Press enter after choosing selection

Legacies Project Oral History: Nancy Taylor

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:12am

When: 2020

Nancy Emmons Taylor was born in 1941 and grew up in Luxmanor, Maryland. She attended Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. She married Thomas Taylor soon after graduating, and they had two children. She received her Masters from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. When their children had graduated from high school, the Tayors moved to London for 12 years. Thomas was the administrator of an international Quaker program and Nancy was the warden of the Quaker meeting house and ran a program for international diplomats.

Nancy Taylor was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2014 as part of the Legacies Project.

Transcript

  • [00:00:11.10] INTERVIEWER 1: Everybody ready?
  • [00:00:13.36] CREW: Yeah.
  • [00:00:13.99] INTERVIEWER 1: OK.
  • [00:00:14.90] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah.
  • [00:00:16.04] INTERVIEWER 1: This is an interview for the legacy project, which has students gathering oral histories and putting them into an archive for future generations. So to the best of your ability, try to ignore the camera. Look at me when you're talking. Your eyes can water. That's OK, but try not to look directly at the camera lens. So everyone has their phones off, right? OK. So you can call for a break any time that you are one. If you don't want to answer a question, you don't have to. If anything makes you uncomfortable, just let me know like you. You don't have to do anything you're not comfortable with. And you can terminate the interview at any time.
  • [00:00:55.89] NANCY TAYLOR: OK. Sounds good.
  • [00:00:59.65] INTERVIEWER 1: So first we're going to start with some simple demographic questions. These might spark some memories, but try to keep your answers brief so that we can elaborate later in the interview. All right. Please say and spell your name.
  • [00:01:16.74] NANCY TAYLOR: Nancy Taylor, N-A-N-C-Y, T-A-Y-L-O-R.
  • [00:01:22.77] INTERVIEWER 1: What is your birthday including the year?
  • [00:01:25.38] NANCY TAYLOR: September 11, 1941.
  • [00:01:29.21] INTERVIEWER 1: How old are you?
  • [00:01:30.84] NANCY TAYLOR: I'm 74.
  • [00:01:33.58] INTERVIEWER 1: How would you describe your ethnic background?
  • [00:01:36.64] NANCY TAYLOR: Caucasian.
  • [00:01:39.87] INTERVIEWER 1: What is your religious affiliation if any?
  • [00:01:42.93] NANCY TAYLOR: Quaker, which is also known as the religious society of friends.
  • [00:01:49.95] INTERVIEWER 1: What is the highest level of formal education you have competed? Did you attend to any additional or formal career training beyond what you completed?
  • [00:02:00.05] NANCY TAYLOR: My highest degree is a Master's in Public Health. And I took a few courses, but not toward any other degree.
  • [00:02:13.26] INTERVIEWER 1: What is your marital status?
  • [00:02:15.30] NANCY TAYLOR: I'm married. I've been married 52 years.
  • [00:02:21.46] INTERVIEWER 1: Is your spouse still living?
  • [00:02:22.95] NANCY TAYLOR: Yes.
  • [00:02:24.48] INTERVIEWER 1: How many children do you have?
  • [00:02:25.77] NANCY TAYLOR: Two children.
  • [00:02:27.64] INTERVIEWER 1: How many siblings do you have?
  • [00:02:29.41] NANCY TAYLOR: Four siblings.
  • [00:02:32.16] INTERVIEWER 1: What would you consider your primary occupation to have been?
  • [00:02:37.42] NANCY TAYLOR: Administrator.
  • [00:02:39.64] INTERVIEWER 1: At what age did you retire?
  • [00:02:42.30] NANCY TAYLOR: 62.
  • [00:02:49.40] INTERVIEWER 1: So now we can begin the first part of our interview beginning with some things you can recall about your family history. We're beginning with family naming history. By this you mean any story about your last or family name, family tradition, and selecting first or middle names. Do you know any stories by your family name?
  • [00:03:11.33] NANCY TAYLOR: That's a tough one. It's an unusual name. My birth family name is Emmons, E-M-M-O-N-S. And I actually don't know where that name came from. I just know there are very few of them. So when I see Emmons in a phone directory or something, I'm quite excited.
  • [00:03:34.51] INTERVIEWER 1: Are there any naming traditions in your family?
  • [00:03:37.01] NANCY TAYLOR: No, not that I'm aware of.
  • [00:03:41.14] INTERVIEWER 1: So now we're going to a family migrations. Why did your ancestors leave to come to the United States?
  • [00:03:48.87] NANCY TAYLOR: Because of religious persecution. Quakers were pretty badly persecuted in Britain where they originated. And quite a number of Quakers came first to the Barbados and then up to New England and North Carolina, sort of along the east coast.
  • [00:04:11.15] INTERVIEWER 1: Do you know any stories about how your family first came to the United States? Where did they first settle?
  • [00:04:16.80] NANCY TAYLOR: I don't know that.
  • [00:04:19.18] INTERVIEWER 1: How did they make a living either in their own country or in the United States?
  • [00:04:24.10] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, my immediate ancestors were all farmers. My father's family established a farm in Iowa. And my mother's family moved from North Carolina up to Ohio and established a farm there. So that was the main way of making a living.
  • [00:04:45.13] INTERVIEWER 1: Describe any family migration once they arrived in the United States and how they came to live in this area.
  • [00:04:53.29] NANCY TAYLOR: Well as I just said, my mother's family migrated from North Carolina up to Ohio. And that was because they objected to slavery. They wanted to escape the slave holding state and come to a free state. I'm not sure why my father's family went to Iowa, but there was land available. And it was going for farming land to try and establish their farm.
  • [00:05:24.31] INTERVIEWER 1: What possessions did they bring with them and why?
  • [00:05:28.67] NANCY TAYLOR: I have no idea. I just know they brought the necessities. So they would have had pots and pans and clothing, axes for clearing the land for their farms, that kind of thing.
  • [00:05:43.51] INTERVIEWER 1: Which family members came along or stayed behind?
  • [00:05:47.34] NANCY TAYLOR: I don't know that. That's a good question.
  • [00:05:51.90] INTERVIEWER 1: To your knowledge, did they make an effort to preserve any traditions or customs from their country of origin?
  • [00:05:58.53] NANCY TAYLOR: I think they did. Quakerism is quite a community kind of religion. And I'm sure they brought some of the Quaker ways of doing things. But Quakers are very simple people. So in their day, they didn't celebrate any special holidays. So they wouldn't have brought traditions about Christmas or anything like that, but there are certainly the Quaker traditions of speaking the plain language. And my family did that. We said thou and thee to each other. And I still do that with my oldest sister, speaking the plain language. And they brought the tradition of holding their meetings for worship and their monthly meetings and yearly meetings, which are kind of an organizational thing.
  • [00:07:05.45] INTERVIEWER 1: Are there any traditions that your family has given up or changed and why?
  • [00:07:13.43] NANCY TAYLOR: Has given up. Hm. I can't think that there are. I can't think of any.
  • [00:07:25.16] INTERVIEWER 1: Now we're going to family history. What stories have come down to you about your parents and grandparents?
  • [00:07:38.13] NANCY TAYLOR: Lots. Do you really want stories? Let's see, lots of stories. My father was the eldest of five children in his family. He was very bright. He became a scientist. And he didn't want to stay on the farm. He wanted to go to college and university and get his PhD, which he did. But when he went away to college, there was an aunt. He had an aunt who lived at home with him with the family. And she adored him. And she couldn't bear to let him go, so she followed him to college. Can you imagine having your aunt follow you to college? Anyway, it wasn't easy.
  • [00:08:34.17] I'm trying to think of a story about my mother. She was the fourth of five children. She, after college, went back to her home in Edina, Ohio and taught in the one room schoolhouse there. And she found that a very difficult year, very hard because the children were just difficult, I guess. So it's funny having heard her tell those stories. I think that's enough stories.
  • [00:09:13.62] INTERVIEWER 1: Are there any about more distant ancestors?
  • [00:09:17.07] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh yes, I had a great Uncle Orland on my father's side who was kind of bitten by the gold bug. And so he left the farm and went out to California to pan for gold gold. And the family didn't hear from him for 10 years or something. He never struck it rich, but he stayed out there. And we always thought Uncle Orland was a funny sad kind of mad because he had stars in his eyes. And he didn't get the fortune.
  • [00:09:55.21] INTERVIEWER 1: Do you know any courtship stories? How did your parents, grandparents, and other relatives come to meet and marry?
  • [00:10:04.88] NANCY TAYLOR: My father was two years older than my mother. But the little Quaker high school that he went to, a boarding school in Iowa, didn't have a senior year. So he finished his junior year in high school. He went and taught school for two years. And then he went back to Ohio where my mother was in the Ohio Quaker boarding school. And they graduated in the same class. So that's where they met, but then they didn't marry until my father was-- I think he had finished graduate school. So it was quite a while before they married. But I think they began to fall in love then when they were quite young and married a good deal later.
  • [00:10:55.50] INTERVIEWER 1: All right. So now we're moving on to earliest memories and childhood. Today, or-- this interview is about your childhood up until you began attending school.
  • [00:11:07.32] NANCY TAYLOR: Mm-hmm.
  • [00:11:08.23] INTERVIEWER 1: If these questions jog memories about other times in your life, please only respond with memories from this earliest part of your life.
  • [00:11:14.72] NANCY TAYLOR: OK.
  • [00:11:15.22] INTERVIEWER 1: So we're starting with residence and community. Where did you grow up and what are your strongest memories of that place?
  • [00:11:23.47] NANCY TAYLOR: I grew up outside of Washington, DC in a community called Luxmanor between Rockville and Bethesda, Maryland. And my father and mother bought 12 acres, built a house-- had a house built the year before I was born. So there were four brothers and sisters already, and then I was born after they moved to that house.
  • [00:11:48.60] And they established big gardens. Because they'd both grown up on farms, they knew how to garden. And so they raised most of our food. We had a chicken house. So one of my early memories is going out to gather the eggs in the chicken house and reaching under the hens, making sure they didn't peck you, and feeling those warm eggs, and pulling them out, gathering those.
  • [00:12:17.68] Another memory is that my father who had a laboratory at National Institutes of Health had sometimes used animals in his research. And one day, he came home with a skunk, and he had de-scented the skunk. And the skunk became our pet, but skunks aren't terribly good pets.
  • [00:12:42.72] So The skunk had a cage outside next to the garage, and my sister and I had the job of finding Japanese beetles, gathering Japanese beetles off of roses and things and feeding the skunk. And it was a funny sound, as a skunk ate these beetles, a very crunchy sound. Anyway, it was fun having a skunk because it made you kind of famous in the neighborhood.
  • [00:13:09.90] We also had a dog named Spot who was a dear old Fox Hound. Fox Terrier, I mean. Other memories on our property was a stream, and my sister and I spent a lot of time at the stream building dams, catching-- making pools so we could catch fish in the pools, wading, and swimming, making pools deep enough so we could swim.
  • [00:13:44.89] It was lovely growing up in the country. Even though we were very close to Washington, DC, it was really the country of Maryland. And it was a wonderful childhood. We had to walk about-- oh, sorry, that's too old of a memory. Can I look at my notes?
  • [00:14:07.97] INTERVIEWER 1: Yeah.
  • [00:14:08.55] NANCY TAYLOR: Thanks. Because I made a few notes about early childhood memories. We attended Quaker meeting in Washington, DC, so we had to drive. Oh, it probably was about 20 miles. And every Sunday, I remember we'd have our meeting for worship, and then my parents would talk to friends, or attend a committee meeting, or something, talk, and talk, and talk, and it got so long, and I would get so hungry because we wouldn't have lunch till we got home.
