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Title: Oral History Interview with Louise Cole, March 16, 1995. Interview G-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Cole, Louise, interviewee
Interview conducted by Murphy, Priscilla
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Steve Weiss Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 140 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-09-01, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of sound recording: Oral History Interview with Louise Cole, March 16, 1995. Interview G-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0157)
Author: Louise Cole
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Louise Cole, March 16, 1995. Interview G-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0157)
Author: Louise Cole
Description: 157 Mb
Description: 27 p.
Note: Interview conducted on March 16, 1995, by Priscilla Murphy; recorded in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series G. Southern Women, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Louise Cole, March 16, 1995.
Interview G-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Cole, Louise, interviewee


Interview Participants

    LOUISE COLE, interviewee
    PRISCILLA MURPHY, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
LOUISE COLE:
My name is Louise Cole. It's the 16th of March 1995.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
My name's Priscilla Murphy. I'm talking to Mrs. Cole in her house.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Okay. And I've explained everything to you and, about restrictions and putting this in an archive, and you're comfortable with that?
LOUISE COLE:
Yes.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Okay. Um, first of all, where were you born?
LOUISE COLE:
I was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1945.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
And, ah, did you grow up in Maryland?
LOUISE COLE:
Yes.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
How long was it before you moved down here, or have you lived somewhere else along the way?
LOUISE COLE:
I will give you a brief overview. I was born in Baltimore, I lived there 2 years, then my family moved to western Maryland, Frostburg-Cumberland area up in the Allegheny Mountains. I lived there 'til I was 17 years old when I graduated from Valley High School. I was the salutatorian of my high school class of 81. I filed for, or applied for, a scholarship to Brigham Young University and I got a part-tuition scholarship. I

Page 2
went to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and I completed a degree in microbiology and biochemistry in four years, then I went to work for the Department of Defense at Dugway Proving Grounds in Dugway, Utah, and I worked there approximately six years, so I was in Utah approximately 10 years. I left the government service because of a reduction-in-force. I was one of the last people hired so consequently I lost my job, but eventually got it back again.. I was rehired as a chemist in the crime lab in Frankfurt, West Germany, so my husband and I went to Frankfurt, West Germany and I worked in the crime lab as a chemist for four years and —
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
About what era are we talking about now?
LOUISE COLE:
That was in 1972, when we went to Germany. And he worked at the hospital across the street. We had 2 1/2 children while we were there, and we came back to Augusta, GA, and we were there approximately nine months, because he had applied here to the University of North Carolina for a graduate degree in public health. He was accepted and so we moved here in August of 1977 for him to get a 2-year Master's degree and we've been here ever since. He ended up getting a doctorate of public health and we now have six children.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Okay, and what years were your children born in? It's not a quiz, but— [laughter]
LOUISE COLE:
I have one in — from a first marriage in 1967. She is now 28 years old, and married. Then I had five in 6 1/2 years, starting in '74, and then I had one in 1978, one in 1980. I'm sorry, '79 — [pause] '74, '75, '77, '78 and '81. I'm sorry.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Okay, we got it. So, and, your husband now is working where?
LOUISE COLE:
My husband is working at R.T.I. — Research Triangle Institute — as an environmental microbiologist. He's a senior scientist.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
And you're working?
LOUISE COLE:
I'm working at the Environmental Protection Agency as a microbiologist-immunologist.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Wow. [Long pause] So, um, and that's, let's see, um, I — let me make sure, you have your degree, your Bachelor of Science from Brigham Young, and did you do advanced work after that? Did I miss that?
LOUISE COLE:
No, I've either worked or I've had children. [Laughter]
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
That's enough. [Laughter]
LOUISE COLE:
Yes, when you have that many.

Page 3
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
So, is this full-time work?
LOUISE COLE:
No, I'm working 30 hours a week. Almost, but not quite.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
It's awfully close to being full time.
LOUISE COLE:
Yes.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
I'd like to go back to when you were growing up. Looks like most of your growing up was in western Maryland.
LOUISE COLE:
Um hmm.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Did you have a number of siblings?
LOUISE COLE:
I was the oldest of three, and I had a brother that was 13 months younger than I and a sister that was 7 years younger.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
And, uh, did your mother work?
LOUISE COLE:
Yes, my mother, well, let's see. My father had a sixth grade education, grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, one of 9 children, went to work after the sixth grade to support the family because his father left his mother with the 9 children. He was, my father was a twin. My mother grew up on a farm in western Maryland, was the oldest of six children. Her mother, she watched her mother die when she was 15 years old, and consequently only made it to the eighth grade. But then after eighth grade, she decided to go to Catherman's Business School and became a secretary slash accountant, and so she worked most of her life. When I was very young, from kindergarten through sixth grade, she did not work. But in sixth grade she started working, again, to help support the family. Because my father worked as a salesman and did not make very much money. She made —50 a week as a secretary, and worked 60 hours a week.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
So you would say she — I'm gonna focus on her — she was a very strong woman? In many ways?
LOUISE COLE:
Yes. In many, in many ways. She had very bad health, but she was very strong in her moral convictions, in her independence and in her ability to teach me, if you will, what was right and what was wrong and being able to take care of yourself. She taught me that if you wanted something bad enough, you worked for it, you saved for it, and then you got it. And she instilled in me a desire to get a college education because no one in her family had ever, in my father or my mother's family, had ever gone to college, and she said that if, in my future, that I got married and something happened to my husband, that I would need the college education to be able to support my

Page 4
children. And so she instilled that into, in my mind and my debt, and I decided that's what I wanted to do and nothing was going to stop me from getting the college education.
So — They could support me. They did help me the first two years, I think. My mom sent me, I think —70 or —80 dollars a month to help me pay for rent and food, which wasn't enough. But, um, I worked and paid for my tuition and books and the rest of my necessities. And then my second, my third year I bought a car and I was completely on my own then. My last two years.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
You chose Brigham Young because you were raised a Mormon?
LOUISE COLE:
No, I was not raised a Mormon. I joined the Church when I was about 17 years old. And decided I wanted to go to Brigham Young University. I'm, I was actually the only member of the Church in my family. My brother joined but he never stayed active.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Now, what, what were you raised?
LOUISE COLE:
We were raised to do what we wanted to do, as far as religion. My mom read the Bible a lot, but she didn't feel that organized religion was, just wasn't compatible with her, I guess. She wanted to find God on her own. And my dad was raised as a Methodist, and sometimes he would take us to church when we were growing up, but he would take us for about 5 or 6 months and then get a ride home for us or come pick us up and then he would quit doing that for a while, and then he would take us again — and the Mormon missionaries — my grandmother had actually been baptized a Mormon and so our records were in the Church type thing, and so missionaries came to our house when I was about 16 and I took the lessons and joined the Church.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
[Checking recording equipment] Every so often I have a nightmare that I've got, talked to somebody for hours and there's no— It's happened to me just once, and unfortunately I was talking to somebody who did a lot of interviewing himself and it was very embarrassing [laughter] Um — your — moral upbringing, though, was very strong. Was it more from your mother or was it equally your parents, both parents?
LOUISE COLE:
It was mostly from my mother. Very much so. She read the Bible a lot and expected forthright uprightness, honesty, in everything. Moral, you know, convictions, in dating, in everything. And just expected it of us. My father was probably the other extreme, if you will. And my mother told on him a lot. In fact, my brother had to write — this is a very funny story and I have to tell it —?
My brother in eleventh grade — I was a senior at the time — in eleventh grade had to write a story for English, and it could be made up or true or whatever. It was

