Jerry Eggleston '62

  • Kathryn Vincent
    Kathryn: I'll start... start off having you say your name, current-- current city of residence, and what college class you were in.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: Okay, is it turned on, or--?Kathryn: Yep!
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: Okay, well, I’m Jerry Eggleston and I currently live in Breckenridge, Colorado and I was... a member of the Class of 1962.Kathryn: Okay. Do you want me to ask you questions or do you wanna just go through?
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: Well, the first question is: why did I come to Grinnell? And... I had a high school English teacher who was actually from Southwestern Iowa and she knew of Grinnell and she knew of its reputation and she thought I should go there. I don’t believe-- I don't believe she came here, but she knew of it.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: First memory of the campus: well, that’s kind of hard to pin down. I was out here twice during the school-- during my senior year in high school, and I know it was during basketball season so I made a point of coming on Wednesdays...Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: --because if you-- games were on Tuesdays and Fridays and if you missed practice the day of the game or the day before the game you couldn’t play, so I came on Wednesdays.
  • Kathryn Vincent & Jerry Eggleston
    Kathryn: Did you play basketball here?Jerry: I tried my freshman year, and I was starting to be concerned about my grades and stuff like that.Kathryn: Hm.Jerry: And I dropped it, and I probably would have been cut anyway, so....
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: I did play four years of football.Kathryn: Okay.Jerry: I was... the far end of the bench, so I... and I did get in-- Coach Bowers put me in the.. in the fourth quarter of our last game. I played a fair amount after that and it was-- we were at Cornell.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: And... we were up by a touchdown and a half, so we hadn’t really sown it up yet, but it was something I always appreciated, but...
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: I played freshman baseball. Back then, you know, freshman couldn’t play varsity sports.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: So..
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: Professors: I had Grant Gale for Physics, basically freshman Physics...Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: And he was good, very interesting.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: I had Sam Baron for Russian History, and he’s been on campus here this weekend.Kathryn: Cool.Jerry: Got to talk to him, and he's... has to be in his 90s, but he's... he attended all the alumni college lectures, so he's...
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: Howard Drerick: I had him for Music Appreciation, and... he kind of instilled my-- or reinforced my liking of classical music. And apparently I didn’t learn too much from him, but-- ‘cause he also gave me a D. In fact, Gale and Baron also gave me Ds. Three of my five Ds.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: Phil Thomas was an energetic Economics professor and I had him for two classes, and fortunately, no Ds.Kathryn: Heheh.Jerry: But...
  • Kathryn Vincent & Jerry Eggleston
    Kathryn: Was Economics your major?Jerry: No. My major was Political Science..Kathryn: Okay.Jerry: --and that was Joe Dunner and Harold Fletcher. I probably took an equal number of courses from each, you know?
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: Back then, Poli-Sci majors tended to be either Dunner majors or Fletcher majors.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: And... the two did not get along for some various reasons.Kathryn: Mhm.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: And the... and then the coaches, John Pfitsch and Edd Bowers, were favorites of mine. I had Pfitsch for freshman baseball, as I stated.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: Then there was a German from Odessa and he taught Russian...Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: And I was in the first class of Russian at Grinnell and I took that from him for two years.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: In fact, I thought I was going to major in Russian. I thought I was going to leave after my sophomore year and go to the University of Illinois and continue in Russian, but other things changed my mind so I stayed here for four years and I’ve never regretted it since then.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: Dorm room: I had roommates my first two years. I had a single my last two years.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: And I remember one of my singles was... I had playmates on the wall, PlayBoy. They were pretty tame back then though.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: And somewhere there was a picture of my mother sitting in a chair with the playmates on the wall.Kathryn: Haha!
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: Clothes: I didn’t have too many clothes... Mostly wash pants and they had to be laundered fairly frequently because I didn’t have that many pairs.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: I remember my freshman roommate came in and he had a closet full of slacks and stuff like that. So..