  • [00:14:49.28] And I remember hanging onto my mother's skirt. "I want to go home, I want to go home." This pitiful little girl. We'd finally get home, but I remember many times when I'd get headaches, because I didn't eat till so late.
  • [00:15:05.92] Nevertheless, just being a part of this, of my family was wonderful. I love my brothers and sisters. They were all big. They were so smart, and they were so kind to me. We had a really good time.
  • [00:15:28.81] Oh, I remember one time when I was quite little, we had what I think was a Model A Ford. And there were seven of us in the family, so we couldn't fit into the car very well. So because I was the littlest, I got to stand for these trips we'd take. And I would stand right behind the driver, kind of out of his-- so I wouldn't get into his view.
  • [00:15:56.14] And we'd go visit cousins way out, out to Western Maryland. And one time I thought, well, I think I'll pretend I've gone to sleep. So I pretended I'd gone to sleep standing up. When we got there, I don't know if the family believed it or not, but they carefully laid me down on the seat. And they went in to visit with the relatives, and I was supposed to be asleep so I couldn't go in.
  • [00:16:31.41] And I lay there thinking, why did I do that? I'm missing all the fun. I'm missing all that. And I did. I stuck with it, pretended I was asleep the whole time.
  • [00:16:44.29] What other memories? Oh, and the other-- almost every summer we went to visit my dad's relatives in Iowa. We drove out, and we must have had a bigger car. I can't quite remember, but it was wonderful going to the farm, because I had cousins there who were lots of fun.
  • [00:17:15.94] But I was the youngest in my family, and my cousin Evelyn was the youngest in her family. And all the older ones had a Good Deed Club, and they would do good deeds, and they would get paid a few pennies, and they would collect it up, and give it to the Red Cross. Evelyn and I were too young, they said, to be in the Good Deed Club. They wouldn't let us in the club.
  • [00:17:41.25] So we had to dream up things to keep ourselves busy. And my brother who was very kind to us, decided that if we killed 100 flies, we could earn, I think it was $0.05 for every 100 flies we killed.
  • [00:17:59.22] It was a farm. There were a lot of flies. So that's what we did while everybody else did their good deeds. I don't know what good deeds they were doing anyway. Do you want more memories or-- You don't care. It's endless.
  • [00:18:18.90] Oh, and when we went to my mother's farm in Ohio, it was in Adena, and it was in the coal area of Ohio. And as we approached in the car, the smell of coal got stronger, and stronger, and stronger. So my memories of those visits has this overlay of the smell of coal.
  • [00:18:44.08] But the farm was lovely to be at, and my grandmother kept a kind of a side area of toys for all the grandchildren. She had this wonderful old iron stove, she had a lot of rag dolls, just a lot of things that were really fun to play with. So we just played. I wasn't made to work on the farm or anything.
  • [00:19:14.21] I was going to say but my mother had really, excuse me, enjoyed working on the farm. She didn't like housework at all, so she loved working with my uncle and my grandfather. And she learned to drive a tractor. She was the main tractor driver at 12 and also learned to drive a car at 12, so she was quite a great mom. That's enough, I guess.
  • [00:19:46.61] What was your house like?
  • [00:19:48.65] Our house was a white brick house. I mean, brick painted white built by an architect, but a square house. On the main floor, a really lovely living room with a big picture window, a fireplace that we used a lot. We often had fires.
  • [00:20:16.54] And my father's study, and the kitchen, and the dining room. And as little kids, we loved running around, and around, and around, this circle of rooms, but we couldn't do it when my dad was home, because if he was in his study working, we weren't allowed to interrupt him. So instead, we devised this game of getting kind of a thin mattress and going sliding down the stairs on the mattress.
  • [00:20:47.41] And upstairs, there were four bedrooms. One, two, three, four. That's right. My parents' bedroom, my two brothers were together, my sister and I were together, and then my oldest sister, who we call the princess, had her own bedroom, and a bathroom, and an attic. And the attic stairs went up from my sister's bedroom up into the attic. So it was a very simple house but quite adequate.
  • [00:21:14.28] INTERVIEWER 1: How many people lived in the house with you when you were growing up, and what was their relationship to you?
  • [00:21:19.20] NANCY TAYLOR: Six people. My father, and mother, and my four siblings, and me.
  • [00:21:24.97] INTERVIEWER 1: What languages were spoken in or around your household?
  • [00:21:28.56] NANCY TAYLOR: It was always English.
  • [00:21:32.23] INTERVIEWER 1: What different languages spoken in different settings such as at home, in the neighborhood, or in local stores?
  • [00:21:39.28] NANCY TAYLOR: No, not in our neighborhood. It was only English in the stores, and there was not a large non-American population around there, though in Washington, DC, of course, there were a lot of diplomats and a lot of languages in the big city, but not in our little Luxmanor area.
  • [00:22:06.41] INTERVIEWER 1: What was your family like when you were a child?
  • [00:22:10.13] NANCY TAYLOR: It was a great family. A little too quiet. We were Quakers. Quakers are very quiet. And if my father was home, especially quiet, because he was a serious man. He was a scientist, and he was a serious man. But my sister and I got into some hijinks and had a lot of fun. She was a great companion.
  • [00:22:44.40] INTERVIEWER 1: Well, I know you said he was a scientist, but what sort of work did your father and mother do?
  • [00:22:49.63] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, my father was a medical mycologist, which means the study of diseases that fungi cause in man, in human beings. And he worked at the National Institutes of Health, and he traveled a lot. He was a well-known scientist, so he traveled to give lectures around the world, and he went to scientific meetings, and was away some of the time.
  • [00:23:24.49] And my mother was very much a housewife, even though she had taught school when she was young. Once she married, she didn't teach again. She just began having babies, and taking care of the family, doing the cooking, and the canning, and the freezing, and she made our clothes. And she was a busy lady.
  • [00:23:49.34] INTERVIEWER 1: What is your earliest memory?
  • [00:23:51.25] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh, boy. I don't know. I should have thought about that more. Oh, I don't know what my earliest memory is, but a very strong memory was when I think I was four, probably five, maybe, picking up my sister's bicycle and riding it around the driveway. We had a circular driveway around a flower bed.
  • [00:24:30.72] And my sister running into the house saying, "Mother, Nancy's riding a bike!" She couldn't believe it. But I felt very pleased with myself. That's not my earliest, but oh, I'm having trouble with the earliest.
  • [00:24:48.17] INTERVIEWER 1: What was a typical day like for you in your preschool days?
  • [00:24:55.11] NANCY TAYLOR: Mostly at home, mostly either running around outside, and going down to the stream, and wading and stuff in summer and spring, autumn. But a lot of the time, helping mother, just being around, being in the kitchen, playing. It was a pretty carefree life, actually.
  • [00:25:21.71] INTERVIEWER 1: I know that you talked about the toys at your grandmother's house. Did you have any favorite toys?
  • [00:25:27.51] NANCY TAYLOR: Mm. Oh, my bicycle when I-- oh, that's not a toy, I guess. One Christmas I remember going down-- this is quite an early memory-- going downstairs, and there were two Teddy bears sitting under the Christmas tree, and I was amazed that my parents had gotten this Teddy bears, because we didn't spend a lot of money. It was wonderful to see Teddy bears. I don't know if that was my favorite, but-- and books, a lot of favorite books.
  • [00:26:09.37] INTERVIEWER 1: What games did you play?
  • [00:26:11.90] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, this is still preschool? Before I went to school or anytime?
  • [00:26:16.99] INTERVIEWER 1: As a child.
  • [00:26:18.16] NANCY TAYLOR: As a child. We played a lot of word games in our family, but we also played Canasta. And my father, for all his seriousness, liked games, like card games. And I can just see him saying, "Oh, I can beat you at Canasta with one hand tied behind my back." [LAUGHS] And we did play that and things like Scrabble, Monopoly, those kinds of games.
  • [00:26:51.66] INTERVIEWER 1: Do you remember what books you read or where you got them?
  • [00:26:57.82] NANCY TAYLOR: Mm. As a child, anything I could get my hands on. I mean, I started with Dick and Jane, but everybody my age started with Dick and Jane. I tended to read more fiction than non-fiction, but we did have the Encyclopedia Britannica, the whole-- the many volumes of that. And I looked at those a good deal. And then when I was in school, I'd get my information for writing papers and things from that. But I did enjoy looking stuff up.
  • [00:27:40.98] I can't-- oh, I know. My favorite book was Secret Garden. Now, I see that's still in print. I really loved that book. And I think I just liked the mystery of it and the adventure of it. So I guess we'll leave it at that.
  • [00:28:01.98] INTERVIEWER 1: Were there any special days, events, or family traditions you remember from this time?
  • [00:28:14.92] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, birthdays seemed very special, Christmas, Thanksgiving. I guess the most special to me was Thanksgiving, because as I was growing, and my sister went away to college, my brother went away to college, they would come home at Thanksgiving time. And that was really wonderful to have the family together.
  • [00:28:38.62] And it's good food. So I've always liked Thanksgiving just about the best of any time, partly because you don't-- it's not a time when you have to think of presents to give to everybody, and it doesn't have the pressure that Christmas does, but it's just a family time.
  • [00:28:58.12] Hey, you're making it through a lot of pages here.
  • [00:29:00.90] INTERVIEWER 1: We're doing really well.
  • [00:29:01.88] NANCY TAYLOR: That's good.
  • [00:29:02.78] INTERVIEWER 1: All right. So now going on to youth.
  • [00:29:08.59] NANCY TAYLOR: OK.
  • [00:29:09.57] INTERVIEWER 1: So we'll discuss your time as a young person from about the time of that school attendance typically begins in the United States up until you began your professional career or work life.
  • [00:29:20.19] NANCY TAYLOR: OK.
  • [00:29:21.01] INTERVIEWER 1: So we're going to separate start with school experiences. Did you go to preschool? Where and when? And if you did, where, and what do you remember about it?
  • [00:29:30.81] NANCY TAYLOR: I did not go to preschool.
  • [00:29:33.77] INTERVIEWER 1: Did you go to kindergarten?
  • [00:29:35.09] NANCY TAYLOR: I did. I went to Alta Vista School on a bus. It took about an hour on the school bus. So, and it went up and down long valleys picking up people and just took it a long time to pick everybody up and get us to school. And we were kind of at the end of the route, so we were the first on, and then stayed on the bus all that time.
  • [00:30:03.04] So on the bus, we did a lot of singing. We had a bus driver who was-- well, we had several bus drivers, I guess, but I particularly remember one who would get us to singing "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover" and lots of fun songs. And so we had a good time on the bus. I consider that part of my education.
  • [00:30:23.70] But then, in kindergarten, I remember the first day. We were meeting in quite a small room, and I think there probably were 15 kids or something. And I sat up on the piano bench for some reason. And there was one little boy who was so upset about his mother leaving that he cried, and cried, and cried.
  • [00:30:50.72] And I sat there in total amazement. I was so excited to go to school. I was doing what all my brothers and sisters had done. It was just great, and here was this little boy wanting to go home. I couldn't understand it, and I just remember that feeling of amazement that he felt so badly. So that's my earliest memory of school.
  • [00:31:17.72] INTERVIEWER 1: Did you go to elementary school? Where, and what do you remember about it?
