhattan area, near what was called the Lying-In Hospital, which is where I was born. I don’t know if it still exists. [Transcriber’s note: It was a maternity hospital called the Society for the Lying-In Hospital in the Stuyvesant Square neighborhood of Manhattan. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_for_the_Lying-In_Hospital ]
PEARL: Okay. And could you tell me about school and Roslyn?
PEASE: Yeah, it was—you know, there were—at that point, they distinguished—I hope they don’t now, but what they called the smart kids, the average kids and the slower kids, and there were three different classes. Everyone was kind of aware of that. I was in the smart kid class, and a lot of kids in the average kid class did really well later, so it’s not—you know, I wouldn’t say it was definitive, but certainly there was a lot of—it was a kind of power and prestige within the school. I found it—you know, I found it very interesting.
The teachers were quite good. I would say out of the teachers I had there were only one that was a bit off the beam, who kind of had a nervous breakdown I think in grade three, but she switched—we got another teacher. But otherwise my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Fiscoll, was just lovely. She was the wife of the principal, and she was just a lovely, lovely person and a wonderful introduction to school.
And my fifth-grade teacher, Irma Genzen, was also a wonderful teacher. So those two I remember especially, but they were really good teachers, very energetic and very warm.
PEARL: Okay. And what was your favorite subject in school?
PEASE: I guess, mmm—I guess all the way along it was kind of English. You know, reading—I loved reading, and I was always very interested in English.
PEARL: Okay. And you mentioned that you moved to a very Jewish neighborhood and that you weren’t Jewish. Was there any reason why you think you moved to that specific neighborhood rather than a different neighborhood?
PEASE: Well, I guess—I think it was just a growing neighborhood. I don’t think my parents had any, like, particular reason. You know what I mean? Like, I think it’s just that that was where, you know, there were houses there. It was very pretty, and, you know, they just—they just thought that was great. I mean, they were not—they were prejudiced about most things, but they were not prejudiced about Jewish people, so that wouldn’t have been a problem for them either way. But I don’t think it was a specific plan. You know what I mean? I think it just happened.
PEARL: Okay. And can you tell me about your family life, growing up?
PEASE: Well, my parents—my father was from Denmark. He came from Denmark when he was 21 years old. He had been very—come from a very wealthy, educated background. His dad had been a doctor. But he felt that Denmark was too limited. He wanted—he loved the U.S. And he was very much keen on the American dream and on doing what you wanted to do and being who you wanted to be. That’s what it meant to him. So when he was 21, he decided to move to the U.S. And all his life, he just remained super happy to be in the U.S. He was quite—as I said, pretty right wing and pretty authoritarian, but he had humor, he had elegance, he was quite aristocratic.
My mom had been a ballet dancer, actually, and she danced in something called the Ziegfield [sic; Ziegfeld] Follies, which was a Broadway show, and she traveled all over North and South America as a dancer. Basically she was dancing in Broadway shows, so I guess at this point now she’d be called a showgirl, I guess. But she called herself a ballerina. And her training had been in classical ballet.
She really loved that, but when she was, oh, 25, her troupe, which was called the Albertina Rasch Company, moved to Los Angeles. And my mother had always lived in New York City, and she felt she would not become a star. They moved there in order to be in movies, and she felt she didn’t have whatever necessary to be a movie star, so she decided to give up the dancing career and went into an office. And so she was working in an office when she and my father met.
You know, he was working in New York City. He came from Copenhagen right to New York City, and she was living in New York City, and a friend introduced them. They had—my father was a very good horseman, and he used to ride horses in Central Park all the time. My mother liked to do that, too, so they met—their first date was on horseback in Central Park.
And my mom was a very—I would say a very kind of jazzy lady. She did have mental health issues. She would, you know, later have been diagnosed with paranoia and depression, and she’d a number of nervous breakdowns and suicide attempts. But my father always just adored her and really loved her, and they were very connected together as a couple.
My father was not very keen to have children. My mother wanted to have children. So they agreed on one. [Chuckles.] They agreed to have me. But then they tried to have another one, and that didn’t work, so I remained an only child.
And I guess I would say in Long Island I had a lot of—I had a lot of freedom in the neighborhood. I had lots of friends. I was all over the place. But my parents were quite set and older parents and very rigid about things, but I had freedom in the neighborhood.
An image that I had—and I mentioned this at my 70th birthday party this month, this summer—is when I lived in the apartment in New York City, there was a long corridor in the apartment, a long hall, and I used to ride my trike [tricycle] back and forth in that hall because my parents wouldn’t let me, naturally, ride in the streets of New York City. But when we moved to Long Island, I saw all these streets and sidewalks, and I was so excited. So I used to get up super early and ride my trike for a couple of hours before it got light, just enjoying the feeling of movement and the feeling of freedom in the world. Until a neighbor saw me and told my parents, and I wasn’t able to do it anymore. But I remember that sense of freedom. That stayed with me up to now, where I can love exerci[se]—you know, I exercise all the time. I love biking, and I love skating and walking and swimming and—you know, I exercise maybe three to four hours a day. So I just love that sense of movement. And that started in that early—early childhood.
PEARL: And what year did—going back a bit, what year did your father immigrate to America?
PEASE: Well, let’s see. He was 21, and he was born in 1899, so I guess that would be—yeah—yeah, that would have been 1920.
PEARL: Okay. And you mentioned how your mother was an artist, a dancer, an actress. What was your father’s occupation? What did he do?
PEASE: He was a businessman. He started as an office boy in a small company, and he ended up being the president of that company, so he was an executive in a small company, but he ended up as a CEO.
PEARL: Okay. And do you remember what the company did?
PEASE: Yes. The name of it was Robeson Process Company, R-o-b-e-s-o-n Process Company. It provided chemicals for making paper. And he was allied with Hammermill Paper Company, which was in Erie, Pennsylvania. That was their main customer, and I think they ended up—he ended up blending his company with Hammermill.
PEARL: Okay. And you mentioned earlier about how your parents would discriminate, how your father was conservative and authoritarian. How did that play into family life?
PEASE: Well, he certainly—he certainly was very set in his ways. [Chuckles.] And, you know, everything was very scheduled. Everything was very organized—you know, eating at the same time, doing things at the same time. You know, everything was just along a very set agenda. I think—I guess when I was—my experience, when I lived in New York City—we lived in a big apartment building, and there the cleaners were all black. And I remember I used to go down to be with the cleaners, you know, in the basement, and I had lots of fun with them. I dressed up in their shoes and all this. So my experience with black people was always very positive.
And when I was about 11, I just started to really argue with my father about political things. I just went with what my experience was and not what he said. And so he and I argued a lot over politics from the time I was around 11. My mother found it boring and frustrating, but the two of us would argue a lot.
Actually, the last thing my father said to me was—everybody else in life he had won over, but with me it was a draw. So I guess, you know, neither of us convinced the other of our point of view, but it was a big deal, especially when I was a teenager. There were a lot of political arguments between him and me.
PEARL: What was his political stance compared to your political stance? You said you had a lot of differences in thought.
PEASE: Yeah. Well, he certainly was very active in the Republican Party, which is probably much [chuckles] like it is today. That sounds just crazy. Anyway, yeah, he was big in the Republican Party, a big fundraiser and known for that. He was a member of the John Birch Society, which—I don’t think that exists anymore, but that was a very right-wing organization in the ’50s and ’60s in the U.S. So he, you know,—certainly today he would definitely be, like, the far right of Republicans.
PEARL: Okay. And—
PEASE: And I just need—
PEARL: —what was your stance?
PEASE: Yeah, my stance—I guess I would be more—I guess what at that time, what would be called today a liberal Democrat. You know what I mean? Like, I probably—I wouldn’t have been—until I went into university, I was sort of with intellectual politics, and I that would have been—yeah, that would have been, like, today what you’d call a liberal Democrat.
PEARL: And how did you start developing these views by the time you were 11? What brought you this path?
PEASE: It’s just my father would make comments—you know, negative comments about black people and say that they shouldn’t get the vote; they’re just out of the trees and, you know, all these things. And my ex- —it just offended me. I guess that’s why I became, and part why I became a social worker. I’m very oriented to—I just was always oriented to equality and fairness. And I don’t know why, but it just was something very important to me, and I just couldn’t accept—you know, it just wasn’t my experience. I didn’t feel that way about Black people, and I felt that I just—I just would argue with him starting about that, starting about Blacks and Mexicans. And, you know, we would argue about—sort of from a human point of view, and then as I got older it would be more a political perspective. You know, when I was younger, it was just more defending people that I felt he was putting down.
PEARL: Okay. And did you have any friends that were minorities: blacks or Latinos?
PEASE: I actually really didn’t. I didn’t really—I mean, I just didn’t meet them until actually I went to UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles]—I went to university. It wasn’t experience except—you know, it really wasn’t friends; it was just I guess my experience with the ladies at the—you know, in the apartment. And just [unintelligible] and what I read and so on, I guess.
PEARL: Okay. And your mother, you said, was a dancer and an actress. How did she affect your life growing up? Because we already saw how your father—
PEARL: —affected you a bit.
PEASE: Well, she was very—kind of a mix. Because of her illness, being very paranoid and depressed, there was a lot of—I tended to be more of a mother to her than she was to me, looking after her, making sure she was okay, and she started drinking. She drank a lot. I was more a caretaker of her. But she had a fantastic sense of humor. She was just very, very funny. And I really enjoyed the humor. Like, every so often she’d just have this—you know, she’d just be very witty and very lively when she was in a good mood. And I appreciated that. I liked that when she was that way. And that did draw me to her.
PEARL: Okay. And you said you lived in Roslyn until about 11 years old, correct?
PEARL: And where did you live after that?
PEASE: My parents—we moved to Erie, Pennsylvania, which is just right on the lake. That is where the Hammermill Paper Company was, and so my father—his company just became a part of Hammermill, and so we moved there when he became president of the company, of the Robeson Process Company, not of Hammermill.
PEARL: Okay. And what did you notice—did you notice any big differences or changes between life in Roslyn compared to Erie?
PEASE: Oh, yeah. Yeah, that was hugely different, hugely different. It was a small town, and very class oriented. Basically a working-class town. And I had—I didn’t realize this, but, you know, my father was associated with a company, you know, that was quite a big employer in the town, and so he was very well known. You know, he had a fair amount of power. This was something I just wasn’t aware of at all.
And the kids who came from a wealthier background went to private school, but I went to the public school, and so I was in a public school where almost all of the kids were poor or working class. I guess I just didn’t understand. Anyway, people really picked on me. You know, they didn’t like me at all. And I think it wasn’t necessarily person. Now I don’t think so. It just had to do with I guess my father and my background and—you know, class background. But I had no awareness at the time that’s what it was. I thought it was personal.
So it was very lonely for me the few years that I had there, grades six, seven and eight. I was picked on a lot and constantly told I was ugly every day, it was a totally different experience for me than my time in Roslyn, where I felt very loved and accepted and part of the group. I felt very alienated and alone in Erie.
PEARL: So I guess I should ask what type of class makeup was it in Roslyn?
PEASE: Oh, Roslyn would be upper middle class. Yeah, everybody was upper middle class.
PEARL: So you didn’t feel left out at Roslyn.
PEASE: No. No.
PEARL: Okay. I also should ask you what was your maiden name?
PEASE: Oh, Riis [pronounced REESE]. I e-mailed you that, I think. It’s R-i-i-s. It’s quite a common Danish last name. It’s spelled R-i-i-s but pronounced REESE, like R-E-E-S-E.
PEARL: Okay. And jumping back to Erie, so you didn’t enjoy school that much.
PEARL: But did you have any friends at all?
PEASE: I had, like, one or two. No, I didn’t—it’s not like I had nobody, but just one or two friends. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And did you still experience the same type of freedoms that you had in Roslyn?
PEASE: Well, not as much because it was a small town. My mother started to become more and more paranoid. She was more and more worried about, you know, the town and did people like me and did people like her and would things—you know, what would happen, so she was more, you know, controlling of me. You know what I mean. Like, she didn’t want me to do anything, and she was careful that I got home at a certain time and all that kind of stuff. So it was more limited for me.
PEASE: Although I still liked to ride bikes and do stuff, but—yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And what happened after eighth grade?
PEASE: I was sent to—I went to a boarding school, a girls’ boarding school in the Philadelphia Main Line. It was called The Baldwin School, and it still exists but in a different form. It was in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
PEARL: Okay. And do you want to tell me about life at The Baldwin School, and maybe why you were sent to The Baldwin School rather than continue at public school at Erie?
PEASE: Well, my mother told me later, not at the time, but that—[Laughs.] This is going to sound very strange. But that she thought I would be better in an all-girls school until I was old enough to handle any kind of involvement with boys, any kind of sexuality. So she had found her downfall had been sexuality, and she had been married when she was 16 and then was divorced when she was 20, and then when she married my father, everything was great, but she felt that I should just be kept from all that until I was old enough.
So it was very important that it be a boarding school and that it be an all-girls school. And Baldwin, itself, had—actually, despite how I didn’t like it, it had an excellent academic reputation, and I have to say it was excellent academically. It was very good academically. So I think that’s how they chose it. It had the three thing: all-girls, boarding, and it was a very good academic institution.
PEARL: Okay. And did you experience the same limitations that you had in Erie with the students in public school there?
PEASE: Well, no, not in the sense that—I mean, this was a very upper-class school. But what—the separation there I think was more—like, I wasn’t in any way bullied or mistreated or you know, not at all. I was just more irrelevant because I became more—like, at that point, I was getting very involved in—I was getting very involved in social issues. I was doing volunteer social work. Like, I worked with disabled people. I worked with the Quakers in the slums of Philadelphia. I was doing more political things, and that separated me quite a bit from the other people in the school.
This is kind of funny: Just to give you an example, when President [John F.] Kennedy—when Kennedy got elected, the head of the school, the headmistress called a special meeting. The teachers were weeping. People were just so upset. And the headmistress was saying, “Now, the U.S. can stand this.” You know, “The fact that he’s Democrat, the fact that he’s Catholic—we can deal with it. We’re gonna get through this. It isn’t the end of the U.S.” And, you know, people were so upset.
And I was there, and we’d had a mock election in the school, and there were two people, one of whom was me—had voted for Kennedy, and the other—I don’t know who the other one was. But everybody else had voted for [Richard M.] Nixon. So I was thrilled that Kennedy got in. To me, that was so exciting. It was a new era. We were going to have—you know, I was—I certainly over-identified with it because I don’t think it was as different as it actually turned out to be, but I thought it was just the beginning of a new age, a beginning where, you know, people would have equality, where it would just be a progressive country. So to me, I was thrilled. Everybody else in the school was super upset.