Page 5
supposed to be a fictional story and my mother said "I'll tell you one" [laughter] and she proceeded to tell him this story and he ended up getting an A on the paper. But my mother had been married to my father for approximately 2 1/2 years and she was pregnant with my brother and she had me, and my father said that he wanted a divorce from her because he was seeing this other woman that he had seen years before they had ever gotten married. My father was 31 when they got married, and my mother was 22, I think, or 23, I guess. They're about 10 years apart. So he decided that he didn't want to have children and Mom was pregnant with my brother, so they were going to have 2 children, and he decided that he wanted to go back to his former love— I think her name was Madeline or something like that. Anyway, she wasn't feeling well this night and he said "I've got to go see a sick friend in the hospital." So he proceeded to take Madeline to a — I can't remember the name of it now, I'm going to have to write this story down — but it was like a VFW dance, and there was a certain name that sounds kind of like "Alcatraz" but it was not Alcatraz [laughter] , it was like a VFW dance type thing. So she figured out what he was doing, found out this dance was going on, because she had suspected this.
So she drove to the place where the dance was and saw his car sitting there. And she was sitting there. She smoked, she was sitting there, smoking a cigarette, this was in Baltimore, Maryland, and four hoodlums came up — she had her window rolled down and four hoodlums came up and said — and she was sitting there crying in the car, and they said "why are you crying, Blondie?" — she had blond hair — and she said "my S.O.B. husband is over there in that hall with another woman." And the boys just said, they were teenaged boys, and they said, "I can't believe that, Blondie." Well, I think first they asked her for a cigarette and she said I only have one pack left. Then they asked her what was wrong, and they were very sympathetic with her and they said "I can't believe that, what a—" you know, called him names and everything. And she said, "I'll tell you what." She said, "I've got two packs of cigarettes her," she said, "I'll give you all the cigarettes I have if you'll go flatten his tires," and they said "Blondie, for you, we'll do it for nothing."
And so the four of them, she said they were just like in the movies, they went to either end of the street and two of them started letting the air out of the tires, and she said it was, it started pouring down rain, just as they started doing this, but they got the two front tires flattened and just then the dance evidently let out, so people were already coming out. So they got each other and took off down the street. So she drove home, she didn't wait to see them come out or anything, just drove home and got in bed. And she said about three o'clock in the morning he came in and, you know, telling her how, you know, he had two flat tires at three o'clock in the morning [laughter] . And she said she was just laughing and chuckling under the covers, but— anyway —. So she would tell us, children, about Dad's escapades, and um — [laughter]
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
It's not a particularly visible form of activism, but it certainly —

Page 6
LOUISE COLE:
Oh, man, I'll tell you. Yeah, it definitely made its point. And they used to argue a lot.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Um, when you, you were in college then in the sixties?
LOUISE COLE:
I graduated from high school in 1963. And so from '63 to '67, yes, I was in college. I graduated from college in '67.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Yeah, we're exactly the same age.
LOUISE COLE:
Oh! Okay.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
So, um, things were changing—
LOUISE COLE:
You look younger than I, though.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Well, thank you. Um, it's —
LOUISE COLE:
I have six children. It does a job on you, I think.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Yeah, yes — it's supposed to be — insanity's hereditary, you get it from your kids, is what they say [laughter]
LOUISE COLE:
I think they're right.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Um, were — Activisim was becoming something people were doing in the sixties, but, um, on issues that probably were not issues that showed up on the campus at Brigham Young too often. Were you — how did you feel about things in the sixties? Were you feeling that it was something that was happening elsewhere, were you thinking about it at all?
LOUISE COLE:
Yes, I thought it was happening elsewhere. When I grew up in my little town of Midland, Maryland, where I went to high school, there were no drugs, and yet two years later when my brother graduated, they did start having problems there. So I was in college, and I was at Brigham Young University, of course, you had to wear your skirts below your knees and you couldn't drink Coke on campus then, and —.. you know, Mormons do not smoke or drink, and they do not drink coffee or tea, so, I mean that's just one aspect of the religion, but it's, it's a pretty, I guess you'd call it strict religion, morally high standards, and there were no mixed dormitories, no co-ed dormitories, and there was a, an honor code on campus that you did not stay overnight in anybody's, anyone else's dormitory or apartment off-campus, that was of the opposite sex. And so it was a pretty, you know, I guess, kind of a safe environment. I enjoyed it there, very much so.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Did you go home during the summers?

Page 7
LOUISE COLE:
I went home only for two or three weeks at a time. And I only went home once a year. Again we — did not have very much money, so when I did go home, it was, I would fly, and I think I did that twice, and then the third time, I bought a car and drove it back, and so then when I went home, I would drive home, and I would just, you know, charge some guys or girls that would go with me, you know, I think we, I think I charged them —25 dollars each way to go from Utah to the East Coast somewhere, so— that's how I would get —
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
I remember doing that — [laughter]
LOUISE COLE:
That's how I'd get back and forth. But there was not much, there was very little activism, as far as that's concerned, but again, I guess with my mother's background and my upbringing, I guess, if you will, from the age of 17, of standing up for what's right, I've always felt that that's important, and yet my parents, I remember maybe a handful of times that they ever went to a PTA meeting or a play that I was in or anything like that. They just didn't go to PTA meetings, they didn't go to school functions, I think my mother did go to my graduation—
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Do you think it was that she was too busy or that she trusted the schools to be doing what they were supposed to be doing, or—?
LOUISE COLE:
I think in my mother's case her health was so bad. One of the reasons she never joined the Mormon Church or became active in it was that she said they always want you to do something for someone else — Mormon's are big on service — but her health was so bad that it was all she could do to work 60 hours a week and come home and deal with the children.
LOUISE COLE:
She was, she had chronic asthma, and at that point in time they didn't really know how to deal with it, and so she smoked cigarettes, even though, in the long run, it was bad for her healthwise, she felt like it helped to open up her lungs. Now, what it did was deposit, you know, nicotine in there and made it harder for her to breathe later on, but — initially nicotine is a central nervous system stimulant, and so it would open up her lungs, and so to her, it was a way of breathing. So she smoked most of her life. I think it was her health that kept her from — I think she may have been active in things because she was very adamant about right and wrong, but because of her health, I think that's probably what kept her from doing more.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
You said she read the Bible quite a bit and that was a large part of some influences on you as you were growing up. What about things like, other books. Were there things that you were reading, images of — you know, things that you remember having an impact on you when you were in high school?

