Billy Graham Center

Collection 75 - Elizabeth Howard Warner. T1 Transcript.

Click here to listen to an audio file of this interview (69 minutes)

This is a complete and accurate transcript of the first oral history interview of Elizabeth (Howard) Warner (CN 75 T1) in the archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words which were recorded are omitted. In a very few cases, the transcribers could not understand what was said, in which case "[unclear]' was inserted. Also, grunts, verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. Readers of this transcript should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and even rule than written English.

... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence of the speaker.

.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.

() Word in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.

[] Words in brackets are comments made by the transcriber.

This transcript was made by Robert Shuster in September 1992.

Collection 75, Tape T1, Interview with Elizabeth (Howard) Warner by Lois Tressler, November 15, 1978

TRESSLER: This is an interview of with Mrs. Elizabeth Howard Warner by Lois Tressler for the Missionary Sources Collection of Wheaton College. This interview took place at 6405 Avondale, Chicago on the date of November 15, 19...


TRESSLER: ...78 [laughs] at the time of 2:10. Mrs. Warner, do you...where were...where were you born?

WARNER: I was born in Minneapolis. My father was teaching at the University of Minnesota at the time.

TRESSLER: And what was the date of your birth?

WARNER: 19th...February.... Oh, excuse me. September 25th, 1912. [chuckles]

TRESSLER: Then how long did you live in that town?

WARNER: Just about five years.

TRESSLER: And then you moved to...?

WARNER: And then moved to China. My father enjoyed teaching at Minnesota but he increasingly felt that he would like to be somewhere where [train sounds in background] he had more Christian influence and an opportunity came to go to China and teach at Canton Christian College. He first heard of this college through a young woman who was also a Wheaton graduate, Bonnie Brown, who was working at the University of Minnesota as a secretary. She was going to Canton to work as a secretary to the president. And they needed somebody to teach in the zoology department, so she made the contact and he was called out there.

TRESSLER: Then what...what year was that that he was called out?

WARNER: That was 1917.

TRESSLER: 1917. Okay. And how many kids were there in your family?

WARNER: There were three.

TRESSLER: And what were their names?

WARNER: Leland was six years old, I was five, and [William] Walden was two on the ship going out.

TRESSLER: And what was [sic] your impressions of China at five years old?

WARNER: Oh, I remember it looked so different. When we landed at Hong Kong [coughs] we noticed the little shops all along the street, little bamboo [pauses] sort of platforms and all the wares put out to sell and people along the streets. just looked so different from the U.S.

TRESSLER: Did they...was that the time they were wearing...where they wear those real...where they used to wrap up their feet? That for the women?

WARNER: The bound feet for the women?


WARNER: It was beginning to change, but you would still see some of them, yes. But not among the younger women. In the more remote areas and some of the older women would have their feet bound.

TRESSLER: That's interesting. Then what did your father teach at this school?

WARNER: He taught zoology there, [coughs] same as he had in Minnesota. And after some time there he became very much interested in the silk industry and started a school of sericulture, going around the countryside and learning how they raised the silkworms and how they had the moths lay the eggs on sheets of paper. And he started this school to experiment with the methods and to improve the strain of eggs which the people could buy to start raising their worms from. [coughs] That's not from China. [laughs, probably referring to her cough.]

TRESSLER: [laughs] What...what did you do during this time period? Did you go to school?

WARNER: Yes, we...we had our own little school on the campus for the faculty children. Some other children came from other parts of Canton. And we had a little school. It was in one of the homes and the College provided two teachers for us and then some of the mothers helped with their specialties. The biggest school we ever had was thirty-six children in the eight grades.

TRESSLER: So it was quite large. That's pretty big though. I didn't think it was even that big, from what you told me before. What is your...then you had, like, math, science, all of....

WARNER: Yes, we had all the main subjects. We didn't have gym classes and we didn't have all the extras that they have in schools nowadays.

TRESSLER: Now were you divided into grades still?

WARNER: Yes, we had two rooms, one up to fourth grade and one through eighth. My mother the science classes, one lady taught the music, we had an artist from England who taught Eng...who taught art, and so on.

TRESSLER: That sounds impressive, to have an art teacher from the...that's actually an artist. [laughs]

WARNER: Yes, she was....

TRESSLER: You don't have that too many...

WARNER: She was the wife of one of the professors. She had exhibited her art in many places.

TRESSLER: That's interesting. When did you come back from...? Wait, I should ask you some more...something more about China. [sighs] Can you tell me about anything else about China, some experiences you had, like? Well, even just some little things, like where you played at and what kind of games you played. I mean, it might be different from a child in the U.S., I don't know.

WARNER: Well, it were pretty much the same I think. We didn't have all the facilities for certain games. We played tennis. They had tennis courts there.


WARNER: Some for the faculty and the children often played on them. And we roller skated and in the summer when we went on vacation down in Hong Kong, we could swim. [pauses] Our campus was on an island, so we were a little bit isolated from the city, but our parents would take us up to the city now and then. And things that they have in Chinese cities...they would have what they would call "Silk Street" and they would have "Embroidery Street" [Tressler laughs] and different streets like that, where they would sell all these different objects. And it was very interesting to walk up and down and look at these things. And sometimes we would go and eat in a Chinese restaurant or we would be invited out to a Chinese feast and have all their delicacies, ten course dinners and so forth.

TRESSLER: Ten course!

WARNER: And once in a while we would take a trip into the country. We had friends who were missionaries in missions in some of the country areas and we would go down and visit them. And this was so different from where we lived, where we had our big campus with its...its barbed wire fence all around it and gates protecting us at both ends. When we went out in the country, I remember we took some trips and stayed in monasteries and that was very interesting. They had little...little rooms where we could stay, little cubbyholes with bed boards set up on sawhorses for us to sleep on. And you could eat there in the monastery too. The people were very friendly and very hospitable. And then visiting in these village missions, you'd see the kind of work that they'd have. They'd have orphanages and little churches, schools. But very different from the big city ones.

TRESSLER: What type of monastery is that?

WARNER: It was...

TRESSLER: Is that Catholic?

WARNER: ...Buddhist.

TRESSLER: Oh, Buddhist?!

WARNER: A Buddhist monastery. Yes.

TRESSLER: Then do they have the idols there and everything?

WARNER: Yes. Oh yes. And they let us go in and see the idols. They have huge idols, painted in gold and red paint, sitting up on a platform. And the people would come in....they never have services. They would just come in individually and bow down and pray and make offerings. They'd bring offerings of food, because they thought the spirit of the idol could eat the food. And they would light candles and pray to them.

TRESSLER: Did they ever do, like, burn cash or anything for the people in the next life?

WARNER: Yes, funerals they would do this. They would burn paper money and also objects like furniture and even objects of people, like servants. So in the next life they would have plenty, they'd have food, they'd have servants, they'd have furniture, everything that they needed.

TRESSLER: Is that little replicas...

WARNER: Yes...

TRESSLER: ...of furniture?

WARNER: ...uh huh.

TRESSLER: They'd buy it from the local priest or whatever.

WARNER: Yeah. Uh huh.

