Dave Tippey Interview
From: David Tippey (dt) Medium: Digital Recording Date: Friday, April 29, 2011 Place: Marion High School, 750 W. 26th Street Marion, IN 46953 Collected by: Miranda Fuchs (mf)
mf: Uhm, I’m here with Dave Tippey and we are here at Marion High School, and do I have you’re your permission to interview you?
mf: K, we will proceed with the interview. Uhm, what years did you attend Marion High school?
dt: Uh, I came here in 1965 and graduated in 1969
mf: Uhm, when… when’s your birth date.
dt: September 16th, 1951
mf: Uhm, Kay… what was the biggest impact on you during your years at Marion High School?
dt: Uhm, I would like to say that it would be the education, which was significant, I had some great great teachers, but I imagine what kept me coming and excited about high school was the sports program.
mf: Uhm, What did you enjoy most about the sports program?
dt: Uh I didn’t participate, except I did play part of a year of tennis, that’s about it, but I went to almost every basketball and football game, cross country meets, just to watch. It was a group of us that would do that, and we were, I guess, classified as rabid fans, Marion Giants supporters.
mf: Uhm, what would you say is the most important experience while at MHS?
dt: Probably two or three, one rather negative, was… I was uh and observer of uh pretty bad… I guess you could call it a riot in the cafeteria. Which my senior year, which uh was very unfortunate people were injured and we actually got out of school early that day and that had a sort of an impact of… Marion is small and not very prominent but at that point in 1968, a lot of different places in the United States were erupting in race violence, and it kind of showed me that even as late as 1968 we still have a racial divide in Marion and it kind of sobered me, I didn’t really grow up understanding that at all. I had good friends, black white friends, uhm so I didn’t personally experience any kind of racial tension, but then It kind of boiled over that day in the cafeteria and uhm another, the other most significant impacts were, a lot of them were sports related, we were undefeated in basketball my senior year and undefeated in football and the track team was state ranked, so it was, we actually thought that we were better than anybody else, and hated to lose at any one of the sports. I also the lot, I have a lot of fond memories of classes that really challenged me. I remember specifically my 2 different teachers I had for algebra II, cause we’d usually switch teachers in the middle of the year, Mr. Thurman and Mr. Kllinger were marvelous motivators, and even though they were my hardest classes, uhh, I appreciated them. And then I had Engli..3 or 4 English teachers that like it or not ya had to learn English, and they were very good writing teachers, very good literature teachers, and so I came out I think with a very strong background in both of those.
mf: Uhmm, What was school uhm like for you?
dt: I’ve often thought that since I still work here, and I’ve been here the four years I was here as a student and then 26 years as a teacher, 27 maybe, so over 30 years of my life I’ve been in this building and I’ve often looked back to try to remember what it was like back in the 60’s I remember being in all academic classes for the most part, some were like health class and some others were mixed, uhm, it was extremely crowded, most classes were just full to the, to the doors. Hallways were unbelievable in terms of fewer going toward from building one to building two and you needed to go to building four , if you weren’t against the wall several feet before you had to make the turn, you just got swept along and literally couldn’t make the turn. You couldn’t, I mean it was jam packed with people. I remember we had probably 100 teachers and close to 3000 students, Uhm, I don’t remember, course as a teacher I see maybe more of the dealings that the office has with discipline problems, I didn’t remember that at all. The group of students that I was associated with we all did our job and enjoyed high school and want to we weren’t too aware of the other parts of high school that weren’t doing their job and were, I don’t know if there were not very many of those or if we just notice it more now uhm but I just remember being in a group of students that really had a lot of fun and enjoyed high school and worked hard uhm that teachers did not uhh tolerate any uh for the most part, there were some that were a lot lax or more lax but for the most part they were very demanding and even to the point of, sometimes being I think inconsiderate uhm, a few times, I remember especially in a geometry class, it seemed like every day somebody cried because it was so oppressive and so difficult and such a pressure packed class, and I didn’t really think it needed to be that bad. Uhm, I was, for instance in my chemistry class which I hated with a passion, I hated it, I didn’t understand it at all, had 7 people in it that ended up being valedictorians … and I wasn’t one of them. In fact I struggled very much in chemistry but this, it was the competition that was immense and that I ended up doing fairly well, graduating I think number 11, which out of 611 people wasn’t that bad, disappointing though that it wasn’t top 10. That was my goal. But as a, it was a much, it was a very academic environment, and they played music in the hallways every Friday and it was music that was…and the halls were decorated every Friday, just incredible decorations, I mean it was like solid crate paper, purple and gold and had signs up about the team we were playing that Friday night uhm, and then you couldn’t get in the coliseum without a season ticket. There were not seats available ever for somebody to just walk in and there was lots of conversations on among us students about, you know, especially in basketball, you know what about this team we’re playing from kokomo you know a who ya know ya think we got a ya know what were gonna have to do to win and so a lot of, at least my friends were a lot of sports nuts and so that really kind of kept us going we’d just get through classes so we could go to ball games.