Page 8
LOUISE COLE:
She read all the time, and I remember her joining a book club. She liked to read words from "the Masters" — I would call it "the Masters." Thoreau. She loved Shakespeare. She loved, um, I can't think of his name, the mystery writer, um—
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Holmes?
LOUISE COLE:
No, [pause] oh, I can't even think of the name — my mind goes blank sometimes. Um —
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Poe, or —
LOUISE COLE:
Yes, Edgar Allen Poe. I — for some reason I couldn't think of it. But she loved all of his writings and she had a book of his works, and I remember reading all of those.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
So, you — she would read something and you would read it.
LOUISE COLE:
No, she would —
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
She would read it to you?
LOUISE COLE:
No, I would just, I just started reading, because she read so much.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
And she had them in the house?
LOUISE COLE:
And she had the books in the house, and so I would read them. And I tended to like mystery novels, and so that got me reading.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Right. What about television?
LOUISE COLE:
We did not have a television until, I guess about 1953 when my daughter — "my daughter!" — when my sister was born. I was 7 or 8 years old and so I was already in the third or fourth grade. And my parents would not let me watch it in the evenings, because they wanted me to do homework. And, I would watch it when I came home from school and watch, I can't even remember the name of them now, the "Doo-bee" — do you remember any of those — and Clarabelle — the Doo-bee—bee and Howdy Doody, and you know— the little girl with the Lambchop —
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Shari Lewis?
LOUISE COLE:
Shari Lewis and those types of cartoons. She would let me watch those and that's how I learned that it was bad to throw trash out in, on the road when you were driving and I thought they were very good, you know, moral cartoons and children's programs. And that's about all she would ever allow me to watch. And then as a teenager I watched some programs at night, but she didn't want it on in the evenings, very much, and so we would only watch, you know, a few programs, and I had to be in bed by

Page 9
10, or whatever, so they were pretty strict with that. Mainly because she had to get up so early in the morning and get out of the house and get to work, and so — she needed a lot of sleep and consequently made us have early bedtimes.
And because of that, and I guess because both my husband and I both read, or like to read, we have made it a policy with our children, when we got a television — we did not have one the first, oh, probably 6 years of our marriage, we got a television and we did not — and to this day, we don't allow the children to watch television Sunday through Thursday, when they're in school. And even in the summertime, I won't let them watch television until after 9 o'clock in the evening, when it's, when it gets dark. And they ask me why, and I say, `because you need to develop yourself physically and not become a couch potato. Um, you've got plenty of time to watch television the rest of your life, but as long as you're in my house — 9 o'clock on, you know, during the summertime, unless we're on vacation and I think they have it on, even when we go to the beach, I still don't want them to have it on until after 9 o'clock. Sometimes they break that rule, but pretty much they're — they're pretty good about it, and I think that's one of the reasons they do well in school. They don't do "excellently" but they also get up for an early morning seminary class every morning at 6:30, and they go to that early morning seminary class at Church from 6:30 to 7:15 and then they — my son drives a carpool of kids to the high school for zero period class [a class meeting before the regular school day to accommodate overcrowding], so they start their day about 5:30 in the morning.
And then both Adam and Gina work. Adam works at Boston Chicken — he's 18; and Gina works at Brueghers — she's 16. And Matthew works in the neighborhood feeding cats and dogs — he's 14 and he wants to get a job, and I said, "just be patient, Matthew [laughter] , you're only 14."
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
I'll ask you about that in a bit — [pause] [Inadvertant erasure — omission of 9 seconds — reference to question to be asked later about age for working papers]
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
So, you've been in the Mormon Church your adult life. Have you been — and you say they, Mormons demand service — have you.
LOUISE COLE:
No, they don't demand it.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Well, they put an emphasis on it.
LOUISE COLE:
They put an emphasis on it and they ask you, it's totally voluntary. And you can do it or chose not to do it, it's up to you.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Right. Right. And in your life, what, I mean, did you do, I think it's a two-year, there's a missionary requirement?

Page 10
LOUISE COLE:
Oh, the mission? No, uh uh. No, they usually want young men to do it when they turn 19, and again it's voluntary. But my, they ask young girls when they turn 21 if they would like to go on a mission, and usually the women go for 18 months instead of 2 years, and they don't go until they're 21. But when I turned 21 I was already married, so— you know —
They feel that your mission as a wife and mother is more important than going on a mission for the Church. That's why they don't have girls go unless they reach the age of 21 and they're not married yet. Then they ask them if they'd like to go on a mission. But young men, they feel that it's really important and part of their priesthood calling, if you will, to go on a mission for two years. And so they're asked when they turn, you know, 18 if they're planning to go, and — um, I think then the Bishop, you know, if they want to go, then they start filling out their paper work about six months before they turned 19 to get all of their physical exam, dental work, optometry work done before they go, because many of them go to foreign countries where there's — you know — not very much medical help.
LOUISE COLE:
And it's also a growing experience for these young men. A lot of them, they go to college for one year, they don't know what they're going to do with the rest of their life, but they do know they're going to go on a mission. They go on a mission for two years, and most of them, um, come back and say — well, all of them come back and say it's the best experience they've ever had, their whole life. Of course, they're twenty-one at this time, but they also — it has been such a growing experience with them, because they have to be with another missionary twenty-four hours a day. They have to stay with another missionary, and - or another member of the Church. And they work, they go out tracting, they teach the missionary lessons.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Do the girls do the same thing?
LOUISE COLE:
Yes, absolutely, they have to stay together. And there's safety in numbers, and there's the safety factor, that's the reason that the Church wants them to stay together, at least in pairs, and so they — for that 2 years for the young men and a year-and-a-half for the girls, they have to stay together with their companion and they get transferred, you know — they'll go 2 months in one place and maybe 6 months in another place while they're on their mission, but they'll be assigned to mission. For instance, the state of North Carolina, years ago, the whole state was a mission. Actually before that, it was — Mid-Atlantic States Mission — that was actually centered in Washington, DC. And now there are, I think, 4 missions in the State of North Carolina. There's a Raleigh Mission, a Greensboro Mission, Charlotte Mission and a Goldsboro Mission. So I think there's actually 4 missions in the State of North Carolina, now. So it's, it's really — the Church is really growing extremely fast right now.