TRESSLER:, the Buddha [sic] religion have just priests? They don't have any women the leadership positions, then?

WARNER: No, just men as far as I recall. I don't recall any women.

TRESSLER: Did they...what did they...they didn't mind having Christians come in and stay at their their monasteries?

WARNER: No, they didn't seem to mind. They were glad to have us come and stay.

TRESSLER: Now, did you pay for that?

WARNER: Yes. We paid...I don't remember. My parents paid for it.

TRESSLER: Yeah. That's interesting.

WARNER: They gave them something.

TRESSLER: Getting back to the other subject on...when you used to go into the towns, into the different markets and stuff? So you remember any of the prices of any of the stuff you used to buy? Like....

WARNER: No, I don't.

TRESSLER: Even like bubblegum or something. I mean, maybe they didn't have bubblegum.

WARNER: They didn't chew bubblegum. That was before the days of bubblegum [both laugh].

TRESSLER: Yeah, but I meant something like candy or something that a little kid would buy. Do you remember any prices on things like that?

WARNER: No, I don't. But it would be very inexpensive compared with now.


WARNER: And of course the exchanges rate was so high for a dollar you would get so much Chinese money that it did not amount to too much anyway. But you always talked price. Always talked price.

TRESSLER: What? Tried to get them down...

WARNER: Yes, uh huh.

TRESSLER: price? And especially foreigners. They always expected foreigners to pay more. Another thing I remember on the streets....

TRESSLER: Even though you spoke Chinese?

WARNER: Oh yes. Oh yes. [slightly mocking tone] Foreigners were made of money. You know, we had that reputation all over the world. We're made of money. I remember saying once to somebody that I couldn't do something until I got some more money. Oh, they just laughed. The idea of an American not having the money. [chuckles] But another thing that impressed me on the streets was the beggars. So many beggars around the streets. And some of them just slept on the street.'d see children that were blind or crippled and they would be there begging. And their parents would just use them as beggars to try and bring an income for the family. But we seldom gave anything to beggars. We wanted to but our parents wouldn't let us because if you gave something to one, you'd just be besieged by the whole mob of them and you just couldn't go down the street, there would be so many of them.

TRESSLER: That's really sad.

WARNER: Yes, it really is. I still have that feeling that I want to help these people, but of course you can do it through organizations...


WARNER: World Vision and so on.

TRESSLER: Is that where you originally got your desire to go back...

WARNER: Oh yes, I'm sure it was.

TRESSLER: ...and work with children?

WARNER: You grow up there and see the need. Also I've seen many beggars around behind Chinese restaurants, going through the garbage looking for something to eat. I often think of it when we have more than we need to eat and throw away so much.

TRESSLER: That's true.

WARNER: If we could just give it to somebody over there.

TRESSLER: Did you have a lot, since you were on a little island, like, did you have any Chinese friends or...?

WARNER: Some. Not as much as we would have had if we had lived in the country, but everybody had servants. Now some people might find that hard to understand and I know some missionaries who don't have servants. They do their own work. But in the old days when you didn't have any of the conveniences of modern life, living in another country, it' would just be a full time job. You have to do your shopping every day, talk price. And your laundry is all done by hand and then hung out on the line. And all of these things take so much time. And the wives were also active teaching in the school and another aspect of it is that education is much more highly honored or revered than in this country [the United States]. Here it's free for everybody, [pauses] up to a certain point. [laughs]

TRESSLER: Yeah. [laughs]

WARNER: But there only the high classes had only opportunity to be educated. And educated people, they were a class to themselves. And it was beneath their dignity to do manual labor. And if the professors and their wives did all this housework and yard work, they wouldn't have the respect of their students. [Tressler laughs] And so everybody had servants. Also, it was giving the people work and they needed it.


WARNER: We had a man cook. He had worked for other peop...he had been trained to cook and work for foreigners, was very efficient. His wife came in with him. We had one section of our house...over the kitchen was servants quarters, so he had his wife and family there. His wife did the cleaning and the laundry...some of the cleaning. His nephew, a young teenager, came and lived with him later and was a houseboy. He waited on table, helped with the dishes and did some of the cleaning too.

TRESSLER: That would be fun [?]

WARNER: It took three of them to take care of us. [chuckles]

TRESSLER: Did you then...did you...did he have a play area?

WARNER: He had children.


WARNER: He had...

TRESSLER: He was older.

WARNER: ...he had two children when he moved in and two more later, so we played with them. And with other servants' children. For the most part, there weren't too many Chinese that lived on our campus, so we did not have that much contact with them.

TRESSLER: Then your campus was just for foreigners or....

WARNER: Well....

TRESSLER: ...or for....

WARNER: ...the other students...

TRESSLER: Was that for Chinese students or...?

WARNER: ...would have dormitories.... Yes, the Chinese students.

TRESSLER: Okay, that's what I was wondering.

WARNER: And all the faculty members, of whom there were quite a few, from many countries (British and American mainly).

TRESSLER: [unclear]

WARNER: Had home for each one.

TRESSLER: Was that...did you have American and British students there too, or was it...?


TRESSLER: That was just an all Chinese school.

WARNER: All Chinese, yes. Except my older brother and myself. When we got through eighth grade, most of the children went to an American school in Shanghai, but my parents did not like sending us away so young, so we were the only American students in the middle school and in the College. We took some courses there and then we had some courses taught us by the teachers or some of the mothers who taught different subjects. We took our mathematics in the middle school, which was the high school. And then we took English and I took French in the College. And we had another interesting art class, taught by a...a Chinese artist...


WARNER: ...a famous Chinese artist. And the teaching was all in English, except for this Chinese man. He didn't speak any English. So we were in his Chinese art class. And we didn't understand everything he said, but it was a very interesting class. We learned how they approached the subject of art.

TRESSLER: That would be interesting. Now...then all the Chinese students had to learn English...


TRESSLER: ...before they came to the school?

WARNER: And they studied English in the school too.

TRESSLER: Now that was a...a middle school? Now, what grade...that was ninth through twelve?

WARNER: That would be...[pauses] yes.

TRESSLER: And then...

WARNER: Same as our high school.

TRESSLER: level freshman to senior year.


TRESSLER: And then that was the end of the school?

WARNER: Yes, That was the end of the....

TRESSLER: Okay, I understand.

WARNER: No graduate school there. I believe they had a little primary school too. I had forgotten about it. It was small, but there...there were some primary students there too.


WARNER: So we had a lot of dormitories and the College buildings and then with the homes of all the faculty members.... Also there was an agricultural college that had a small farm unit. So we lived better than most missionaries. We had our own fresh milk and eggs...


WARNER: ...and some meat.

TRESSLER: That would ne nice.

WARNER: Fresh vegetables. Most places they couldn't eat raw vegetables, but we could eat ours.

TRESSLER: Is that...?

WARNER: Right there on the grounds.

TRESSLER: Is that because...well, like, I know in Ecuador they have to cook everything a lot because of...

WARNER: Yes, sanitary...

TRESSLER: ...yeah, sanitary conditions.

WARNER: ...conditions.

TRESSLER: Now is that why they wouldn't be able to eat it right away.

WARNER: Right. But at the university they were very careful.