So I guess what’s different in the rest, in terms of just my political proclivities—as I say, nobody mistreated me or was unkind to me. They just didn’t—it was like apples and oranges. We just didn’t connect. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And do you believe that the school was upset with Kennedy because he was Catholic or because of his politics?
PEASE: Both. I think primarily politics, but both. I have to say both. It was a very—it was quite a religious school. You know, like, we had to go to church every Sunday, and we had prayers twice a week and, you know, so it was a Protestant—traditional Protestant. I mean, they weren’t evangelical or anything. They were just more like Presbyterians, you know. Like, they did have an association with that.
PEARL: And did you grow up in a religious household at all?
PEASE: No. My father was a militant atheist, and my mother was quite—kind of this sort of mythical—like, she—she—kind of—she would have been like a New Age person, except it wasn’t New Age then, just kind of in another world. [Chuckles.]
PEASE: But not religious. Not religious. But it’s interesting: I became associated with the Quakers in boarding school, and the reason was a very practical one. We had to go to church every Sunday, and we were not allowed to be off campus otherwise. Like, we could walk to church, go to church and come back. Otherwise, we had to stay in, you know, in the school, and we had to study or, you know, be prayerful or whatever. We couldn’t go out.
So I found that the Quaker Meeting was an hour away, so I chose to go there because I could be away for three hours instead of an hour and fifteen minutes. [Chuckles.] So my original reason for being drawn to the Quakers was it was physically not as close to the school.
But once I went there, I found it a very sincere, a very gentle, caring, genuine perspective, a strong pacifist, very social activist but in a gentle way, and I just felt very comfortable there. It’s a place where there’s meditation, and you speak if you wish to. There’s not an authority. I don’t know how much you know about the Quakers, but they’re big in Philadelphia. But anyway, I was very drawn to the sincerity and the simplicity of the Quakers.
And so I became involved with them at that point, in high school. I did a lot of work with them in terms of the slums. They did work in the slums, helping people fix up their houses, and I volunteered for that, and then that continued when I went to UCLA. I continued with helping start a Quaker Meeting. So sort of the spiritual background was Quaker. And that was a reinforcement for my political views.
PEARL: Okay. And did the Quaker movement spur your social activism and outreach, or did it just aid it? Were you already engaged in volunteering?
PEASE: I would say it aided it. It aided it. Yeah.
PEARL: So what types of projects were you doing in Philadelphia while in high school?
PEASE: Okay. Well, what they had is called a work camp. They would—every weekend—I didn’t go every weekend; I went maybe once a month. They had students go—people who lived in the slum area and wished painting or sort of help with their apartments, students would volunteer their time and do that with them. They would work together. So it was more kind of home—you know, fixing up homes. And so I did that.
And I would attend the—I would attend sometimes the churches in that area, which is where actually the awesome, awesome [chuckles], I would say, oration by [President Barack H.] Obama, the eulogy that he gave just recently to the—for the people that were killed in the South. His eulogy was very similar to the types of things that I heard in black churches during high school. And that also influenced me. That kind of thing influenced me because that was very oriented to social activism.
So it was more just helping people in a practical sense. And then I also worked with—every—once a week I would teach swimming to disabled citizens, so that was another side of social involvement. You know, I enjoyed doing that. And I also volunteered—I worked—I forget what you—candy striper at the local hospital, where I would just be, you know, kind of a general volunteer where you just make things a bit easier for people—again, in a practical sense, but there was some emotional comfort to that, too, but it was more—those were more I guess traditional ways of helping.
But I always had a strong interest in social work and that’s kind of the beginnings of it, and that’s how I ended up being a social worker.
PEARL: Okay. Did you feel that your work was making a difference in the community at the time?
PEASE: I felt—well, my work—I felt—I felt it did make some difference, certainly at least to the individuals we worked with. You know, I had contact with them for a long time afterwards. And it seemed to have given them a sense of encouragement and a sense of—just a sense that they could—there was some hope in their lives. So I think it did make some difference. I think it was small. You know, I think it was incremental. I don’t think it was a huge sea change, but I think it was some small steps, and I think that overall I guess I would say philosophically I just believe things are going to take small steps.
But I believe if you want change, you have to have a vision. You have to be drawn by a vision, rather than by anger and upset at the way things are. I think it’s important that—you know, it’s important if you want to change, you do have to have some upset at the way things are, but I think you have to be drawn much more to something, rather than away from something if you want to make a difference and you want to connect with people. So I’ve always been drawn to things that—you know, maybe incremental change, something positive that comes from a context of that, rather than anger and upset at the present situation. So I guess that’s—
PEASE: Yeah, yeah.
PEARL: And at the time, the civil rights movement is going on, and how did that play into your social work and into your life in Philadelphia in high school?
PEASE: Which, you mean doing the work?
PEARL: Yeah, civil rights movement.
PEASE: Well, certainly I—it was kind of interesting because at the end, the very end of school, a number of people had said they admired the fact that I was a strong individual and that I hadn’t gone along with the crowd in the school. But I didn’t actually know that at the time. I just—you know, I just thought I made people uncomfortable. But I did—at the end—when we were seniors, we were able to speak about a topic of interest, and I chose to speak about inclusion and exclusion and how cliquishness is a loss both to the people who are part of a clique and those that aren’t.
But actually there is a— that it’s important to be inclusive, not exclusive. And apparently that speech had quite an influence. People told me, like, years, years later, it was still mentioned in the school I guess just because so many people saw things that way, and so for them it was a different—it was different perspective.
But I think my experience made some difference to my classmates and to the school. The school actually has changed a great deal now, I have to say. It’s become—it used to be, like, upper-class, white, Christian girls, and it’s still girls, but it’s hugely diverse now. It’s no longer a boarding school; it’s a day school. And they have a huge range of backgrounds: races, religions, so it’s become much, much, much more diverse and much richer as a result. So I think the school, itself, has evolved tremendously, the time before, I would have to say it was—you know, the school is much better now.
I think the idea of single-sex education—I guess this is related to the old Dartmouth. I know now it’s mixed, which I think is much better. But there were—there were advantages and disadvantages to being a single-sex high school. Obviously, the obvious disadvantages are that there was not a whole lot of ease with the opposite sex. That’s not comfortable. It’s not daily involvement.
But I guess at that time, because if you were women—in those days, it was pretty backward. To be in an all-girls school meant you were taken very seriously academically. You were taken seriously in terms of sports. Because you were all they had. I think it was more progressive for women at that time, because of—the context, the social context for women in those days was pretty limited.
PEARL: Okay. And give that view, and you told me earlier how your mother later told you that it was for sexual reasons—
PEARL: —that you were enrolled in the school, but did you want to go to The Baldwin School? Did you want to go to a boarding school that was all girls?
PEASE: No, not at all. I fought, and I tried very hard to switch. I enlisted teachers and people—I didn’t want to go to a boarding school, but I wasn’t thrilled with Erie, so I would accept the boarding school, but I really wanted to go to a mixed school. I really wanted to go to a school that had boys as well, and I argued for that from day one, but my mother was just set in that. And I didn’t know why until much later. But she said, “No, it’s got to be all girls, and that’s what Daddy wants, and, you know, we have to do what he says” and all that kind of stuff, so—although I think that was more her than him. But I certainly would have much preferred to be in a mixed school. The boarding, I wouldn’t have argued so much because, as I said, I wasn’t thrilled with Erie, so I was willing to be in another place. But I just didn’t want to be with all girls.
PEARL: Okay. And you said how it was a very strong academic school. Can you explain that a little more?
PEASE: Well, it’s very—well, 100 percent of the students went to university—I should say college. I guess in the U.S. it’s called college. But very—but they had very fixed standards. It was very hard to get into academically. It was very demanding. Actually, I found that school more academically demanding than UCLA [chuckles], in some ways, because they had very high academic standards. Lots of writing, lots of—you know, very difficult exams. You know, it was just—I guess basically, in the way of a prep school, which you probably heard of, for guys, I guess this was sort of a female prep school, with all the good and bad of that.
PEARL: Okay. And what was your favorite subjects in high school?
PEASE: In high school? Actually, there were three subjects I really, really liked. I always loved English because I love reading and, you know, I love writing. But I also really liked Latin because it was logical. I know it’s a dead language, but I really enjoyed it. Clarity and logic.
And I really liked chemistry because it seemed to me—I loved the idea that nothing ever dies, that everything just transforms. I always wondered, when I was in high school, why people didn’t take chemistry on as a religion because it talks about, in a sense, eternal life, in a very practical sense. It’s talking about the whole universe having evolved, always transforming. And I just found that fascinating.
So those are my three: English, Latin and chemistry.
PEARL: Okay. And you also said how girls were taken much more seriously at the school, so can you maybe talk about the social life at the school and student leadership and student organizations or activities?
PEASE: Yes. There were certainly lots. There were many, many, many clubs, for a whole lot of different reasons, and definitely, of course, all the leaders would have been female because it was all-girl. There was a lot of admiration put on people who were physically capable in terms of sports. So it just—there was just the attitude that women could be what they wanted to be, that women were equal to men and women were worth investing your intellectual and emotional energy into. And I’m not sure in a regular high school—although I didn’t go to one, so I don’t really know—how in those days—you know, I don’t know if that’s comparable. I think women took a more passive role. Here, women were on all the leadership things. They set up all sorts of groups. They were, you know, quite active in many, many ways. So I think that was a positive.
PEARL: And what groups, athletics were you involved in?
PEASE: Oh, well, I loved tennis. I played tennis, and also I did some soccer, and I was in a—they were called a group, a religious planning committee. It was a group that was interested in learning about varying religions. And I guess, you know, those were—drama. I was in drama, too. I was in some of the school plays. So it was mainly, I guess, drama and religion and then the tennis a lot but also soccer.
PEARL: Okay. And what did you do in this religious group? Because you said that the school is primarily white Protestant.
PEASE: Well, it was more looking at—just studying different religions, and it was set up by students, so it was students that sort of wanted to look at things differently, students who at least wanted to learn about other religions. We didn’t go as far as Muslim, unfortunately. But at least varying sex and just varying ideas and trying to, you know, look at what’s similar and different, you know, among Christian and Jewish—I’m sorry, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish. We didn’t go much further than that. Agnostics and atheists. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And what was social life on campus? What would you do on the weekends? I’m assuming there were no classes.
PEASE: Yeah. Well, we basically had to be on campus. I guess it was very—we had study hall. We had to attend a study hall Saturday mornings, sometimes Saturday evenings. Occasionally we’d have a movie. Occasionally there would be a mixer, which was, like, you know, guys from a prep school would come and there’d be a dance. But they were very strict, with chaperones everywhere and rulers everywhere to make sure you weren’t too close.
And on Sunday we had to study again, and there was church, but it was just—it was fairly—it was restricted. I mean, there wasn’t a whole lot—I mean, people would talk and, you know, people would be friendly, but as far as going anywhere, doing anything, that didn’t happen.
PEARL: Okay. And you mentioned how you’d go to—you started going to that Quaker Meeting House because it was far away and you could get time out of school.
PEASE: Right, yeah.
PEARL: Did you—how limited do you feel your freedom was compared to Erie and Roslyn?
PEASE: Well, that was kind of interesting. Well, Roslyn—oh, yeah, Roslyn was just 100 percent freedom. Erie was probably about 40 percent freedom. And I would say the school was maybe 10 percent freedom.
PEARL: Okay. And did you accept that limitation, or did you break any of the rules or try to do any other type of work-arounds?
PEASE: Oh, I broke rules. I didn’t—I wasn’t—I’m not a very—personally, I'm not—although I don’t have huge respect for authority, I’m not, like, a mover and shaker and, you know, a real leader. I’m just a more—I’m a quieter person, so I didn’t—I wasn’t, like, a huge discipline problem or anything like that. I would just—oh, you know, if I—when I would go—I was allowed to visit a friend for a weekend, but her mother was supposed to take me to the bus station, take me back and do all these things, and I just never paid attention to that kind of stuff.
Like, I would break rules, but not in a very obvious way. You know, I just wouldn’t take it very seriously. And then I would be penalized, and I would have to stay—I would not be able to go for a couple of weekends and, you know, that kind of stuff. It was sort of minor, very minor disciplinary things, but not much at all. I mean, I was basically fairly quiescent in terms of what everybody could see.
PEARL: And was that a common attitude at the school among other students?
PEASE: Well, I think there was some in that—certainly at the end, you know, when people were writing in my yearbook, a lot of people said that they appreciated the fact that I was a strong individual, that I didn’t go along with the crowd, so I guess there was a certain awareness, at least that ideologically I was different. Yeah.
PEASE: But I wasn’t painted like a hell-raiser or a problem person or—nothing like that.
PEARL: Okay. So what was your senior year, looking towards the future—what were you thinking? What type of options did you want to take after you finished high school?
PEASE: Well, I know—yeah, there was just no question that Id go to univer- —I’d go to col- —well, college, university, whatever, post-secondary education. And my decision—I wanted to go to UCLA, and basically that was because I didn’t want to be in the East. I saw the East—which isn’t fair, but us being much more restricted and sort of hidebound and upper class and, you know,—and I thought California was freedom. California was just, you know, a big, big school where you could—you weren’t—where nobody knew you, where people weren’t watching you. You know, like, a huge school in Los Angeles just seemed to me to be absolute freedom. So my interest was strictly to go to UCLA, and that was where I wanted to go, and that’s where I got—that’s where I applied, and that’s where I went.
PEARL: So what gave you these ideas that California was just a great place of freedom?
PEASE: Well, I guess California, at least then—I don’t know if it still does—just has an image of being, you know, kind of progressive, and certainly we heard a little bit about Berkeley at that time, which was really a hotbed of, you know, political activity. And it just—it still I think has some of that. I know here in Canada, Vancouver has that same image, that somehow it just seems like a more open place, I guess, because of the weather, because a lot of people go there from other places, seeking their fortune or whatever they’re seeking. It just seems a place where you’re not limited to the past, that it’s a future-oriented place. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And what did The Baldwin School and other students and even your parents think about you wanting to go to college so far away?