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: What book influenced....? I don’t have an answer for that.Kathryn: That's okay.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: The town of Grinnell: Basically, I have two memories. We used to go downtown to see movies...Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: Yep, 'cause there was the theater down there.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: And then there was an incident... my senior year: We went down to sell advertising for the basketball program.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: This was a... an Honor G function, and I became an Honor G member when I finally got a letter in football, which was my senior year.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: Anyway, it was bitterly cold and windy...Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: ...And I went into this one place-- I was only going to two places-- to the bottom four, you know, had been parceled out.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: And I walked in there and I couldn’t talk. My vocal cords or something were frozen and the... I mean, the guy I guess thought I was kind of strange or something like that so he wouldn’t buy an ad.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: And... I decided I best get back to the dorm and try the other guy some other-- or at least make sure I had a good scarf on or something, I don’t remember exactly, but I did get the second sale. And... that was just…
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: "Has Grinnell changed?" Physically it’s changed a lot, but just physically.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: There’s still the same type of people, the friendliness, the intellect, the... I don't think-- you know, obviously different personalities, but the general overall personality is pretty much the same, and I don’t want to see that change, but I don’t think it will, so no problem there.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: What is no longer available? I think it’s really the other way around. There’s a lot more available.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: When I was here, you know, men’s dorms were North Campus; women were in South Campus. East Campus, as far as the halls are concerned, didn’t exist yet.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: I was in South Younker, and when I got here that was the newest hall- was North and South Younker. East and West Norris were built while I was here.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: Burling Library was built while I was here. The original part of the Fine Arts Center was built...
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: You know, the Student Union was a wooden building, a two-story, and... you know, it was kind of cozy. It was kind of nice, so... But certainly didn’t have the facilities you have here now.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: Actually, this is a good guideline here to follow. Favorite academic experience… It probably had to be Joe Dunner’s Middle-East Government and Politics.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: I think that was my first B, and... I had a final exam. I had been up all night before the exam completing my paper on communist influence in the Middle-East.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: And... went in and the final exam was one question. You know, it was: "Imagine yourself as a Foreign Service officer about to leave and you’re briefing your follow-on." And basically what it was: "Describe the Middle-East today."
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: Well, because of my paper, I was able to write a pretty... a pretty good final exam and he commented that he was kind of surprised that I had done so well and it felt so good.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: I only had one A at Grinnell and that was a four-hour course in Air Science 4.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: And... that particular course, the first third of it, I guess, was based on the uniform code of military justice, or the UCMJ.Kathryn: Mhm.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: And... you know, the second half was on-- I don't know, the second and 2/3s was on world political geography, and geography had always been an interest of mine.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: I did well in it in grade school, but there were no geography courses at Grinnell at the time. I don’t know if there are now or not. I don’t think so, ‘cause that might have been an interesting major too.Kathryn: Hm.Jerry: So..
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: Favorite place on campus? That'd be easy: the Student Union. Coffee dates and things like that. It's a place to sit down, talk....
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: What would I have done differently? I came intending to major in Mathematics with the goal of being a-- er, teach it in high school, at the high school level.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: And... I-- my first class was first semester of a three semester sequence on Analytical Geometry and Calculus.Kathryn: Hm.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: I found Analytical Geometry very interesting, and I could understand it and took it. I couldn’t spell Calculus, never understood that. So, you know, maybe I would have done that different if I had the gift of foresight, but...
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: Anyway, I was walking across the campus with a classmate in that class, and he said he had to go in and talk to the professor because he said he got the second lowest grade in the class, and he got a C+. Well, that says where my C was, so..
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: That’s when I decided to switch to Russian and I took courses my sophomore year geared toward that, and I transferred to.. you know, Illinois. But one of those courses was Political Science, and then International Relations, so I thought, “Well, that’s more interesting and that way I can stay at Grinnell," ‘cause... I liked playing football even though I was third string, but football wasn’t gonna happen in Illinois.Kathryn: Hm.Jerry: So..
  • Kathryn Vincent & Jerry Eggleston
    Kathryn: Why did you decide to study Russian while you were here?Jerry: I don’t know. Just... it was new and it sounded rather interesting, and...
  • Kathryn Vincent & Jerry Eggleston
    Kathryn: Is it tied at all to your interest in political science or politics, or anything like that?Jerry: Well, I wasn’t that much into politics at the time.Kathryn: Okay.Jerry: That came later. Politically-- well...