TRESSLER: Yeah and it was on an island besides which would....

WARNER: Right.

TRESSLER: Okay. Now you were talking about the professors, they didn't do any of the work or anything. Like, if they did something like....

WARNER: They could...they could work in the garden. My father used to work in his yard.

TRESSLER: Oh, they could. 'Cause that's what I was wondering: if they worked in the yard, were they suddenly looked down upon?

WARNER: No, he worked in his garden to put in plants and so on. That was all right.

TRESSLER: But is wasn't....

WARNER: We...we children had our own little vegetable garden.

TRESSLER: Oh! [laughs] But somebody else cut the grass. We had rather a big yard so that was a big job. A semi-tropical climate anyway, so grass had to be cut practically around the year.

WARNER: Did...did your house servants or did most of the house servants speak Chinese or speak English?

TRESSLER: They spoke Chinese. They knew a little English, but not much. We spoke Chinese to them.


TRESSLER: Then what did you mean that they were trained especially...

WARNER: They were trained....

TRESSLER: ...for foreigners?

WARNER: Well, they were trained in cooking our type of food.

TRESSLER: Oh, I see. Trained. I didn't know what you meant by that.

WARNER: Their food is very different from ours.


WARNER: Though we loved Chinese food and we had our cook cook Chinese food often.

TRESSLER: Oh. [sighs] Let's see.

WARNER: It was a Christian school. They had a chapel service every morning and then they had a Sunday morning service. We didn't have a church there as such. We had no church to go when we were growing up. But sometimes we would go to the College service. Sometimes the faculty members who were all professing Christians at least. Most of them were real Christians. We would often get together and have a service of our own perhaps in the afternoon so any that wanted to could go.

TRESSLER: On a regular weekday or on...?

WARNER: No, on Sunday afternoon.

TRESSLER: So that would be the only real service you had on Sunday, then?

WARNER: Yes, and then we had our own little Sunday school. The mothers taught in Sunday school...


WARNER: ...for the children. And there was a Church of England service we could go to in Canton in the afternoon...about five o'clock in the afternoon. Sometimes we went to that.

TRESSLER: This island is right outside of Canton. Is that right?

WARNER: Yes, we had ferry boats back and forth.

TRESSLER: Then was there an adjustment once you got to the United States going to services on Sunday and just having it like...well, of course you...well, we'll get into that later, I suppose [laughs].

WARNER: Well, it didn' wasn't that much of an adjustment. We enjoyed it but it was new having youth groups and things like that. We weren't...

TRESSLER: Oh yeah.

WARNER: ...used to anything of that sort.

TRESSLER: Were there a lot of children your age...around your age?

WARNER: Yes. Uh huh.


WARNER: Quite a few.

TRESSLER: Let me think of something else to ask you. [long pause] I really can't think of anything else to ask you about your background at the moment. Maybe we'll shift back to that a little later if we happen to come upon it. Now, your father came.... Oh, what was...I know another question. What, the government. What was the government like or whatever caused your father mentioned mentioned before...talking before this tape you mentioned you had a couple of, I don't know, attacks or something and you were...had to leave....

WARNER: They weren't...

TRESSLER: ...your island or something?

WARNER: ...they weren't exactly attacks, but there was beginning to be some anti-foreign feeling and it was learned later this was instigated by the Russians. They were beginning to make their presence felt in China [chuckles] underhandedly. And at that time I didn't pay much attention to politics, so I can't go into all of that. But the way that it affected us, we had to leave on very short notice two different times. The first time it was when there was a demonstration, an anti-foreign demonstration. They had a big parade in the city and they were going to parade right through Shameen, which is the foreign concession, where all the consulates were and so forth. And everybody was a little bit tense about this, just what was going to happen. So the...the American consulate asked us all to leave. He gave us about three hours warning. So we all got on one of these riverboats and went down to Hong Kong. And sure enough, when this parade took place, someone fired a shot. They never did find out for sure which side it was, but that started things off between the Chinese and the foreigners. And there were some of our students who were participating in this parade.


WARNER: And a few people were killed and so this left a great feeling of contention and [pauses] just didn't know what was going to happen. Very explosive. So we were all down in Hong Kong, which was British, and the British were accused of firing the first shot [chuckles] by the Chinese and here we were and some of our faculty members made a statement...a couple of them made a very quick statement, which antagonized the British and they didn't really have the facts to make it on, but anyway it didn't help the situation. [laughs]

TRESSLER: What, the faculty said that the British shot the first...?

WARNER: Something like that.


WARNER: Yeah, so without taking time to really investigate as to whether it was true or not, I'm not sure.

TRESSLER: A mess. [?]

WARNER: But anyway, we were not very welcome among the British. But we only stayed there three weeks and then we went back up to Canton and went back to the campus and we were there all summer. I think there were seventeen Americans there. We were among the very few that had gone back.


WARNER: And you didn't know whether you dared speak to people or not. You'd meet your friends and they didn't dare speak to us.

TRESSLER: What, the Chinese...

WARNER: The Chinese.

TRESSLER: ...friends?

WARNER: Yeah. They didn't know....

TRESSLER: For fear someone else would...?

WARNER: Would see them and maybe accuse them of befriending the Americans.

TRESSLER: Oh, what a mess.

WARNER: It really was a mess. It was a very uncomfortable summer, though we children didn't mind. We had a good time anyway [both laugh, drowning out a few words] But then things gradually settled down. School started in the fall and went ahead according to schedule. And then two years later, in '27, the same thing happened and that time we had live on three hours notice too. That time my mother said she was more prepared. She knew what to pack. [Tressler laughs] She had the Peking rugs and the silverware, which she had left behind the time before.


WARNER: And it came in very handy because we went down to Hong Kong. We didn't stay in the British section where we had the time before. We went out to a little island where we spent our vacation and where many missionaries spent vacations and also many of the business people in Hong Kong had a lot of little houses on the peaks of this island. And we went right up to this home of a missionary friend of ours who lived out in the country. We visited several times. She was home on furlough. She worked with three other...four single women ran this mission out in the country, did fantastic work out there. Ruth Hitchcock, in case any of you heard of her. The other three women who worked with her were there at the time, but two of them moved out and made room for us. Moved somewhere else and we used our Peking rugs for beds for the boys. [Tressler laughs] Roll them up on the floor. We had one room with one bed in it.


WARNER: And this was in April. We were there until July when we finally came home.

TRESSLER: Then you guys....[?]

WARNER: My father had already...Dr. Buswell had already invited him to come to Wheaton a year or two before and he felt this was the time to go. He had known Dr. Buswell and his brother at the University of Minnesota where they had been students at the time. I forgot to mention about my father's work there. He...while it was a Christian College, he didn't have any opportunity to teach Christian subjects or anything like that, but he had always had a large Sunday school class of young men and got very close to them and many of them would come over during the week. And I remember him early in the morning, he would have one of his students there and they would be having their devotions together on the porch. And they had a big swing. They would sit on the swing. They would be talking there, reading the Bible, praying together. And a number of these young men became real Christians and went on in their Christian life. He kept up with them for years, though of course after...after the Communists came in, we weren't able to keep any contact with them. But they were...he felt they were real fruit of his work there. Most of his mission work he considered one to one, this personal work with the students.