PEASE: Well, my parents—they weren’t thrilled, but at least I was going to college. [Laughs.] The other students felt it was a waste. They felt that I should be going—certainly my aunt and a lot of the students—they thought I should be going to one of the Seven Sis[ters]—you know, Vassar [College], Radcliffe [College, now Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study], whatever, whatever, that I should—because I was among the top of the class, and they thought this was just an academic waste to go to UCLA. But I never had one second interest in going to one of those schools because I just thought—fairly or not; I don’t think that was necessarily fair—but as an extension of all the limitations that I had in high school. I just wanted to be in a totally different context. I certainly didn’t want to be in an all-girls school. I didn’t want to be in a small school. And I wanted to be in a very diverse school. And that to me is what UCLA was.
PEARL: And you said your parents were just happy that you’re going to college.
PEARL: Is there any reason why?
PEASE: Well, they didn’t—I mean, they—they knew that I was not sort of a traditional person, and I think they wanted to keep me under as much control as possible, and if I was attending school, at least that was, you know, what was expected of me in that background and that class and stuff. Yeah.
PEASE: They weren’t 100 percent su- —you know, they thought—my mother I know was always concerned about, you know, my interest in social work and all my involvement. She still—she did find it difficult when that’s what I did because she saw those people that I worked with as being just scruffles. You know, she never understood why I was interested in working with the type of people I was. So I think she found me a bit of a—a confusing daughter because I wasn’t—you know, I was just kind of interested in social work. I was interested in political stuff. And she had been, you know, really a party girl and an artist, so it just seemed very different.
PEARL: Okay. And did you do anything memorable between your senior year of high school and enrolling at UCLA?
PEASE: Oh, not really, no. I worked at a camp for disabled kids, basically. That’s it.
PEARL: Okay. And I guess I should ask how did you spend the rest of your summers at The Baldwin School and when you were in Erie and Roslyn? Any special during those summers?
PEASE: Basically—basically [chuckles], we belonged to a country club, and I played tennis 24/7. I just played tennis all the time. My father did not want me to work. He felt that would compromise his position. He did not have a daughter who needed to earn money, so neither parent wanted me to work at all. And volunteer work—again, they were not—they didn’t want that. So I basically—I just—as I say, I put a lot of energy into tennis, I played a lot of tennis. That was it.
PEARL: Okay. So then how did you manage to work at this disabled summer camp?
PEASE: Well, they figured, “Okay, she’s going to UCLA, she’s gonna be far away.” This was more palatable. You know what I mean. Like, this was something they could relate to more than any kind of political work or—yeah. And they weren’t—they would see disabled people as the worthy problem people as opposed to people on welfare or street people or whatever, who would be the unworthy.
PEARL: Okay. So you arrive at UCLA in the fall of 1963. Is that correct?
PEASE: Yes, that’s right.
PEARL: So tell me about your first reactions to college life and the West that you imagined to be this big, free zone.
PEASE: Well, it actually totally overwhelmed me. I mean, I had not even been allowed to be out at night. [Chuckles.] You know, I mean, you know, it was just completely—it was just such a scope of freedom, whereas I had—you know, I’d been lucky if I had an hour outside a day at boarding school. And the kids, you know,—they were very lovely people. They were really very kind, lovely people. But their experiences were just totally, you know, different than mine. They’d had a free adolescence, they’d had—and I was very shy and, you know, had very limited experience, so I just found it kind of—just mind boggling. It was like—you know, I just kind of—it was just, like, apples and oranges for me. Again, I was—like, I admired it, but it was so different than anything I’d ever done before that I just found it overwhelming. At first.
PEARL: Did it meet your expectations about what you would expect to find in California?
PEASE: It—well, it did. It did in that there really was no external—you know, nobody was bossing me around, telling me I had to do this or that or—I was completely free to do what I wanted, so in that sense, yes. But I think I didn’t meet my own expectations in that I was much shyer and more hesitant than I thought I would have been. I thought I would be free and I would just be this California girl, and—but in fact, I—you know, those years had made quite shy and hesitant, and I didn’t have the confidence, so it was, like, I wasn’t what I expected in that context, although the context was what I expected. Yeah.
PEARL: Why did you think that you were shy?
PEASE: Well, I was always—I was actually—I’m on the quiet part of— Anyway, I used to be on the quiet side. I was a quiet person. I certainly am an introvert. Definitely. And I need space and time to myself. I do—in the sense that introvert-extrovert is not—it’s not actually related to shyness, but it’s just more needing—a lot of stimulation is overwhelming to me. I’m the type of person who needs time to herself, time to be, time to process things. And I find I love being with people, but it’s exhausting, too, and I find I need down time. So in that sense, being an introvert in what is a very extroverted society—I mean, L.A. is really out there. So there was just that—I would say more—I would define it more now as being an introvert than being shy, but at the time, I thought of it as being shy because I was hesitant. I didn’t have the confidence. I was very awkward with boys. I had no idea—you know, I had had no—very little experience.
PEARL: Okay. And did your upbringing in a wealthy family—was that another social barrier like it was in Erie?
PEASE: Not as much. You know, it was a mix. I mean, UCLA was much more—was not a upper-class school, so people came from—but people came from all different backgrounds, and it wasn’t as obvious—you know, I was by myself. I wasn’t with my family. People didn’t really know about my background, and I didn’t talk about it a lot. So I think most people just kind of presumed I was sort of—many of the students there were kind of lower middle class, and I could fit in with that. It wasn’t really a—you know, it wasn’t really a problem, I don’t think. I don’t think the class thing was a problem there.
PEARL: What type of classes did you start taking?
PEASE: Actually, I majored in sociology because I knew that I wanted to be a social worker, as I said. You know, that had been kind of my career direction from the start. And sociology, although it—[Chuckles.] It can be the practice of talking about the obvious in the most obtuse way. Still, you know, it addressed some of the—you know, the broader issues.
I was also, of course, interested in psychology and human behavior because I wanted to be a counselor, a therapist. But I found I wanted something a bit broader than psychology; I wanted a social context, so I majored in sociology, and I took a lot of psychology.
PEARL: Okay. And how did your social work continue in a new location in California? How did that continue?
PEASE: Yeah. Well, you know, I did a few things. I was very active in starting a Quaker Meeting in the area. I did do some social—you know, I did do a bit of volunteer work, again in some of the poor areas in Los Angeles, and some of the work—I—but I studied a lot, too. I studied very hard in school.
PEARL: And can you tell me about—you said you started the Quaker Meetings? So you were the founder and leader?
PEASE: Well, not the leader, not at all. I was just one of five or six people that began it. It’s called the Westwood Friends Meeting. They’re a group of people who were interested to start their own meeting, and so I heard about them, and we worked to get it set up, and that did happen. And I think it’s still going. I’m not sure, but I think so.
PEARL: Okay. And can you tell me about some of the activities that you did with the Quakers in California?
PEASE: With the Quakers. Well, again, it was a lot—there would be sort of more social worker-y things. You know, like helping poor people, helping them in practical ways. Certainly—again, it was a pacifist group, so there were certainly people who felt very strongly against the Vietnam War. And that started to be a focus at that time.
PEARL: Okay. So when did you first hear about the Vietnam War?
PEASE: Well, that—you know, it got to be a bigger deal at those times, particularly after Kennedy was killed. And it just became more and more a part of what the U.S. was doing, and it became, as I’m sure you know, quite controversial, particularly on university campuses. There was a lot of consciousness raising, educative activities on all the campuses against the war. And I was getting—you know, I would—I got to be a part of that. I got to be interested in that and doing that. We had vigils. We had silent vigils. I went to demonstrations against the war, and I started to get active in that, that aspect.
PEARL: And when and why did you start getting active in these type of uh, not-yet protests?
PEASE: It probably would have been my second year. I guess that would have been I guess ’64. Well, Kennedy’s death was quite powerful. And I think it just seems to have started—I think the crisis—I think what really happened—because there was a draft (which I know there isn’t now)—that people had to face the aspect of what personal choice were they going to make. Were they going to fight or not? So it was very immediate.
And I think the fact of the draft was—you know, for a lot of young men and women who were either associated with or who were aware—it was a huge moral decision. And I think that was kind of the—I think that started a lot of the antiwar protests because people looking into what it actually meant and what they were actually going to be doing, and why, people starting questioning much more. Is this something I should do? Is this something that’s right to do?
And because this was such an immediate condition, you had to choose what you were going to do. Were you going to go with the draft or not? I think that’s why that, yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And you spoke how when you were in high school you were very excited when Kennedy was elected. How does his assassination personally affect you?
PEASE: The assassination with?
PEASE: Sorry, I didn’t quite hear your question.
PEARL: You’ve spoken how when you were in high school you were very excited that Kennedy was elected.
PEASE: Oh, yes. Oh, yeah, yeah. Oh, how did it affect? Well, as I said, I had seen him, probably wrongly, but as a real catalyst for change. I felt the fact he’s gotten elected meant that the country was behind, you know, racial equality, was behind, you know, progressive politics, and it just seemed hopeful. He seemed to typify a certain vision. As I said, I think vision is very important, rather than just an upset.
[The Rev. Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.], you know, was active at that time as well, and, you know, there were—there were leaders. There were people who were seeing things in a different way, who had vision, who were trying to change things. And that vision very much appealed to me and was congruent with what I wanted and believed in.
So I remember just being devastated when Kennedy was killed and just feeling that, you know, this is such a setback for the country. It wasn’t as uncomplicated as that, obviously. One person doesn’t create—but anyway, I have become a little more disillusioned in Kennedy more recently. But I just—I guess he had typified what I wanted the leadership to be and what I wanted to align myself with.
PEARL: Okay. And were you involved in any civil rights activities on campus?
PEASE: I certainly spoke about it. I certainly—there wasn’t a lot—you still—it seemed—the focus was really on the war at that time, not on the civil rights stuff, although that was understood to be very important, but the war was really where I got involved, although I seem to have an interest in civil rights, but I can’t say I went—you know, that I did anything in particular with the civil rights movement other than be sympathetic.
PEARL: Okay. So can you tell me about some of the antiwar activities that you participated in?
PEASE: Well, certainly there were—there was a vigil, a silent vigil that we had once a week, people as protest against the war handing out leaflets, going in neighborhoods, you know, handing out leaflets trying to raise awareness of the nature of the war.
There were a number of—there were demonstrations. Lyndon [B.] Johnson came to speak at the school, and, you know, there was a protest there, and certainly I went to a few sort of city-wide demonstrations against the war.
The L.A. police at that time—and I never understood why—but seemed particularly—I don’t know. It’s a beautiful city, but the L.A. police seemed quite—quite rough as police departments go, and so they were pretty rough on protestors. So there was a lot of turmoil around those things.
PEARL: And were you ever involved in any of the violence—
PEARL: —with the police? No?
PEASE: No, no. And that’s because—well, I don’t believe in—I mean, I’m a strong pacifist, and I don’t believe in violence. But also I also was not—I just didn’t—I would not put—I did not put myself in a position where I would be arrested or beaten up. You know, I just—I just did not do that. I just avoided it.
PEASE: Not that that’s good or bad. I don’t know. But I did. I can’t say I was on the front lines, you know, yelling and getting beaten up. That didn’t happen. I would help people who had been, and I would try to—again, the more social worker role, where you’d bandage people who had been hurt or, you know, you’d sort of comfort people or take them another place [sic] or whatever, but I was not on the front line there, getting—being the recipient of violence. And I certainly would have never been a perpetrator of violence.
PEARL: And how did the UCLA administration and other students react to these protests and activities that you were involved in?
PEASE: Well, the students—by and large, there was—I mean, UCLA was known as—it was called “the little red schoolhouse” (which is ridiculous), but it was certainly a liberal campus, and I think on the whole the students were sympathetic. They may not have all wanted to be part of a demonstration, but it wasn’t—you know, it was certainly, by and large, acceptable.
The administration—it was personally against—you see, at Dartmouth I think a lot of the focus—it’s a smaller school and it’s more isolated. A lot of the protests were focused on school policy, such as ROTC [pronouncing it ROT-CEE; Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] and all these varying things, so of course that was a different situation.
It was much less pointed at UCLA. The focus wasn’t really on UCLA, it was on the war, and there wasn’t a whole lot of work on questioning the rules of UCLA and the institution, you know, because they were more liberal, and they kind I guess just sort of—it was a huge school. There wasn’t the same kind of awareness and control that there was at Dartmouth.
PEARL: Okay. And did you feel like the protests were making a difference, that you were making a difference in the movement?
PEASE: I felt that in terms of consciousness raising, I felt that—I felt it made some difference. I felt at least it was not—things were not going unquestioned. You know, I don’t think that’s enough. I don’t think that in itself would have been, you know, enough to change everything. I think actually what turned the Vietnam War around—I think there were two things that changed it, that stopped the Vietnam War. And I think one was essentially that the Vietnamese people just fought so fiercely and so bravely.
And secondly, I think the U.S. military—there were a lot of people who questioned the war, who were in the military, and I think they kind of lost—like, they were questioning. There was a lot of activity in the military, antiwar activity. And I think the combination of a fierce enemy and ranks that weren’t totally convinced of the rightness of what they were doing just—that I think is what ended the war, not so much the protests or, you know, whatever.
But the protests I think maybe had their influence. You know, it might have influenced some of the guys who were going, you know, who, because they were drafted, they had no choice. You know, they went to the war. It is now a volunteer Army, and even now, there are some people that leave. But most people that go, go because they wish to, not because, you know, they’re forced to.
PEARL: And I guess this is a more general question now, but how was this when it’s in the context of the larger Cold War? How did that affect your life?
PEASE: The larger Cold War. Okay.
PEASE: Certainly, in high school, there was the Cuban missile crisis, and I remember we had nuclear war drills, which were, unlike fire drills, absolutely silent and just—people were just terrified. Like, it was just a very frightening experience to go through that and to think, well, you know, two-thirds of a chance that the world would be blown up. Not that I thought of that’s how [unintelligible], I guess, but that was—that had a lot of impact on people.
I think—the Cold War. You know, Russians were definitely—you know, certainly we were grown up to think—brought up to think, you know, the Russians were absolutely evil, Russians were completely inhuman, that they had no logic, they had no humanity, that they were just full of hate for no apparent reason, you know, kind of thing. And, you know, that didn’t make a whole lot of sense, just that that’s not the way people are. People don’t wake up in the morning and say, I’m a terrible person, and I know it. You know, obviously people think of themselves as good people and are doing things for a reason. It may not be a reason you agree with, but there’s a reason.