Page 11
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Have you been volunteering in some service capacity in something related to the Church specifically, other than what you're doing in the community, or—
LOUISE COLE:
Oh, yes, I've always been very active in the Church and service-oriented things.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
What kinds of things?
LOUISE COLE:
Well, whatever the need is at the time. F'rinstance, well, first of all, in the Church, if you are an active female in the Church, you are assigned a companion to visit-teach maybe two or three women that are in your particular unit or ward. We call our congregation a ward — if there's like 250 members it's call a ward. If it's less, it's called a branch. And you're assigned to visit or make a contact with those Sisters, we call them, at least once a month. And so that, in a sense, is an on-going service thing, and many times you'll be visiting with your Sister or she will call you about a problem in the family — maybe one of her children are sick — and if her husband's not a member of the Church, she may call and say "could your husband or could you get ahold of the Bishop for me and give my son a blessing — he's really sick, he's got 105 fever," and, you know, whatever the case may be. It might be a sickness, it might be, "I have to go to Texas because my mother's dying, can you arrange babysitting for my 3 children over the next two weeks or however long it takes."
When a woman has a baby, in the Church, and she has other children at home, arrangements are made usually by — we call them visiting teachers — usually by the visiting teachers, arrangements are made to bring meals in to the family for at least a week after she comes home from the hospital. Arrangements are made for the children, to, someone to either stay in the home until the children get home from school or to be picked up and taken to someone's house until the father gets home, or whatever the case may be. Whatever's needed by the family in that particular instance.
Sometimes it's to, um, make a referral to the Bishop, that maybe some money is needed because of an illness in the family. Maybe the father had an accident at work and they're not going to have the money to pay their rent the next month. But Church welfare is unlike welfare in the nation as we know it. It's meant to be only temporary, and only until the person can get back on their feet, or — and also, the Bishop usually requires some service from the family if the husband is unable to work. Usually the wife can stuff tithing envelopes, or type out some things maybe for the, the Church bulletin or maybe come, maybe their family, maybe his family can come to the Church and do some yardwork or cleaning or painting or whatever, so — Even though the money is given and none is expected to come back, the family's expected to help out whenever they're called on to — you know, for service maybe for someone else. And it's only meant, like I said, to be a temporary thing. And usually in the Church, when people go on Church welfare, the average, Church-wide, and that's world-wide, is like 4 months that they're on Church welfare, if you will. So it's meant to be a stop-gap situation until the family gets back on their feet or — something like that.

Page 12
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
As your kids — most of your kids are out of school now — it's just your younger kids are in school —
LOUISE COLE:
Three, three are in school — [text missing]
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Have you been active in PTA things for all the kids, all along, before you got—
LOUISE COLE:
No.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
— at what point, when did you start doing that, and why?
LOUISE COLE:
[laughter] I would go maybe once a year to the PTA meetings, and I felt that —
Well, first of all, I was very busy with six children at home. And my husband, we came here for him to get a master's degree two years in 1977. We had four children then and I had two more in the next 2 1/2 years. And I was typing his papers and very busy, and he was in graduate school and working 4 to midnight shift at night. And that went on for, instead of 2 years it went on for 7 years, because when he got his master's, then he decided to get the PhD, or the Doctor of Public Health. And then when he got the Doctor of Public Health, I had to go back to work part-time at the hospital as a medtech so that we could eat, because when he graduated his only job offer was a postdoc here at the university, which at that time paid, you know, —21,500 and we had a family of 8, so that was not very much in 19 — let's see, he graduated in 1983 and that was not much money back then so I went to work part-time. I worked like 20 hours a week, and then — so we always — from then —
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
What happened to the kids?
LOUISE COLE:
Well, I worked nights so he took care of them.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
So there was always a parent at home?
LOUISE COLE:
Yes, he was working days and I would work 2 nights a week, so he would bring the kids, he would take care of the kids at night, diaper them and put them in bed and, you know. He, so we equitably shared in the diapering and the getting up at night with the kids. In fact, he gets up with the children now in the morning and gets them off to seminary, because we stay up until usually midnight. And I'm very much like my mother, I have asthma and I need more sleep than he does, and so he does that in the morning, he gets up and takes care of the children and I do the end of the day routine with getting dinner and dishes and clean up, so he doesn't have to do that. And then he does the morning routine, so I don't have to get up and I can sleep and extra hour, hour and a half.

Page 13
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
So you had a lot of leisure [laughter] , so you decided to become involved in the schools —
LOUISE COLE:
No —
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
How did that come about?
LOUISE COLE:
How it came about was we got word actually through someone in our Church that they were instituting, or trying to initiate this multicultural plan which we had nothing against, but then at the last minute they were adding the sexual orientation, and the sexual orientation we also had nothing against as far as, you know, tolerance issue, but that it was not a tolerance document. It was to infuse multiculturalism and celebrate homosexuality and this is what we were against. Not that we had anything against any homosexuals because all six of our children have had homosexual teachers.
In fact, Mr. Bruton, who's the English teacher which started all this fiasco with his — essentially they had a girl in his class, that, he wouldn't let her out of the homosexual part of the, you know — course work, and so her parents dropped her out of school. She went to Pittsboro, and we felt that, number one, that's taking away parental rights and choices, and number two, that if they wanted Mr. Bruton to teach this, that it's such a controversial subject that, let the parents and children choose it, not to force it down their throats. And I guess because of the controversy, that is the case now, that that's worded in the multicultural curriculum now. We were successful in getting three people from our group on the multicultural task force — there are 38 members of the task force, 18 of whom were homosexual or lesbian, so they definitely had a loaded stack there, but, you know, multiculturalism is not a problem.
But infusing such a choice-oriented lifestyle — and the debate is still going whether it's genetic or whether it's, it's a lifestyle choice — but as a microbiologist and being brought up with people in my family who were alcoholics — and I had an uncle who was a homosexual — I know that genetically you can be predisposed to a particular syndrome or a particular disease, whether it's alcoholism, whether it's gambling, it's crime, whether it's sugar diabetes, or whatever — there's some things that you can't do anything about, like sugar diabetes. But there are things like alcoholism and gambling which are behaviors that you can be genetically and environmentally disposed to them, predisposed to them. But you still have your own choice. You can still choose. There are many children of alcoholic adults who grow up saying I am not going to do that. I'm not even going to take the first drink, because I don't want to end up like my father. There are other children of alcoholic adults who become like their father. Or their mother. Whatever the case may be.
So, in my opinion it is a choice matter and homosexuality is a choice lifestyle, and that's why I felt that, since it is in my opinion a choice lifestyle, and it's so controversial, it should not be taught and infused and celebrated in a high school

Page 14
setting. And even the man, oh I think his name was — he was a pastor of a church, or he used to be, he's now going around the country preached against censorship — he even disagreed with Mr. Bruton in the conference and said that homosexuality and the books that Mr. Bruton were promoting were not age-appropriate for 16 and 17 year old youth — that that's not censorship, that's age-appropriateness. Censorship deals with people that have turned 18, they're in the college setting and they can choose what courses they take. Children in high school do not get, and — as the girl was essentially kicked out because she was forced to take something she didn't want to take — that's a high school setting where they are not given any choices. That's not the way to teach. You don't teach by force. You teach by example. You teach by memorization. But you don't teach by forcing.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
So this, the Church alerted —"
LOUISE COLE:
No, not really, not the Church—
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
I'm just trying to figure out what got you —
LOUISE COLE:
No. We heard — well, we heard about it through another Church member of the Church. But the Church does not get involved, politically.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Okay. That's how you heard—
LOUISE COLE:
That's one thing that I do appreciate about the Mormon Church. There are other churches who do get involved politically but our Church — we have, probably most of us are Republican because of our lifestyle and because of our beliefs, but there are also a lot of Democrats in our Church too and our Church tells us to investigate, read, and learn the facts, not opinion, not, you know, what someone tells you. Learn the facts and vote your conscience. Don't take somebody's word for it. And so someone told us about it, so we started going to the [school] board meetings to find out what was going on. We got a copy of the multicultural plan —
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Now, "we" is you and your husband.
LOUISE COLE:
My husband and I, yes. And then we found that there were a group of parents getting together at the, I think it was the Carrboro Baptist Church, I'm not sure which — again not members of their church but that some of their group were and they were allowed to use the church, you know, for meetings. And so we got started in having meetings and we got a person that was willing to run for the school board— Billy Bevill — and we helped him to run his campaign — many of us helped him, were on his campaign committee and then we just got involved that way. And then after the Multicultural Task Force met, and it took them about 9 months, I guess, to get, you know, everything ironed out, and it was passed, of course. But the more we went to