  • [00:31:21.31] NANCY TAYLOR: I went to the same school, Alta Vista, all through elementary school. I remember a good time. I liked school and I liked reading.
  • [00:31:34.28] And my mother tell us about one time she thought I was too sick to go. And I threw a fit, one of the few fits in my lifetime. I said, "You can't get me home. I've got-- thee can't keep me home. I've got to go to school. I want to go to school." And I don't remember if she'd let me finally or not, but I just I remember throwing the fit.
  • [00:31:58.82] And one memory from that school time was that we had-- the kids would all dress up at Halloween time, wear costumes to school, and then we'd have kind of a parade. And then I guess we changed clothes back into our street clothes at the end of the parade or something. But I went one year as a firecracker. And we had an old, heavy red dry cleaning bag, heavy paper, heavy brown paper but it was red.
  • [00:32:37.20] And so I wore the dry cleaner bag with a hole here, and for my arms, and some kind of a fuse at the top. And after the parade was over, I think, the teacher came and started to pull the bag off, but I was just in my underwear. [LAUGHS] Oh, I just remember the horror. Oh no! I guess she helped me go get clothes on or something. But it was it was a shocking time.
  • [00:33:13.03] And other things? Oh, it was during the war. So we had to be very careful about just using a third of a paper towel, excuse me, when we went to the bathroom. And practiced pulling the dark shades over the windows, and things that people had to do during the war in case German bombers came over or something, which they never did.
  • [00:33:42.13] But that's, excuse me, that's the most I remember about the war time. I guess that's enough for memories from elementary school.
  • [00:33:56.26] INTERVIEWER 1: So how about high school? Where and what do you remember about it?
  • [00:34:00.14] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh, I went to a junior high, so seventh through ninth grade in Bethesda. I don't have a lot of memories from junior, high because I was so eager to go into high school, which was the Quaker boarding school in Ohio, and I would be following my brothers and sisters there.
  • [00:34:26.84] And we had to go out and by Greyhound bus, so it was about a 10 hour trip on a Greyhound bus to go to school. Very exciting to pack a bag and put name tags on everything the way you do to go to camp nowadays. I mean, I suppose people still do, and go out to boarding school.
  • [00:34:52.35] And it was a very formative three years. I was just there sophomore through senior years. And was in a class of 23 kids, which was a big class at the school. Not a terribly big school, but it was in the hills of Ohio. It was a rural area, and we were expected to do a lot of maintenance work, housework, and farm work in addition to our academic studies.
  • [00:35:27.37] So it felt to me like it was an all-around school. And I had a wonderful time there. I really enjoyed it. My friends back home thought I was being punished. Why are your parents sending you away to school? they said, and I said, no, no, I'm dying to go, and really had a good time.
  • [00:35:49.98] INTERVIEWER 1: Did you go to school or career training beyond high school? Where and what do you remember about it?
  • [00:35:56.55] NANCY TAYLOR: So then I went-- when I graduated from high school, I stayed there for a few weeks in the summer and worked on the farm, just to make a little money or something. But then, my college years, I went right on to college in the autumn. Where? Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, a Quaker college.
  • [00:36:21.02] And I lived in a dorm the first three years. And my final year there, I lived in a house with four other women. We kind of rented a house for the year and lived off campus.
  • [00:36:43.84] And golly, it was great. I took sort of general courses the first two years, and then I majored in English Literature had a lovely time reading books. That's what I like to do most.
  • [00:37:05.32] But my sophomore year, I studied abroad. So I went to England with-- the group was-- I think there were about 16 of us and a faculty couple as our kind of overseers.
  • [00:37:22.81] We lived in London. I lived in Highgate, which is North London, with a family. And took classes down in the city of London and went to a lot of plays, and a lot of restaurants, and it was just heavenly being in London. I really enjoyed it. And it was kind of a precursor to when we went back and lived in London as an adult married couple.
  • [00:37:59.26] And we were-- during the study abroad, we were focusing on English literature, so we went to a lot of Shakespeare plays and to the special-- a lot of theaters. That was a great time.
  • [00:38:18.09] INTERVIEWER 1: Did you play any sports or engage in any other extracurricular activities?
  • [00:38:23.80] NANCY TAYLOR: I did. In junior high I played a lot of basketball and softball. In high school, I played field hockey, and we would play other schools occasionally and basketball. And in college, I played field hockey and lacrosse. I'm trying to think if I played any others. I think it was mostly hockey and lacrosse that I played then. Yeah.
  • [00:39:00.63] INTERVIEWER 1: What about your school experience is different from school as you know it today?
  • [00:39:06.16] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh, I think everything's different. I don't know. No, I think you study similar subjects, but I think you have more modern schools, different furniture, maybe different expectations, I don't know.
  • [00:39:22.69] But I assume that it's similar in that you're studying math, science, English. Some of the basics, but then I think you have much wider possibilities. You study-- you do things like make movies, you're kind of a magnet school. You study hard and, I don't know, all kinds of things, international relations and things that-- we stuck more to the basic subjects, I think.
  • [00:40:01.40] INTERVIEWER 1: So now, we're moving on to popular culture. Please describe the popular music of this time.
  • [00:40:09.38] NANCY TAYLOR: Of this time, today?
  • [00:40:11.04] INTERVIEWER 1: Your youth.
  • [00:40:11.87] NANCY TAYLOR: My youth. A lot of popular music was coming in. Trying to think what. Frank Sinatra and lots of bebop, and I can't remember what they were called, but-- and a lot of musicals. I was particularly interested in musicals, so I had all the albums of Oklahoma, and Carousel, and all of those things, and learned those songs.
  • [00:40:47.25] But I was also in a choir, and we would sing things like Bach, and Beethoven, and music like that. So I had quite a broad exposure to various kinds of music, but it wasn't all the time. We didn't have earbuds, and we didn't listen-- we didn't surround ourselves with music quite so much as kids do today, I think.
  • [00:41:13.07] And when I got into college, then I was in the college choir and we sang lots of kinds of music, but not popular music in the choir. I think when you get my husband, he's going to tell you all kinds of things about music, but maybe just a little more general.
  • [00:41:37.41] INTERVIEWER 1: Did the music have any particular dances associated with it?
  • [00:41:42.61] NANCY TAYLOR: We-- I learned when I was quite young how to Waltz and some other dances like that. But then in school dances and stuff, we Jitterbugged, and we-- what else did we do? Hm.
  • [00:42:13.42] I can't think of another name except Jitterbug, but we also did a lot of slow dancing like-- what are some slow dances? You're going to have to help me on that. Anyway. Yeah, I don't know.
  • [00:42:39.16] INTERVIEWER 1: What were the popular clothing or hairstyles at this time?
  • [00:42:49.12] NANCY TAYLOR: I think we wore dresses a lot more than girls probably do today, though you're looking lovely in your skirt. [LAUGHS] Didn't wear blue jeans to schools so much, but I was never in a school where we had a uniform, so we wore simple things. And my mother made a lot of our clothes, so the dresses that I wore were mostly made by my mom.
  • [00:43:25.86] Hm. I know there was-- when I was in junior high school, I know there was a rage to wear black and pink, and I noticed today I put on black and pink. That was very popular at that time.
  • [00:43:44.31] Hm, hairstyles. We didn't seem to grow our hair quite as long as girls do today. We sort of cut it off there, but not very much short hair in those days. So not many people would have short hair like I do. Sort of shoulder length.
  • [00:44:08.91] INTERVIEWER 1: Were there any slang terms, phrases, or words used then that are common today?
  • [00:44:16.91] NANCY TAYLOR: Golly, I wasn't hugely into popular culture, so huh, no. I'm a little blank about that. I'm sure there were.
  • [00:44:39.05] We didn't use phrases-- I'm pretty sure we didn't use phrases like like, and I hear like all the time now. And I'm trying to think if we had any words that we stuck into sentences like that. I can't remember that we did, so maybe that's different.
  • [00:44:57.72] INTERVIEWER 1: So now, we're moving on to routines and special activities.
  • [00:45:00.32] NANCY TAYLOR: Mm-hmm.
  • [00:45:01.58] INTERVIEWER 1: What was a typical day like for you in this time period?
  • [00:45:07.44] NANCY TAYLOR: You think about high school or college?
  • [00:45:09.24] INTERVIEWER 1: High school.
  • [00:45:09.69] NANCY TAYLOR: High school. Typical day. Well, I was at boarding school. So the bell would ring at 7:00, I guess, 6:45 or 7:00, and we would get up. I was staying in dorm rooms, so I had three roommates. We were in bunk beds.
  • [00:45:31.86] And we would all get dressed, get ready to go over to the main building where we had our breakfast. Eat breakfast, do the dishes, and start classes. And we'd go through the morning classes the way you do. And then after we were finished with classes for the day, we had work duty, and we would go feed the goats, or do something on the farm, or wash the windows of the main building, or whatever our work duty was.
  • [00:46:11.99] And then supper and study hall. We would all sit in study hall and do our homework, and get ready to have an evening program, and go to bed. That was the day.
  • [00:46:35.31] INTERVIEWER 1: All right. Awesome. I think we're going to pause there so we don't run out of time. But wow, thank you so much.
  • [00:46:42.62] NANCY TAYLOR: Good. Yeah. I kind of raced through. Thank you very much for all those good questions.
  • [00:46:48.39] INTERVIEWER 1: Thank you for answering. Yeah.
  • [00:46:52.25] CREW: That's it. All right, we're good.
  • [00:46:53.48] INTERVIEWER 1: We're good? All right. Ready?
  • [00:46:55.43] NANCY TAYLOR: Here we are. I'm ready.
  • [00:46:56.58] INTERVIEWER 1: All right. Here we go. So I know you talked about how you played with the streams and how you really like to read books. Can you remember anything else you liked to do for fun in your school?
  • [00:47:08.24] NANCY TAYLOR: In school? Oh, I was thinking about at home. That's when I--
  • [00:47:11.40] INTERVIEWER 1: Yeah, yeah, when you were in that age.
  • [00:47:13.73] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh, I see. Yes, I loved going with my sister down into the woods. We'd play in the woods a lot, and building houses for creatures, which was a great big part of life in those days. And excuse me. We loved going for bike rides, and we would ride all day sometimes, for miles and miles. Because we were out in the country, we could do that and take a picnic.
  • [00:47:50.06] And what else? I loved being with the family. We did a lot of things as a family. We had a huge swing that my dad had attached to, I don't know, what must have been 20 feet in the air so that when we swang, we would go very, very high, and it was a great thing.
  • [00:48:18.16] And I liked-- I got to mow the lawn, and we had a very large lawn. And for some reason, I liked that, so I would follow the lawn mower. It was electric mower. I mean, a gasoline mower. And it was just good, a good time. Loved playing with our dog, loved playing with our cats.
  • [00:48:44.85] INTERVIEWER 1: So now we're moving on to folkways and family life. Did your family have any special sayings or expressions during this time?
  • [00:48:54.61] NANCY TAYLOR: Nothing special that I recall. But I did tell you that we spoke the plain language. I think I said that.
  • [00:49:00.11] INTERVIEWER 1: Yeah.
  • [00:49:01.51] NANCY TAYLOR: I suppose that was kind of special. No. We kids were very well behaved, I would say. And my dad thought that we should talk about serious things at the dining table. So mostly, he told us about his scientific experiments and things like that. And we didn't have a lot of back and forth.
  • [00:49:36.87] But then, when we weren't there, my brothers and sister did a lot of playing the piano, and banjo, and guitar, and singing. So we did a lot of singing folk songs.