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: There was a waiting list for-- to get into Russian, and... I was on the waiting list and I'd started to take the history course: Modern European History, and I had been there about two or three classes, I guess.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: Already been chewed out once for not getting the assignment read, and... then I was told that there was an opening in Russian, so I took it. I took the Modern European History again my sophomore year, but I took two semesters of Russian History. I took some Intro to Political Science and then I took International Politics.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: So it was the Russian that kind of, in a way, led to the interest in Political Science.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: You know, I made-- If I, again, had the foresight, I might have majored in History, because that really became my lifelong interest and still is.Kathryn: Mhm.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: And... I read a lot of histories and a lot of biographies, so... But it d-- do I regret? It’s hard to say. I mean, there's-- maybe there’s no point in having regrets ‘cause you can’t go back and change things.Kathryn: Grinnell.Jerry: I mean, time is the one dimension that goes in one direction and that’s it.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: Spouse or partner? No-- I dated a lot of girls, but two of them specifically: one my junior year, Alice Goldfield, who was here at the Reunion, but nothing developed. Then another one my senior year, Joy Wilde, and nothing developed there either, so...
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: I had gone ROTC and I... my first assignment in the Air Force was at Madison, Wisconsin, and that’s where I met my wife. And... we were married for almost 45 years, two sons, and she has passed on now, but....
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: So... yeah, you know, a lot of my classmates did marry women from Grinnell, and most of them from what I see has lasted. They're still-- they’re here at the Reunion.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: Although it’s not my Reunion, but I knew a lot of people.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: I was here last year.Kathryn: Okay.Jerry: So..
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: "Compare you students of today with classmates." Hm, I really can’t. I mean... you know, I can make assumptions. They're probably very similar, but they have, obviously, a more modern outlook because of the generations and the time that they live in as well as the time that we were in school.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: The last question is interesting. I think George Drake is writing a history.Kathryn: That would not surprise me.Jerry: ..And I expect it to be a good one because I read-- got his book on the Midwest Conference, which was interesting.Kathryn: Mhm.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: I... I have a tendency, like, you know, lists. Like, I'd see a-- I'd like to see a short thing every... every professor that taught here, and that would probably be an appendix and probably a very large one too.Kathryn: Mhm.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: Another thing I’d like to see, and... George would probably be the one on this too. I would like to see, in another appendix, all the athletic records.Kathryn: Hm.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: See, in football, we were 6-2 our senior year and conference co-champs, and that was kind of an interesting thing too, because we were 6-2, Cornell was 6-2, and St. Olaf was 6-2.Kathryn: Mhm.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: Well, we beat Cornell, Cornell beat St. Olaf, and St. Olaf beat us...Kathryn: Yeah.Jerry: But that-- leaves still another loss.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: All three of us lost to Coe...Kathryn: Hm.Jerry: And.. I think that Coe actually had a 4-4 record or something like that, but they were up for the champions and apparently down for the others.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: And another interesting thing about that year: we were 5 points away from a perfect season, 3 points away from an undefeated season.Kathryn: Mhm.
  • Jerry Eggleston
    Jerry: We lost to Coe: we lost 10-8 by field goal in the last 15 seconds. And we lost to St. Olaf: they scored a touchdown within the last two minutes and we lost 28-27. So..
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: In fact, the Des Moines register, at the end of the season, they had-- no, at the beginning of the season they predicted Grinnell would be someplace in the middle or something like that.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: So, at the end of the season they... named us as one of the most surprising teams--Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: --of the season, and the hard luck team of the season because of those total of two minutes and five points.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: So..
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: Well…Kathryn: Any last memories or comments or anything you wanna...?Jerry: Well, I’m sure I’ll think of something after I leave here. I mean, that’s always the case, so...
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: But... yeah, this is the second interview I’ve given like that. The first one wasn’t recorded; she took a lot of notes on this entirely different situation.Kathryn: Mhm.
  • Jerry Eggleston & Kathryn Vincent
    Jerry: It was this young girl going through nurse training at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: And one of her requirements is to interview somebody that was 65 or older, and... She figured an hour, and we spent about an hour and a half, maybe two hours, you know...Kathryn: Mhm.Jerry: --over lunch.Kathryn: Hm.Jerry: So..
  • Kathryn Vincent & Jerry Eggleston
    Kathryn: Thank you very much. Well, I'll have you say your name and class year again.Jerry: Jerry Eggleston. That's E-G-G-L-E-S-T-O-N. It's an old English name, actually.Kathryn: Hm.Jerry: And the Grinnell class of 1962.Kathryn: Alright.
Alumni oral history interview with Jerry Eggleston '62. Recorded June 2, 2013.
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