Page 15
school board meetings, and the more we checked into what was going on with the school system, we found that there were a lot more things, a lot worse problems than infusing this homosexual lifestyle into the community. Of course, you know, distributing condoms, — and again, from the information that we have gathering and the investigations that we have made, we have found, we have found that, um —
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
LOUISE COLE:
[continuing] Anyway, the more investigation that we've done from across the country is that, when sex education was instituted in the school system to try and cut down on the number of unwed mothers, etc, etc, etc, it has done nothing but the reverse. And this is all across the country. This is not just Chapel Hill. But the unwed mother rate has increased, so we're saying, you know, why are you concentrating on this, why is it necessary to pass out condoms in the high school. Why aren't you concentrating on the academics.
But of course, the newspaper and the radio are saying that we're bad-mouthing the school board, and we weren't bad-mouthing the school board — although we did poke some fun, because we, at the end of the year, when we found out they had only passed out 6 condoms, and they had gotten something like 3000 condoms from the Orange County Health Department, and 1000 were taken into the school and the other 2000 were left in the trunk of Edwina Zagami, the nurse's, trunk of her car [laughter] . So obviously these were no longer any good.
You know, the sheer idiocy of it, to us, was so funny that one of our members got a plastic banana and put a condom on it and sprayed it with gold paint and mounted it and gave the school board a Golden Condom award. They did not appreciate the humor in it, unfortunately. We were just trying to make a jestful, you know, gesture, about this whole thing. It's so ludicrous. But like I said, they did not appreciate it. We also presented them, I guess our two foibles, we also presented them with a Golden Waffle award, for the Lavonda Burnette issue [ref. is to African-American member who was pressured to resign on discovery of inconsistencies in her record].
The more we investigated the real serious crimes of the school board, if you will, have been instigating these outcome-based education programs without properly training the teachers, without the funding, without proper notification and support from parents.
About the only one that was probably attempted to be done upright and forthright, was the School Within A School, because they got 300 children to sign up for that program.
We found out the other night from one of our members — she's not a member of Putting Children First, she's one of the people that's thinking about running for school board — said that as far as she understood, that the School-Within-A-School concept

Page 16
was to teach English, science, math and history interconnected and teach them altogether. And that they did not have a good math teacher, number one, in the School-Within-A-School, and so probably 90% of the kids failed math in the School-Within-A-School group, and 75% of the kids did not sign up for it the next year.
However, the school board went ahead with it anyway. It did work for some children. But it did not work for 3/4 of the children, and yet the school board, through their membership in the Coalition of Essential Schools [a RI-based program promoting integrated curriculum and outcome-based education] are planning now to implement this School Within A School concept systemwide. And yet for the last nine months, they've been lying to us about it, saying that they have not been planning to do this.
And yet, the reason we found now that McDougal School is shaped the way it is, and high school and the new elementary school that are being built now, between now and 1996, are also going to be shaped similarly, in other words, 4 little academies or buildings that are almost twice as expensive as they should be. Steve Halkiotis at the Orange County Commissioner meeting last summer had a whole book of elementary school plans — the cheapest on being a rectangular box with two stories — —4 million dollars. And he said, "yes, this is the cheapest school that we can buy." And we said, okay, fine, so you make it all one story, make it L-shaped or V-shaped or whatever — it's going to cost maybe —6 million dollars. We could get 2 elementary schools for the cost, what they're spending, on one elementary school, because it's shaped like a Battlestar Galactica-kind-of-a-crab-shape with an open thing in the center, and they're using the, the propaganda, if you will, that it's great because we need more light and a better environment to teach our children.
LOUISE COLE:
And I thought to myself, when I was growing up, I had fluorescent lights. Have they not heard of fluorescent lights? And my classrooms, I had a three-story elementary school, that was a cubical, three-story elementary school, but we had 10-foot ceilings and windows all along our outside wall. And every classroom did. And we had plenty of light in our classroom, as well as fluorescent lights. And I didn't have any problem learning.
But they're using this as a wedge, if you will, to divide the community. Now they've got this SOS group — Stop Overcrowding Schools — that are saying we need to raise impact fees, which are totally going to devastate any of the at-risk, lower socioeconomic group of people to be able to come in and buy a home. They say they're going to take care of that by using a sliding scale, and yet in the newspapers, the lawyers are saying that's almost an impossibility, to use a sliding scale for an impact fee. So to me they're speaking with a forked tongue. You know, "we want affordable housing over here, and yet we want better schools for our children, therefore we need to raise taxes."

Page 17
When I grew up, my mother separated my wants from my needs. And I worked for my needs. I have done the same for my children, and I feel that the school board knew, they've known for over 6 years, because my son who's a senior now at Chapel Hill High, was separated from Carrboro school, his last year was 5th grade, and he was the first sixth grade group that went from Carrboro to Culbreth, where they added on to have one sixth grade. Only one in the whole system. We fought it, but we said, you know, you proved to us, you know, we went to school board meeting after school board meeting — I guess that's the first one that I started with, I'm sorry, I take that back —
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
That would have been how long ago?
LOUISE COLE:
That was six years ago, and that was the first one, and I was only in -, we were only involved for about three months.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
And at that point you were involved as an individual?
LOUISE COLE:
As an individual family.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Before we go much further, I want to clarify at what point it changed from being just you and your husband on behalf of your own kids to beginning to raise questions about the whole system, the whole situation, and at what point it became an organized group.
LOUISE COLE:
I totally forgot about that because I'm so involved with this one right now. But there are two things. This one was the first one, sixth grade, and we were kind of organized with maybe a group of maybe 10 other parents. But we would meet at the school board meetings and, and talk. It was nothing really organized, but just that, you know, hey, this is, this is bad for our kids, but they proved to us that there was nothing else they could do, and so we said, okay, we'll support you in this. And that's what we did.
Approximately — let's see, it's been, about 4 years ago — approximately 2 years later — the then-superintendent of schools, the one before Neil Pedersen, I can't remember her name — anyway, along with a graduate student at the University of North Carolina gave out a sex and family history survey to all children, fourth grade and up. And the teachers had to go out of the classroom, and parents were sent home a little note — `we're going to have a survey done in our school, sign this and return it if you don't want your children to —" and of course, how many people are going to send back something like that? It was written very well, very— you know, very — [pause] uninformative. It was written to the point where we're doing a research project and we're going to take a survey of your children and sign this if you don't want your children to be involved.