I think communism certainly was, you know, a very fearful thing as I grew up. And I’m still—I'm not thrilled with communism, but I don’t—it isn’t that scary to me as it used to be. There was a context of—it just seemed not as powerful—over time, it seemed to be one ideology. It wasn’t one that I agreed with, but I didn’t see the way to fight ideology, you know, by killing everybody who believes it. The way to change people’s thinking is to—in terms of being a representative of a different—you know, like, say, with pacifism. If that’s what you believe, you try to approach people with that. You try to be an example of what that means. And you try to give people a sense of how thinking differently could be freeing and positive for them.
So anyway, you know, I was—I was always uncomfortable with some of the antiwar stuff and not the vast majority of it, but was much more pro-communist than I was, but I certainly didn’t—you know, I certainly didn’t agree with the war. I didn’t think that was a way to end it. I mean,—and I didn’t think it was ever about that. I think it was about economics.
But anyway, okay.
PEARL: Growing up, did you ever believe that nuclear [pronouncing it NEW-cue-ler] war was actually a reality or a possible?
PEASE: Yes. Yes. In fact, it was interesting: I had neighbors. I was very close to them, and a lot of people were actually building nuclear war rooms. You know what I mean. Like, a place in their basement or whatever, a place where they thought, you know, if there is a nuclear war, they would have—I don’t know how they thought this would happen, but, you know, that they would have supplies and they would be able to make it in a nuclear war.
And we had a neighbor who had a big sign on his house, and it said: “I’m not building a nuclear shelter. Peace is our only security.” And I really believed that. I thought that—you know, unless there’s peace—you know, I certainly thought—you know, unless there’s peace, I certainly during the Cuban Missile Crisis—people thought it was a good—and I think Kennedy actually—yeah, he thought there was a two-thirds chance—he said later—a two-thirds chance that the world would blow up, and he was willing to take that chance, which I think was crazy, but anyway—but people did actually—yeah, people very much believed there could be a nuclear war that just would end everything. Yeah, yep.
PEARL: Okay. And you mentioned how your father was conservative. How did his thoughts about the Cold War affect your thinking about it?
PEASE: Well, he certainly was anti-communist. Very much pro-U.S., of course, in every—in every way. Although I didn’t agree so much with the anti-communism, I certainly was always in favor of free speech and democracy. Those are things he actually—he did believe in that, you know, and did—he didn’t act like it [chuckles] necessarily, but it was a belief. So he would, you know, always talk about, well, you know, democracy is important. It’s important that people can speak what they think and do what they want and, you know. So in that way, I—you know, that was kind of a connection between him and me.
PEARL: Okay. And going back to Vietnam—no, actually, let’s go back to communism. You mentioned earlier the economics of communism.
PEASE: Economics. No, I was saying I think the Vietnam War had a lot more to do with economics than ideology.
PEASE: But I—certainly the ideology is what was discussed. You know what I mean. That was always—
PEASE: —a justification for the war. Yeah.
PEARL: And why did you believe that it had to do more with economics than ideology?
PEASE: Oh, why did I think—well, because when I looked at actually how realistic is it that the Viet Cong is going to be landing on the shore of the U.S., which is what Johnson was saying [chuckles]—“They want what we have, and they’re gunna get it.”—this tiny little country, just rich in resources—it made absolutely no sense, but they were going to somehow take over the U.S. ideologically or in practical terms that made sense that the U.S. wanted something they—the U.S. actually wanted something they had, which is Soviet forces in the—you know, I don’t think it had a whole lot to do with actual fear that the whole—everything was going to go communist because they disputed the ideology. They didn’t—they wanted access to the markets.
PEARL: And you said how your parents were too thrilled about you being involved in social work, but how did they react and what did they think about your anti-Vietnam work?
PEASE: The anti-Vietnam? Interestingly, they were not as upset about that. They thought it would pass. You know what I mean. I think they just thought it was a youthful rebellion that would pass. But they weren’t threatened by it. And it didn’t—I was not actually—I mean, I wasn’t going to jail. I wasn’t refusing the draft. You know, there was no practical impact for me, so I think that it bothered them a lot less. They kind of accepted it with bemused tolerance, I guess I should say.
PEARL: Okay. And did that feeling last throughout your experience at UCLA? Or did it ever change?
PEASE: No, it didn’t change, no.
PEARL: Okay. And when did you decide to come to Dartmouth for a summer term?
PEASE: Oh. Well, that was kind of interesting. It, again, was kind of—[Chuckles.] I just didn’t feel like going to Erie for the summer, and my uncle had actually graduated from Dartmouth. He had gone—yeah, he majored in business there. And he was very keen on Dartmouth, and so I’d heard about it from him. And I thought it was kind of interesting because I think—I think that was the first summer that women were allowed in. I’m not positive. But at least one of the first summers. And I was kind of interested in the idea that, Oh, this will be different because it hasn’t had women before, and, you know, it’s in a beautiful area—you know, nature. It is in a beautiful—it’s beautiful there. I’d always seen pictures of it, and my uncle had always talked about how wonderful it was.
So I felt, well, that was acceptable to my parents. If I wasn’t going to go home, I could go to school. They certainly wouldn’t object to that. They had no basis to object. So I thought, Well, I’ll go and just sort of see what it’s like. So that’s—it just really had to do with curiosity and an opportunity to be somewhere other than Erie.
PEARL: Okay. And why do you think your parents, especially your mother, would be okay with the idea of you going to an all-male school for the summer?
PEASE: Well, she knew that of course girls—[Chuckles.] I think at that point she kind of thought, well, you know, I’m 20 years old. There’s not much—you know what I mean. Like, it was mainly high school that she was worried about.
PEASE: Once I got to university, that kind of stuff faded a bit because she wasn’t worried about it.
PEARL: And can you tell me about how you felt about going to an all-boys school?
PEASE: Well, I saw it as a challenge. I thought it would be interesting because there won’t be many women, and you know, I just thought of it as, well, in a way, kind of the opposite of Baldwin, but I was just curious about it, and I thought I—you know, I’d like to see sort of the reverse of Baldwin and see what that’s like now that I’m older and in a different position of awareness. Yeah.
PEARL: And how did you find the atmosphere on campus once you got there?
PEASE: Well, at that time, the school—I went—I was in two classes. They were just tiny. As I say, I was in a religion class, where I met Don [C.] Pease [III, Class of 1966]. The two of us were the only students, and the professor, [Robin] Scroggs, was the one who ended up officiating at our ceremony. But then the other was a class in Latin, and there were three students. So the classes were just tiny.
I guess the atmosphere—because it was the summer, I think it was more relaxed. Like, I felt—well, it just—it just seemed kind of—it did seem kind of laid back, and I was completely comfortable there. I was comfortable in the two little classes I was in.
Certainly—you know, I know there has been, you know, a really strong anti-woman aspect at Dartmouth, at least in the past. But that really wasn’t evident to me that summer. I didn’t—I didn’t feel that at all. I felt completely at ease and fine. At that time. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. So can you tell me some of the activities or social life at Dartmouth when you were there for the summer?
PEASE: Well, it was more—yeah, that’s when I met Don, so it was a very intense relationship, so most of what I did was, you know, just—nature activities with him. You know what I mean. Like, camping and being outside and getting to know some of—a few of his friends were there. Not as many as during the year, but—so it was just more hanging out with his friends and doing some—you know, some nature things. And the war—you know, there was awareness of the war, but it—people were starting to get involved, but it just wasn’t as intense as later. When I came back, it was pretty intense.
PEARL: Okay. And how were the academics at Dartmouth compared to UCLA?
PEASE: Well, it was—I felt it was—that’s an interesting question—because, you know, UCLA was, like, 200 kids in every class. In terms of—it’s just everything was huge there. At Dartmouth, in the summer, you know, courses were particularly small. So I would say I felt academically—I didn’t see a strong difference. So certainly there was—obviously much more involvement with professor-student. You know what I mean. There was much more personal involvement between the professors and the students. That is, you could—you know, professors were much more accessible. And I certainly liked that. That was certainly a difference. And it was accentuated, of course, in the summer because the classes were so small. But that’s something I still think is excellent about Dartmouth, that they have an opportunity—yeah.
PEARL: Can you tell me about some of the relationships you developed with your professors during that time?
PEASE: Well, actually, Professor Scroggs, who was the religion professor, did become a friend of both Don’s and mine. And I think probably to his regret, but he very kindly—he was on sabbatical the following fall, the fall of ’67, and he let us stay in his house and look after his house and his car while he was away. So that was obviously a lot of trust on his part, and we were—just chaotic and—I don’t think we did a very good job with the house, I realize now, but there was a lot of trust and respect that he had and that I appreciated. He was certainly accessible personally, and, you know, academically and, you know, he was a great guy. I really appreciated him.
PEARL: And when did you begin dating Don, that summer?
PEASE: Let’s see, we met—well, we—[Chuckles.] I think we met on June 26th, and he thinks we met on June 27th, but anyway, we started dating right away.
PEARL: Okay. And why did you decide to start dating Don, I guess? Can you tell me about it a little bit?
PEASE: Why did I decide to—well, I guess I would say about Don at that time—and it’s still true—he—it certainly started out as a huge hero worship type of thing. I mean, he was a strong force—you know, what there was in the anti-Vietnam stuff was starting to heat up. He was a strong force at least in ideology and commitment against the war. He was a strong pacifist.
Also he had been a huge success in high school. Like, he had been everything in high school. You know, the top everything. So it seemed to me that he was somebody who was very strong and creative and competent in both—let’s say, not the old society but the society as it was, and in trying to build a new society. So in both those respects, he was very competent, active and a definite leader.
PEASE: And that drew me to him. Yeah.
PEARL: And were there any anti-Vietnam protests or activities on campus?
PEASE: I don’t—I honestly—that, I was trying to think about, and I—if it was, it was, it was muted. You know, I don’t—I just—I remember—I think things started to ramp up in the fall of that year, in my memory. Now, I wasn’t there. I was gone for the fall. I was back in January. But I think a lot of it started that fall, after the summer.
PEASE: But maybe I’m just not remembering—maybe I was just caught up in the relationship and I wasn’t involved in the antiwar stuff then. I don’t know.
PEARL: Okay. And how does it—were there any other women on campus, or were you one of the very few?
PEASE: I was one of the very few. It was mostly male. Yeah. Certainly that was more obvious when I came back in January of ’67, that there were very few women around. In the summer there would be more because it was a bit integrated and also because it was freer you know, people had their girlfriends. It was just a more open atmosphere in the summer.
I was certainly aware that there weren’t a lot of women, but I didn’t feel isolated. The time I felt much more isolated was when I there—when I came back in ’67, in the—you know, when I was actually working at Baker [now Baker-Berry] Library. I started working there eventually, and the antiwar movement, of course, was very male. And there weren’t a lot of women around. And certainly women did not have a strong presence at Dartmouth at that time.
PEASE: Yeah, much— yeah.
PEARL: And how was the transition from Dartmouth back to UCLA after the summer?
PEASE: Well, I—you know, I certainly—I certainly enjoy- —you know, I was happy to be back at UCLA in terms of the school. It was familiar to me, and I was taking courses I liked. But I missed Don very much. And actually the reason I left—you know, it was in my senior year. He said he had determined, decided that he was going to go to prison to protest the Vietnam War. And we thought that would be soon. So the reason I left UCLA and came to Dartmouth—working—was really to be with him before he went to prison.
He didn’t decide to go to Canada until fall of that year, and then he decided quickly, and we went quickly. So that whole context of our relationship was he was going to be going to prison. Again. For the war. And what time we had was going to be short.
PEARL: Okay. And so you went back to school for UCLA, and then you decided your last term to come to Dartmouth?
PEASE: Yup. Well, I quit school. Yeah, I quit UCLA, and I borrowed money from somebody and got the money to fly to Dartmouth. I figured I had never worked before. As I said, my parents were not wanting me to work. So I never had a job. I had never done anything but be in school, but I felt, Well [laughs]—I guess I’m an optimist. I figured, well, I could find something and I’d be okay, and the main thing is that I wanted to be with Don before—for the time before he went into prison for what probably would have been five years.
PEARL: Okay. And did you see Don between the time of going back to UCLA and then the time you visited him?
PEASE: Yes, I visited—I visited there. I visited Dartmouth at Thanksgiving, and then at Christmas I visited him at his home in Iowa for a little while. So I’d see him before he left.
PEARL: What did your parents think of Don when they first—when you first were dating?
PEASE: What did they think of them? Well, it’s interesting. My father, you know, was totally negative, just feeling he was a ne’er-do-well, he was never going to be a success, he wasn’t ambitious enough, he was, you know, just not a—you know, he wasn’t going to be a hard-driving, successful businessman, obviously. So my father, you know, disapproved and never really liked him.
My mother was okay with him. She thought he was a bit of a know-it-all, but my father was the ultimate know-it-all, so—anyway. But she—neither of them were very warm, but they weren’t—opposed thing: “Don’t see him. You can’t”’—you know, I mean, they weren’t opposed. They weren’t—they just weren’t keen.
PEARL: And how did you think Don’s parents reacted to you?
PEASE: Well, his—I think—well, his mom liked me very much. I think his parents was a little nervous because they’re from Iowa, and I was from the East, and that—you know, that there are a lot of negative feelings about the East in Iowa. And also his dad knew I was a Quaker, and, you know, he was afraid I was going to be a bad influence—you know what I mean—politically, that I would encourage him to do more of the stuff that his dad didn’t want him to do. So I think he wasn’t outrightly hostile, but I think he was uncomfortable. His mom just liked me right away, and we got along really well.
PEASE: And his brother and sister liked me. Yeah.
PEARL: So going back a little bit, I guess—I forgot to ask this—but how did your family react to you joining the Quaker movement in high school and then in college?
PEASE: That was—you know, they were okay—as I say, my father was a militant atheist, but he had nothing particularly against Quakers. And my mother—because it was sort of a non-traditional religion—was fine with it. That didn’t bother her at all.
PEARL: So then the winter of 1967, you went to Dartmouth,—
PEASE: Yes, right.
PEARL: Did you officially drop out of school at that point?
PEASE: Yes. Yep, I just quit, yeah. I dropped out of school, and just went to Dartmouth with borrowed money [chuckles] and got there. Yep.
PEARL: And did you think that you would ever return to UCLA?
PEASE: No. No. Well, I thought I might if Don ended up in prison anywhere in that area, but I was thinking he’d probably end up in prison somewhere in the Midwest, so I thought I would probably never be back. Yeah. I didn’t—
PEASE: —expect to come back. But I always knew—I figured I would figure university, or college, but I didn’t know when or where, but I knew that I would. I mean, because I did—I really wanted to be a social worker. I didn’t just want to just end the college career. But the priority then was to be with him before he went to prison.