TRESSLER: Did, were these, the students that went to the school, was that the upper class of...

WARNER: Yes, he taught...he taught....

TRESSLER: ...Chinese?

WARNER: Oh yes. They always were.

TRESSLER: The elite.

WARNER: The other people could never have an education.

TRESSLER: That wasn't a free...there wasn't like a free education. Like, you had to pay.

WARNER: No, they had to pay for it. And there weren't that many schools. They had the people...the people who could afford to go.

TRESSLER: So it wasn't necessarily Christian Chinese that went there then.


TRESSLER: It was just anyone.

WARNER: No, it was a university, but they hoped to win them while they were there. No, it was not...


WARNER: ...a Christian school. They would not have had...

TRESSLER: Is that...?

WARNER: ...very many students if it had been.

TRESSLER: Oh. Is that why you said some of the students went in that parade? Is that why, because...did some of the Christian students feel anti-American or anti-foreign feeling or...or was it just mainly students that...?

WARNER: There might have been a few, but for the most part they didn't no. I think when this anti-foreign feeling gets started, they just resent having foreigners there, taking such a...a strong place and having such an influence in their country. But a lot of this was Communist.


WARNER: The background. But you've lived in another country and seen how they...the foreigners, they live off the fat of the land and have the people wait on them hand and foot,...

TRESSLER: That's true.

WARNER:'d resent it too.


WARNER: And even...especially in Hong Kong, I've heard some of the.... I'm not anti-British, but [laughs] they kind of talked down to the Chinese and I couldn't blame them [laughs] resenting it. And they feel...they feel that, as I've said before, that you're made of money. You've got all the money and they haven't got anything. While this isn't true always, at least, it is in many cases. Yet there is a feeling there. It's kind of hard to avoid. I think it is much better when missionaries can live down to their level and try to live as much like them as they can. But in our case working with the educated class they respect you more if you live on the level where their educated people do. I'm not...


WARNER: ...excusing us [laughs] but....

TRESSLER: So that's why you had a servant and....


TRESSLER: Well....

WARNER: That's the way it was done and we sort of fit into the pattern.

TRESSLER: What kind of house did you live in?

WARNER: Oh, we had a great big brick house, with...

TRESSLER: It was brick?

WARNER: ...cement floors. Yes. Much larger than any we ever lived in here. [Tressler laughs] It was a warm climate, so we didn't need the heating.


WARNER: It was cold in the winter. We had fireplaces in three rooms...


WARNER: And a little potbellied stove in one room. So in the winter you really bundled up. I remember wearing long black hand knit wool stockings, knit by the girls in the blind school.

TRESSLER: You had a blind school on campus?

WARNER: No, it was...

TRESSLER: On the island?

WARNER: of the other missions in the city.


WARNER: There were many missions in the city, different denominations. One of them had a blind school. So we'd all get our hand knit sweaters...


WARNER: ...and stockings from them. And then you'd just pile on layers of warm clothes, warm underwear too.

TRESSLER: It got really cold there, apparently.

WARNER: Well, not...they never had snow, not in Canton, but it just felt cold by comparison. And then...

TRESSLER: What temperature...?

WARNER: ...not having heat.... Well, it wouldn't get down to...quite to freezing.

TRESSLER: Oh good.

WARNER: It was up a ways.

TRESSLER: That's really [unclear] I didn't think it would get that cold. Surprising.

WARNER: Just for a short period in the winter. Then we had rainy season. Then it was hot and humid most of the time.

TRESSLER: What kind of...did you have, like, a cold season and then a rainy season then what, a dry season and...?

WARNER: Well, the cold and the rainy kind of went together. It would get cold, then it would just get rainy for a while, then hot until September or October, then it would be hot again by March or April the next year.

TRESSLER: Oh. Then did you have to go to school all throughout the year for you personally?

WARNER: The same...the same school year that we had here, the same grade.

TRESSLER: Would it be the same for the Chinese too, for their...?

WARNER: Yes, it was in our school. I don't recall that anybody had summer school. We all went away and took a vacation when it was very hot.

TRESSLER: For like three months then?

WARNER: Uh huh.

TRESSLER: Then you went to the island?

WARNER: Well, no they wouldn't go for that long, but during that time.

TRESSLER: What did you usually do on vacations? Was it...?

WARNER: Well, we would often go down to Hong Kong to one of these islands where they had vacation spots. Then we could swim in the ocean.

TRESSLER: So swimming and that's mainly what you did?

WARNER: And hiking around the island. We had a good time there, playing with other children.

TRESSLER: That would be fun.

WARNER: Sometimes people would take a trip somewhere, someplace they hadn't seen.

TRESSLER: Okay, you said your father came to the United States again. Now, what year was that?

WARNER: That was 1927.

TRESSLER: And that was to teach...?

WARNER: To teach zoology at Wheaton [College in Illinois].

TRESSLER: Okay. Can you tell...give me some...okay, you came back then...okay, I have a question. [laughs] Was it sort of a surprise [laughs]...a surprise to come back to the United States after you had been in China? Oh, how old were you?

WARNER: I was just about fifteen.

TRESSLER: Fifteen.

WARNER: Yeah, it was sort of a culture shock, it really was.

TRESSLER: I would think it would be.

WARNER: My parents wanted to send us to high school, they thought...the public high school. They thought it would be good for us. We had been to public school one year, the three oldest ones of us. We were home on furlough.


WARNER: My youngest brother was three at the time, so he had never been to public school. But we had gone the one year and I remember that year, it was so different [laughs]. A big class, you know.

TRESSLER: Yeah, that's true.

WARNER: But people persuaded us to go...persuaded them to send us to the [Wheaton Christian] Academy instead. And I think probably it was better, because having lived a different kind of life, I don't know how we would have survived...


WARNER: ...high school. It would have been too much of a change. It was a shock, a culture shock as it was. But it was a lot easier for us than for many missionary children, because our parents came with us.

TRESSLER: That's true.

WARNER: And at the same there were people coming home from China and other parts of the Orient, mainly China at that time. And there were so many other missionaries' children and their parents come with them that were in Wheaton that first year or two.

TRESSLER: Oh, they also...?

WARNER: There were quite a lot of us, yeah.

TRESSLER: So that was like you all just all got up and moved [laughs] together.


TRESSLER: That would be...

WARNER: So we had a lot...

TRESSLER: ...easier.

WARNER: ...of companionship...


WARNER: our adjustments.

TRESSLER: That was the Wheaton Academy, right?

WARNER: Right. And it was right on the campus [of Wheaton College].

TRESSLER: What grade would you be in? Ninth grade, tenth?

WARNER: Eleventh.

TRESSLER: Eleventh grade? Okay. You mentioned before to me that...that you guys were so far ahead or something? Now normally....

WARNER: Only one year. [laughs]

TRESSLER: Oh, one year ahead.

WARNER: My brother Walden was two years ahead and he was...he was going to be thirteen in October. So he repeated eighth grade.


WARNER: And they had many extra courses in the junior highs here that he hadn't had, so he found plenty to do.