Page 18
Well, again, as luck would have it, a member of our church, who was a teacher's aide and was sitting in the classroom with the children because she was an aide and was not a teacher, monitoring the tests. She had two little girls come up to her, in fourth grade classes, crying, saying to her that they did not want to answer any more of these questions. Another little girl just said, you know, "I can't do this anymore," and so she looked at the questions and found out what was going on and could not believe the questions. Told several of us at Church, and so we took it from there, and my husband and I got involved in that and spoke before the school board. And at that time we got involved with about 10 other families, none of whom were in church, but feeling that this was extremely intrusive into families and questions were asked — you could probably go back and get a copy of the newspaper clipping because they finally, through the lawyers, finally got a copy of the survey and published it in the paper. But —
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
What kind of questions?
Asking fourth grade girls, when did you first start your period? Have you had sex with your brother? Has your father ever tried to touch you? What is your family income? I mean extremely intrusive questions that, you know, very personal. Who in your class do you like? Who in your class do you hate? Who is the most popular in your class? Who is the least popular in your class? I mean, just extremely emotional, gut-wrenching things for these kids, that — you know, so — it was, I think, the first or second day of the test, and they had to pull it because of the publicity that they were getting, just from the questions that she was able to remember and that we were able to publish. And the superintendent never backed down, never apologized, felt that this was going to help at-risk children, and help them identify at-risk children.
And my husband and I, and several other parents, one of whom was a teacher in the community — her husband was in with us and met the superintendent. Not with— we didn't meet with the superintendent, we met with the lawyer, the school lawyer, and that's when Doug Breeden ran for the school board and got on the school board. So it was actually — I'm sorry, that must have been — that must have been about the same time. That must have been about 8 months after the sixth grade incident six years ago. It must have been about the next fall, I mean, the next spring that that happened, because he ran for the school board and won and was on for 4 years, and he's been off for 2 years, so that was six years ago, I'm sorry. So that must have been that same year, at the end of the school year.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
And he's —
LOUISE COLE:
Doug Breeden was, ran and was on the school board for 4 years [spelling name] and he said it was the worst experience he's ever had in his life, because he was constantly out-voted 6 to 1, 6 to 1 on just about everything.

Page 19
Anyway, so that was the second time that we got involved and got a little bit more involved with more parents then.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
At that point, though, you still didn't have a group with an identified —
LOUISE COLE:
Right. Yes. And, because there was no need for it. Everything kind of fizzled out after about 3 or 4 months, and she actually left after that year. And Neil Pedersen became the new superintendent. And we felt relatively safe with Neil. We knew him and met him from these meetings that we were having with the sixth grade, and this other thing, and he seemed to care about children, care about at-risk children, which we care about. But the we didn't realize about the institution of all of this outcome-based education until we got involved with this, the multicultural project and sexual orientation, and that's when we formed as a group. And we named ourselves, or we took the name, Putting Children First.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
And when was that?
LOUISE COLE:
That was a year and a half ago, about, it was in October, I mean August, of let's see, `93. And that's when we really organized as a group. And that was, you know, a totally different group, but—
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Not the original 10?
LOUISE COLE:
No, not at all."
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
And do you have an officer, I mean, are you and your husband, I mean, do you have an identifiable president?
LOUISE COLE:
We have, we don't have, we had a president. Right now we just have a board of directors. They are Gene Cole, my husband, John Reinhard, Peter Morcombe, Pamela Mee, Catherine Felton, and Alan Belch [spells all]. How many is that?" Six." I think that's it."
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
And how often do you meet?
LOUISE COLE:
As often as necessary. We usually do a lot by phone, because there's a core group of about 20 of us that do most of the footwork as far as speaking at the school board meetings. And so when we see something come up in the paper, or when one of us is at Lincoln Center [school administrative offices] and we get a piece of paper, we call the rest of us, and because we don't have a lot of money and we have not asked — we've got about 130-150 names, addresses, and about 200 members — and from the very beginning, we helped Billy Bevill, some of us helped him with his campaign, and we donated money to the organization [interrupt to check spelling] — and so a lot of

Page 20
us when we first joined, we, you know, threw in 25 or 30 dollars, or whatever, and so we had a pot of money, and we have not asked any of our members for money since then. And so we try, most of us, the 20 or 25 of us that work together, we'll pay out of our own pocket for postage, or if it's —80 to print like a newsletter, like we had last year, we take that out of the pot. I don't know, we don't have very much money in it, you know, maybe 8 or 9 hundred dollars, and so we kind of leave that if we need, you know, a big expenditure for something. But we've made copies of newsletters, and we've had, we've only had 3 newsletters since our inception, and we need to get another one out— this spring.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
What is your role, most often? Are you on the phone, are you at the meetings? Or.
LOUISE COLE:
Everything. I'm on the phone. I'm at the meetings, and I speak at school board meetings. So—. I do, what everybody else does. But so does Peter Morcombe, so does John Reinhard, so does my husband. I kind of take up the slack for my husband, being on the board, because he works probably anywhere from 50 to 80 hours a week, and he's out of the country a lot, and we both agree a lot, on our ideas, and so when he's out of town, then I kind of fill in for him. But — it's nothing official, because we don't really want, nobody really wants to be president, as such, and so we, you know, to have that responsibility, and so that's why we've got a board of directors and we all kind of call each other and see if we agree on things rather than have one person try and do it all themselves or have one person's philosophy. We like to try and work as a group and, and agree things whether it's a press release or the newsletter, or whatever the case may be.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Did you ever have any moments where you were concerned whether the positions you were taking might affect your children — in how they got along in school with the teachers or with other students or anything?
LOUISE COLE:
That's one of the reasons why my husband and I have gotten so involved in this, is that other parents have felt that way. And being a Mormon, as such, I don't know whether you know much about Mormons, but Mormons are kind of ostracized anyway—. And my children have never been ostracized, because they, they're very accepting and very tolerant of everybody.
In fact my daughter that just graduated last year had a circle of friends, I think about 15 or 18 friends, and they all drank, and their boyfriends drank, and she was always invited to the parties and they would always, "Okay, Amy, what do you want, Coke or 7-Up or —" you know, they knew that she didn't drink and wasn't about to drink, even though she would go to their homes for some of their parties.
She wouldn't even watch R-rated movies, because this is a policy that we've made with our children — we said, "look, we know, when you're outside the home, you're going to have this choice to make. We do not want you to watch R-rated movies and we will not have R-rated movies in our house, just as a guideline. We realize that