PEARL: Okay. And how did your family react to you dropped out of school—
PEASE: My father—
PEARL: —and going to Dartmouth?
PEASE: Oh, yeah. Well, my father didn’t speak to me until I re-enrolled in university a year and a half later up in Canada. He didn’t speak to me at all. He didn’t come to the wedding. He refused to let me in the house. He just had nothing whatsoever to do with me.
My mother was not happy, but she talked to me, and she did attend the wedding. But when we came to say goodbye when we were going to Canada, we had to say—a freezing cold day. It was in December. And we had to say goodbye out-- —you know, in the driveway because my father wouldn't let me in the house, so my mother and the two of us and I mean, as far as I knew, I didn’t know if we’d ever be back in the U.S. I mean, it was a very dramatic—melodramatic time. But, no, my father would not have a thing to do with me ever, between the day I quit school and the day I re-enrolled at Western University here in London, Ontario, in Canada. Then he spoke to me again.
PEARL: Okay. And when you went to Dartmouth in January 1967, did you know that you would marry Don yet?
PEASE: Yes, yes, we had talked about getting married. Yep.
PEARL: Okay. And how was the atmosphere of Dartmouth in January of 1967 compared to at Dartmouth in the summer of 1966 or even—
PEASE: Well, certainly it was much more strongly male. And also there was a lot more activity in the antiwar movement that I was aware of. It was primarily male work, but I got a job at the Baker Library, at the front desk, and those people were very friendly—very friendly females, and so that was comfortable.
I felt—I did feel women were not valued in general in the Dartmouth culture and, to a certain extent, in the antiwar movement at that time. Yeah.
PEARL: Specifically in the general antiwar movement—
PEARL: —or at Dartmouth?
PEASE: Well, I think certainly at Dartmouth, and I actually think in general. I mean, I remember there was a question about what would the woman’s role be in the antiwar movement, and there was a general comment that, “Well, they can say yes to the men who say no to the draft.” I mean, that’s hardly an activist view. You know what I mean. Like, it’s a very adjunct view. And I think that certainly some of the—some of the leaders definitely of the antiwar movement in general and in specific were quite dismissive of women.
PEASE: Yeah. I think—
PEARL: And were you involved in any women’s rights movements during your time at university, either at UCLA or Dartmouth?
PEASE: No. No.
PEARL: Is there any reason as to why?
PEASE: I guess—I wasn’t—there weren’t a whole lot of them then, and I think I just—I kind of—because I had sort of this mix, you know, having been at Baldwin and having been a varying places—I always somehow—and also I think being an only child, actually—I just had a sense that I thought, you know, women were equal. I was equal. I just assumed I was equal. And I felt that people who didn’t accept that were wrong, and eventually they would come around. I mean, it’s kind of—I don’t know. There was just sort of a—I don’t know. I didn’t feel aggrieved by it. I just sort of—I guess in a way, I just dismissed it as something that’ll fade because it’s so obviously untrue, which is stupid. I mean, obviously women have had to fight for huge things, and I’ve become much more aware of that. I was much more aware of that when we moved to Canada. I got very involved in women’s rights things here. But I didn’t—I didn’t in the US.
PEARL: Okay. And how did you find your treatment on campus at Dartmouth in the winter compared to your treatment at UCLA?
PEASE: Oh, I certainly think there was—it was certainly more dismissive at Dartmouth. UCLA—there—you know, there appeared to be no difference, but certainly at Dartmouth it was more dismissive. It was more kind of patting me on the head and, “Oh, it’s nice. Your Don’s—you’re a lovely support to Don.” And “That’s very nice.” And, you know, “He’s the leader.” And, you know, “You have a great relationship because he’s wonderful and you know it.” You know, it was just more of a—you know, kind of a condescension.
PEARL: Okay. And you were one of the few women on campus at the time.
PEARL: Were there any other women apart from the library, I guess, that you knew of, that you were friends with?
PEASE: I knew a few nurses at Hopkins Center [sic] or wherever it is—not Hopkins Center, the—yeah. I knew a few nurses at the health sciences. And I knew a few women—I worked—I initially worked as a waitress for a couple months, and I knew women from that. But those would be the only women I really knew. And there was one, a female—Jonathan Mirsky—I don’t—you probably will get his name or somebody will. He was quite active in the antiwar movement. He had a wife, Rhona, who was around. She was a faculty wife, but she also taught. And then Professor [Henry W.] Ehrmann, a German professor, had a wife who also taught. So there were a couple faculty wives. Then I knew a couple nurses, and then a few people from the waitressing job, as far as females.
PEARL: Okay. And were you still involved with social work and anti-Vietnam protests while at Dartmouth?
PEASE: Yes. Yeah, yeah. Not so much social work. I was more—I did—I was more in the antiwar protests. Yeah.
PEARL: Was there any reason why less social work?
PEASE: Well, just because it became—the antiwar thing became just a huge time and emotional focus. It just—I—it just became a kind of a focus of life. I mean, that’s what Don and I talked about. That’s what we did all the time. That’s what all our friends did. That was it. You know what I mean. And the other faded a bit, until I came to Canada, when that resurfaced.
PEARL: Okay. And what role did you play in the Dartmouth Vietnam protests and movement?
PEASE: Well, I didn’t—you know, it wasn’t a big role. You know, I certainly attended—you know, I would go. I wasn’t a leader by any means. And, you know, I certainly would hand out leaflets. I would be talking to people. Whatever job I was in, I would be telling people about Vietnam and so on. But I wouldn’t say I was a huge presence. You know what I mean. Like, Don was a real presence, and I’m sure people will find that out when they’re interviewing him. But I was there, I was very sympathetic, and it was something that I had been involved in before. It wasn’t just something I took on because of him.
PEARL: Okay. And what differences did you see between the UCLA movement that you were involved in and the Dartmouth one now?
PEASE: Well, certainly UCLA included women. No question. You know what I mean. That was—just because, you know, it’s a mixed campus, and it was kind of a freer society, so certainly the difference was, you know, in how women were seen. I don’t think the goals—you know what I mean. I don’t think the antiwar goals—I don’t think the practices were different. I just think there was a difference in how women were treated, though.
PEARL: Were you actually not allowed to attend certain events at Dartmouth or any social activities?
PEASE: Oh, no. No, no, nothing like that. No, no. No, nobody ever tried to stop me going or doing anything. It was just—it was just condescending. You know what I mean. “Oh, it’s nice that you came, but where is Don?” You know what I mean. That kind of—do you know what I mean?
PEASE: Like, I didn’t have any weight, myself, although nobody wished to—nobody dissuaded me or didn’t want me except that men were the key and the women could be around if they wanted.
PEARL: Did you ever want to be a leader in the Dartmouth movements?
PEASE: No, no, I didn’t. I have to say I didn’t. I certainly wanted people to take me more seriously, but I didn’t—I didn’t—you know, I didn’t particularly want to be a leader.
PEARL: Okay. What did you think of Don’s friends at the time?
PEASE: Well, they were good guys. There was a mix. Some were more sexist than others; some were not at all. I certainly saw them as dedicated people. I did see some of them as pretty clearly sexist.
PEARL: Okay. So then how did—
PEASE: John [G.] Spritzler [Class of 1968], who is on your website, is one who definitely was not. He was—
PEARL: Not what?
PEASE: He stood out strongly as being non-sexist.
PEARL: Okay. So was there growing movement at the time for more acceptance of women on campus if not coeducation?
PEASE: There was—well, there was—not so much coeducation. No, I don’t think that was part of—but certainly among the women that I talked to—you know, they were not happy with the way they were treated, but it wasn’t, like,—it wasn’t, like, a movement or a group; it was kind of personal awareness. And we were connecting with each other and talking about how we all were having similar experiences. So I guess that was an early start. I think a lot of women’s movements started like that—you know, individual women connecting and then realizing what a broad issue it was. And then it became—moved into more action.
But because men were facing the draft and men were having to decide whether to fight or not, there were a whole lot of reasons, in the women too, that they were feeling, “Well, we’re not facing as much—you know, as much difficulty as the men. Maybe we should focus on the men because right now their situation is so much more dire.” But I think that faded as women saw how systematic the discrimination was.
PEARL: Yeah. And did you ever create any formal support networks with other women or groups?
PEASE: I did. I did in Canada a lot, but not here—not there in the U.S., no.
PEARL: Okay. And what type of protests were occurring on campus when you were there?
PEASE: Well, they had the silent vigil. Basically had demonstrations. Again, that is kind of vague in my mind because everything was so all over the place, but I know that there was the silent vigil. I think it started in the fall of—I think it started in the fall of ’66. And then there were protests over ROTC and, you know, there were a number of protests—I wasn’t in the forefront of those things, but I certainly attended when I was there. A lot of it happened after we left, actually. We left in September ’67. We came to Canada in December 10th.
PEARL: Were you involved with any local Quaker movements?
PEASE: Yes. Well, I did attend a local Quaker Meeting, and we were married at that meeting, and they were involved in, you know, sort of—certainly ideologically they were involved, and I attended the meetings regularly. I knew those people well. And they were quite a source of support, personal support to me.
PEARL: Okay. And when did you get married?
PEASE: June 10th, 1967.
PEARL: And were classes still occurring then?
PEASE: Hmm. I don’t actually know. I think—I think it may have been over. I’m not actually sure. I don’t know. I think yes, because—well, there were a lot of people around. There certainly were a lot of people that came to the wedding, who would have been, you know, Don’s friends and so on.
PEARL: Okay. And was there any sense of urgency to get married now in June other than wait? Was Don’s—
PEASE: Well, in the sense that—yes, in that I had wanted it to be very clear that I supported him in every way, and I supported his going to prison and that I didn’t want—I wanted us to be married when he went to prison. That was important to me. So in that sense, there was urgency, yeah, yeah.
PEARL: And when did you think he would go to prison?
PEASE: Well, we thought—we didn’t really know. We thought it could be anytime from the fall to the early winter, after late ’60s, yeah, yeah. Because, of course, it would have been his local draft board in Iowa that would have made those decisions, so—not anything to do with Dartmouth at all.
So right now it’s about 3:50. I’m going to stop the recording right now, if that’s good with you.
PEARL: This is Joshua Pearl with the Dartmouth Vietnam Project interviewing Carol-Anne Pease. Today is August 28th, 2015. We are interviewing by phone. I am sitting in Rauner Library at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Carol is at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Is that correct, Carol?
PEASE: That’s right.
PEARL: All right, so when we last did our interview, at least part one, we left off with you getting married.
PEARL: Can you tell me about that?
PEASE: Yes. We were—we were—actually, we were married June 10th, 1967, and we were married on the grounds of the Hanover Quaker Meeting, what’s called the Hanover Friends Meeting. We had gotten involved with that meeting, both of us, and it was a meeting under their auspices, I guess. So it was an outside wedding. And, like all Quaker weddings, there’s no actual person such as a priest or a minister who officiates. You marry, yourself. That is, you say the vows to yourselves, and people listen, and then there’s meditation, and people speak who want to. But there does have to be somebody who signs the license or whatever, the official papers. And we had asked Professor Robin Scroggs, who was the professor in whose class we met, to do that. And he was a minister, of a different denomination, but he was a minister and had the credentials to sign marriage licenses, so he was our official-unofficial officiator.
And we had the wedding at that time because it was around graduation, and a number of people that we knew were able to come, so it was a small wedding. We had about 50 people. But it was very nice. I thought it was very nice. A beautiful, sunny day and—a very nice wedding.
PEARL: And when did you decide to get married?
PEASE: When did we decide to get married? Well, actually, we had decided quite soon—as I said, I’d left university and went to—you know, came to Dartmouth in the winter of that year, and we were—you know, we basically—I would say really by Thanksgiving of—we met in June of ’66. By Thanksgiving of ’66, we knew we would get married. And then we got married that following June of ’67. So basically we didn’t know each other a great deal when we decided to get married.
PEARL: Did you ever get engaged first?
PEASE: No, there wasn’t, like, an official engagement ring or anything—no, it was just, like, we talked and we knew we were going to get married, and we would get married—it was open— We didn’t really know—so much of that time, you know, we didn’t know when Don was going to be drafted. We didn’t know when he was going to go to prison. So there was a lot of uncertainty about timelines. So we just—basically we knew we would get married, and we were just—felt we would choose the time that worked out according to just everything else that was happening in our lives.
PEARL: Okay. And who came to the wedding? Did your families come?
PEASE: Well, Don’s family did, his mom and dad and grandmother, and his brother and sister. He had another brother who was not able to come because of work commitments, but he was very supportive.
My mother came. My father refused to come because he was not—he stopped speaking to me when I left university and actually didn’t start speaking to me again until I re-enrolled at the university in Canada. So for about a year and a half, my father had no contact with me at all. So he didn’t go to the wedding.
And he was not wanting my mother to go, that being the days when the man had the money and women didn’t work much. But my mother said to him that she was going to go, and she would take out a bank loan if he didn’t give her to money, and of course he would never do that because he was very—very well known in the town and had a lot of money, and it would have been very embarrassing if his wife had gone [chuckles] to get a bank loan. So he did pay for her to go to the wedding, but he didn’t—he didn’t come and was not speaking to me for a long time.
PEARL: Okay. What happened after the wedding?
PEASE: Well, we had a very short honeymoon at Happy Hill Cabin. I don’t know if it’s still there, in Hanover, but we were there for a couple days. And joined by a raccoon that chewed on the—that chewed on the wood overnight and another raccoon that ate our corn that was in the stream. [Chuckles.] So, you know, it was a very quick sort of honeymoon, just a bit of time together, and then we came back. And, as I say, I was working and Don was taking class then, so we were back at—back at Dartmouth after that.
PEARL: Okay. So you stayed because Don was still taking classes?
PEASE: Yes. Yeah, yeah. So we figured we would—you know, until he was finished—yeah, he was still—yeah, he was still—he had been—he had been classified 1-A [Selective Service System classification; available for unrestricted military service] because he had left school, and going back didn’t change that, so he was still on the schedule to be drafted, even though he was attending school. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And what was your job in the library?
PEASE: Yes, I worked at the reception desk, at the circulation desk at the library. So I would check out books and—yeah.
PEARL: And was there any reason that you didn’t take classes this summer like you have last summer at Dartmouth?