TRESSLER: What kind of courses is that? Like shop or something or...?

WARNER: Yes, things like that. We didn't have all those things. We just had the regular course.

TRESSLER: Like math, science...

WARNER: Math, science, English, Latin.

TRESSLER: ...Latin. Did you, like...was the Academy hard to go to or was it an easy school or okay?

WARNER: Oh, it was okay. I don't....

TRESSLER: You don't remember if it was really...?

WARNER: ...think it was that much of a change, really. Though of course it was bigger, more students. But it was quite a small school. I would say less than a hundred students at that time.

TRESSLER: I didn't know it was that was small. Where did you stay at? Where did you...was it...?

WARNER: Well, we lived on Ohio street, south of the tracks. The name of the street's been changed now, but it was just a little south of [pauses] the tracks, so it wasn't too far to walk every day. The first six months, after my father's death [in 1928] (he was struck by a train as he was crossing the tracks) my mother said she couldn't stand to live there any longer and have all of us crossing the tracks every day.


WARNER: So we moved into one of the College houses on College Avenue, I forget which one.

TRESSLER: Was that Wayside Inn now, or did you go into that later?

WARNER: No, the next fall we moved to Wayside Inn. But we stayed in one of the College houses which had an apartment which was vacant for the rest of the year.

TRESSLER: Oh, I see.

WARNER: Then we moved into Wayside Inn the next year. And my mother raised me and her three boys in the Academy girls' dormitory.

TRESSLER: Now, I believe your mother took your father's place...

WARNER: She did...

TRESSLER: teaching.

WARNER: some of the classes. She didn't take all of them. She had taken the same courses in college that he did.


WARNER: That is, in the same field. That's where they met [Tressler laughs] in the la laboratory at Minnesota University. And she kept with him all the time, when he was teaching. So she took over one or two of his classes to finish...

TRESSLER: That's neat.

WARNER: finish out the year.

TRESSLER: Was that hard for her?

WARNER: Yes, I'm sure it was and yet she said it really was a blessing for her, because having a tragedy like this, you know...

TRESSLER: Kept her busy?

WARNER: keep her busy, it helped her.

TRESSLER: Was did your father's death affect your life or you personally?

WARNER: [pauses] Let's see. Well, first, it was a terrible shock and.... But my mother, she was equal to any situation. She just carried right on and she kept us all together. Some of the relatives in the East [the eastern part of the United States] wanted to help her out and take one of the children.


WARNER: They all wanted to take the same one, Walden. He was the...the cute one. [Both laugh] But she said no, she had to keep us together no matter what.

TRESSLER: I can see that. That's important.

WARNER: And we then we continued with our classes right there in the school and everybody gave us a lot of support.

TRESSLER: You didn't stop classes...


TRESSLER: for a week or so.

WARNER: Well, for a few days, the rest of the week. I forget. It was in the middle of the week and by the following Monday I think we went back to school.

TRESSLER: What date was that that your father died? Do you remember?

WARNER: It was the first of March.

TRESSLER: The first of March. Was that...?

WARNER: In '28.

TRESSLER: [pauses] Okay [pauses for a longer time, then sighs]

WARNER: One thing I forgot to mention about the...the students. This might come in later in some of your questions. My father at Wheaton or are we through with that too?

TRESSLER: No, its okay, yeah.

WARNER: He enjoyed teaching in China. The students were really studious, they really worked hard and part of this was due to the fact that not everybody has a chance to go to school and they really appreciated it and really wanted to work hard. But I remember that he used to say when he came back to Wheaton he couldn't begin to give his students at Wheaton the same amount of work he gave them studying...

TRESSLER: Oh! [laughs]

WARNER: Chinese out in China and he was very proud of one debate team that came over and debated some students in America and beat them. [Tressler laughs] They were so good. But during his first term there, before he came home on furlough, he helped two or three of his students who were Christians and wanted to come over here to study. He helped them make the arrangements to come to school here. But they didn't want to come to some little Christian school. They wanted to go to the big universities.

TRESSLER: Oh yeah.

WARNER: Which I guess they still do. And then he was so disappointed. they came over to school. When they went back, they weren't Christians any more. They said, "America's not Christian. Why should we take over something that they have already abandoned,...


WARNER: ...that's passe." And he said not only were they not Christians, they were well educated and prominent men and some of them went into government and they weren't even honest in their government dealings, which was typical of the government. They just went along with their government. In here there's a question somewhere about...


WARNER: ...the government in China [referring to a list of interview topics which had been given to her previously]...


WARNER: ...whether about their moral standards and so on. And they would get by with things if they could. And these students who had formerly been Christians, they were just like the others and he said when he went back for a second term that never again would he encourage a student to come to the States and study. And when he had a chance to speak in churches , and my mother too, they felt...this was the burden they had to put upon the American people that, "You see [Chinese] students over here, try to show them a little Christianity while they're here. Make a contact with them, be friendly with them, let them know that there are Christians in America. Because they get the false impression when they come and study in our universities." And that was years ago. [pauses] I wanted to be sure to put that in...

TRESSLER: Yeah. That's okay.

WARNER: ...since my parents both felt that very strongly.

TRESSLER: Yeah. [pauses] That's interesting. Did...? Chaplain [Evan] Welsh [Wheaton alumnus and College chaplain from 1941-43, 1955-1972. He was chaplain emeritus after 1972.] mentioned that your father and the students got along really well and that it was really an enjoyable time. Was you think your father had an enjoyable time teaching at Wheaton?

WARNER: Oh yes, very much so. And he followed the same path that he followed China. He didn't have them coming over for devotions in the morning.


WARNER: But he made real friendships with his students. And I see some of these people that graduated around '26, '27, '28, in that period...not '26, we weren't even there yet.


WARNER: But from '27 on, Dr. [P. Kenneth] Gieser, who's at Wheaton now and Dr. [Willard M.] Aldrich, who's president of Multnomah School of the Bible.

TRESSLER: I've heard of that.

WARNER: They were some of his students.


WARNER: And several.... And who was the professor of...

TRESSLER: Science?

WARNER: ...zoology at Wheaton? [Tape recorder turned off and on] [both laugh] Where did we stop?

TRESSLER: Something about that doctor.

WARNER: Some of the professors at Wheaton and well known alumni that I meet, they remind me of how much my father meant to them, how...what close friends they were and his influence on their lives. And I know this was true, because he took a real interest in his students.

TRESSLER: Did they come then and stay at your house and things for supper and things like that or...?

WARNER: I...I don't recall. [laughs]

TRESSLER: Oh. That's okay. How did...okay, your father died when you lived in a house on College Avenue. Then you moved to, what Wayside Inn?

WARNER: Wayside Inn, which is where the Health Center is now [on Irving Street, across from Buswell Library].

TRESSLER: And the Academy is where the Graduate School is [in Schell Hall, at the corner of Irving and Franklin]

WARNER: Buswell Hall they call it now? [The building was later renamed Schell Hall and the library name changed to Buswell] That was the Academy. So we just had to walk around the corner to go to school in the morning.

TRESSLER: Didn't get out of too many school for...I mean, you didn't get out of too many days of school for snow days.

