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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
INTERVIEWER: Lotte Mauderli
INTERVIEWER: Emily Ring
September 8, 1986
R: This is Emily Ring speaking in our Maine cottage, Chamberlain, in Long Cove, Maine.
The date is September 8, and we have as our guest Lotte Mauderli. Lotte was a long-time
member of our University of Florida community for thirty-six years. Right Lotte, for thirty-six
years? Lotte was married to one of our German professors, Max Mauderli. Now Lotte, can
you tell us some of the interesting things about your life? Where were you born and who
were your parents?
M: I was born in Interlaken, Switzerland, and my father's name was Atlon Bitman.
R: Your mother's name?
M: My mother's name is Louise and the last name was Wysserod.
R: I see, Wysserod.
M: What it means when you translate it into English is "white bread."
R: I see. And your fathers profession?
M: My father was an architect.
R: Your father was an architect.
M: When he was in his forties during the Depression, the government asked him to come
to Villeneuve to start a program for the unemployed because at that time we did not hand
out money. You hired the people, and the government paid for things to do like repairing
roads or making new roads or new traverses, especially in the Alps. R: Very much like
our Works Progress Administration during the Depression in this country.
M: I think that is the same.
R: WPA, yes. So your father administrated this program?
M: Yes, he had to earn the doctorate.
R: Perhaps this is the origin of your concern for poorer people and for social issues.
M: Do you know they had no hand outs. For example, they gave the very young ones
some barraps. There would be nothing to add. There they had to clean the medals, or
whatever they called them.
R: Medals, yes.
M: Because they may be of full of stones.
R: I see.
M: Stones of all sizes and large things.
R: They clear them off.
M: They had to clear them and put them all in one place. That would keep more drugs to
the hospitals. [?]
R: Right. You went to school first in Interlaken. At what age did you start school?
M: I was not quite seven.
R: I see.
M: That is the age you start school there. You have four years for elementary school and
then five years for high school.
R: I see.
M: All together nine years.
R: At what age did you start learning the different languages that the Swiss speak?
M: Oh, I already learned German, an Austria dialect.
R: You started learning French and German.
M: German you had to learn from the first day of it because you speak the dialect.
R: Yes. You speak a German dialect?
M: Yes, a German. It was the way how the Germans spoke in the village.
R: I see.
M: The Swiss are so conservative, the German Swiss that still speak this old dialect. You
do not try to speak it.
R: I see.
M: When the children go to school at the age of six or seven, they have to learn the
German that is written.
R: The proper way to write modern German. I see.
M: Right from the beginning they have to learn the program.
R: I see. Now, do they also learn Italian?
M: They can choose. French is a possibility, and then you can choose between Italian or
English. At nighttime mostly learned English [?] because that was the thing to do.
R: Right. So then after you finished the first nine years, you went to a gymnasium?
M: No, I went to a school in the French part [of Switzerland] because then everybody had
to go the French part. That was the custom. It was not compulsory, but it was the custom
to spend your higher order Monsurmont.
R: Both boys and girls?
M: No, just girls. R: Just girls. In other words, it was a kind of finishing school for girls to
go into France?
M: Sometimes the French part of Switzerland.
R: The French part of Switzerland. All right.
M: There I studied business two years, more or less, and then the language.
M: And we also had shorthand and learned how to type. That was what I learned in this,
but especially the language.
R: Was it in that school that you learned to sew and embroider?
M: No, not in that school.
R: Not in that school, but later. All right.
M: Then when these two years were over, I went to Bern where I could stay with my
R: I see.
M: I could live with them. That was the seminar for the kindergarten teachers. There I
stayed two years.
R: Learning to be a kindergarten teacher?
M: That is right. I went to the Louma of the Castilla.
R: I see. And it was in Bern?
M: It was there I taught schools of preschool German. One was [Friedrich W. G.] Froebel.
R: He was a kindergarten specialist.
M: Then other one was the Italian, [Maria] Montessori. I was in the German speaking
part, so I was just representative. [?]
R: I see. Well, now you told me recently that it was in Bern when you were living with your
grandmother that you first meet Max, your future husband. Tell us how that came about.
M: Well, that was really something. It was Sunday afternoon when my grandmother
asked if we could accompany her to the city because she wanted to go window shopping.
On Sunday there are not many people downtown, and my grandmother did like to window
M: So we went. My future husband came out of the arcade with a friend, and his friend
was just asking him, "Are you going to this ball?" It all started next time we meet. Then my
husband said, "No, I do not have anybody." They passed us, and then he said, "Yes, I am
coming. I found somebody."