PEASE: Well, I was basically not in a school frame of mind. Like, I was working, and we were doing things—you know, some things for the war, and I guess I just—I didn’t know how long or how short we would have—you know, when he was going to go to prison, when we were going to have to move, et cetera. So I just wasn’t in a—I guess I should say a scholarly frame of mind, or I just wasn’t able to focus on that type of thing. It was easier just to go to work and then do some of the political work.
PEARL: So what type of political and protest work was going on in the summer?
PEASE: Yeah, there was quite a bit. It was called Vietnam Summer. People—people were certainly doing consciousness raising. There was the silent vigils. We had a lot of speakers come in. And so even though it wasn’t busy in the summer—there weren’t as many students—people who were involved found it a time that they—you know, that they could put time into it, and so there was a lot—a lot of that work at that time.
PEARL: And how did this summer compare to the summer of ’66?
PEASE: Well, the summer of ’66—you know, Don and I had basically—you know, we had met then, and some of the work was starting, but there was a lot more political work the second summer. And I think also the first summer, we were very caught up in the beginnings of our relationship. And now, not that we weren’t caught up in the relationship, but we were more settled. We knew we were together. We knew we were married. And so we basically—our attention went more to the—to the political work.
PEARL: Okay. And how did your life change once you were married on campus?
PEASE: How did it change? I don’t think it really changed objectively. Subjectively, I felt more—more secure, I guess because there weren’t a whole lot of women on campus, and certainly in the political movement, women at that point were certainly seen as—not just at Dartmouth but in other places—were seen as adjuncts, basically as the women who say yes to the men who say no to the draft. That was the term. So it was basically you were a support, but you didn’t have your own individual identity very much, either within the movement or particularly on campus. I mean, all our friends were Don’s friends, and they became my friends too, but I had left my friends when I left school, and my dad wasn’t speaking to me, so I was quite on my own there, so the fact of marriage made me feel more—that I had more of an official role, kind of. But I don’t think that—I don’t think that really affected other people so much. I just think that was in my own awareness. Yeah.
PEARL: And did your role change during the summer, either because you were married or because there were just less students on campus?
PEASE: I became more—a big more active. I was more active in trying to find women, you know, to get involved in this, and I think there were a few more women on campus, I guess because they were attending the summer school, and some of them had been active in their own schools or in their own cities, and they were interested. So we actually had a bit of a more female presence in the summer than during the year, in the actions. And I was involved in that.
PEARL: Okay. And were you a leader at this point, at least among the women?
PEASE: Well, I wouldn’t call myself a leader. I suppose informally, just because I’d been there—you know, they were new there and whatever, but, yeah, I guess I—you know, I reached out to them. I guess in a sense I was, in a way. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And can you describe more of the type of activism you would do?
PEASE: Well, it was—a lot of it was, you know, going from house to house in Hanover, talking to people about the war. We had several speakers come in and, you know, organize talks. We had some connection with some of the profs who were bringing things up in their classes. And I guess—yeah, I guess that was—at that point, there wasn’t much—I think the next summer was the summer that was super active, but we were not—we had already left by then. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And what were some of the reactions you were getting from people when you went door to door in Hanover or from the other activities you did?
PEASE: Well, people—certainly, door to door in Hanover—people were polite. I didn’t have a whole lot of super negative responses, but I wouldn’t say people were, you know, all that interested. I would say it was sort of lukewarm politeness mostly. Some people—occasionally we would run into somebody who was quite interested.
With the silent vigils, there was a fair amount of support. People would come up on campus and say, you know, they agreed or, you know, they felt the same way. And when we were handing out leaflets, sometimes on campus people would take them with alacrity. But there were also a lot of students that were, you know, pro and were quite, you know, puffy—you know, quite annoyed. But there was never any—for me, there was never any open aggression or hostility. I never found that in people.
PEARL: Okay. And did you feel that you were making a difference during the summer?
PEASE: I did. I did. I felt that we were all, as a group, moving to—you know, making people more aware of the situation, giving people information that helped them look at it differently. And I felt we were—I felt effective. I felt we were effective. Yeah.
PEARL: And I guess looking back to last year, in the summer of ’66, could you see how much progress you had made?
PEASE: Yes, I think there was a much more solid base of people and more people, and people were more determined. Yes. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And can you tell me about your living situation for this summer?
PEASE: Okay. Yeah, in the summer we rented an apartment on School Street, a little apartment which was near the university, and we were there. And then in the fall, Professor Scroggs, whom I’ve mentioned before, very kindly offered us his house. He was on sabbatical that year, and he offered us to stay in his house and look after the house and his cat, so we had a house in the fall—and the use of his car as well, which was super kind of him, very nice of him. Yeah.
PEARL: And how did professors fit into the protest movement?
PEASE: Well, there were some that were pretty active. Professor Jonathan Mirsky—you probably will have heard of him; I don’t know. But he was quite active. You know, he spoke, he wrote articles, he would often have the students over and talk to them, as a professor of Chinese.
And Professor Henry Ehrmann was a German professor. He had been a judge in the Weimar Republic and had had to leave, having been—they—he and his wife were Jewish, and they had to leave clandestinely to get away. And so he had been, certainly was empathetic against Vietnam. And he had a quieter presence, but he certainly was—he did talk about it in his classes, and he—he gave us—you know, he would meet with students and encourage students.
PEARL: Okay. And what was the administration’s reaction at this time to the protests?
PEASE: Well, I guess for me—you know, I sort of saw them as—they were kind of—I think they were not happy. They were skeptical. But I didn’t see them as hugely negative. I think they just sort of thought it was nothing, that [it] was short lived and wasn’t going to last and—just a little bit a condescension, more than threat or fear.
PEARL: Okay. And how was the social scene on campus at the time?
PEASE: Well, our whole thing was with people who were against the war, so what we did is—you know, we did a lot of things together. I mean, there were some things we would do in nature and—you know, walks—it’s such a beautiful area. But much of our time was, you know, doing these political things and talking about political things, meeting together and talking about those things.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Don and I—most people, when they’re going to get married, talk about where they’re going to live or, you know, if they’re going to have children. None of that even came up. All we talked about was ending the war. [Chuckles.] So that just was kind of our whole reason to be at that point. Yeah.
PEARL: Mm-hm. Is there anything else noteworthy that happened that summer?
PEASE: Not—not that I—not that I recall, no.
PEARL: Okay. So then what happened that fall?
PEASE: Well, in the fall there was—there was a big demonstration, the march on the Pentagon, which was October 21st, I think. There were many, many, many people that came from across the country, and we went there. It was—I forget the numbers, but it was certainly a significant number of people.
And a number of people had committed to passive resistance, which means that they would, when they were ordered to leave, would just lie down and not move, and they were arrested and taken into prison. People like Norman [K.] Mailer, you know, were involved in that. Dr. [Benjamin M.] Spock. So there were well-known people and less well-known people.
That was a very strong—it was amazing to see the numbers of people who felt the same way about the war. It was also quite scary to see what I saw as the violence of the National Guard and that their what I felt was unprovoked aggression, particularly against women. I think it was far more threatening for them to see women—not so much what you’d call hippie women or whatever, women that looked different, but the sort of traditional-looking women were quite frightening to these guys, I think, because it meant—I guess it was more threatening because this was more like women they would know and women they could relate to, and they felt frightened to lose control over those women.
PEARL: And what type of violence did you see against these women?
PEASE: These would be—one woman I know right in front of me went up to a National Guard, and she handed him a flower, and he just hit her—he took his rifle butt and just hit her across the face, and she fell, and she had a cut and was bleeding. And so she stepped back, and I was—you know, I bandaged her and was helping her. But a lot of yelling, a lot of swearing. There were certainly some physical altercations of people who did not threaten at all physically, who were not in any way being physically threatened.
PEARL: And what was your role in all of this?
PEASE: Basically social worker role. I was not—I in no way have ever wanted to or was willing to be arrested or to get involved in jail, so I—I felt that the best role for me and the one I was most comfortable with was as a comfort and help. I helped people who were injured. I was, you know, emotionally supportive to people. I did stand in the group, but I did not—I was not in the front lines and did not make myself available to the—to the National Guard or to anyone who would be arresting people.
PEARL: So you were never injured?
PEASE: No, not at all.
PEARL: Okay. And what happened once the violence heated up?
PEASE: Well, basically people started lying down. We were ordered to leave, and people—the first groups of people started to lie down and not move. So it was I want to say passive resistance; it was not a fight. It was clear they were disagreeing but not being actively aggressive. So what happened then is the National Guard started to drag people off and arrest them. And I guess others, you know, stepped back. They remained there but not in the immediate line of fire type of thing, and there were—
PEARL: And what did you do during this?
PEASE: I had stepped back with a number of people that I knew. Don did get arrested. But a number of people in our group also stepped back. It varied. There were some who—who allowed themselves to be arrested and some that did not.
PEARL: And what did you think was going to happen to Don when he was arrested, and the rest of the group?
PEASE: Well, I felt they would go to prison briefly. I didn’t think it would be a very long—I didn’t fear—I was somewhat afraid that they might be injured physically, which they were not. But I guess I had the feeling that they would be kind of heroes of the resistance—you know, the fact that so many people were arrested and so many people felt so strongly about Vietnam that these people would be a huge consciousness raising to the country, that there would be a sense that there were so many people who felt this way and so many people who were willing to go to prison for it that people would start to question the war more.
PEARL: And did this consciousness raising happen after the mass arrests?
PEASE: Well, as I say—surprisingly—although it was quite a huge thing, it didn’t have a great deal of play in the press, and it didn’t seem to have a great deal of impact, at least from what we could see. I think we were—having mainly been middle-class kids, who were used to having—to being taken seriously and being respected on a wide range of areas—if we had been poor kids, maybe we wouldn’t have been surprised. [Chuckles.] But we were just surprised at actually how little impact—many people hadn’t heard about it. Many people weren’t interested. So that was a bit of a reality check that we had at that time. It was surprising to us that it had—it apparently had not very much impact.
PEARL: Okay. And you said that you went to this—it was in October, so what were you doing for the rest of the fall term, between August and October?
PEASE: Oh, when we left. Well, we went back to Dartmouth. Don was actually given—you know, he was—he was drafted and did not—did not appear, so, you know, he was technically—you know, could have been arrested any time. So in November we left Dartmouth, and we went to—we lived in Boston for three weeks. We just got a tiny apartment there, and we got jobs there for a few weeks until we could get the money and the plans to go to Canada.
At that point, I should say the effect of that demonstration in October—and I think probably other things as well—had— Don, after a lot of thought, decided that he didn’t think going to prison was going to make—was going to have the impact or have the effect that he had thought it would, and so he—and because we were just married and his family was upset about him going to prison, although they still had come to the wedding and were supportive, but they were upset—he decided to—that we would go to Canada.
So we decided after the Pentagon march that we were going to go to Canada, so then our plan was to get enough money and just go as soon as we could.
PEARL: And what was your reaction to Don’s decision to go to Canada?
PEASE: Well, initially I was very, very surprised because from the time—literally the day I’d met him until then, the plan had been that he would go to prison, and I had committed to him on that basis. But I have to say I felt full of I guess a sense of relief and a sense of guilt over feeling relief, but just relief because it meant that we would be together and, you know, he would not be in prison. So, I mean, I was happy to know that. So over all, after initial surprise, I was quite happy and supportive.
PEARL: Okay. And was Canada the only option, or was there options to go to other countries and other places?
PEASE: Well, we could have got- —there were other countries that people went to, but I guess we were thinking, because it was English, it was very close, that was what we—that’s what we thought. We had never really thought of other countries, knowing that some people did go to other countries, but we—we were interested in Canada.
PEARL: And at this point, what did you know about Canada?
PEARL: What did you know about Canada before arriving?
PEASE: Well, as I say, this is very embarrassing, but we had been to Montreal for the [1967 International and Universal] Expo that summer of ’67, so I knew there were big cities. I knew there was Toronto and Vancouver, but I honestly thought Canada other than that was like the frontier of the U.S., that basically everybody lived in igloos or log cabins and that people went by dogsled and it was winter all the time. I don’t know how I squared that with the fact that it had been summer in Montreal when we visited, but anyway—so my image was of, you know, a 1800s place. I thought it was—we were going—I was very excited. I thought it would be really challenging and interesting to be in a place that was so different than the U.S. [chuckles] or anywhere that I had been, because I had been to Europe. So ignorance, tremendous ignorance, but also a lot of enthusiasm.
PEARL: Okay. And politically did you know anything about Canada?
PEASE: Nothing. I knew they had a prime minister, and I knew at that time it was [Lester B.] Pearson, but that was about it, just that they had a prime minister.
PEARL: So before arriving, what did you envision you and Don’s lives would be like in Canada?
PEASE: I guess it wasn’t very thought out—you know, it was really—you know, it was mainly focused on being able to leave, but I envisioned it as being basically like a pioneer—you know, like the early pioneers in the U.S., having a life as a pioneer.
PEASE: Living off that level. Yeah.
PEARL: And did you know that you would be staying in Canada permanently—
PEASE: Yes, yes, yeah.
PEARL: —or was this a temporary plan?
PEASE: No, we decided this was going to be a definite—a permanent move. We knew that from the start, that if we moved, we would stay. We would commit our lives to there. Yeah. Yeah.
PEARL: So I actually want to go back a bit to the [May 1970] March on Washington. Were there any faculty members that had gone with you?
PEASE: Not that I remember. There may have been, but I don’t actually remember. I don’t remember anybody in particular. I don’t—I’m not sure if Professor Mirsky went. Professor Ehrmann did not go. So I’m just not clear.
PEASE: Other people would remember, I’m sure. I just don’t remember.
PEARL: And what was the administration’s and the campus’ reaction when there were Dartmouth being arrested?
PEASE: Well, again, I think that they were not happy, but, again, I don’t know how seriously they took it. You know, I mean, I just got the impression they thought these are kind of a few crazies who were going to settle down. I didn’t get the feeling there was a super—you know, people were super upset. But then, again, I was kind of saved from that because—I mean, when I came back to my job, people had said, “Well, you know, I don’t think it’s gonna do any good, but it was good you did it,” so I didn’t face any difficulty within my job, and that was what I was most aware of, I guess.