WARNER: No, not many. [Tressler laughs] And the chapel...of course, Edman Chapel wasn't built then, it was the old chapel.


WARNER: Pierce Chapel [on Washington Street]. And the Academy had chapel with the College. We all sat over on one side. So we really were part of the College. At least we felt part of it.

TRESSLER: Did the College students look down on you, since you were just in the Academy or...

WARNER: Well,...

TRESSLER: ...did they enjoy having...

WARNER: I don't think so.

TRESSLER: ...high school students around?

WARNER: [laughs] I don't think they looked down on us. And there weren't that many of us. In fact the whole campus, everybody around there, was only about six hundred in those days. Or maybe that was just the College. But you could practically know everybody on the campus.

TRESSLER: Oh! Six hundred people.

WARNER: Six hundred people.

TRESSLER: I was trying to think six hundred what.

WARNER: Buildings, teachers. [laughs]

TRESSLER: No, I thought maybe it was standing [?] for something else. [laughs] I couldn't think what six hundred meant. Yeah, you get to know the people then. For sure. Then you went to the Academy for...?

WARNER: Two years.

TRESSLER: Two years. Then you...

WARNER: Managed to graduate. [Tressler laughs] That automatically puts you in the College.

TRESSLER: Oh, that automatically did?

WARNER: [chuckles] If you graduated.

TRESSLER: You didn't even have to...

WARNER: If you don't flunk.

TRESSLER: ...apply or anything...

WARNER: Oh, you had to apply, but I mean you could get in....

TRESSLER: ...or take exams.

WARNER: No, we didn't have to take exams that I recall. If we graduated from the Academy, they passed us. We were able to....

TRESSLER: 'Cause I was thinking of ACT tests and stuff like that we have now and I was wondering if you....

WARNER: No, I don't think they used to have those things.

TRESSLER: That's nice. [both laugh] So, then you went to the College and.... Where did...then you kept staying at Wayside Inn?

WARNER: Wayside Inn.

TRESSLER: Now that...that...that that time did that have College students in it or was it still Academy girls?

WARNER: No, I think it was still Academy girls.

TRESSLER: And your brother was in College at the same time, right?

WARNER: Uh huh.

TRESSLER: Two brothers or just one?

WARNER: Just one.

TRESSLER: Just one.

WARNER: For the first two years, then Walden started my third year.

TRESSLER: He was the brother that kept going...he went to eighth grade again?

WARNER: Repeated, yeah.


WARNER: No, three years later. He's three years younger.

TRESSLER: Okay. Then, what was it like to be in school as a freshman?

WARNER: Oh it was...

TRESSLER: Did they tease you?

WARNER: ...a lot of fun. Yeah, we had Freshman Day and we all had to wear some kind of little green cap, I don't remember what they were. [both laugh]

TRESSLER: Did you have to wear them for like a long time or just one day?

WARNER: I think...I don't know whether it was for a whole week or just a day or two.

TRESSLER: [laughs] Did you have, like, a freshmen orientation thing or something like we do now?

WARNER: I don't recall orientation if we had it.

TRESSLER: Okay. I mean like what we do now, we have a...a trip into Chicago on...and then go on Lake Michigan on a boat...

WARNER: No, I don't recall anything like that.

TRESSLER: ...and have a picnic and stuff like that. You didn't have anything like that?

WARNER: No. Oh, we did...yeah, we didn't go into Chicago. I think we did take an early morning hike and had a picnic somewhere.

TRESSLER: Oh. When you first came? Well, you didn't first come. I mean, you were already there.

WARNER: Yes, I remember getting up early to go on the hike and having the picnic. Thanks for reminding me.

TRESSLER: Sure. Did you have then...where did most of the students live at that time?

WARNER: In the dormitories.

TRESSLER:, where were the dormitories during that time? Was that still in Blanchard they had a men's dormitory up above...

WARNER: Yes, they had...

TRESSLER: ...or on fourth floor?

WARNER: ....they had men's dormitories in Blanchard Hall.

TRESSLER: On fourth floor was that?

WARNER: Uh huh.

TRESSLER: And then...

WARNER: And then the women's dormitory....

TRESSLER: ...were there women's dormitories....

WARNER: What's it called? Where the dining hall is? Williston Hall.

TRESSLER: Oh, Williston, yeah.

WARNER: Williston. And then they had these houses on College Avenue...

TRESSLER: What, they...?

WARNER: ...two or three of them where was some students lived.

TRESSLER: That was...

WARNER: I think that was at....

TRESSLER: a women's house and a men's house?

WARNER: Uh huh.

TRESSLER: They didn't mix. Now they have the French House and in the French House, it's guys and girls living even though they have separate quarters in the house. So there wasn't anything like that.


TRESSLER: I didn't think so. Who was the president when you were there.

WARNER: Dr. Buswell.

TRESSLER: Dr. Buswell?

WARNER: Uh huh.

TRESSLER: Okay, what year did you go to college? What was your first....what was the date you entered?

WARNER: '29.


WARNER: Fall of '29.

TRESSLER: Okay, let's see.

WARNER: There may have been a few students that lived off campus, let's see...a few other houses, but they didn't have all of these other dormitories. They hadn't been built yet.

TRESSLER: Yeah. Then...okay, what kind of...what buildings were on campus at that time?

WARNER: Well, Blanchard Hall and Williston and the [Pierce] Chapel and there was a gym, an old gym. Let's see, what is it now?

TRESSLER: The bookstore?

WARNER: I think so.

TRESSLER: Up above the bookstore?

WARNER: Uh huh.

TRESSLER: Is that where it was?

WARNER: Yeah. I think the bookstore is in the basement? And the post office is in there too?

TRESSLER: Okay. Not now, but it might have been then.

WARNER: Yeah. And what else did we have? The Conservatory was in basement of the Chapel building.

TRESSLER: Oh, in Pierce?

WARNER: In Pierce, yeah.

TRESSLER: And that was it? You just four buildings? Where was your cafeteria? Was it the same place?

WARNER: That was in Williston.

TRESSLER: It was Williston?

WARNER: In Williston, uh huh.

TRESSLER: Where, like, down the basement or something?

WARNER: Where is it now?

TRESSLER: It's right beside Williston. Its like in the back half of Williston.

WARNER: Oh yes.

TRESSLER: Its built on.

WARNER: Well, we didn't eat there. It was only there occasionally.

TRESSLER: That's true.

WARNER: I guess it must have been in the basement, yeah.

TRESSLER: Then was all that other space around campus, was that houses then?

WARNER: You mean....

TRESSLER: Where we have building now, were they houses...were there houses there now...then?

WARNER: Yes, I think so.

TRESSLER: Okay,....

WARNER: Let's see, on Wayside...where the Science building is now, that wasn't built yet. That was vacant. We were able to use that for a nice big garden. My mother had three boys, she got somebody to plough and we put in a big garden, I remember, for a few years.

TRESSLER: Might as well. [both laugh] Okay, then some of the activities you were involved in. [cuckoo clock in background goes off three times.] What can you tell me about that. [pauses] Like, you were in the Boethallian Club, is that...?