R: He had just seen you?
M: Yes, because he had just passed us.
R: How romantic!
M: Then we went back home. We took the street car, my grandmother and I. We were
just at the gate of the garden when this gentleman lifted his hat to grandmother and
introduced himself, and he asked for permission to take me to this ball. The answer of my
grandmother was, "Well, I have to ask her father. Please come inside." He came calling
two days. Then two days later my grandmother really got permission from my father. My
grandfather was told by my grandmother to go to the university and inquire about this
gentleman, and he came back and said, "Everything seems to be in order."
R: Good. M: When the day came to go to the dance, he came with a cab. My aunt was
also living. She was on my [window shopping] incident with my grandparents.
[Grandmother? Was your grandfather there, too?] She took number of the cab to
make sure something would go right, that she would know who has taken me.
R: Right. You said that he had brought a bouquet to your grandmother.
M: The day after he heard that I was allowed to go to this dance, my grandmother
received a huge bouquet of roses.
R: I see. Well, that was the way things were done in Switzerland.
M: Because she made it possible.
R: Right. That is interesting the way they used to guard young girls and chaperon them
very closely in Switzerland. Did Max did go to the university then?
M: Yes. He lost his mother when he was six years old and his father when he was eleven
years old. His uncle, a professor in astronomy, had supervised his schooling. He lived with
R: He lived with his grandmother?
M: Yes. He went to school up at the university. His uncle wanted him to be his successor
in astronomy, but he somehow was not too much interested. He tried the law and he tried
many things, but he did not have enough money for things. His uncle got upset because
he could not make up his mind what he wanted, and he said, "Well, then, you look for
R: That is when you came to Canada?
M: Then he decided to go to Canada and work over there to make some money. He told
his uncle, "I will work hard, and then I can pay my own to finish." So he took the German
boat and arrived in Montreal, I think it was.
R: It was more than probably Montreal.
M: Then he was looking for work, and everybody laughed at him.
R: Why did they laugh at him?
M: They laughed at him because people were dying in the dirt.
R: Oh, this was in the depths of the Depression?
M: This was in the 1930s.
R: In the 1930s, right.
M: It was in 1929 when Wall Street crashed, and he went over in the 1930s, and there is
R: Then what happened to him?
M: When he was reading the newspapers--he was reading the ads--he found a little ad in
Alberta from a farm that was looking for some help. He was frantic because he was not
able to go right over. Then Theodore [last name?] came in, and it was like two friends.
He would help. He told him where he had to get off and to ask for a ticket there. You know
he has to take the train.
R: He took the train all the way across Canada to Alberta?
M: What is the name of the railroad?
R: The Transpacific. [Canadian Pacific
the way to Alberta, and then he returned.
know, but close to Alberta.
M: Oh, no
Trans-Continental?] He went all
it was not Alberta, to a place, you
R: Way out in the sticks, in the country?
M: Yes, it was way out there.
R: And the train?
M: He had to tell the conductor where he had to get out, because at that time the carriage
R: There was no station?
M: The train had just leased different carriages. In the middle of each wagon was a stove.
R: A wood stove.
M: A wood stove with a flume right through the top. The train did stop several times, and
they could get off the train and find something to eat.
R: I see.
M: I do not remember how many days it was, but the conductor came up to him one day
and said, "We stop in five minutes. That is where you have to get off." The train stopped,
and he got off the train. It was just one big hole. No bench, no house, just nothing. He put
his suitcase down and sat on the suitcase, and he thought, "Well, this is it. Something was
now really wrong." He had waited twenty to twenty-five minutes when an old jalopy drove
up. It was the farmer, and the farmer was picking him up and taking him back to the farm.
It was quite a family reunion. [?] There he was supposed to cut down underbrush. That is
what he was doing one morning when he suddenly saw a moose, adding to the problem.
R: A moose or an elk?
M: A moose--you know, the one with the head. R: We have them here in Maine. They
are very huge.
M: He was like a wall compared to the other animals. He had never seen an animal like
R: It must have been pretty scary.
M: He was so scared this day that he was somehow frozen. He did not move--he just
stared. Then the moose turned and walked away. But the farmer never paid him.
R: Never paid him?
M: Never paid him because he knew that he could not go anywhere.
R: He was like a slave.
M: He was just like a slave. Then one day came a big truck. He was a--what would you
R: A tinker selling pots and pans you said.