  • [00:49:52.09] INTERVIEWER 1: Any changes in your family life during your school years?
  • [00:49:55.87] NANCY TAYLOR: Changes? Only that my brothers and sisters went away to school. So as I was growing up, one by one, they were gone to high school, to boarding school, and then off to college. So that changed things quite a bit, because it felt-- the house felt kind of empty as they left. Otherwise, was no big changes.
  • [00:50:21.23] INTERVIEWER 1: Were there any special days, events, or family traditions you remember from this time?
  • [00:50:27.60] NANCY TAYLOR: We, unlike my parents, who weren't allowed to-- or they didn't celebrate holidays or birthdays, we did. So we had birthdays and we celebrated Christmas. That was really nice. We had a good time.
  • [00:50:45.44] And we always had a fire in the fireplace for special occasions and that really cheered the place up. I loved that. I mean, the fires.
  • [00:50:59.81] INTERVIEWER 1: All right. What special food traditions does your family have? Do you have any recipes that have been preserved and passed down in your family generation to generation?
  • [00:51:10.82] NANCY TAYLOR: Yes, yes. We do. There are special recipes for various baked things. but most of my recipes have come from my husband's mother who is a fabulous cook, and so I have a lot of her recipes that I use. Not so many from my family.
  • [00:51:35.23] My mother was a very good cook, but very plain. My mother-in-law did more interesting, fancy stuff. So I have those recipes. And I couldn't start naming them, but that's where I got a lot of my cooking from, from those recipes.
  • [00:51:55.67] INTERVIEWER 1: When thinking back on your school years, what important social or historical events were taking place at that time, and how did they personally affect you and your family?
  • [00:52:06.09] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, I was growing up toward the end of the war, of the Second World War, I should say. There have been a lot of wars, but towards the end of that time. And we're Quakers, so we're pacifist. So a lot of the events I remember and was involved in were peace marches, pleas to end the war, that kind of thing.
  • [00:52:37.63] Not the Second World War. I mean, that was out of our hands. But we just got-- I got involved in a lot of peace work. And I remember those things, especially, going to stand in front of the White House with a sign, for instance, during the Vietnam War and saying, war is not the answer.
  • [00:53:00.58] War is not the way to get international relations settled. We ought to be looking at other ways to do it besides sending young men to be killed. And that was a very big issue. On the silly side, my father and we children were walking down in Washington, DC going to something, and my father suddenly stopped us and said, "Did you see who we just walked by?" No. It was President Truman. Oh, we didn't even notice.
  • [00:53:42.40] So we felt being, living near Washington, that we were aware of international events quite a bit when I was a little older, more aware. And so I've always been very interested in international relations and in making my opinions and wishes known to our national representatives. So early on, well, by the time I was an adult, I began going to visit senators' offices and telling them how I felt they should be voting on certain things. And I never met a president but was very aware of all of our elected officials and very aware of things like when President Kennedy was shot, those kinds of events, I guess.
  • [00:54:53.18] INTERVIEWER 1: Yeah. All right, so now we're moving on to adulthood, marriage, and family life. So this set of questions covers a relatively long period of your life, from the time you completed your education, entered the labor force, and started a family until all of your children left home and you and your spouse retired from work. All right, so--
  • [00:55:17.56] NANCY TAYLOR: So big amount of time. You're right.
  • [00:55:19.74] [LAUGHTER]
  • [00:55:21.37] INTERVIEWER 1: After you finished high school, where did you live?
  • [00:55:24.88] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, I went on to college. I went right on to college. I was still living in the same house where I was born, but not home very much after that. And I went to college in Indiana. My home was in Maryland.
  • [00:55:41.84] And in my sophomore year, I lived part of the year in London, England on a foreign study program. And while I was there, studying at the University of London, I also took some trips up to Scotland. A friend and I took our bicycles up to Scotland and rode from youth hostel to youth hostel, and had quite an adventure, and came back, visited Ireland.
  • [00:56:16.21] And in my senior year, I met my future husband. He was teaching at the college, and I was a student. And somehow we got together. I was living off campus. I was in a house off campus with some other senior women, and so it made it easy to get to know this young professor.
  • [00:56:43.01] And we were married the week after I graduated from college. So I started my life then in that same-- in Richmond, Indiana, where the college was. So I went from being a student to a faculty wife within a week and lived there in that town for the year. And by that time, I was pregnant.
  • [00:57:15.04] Our child was born there. Our first child was born there. And then we moved to Bloomington, Indiana, where my husband taught for a year. And oh, no, no. I take that back. We moved to Evanston, Illinois, where my husband finished up his PhD.
  • [00:57:40.98] And we had our second child there and Evanston. And then we moved to Bloomington, Indiana, where he taught for a year. Then we moved here, to Ann Arbor. So we stayed in the Midwest once we were married.
  • [00:57:59.70] So our first child was a daughter, Jenny, and a second child, a son, Clark. And let's see, what was the rest? Shall I continue with this progression that I'm on?
  • [00:58:15.04] INTERVIEWER 1: We will get to those later.
  • [00:58:17.05] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh.
  • [00:58:17.29] INTERVIEWER 1: If you want to answer them now while it's fresh on your mind, it's up to you.
  • [00:58:23.71] NANCY TAYLOR: No. I'll see what your next question is.
  • [00:58:25.84] INTERVIEWER 1: OK. So we're going to go back a little bit to your husband.
  • [00:58:28.09] NANCY TAYLOR: OK. Yeah.
  • [00:58:29.02] INTERVIEWER 1: What was it like when you were dating?
  • [00:58:32.45] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, it was interesting because I was a student and he was a faculty member. Those were the days when you had to be pretty careful about that kind of thing. So we didn't-- we weren't on campus a lot as a couple. And being-- it was helpful that we were living off campus, because then I could have him over for meals and things, and that was fine as long as we were careful about it.
  • [00:59:06.19] He was a good friend as well with the other women in my household. So he had a good time together. We did a lot of silly stuff. And it was just getting to know him.
  • [00:59:23.60] He came to my house in Maryland for Christmas, the Christmas vacation. And I remember sitting there knitting a sweater for him, because I thought that's what you do for a fiancee, you knit a sweater. So I was knitting my sweater, and my parents were curious about this man that they didn't know. But he was a Quaker as we were, and so that felt comfortable to them, that I was dating somebody they knew at least about what his background was.
  • [01:00:01.96] But he was a musician. He was teaching musicology. At that time, he was studying musicology. He began teaching musicology, and my father was a scientist. Hm, he didn't know quite about music people, people in the music trade.
  • [01:00:20.39] But my husband had gotten his undergraduate degree in physics. And so that made it OK, I think. It was very nice. I think dating is a good time when you can get to know somebody, so I did.
  • [01:00:40.20] INTERVIEWER 1: Tell me about your engagement and wedding.
  • [01:00:47.30] NANCY TAYLOR: I'm trying to think exact-- I think it was that Christmastime when we got engaged. And he had a ring that had been his great aunt's diamond ring, which he gave to me, which didn't fit, so we had to get it fitted. And I wore it, I think. For a year or so, but then I didn't, because it seemed too-- it got in the way of things. So I've never worn it since then.
  • [01:01:22.63] But then, planning the wedding, we had to do kind of-- I had to do, really, at a distance, because it was to be in Maryland where my home was, and we were in Indiana. In the Quaker tradition, you have a clearness, what we call a clearness committee, and it's a group of people from the Quaker meeting who meet with the young couple to see if they feel clear in their minds about getting married.
  • [01:01:53.10] Have they thought about all the things they're supposed to think about? You think about what's your attitude toward money, do you both want children? Do you both have the same attitudes toward everything? Are you are you compatible, are you ready for this big step?
  • [01:02:13.13] It is a big step to commit your life to living with somebody else for the rest of your life. So the clearness committee was in Maryland and we were in Indiana. And getting us together so didn't seem possible. I think we did meet with them once during a holiday. Maybe we went in the spring.
  • [01:02:37.71] But it was six adults, and they didn't really do their job because my family was so well-known to them and they respected my parents so much. They sort of said, well. You're an Emmons. We know that you're fine, and Thomas is from a good Quaker family, so-- and they didn't ask very many questions.
  • [01:03:09.08] And later, I thought, they didn't do their job. Excuse me. I'm sorry they didn't they didn't pry more into how we were feeling, how we were thinking about this big step. But that's OK. They let us get married.
  • [01:03:28.62] And the wedding then, a Quaker wedding. Is a very simple affair. There were lots and lots of people at the wedding because both families were well known, well loved. Lots of people came. But the Quaker ceremony is this whole crowd gathering together and we sit in silence, and we wait for what God has to tell us about any message we should give.
  • [01:04:03.63] So we're sitting together in silence for, I don't know, 10 minutes, maybe? And in a wedding, then the couple stands up. And what we say is, in the sight of God, we marry one another. And so we just say our vows to each other. There's no minister. We don't have a minister in the Quaker Church, in our kind of Quakerism, we don't have ministers.
  • [01:04:33.93] So we said our vows to each other. And then we sat down and we sign the wedding certificate which my brother had made. It's quite an elaborate certificate, big kind of sheepskin thing. And well, it's on paper. And then we each sign the certificate, and then someone reads it to everybody.
  • [01:05:01.45] And I was so nervous that I said, "I know I can't sign this. I'm shaking so much." And so we decided I would sign ahead of time, but I would put a little card over where the signature goes and pretend I was signing, so that's what I did.
  • [01:05:21.52] And the wedding went fine, and we had a huge reception, all these people, many of whom bring food. It was quite an event for us. And then we went to my home, and we had another big dinner, and all my brothers, and sisters, and nieces, and nephews came, and it was wonderful.
  • [01:05:49.05] So that gets us through the wedding. And then right afterwards, we left and went to Illinois, where I had a summer job and Tom had just started his graduate school.
  • [01:06:04.65] INTERVIEWER 1: Tell me about your children and what life was like when they were young and living in the house.
  • [01:06:10.16] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, Jenny was born in '64, 1964. And she was a very energetic little thing. And kind of a fussy baby because she had colic. But we got through all the hard stages when she wouldn't sleep very well. And cute as a button.
  • [01:06:42.65] And two years later, almost exactly two years later, Clark was born. Much more easy, placid kind of baby, which was a relief, because I don't know how I would have handled two quite like that. And they had eventful childhoods.
  • [01:07:04.90] I remember, we were living in Bloomington and somehow Jenny got into our VW Microbus and released the brake, and it went down the hill with me running afterwards. But it just came to arrest at the bottom. It was fine. We had lots of interesting events the way you did with little kids.
  • [01:07:36.58] I stayed home with the kids. I was determined I wouldn't work. I had been working in a library, but I decided I would stay home with the kids until they were in school. So I was home with them for altogether six or seven years, and then I went back to graduate school and to work after that.
  • [01:08:00.33] It was fun having kids around. We really enjoyed having them, and we always have. But we began early taking them outside, doing a lot-- we love to hike, and camp, and we began quite early taking them on hiking trips. And we determined that early in Jenny's life that she should learn to swim, and we were near a pond. So we took her most days to swim in the pond when she was seven months old or something.
  • [01:08:30.80] You know how babies, they float and they're not scared of water when they're very young? And so she learned to swim very young. She's a good swimmers still. Clark, I don't think we were quite so mean to him. We didn't force him to do that kind of thing. But we did a lot of trips with them, a lot of camping trips. What more can I say?
  • [01:09:04.10] INTERVIEWER 1: That was awesome. Tell me-- so I'm moving on to employment. So tell me about your working years.