WARNER: Yes, the Boethallian Literary Society. And that time the literary societies played a big part in the life [of the College]. In fact, I think they were the most outstanding organizations. Practically everybody joined one at the beginning of the school year. There were three for the men and three for the women. I think the third of each was started while I was there. Or did they start a fourth? I don't remember. At the beginning of the year, for Friday chapel, each week one of the societies would have a special program with the scenery in the background and...

TRESSLER: Scenery you made?

WARNER: ...anybody.... Yes. We'd be up half the night making the set. [Tressler giggles] Putting on a special program. Then inviting all the freshmen to come and visit our society...that is, the women.


WARNER: Or the men for their society. Come and visit that night. And we put on a special program for them. And they were all invited to come and make up their minds as to which society they wanted to join.

TRESSLER: What...what was the program like? Was it...? Were they...what were these literary societies? I'm not completely understand...was it...?

WARNER: Oh, it was really sort of a club. And we would have a program every week. All the literary...the special programs that were put on...they would have a special theme, it was like a play we put on. And we'd have the scenery in the background.

TRESSLER: Was it on some literature [sic] or was it on anything?

WARNER: Anything that we wanted to choose about some country or some book or any topic that we wanted to work out and invite them to come and see what kind of program we put on. But every week we had a meeting and we would have our business, transact a little business, and then we would have certain members of the group put on a program and then you asked about the critics. The critics would criticize it afterwards, whether it was well planned and well organized and if those that spoke did well and so on. Sometimes, I remember, the program...they would call on people to get up and give an impromptu speech on a certain topic.


WARNER: And this was a little scary. [both laugh]

TRESSLER: What was the whole idea of the club? Was it just to have a social group on campus...

WARNER: I think so.

TRESSLER: ...for the girls or was it like to develop things, to broaden your knowledge of subjects or to learn how to speak well or...?

WARNER: Well, a little of all. was to have a...a group that you belonged to, sort of a social thing. And also to help you learn how to plan and develop a program and learn how to speak and participate. We didn't have a lot of other things of that sort, so this kind of took the place of it all.

TRESSLER: Uh huh. The...did you have, like, and punch afterwards and stuff like that?

WARNER: You got me there. I can't even remember if ate or not. I'm sure we did on special occasions. But I don't think we did every time.

TRESSLER: Okay. Now, you didn't know...did you say you didn't know what the sergeant-at-arms thing was or not?

WARNER: Well, the sergeant at arms would, oh, sort of be at the door, keep order [laughs] and...

TRESSLER: Was it a real rowdy...?

WARNER: ...if anyone came in.... No, it wasn't rowdy. But if we had elections or anything like that the sergeant-at-arms would pick up...hand out the ballots and pick up the ballots and things like this. And if there was anything that needed to be handled, that type of things, the sergeant-of-arms would do it. And if you needed attendance taken, why, they could keep the attendance.

TRESSLER: Okay. And the parliamentarian, what was...?

WARNER: The parliamentarian would be when we had the business part of the meeting. Now this was partly to learn how to conduct a business meeting and how to behave in one and bring up all these issues and vote on them and so on, not that we had anything very [laughs]very important to vote on, but just to help us learn all of these things. And in case any question came up as to whether it was being handled right or whether somebody was interrupting the parliamentary order, they would ask the parliamentarian. And you were supposed to have a book of rules of handling the meeting and you were supposed to tell them how it should be done.

TRESSLER: What, you looked up the rule in the book?

WARNER: Yes. Uh huh.

TRESSLER: Or you knew it so well that...?

WARNER: If...if you didn't know it, you looked it up.

TRESSLER: I see. Who put it...who made up the rules?

WARNER: Well...

TRESSLER: The club did?

WARNER: ...there are certain rules of parliamentary order and I think we just got a copy of them, whatever the rules are and we probably adapted to our little club because we didn't have...


WARNER: ...too involved procedure.

TRESSLER: Did you take this then from a...probably the...the...some of the rules, like from another woman's club or something? Or, I don't know, from a...from what I understood the Phil.... What group was that, the...Phila...?

WARNER: Philaletheans?

TRESSLER: Yeah. They started your group. Now would you take some of your rules from their group?

WARNER: We probably had them all the same.


WARNER: Yeah, I remember that my Boethallians, that was one of the newer groups. I think they started out with two and then the group got...

TRESSLER: Too big.

WARNER: ...too big, so they wanted to have more as the student body grew, rather than have such big groups, so they started more and then eventually had four groups for women and four for men. [coughs] Yes, I think the parliamentary rules were probably the same for all of them.

TRESSLER: How...oops, I'm sorry.

WARNER: How often did we meet?

TRESSLER: Yeah [laughs]

WARNER: I believe it was once a month, Friday nights.

TRESSLER: big were the clubs.

WARNER: [pauses] I have to go back to college and find out all these things. [laughs]

TRESSLER: Oh don't....

WARNER: I don't remember. Let's see, if we had six hundred students on campus, roughly three hundred each, boys and girls, that would make about a hundred. But I'm sure it wasn't quite that big. Not everybody would join. Probably fifty, sixty, somewhere in that area. Well, you asked about activities. As we talk here, other things come back to me. I'd forgotten about the Women's...Girls Athletic Association. Or Women's Athletic Association, whichever they called it. They would start out the year with a special party for all the freshmen too. And that was a hayride. And we went to a farm in Glen Ellyn where they had a barn with a hayloft.


WARNER: And we slept in there [Tressler laughs] overnight. I remember they...they had a little skit they put on and they ate supper there and then we slept in the hay and then we were invited to join the Women's Athletic Association. It was great fun.

TRESSLER: You didn't...I mean, you didn't have any sleeping bags. You just took blankets?

WARNER: No, we didn't...we just slept in the hay. Yeah, took a blanket along. And I remember burying my glasses in the hay.


WARNER: I didn't want to lose them. And all night long I was worried and I was feeling around to see if I could find my glasses in the morning. [both laugh]

TRESSLER: Terrible. What a riot.

WARNER: But that was a lot of fun.

TRESSLER: Yeah. It sounds like you...most [sic] what you did...what you did at the beginning of your freshman year was just go to a bunch of different parties and things.

WARNER: Oh, we had to study too...

TRESSLER: Well, yeah.

WARNER: ...between times. These were just weekends.


WARNER: But they were nice.

TRESSLER: But that sounds interesting that they had enough variety of things to do.

WARNER: Do they have things like that now?

TRESSLER: [pauses] No, no. Not as much.

WARNER: The school is bigger, you can't do quite the same things.

TRESSLER: There's really not any lit...not any clubs on campus, except like Chemistry Club or....

WARNER: Oh, we didn't have that.

TRESSLER: But see most departments don't even have certain clubs. So it's, like...well, you can belong to a CSC [Christian Service Council], but they don't have club meetings. It's just going into Chicago and....

WARNER: CSC? What's that?

TRESSLER: CSC? Christian Service Council?

WARNER: Oh. Oh yes.

TRESSLER: Like, going into Chicago and helping somebody.

WARNER: Uh huh

TRESSLER: Or you doing tutoring or going to a nursing home and having service or something like that. Like you have student government you can get involved in, but that's...and like class councils.... But none of those are oriented. I mean, it's usually that a class puts on something or the student union provides for the campus [unclear]. It sounds sounds like you had a...