M: Yes. He was selling everything: threads, shoes, shoelaces, material, foods--just
everything. Max was waiting for the moment when they were alone, and he told him, "If
you wait down the hill for me, I will pay you good money." The man in the car told him, "I
shall wait for you." When it got a little darker and the farmer was inside the house, Max
escaped. He went down the hill, and the tinker really did wait for him. Max told him, "Take
me to the next station," and that is what he did. From there on he went to Alberta.
R: Then he went to Alberta. Where did he work there?
M: I cannot remember what. He did not stay long there. R: I see.
M: He went afterwards to Banff [National Park in Alberta] because we knew that in Banff
there is a very big hotel that is in open in summertime. There were only two weeks [during
the winter?] when they closed.
M: And he found some Swiss there. There were some Swiss who were managing the
R: I see.
M: They were there, and there were also some Swiss musicians--one with the accordion,
one with a violin, and then there is the bass. They were all Swiss.
R: Well, that was a great relief, I am sure.
M: That was great. He had to take care of supervising over personnel in the
kitchen--waiters and all.
R: So he worked there for several years?
M: No, for several months.
R: Several months.
M: And then when he had enough money, he went on to
Swiss Consulate, and he worked at the Swiss Consulate.
He went to the
R: I see. And then the Swiss Consulate
M: No, but he has been publishing. I have to go
the [Canadian] Pacific Railroad.
helped him get into the University of
back to the hotel in Banff. It belonged to
R: I see.
M: He also wrote publicity. He wrote articles about Banff, about the hotel, about the
M: Advertising. And this they published. Then at the closing of the tours, he sent this to
different universities in hopes of getting a fellowship to finish his studies over here. That is
what he did, and he got accepted at the University of Pennsylvania. He got a fellowship, so
he had his free tuition that was critical.
R: And he got his doctorate in philosophy or German?
M: In German classics.
R: German classics, I see.
M: [Friedrich] Holderlin [German poet] was his specialty. The Light of the Holderlin. [Is
that the name of one of his poems, a tribute to him, or what?] Then he had been
writing several articles.
R: What year did he get his doctorate?
M: Oh, he was teaching in Philadelphia as an assistant.
R: Yes, a graduate assistant.
M: Then he got his doctorate in 1947.
R: He received his doctorate in 1947.
Then did he come directly to the University of
M: In 1948. Then he did ask, well, he knew our I do not know everything he had to gain.
R: Yes. Now, shall we go back and take your life up where we left off? You had finished
the course for kindergarten teachers, you have meet Max, and he has taken you to a
dance. Then he leaves for Canada. Then you went to France to study? What did you do?
M: To the French part.
R: Where was it that you had to take in embroidery and sewing?
M: When I was through with my years in the French part of Switzerland.
M: Then that was during the Depression.
M: I got out of school in 1925 or 1926; I had everything finished. Then I went [where to
do what?] from 1927 through the end of 1929, and then that was the Wall Street crash.
M: And that came right over to Switzerland. The banks crashed, my grandparents lost
R: I see.
M: And then my father said, "I do not want you to get a job where you are paid. You stay
at home and help your mother."
R: Which was rather customary then.
M: Yes, that was the thing to do at that time. He said, "You do not need it, so leave it to
the people that do need it. So I had to learn to iron. It was mostly men's shirts at that time,
and they still had the stiff collars.
R: With lots of starch.
M: And the iron was not electric. The iron was put against the stove, and you could iron
two or three minutes. Then you had to exchange the iron for another one.
R: Here in America we call them sadirons, and they were very sad.
M: They were very sad--black and heavy.
R: Now they are only used as door stops.
M: Doctorates had to go and learn how [to do what?]. My grandparents came back to
Bern, and there I went to a school to learn how to sew, to make dresses.
R: I see. And all of Lotte's friends have been the beneficiaries of her beautiful sewing,
because she is the one who takes things that you have wrecked and makes something
lovely out of them. She has done this for Frances Wright, and she has done it for me.
Who else have you done it for Lotte?
M: When this year was over [What year? 1929? 1930?] there was something else I
could do: I could learn how to make lingerie.
R: To make lingerie?
M: These embroideries they have and silk lingeries of that kind. But that was only for
R: Lovely. And then where did you go?
M: Then my parents made it possible for me to go to a hospital, and there I was in charge
of three babies. I had a room with three newborn babies, and I was responsible for them.