PEARL: And how did the wider protest movement at Dartmouth react to this? Make them feel empowered or weaker because—
PEASE: I think they felt—well, I think they felt—yeah. I think actually it was an encouragement to them over all. I think despite the fact that, you know, it didn’t have the impact people expected, it had been a step. It had been a significant step for people because for many people—you know, they had never been arrested or they’d never come face to face with such a broad group. So I think it had, in a sense, an invigorating—I think in general it made people more determined to keep going rather than less.
PEARL: Okay. But did anyone come to the same conclusion that you and Don did, that it wasn’t worth it at this point to be arrested for draft dodging or anything like that?
PEASE: Not that I know of. Most of the people we knew—well, there was a range of what people did. The people that we knew—most of them were actually planning to—well, some of them were—some of them were going to go—a few of them were going to go—nobody else was really planning to go to prison. There were a few that hoped that they could get deferrals. There were a few that were going to go in the [U.S.] Army and organize. There was one, actually, Paul Beach, who was intending to go to prison and did do so. But Don was really the only one other than Paul who had thought of that as a plan, so I don’t think—yeah.
PEARL: Did you tell anyone that this was your plan?
PEASE: What, to go—you mean to go to Canada?
PEASE: Or to go to—to go to Canada. We did talk—because, again, we were nervous about it being something that a lot of people knew about because Don could have been arrested for refusing the draft, so we did tell Professor Ehrmann and his wife. They helped us. They were very kind. Of course, because they had left Germany under threat from the Nazis, their experience of immigrating was far more incredibly dangerous and scary than ours. But in motions toward our move were the same as they had had in their move, so they were very agitated and very hyper about it, so that I guess affected us. In fact, I don’t think objectively it was anywhere near what they had to face. But they saw it—they saw it that way.
PEARL: Yeah, I’m still here.
PEASE: Oh, sorry. I think you kind of faded.
PEARL: Can you hear—
PEASE: Yes, I can.
PEARL: So what was some of the advice that you were given from Professor Ehrmann?
PEASE: Well, he had said, “Don’t let anyone know you’re leaving. Get your tickets under an assumed name.” We didn’t do that because we figured if we’re going to be applying for citizen- — for immigra- —for—you know, to be landed immigrants, we had to come in under the right name. We had to have all our ID under our right names. So we didn’t do that, but he was just saying, you know, “Don’t let anybody know where you are” and, you know, “Get to the airport clandestinely,” and—you know, it was all very—it was like a spy kind of a game to us, in a sense. But anyway, that was he was telling us, to be super cautious and to be very—very underground.
PEARL: And did you tell your family or any of your friends that you were leaving?
PEASE: No. No, we told them afterwards, of course, but not—not at the time. We did go to say goodbye. They didn’t know it was goodbye. But, I mean, we visited everybody. We visited Don’s family. We visited my mother. But we didn’t say, “Goodbye, we’re going to Canada.” We just said—you know, “We just want to see you because we hadn’t seen you.” And in fact we were seeing them because we didn’t know, you know, when we would see them again or if we would ever be able to come back or what would happen. So nobody knew until we—we were here.
PEASE: Except for Professor Erhmann.
PEARL: How did the protest movement react once they found out you had fled to Canada?
PEASE: We had fled—I have no idea, actually. [Chuckles.] I really don’t know. I guess, you know—just for me, I just made the move and was getting focused on Canada and doing things here, and we stayed in touch—I think people were supportive. I certainly didn’t feel there was any negative. There was kind of mixed feeling in Don’s hometown because he was very high-profile there. His protest was very high-profile there, and so I think there was more criticism there, but I didn’t feel there was much from the—at least that I was aware of, from the—from the protest—because I think they thought—they respected whatever choices anybody would make.
PEARL: Okay. Can you describe the process of actually going to Canada? How’d you raise the money for the tickets and the move?
PEASE: Oh, yes. Well, we—I had—when I was a teenager, my father—my father and his—my father is from Denmark. He came to the U.S. when he was 21. And his sister had been very beautiful and had a number of husbands and then had killed herself. And I heard, when I was about 14, that her first husband had gone to my aunt’s grave and had chiseled out her third husband’s name and put his name on the grave. And the family, of course, in Denmark—they’re very high-profile friends of the king and all this, so they were horrified and aghast, super embarrassed. But to me, being 14, it was very romantic, and it was, like, Heathcliff [a character in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights] and Catherine [Earnshaw, a character in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights], and I was—you know, just—so I thought it was such a beautiful thing to do that I started writing him, and we started corresponding.
And when I finished—by the time I finished high school, he died, but he willed me all the things that he had given her, like jewelry and varying things. So I got that as an inheritance, and my parents had it at their house. So they were away in Europe, so I got back to my house in Pennsylvania and convinced the neighbor to let me in, and then just took the stuff and took it to a pawnbroker in Boston.
And the sort of business acumen that my father had had not come to me. [Laughs.] So when I got to the pawnbroker, we needed a certain amount of money for the ticket, so I just said I wanted to pawn these things for that amount of money. And, of course, it was a lot less than they were worth. They were probably, you know, worth lots and lots of money, but I got, like, $1,000 or something for them. The pawnbroker was delighted, and, of course, I was happy, too, because we got the money for the tickets, but—
And I think my uncle would have been happy. It was the kind of gesture he probably would have been comfortable with. But anyway, so that’s how we got the money for the ticket to come.
And we basically got the tickets and, you know, just—we’d gotten a little bit of money through our jobs, and so we—we had enough to just, you know, at least look after ourselves a little bit. But, again, Professor Ehrmann helped us. He had a—he knew a professor in—a professor of English at Guelph University, University of Guelph, which is near Toronto. but—anyway, I guess you would know that.
And so he had arranged for us to be—Professor [Ward] Chesworth, the University of Guelph, and his family very kindly agreed to pick us up—they picked us up after—in Toronto after we’d gone through the immigration process, and we stayed with them for a while. And then we went—we moved to another town in southern Ontario, where there was a university, so I could go back to school.
PEARL: Mm-hm. And can you tell me about your lives after you left Dartmouth but before you were in Canada?
PEASE: Our lives. Well, basically we just had a tiny, tiny—we rented a tiny little basement apartment in a rough area of Boston. I forget the name of it, but anyway, it was a really redneck area. And I got a job at Filene’s Basement, and Don was working at a factory. I don’t remember what it was. And it was just for a few weeks. But we were very low key—like, you know, we—we didn’t really explain why were left. We were just saying, “Well, we want to have some time together before Don goes to prison.” You know, this was just done very hastily and quickly, but we were—it was kind of very tense. It was very fri- —in time, we were very scared about not being able to get out or what would happen. Would people find out? And so it was like—yeah, we were kind of in hiding, in a way, I guess you could say. It was just for a few weeks. It wasn’t very long. But it was stressful.
PEARL: Okay. And what were your parents’ reactions when they—did they ever find out about the jewelry?
PEASE: Oh, yes. [Laughs.] Yes. Both my parents were furious about the jewelry, just saying, you know, “It’s ridiculous” and, you know—but they were—especially my dad—they were really angry about the jewelry. But my mother was certainly happy that we went to Canada as opposed to Don going to jail. And my father, when I started speaking to him again, was actually—supported going to Canada as well, so—and Don’s family really supported going to Canada. So actually the families were very supportive of the move to Canada. Really all of them. There wasn’t a problem in terms of families at all.
My friends in California were negative, but the families were positive, and most of Don’s friends were positive.
PEARL: Why were your friends in California negative about the move?
PEASE: Well, because a lot of them were very pro-Vietnam, or some of them were pro-Vietnam and some were apolitical but they felt it was a cowardly thing to do.
PEARL: Okay. And did you ever keep in contact with them through Dartmouth in the protest movement?
PEASE: Keep in touch? Sorry. I didn’t quite hear.
PEARL: Did you keep in touch with your friends in the protest movement at UCLA?
PEASE: Oh, yeah. Yeah, we certainly—well, I didn’t—the friends in L.A. just wouldn’t have anything more to do with me, but we did—we did keep in touch, of course, with many friends at Dartmouth, and we’re still friends with many of them today. So they’ve all gone different routes in terms of the war, but definitely we are friends with a lot of them today. Yeah.
PEARL: And what date did you actually move to Canada?
PEASE: December 10th, 1967.
PEARL: Okay. And can you describe life in Canada once you arrived?
PEASE: Well, I was quite surprised that it was definitely not the frontier. It was very much a country—I don’t mean like the U.S., but it was a country with the sort of level of amenities that the U.S. had. We were very, very—and still are today—very grateful to Canada for taking us in and very much in sync and happy with sort of Canadian culture, which—well, it’s changed recently with the prime minister we have, but prior to that, it was a very—a commun- —there was so much more a sense of community, so much as more a sense of helping people, so much—it wasn’t so individualistic and self-absorbed. It was far less aggressive.
You know, it had been very much a peace-keeping country. A very progressive prime minister after we’d been here a few months—elected—was Pierre [E.] Trudeau, who just was amazing to us at the time because he was so progressive, saying things you never would have heard in the U.S. And we just really, really admired him.
So it just seemed—Canada just seemed much more progressive, much gentler, much kinder and—because both of us, Don and I, are not really, by nature, big anti-authority, extroverted figures. We’re more—quieter people, and we just were more—very comfortable in the Canadian society, which is a gentler, quieter one that the U.S. So we’re very happy to be here. I’ll never, ever—we’re just grateful every day.
But in terms of what we did, after living in Guelph for about a month with the very kind professor, we moved to London, Ontario. There was a university there, and I enrolled, and I finished my degree there. By that time—because my father started to speak to me again the day I enrolled—and he offered financial help and so on to go to school.
And Don got a job. He started in, again, at a factory, and then he got a job at—at the library, the university library. And we lived in London for about two and a half years.
PEARL: And did you know that you would be accepted by Canada when you tried to immigrate there? Did you know that you would get immigration status?
PEASE: We hoped we would, but we certainly weren’t—you know, we didn’t think we would for sure. Like, we very much hoped so. But we were amazed. It was done the moment, like, we got there. We talked to the immigration officer, and he gave us status right away. And we didn’t expect it would be that quick. So that was—we didn’t—we were hoping we’d get in. We were certainly amazed it was so quick. Yeah.,
PEARL: And once you’re enrolled in Western University in London, did you complete your degree in sociology?
PEASE: No, I switched to English because I didn’t have—I’d had more—I had too many—I had too many courses in sociology to be able to take enough courses at Western to say I’d been there [chuckles], so I had to switch, so I went into English, and I graduated in English at University of Western Ontario a year and a half later. It took a year and a half.
PEARL: Okay. And when did Don graduate?
PEASE: Well, they kind of—he basically finished—that was the summer of ’67, and they kind of—he never went to graduation or anything, but they considered him graduated at that point.
PEASE: Kind of. Yeah.
PEARL: So what did you do after you graduated? What did you do in London? Did you stay around?
PEASE: Yes. We—I—I graduated in—let me think, it would have been—we got there in ’67—’69, yeah. Yes, I graduated in the summer of ’69, and I got a job at the Children’s Aid Society in London, which is a child welfare organization, child protection—you know, abused and neglected children, working with them, trying to work with their parenting and making sure children were safe.
PEARL: Okay. And were you still involved in the antiwar movement at all in Canada?
PEASE: Yes, yes. There were groups in London. The Student Christian Movement, it was called, that we got involved with [unintelligible], and we again made very many good friends there and have remained so to this day. They were—they were, again, doing much of the same thing, although maybe not as fiercely because there wasn’t the draft here, but there were people, you know, raising consciousness, and there were, you know, speeches, and we were—pamphlets, and we went to demonstrations here, antiwar demonstrations.
The prime minister was far more—he was very sympathetic. That’s why draft dodgers could come. So, you know, Canada was very much a refuge for people in that situation. So the group in Ca- —the group that we were involved with helped other draft dodgers and some deserters get—get settled here.
That was another thing we did. It was more—again, it was more like social work than straight political—for me, the role was more social work role.
PEARL: So what social work role did you do in the movement?
PEASE: Well, it was more like I was—you know, I would help people come into the country. I would, you know, get—in terms of counseling, in terms of finding resources, that kind of stuff. I did that with people. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And were you still involved in the Quaker movement in Canada?
PEASE: Yes, we—we did, yes. We went—there was a Quaker Meeting in London, and there was a Quaker Meeting in Ottawa when we moved to Ottawa, and we—I call myself kind of a free-range Quaker. I don’t always go, but I feel very close to it. So we kind of come and go, but we’re—you know, we’re a part of it. We’re certainly a part of it. Yeah.
PEARL: And when did you move to Ottawa?
PEASE: That would have been in—let me think, the summer—yeah, the summer of ’70. Yeah, in July of 1970.
PEARL: And why did you decide to move to Ottawa?
PEASE: Well, Ottawa is the capital, and it’s a bilingual city, and we had visited it, and it was very—we found it very beautiful. There are lovely bike paths. It’s very close to real wilderness in Quebec. And it just seemed very—kind of more—far more cosmopolitan and kind of interesting than London, which was a quieter place, and a smaller place. And we just—we thought it would be exciting to be in the capital and to be exposed to French and to be in such a beautiful place. And so close to wilderness. Actually, southern Ontario is not that close to real wilderness area, and we missed that after—you know, I guess, basically having been in Hanover and—so, yeah, that’s why we moved here.
PEARL: And what type of work did you start doing in Ottawa?
PEASE: Again, I went again to the Ottawa Children’s Aid, doing the same thing, working with families and children in terms of abuse and neglect. And Don got a job with the National Library [of Canada, now part of Library and Archives Canada]—you know, yeah, the federal library. And he worked there until 1979. He went—he went back to school and got a law degree.
PEARL: Okay. And did you still stay involved in any protest movements in Ottawa?
PEASE: Yes, and we made friends. And because it was more immediate, there were—there were more—we got more involved—it was probably a bit broader because it was more—being the capital, of course, there’s a lot going on, and there are a lot of political things, but at that point, we started to get more inv- —or I certainly got more involved with the women’s movement and with some of that stuff, certainly some immediate Canadian issues. So we were getting more and more focused on Canada, but we still were—certainly there were a lot of antiwar people, and we were—you know, we were—we were involved in demonstrations and speaking out about the war, too.
PEARL: And what type of women’s movements did you get involved in, and what was your role?
PEASE: Well, it was—it started out as I guess basically consciousness—consciousness raising groups. Women who had been involved in political movement, either the antiwar movement or the civil rights movement or whatever had—I guess had had the experience of being politically active but not us being taken terribly seriously. So there was just—in progressive women, there was kind of a thought: What’s going on about women? You know, are women—why are we treated this way, and are there things that can be done for women, and should we be speaking about the women as a group that need to come—you know, some of the same empowerment and support that we’ve been giving others.