mf: Uhm, sooo… besides sports what else did you do for fun? Or was it mainly sports?
dt: Uhm, I was in student council 3 years of the 4, my freshman year I was treasurer, so little class officer stuff and then I remember as student council we built, built floats for homecoming parade, and they were pretty, pretty uh involved. Wer..several nights at Custer’s Lumber company, where uh, I think tractor supply is now, and they gave us a place where we could store our float as we were building it, it was quite a deal, I remember my senior year our…our theme was expecting a victory, and we had built this float with a stork on it, carrying a football instead of a baby. Big long neck, it was an ugly thing but you could tell it was a stork and as it came onto the field, this is McCulloch, and that, gonna drive around the track and as it came onto the field, it went over the little curb and the neck broke off of it. So all around the football field in front of the big homecoming crowd there’s , everybody said well you could hear people “ what is that?” cause the neck broke off and of course now it didn’t look like a stork and I remember that being rather humiliating because that was our senior float and I was also involved uh I did 2 years of work in the office, they…I didn’t have a class period so… and in fact one of the years was a senior year after that riot, they uh I imagine there were probably a… a thousand different students whose parents called in and said they wouldn’t be there, and that was my job, was to take phone calls, so they quickly took me off the phone and let somebody else do it. And I was in orchestra, uh that was a lot of my time I was in the string quartet, took numbers to contest, we played for different functions around the city, different ladies clubs would want a string quartet…uh I remember our, especially when I was a junior, the first violinist was un.. unbelievable, and what a talent and the chelist was very good, I remember I played second violin, and then a senior I played first violin in the quartet uhm, one of the things that we did, it was a class it wasn’t necessarily extracurricular but it was summer PE because we didn’t have a gym, the gym, it wasn’t built yet so we took phys ED in the summer time and it was all out doors, matter park, Lincoln field, and McCulloch and then we finished with 2 days of, I don’t know how they did it but 200 high schoolers when camping at Mississinewa, or Salamonie, I forget which one it was, for 2 nights and had fun, great fun, but I don’t know if they could do that now, couldn’t keep track of ‘em I don’t think.
mf: uhm… what was your greatest difficulty during this time?
dt: ’ ell it was i guess like most teenagers, it was kind of hard to figure out where I fit in. I mean there certainly I had sports buddies, but ya know they weren’t always the ones, some of them were just nuts, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be associated with them all the time. We had good times but then ya, uhm ya wondered if your being, ya know if your good enough student if your good enough friend and you know dating was difficult and I had some dates and… and ya know kinda wondered, the whole thing was a I guess a growing up period that was kind of tough, never is very easy, and then classes were hard. Uh being in the academic track there wasn’t any AP level, no ,nothing that was actually the top of… but even the courses we took they were tough. The English teachers were tough, and History teachers were tough, and certainly the math teachers were tough. Uhm so, you spent a lot of time doing homework, hated it all, all that homework, hated it. I think that may be why I became a teacher so I could pay back, but uh, and it was also hard to, well I do remember as I became a senior thinking, ya know I’ve been used to this for several years now and now it’s gonna change and at the end…nearing the end of my senior year I wasn’t too thrilled with it ending, and I also wondered, I know people here at the high school made an impact on me, and some of the counselors, some of the teachers, a lot of ‘em, and my friends but ya kind of wonder if ya, I did at least the thought crossed my mind, I’m leaving here, will anybody ever remember me? Not that I was trying to get people to remember me but I just wanted to know how the whole thing worked. It didn’t help that I went into my counselor the last, well… the last 2 weeks maybe before I graduated to check to see what class rank I was and he said, “well sit down bob,” thought nooo…my, my names not Bob, and I realized that there were so many kids here that, did they know me ya know? After 4 years have I made any kind of impact? I know to students, I don’t know if they think about that, I don’t know why I thought about it. But uh, just a side light as a teacher, uh I just want people to know that they students aah absolutely do make an impact, and you might think that we forget you as soon as you graduate but we don’t, and we go back and have fond memories of how this person really showed dedication and even enjoyed the class work and … and that really is an inspiration to us to know that those students could of have chosen to just slide through or just do what they … even to get an A, but they really didn’t care, and that would have been their choice, but lots of students don’t choose that way, they really dig in and show kind of shown enthusiasm. So that’s just a side light.