Page 21
you're going to have to make that decision on your own." And we felt that, like, most of the time they would just go ahead and sit with the rest of them. Amy came home and told us one night that she was on a sleep-over with a bunch of girls and they started watching an R-rated movie, and she said — I said, "well, what did you do?" And um, I expected her to say, "well I watched it but I didn't like it," or something like that. And she said, "I went up to the bedroom and read a book." I said, Amy, are you serious?' She said, "Well, Mom, you don't want me to—" I said, "I know, dear, but— I'm proud of you for doing that," but, you know, I didn't expect her to be so — but Amy has always been that way.
Now Gina told me once that she went to somebody's house on a- she's my 16-year old, and she did watch the movie, and she said it wasn't that bad, but — and I said, "well — but what was it about it that was rated R," and she said, "well, this—" and I said "do you understand why we don't want you as a general rule to watch R-rated movies?" and she said, "yes, I understand." And so we were able to talk about it.
LOUISE COLE:
But we— my husband and I talk to our children all the time about anything, about any topic, any subject. And we feel like we have to trust our children, and we also feel that, um, there possibly may have been some repercussions, but that we would deal with it at the time, and we feel like we really have not had any problems.
Gina had, um — gee, I always lose the person's name — she has, had the math teacher last year that, um, is part of the NEA? or the teacher's union? — oh, I can't remember his name. Anyway, extremely liberal, extremely pro- everything that the school board is pro — and he got, Gina got an A in plane geometry from him, but she's always gotten A's in math. And we just felt like that, that most teachers, if they really were concerned about teaching, would not let the politics interfere with, you know, the children — that the parents were different than the children, or that, you know, that you can't hold what parents do— if you don't like what the parents doing — against the child. And we assume that most parents, I mean most teachers would react that way, and as far as we know, they have.
So we haven't had any problem with it as far as that's concerned, but — again— we felt strong enough about our children and their friendships that they had, they're very well liked at the high school, and they don't stick to any one groups or cliques, because we're not rich enough to be in the rich clique, and um — and our children have to work, to save for their education — because having 5 children in 6 1/2 years, I told them, you know, from the time they're 12 years old, they have to save half of their money. So Matthew at age 14 now has like —1200 dollars in the bank. Adam has about —3500 and Gina has about —2500. And that's what they'll use. My, the other two had about —4 thousand when they graduated to use for their first or second year of college. And we helped them, you know, we split it with them, we pay their tuition and they pay their books and rent and food, type thing, so they still have to work even

Page 22
when they go to college, except the first year. The two girls didn't work the first year.
Anyway, I got off on a tangent, what was I talking about?
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
No, well - I was wondering if you had had any hesitancy, to begin with —about—
LOUISE COLE:
The school, right, and so consequently we did, at first, we had a little bit of a hesitancy, if you will, but we felt like those types of things would work out, that if we did have a problem with the teacher, that we would go and talk to the teacher. And, um, we had to go and talk to one teacher, and we didn't really have to, it was by choice, but it had nothing to do with Putting Children First. It had to do with Adam not doing his work in an English class last year. And, um, the teacher was really nice to us and, um— you know, just said he needed to really knuckle down, and he wasn't doing his work like he should, so we worked with that, on that.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Do you expect that once all of your kids are in college you'll still be working, dealing with the school board, or do you expect to get into politics, or do you think you'll go back to, quote, private life, or, or, how do you think it's going to play out?
LOUISE COLE:
Well, I feel like our life is private right now, I mean, it hasn't been interrupted other than, well, I take that back, I guess what I should say is my life is not my own right now, but I still consider it to be pretty private, because we get calls once in a while from news reporters from the paper, but because our views are different than theirs, different from the school board, they generally just leave us alone. Or if they do publish something, it's, it's bad-mouthing us, you know, or trying to put us down. And so we don't really, you know, it's not really that much of a problem. I guess what is a problem and what is a problematic situation here is that we spend so much time at the meetings and at school board meetings and preparing talks that, like with both of us working, my house is a disaster area, and that's the thing that bothers me a lot right now but on Saturdays we tend to kind of work as a family and get the washing done and get everything vacuumed and get cleaned up for Sunday, and we're also very active in Church. So between Church and community and our jobs and our children, we don't have much free time, we don't have much time even for ourselves, my husband and I. But we feel that it's important enough to do it.
We — you may or may not agree with this, but — I feel that you grow and progress over time and age about things in life and things in nature and things with God, for instance. And I feel like I've always been such an independent person all my life and the Scriptures teach you that you need to rely on the arm of God, if you will, and I've always been, you know — that in other words, that no matter what we do in this lifetime, we can only do it because God grants us the power, so to speak, to do it — that He has made everything on this earth and created everything for us, and whatever we do, it's because of Him, and we need to have an attitude of gratitude, as far as God is concerned. So I have a strong belief in God, and that he does help us, and that

Page 23
he will help us fulfill righteous desires. And it took me a long time to get to that point where I realized that even though I'm independent and I do things myself, that I still have this Supreme Power that allows me, if you will, to do things. So—my thoughts, where was that leading to?
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Well, I was asking what you thought was going to happen once you no longer have children in the school system.
LOUISE COLE:
And so, consequently, I feel that we need to stand as a witness, if you will, for what's right, and what they're doing in the school system, number one, wasting money, number two, wasting our minds of our children — and not just mine, but all children — they're becoming mush, according to Thomas Sowell, who is a black columnist from Stanford, California — wrote a really good article about outcome-based education — that I feel it's important to get involved and that's why I've gotten involved and that's why I'm running for school board this fall. Now that will depend on whether I get on the school board or not.
LOUISE COLE:
It will be for a four-year term, if I get on the school board, and then my son will have graduated in that four years — my last son will have graduated. After that it just depends on how, what the climate is like then, whether I'll continue or whether I'll, you know —. And of course it all depends on whether I even get elected. I may not get elected. This is a very liberal community, and the community is more tax-and-spend than cut-back and save some money because we're gonna need schools, and that's the situation we're in now.
They have spent so much money on these two schools, on the three schools, they could have built six schools for the amount of money. And that's what they're telling the SOS group, very emotional presentations about how overcrowded our schools are and very emotional presentations from the women and teachers who got up at the meeting and some of them even cried about how — well, we knew all this all along, but they're using it as a wedge, again, to try and get people to support raising taxes — instead of, you know, saying that what they've done is what has caused this.
But the other thing, that they haven't told the SOS people, which is very annoying and very frustrating to me is that — they passed the bond referendum for 3 schools— one in Orange County and two here in Chapel Hill. Now, the county commissioners did not feel that they climate was good to pass— well actually— and initially, the school board asked for 3 schools. The, they felt that the climate was not good to pass a —76 million dollar bond referendum, so what they did was they cut one of the schools in Chapel Hill. So, it, they cut it back to 3 schools or —56 million — I may have the figures wrong — I may be off —2 or —3 million— but anyway — —56 million or —53 million — to build 3 schools. So they passed the bond referendum — it just barely passed. They got the three schools, but the 3 schools were one in Orange County and