  • [01:09:13.04] NANCY TAYLOR: So when the kids were both in school, when Clark went to first grade and was at school all day, I went back to school here at U of M and got my degree in family-- in Population Planning in the School of Public Health. I was particularly interested in children being born in families where they were wanted, and parents would take care of them, and love them, and give them what they needed.
  • [01:09:43.37] So I was really interested in population planning. And I was also worried-- a lot of people were worried at that time about the population of the world, that we were growing too fast and too big. And so most of my classmates in that program went on to work overseas, but we were here. Tom was teaching at the university and we couldn't go overseas.
  • [01:10:12.80] So I went and worked at Planned Parenthood for two years. So that was my first-- well, I had worked in libraries before the children are born, and now I was working in Planned Parenthood. And there was a difficulty during that time. We had we were an abortion clinic, and I was working with Dr. Elliot as a counselor to women who came in.
  • [01:10:49.35] The Planned Parenthood saw fit to fire Dr. Elliot for various reasons which were bad reasons, in my opinion. And so I felt like I couldn't continue to work there, and I went looking for something else. And that's when I began doing the administrative posts, working for the Association for Asian Studies, which is at U of M-- which is connected with the university, but not directly under the university. And I worked there for five years.
  • [01:11:29.34] And then I got wooed away by a friend who wanted me to do some administrative work at Mathematical Reviews, which is another kind of satellite of the university here in Ann Arbor. And then, in my third year there, we went as a couple, Thomas and I, to Britain and worked there for 12 years. And that was because he took a job over there. He taught here 20 years at the U of M and then decided that it was-- that he was ready to try some Quaker work.
  • [01:12:16.24] And he went as the administrator in a Quaker program that is kind of an umbrella organization for all of Quakers around the world. And the base was in London, and then he did a lot of travel around the world. And I was-- it's hard to explain all these terms, but I was warden of a Quaker meeting. And we lived in the upstairs of the meeting house, and I took care of the meeting, and did a lot of rentals, and things like that.
  • [01:12:53.48] And then I began working in central London, running a program for international diplomats. And that was very interesting work. I put on-- I brought speakers in and had talks for international diplomats in London, and these were diplomats from all over the world. We fed them a meal, had a speaker, then we had a discussion. And it was working toward peaceful understanding between nations. Fascinating work.
  • [01:13:31.35] And when that was-- after 12 years, then we came back here to Ann Arbor and I continued to work then. Again, in administrative positions for the English Language Institute. And then I retired. So really good work, though.
  • [01:13:52.49] INTERVIEWER 1: Yeah, I know.
  • [01:13:53.36] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah.
  • [01:13:56.33] INTERVIEWER 1: What did your family enjoy? I mean, you talked about hiking, which I was really into. But do you remember anything else your family enjoyed together when your kids were still at home?
  • [01:14:10.98] NANCY TAYLOR: We loved knowing what was going on at school for them. And then we would get interested in historic topics, things that they were studying, and go see things that we wanted them to learn about, we wanted to learn about. But the camping trips, the canoe trips were, I think, the most important thing to us, a big part of our being together.
  • [01:14:41.79] And they, bless their hearts, have continued with that. They love camping. And our daughter just finished the whole of the John Muir Trail in California. She took a month and did a backpacking trip along the John Muir Trail. So they've continued that love that we all have for the outdoors, and camping, and hiking, and birdwatching, and all these things. Yeah.
  • [01:15:12.83] INTERVIEWER 1: So now, we're moving on to popular culture in your adult years.
  • [01:15:17.11] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh, dear. I'm really a loss on popular culture, I'll tell you.
  • [01:15:21.49] INTERVIEWER 1: If you don't know, it's no big deal at all.
  • [01:15:23.85] NANCY TAYLOR: That's good.
  • [01:15:24.93] INTERVIEWER 1: Do you remember any of the popular music of that time?
  • [01:15:30.62] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh, sure, but I can't bring up titles. And we tend more to go to opera, so we're not-- I mean, if you consider opera popular or concerts, we constantly go to concerts. So popular, I'm trying to think what popular. It means when you turn on your radio, that's what you listen to, I guess.
  • [01:15:58.38] But we, I and my husband even more, do a lot of listening to what you would call classical music. And we are both ushers for the UMS, University Musical society. So we go to a lot of concerts. That's our kind of music, at Hill Auditorium and at Rackham. And I think we were doing that all along, just partaking in a lot of the music that the U of M produces.
  • [01:16:39.37] Tom will tell about his-- he was conducting an early music group for many years here at U of M. And he began the medieval celebration on campus, the Medieval Festival. So I made costumes for it. I made these glorious long costumes for the women to wear, a few of them. I didn't make them all. And I guess that was more our field.
  • [01:17:21.36] INTERVIEWER 1: Do you remember any of the popular dances of that time?
  • [01:17:25.83] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, last time you asked me that, and I said well, when I was in junior high and high, I did Jitterbug. And oh, I couldn't remember. We did Charleston, we did. We learned Foxtrot and some of the ballroom dances. And then, after we married, we did a lot of folk dancing, a lot of contra dancing, a lot of English country dancing. So that was popular with us, anyway.
  • [01:18:05.38] INTERVIEWER 1: Can you describe any popular clothing or hairstyles of this time?
  • [01:18:12.61] NANCY TAYLOR: Now, you know, it's interesting. Hairstyles go up and they come down. And right now, long hair is very much in with young people. But there was a time when most women cut their hair quite short, and now it's gotten a lot longer.
  • [01:18:30.06] But hairstyles depend on the hair you have. So my hair never grew terribly long. I had a ponytail, but I just couldn't do with my hair what some other people could, so. And clothing, it's interesting. Clothing changes, but not that much because we're just human people that you put cloth on. So everything has to fit on that body. So that's what I'd have to say about styles, I guess.
  • [01:19:11.89] INTERVIEWER 1: Were there any slang terms, phrases, or words used that aren't commonly used today?
  • [01:19:20.47] NANCY TAYLOR: I'm sure there were, but I can't tell you what they were because I don't know.
  • [01:19:28.77] INTERVIEWER 1: When thinking back on your working adult life, what important social or historical events were taking place at that time, and how did they personally affect you and your family?
  • [01:19:44.54] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, that's a really tough question, because all the events affect us so much. I'm thinking how much the stock market crash affected my parents' generation and the effects then kind of wash over us for a generation afterwards or more. So people became very concerned about security, making sure you had money in the bank, making sure you could get your kids through school. That hasn't changed as far as I can tell.
  • [01:20:31.75] People are really concerned now about having enough money to go to college. My goodness, college costs, they're extreme, how much college costs. So what were we concerned about? I personally was mostly concerned about war and wanting the absence of war, because I think you can't have security if you have war, and so I worked hard on that issue.
  • [01:21:07.35] And when I was a student in London, I went to a big demonstration. The Campaign Against Nuclear-- the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, CND, staged a big demonstration up in Scotland. And I went all the way up to Scotland to hold a sign saying, we don't want the Polaris Submarine here in this Loch. We want peace. We don't want soldiers bristling with armaments wanting to go to war.
  • [01:21:52.24] And that was a very, very seminal experience for me to be in this huge crowd of Brits demonstrating about the Polaris Submarine. And it was particularly memorable because the police came in and smashed people with their billy clubs, and there was a lot of blood. And I mean, they hit people hard, and there was a lot of injury caused by that.
  • [01:22:25.70] And I have thought about that a lot, that in asking for peace, we were causing people to be violent because they had a different set, a different agenda than we had. And so that seems to me a big dilemma. How do we increase people's interest in peace without causing them to be angry? How do we negotiate with one another?
  • [01:22:55.93] Negotiations are very interesting to me. And when I was doing the work with the diplomats, that's a lot of what we talked about. How do human beings communicate with one another so that we build a peaceful world? That's what all our politicians are doing as well. I mean, they're trying to figure all of that out. I think I got off topic there, but I feel pretty strongly about it.
  • [01:23:27.79] INTERVIEWER 1: No. That's great. All right. So now, work and retirement.
  • [01:23:35.37] NANCY TAYLOR: Mm.
  • [01:23:37.75] INTERVIEWER 1: I know you talked about your employment and everything. What specific training or skills were required for your job? What tools were involved? How and when were they used?
  • [01:23:52.27] NANCY TAYLOR: It's a good question. For my job in administrative positions, I needed some understanding of personnel work, how to negotiate with people, how to set up situations where they had fair employment. But I also had to type, and I took typing in high school. And I think typing is really necessary skill. At least it has been for me.
  • [01:24:24.56] And I think anybody who uses a computer must need that typing, and the faster you can do it, the better with the least mistakes. Editing. My major in college was English Literature, and I learned then to be a pretty good editor. And I think that was really important in my work, because I did a lot of reading things and editing things, and I still do.
  • [01:24:55.70] And what else? Personnel, editing, typing, writing. Did quite a bit of writing in my work. And I think just being able to write a good document, a good letter is really important. And along the way, I loved creative writing, too. So I wrote short stories, and poetry, and things like that. So I think those are the basic things I had to learn and use.
  • [01:25:26.23] What was the rest of the sentence? I mean, your question? Just what my skills were?
  • [01:25:31.72] INTERVIEWER 1: What tools were involved, and how and when are they used? You--
  • [01:25:36.45] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah, I think I explained it.
  • [01:25:37.49] INTERVIEWER 1: Yeah.
  • [01:25:37.98] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah.
  • [01:25:39.45] INTERVIEWER 1: What technology changes occurred during your work years?
  • [01:25:43.71] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh, it's amazing. The whole computer thing just exploded during my time. So when I was in graduate school, computers are quite new. And we were going to use a computer in one of our projects, and it was one of the old computers where you fed cards into a machine. And these were punched cards that you used, computer cards, and then fed into a machine.
  • [01:26:13.34] And there was a fellow waiting behind me, a fellow from India who was also a graduate student. I fed my cards in and everything went black. There was a little popping sound or something. The lights went off, the computer went down.
  • [01:26:33.78] And the guy behind me said, "What did you do? What you did you do? You broke it!" And I was terrified. I thought I'd blown the whole thing. It wasn't me, but I just remember that as an early computer experience.
  • [01:26:49.26] And then computers got smaller and smaller, laptops came in. It's just been an amazing change during my time. And now, there are things that I don't know how to use. I don't have an iPhone. I don't understand what's going on now.
  • [01:27:11.35] And I learned how to send a text, but it's on my little flip-top phone, and it takes me forever. I'm doing these. To get a S, you have to do it four times. It just takes forever. And so I finally get two sentences together, and then maybe I'll be able to send it, maybe I won't, because maybe I push the right button.
  • [01:27:34.18] So anybody in their 70s, I think-- well, most people feel like me. We're just dummies with the new technology. And yet you kids grow up with just being able to do all of that stuff so easily. Oh, boy. The change has just been so big. It's hard to even describe.
  • [01:28:01.61] I guess I-- you know what I think.
  • [01:28:05.73] INTERVIEWER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:28:06.91] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah.
  • [01:28:08.69] INTERVIEWER 1: What is the biggest difference in your primary field of employment from the time you started until now?
  • [01:28:17.04] NANCY TAYLOR: The difference in the field of employment? I don't think there's a big change in administrative jobs. I think the goal is the same, to run an efficient shop, to have your employees from the time they're hired to know what's learned, what's going on, be able to do their job well.