My mother had been knitting things so that I could have all of them dressed in pink. That
way they would look all alike.
R: How nice.
M: When a mother was giving birth, I had just time enough to get doctor through. I had to
sit down because I felt so nauseated.
R: Now, Lotte, was this volunteer work, or was it paid work?
M: No, all volunteer.
R: All volunteer.
M: We even had to pay for the courses, for lingerie and for things. We had to pay for this.
R: I see.
M: This was a course like you have courses over here.
R: I see.
M: You pay a fee for them. And I went to this hospital and I did it just without pay.
R: How long were you at the hospital?
M: Only three months. It was a stay of three months because my parents thought it would
be good if one day I had children, so they wanted me to know a little on how to take care of
them. That was very interesting. Whenever the doctor came to give us lessons, he came
into the room and asked things like, "What do you do if a baby has a fever, a high fever?"
The answer had to be to cut the formula in half and add it with just any kind of light tea or
water. Half and half--just cut everything in half.
R: I see.
M: And that is what I never forgot.
R: What came next in your education?
M: Afterwards I went to England with my diploma as a kindergarten teacher. I was
supposed to be met at the station by a Swiss girl who married a Britisher. I waited on the
platform, and everybody was gone. Only a gentleman was still there. He walked up to me,
lifted his hat, and asked, "Are you Miss Bitman?" I said, "Yes." He apologized and said, "I
had to bring my wife to the hospital because she has appendicitis. But I have been looking
fora boarding house foryou, and I have made arrangements there. I shall bring you there
now." And that is what we did. Of course, I was excited. I went right away to bed, but I
was so excited that I forgot I had promised my mother I would send a cable that everything
is fine, that I have been met, and that I am at the house of my friend. Ot was already past
nine o'clock, and I did not see anybody around anymore. I did walk out from one bobby to
the next, always listening whether he said "right" or "left" and "first" or "second," and then I
did reach Charlie Cross Station. It was not very far--about twenty minutes. Finally my
mind started to work again, and I thought, "Why not take a cab?" And that is what I did.
R: But you did send the message to your house.
M: Yes, I sent the message. One day I read an ad in the paper that they were looking for
a governess to two boys, three and five, and I thought that would be something for me. I
did write a letter and did inquire when it would be possible to introduce myself. At 9:00 or
9:30 one evening the lady called me and said, "Yes, please come over. I would like to
meet you." Then I said, "I cannot do this that late at night. Is tomorrow morning all right?"
She decided that was all right. Then I went to the lady of the boarding house and did
inquire how to go at it--I had to take the train and needed to know the station where I had to
get out--and she gave me all the necessary information. Well, I got off in Rushville, and
there I did ask how to find Highs.
R: The name of the house?
M: The name of the mansion that was printed on the letter the lady had sent me. They
told me, "Just go straight down and then take the first turn to the left." Well, I was walking
at least twenty minutes, and there was no turnoff at the left. But there was at least a house
at the right, and I did ring the bell and inquire that I was looking for Highs, that was the
name of the mansion. And they said, "Just a little further. Just follow the street." Then I
came to this talked-about turnoff. There I saw a tower on top of the hill, and I thought that
must be a village. But when I got there, I discovered that this all belonged to the
Proctorfield mansion. It was a huge thing in Sussex. I rang the bell, and the butler did
open the door. I told him that I had an appointment with Mrs. Holmes, and he was
flabbergasted. He said, "Mrs. Holmes is not here. She is in London." And I said, "No, I
have an appointment with her." And he said, "Well, there is something amiss," and he
asked me to sit down. He went to the telephone and called her in London. She apologized
and said she forgot all about our meeting. She said that she was in London at her mother's
mansion behind Westminster Abbey and told the butler to ask the chauffeur to bring me to
the station. She told me that when I get out of the train in London to look for a man who
would be holding a rolled newspaper in his hand--this man is the chauffeur of her mother
and that he would bring me to her. And that is what happened. I did like her from the first
moment, and she must have thought the same way because she said, "We shall go to your
boarding house and just pick up your things. Then we will drive on to Sussex, to home.
And that is what we did.
R: How long did you live there?
M: Just for a little more than a year. She did ask me whether I would agree only to have
leave once a month for four days instead of every week one day, and I said, "That is fine for
me." What would I have done except to stay there? There was nothing; I mean, we were
far out in the country. Then she sent me to her mother's place for these four days, and her
mother gave me her lady's maid. We went to theaters and to concerts. They took me to
Ascot. [What is Ascot?] I had a great time.