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the high school, and MacDougal. MacDougal was built first. It cost —14 million dollars for MacDougal, and the allocation for high school was —22 million. It came in —3.5 million over budget. So they cut, like, an auditorium and an athletic field, and I think the music room or something, and then added more money from somewhere else to— I think it's now up to like —23.5 million dollars. But again it's built on this School Within A School or 4 academic buildings concept, based on Horace's school from Brown University. We also found out that they signed up for Coalition for Essential Schools a year ago.
Last summer we went and presented before the Orange County Commissioners and said "don't give them more money, they're wasting money." We found out that they were going to again start the application of or the bidding on the elementary school, which was, you know, the — crab-claw shape, and it was —11.6 million, and it came in almost —2 million over budget, so they cut on that. You know, Pedersen took the technology money — oh, we were unsuccessful in getting the Orange County Commissioners to say no to this school. Now this school was not on the bond referendum. What they did was they bypassed the voters by— the Orange County Commissioners went to the state to get a waiver for something called "Certificates of Participation" — which are essentially a bond-referendum without the voters voting on it. It's not to be used for schools. The Orange Country Commissioners went to the legislature in Raleigh and got a waiver of using the Certificates of Participation. It's similar to a bond referendum in that it ties up or mortgages a certain part of the taxes, not for 5 years, not 7 years, but 10 years. The school does not belong to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro city school system. It belongs to the Orange County Commissioners, and it will be paid back through intangibles tax — which are on the verge of being repealed— and number two, from sales tax revenues over the next ten to twelve years.
So, again, the school board have come back and told these SOS people that, `there are several things we can do. We can raise the impact fees. We can use Certificates of Participation. And the SOS people do not realize that the Certificates of Participation have already been used for the next 12 years. The other thing that the school board has told the SOS people and are trying to tell the public is that, we don't need one school in 1996, we need two elementary schools in 1996. Well, Chet Preyer told us that at the Orange County Commissioner meeting at Cedar Grove School last June. A year ago. Told us that we'd need two elementary schools. So I say to myself, okay, they're spending —12 million dollars for one elementary school. They could conceivably get three elementary schools for that kind of money, but, okay, we make it a little bit fancier for Chapel Hill, we could get at least two. They went ahead with it, they've built, or they're building, this —12 million dollar elementary school, using and mortgaging the Certificates of Participation for the next twelve years. John Link, the County Manager, said it would be approximately 10 years, but now that it went over budget, and Neil Pedersen had to take money from elsewhere, and he even said, John Link said to my husband and to Peter Morcombe last year, it might possibly cut into the capital improvement money, so that we wouldn't even be able to replace the roof or a leaky water faucet.

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LOUISE COLE:
Now, of course, when my husband said that at the school board meeting, Neil Pedersen wrote a letter to John Link and John Link wrote back and said that `I remember the conversation, but I don't particularly remember what I said about leaky roof or— in other words— but the point is he did say, John Link said at the Orange Grove meeting last June that— he was saying something to the effect that `you can— you're going to mortgage the schools for the next 10 years, and there possibly could be no money for repairs. And then someone else said something, and so it was kind of, kind of muffled.
But here we are. He took the capital improvement money— I'm on the SGC [Site Governing Committee?] at Culbreth. One of the things that's needed at Culbreth is to pull out the carpeting. They have this real short shag carpet — that they cannot clean, it's a health hazard for kids. They can't pull it out and put tile back down. They cannot clean it but there's no capital improvement money. There are two schools in this system that are 42 years old. There's no money to replace the roofs on these two schools. There are plumbing problems. There are, you know, sheet rock problems. There are carpeting problems. There are tile problems. There's — And there's no—
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
It sounds to me—
LOUISE COLE:
There's no money left! Because they've mortgaged that money! Not only that, there was —100,000 dollars for technology money. Once MacDougal was built with all these fancy computers and television sets — there was a million dollars set aside to upgrade the other schools to put at least some computers in the other schools and link them together, so that we would have a network, so that— you know— Actually, no it wasn't to have a network, but it was to at least upgrade the other schools with their computers. And to hire, I think, maybe 3 or 4 computer people, because we really need those to train kids on them. Well, that's, you know, —100,000 dollars Pedersen took to put on to this elementary school. And the capital improvement money, which is to repair the school.
So now there's no money left. Ephesus Elementary School, we're 67 kids over capacity in August. Now they're like 80 kids over capacity. Finally, the school board has said, `okay, we're going to give you some trailers. But they refused last year because they said there was no money. And then, um, the PTSA newsletter that came home last week from the high school said that the school board is unwilling to give us buses to get the kids to zero period class, and we asked Neil Pedersen, and he said there were no resources. In other words, they can't buy more buses, they can't do this, but they're requiring at least 800 kids to come to the high school for zero period class because they're going to have almost 2300 kids at the high school next year. But they're not adding any more rooms. They're not adding any more trailers. Because there're no resources to do this. And they're not adding any more buses.

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They're requiring the kids to drive — parents, families, whatever — um— So Sue Baker said to him, "well, how you propose to do this?" And he said, "well, we'll offer them incentives, like parking permits—"
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
It sounds to me like, if you run for the school board, or when you run for the school board, you'll be doing it primarily on fiscal issues rather than on what first got you .. your attention.
LOUISE COLE:
Right, exactly.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
And, conceivably that could, I mean, do you think about city council as well, at some point, or is this—?
LOUISE COLE:
I don't understand what you mean.
PRISCILLA MURPHY:
Well, if, if you, either if you weren't elected, or if you were elected and then as a next step— would you think of city government, or are you really interested in schools and education?
LOUISE COLE:
I'm really interested in schools and education, I really don't care about city government, as far as that's concerned. I feel like it's also a political thing. But, city government and deciding whether a Lowe's should come in here or not, I mean it affects the community, but it doesn't affect the minds of our children. Whether they have a freeway come in or not does not affect the minds of our children, and to me the minds of our children, and the education of our children is paramount to me in the future of our country. If we fill the minds of our children with mush, like Thomas Sowell put it, with this outcome-based education, how are they going to deal with reality when they grow up and have to perform a job, have to be accountable for something. Right now, the children in this school system, with this outcome-based education are not accountable for even their actions. There's no right or wrong. There's no right or wrong decisions. There's no right or wrong answers to questions. It's a — well, "how do you feel about this," and Thomas Sowell — I gotta give you a copy of that — said in the article, he said that one of his students — and he teaches economics, and he said he asked a question and his student raised his hand and said, "well, I feel—" and he said "I stopped him right in his tracks." He said, `economics is not about how you feel. It's based on assessment and analysis of data given, it's not how you feel. It's, you know, — a perfect description of outcome-based education. They're trying to give self-esteem and according to John Leo in one of his articles about a year ago — in the US News & World Report about a year and a half ago — and he talked about self-esteem, and he said, "self-esteem is something that you have to earn. It can't be given to you." And, but with this outcome-based education, that's exactly what they're trying to do. They're trying to give self-esteem.
Another thing that I'm, um, frustrated about with the school board is that they have, it's like they have no— —no room in their agenda for any type of creative vision, if you

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will, with money situation. And last night my husband and I watched the news, and in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the city council and the school board came up with an idea to build this fantastic gymnasium on school property—
— gymnasium would generate income —
END OF INTERVIEW