  • [01:28:49.12] Administratively, you have to be aware of training and needs that people have, and being enabled to do their jobs. I think all of that has stayed pretty much the same, because we're human beings. So we have to learn how to deal with human beings.
  • [01:29:13.12] So, but the technology has changed so much. So they'd fire me in the position now that I used to be in, knowing only what I know. I wouldn't be able to train people in IT. I wouldn't be able to train people with cameras. I do have a camera, and I'm learning a little better how to use it, because it's a pretty good camera.
  • [01:29:35.26] But it's slow going. So I think our brain cells just slow down, and we can't teach people this. We can't teach ourselves as quickly, I think. But for the most part, in my field, it hasn't changed much.
  • [01:29:56.13] INTERVIEWER 1: How do you judge excellence within your field? What makes someone respected in that field?
  • [01:30:03.01] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, someone who's a good boss, somebody who's a administrator who is respected. And I watch people who have bosses or administrators in their field who don't do they do their job well, and it's miserable. People can really be resentful in their jobs if they don't have somebody good who is overseeing their work, meaning that they are aware of what the job description is, what the job should be, and then how the person's skills fit into that description, what kind of help they might need to meet the responsibilities in the job. And I can't think what else to say. Yeah, it's just--
  • [01:31:11.35] INTERVIEWER 1: What do you value most about what you did for a living and why?
  • [01:31:17.07] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh, I value getting to know good people. I really enjoyed my relations with colleagues. And in each job, it was a little different. And I wonder sometimes if I had stuck with any one job longer than I did how it would feel. It probably gets a little dull, a little old. I don't know.
  • [01:31:46.31] But many women changed, just kind of job hopped the way I did, and I guess as circumstances in your life change, and as you're taking care of kids at different stages, often, you change jobs. A woman does, anyway, quite a bit. But I value those relationships a lot.
  • [01:32:14.97] INTERVIEWER 1: All right, so now we're moving to a residence community. And you already told us about how you moved on during your work years. So what about retirement prior to your decision to move to your current residence?
  • [01:32:32.05] NANCY TAYLOR: OK, we've been in the same house for 47 years. So most things have happened in that house, except that we were gone for 12 years to Britain, but we came back to the same house. So, in fact, a number of our neighbors are still the same neighbors. It's a very settled neighborhood. Lovely.
  • [01:33:04.23] So we talk now about what we should do when we become ancient, and crippled, and really need some help. And my husband and I have slightly different ideas about that. I think it would be lovely to move into a place where we don't have to worry if the boiler blows up or all the things you have to do, taking care of a house. Someday it would be nice to live someplace where somebody else takes care of all of that.
  • [01:33:40.50] But we haven't made a decision about what we would do if we really began falling apart, and it'll happen. Everybody get toward-- you move from life to death, and that last little bit, you sometimes need a lot of help. So we have yet to decide about what we'll do.
  • [01:34:00.00] Meanwhile, we enjoy our house. We have a wood stove, and we often do most of the heating in the winter with the wood stove. So my husband's busy chopping up wood, and he loves dealing with the stove, and we do a lot of things in that house.
  • [01:34:17.69] I enjoy cooking. I really am glad I have a kitchen of my own at the moment. But someday we'll probably be in a place where somebody will take care of us, and that'll be nice, too.
  • [01:34:34.36] INTERVIEWER 1: OK. So now back a little bit to family life.
  • [01:34:43.13] NANCY TAYLOR: Mm-hmm.
  • [01:34:45.84] INTERVIEWER 1: How did your family life change for you when you and your spouse retired and all the children left home?
  • [01:34:54.19] NANCY TAYLOR: The kids went off to California, one by one, and we went off to England. So when they left home, we actually left them, and they wanted to make their lives in California where they went to gain residency and then go to university, and they both did that.
  • [01:35:21.42] It was very exciting for us to be able to move to England. We had a wonderful 12 years in England, really terrific. And that was a huge change for us, to live in a different society, get to know different people. When we came back, it was a little bit of an adjustment coming back to the US, but that went well.
  • [01:35:48.12] And retirement is endlessly interesting to us. We go to-- we still usher at all the concerts, we go to a lot of concerts. We do a lot of hiking. Every year, we go on one or two hiking trips in foreign countries, so we still do a lot of travel. And we go on-- we just get to know countries by hiking in them. And we'll be going to Mexico and Guatemala in February, and that'll be fun.
  • [01:36:26.84] Yeah. So it's changed, but it's stayed very involving, and exciting, and fun. We enjoy retirement a lot.
  • [01:36:40.62] INTERVIEWER 1: What is a typical day in your life currently?
  • [01:36:44.82] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, we usually wake kind of early and read the New York Times, and then go about our business. We do a lot of walking into town. It's about 2 and 1/2 miles into town. We go to the library.
  • [01:37:02.42] We do a lot of things with the Quaker meeting. So a lot of our time is spent going to committee meetings and paying attention to the needs of the meeting. And we go to-- we will be going, in November, to the Annual Meeting of Friends Committee on National Legislation which is a committee dealing with lobbying in Washington for on peace issues.
  • [01:37:39.31] So we go see our senators, and our representatives, and talk to them about peace issues. That's very involving. Life is good, full of events like that, full of things to do, writing letters to people saying, we disagree with the decision you made about this, letting people know how we think we could work toward peace.
  • [01:38:09.55] So our day-- oh, you-- but a typical day. So we do things during the day and often in the evening, we're going to a concert, occasionally watching television, not very often. A lot of reading. We do a lot of reading.
  • [01:38:33.14] INTERVIEWER 1: When thinking of your life after retirement or your kids left home up to the present, what important social or historical events were taking place, and how did they personally affect-- oh, OK. You already answered that, so I'm going to skip that one.
  • [01:38:47.71] NANCY TAYLOR: OK.
  • [01:38:49.53] INTERVIEWER 1: I know you kind of answered this, too, but I know that your answer was really good, so I might want to have have it again. When thinking back on your entire life, what important social historical event has had the greatest impact?
  • [01:39:04.39] NANCY TAYLOR: The greatest? Important social, political, and social event. 9/11 happened on my birthday. The day I turned 60, those planes hit the Twin Towers.
  • [01:39:28.67] And the country, our country, went into crisis mode of a lot of fear about people from other countries, that we kind of pulled in and said, oh my goodness, people are trying to attack us. We're in big trouble. And I think that was a very important event for me in thinking about ways to work toward reconciliation toward people getting to know each other, somehow counteract that fear, because fear doesn't get you anywhere.
  • [01:40:25.48] And so I've thought and thought more about how to bring people together, how to get people to know each other. It seems really naive to say that, but I think that's one of the basic motivators for me in things I think about doing, and things I think about writing about or talking about with other people, that fear is useless. We've got to let go of fear and figure out reconciliation moves. So I suppose that would be one of the big events that made me think again about those really important issues of peace making.
  • [01:41:16.82] INTERVIEWER 1: Great answer. What family heirlooms or keepsakes and mementos do you possess? What's their story and why are they valuable to you?
  • [01:41:28.49] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh, boy. Well, we both have a lot of things from our families. But mostly, my husband has a lot of actual physical objects that came from his family. So some of our furniture is from his family, and it's Victorian, it's old antiques, that kind of thing. You're supposed to be watching the clock.
  • [01:41:54.76] And a lot of paintings that his grandfather did. His grandfather was an architect and an artist. And so we have lots of his paintings around from England. Do we need to stop?
  • [01:42:07.60] INTERVIEWER 1: No, you're good.
  • [01:42:08.37] NANCY TAYLOR: OK. And I think they're important in our lives in that they connect the generations. So we've enjoyed using them. His parents also got a lot of Navajo rugs when they were in the southwest, and so we have Navajo rugs around.
  • [01:42:37.72] And it's nice to have the physical things from other cultures with you. And you realize that I'm not the most important thing in this universe. We're all connected. And so I feel like that both with our family things and with things from other cultures that we have. That's good. Yeah.
  • [01:43:06.54] INTERVIEWER 1: We end at 25, right?
  • [01:43:08.51] CREW: 19.
  • [01:43:09.50] INTERVIEWER 1: Oh, 19.
  • [01:43:10.98] NANCY TAYLOR: 19? That's unusual number.
  • [01:43:13.89] INTERVIEWER 1: I think that if like, maybe kind of brief answers, we can knock out a couple more.
  • [01:43:19.06] NANCY TAYLOR: OK.
  • [01:43:22.22] INTERVIEWER 1: What advice would you give to my generation?
  • [01:43:28.18] NANCY TAYLOR: My advice would be look for ways to make connections. Get to know people. I guess I'm back on the fear thing. Don't be fearful of getting to know another culture.
  • [01:43:41.56] Travel. I really think everyone should have the opportunity to travel, and not everybody does. But it's just broadening your horizons. Getting to know how other people eat, how they sleep, what they think about what they read, what they love to do.
  • [01:44:05.69] And I think, go travel when you can. And walking is a good way to travel, but that's not a way to get very far. So you're going to have to travel a lot of other ways, too. And when you travel, get to know the language of the place you're going.
  • [01:44:25.83] I have an impossible time doing that right now. I'm starting to study Spanish again, and I have a really hard time remembering vocabulary, or anything about a language. But over the years, I've been able to understand quite a bit in Spanish, German, a few languages. So I think it's important to get to know languages. If you can, have the ability to remember those things, that's good.
  • [01:44:59.63] And write. It's really important to write. Because I was an English major, things kind of grate sometimes, and when people misuse pronouns and things, oh, it's grating. But if you do a lot of writing and learn to write, I think you learn to use the language well, and I think that's really important.
  • [01:45:27.37] And read. Read as much as you can. Every time you want to spend time watching television or looking at your little thingy, I would say, put it down and read a book. It's very, very educational.
  • [01:45:48.13] And finally, make music. Listen to music, but make music. I think that's really important. And if you don't play an instrument, sing. I just think putting your body into those kinds of things is wonderful.
  • [01:46:08.28] So our granddaughter played trumpet for three years or something. Now, our grandson is playing cello. I'm so excited that he's getting himself into music. He's reading music now. It's great. Get out there, do your thing.
  • [01:46:30.47] INTERVIEWER 1: All right. That's a wrap.
  • [01:46:31.68] NANCY TAYLOR: OK. OK.
  • [01:46:33.26] INTERVIEWER 1: Thank you so much.
  • [01:46:34.40] NANCY TAYLOR: Wow. Thank you.
  • [01:46:37.03] INTERVIEWER 1: OK, we're rolling. OK. So we're going to start with your lives together at the beginning. So where and when did you guys meet?
  • [01:46:50.60] NANCY TAYLOR: We met in Minnesota for the first time at a conference, and we went for different purposes. But Thomas was conducting a choir at the conference, and I sang in the choir. I think that's the first time we met.
  • [01:47:06.91] THOMAS TAYLOR: It is. Yeah.
  • [01:47:07.95] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah.
  • [01:47:08.99] THOMAS TAYLOR: Although I knew your brother and sister before that.
  • [01:47:12.71] NANCY TAYLOR: That's true.
  • [01:47:14.82] THOMAS TAYLOR: Let's see. Nancy's older sister, Liz, was working with family as an au pair at a family camp in the Adirondacks. And I was working there as a camp boy. And so I thought she was a great person from a good family.
  • [01:47:36.38] And then I met Nancy's brother, Don, who was my lab partner in a couple of physics classes at Earlham College. And so Nancy came well recommended, and I thought she was pretty neat.