R: Wonderful. And you took care of two little children?
M: My job was to talk French to the boys. They had three children; there was a baby, but
the baby had his own nurse. She was the daughter of a medical doctor nearby.
R: Do you happen to remember the name of this family?
M: Holmes. Her father-in-law has given a lot of money to build in Nottingham a bridge, so
he was knighted. Once when I was staying at her mother's place, I saw how she was
practicing the curtsy that she has to do when she was presented to the queen. Three
feathers in her! R: And you told me that once you went to a resort area, and there you
saw the young queen, Princess Elizabeth. [Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II
M: In summertime, they always sent the children to Little Hampton. That was a nice
place right on the [English] Channel. And the nurse came along. They had three cars so
the nurse could take the car, and we drove her to Little Hampton. There we learned that
right now the future queen of England, Queen Elizabeth, was as a child with her sister,
Margaret, and with her governess there for six weeks ahead of us, and we had stayed in
the same apartment.
R: That was interesting. So then you got to learn the ways of English people who lived in
a very luxurious way and then at the end of the year you came back to your father's home
and then, or was it to contact a friend?
M: No, to my father's home.
R: Your father did not want you to take any paid job. He felt that it was in the Depression
and the people who were really needing the money would have the jobs, so you just did
M: Yes, all kinds of volunteer work.
R: In the meantime (going back to your husband, Dr. Mauderli), he had found out
somewhere that you were back in town with your father. Did he liken you then?
M: Yes. He learned from a Swiss [what did he learn?] who went hunting with him in
Canada. They were both working at the consulate.
R: We are just going to say very briefly that you had been married for a short time to a
man who ran hotels.
R: This marriage ended in divorce, and your father insisted that you have the custody of
your child, Susie, and you did get the custody.
M: The father-in-law did allow my future husband to adopt the child.
R: He allowed Max to adopt the child. In other words, the two fathers agreed that this was
the thing to do.
M: For the best for the child.
R: Your first husband had a drinking problem?
M: No, he just had some problems.
R: Okay. Now, Max writes to you and then comes back to see you.
M: Yes, then he came back. He wrote his first letter to find out. It was war time, but the
post must have thought that his letter it must be important because it had been forwarded
four times to reach me. Meanwhile, the government did ask my father to come to Bern and
start a program for the unemployed. So we did move to Bern first. We went to a boarding
house, and then we rented an apartment. Then we rented a larger place, a house, but we
were on vacation. This made this four times that the letter had to be forwarded.
R: Now your father had been trained as an architect, had he not?
M: Yes. R: And he had designed the house that you lived in?
R: In Interlaken you have a very lovely home. You showed it to me when I was there.
Now, you have a brother at this point. The brother is older than you?
M: No, the brother was two years younger.
R: Two years younger. And he, of course, took military training like all Swiss boys.
M: Yes. He joined the group that was sent from Switzerland to North Korea, and Sweden
sent some military to South Korea, and the two groups met every day at the Thirty-eighth
R: To guard the parallel.
M: But then only two years later my brother had a brain tumor. He was operated on and
was fine, but two years later it started all over again, and he died at the age of thirty-two.
R: How sad. Now Lotte, Max comes back and asks permission of your father to marry
R: And you have remembered through all these years when he was first took you to the
R: And then your father said he would have to secure a job first.
M: Know where you will live.
R: So he did get the position at the University of Florida, and he went over to Gainesville
and got a place for you to live. Then he came back--you were married--and you went back
with him. What year did you come?
M: Because he came back his junior year so he was staying for one year in Switzerland.
Then he had to take the students back.
R: Oh, he had taken some students.
M: Yes, he had taken some students, but the next spring he came back. Then he was
looking for a place. He did not know where he was going to live and work. He had several
offers to join a university.
R: I see. And you said you wanted to live in a warm climate.
M: Yes. He did ask me where I would like to live and I said, "Well, how would I know? I
do not know the States, but for sure I want to live where it is green and a lot of nature."
R: So you came to Gainesville in 1948. Which house did you first live in?
M: The university did rent a house. They had a house ready for us at West Cypress and
N.W. 10th Street when we arrived in September 1948.
R: And that happened to be the home of Ralph Turlington.
M: No, that was not. That was the one that the university did rent for us on 10th Avenue
and 10th Street, the corner house. Then we sponsored a friend of my husband's to
come--always in February--to stay with us, and then he said, "Oh, that is not the place for
you. Let us look for something else." We drove around Gainesville. We passed [J. J.]