mf: Uhm, is there anything else specific you’d like to talk about Marion High School during your years that you attended here?
dt: The building was a lot different. Uhm, we had building one and two and six, er building 1, 2, and 4. So if you take the high school as it is now, and the cafeteria, but if you take the high school and remove the auditorium, remove the gym, remove the anything below the ramp in building two uhm and then you put more than twice as many students in a smaller space, you can see what we had. We also didn’t have any obviously no..no computers, didn’t even have calculators and so doing math was quite a challenge and chemistry and physics those were all very challenging with no calculators. I do not have much sympathy for peoples who claim they can’t use their calculator and they get all upset when it can’t…they’re not allowed to use it and I say just don’t tell me…talk to the hand. Uhm of course dress code, dress was much different uhm we didn’t have a dress code in terms of things you had to wear, but , I mean I remember many times, girls, we couldn’t wear jeans anyways, girls pretty much had to wear skirts and they would measure them. And uh time after time some girl would show up first period , wouldn’t show up, wouldn’t be seen the rest of the day, so the dress code things not new, they were really strict about it. Uh, and often I remember senior pictures everybody’s senior pictures looked identical except the face. Cause y’all wore, especially girls, all wore this thing they would put over the no matter what they, there’s no such thing as getting portfolio of senior pictures, ya went in they took one picture of you and then there were maybe 3 or 4 different poses and then you got a box of proofs and you were supposed to, I remember the proofs all faded out if you didn’t if you didn’t look at ‘em in a week. They’d all be unrecognizable, they’d all turn dark, cause they were cheap photographic paper, and it was all black and white. No colored senior pictures ,uhm I remember I went downtown to someplace I’ve never seen and it wasn’t even… wasn’t even that nice, that’s where a lot of people were going and they’d click a few pictures and here’s your senior pictures, they all looked alike. Course all the in the 60’s all the uhh hippie type dress was popular, and they wouldn’t let you wear beads and those kind of things as a peace, peace signs, everybody wear peace symbol around their neck, I wasn’t allowed. Uhm, Most everybody I knew of was involved in some sort of club. Was we had… I was in German club, and uhh just all kinds involvement, and I don’t remember that there were more than 2 or 3 of my friends that ever had a job during school now it’s so much different that lots and lots of people have a job and students are always saying “ I gotta get a job” why do ya have to have a job? “ I gotta pay my car insurance” Well….if ya can’t afford your car insurance maybe ya can’t afford a car. The cars too were different. Uhm it was a big deal to have a hot car. It’s not that much now, I mean yea you like a nice looking car now a new car, nobody had new car back then they’d, I mean when I was a senior the guy that had the greatest car was a had a 69 he had a 64 Chevy that fixed up, and it had glass backed mufflers and sounded great and he I mean he had it was a gray 64 Chevy, I loved it. And then I had another friend who had the greatest looking 57 Chevy, now these are 10…15 year old cars. I know now it’s popular to get one of those big ole boats and put the 25 inch wheels on and uh big expensive rims and that’s pretty cool lookin and that’s but back then I mean if you everybody knew what size engine you had everybody knew your horse power everybody knew what carburetor you had on it so it was a matter of pride to have a not just a new car but hot car. Uh on the the other hand there were several that had like hippie vans that were usually volts wagon or volts wagon bugs that they had fixed up and put all kinds of wild flower designs all over it and they would drive those to school and they’d go in the homecoming parade. Uhm people just obviously chan… taste change. Another thing is, every Sunday afternoon, there would be a bunch of us that would get together all high school same age we’d get together and play football in this fall and then we’d get together in the winter time no matter what temperature was and play basketball outside and we were always getting games together. I don’t see that much anymore. You go down the, you go down the street in the summertime you would have seen