  • [01:47:59.58] NANCY TAYLOR: But then the exciting part comes, because we just met there. Then, the next year, I was a senior at-- am I supposed to look at you or there? At Earlham College, and he was back at Earlham teaching. So we carried, off campus, carried on and off campus getting to know each other.
  • [01:48:23.33] INTERVIEWER 2: What was it like when you guys were dating?
  • [01:48:26.75] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, we were careful to not date too openly, because he was faculty and I was a student. But I was living off campus, and that helped. And it was-- I don't quite know what it means, what was it like, but it was fun.
  • [01:48:48.69] THOMAS TAYLOR: One of Nancy's-- Nancy lived in a house of a professor who was in Japan doing research, and his name was Arthur Little. And so the house was called Little House. And there were four other senior girls living there, and one of the other girls invited me to dinner, and we all had dinner together.
  • [01:49:11.79] And she tried frying a roasting chicken. And so the chicken was about as hard as a block of steel. And so that woman failed at the good cook test. Nancy was a great cook and still is.
  • [01:49:35.15] NANCY TAYLOR: Mm-hmm. Poor woman. She was after Thomas, but she didn't get him.
  • [01:49:41.41] [LAUGHTER]
  • [01:49:44.12] INTERVIEWER 1: Tell me about your engagement and your wedding.
  • [01:49:49.09] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, I think we got engaged at Christmastime that year, because he came to my house in Maryland and met my folks and my siblings. And isn't that when we got engaged?
  • [01:50:05.90] THOMAS TAYLOR: Yes. We were lying in front of a roaring fire, and I asked you to marry me.
  • [01:50:10.74] NANCY TAYLOR: That's right. That's right. Very romantic.
  • [01:50:13.56] THOMAS TAYLOR: Yeah. We had all our clothes on.
  • [01:50:16.22] NANCY TAYLOR: Yes, we did.
  • [01:50:16.67] [LAUGHTER]
  • [01:50:19.40] And then our wedding was that summer, just a week after I graduated from college. And so it was pretty fast. The wedding was a Quaker wedding. Very simple, very lovely, lots of people there.
  • [01:50:40.78] I sort of-- it was all a bit of a blur. But we did wear wedding clothes, and we had our-- his brother and my sister were best man and they met. She was married by then, wasn't she made? Maid of honor, matron of honor. And it was lovely. A good time. We were married in Washington, DC.
  • [01:51:09.03] INTERVIEWER 2: Tell me about your children and what life was like when they were young and living in the house.
  • [01:51:14.94] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh.
  • [01:51:16.55] THOMAS TAYLOR: We have two children, Jennifer and Clark. And let's see. Jennifer was born in the spring of our first year of marriage. And she was born there in Richmond, Indiana. And we then went from there to Evanston, Illinois, right. And I started working on my PhD at Northwestern.
  • [01:51:51.71] And our son Clark was born there in Evanston Hospital. And that is a major change in one's life, to have kids. A totally dependent young, squalling, red thing that you have to deal with, and you have no training whatsoever. And Nancy did wonderfully. I tried to help, but the ball seemed mostly to be in her court, and I had this feeling of, I ought to help somehow, but I took I was out of my depth.
  • [01:52:30.48] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah, you should hear it from my point of view. We had these two beautiful children, except that our daughter was very feisty and had colic. Did a lot of crying at first, but we all got used to each other, and it was good.
  • [01:52:45.75] When they were young, it was a lot of fun. It changed our lives though, completely, as Thomas says. You really suddenly are responsible for somebody else. It makes a big difference.
  • [01:53:00.63] INTERVIEWER 1: Great. I know that traveling and hiking is really big in your family. Do you want to share any memories of trips that you all had together that stand out?
  • [01:53:12.37] THOMAS TAYLOR: Well, early on, we took a trip West when our kids were still very young. What were they, one and three? Something like that.
  • [01:53:22.05] NANCY TAYLOR: No, older than that.
  • [01:53:22.55] THOMAS TAYLOR: Two and four. Yeah, little kids. And we went to places like the Grand Canyon and to visit Nancy's siblings on the West Coast. And we had a routine of, we'd go and set up camp. And then we'd spend enough time there that one of us could have a full day hiking without the kids.
  • [01:53:50.01] So the first, while the other was with the children. So the first day at the Grand Canyon, I hiked down from the South Rim down to the river and back up. And then next day was Nancy's day to do that hike. And so it worked out pretty well, each of us enjoying the other.
  • [01:54:11.11] And we all slept together in one big tent. And the kids got used to the idea. It was absolutely delightful, I thought.
  • [01:54:23.04] One-- another time we went North to Lake Superior, and we camp-- we canoe camped there, went out in a large canoe, and we went out on a lake with all our food and the two children. And our little dog, Agatha, was a was a mutt with a Scottie dog mother. And so we camped on an island and had the loons calling out there. And I think it was something that got into the kid's blood. They both have enjoyed hiking and camping ever since.
  • [01:55:04.86] NANCY TAYLOR: I was thinking about an earlier time when we-- one of our first pieces of furniture was a canoe. And we wanted to canoe on the Ohio River. And I think Jenny was only four months old or five months old, so we put her in her little carry thing in the bottom of the canoe with an umbrella over her to protect her from the sun, mostly. And we went down the Ohio River.
  • [01:55:32.26] But we just went for a day. We didn't go for a whole week or something. But the kids really had to learn young, but that's what we loved. And as Tom says, they both love it now. It's wonderful that it's carried on.
  • [01:55:48.88] And since then, we've taken-- more recently, we do a lot of hiking trips with a British group called the Ramblers. And we go for two weeks, usually. And we don't have to carry everything on our backs, which is a relief. So we stay in hotels, and then we hike out from the hotel. We've done a lot of hiking that way.
  • [01:56:12.24] THOMAS TAYLOR: They're usually a little mom and pop hotels, so we see very few other Americans on those trips. And lots of great times getting to know people on those trips.
  • [01:56:28.39] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah. It's really good. You don't want to hear about each trip, do you?
  • [01:56:33.46] [LAUGHTER]
  • [01:56:34.43] INTERVIEWER 1: If there's one that you want to tell us about, please go ahead.
  • [01:56:38.27] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh, I must say one of my favorite trips was to Chile, where we were hiking in the mountains, and all the way down to the bottom of South America. It was very beautiful, wonderful group, wonderful hikes. And it's just fun to see other parts of the world that way by foot. So you're going slow enough so you can really observe what you're passing through.
  • [01:57:09.16] THOMAS TAYLOR: The most beautiful place on that trip was the Torres des Paine. We flew down to the Straits of Magellan and then-- I'm blocking on the name of that city. And then we went north to the Torres. And the Torres des Paine is a high range of very steep mountains, big rocks that are 2,000, 3,000 feet high.
  • [01:57:41.19] And the Ramblers were doing fairly easy hikes around them, looking up at them. And Nancy and I wanted to get up into those rocks. And so we just told the leader that we weren't going to take the next day's trip, which seemed like a sort of a repeat of what we'd been doing before. And we went up by ourselves and just hiked up into those mountains. I think that was, for me, the best--
  • [01:58:10.95] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh, that was beautiful.
  • [01:58:11.76] THOMAS TAYLOR: --the best hike of that day, because we got up around the glaciers, and so that we were in the shadow of those amazing rocks. Beautiful animals. So we could tell about lots more trips, but--
  • [01:58:30.33] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah.
  • [01:58:33.01] THOMAS TAYLOR: Great.
  • [01:58:34.06] INTERVIEWER 1: OK. What is your daily life like now that your kids have left and grown up and everything?
  • [01:58:41.77] NANCY TAYLOR: Hm. It feels busy. We go on these trips, but mostly we're home. And we're very involved in our Quaker meetings, so we do lots of work with the Quaker meeting, lots of committee meetings, lots of taking care of people, going to see people who are sick, and things that you do in a church group, usually.
  • [01:59:08.30] THOMAS TAYLOR: Nancy is the clerk of a committee on ministry and counsel. And she and the clerk of the Committee on Peace and Social Concerns are organizing a set of discussions, films, meetings, and so on for our church members about racism in America. Have you told them about that?
  • [01:59:31.56] NANCY TAYLOR: I haven't.
  • [01:59:32.92] THOMAS TAYLOR: Some. Yeah. Well, we just had a feeling yesterday about housing and how the whole housing situation in America cuts some people out and favors other people. And the way when we got our house here in Ann Arbor for instance, I remember in 1971, there was steering done by the realtor saying, oh, you won't want this area because there are-- and it's not totally white. There are black people in that area. And so you're likely to have other black people move there.
  • [02:00:19.40] And so we decided, well, that sounds like a good area. We'll move there. So we bought a house on the north side, and it's a wonderful neighborhood. There are neighbors of oriental background, African-Americans. Across the street is a couple who were Scottish and Jordanian, and so on. It's a very mixed and friendly neighborhood. That's the way we like it.
  • [02:00:58.13] INTERVIEWER 1: Let's see.
  • [02:01:00.83] THOMAS TAYLOR: Let's see. The question is about what life is like? One thing I had to learn after retiring was that it's OK to have nothing scheduled in your day. And we were talking to a friend who's just retiring, and she seems to be getting her whole week organized so that she knows what she's going to do each day.
  • [02:01:25.71] And I love to go into a day where I have absolutely nothing on my calendar, and I can do what I want to do, and read a book, take a walk, get some exercise, cook a meal, call friends, check my email, and so on. And there's a sense of freedom there that I really like of not having my calendar stuffed, filled with things that I've determined I should be doing.
  • [02:02:01.16] NANCY TAYLOR: One thing that's great about living here in Ann Arbor or any town like Ann Arbor is that we have a very good Y, so we both use the Y for exercise and swimming, particularly for me. We have very good libraries. We have wonderful places to walk. So it's a nice place to be retired.
  • [02:02:26.34] There are a lot of people who retire and stay right here. They don't want to go away. That's how we feel.
  • [02:02:34.76] INTERVIEWER 2: Tell me about any moves made during your working years, in your retirement prior to your decision to move to your current residence.
  • [02:02:44.09] NANCY TAYLOR: Well, we've lived in our current residence since 1967. So long before we retired, we were living in that house. But we took a break in the middle when Thomas took a job in London, England. And we moved there for 12 years.
  • [02:03:01.53] So we rented out our house to some friends for seven years and then some other people, various graduate students and people rented it after that. So the moves were to England and then back here again to the same house. What else?
  • [02:03:26.95] THOMAS TAYLOR: Well, I guess that's good.
  • [02:03:28.58] NANCY TAYLOR: OK. Right. We did. We lived in another house in Ann Arbor when we came in '67 for four years. And then we were sort of on the hunt for a good house to last us a good long time, and we found it.
  • [02:03:46.41] THOMAS TAYLOR: That's the north side house that we moved to.
  • [02:03:48.63] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah. Right.
  • [02:03:52.45] INTERVIEWER 1: [INAUDIBLE]. Thank you.
  • [02:03:58.17] INTERVIEWER 2: Thinking back over your entire life, what are you guys most proud of? I know I asked you that before [INAUDIBLE] ask about it.
  • [02:04:07.18] NANCY TAYLOR: Most proud of. Well, I think Thomas-- I think when he answered it, he said our children. And I think we are very-- I know we're very proud of our children, very pleased that they have become so independent and so successful in life in general. Proud of, I don't know. Have you thought of anything else?
  • [02:04:39.69] THOMAS TAYLOR: Well, that question was asked of me a couple of times ago. And I talked about a couple of things that I had done when I was working for Friends World Committee. And I think some of the letters that I wrote, some of the conferences that I ran did a lot of good.