Finley [Elementary] School and saw a sale on the house that Ralph Turlington had built.
We wanted to move in the first of January, but just a few days before, he got drafted and
had to go to Washington.
R: His wife, Ann, went on to Atlanta, Georgia, so you rented the Turlington house?
M: Yes. Somebody else did show us the house, not Turlington. We said it is too
expensive, that we cannot afford it, and that was it. About ten days later, Mrs. Turlington
came to the door, and she said that she has heard so many nice things about us that they
would let us have their new home that they had never lived in. So we moved right away
into our new home. That was in the fall, I would think. The next summer we went to
Switzerland as always during the summer vacation.
R: Did you start teaching the piano lessons to children when you were in the Turlington
home, or was it later?
M: At the Turlington home. Do you know how that happened?
M: Our neighbor was Dr. [first name?] Eichslis [Where did he work?]. One day the
mother came home with a crying child at her hands. I did ask what happened, and she
said, "Oh, she is so unhappy because her cousin did find a piano teacher, but the piano
teacher did say she has no place for two. She has only a place for one, and that is why
she is crying, because she cannot learn how to play the piano." I told her, "Send her over, I
shall show her how to play piano." And that is what I did. Then came another from her
class who asked whether I would help to learn to play the piano, so I started it. I never
thought I would start to teach.
R: In a very place.
M: Because it was just across from Finley, it was convenient for the parents. Then I had
already eight from her to teach.
R: All of the sudden you had eight people. And then Ralph Turlington wanted to come
back to his home.
M: Then Ralph Turlington was discharged. It must have been a year later, and we were in
Switzerland; he was discharged in summer, but we were over in Switzerland. When we
came home the next morning, he was at the door and said he would like to have his house
back. He was very nice. He said, "Take your time until you find something." So that is
when we found the house on the corner.
R: On 22nd or 23rd--it does not matter.
M: It was very nice. It was built by an architect. It was really a nice house, and it had
been for sale for years.
R: Yes. And as soon as you got there, you made new curtains and freshened it all up,
and then they were able to sell it.
M: I put the last drape up, and the next morning a young couple came and said they are
going to buy it, so we got notice to leave by the end of the year. We did not know where to
go because at that time it was very difficult to find a house for rent. Then the Franks in the
French department heard about this.
R: Arthur Frank.
M: Yes. He said, "Well, we have bought a house on 10th Avenue, so we shall move. I
cannot wait to sell it. You could move in until I have sold it." Then we moved to 9th
Avenue across from the Burtons and very close to the Dinesers when it was the same
location as 10th Avenue and 10th Street. That is how Art Frank heard about it.
R: This was the third house you had lived in, and your father got upset.
M: Yes. My father wrote that is just crazy. "Either you build or you buy something. I will
send you the money." Then we built the house across from the university president's
mansion that was just going up. My husband thought there will never be a gasoline station
across or in the neighborhood.
R: And today there is no gasoline station, but there is a very busy stop light. It is one of
the busiest corners, because at that time we had no idea that 22nd Street would be opened
up and become so busy.
M: Well, 22nd was open, but only up to 7th Avenue.
R: Oh, I see. So it was at that time on West University across from the president's new
home, Dr. [J. Hillis] Miller's [president, University of Florida, 1947-53] new home, but the
traffic was nothing compared with what it became later. By then Max was a member of the
foreign language department, which included French, German, and Spanish?
R: And his friends from that department were Dr. Melvin Gaulle and the other man that
he was so close to, [first name] Bartlett.
M: Yes, but he belonged to the philosophy department. My husband was just as much as
philosopher as he was a Germanist.
R: Right, and Bartlett really wanted him to come into his department to teach philosophy.
M: Max was already not well at that time.
R: How many years did Max teach at our university?
M: Well, we came in 1948 and died in 1972, so htat makes twenty-four years. He had an
operation at Shands Medical Center.
R: I believe it was cancer of the mouth.
R: Now, he had been a pipe smoker all of his life.
M: Yes. And he had cancer here in his jaw. But the operation went well. Max never
could have a life insurance because he had an extra beat--his heart did not beat like
everybody else's. He went to several specialists, but they said this is not a sick heart.
They said, "This is a heart that beats this way. This is from nature."
R: Now he never became an American citizen. At the time he died he was still a Swiss
citizen, was he not?
R: Do you get Swiss social security?