So basically in London I started going—I went to a few—you know, a few consciousness raising groups of women, and I’d done some writing and speaking there, and in Ottawa I continued—I continued with that.
PEARL: And did you believe that you had—that you were successful in those movements? In raising—
PEASE: Well, in the women—I certainly think—well, over all, I certainly think that the women’s movement had a huge impact on society. I guess I would say what I feel most about the antiwar and the women’s movement—I think that there was kind of a critical mass of progressive thinking, progressive awareness, of consciousness. And I’m glad to have been part of that. I see myself as a very tiny part of it, but I think every part adds up—you know, that everyone—you know, it grows, and it becomes bigger and bigger the more people join it and the more people are aware and the more people think about things, so I’m think in a very, very modest way I was part of a move- —a progressive movement and of changes in people’s thoughts. Again, very modest. But I feel I was a part of a group that really had an impact on society. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And what other political movements did you get involved in?
PEASE: What others?
PEARL: Yeah, you said that—you said earlier that you were involved in some—
PEASE: Oh, in terms of that—
PEASE: Well, there were things—you know, there are, I guess, issues with Quebec. We, you know, certainly supported Quebec staying in Canada. There were certainly some questions about equal—well, this was the women’s movement, but equal pay for equal work. We got involved in some of that. Some of the union organizing for people and jobs and—so it was more—I guess more domestic, if you want to call it that. Yeah.
PEARL: And how did you feel getting involved in these Canadian movements, given that just a few years earlier you were an American in America?
PEASE: I actually made the switch very quickly. And actually this is something that my father said [chuckles], which was interesting. My grandfather, who—he was a physician, and he was actually born in Iceland, and he left Iceland to go to Denmark because he had been in protests against the monarchy in Iceland. So he had moved countries for political reasons.
My father moved from Denmark to the U.S. in a sense for political reasons. He said he found Denmark very stifling and narrow, and the U.S. was open and free, and, you know, he just loved the U.S., always. So he moved to another country in order to have a different life and was very, very happy with that.
And I moved to another country to have a different life, and I guess I just—it was—I had never—perhaps because my father was born in Denmark—even though he was very, very pro-American, I didn’t have quite the same upbringing. I didn’t—somehow I didn’t have the same very strong identity and belief in the U.S. that many Americans did.
I think it would be hard for many Americans to leave the U.S., they’re so identified with it, and it just would be very hard. It was harder for Don than for me. But I guess I’d never been as invested in some of those things as other people, so it was easier for me to make the transition. And also I think the Canadian values and Canadian system were just more—just more compatible with my nature. So I actually found myself feeling much more at home.
And also I had never really felt—the situations I had been in growing up, other than Long Island—you know, when I was at boarding school, I just hadn’t felt that much—and Erie—I hadn’t felt that much part of the society or that much part of the community. So I’d always been somewhat alienated, and it was easier for me to make the transition to a place where I was far more compatible and accepted.
PEARL: And did you feel that way about Dartmouth, about being alienated?
PEASE: Well, to an extent. I certainly don’t think women—you know, at that point, women certainly were not at that time, you know, fully respected and well treated. I’m delighted it’s a mixed school now. I think it’s far better, and I think it’s a huge step forward, although I know it’s controversial among some of the alumni.
But Dartmouth, because it was a pretty sexist place at that time—it was—it was difficult to feel—it was more of the sexism than anything else at that point.
PEARL: Okay. And when did you become citizens of Canada?
PEASE: I became a citizen in ’76.
PEARL: And were you allowed to keep your American citizenship?
PEASE: No. At that time, we both—we both renounced our American citizenship. Yeah. Now they’ve changed the law. Yeah, we—well, we had to—you had to be one or the other at that point, and we both were feeling strongly we wanted to be fully Canadian.
PEARL: Okay. And what were your thoughts in 1973 when the U.S. decided to withdraw from Vietnam?
PEASE: That—I was very, very happy about that. I was very grateful and very, very happy. That was—that was a wonderful time. We were really happy. That very exciting moment.
PEARL: Did you see that as the end of the Vietnam problem and the protest movement?
PEASE: Well, not so much the protest movement. We did see it as the end of the Vietnam problem. Yeah. Yeah.
PEARL: What do you mean by not the end of the protest movement?
PEASE: Well, I guess at that point we were aware that there were many things that needed to be changed within varying countries. We felt it was important to—to push for positive change, that, you know, it wasn’t just okay, Vietnam is over and then everything’s wonderful. There were underlying factors that created the involvement in Vietnam: the economic, you know, and certainly racism and poverty and—you know, there were a lot of—maybe it isn’t a protest movement in the same sense, but it was certainly important that there be social change. It wasn’t a feeling that just because there’s no longer Vietnam, everything’s fine. It was a feeling that this was great, but we wanted to work for other kinds of social change as well.
PEARL: And did you continue in any movements for social change?
PEASE: Well, I think for me—by and large—although, as I say, I’ll attend demonstrations now. I sign petitions. You know, I certainly am very active in electoral politics here. But I think my main thrust has actually been the more—social change and the more immediate in terms of counseling and trying to make people’s—working to help people’s individuals lives and to lessen suffering as much as I can in that way, rather than, I guess, a broader—broader action, although I’m sympathetic to the broader action.
PEARL: Okay. And then in 1975, when South Vietnam fell, what were your thoughts?
PEASE: Now, that was—I just felt—just felt very sad about all the huge waste of life and all the—just—just the whole—the whole—ah!—the destruction and misery of that war. It just—it just was a very—feeling of sadness.
PEARL: And did you ever think that it could have come to that, or in 1973 did you think the conflict would be over soon?
PEASE: I guess—yeah, I think—I think I thought, yeah, that I would just—yeah, somehow—that the conflict would be over soon, yeah. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And so where were you in your life with Don at this point? Had you considered starting a family eventually in Canada?
PEASE: We had. We had. We actually had our first son in 1980. We were—Don had had a lot of physical illnesses from a couple of years on from when we had come to Canada, and so there as a lot of focus on that, on his health. And I guess—you know, we have been focusing a lot on his health, but we were thinking more and more about having children, and actually he was diagnosed wrongly. It turns out not to be the case. But he was diagnosed with having MS, multiple sclerosis, so both of us decided we did not want to just wait around for him to get sicker and sicker. We decided we wanted to make kind of a leap into the positive and a leap into the future, and that’s when we decided to have our first child. And we had him in June of 1980.
PEARL: Okay. And 1987—1979, President [James E. “Jimmy”] Carter pardoned the draft dodgers. Was there any thought to go back to America at that point?
PEASE: No. We were happy that we were able to visit, you know, but—because, you know, Don still had a family there. But we had no thoughts of moving back. We—we were totally integrated and involved in Canada. It just wouldn’t have—our home was here, and our identity was here, and most people didn’t even know we came from the U.S.
PEARL: And did you go back to America any time before 1979 without Don?
PEASE: Yes, I did. Yeah, I went a couple of times. He had a grandmother who was ill and died, and, you know, I went back a couple of times when his mom died. A number of people in his family died. I went back for funerals primarily, I guess, because he couldn’t go.
PEASE: His family came here to visit, of course. He saw them and so on. I just mean as far as going back there. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And so how did your lives continue in Ottawa from 1980s onwards?
PEASE: Well, I guess that we had a wonderful boy in 1980, and we had another wonderful boy in ’83. And I had gone back to school in Ottawa and gotten a master’s degree in social work, and so I continued with—I worked with Children’s Aid, and then I did some trauma work, and then in September 11th, 2001—I’ll never forget that day; that was my first day here at Carleton, working as a counselor.
So Don had gone—he went to law school, but then he—he had—he was diagnosed with MS, so he didn’t pursue a law—he didn’t pursue, you know, actually going to the bar or anything. He went back to the—to the library, and then—National Library, and then decided later on to work for a union. He started to work for the government employees union, Public Service Alliance [of Canada]. So he worked for a union for his career, and I worked in social work for mine, and we raised our two wonderful boys, and now we have two grandchildren, and—one boy’s a social work like me. We work together. And the other boy’s a doctor, so—you know, they’ve kind of—
I don’t think they—they’re not sort of super politically active. I think they don’t see it as something that’s necessarily that productive, but I think they’re sympathetic; they just don’t see it as something they want to devote their time to.
PEARL: Okay. And in the first interview, we talked about your relationship with your mother and your father. How did that influence your role as a mother to your children?
PEASE: Well, that’s interesting. That’s very interesting. I hesitated to have children for a long time because I felt I wouldn’t necessarily be a good mom because I hadn’t had great mothering. But I have to say I think I’ve been a really good mom. It was certainly the happiest and the best thing I’ve ever done. Like, I don’t mean to sound—anyway, I just love being a mom. I love my kids. It’s been the happiest, most wonderful experience ever. That doesn’t mean it’s so for everybody or that everybody should have children or whatever. But for me it was just incredibly wonderful.
We just had—the boys are just amazing people, and I just—you know, I didn’t—I certainly tried not to do the things my mom did, but it wasn’t—you know, we weren’t—we were very different people. My mother had a mental illness. She had many suicide attempts. And I guess just by my nature, I’m just a more optimistic person. I’m just a more sunny person or whatever. And I just—in part probably because I was exposed to so much negativity and pessimism, I was determined to be different. And I think I am. I know I am.
So that made a difference in mothering. Yeah, I think what you look for is what you find. I mean, if you look for something negative, you’re going to find it. If you look for something positive, you’re going to find it. And I think it’s important to look for the positive and to look for joy and to look for what—you know, what gives you encouragement. Well, that’s what I do, I hope. Anyway.
PEARL: And did you continue any of your social activism or protesting from 1980s onwards?
PEASE: Well, we go to demonstr- —I go to demonstrations. Lately [chuckles] there’ve been a lot of demonstrations against our prime minister [Stephen Harper], who is very, very, very right wing, so I—you know, I’ve gone to some of those. There’ve been—many of his policies have really been outrageous. And, you know, I’ve attended demonstrations there. I’ve certainly signed a lot of petitions. And I guess more recently there’s some stuff with the lion in Africa [referring to the killing of Cecil the lion on July 1, 2015 by Walter Power, an American big-game trophy hunter. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_of_Cecil_the_lion ]. So I get involved in some animal stuff.
And I certainly disagree with the idea that the Canadian becoming far more active and aggressive, as opposed to peacekeepers, so I’ve been—I go to demonstrations of that sort and, you know, sign petitions and—you know, people know that’s how I feel. I would still say I’m a strong pacifist, and I believe in nonviolence as being a mediation rather than—I don’t think wars solve anything. I think it just perpetuates revenge.
But anyway, those are—yeah. It’s less active, but I still do something. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And so what were your thoughts in 1989, 1990, when the Cold War ended?
PEASE: Well, I guess—yeah. I mean, I was glad—you know, glad that that happened. I always thought some of that was—I don’t know, it just seemed unnecessary to me. It just seemed—I don’t know, I just seemed like a no-win situation. So I’m—you know, I was glad that there was some hope that there would be [sighs] working together in some ways, so, yes, that was a good thing for me. Yeah. Yeah.
PEASE: I’d never really believed it was as bad as a lot of people thought.
PEARL: And how did you view Canada’s role in international affairs and the world throughout the time, at least in the ’80s and the ’90s?
PEASE: Yeah, in the ‘80s and ’90s, I really agreed—you know, I really liked their peacekeeper role. I liked the view of trying to remain a neutral and to try to be, you know, I felt, you know, an influence for peace and for mediation and stuff. Yeah, I certainly liked that, when that was the case. Yeah.
PEARL: Okay. And you mentioned briefly 9/11. Would you like to talk about your thoughts on that?
PEASE: Yeah, I guess that was—I guess I would say it certainly was scary, and nobody knew here—well, anywhere, but I mean here in Ottawa what was going to happen. Anybody working anywhere near the American Embassy just left work that day. Because I was working with a lot of international students, they were terrified about what this was going to mean. They thought Canada was so stable, and now what’s going to happen? Is it going to spread to Canada? Is there going to be a huge world war? It was a huge amount of fear.
I think, thought I would say—yes, it certainly ushered in, obviously, the whole anti-terrorism stuff. And I guess I just say—you know, it’s that aggression begets aggression, wherever it comes from. It’s just endless. It’s like aggression-revenge, aggression-revenge. And it just is a spiral that just—you know, oh, I just think there’s no positive end. It’s—it’s very hard to think of being peaceful or trying to be nonviolent, but violence just begets violence, and I think the more violent responses, the more—it just escalates.
So I certainly had a lot of Muslim students. I had a lot of students from the Middle East. And they’re not—you know, they’re not different than me, you know. It’s the same—we’re all human, and I think [sighs] hopefully someday people can see that it’s a human race, not individuals, and try and work together.
I think it’s a beautiful planet. It’s a beautiful world. It’s so narrow. It’s just so narrow, all this stuff. Fear is a huge motivator, unfortunately. And I think that the more fear there is, the more irrational people are. And fear gets people into all kinds of negative responses. It’s just very hard to get away—it’s one of the hardest emotions to really deal with in a calm and rationale way. And I think the world is in the grip of a lot of fear, of each other and of—anyway. It was a very—that was a very—that was also a very sad and scary day, for sure.
PEARL: Uh-huh. And oftentimes I’ve heard people compare America’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan as “the new Vietnam.” Given that you’re part of the protest movement, do you see that as an accurate comparison, or what are your thoughts on that?
PEASE: I would say it’s—well, I would say it’s—I would certainly say, you know, the war between the Sunni and—yes, I think that many of these are internal conflicts, but the U.S. gets involved. It just makes things worse, which I think is—in that sense it’s, yeah, it’s just like—it’s like—I mean, Afghanistan has a history of just incredible internal conflicts, and it’s not going to be resolved by an external power trying to force them into something, so, yeah, I would say it’s similar. It’s similar to the Vietnam in that regard.
PEARL: Okay. And do you have any other final thoughts before we start winding down and eventually end the interview?
PEASE: Not really. It’s—it’s interesting, you know, to think of those days and those times and the choices that people make and the choices that we made. You know, I think over all I certainly am very happy we’re in the place we’re in. I’m sorry the place the world is in [chuckles], but I’m happy for the place I’m in. That’s what I’d say, I guess.
PEARL: Okay. That’s great. At this point, I’m going to end the interview.
PEASE: All right.
[End of interview.]