WARNER: I remember doing some of those things...

TRESSLER: ...more interesting time with those groups.

WARNER: ...going out to Mooseheart to teach in Sunday school.

TRESSLER: That was with what? That was with [unclear]?

WARNER: I don't remember whether that was through the College or through College Church.


WARNER: I know College Church had a group that went out to some Sunday schools out in the area where there weren't any churches.

TRESSLER: What is Moose...?

WARNER: Mooseheart? That was not a....exactly an orphanage. It was for widows and orphans of members of the Moose lodge.


WARNER: I don't remember exactly where it was or is. A little west of Chicago.

TRESSLER: Oh, west of Chicago.

WARNER: Yeah. And we would go out...a group would go out Sunday afternoon and have the Sunday school for the children. Very difficult children to handle, I recall.

TRESSLER: Why was that?

WARNER: Well, they....

TRESSLER: Not loved or...?

WARNER: Oh, they didn't particularly care about going and they weren't particularly interested. Sometimes you would teach a whole lesson and nobody was listening. [both laugh]

TRESSLER: That's encouraging.

WARNER: But I remember one little class of my first contacts with black children. These little children were cute. There were some black and some white in there and we sang a song and I noticed the difference between the black and the white children. The white children, you couldn't hear them. And the blacks, they all had good voices. They really sang and really enjoyed it.

TRESSLER: You also belonged to a (let's see) a Gospel team? Is you remember anything about that?

WARNER: [pauses] I remember vaguely they had Gospel teams. This was still the College?


WARNER: I don't remember what we did though. [pauses] Maybe that was going out to these....

TRESSLER: Sounds like.

WARNER: That could have been, because I don't remember going to other churches...


WARNER: such.

TRESSLER: Okay, now....

WARNER: I also remember going to Elgin to the State Hospital there. So maybe that was a Gospel team. And trying to teach some of these girls in Sunday School classes. They were not very responsive either. It was rather difficult, but good experience.

TRESSLER: Yeah. Another organization was Student Volunteers [Student Volunteer Movement]? Now when....

WARNER: Yes. Now that was an organization that was of students interested in the mission field. And we would have a meeting, I forget how often. Once a month? Perhaps oftener. We would have...I think maybe we met oftener for prayer meetings. But we would have speakers. We would try to have outstanding missionary speakers to come and sometimes if we got a good one, why, the College would have him in chapel...


WARNER: ...and he would have a chance to speak in other places too.

TRESSLER: Now, did you say that was a girl society or...?

WARNER: No, no, that was....



TRESSLER: ...and women.

WARNER: Yes, right.


WARNER: The Students Volunteers, as such, I believe are not existing anymore.


WARNER: It has been taken over by...what is it? Inter-Varsity's group for foreign missions?

TRESSLER: I don't know.

WARNER: Another group that has a little different name.

TRESSLER: Did this...?

WARNER: We didn't have a very large group but it was very worthwhile, very interesting.

TRESSLER: Now, did you promise that you would go on the mission field or what...?

WARNER: No, no it was just people that were interested in...

TRESSLER: In missions?

WARNER: ...missions, uh huh. Interested in going probably...

TRESSLER: But not necessarily....

WARNER: ...but we didn't take any...

TRESSLER: Like, promise?

WARNER: ...pledge or anything like that, no

TRESSLER: Oh! I read something about...that the student missionary...the student volunteer society had contacted, gotten letters from other Wheaton students that had just left for the mission field and that correspondence was going on between them and they thought that was real exciting. I think that was...either, like, two or four Wheaton students have gone out to the mission field that year and they were corresponding. Do you remember anything about that at all?

WARNER: [pauses] Not really. We probably did keep up contacts with them. I'm sure we did. [laughs] I probably wasn't on that committee.

TRESSLER: Yeah. What's the Scripture Distribution Society?

WARNER: I had forgotten about that. Scripture Distribution Society. It sounds familiar but I can't remember what we did.


WARNER: I was a member of that, was I?

TRESSLER: Yes. How about Debate Union? Do you remember that at all?

WARNER: Yes, I remember being in the Debate Union. [laughs]

TRESSLER: Oh good. What did you do? Was that, like...?

WARNER: Oh, we had a few debates. [laughs]

TRESSLER: Was it like...did you go to different schools and do that, like, different college or you did that within your own your own group?

WARNER: Well, the ones that I remember were there at Wheaton. I didn't really...I don't remember that there was an organization, but I remember taking a class in debating where we did have a few debates. But that was not my forte.


WARNER: I was never very good at it. [both laugh]

TRESSLER: Okay. What was the Women's Intermural Society? What was...?

WARNER: Women's Intermural?


WARNER: That was probably sports.

TRESSLER: Yeah. Was it...probably just the way it is today?

WARNER: Just on the campus.

TRESSLER: Yeah. Teams against....


TRESSLER: You sign up for a team and you play...


TRESSLER: ...against each other and....


TRESSLER: Okay. I thought it was...I didn't see how you could change that very much, but....

WARNER: No, I was not particularly good at athletics, so that wasn't where I made any strong points either. I do remember playing some...a little basketball and what else is listed in there. [referring to list of interview questions she had received] I don't remember soccer.

TRESSLER: Soccer, volleyball, track.

WARNER: Track? [both laugh]

TRESSLER: Oh well....

WARNER: What was the first one? Just volleyball?


WARNER: Soccer and track. Don't tell my husband. [laughs]

TRESSLER: I won't.

WARNER: He likes to watch the games and I never know what's going on.

TRESSLER: Oh. [laughs] Also, you belonged to a History Club? Do you remember that at all?

WARNER: Well, I...I majored in history, so I suppose that went along with that. I don't remember the club particularly. Sorry I don't have a better memory.

TRESSLER: That's okay. I mean, I forget a lot of things. I'm not even...I mean, I haven't even had time to forget a lot [laughs] and I still do. Okay, how about teachers. Do you remember anything about specific teachers or anything? Were their courses were really tough or they gave their exams at a bad time or something like that?

WARNER: Well, I remember that a lot of them. The ones that I remember are the older times that aren't there anymore: Dr. [Elsie] Dow and Dr. [Darien] Straw. And I remember what everybody else remembered about Dr. Straw, how he'd always call on somebody to sing or...

TRESSLER: In class?

WARNER: ...lead.... Yes, for the devotions at the beginning. [laughs]

TRESSLER: You get called on to sing all of a sudden?

WARNER: To sing a solo [laughs]


WARNER: Or to lead in prayer. Often he would call on people to sing. If they wouldn't do it, I remember one time he sang a solo, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." [hymn title] And that one you have to start it awfully high or you get way down here [drops her voice to a deep level on the word "here"] And he got so low that we couldn't...the rest of...we just couldn't keep from laughing, it was so horrible[?]. [laughs] Some people, instead of singing, they would lead in prayer instead. [both laugh] But do classes still start with devotions?


WARNER: Every time?

TRESSLER: Most classes.

WARNER: That was true then too. And Dr. Dow taught English.


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Wheaton College 2005