M: Yes. I will tell you how it happened. Max came from Canada down the west coast and
he stayed with Joseph Sigetti because Joseph Sigetti was a friend of his. I think that was
in Colorado or someplace. R: The symphony conductor?
M: No, the violinist. Then he was called up to go to the Pacific Max knows as a Swiss
they are not allowed to serve in the American military anymore, although they did this 100
and 200 years ago. We went as nurses, and they used to tell me to trans to everywhere. I
do not know that at the time, but for many years during the war this law was eating him: you
may not serve in any other army except the Swiss army. and every Swiss has to serve. It
was crazy. Then he said, "Qhat shall I do?" He went to the Swiss Consulate in San
Francisco and did ask them what he should do. They said, "We have an agreement with
the United States that neither the Americans nor the Swiss may call draftings into the
other's service." This is from 1800, but I do not remember it. The consulate told him that
they were not able to allow a Swiss citizen to serve in the United States military. Well, at
that time he was not a university student, either, because he had just came in. It was only
a week after he had crossed the border.
R: So he was never able to become an American citizen.
M: No. But then he thought he could become one after five years because there is an
agreement. [Is there a separate agreement regarding citizenship?] We know now
because the consulate general from Switzerland knows about this agreement, and, being a
friend of Max's, he told him there is an agreement and you have to live by it. "You are a
Swiss citizen. You still are a Swiss citizen, so you have to live by it. You are no fool."
When he was here five years, he will have applied for citizenship. Then Dr. Dell was
taking care of it, and he was turned down because he turned down to go to the paprika. A
few months later, Wayne Reitz [president, University of Florida, 1955-1967] came over and
told us, "I have good news for you. We can make Max an American through the [Florida or
U.S.?] Senate. He had been talking to the senators and explained the whole thing, that
there was an agreement but we did understand. Even the Swiss consul did understand
[what]. Philadelphia, where his consulate was, said, "Philadelphia is the harbor where
everything comes in from Switzerland and everything goes out and comes in. What comes
from Europe goes to Philadelphia, and what goes from America to Switzerland goes to
Sect." That is a small harbor on the Mediterranean close to Marseilles. The Swiss did not
want to rock the boat. That is why they advise the students. Max was only one of 688 that
were turned down--they did what their consul told them to do. According to the agreement
from the year 1800 such-and-such, America may not draft a Swiss, and the Swiss may not
draft an American.
R: Somewhere along the way you do get social security from America. Now, was that
because you did become an American citizen?
M: The thing was, when Wayne came over to tell us about becoming an American citizen,
you do not know what Max answered.
R: What did he say? M: Well, listen to this. Max said, "If I cannot come in by the front
door, I shall not come in."
R: But he had no objections to you becoming an American citizen?
M: No. But he did not want to have an extra [what], and he said, "If I cannot come in by
the front door, I will not come in by the back door."
R: But then you did become an American citizen.
M: Then Susie and I became American.
R: You and Susie have dual citizenship.
M: When the children were born, I [we] went to the American consulate and registered
R: So also your two grandchildren.
M: They travel on American passports.
R: Have dual citizenship. Now, Susie grew up in the Gainesville house until she was what
age? Then did she go back to Switzerland to her grandmother's?
M: Just one year, the eleventh grade. My father did ask to let her stay for one year in
Switzerland and go to school, and then she came back and finished her twelfth year in high
R: She went first to what school?
M: First to P.K. Yonge because she did not speak English. When we arrived she was ten
R: Susie went to Gainesville High School until the eleventh grade, and then she went back
to Switzerland for one year.
M: But at first she went P.K. Yonge. Of course, she did not speak English, and I was a
little afraid the first morning she went to school. Her teacher did not speak German, either.
But she came home, and she and she said "adient". She said it was wonderful because
the teacher was so clever. She taught the students be nice to that girl, give her something
to draw, and smile at her. And she thought this is wonderful, so that went over very nice.
M: I cannot remember what grade Max taught. He should between now and the other
R: There was some idea in Gainesville at the time that P.K. Yonge was such a liberal
school that the students did not study as hard.
M: Yes, that is why he wanted to change her, so he changed her over to a more traditional
school, Gainesville High School.
R: How did she happen to leave and go back to Switzerland?
M: Because my father asked whether she could not stay for a whole year and go to school
for a whole year over there. So she spent the eleventh grade over there and came back for
the twelfth grade to graduate. She graduated from high school here, and then she went to
the university. [What university? Where?]