within a half a mile you would have seen 4 kids games of baseball. I mean there may have only been 3 people on a side I don’t know how many games I played 2 on 2 baseball. You had to make rules like you hit it over there, there’s nobody over there so it’s an out. And we did that all the way through high school. We’d come home, we wouldn’t sit and watch TV, we’d go outside and get up a ball game. Uhm, I just don’t ,I mean I worry about couch potatoes now, and I am one to some extent but I don’t see kids out there and I guess maybe we have an obesity problem anyway, maybe that’s what the NFL is trying to do when they encourage people to get outside and play for an hour. But we did it all the time, roa…when I was in the younger rode bikes all the time, so we had lots of stuff to do and TV was not really part of it. Although there was one show that I remember that came on when I was, I think a junior, the original Batman series and it was a craziest show because it was on 2 different nights back, now we know the same show can have 2 diff 2 nights, 3 nights ya know Americas Got Talent and all the idol shows there on 2 or 3 times a week, well everything around that time was a half an hour, there were no hour shows I remember and so Batman be on a half an hour on Wednesday night and a half an hour on Thursday night to see the final, the finish of it and the original Batman.
dt: Uhm, in terms of uh the academic part of high school uhh… It was just expected that you’re going to college and everybody I knew was on a college prep course, I realize out of 3000 students you’re going to have a significant number that don’t go to college, but I don’t know. I just didn’t see that side of high school. So it was a… I look back on the four years I was here and I try to remember, do I re…ya know what about each year, do I remember much about it, and I’m not very good at remembering things anyway but uhm it just seemed to go by like a blur and before I knew it, it was done. I graduated just uhh I was 17 when I graduated, and so I really didn’t turn 18 until I was a month of college. My first job with Marion Community Schools was actually setting up chairs for my own graduation, and I worked for another 5 summers, 5 summers all together as a custodian. So that was actually my first job at Marion.
mf: Uhm, what had you hoped to be, or do after you graduated from Marion High School?
dt: I remember as a freshman we took, we had a class called citizenship, and it was a required class and in that there was a career unit and I remember interviewing one of the biology teachers Mr. Easterday for the career of microbiology, I don’t know why I was…picked that one but I…I was kind of interested in that. I was not interested in… I was interested in biology I had a wonderful biology teacher as a freshman, and so he kind of got me spurred into that idea, uhm, I didn’t really take all that much science. I took biology and chemistry and that was it, and I liked biology enough to go to college and major in it. Hated chemistry. Hated it. So it was kind of a career unit that got me thinking about biology but teaches want…it was a different teacher that I interviewed, but the teacher I had was amazing, named Herb Morgan. Our…grea…really expected a bunch, but he made you learn. Made it fun.
mf: uhm… I don’t have any more questions is there anything else that you would like to add?
dt: I kinda have thought about what it would have been like to have been the principle at Marion High School at that time. I do remember that day we had the riot I was in the office doing the phone call in thing, and about 150 students showed up wanting to talk to the principle and of course that same office we have now his office was in the exactly the same place Mr. Browns office is, and he came out… was kinda scary but he met with some of ‘em, as many as it could crowd into his office, then he also was the one who Mr. Weaver was his name, Paul Weaver, uhm there must have been 4 assistant principals and about 10 counselors and to be the man in charge of such a large operation is …is kind of a scary thing. It’s hard to do that job even if it’s 12 hundred students now. We had all those teachers to supervise, I just don’t know what it would have been like to have been the leader of that, also wonder if the Marion High School experience that I had was typical of other places, I think it was. It was a great experience for me, obviously there are bad and good but overall it was uh a real, very much a growing experience.
mf: Okay, well thank you for letting me interview you.