  • [02:05:02.98] One conference we did that I think I didn't tell about here was since those world conferences of Quakers took in people from all around the world, we want to be aware of how much energy goes into taking an airplane flight across an ocean. So we decided we would have a World Conference of Quakers on three sites at three different times. That was in the summer of 1991, and I was working in the World Office of FWC. It was my last year as associate secretary.
  • [02:05:45.77] And so in June, we had a group of about 500 Quakers come from all around the world to the Netherlands at a conference site there. In July, it was in Northern Honduras in a conference site on the Caribbean, coast of Honduras. And in August, it was in Kenya at a boys' school in Kenya, in Western Kenya.
  • [02:06:14.41] And my colleague Val Fergusson and I went to all three sites. I organized the list. Now, you may wonder why is this saving money, saving energy? We did it by having a imbalance at each of those three sites where we favored the local people. So in the Netherlands, we had a mix of people from all around the world, but we had fewer Kenyans and Tanzanians and South Africans.
  • [02:06:45.88] We had fewer Bolivians. I think it was eight Bolivians and Peruvians and six or seven from Guatemala, Honduras who went all the way across to the site in the Netherlands. And like likewise, the one in Honduras was colored Latin America. We had many people coming in from Latin America to that one. Guatemalans could just travel on the surface.
  • [02:07:19.37] Bolivians had to fly in through Miami airport, which is the sort of main hub of getting around Latin America. It's kind of interesting that that's it in our country. And then likewise, there was the color of the one in Kenya, it was very black, indeed. I think 2/3 of the people there were from Kenya and Tanzania.
  • [02:07:43.26] And so we had a wonderful mix but a different kind of mix that each of those three sites. We had a different group of speakers, but they spoke on the same topic. So it was a lot of logistical effort, as you can imagine. And I feel like we could all be proud of what we did, getting people from the so-called third world knowing each other, understanding, getting a sense of the value of each other.
  • [02:08:15.32] One little incident that I should tell about from that was I was in Miami airport signing, waiting to check in to the flight from Miami down to Tela, where the conference, people were going. And I noticed in front of me a group of Bolivians who were signing in, and it suddenly dawned on me. These folks are coming to our conference, and they seemed very confused.
  • [02:08:44.63] A British friend named Ken came up to me. And he said, "You need a little help from me?" I said, "Can you speak Spanish?" Yeah, so we went and we talked to the Bolivians, and we talked to the woman who was checking them in. And she said, "This fella doesn't have a visa to go to Honduras. I can't check him onto this flight.
  • [02:09:05.45] And so I said to Ken, "Ken, here's something for you to do. Take this fellow. What's your name?" His name was Sandrach Keshpert from Bolivia. Take him to the Honduran Embassy here in town. No, it wouldn't be an embassy, would it? It would be a consulate in Miami, and get him a visa.
  • [02:09:27.11] Ken said, but I'm about to check. I said, you can do it. Just do it quick. Go out and get a taxi. And I gave him some money and out they went. And then when all of us were checked in, I didn't see Ken and Sandrach yet. So the plane was about to take-- was about to back away or to be closed, and so I just stayed on the outside.
  • [02:09:50.39] And I said to the stewardess, no, we've got some more people coming. We can't go away. I'll just stay out here and wait for them. And so we had an argument, and then finally she told me to get on the plane, and said they were going to back away, and I would lose my seat.
  • [02:10:04.73] So I got on the plane. I got in my seat and the plane backed away a little bit, and then it stopped. Then it moved forward. I thought, oh, great. We're going to be here. And the door opened, and in came some other friends of mine who were coming to this conference.
  • [02:10:22.43] And it was Sally and Joe McIntire. And I said, did you see the others, Ken and Sandrach? No, they hadn't seen them. And the plane closed the door again, backed away a little bit, and then forward it went, and then on came Ken and Sandrach. And Ken kind of collapsed on me and he said, "You owe me one."
  • [02:10:51.71] And I said, "Right, OK. I'll do what-- see what I can do." And that was that was Ken's first introduction to people from Bolivia. And it was wonderful to see the relationship between him and the Bolivian friends, particularly Sadrach grow.
  • [02:11:16.55] And Ken, it changed Ken's life. He, after getting back to Britain after that wonderful week with friends, he started what was called Bolivia Link. And he got Quakers in Britain interested in developing small appropriate technological activities in that village where Sadrach lived. And Ken went many times then after that to Bolivia.
  • [02:11:51.62] And I just felt that that whole scene, there was no scripting it. It was just an amazing series of events that got Ken and a number of other British friends and Bolivian friends aware of people in other parts of the world, and being connected and appreciative of each other. So there's a little story about the kind of thing I was doing with the Friends World Committee.
  • [02:12:30.36] NANCY TAYLOR: It reminded me of a story, if there's time, of something I was doing that I was pleased with when we were in Britain. I was in charge of running a program for international diplomats, and I would contact all the embassies in London with an invitation to come to a talk and a dinner or yeah, usually some kind of a dinner or a luncheon with a speaker. And we would have discussions afterwards about what the speaker was talking about.
  • [02:13:03.80] And all the discussions were off the record, so no press was allowed in at all. And our goal was to get people from different countries talking very honestly and openly with each other, and that was a very successful program. We did it about once a week. We would have a speaker, and a meal, and have the diplomats talking to each other.
  • [02:13:28.88] Very exciting to be involved in hearing what diplomats say to each other and hearing the speakers. So I did that for about three years. That's really a highlight.
  • [02:13:42.59] INTERVIEWER 1: All right. So we're going to go back a little bit about your relationship together.
  • [02:13:47.78] NANCY TAYLOR: Ah.
  • [02:13:49.78] INTERVIEWER 1: Yeah, we kind of joke around--
  • [02:13:51.41] THOMAS TAYLOR: Uh-oh.
  • [02:13:54.51] INTERVIEWER 1: Do you guys have-- I know hiking trips are big. Do you have any other little traditions or things you like to do together?
  • [02:14:03.88] NANCY TAYLOR: We go to a lot of concerts together. We are ushers for UMS, so we do a lot of ushering of concerts, and it means that we get to hear a lot of music together, and we make music together. Thomas plays the piano for Christmas caroling pretty much now, but plays the piano quite a lot, and I like singing Christmas carols and things like that.
  • [02:14:33.05] What else do we do together? We cook together some times.
  • [02:14:35.82] THOMAS TAYLOR: Yeah, we do the longer together.
  • [02:14:37.25] NANCY TAYLOR: That's true, we do. Yeah. We pretty much--
  • [02:14:42.68] THOMAS TAYLOR: We hang the laundry in the backyard, because the dryer uses huge amounts of energy. And so it has a little move of lowering our carbon footprint. We use the dryer as little as possible, and it helps fluff up the towels, and we sometimes do towels and shirts together, because it means that shirts don't need quite so much ironing.
  • [02:15:12.92] But that's it. Otherwise, we do what I used to help my mother do when I was growing up and I'm sure Nancy did with her mother, too, of, go out and string up a line in the backyard and use clothes pins and hang the clothes on it. In the winter, we just hang the clothes in the basement, because the house needs moisture. And so, the clothes dry very quickly in the laundry furnace room. So we-- just making a home together.
  • [02:15:44.61] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah.
  • [02:15:45.04] THOMAS TAYLOR: Last week we took all the windows out of their casements. We have sliding windows. And washed and re-siliconed them so that they slide better.
  • [02:15:59.19] NANCY TAYLOR: We do a lot of fun things together.
  • [02:16:00.89] THOMAS TAYLOR: A lot of obvious stuff. This afternoon, she's going to help me put a sealant on the chimney.
  • [02:16:06.68] [LAUGHTER]
  • [02:16:07.48] We had our--
  • [02:16:08.50] NANCY TAYLOR: He didn't tell me that.
  • [02:16:10.00] THOMAS TAYLOR: We had our chimney rebuilt, and it looks gorgeous. It's a great chimney, but it needs some sealant on it. Oh, you're not going to help me? Oh. Oh well. You can hold the ladder.
  • [02:16:20.07] NANCY TAYLOR: Right.
  • [02:16:20.53] [LAUGHTER]
  • [02:16:23.08] Oh. I love the garden, so we do various bits of gardening together. We have a vegetable garden in the front yard, and the neighbors have gotten used to it. And that's where we get the sun, so that's where we get the vegetables.
  • [02:16:38.57] THOMAS TAYLOR: And with the deer being so about in Ann Arbor, I have to build a deer fence out of bamboo and netting. And that's pretty well kept the deer out of our vegetable garden, but they still have free rein on the hosta and stuff in the backyard.
  • [02:16:59.43] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah, those deer.
  • [02:17:03.36] INTERVIEWER 1: All right. So we have to stop at 10:00. [INAUDIBLE] has to stop at 10:00 for each interview.
  • [02:17:11.71] INTERVIEWER 2: Yeah. All right. So we have about four minutes left.
  • [02:17:15.52] NANCY TAYLOR: OK.
  • [02:17:15.69] THOMAS TAYLOR: Four?
  • [02:17:15.96] INTERVIEWER 1: Is there anything you guys want to add? Any stories? Any messages, anything?
  • [02:17:24.85] THOMAS TAYLOR: Well, one interesting thing is, when I was teaching at the School of Music here, my office was in Burton Tower. So all of these discussions we've had here with you, I've been sitting right in front of my office, which is--
  • [02:17:42.35] NANCY TAYLOR: Oh, that's true.
  • [02:17:43.52] THOMAS TAYLOR: Right. That's the eighth floor. My office was this. One window and the other window. And then when Allen Britton retired as dean, his office was there. So Allen and I had a lot of interesting conversations.
  • [02:18:02.37] It's a great place to be. At seventh floor, I hardly ever took the elevator. I used the stairs, which is a great way to get to your office. And it had me right there in the middle of main campus. And I taught big courses in music appreciation, and that's probably not in the frame. That's the Modern Language Building, and there's a big classroom in there, and I taught for quite a number of years, what to listen for a music kind of courses.
  • [02:18:37.27] NANCY TAYLOR: Another thing I'd like to add is that it's wonderful to have our son and his family living very close to us just around the corner, a block and a half away or something, and have his oldest child, his daughter, here in school at Skyline, and she's in your program. She's just a class below you.
  • [02:18:57.72] So we really love being involved in their lives. Our grandson is 11 now and at Mac School. And it's just fun to go to things at the schools and be involved in what they're doing, know about what they're doing, enjoy them. That's probably a highlight for both of us.
  • [02:19:20.12] THOMAS TAYLOR: Mm-hmm. Taking Ian to his cello lessons, for instance.
  • [02:19:24.94] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah. Yeah. It's fun. So. [LAUGHS] I know we're watching the clock.
  • [02:19:33.50] INTERVIEWER 1: One minute left.
  • [02:19:34.47] [LAUGHTER]
  • [02:19:37.73] I guess that's all. Thank you guys so much.
  • [02:19:40.62] NANCY TAYLOR: Yeah.
Graphic for audio posts

Media

2020

Length: 02:19:39

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)

Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library

Downloads


Subjects
National Institutes of Health
Quakers
University of Michigan - School of Public Health
Planned Parenthood
University Musical Society (UMS)
Anti-War Protests
Oral Histories
Religion
Legacies Project
Nancy Emmons Taylor
Thomas Taylor
Luxmanor MD
Richmond IN
London