R: Oh, so she entered anything, she went to right to college?
M: Yes. She graduated in 1960.
R: And she was a very beautiful girl who I remember.
M: She had to talk and, see they had a graduate program and the teacher was speaking
French and he needed a student. So they did ask her to come and work with him. R:
And then finally she went back to Switzerland and married your son-in-law named Wilbie
R: Robert Dixon. And she has two children.
M: That are so far from America. They did try three years ago [to visit]. They have come
over six times.
R: They visited six times.
M: The boy is Reto--he is the oldest--and Berta is three years younger.
R: Reto is his first name. And Berta is planning to be a children's nurse.
M: Children's nurse.
R: And has finished his military?
M: He had to do his military service, and now he finishes his studies. After his studies he
will come over to this country.
R: And you have a nephew who is now on medical therapy?
R: And he teaches in the dentistry?
M: Right. He is Andre Mauderli.
R: Andre Mauderli, a professor of dentistry.
M: Yes. What specialty has to do with the bones here?
R: All right. After you lost Max, your daughter, Susie, wanted you to come back to
Interlaken, and you went back.
M: No, not then. No, Max died in 1974.
R: And you stayed in Gainesville in your lovely home.
M: I stayed in Gainesville until the beginning of 1980.
R: All right, six years.
M: Yes. I always spent the summers over there because Andre was living in my house.
He could take care of the house and do his research. He did research at Chesterton
University. [Where is that?] Then the money ran out at the university; they did not have
any more money. He went back to Switzerland. He said, "I cannot be a house sitter for
you," so he went back. But he had gotten so fond of Gainesville and America that he
returned to Gainesville.
R: So he now lives in an apartment in Gainesville?
R: So in 1974 you decided to sell your home because Susie thought it would be good for
you to be near her family, near your grandchildren.
M: Keith Austin and Sam Dell told me that it is not good if you are away for half a year
because nobody is in the house and you are better to sell.
R: He was your accountant?
M: Austin took care of these things.
R: He took care of your money?
M: He was my tax man, and Dell was a lawyer.
R: He thought it was dangerous for you to be away from your home.
M: Yes. Then when Susie came and read the paper, she heard how many homes are
broken into. And Mrs. Schnell, a friend of mine, was killed; she and a music teacher were
killed with an ax and only three blocks from where I lived. One was suffocated with a pillow
on account of a student who needed money to buy drugs.
R: And your house was on a very busy corner by this time. There was more and more
M: She thought that I should come back and do in reverse what I did before. I would often
cross the Atlantic to spend the summer months, at least six weeks; that was my hideaway.
So she said, "Why not do it differently? Come over and we can take care of you. If
something should happen at your age now and then, go back and visit America."
R: How many times have you crossed the Atlantic?
M: That will be my forty-forth cross; that makes twenty-two round trips.
R: You used to go by ship, and then you started going by plane?
M: Yes. After the year 1955, we had bought a small boat.
R: Yes. Tell us where you live now.
M: That is interesting. It took us seven and half days by boat--Two days to drive up
Philadelphia and to Rolbah, the country, and then he [who is HE?] would bring us to New
York to the ship; and then five and a half days over on the boat, including one night in Paris
and then on to Switzerland. All together the trip was seven and a half days.
R: And then you go right from there.
M: Sometimes I would leave the city at 12:00 noon and have dinner with Max in
Jacksonville; he met me at the airport. Isn't this something?
R: Yes. And now tonight you are going fly back to Zurich.
M: Tonight I fly back to Zurich.
R: You have been with us two weeks, and we have had such a grand time.
M: I come over every year.
M: There is not one year that I did not come back.
R: And this is your third summer to vacation with us here in Maine.
M: Yes, the third time I visited friends in Maine.
R: And we look forward to next summer when you come again.
M: Do something with the dollar; help him up. [laughter]
R: Let me say that Lotte always worries about the exchange rate between the American
dollar and the French franc.
M: No, the Swiss franc.
R: The Swiss franc, yes, because sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad. But her
daughter Susie insisted that she come anyway. It is not very good right now, right?
M: It is not to good, but she said, "How do you know how you will feel next year. Do not
postpone anything until later." So I did it, and I am glad I did it.
R: That is right. Do not postpone it at our age. Go ahead and do it. I want to thank you
so much. I know that our museum would be delighted to have this history. We will send it
to you, and you can correct it and eliminate anything. And I just want to say we look
forward to your next visit.
M: Thank you very much.