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Jasmine: Okay, this is Jasmine Timmester interviewing Kristine Hofstra on October 25th [2021]. So to get us started, could you tell me a little bit about like, your early life, you know, before Antioch, so, you know, what was your childhood like? And maybe a bit about how you learned about Antioch and maybe how you decided to go to Antioch?

Kristine: Okay. Well, I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I'm the baby of six children. My parents were Dutch immigrants. I wouldn't 00:00:00say it was a very strict upbringing, but pretty sheltered and very, you know, religious. So, you know, so I--yeah, so that was pretty much my early, my early life. So, youngest of six. I have one sister who is closer in age, 00:00:00you know, than the other siblings to me and she and I are still--are very close, but I just really never really felt like I fit in, you know, where I grew up. I didn't have any really close friends there. I had a couple of really good friends and one of--one of whom went to Antioch. And so that's kind of how I found out about it. I came down here to visit him, and it happened to be Halloween. I don't know if you've heard any stories about the Halloween parties we used to have in the '80s, but they were 00:00:00pretty wild [laughs]. And I just, you know, college wasn't really very important to my family. They were, you know, kind of blue collar, my father worked in a factory, my mother was a school bus driver, and they didn't really place very much importance on higher education and they just wanted their kids to kind of, you know, follow in their footsteps and just work 00:00:00jobs for the rest of their lives. So, when I came to visit, I really decided that I wanted to go to college. So not only did I decide I want to go to Antioch, I decided I wanted to go to college. So, I basically paid my own way, my parents didn't help me financially. I worked at all of the co-ops that you worked to make like the maximum amount of money so that I could pay my tuition and it took me a very long time to pay off my student loans, 00:00:00but it was, it was definitely worth it. I mean this was, you know, from the moment I set foot on campus, this is where I knew I belonged and I never looked back.

Jasmine: [That's] great! What do you think--were there any specific things you can [maybe] point to about campus where you're like, oh, you know, that feels like home, or that, you know, that makes me feel like I belong here.

Kristine: I, you know, like I said, I never really fit in and I was 00:00:00just kind of considered kind of like a, a weird kid when I was growing up, and I met a lot of Anti--you know, a lot of kids who were kind of weird like me, that I had never really encountered in, you know, the town where I grew up. So I just I felt like these were my people, and I was also just kind of in the process of figuring out that I was gay, you know--came out to a couple of my 00:00:00friends back home and they completely like, rejected me and stopped speaking to me. So, you know, just coming here and realizing that this was going to be--this was a place where I could be myself, and not have to, you know, be in the closet or lie about my sexuality and kind of explore that aspect of myself. 00:00:00That was a huge, that was a huge part of it.

Jasmine: [That's great.] Let's see. I think we can hop into the first main question then, which kind of touches on that, the campus culture. It says, "Antioch college has a reputation for having one of the most radically progressive campus-cultures in the country. Would you agree with this reputation, and what was it like arriving as a new student?"

Kristine: I would agree with that and in a very positive way. You 00:00:00know, and I think a lot of new students experiences too, it was maybe a little bit, a little too much freedom at first, just coming from being very sheltered, and kind of, you know, a little bit of a stricter household to just kind of being able to do whatever you want--stay up all night, you know, the drinking age was actually 19 back in the '80s, so, you know, we were able 00:00:00to buy beer legally [laughs]. So there was, you know, I think probably the--my first my first quarter I did a little bit too much partying and not enough studying and realized, okay, if I'm going to pay for this I need to make the most of it. So that was, you know, kind of the, just came to that realization and then really started to focus a little bit more on my, the academic aspect of my education.


Jasmine: With that did like the exploration kind of drop off as 00:00:00well? Or was it just kind of a separate thing?

Kristine: No, I don't think so. I just, I just think I found a better balance, and you know, just kind of figured out more how to how to 00:00:00navigate everything [laughs]. And--but it was it was definitely, definitely the freedom was, it was amazing, you know, it was, I don't know what word I'm looking for, but [chuckles].

Jasmine: Awesome. I think we can go ahead to the second question, which is, "How do you think this culture affected you during your time 00:00:00attending the college and your life beyond? Did it specifically affect your understanding of your own gender and sexuality?" And so that's kind of a big question, and I'd also like to say to include your co-op experiences when thinking about that. But yeah, it's kind of a big [question].

Kristine: [Chuckles] You know, I think I really, I think I really learned a lot about myself, obviously through--and I was, so I came kind of in the 00:00:00middle of the '86-'87 Academic Year, so I was kind of on the, what they call the five year plan [chuckles], but I, you know, I really think that I grew up here and I--you know, a lot of of the things that make me a grown-up, you know, I learned at Antioch. And you know, just kind of figuring 00:00:00out my my sexuality and you know, there was a lot of support, just through friends and you know, the Lesbian-Gay Center. We--there was, you know, I was pretty involved in, you know, a lot of the--just going to a lot of the meetings and things that we organize there. So I, you know, I think that the 00:00:00support system at that time was really good. And, of course, I've made a lot of lasting friendships and relationships that I still have to this day, which I never had before I came to Antioch. I have, you know, no contact with people I went to high school with, except for maybe one [laughs].

Jasmine: Gotcha, that's great! And when like--with your 00:00:00co-ops, you know, was that more of the same or was that, you know, different in some ways?

Kristine: I think, I mean co-ops--I had a lot of really great co-ops. Some of them were with other Antioch students, so it was just kind of like a mini-Antioch transported to New Hampshire, which was a place called Crotched Mountain that, I don't think that they do Antioch co-ops anymore, and that, you know, I spent a lot of time there because you could 00:00:00work overtime and make a lot of money, but it was also a really great experience because we were working with, you know, with differently-abled children. So kind of learned a lot about that. And there were you know, there were some that I had--I went completely on my own and had to be completely self-sufficient. And really learned about, you know, how to spread your, you know, 00:00:00paycheck so that you can eat [laughs] until the next paycheck. I had one co-op that I showed up and realized that there wasn't a job and there wasn't a place to stay. That was kind of promised to me by a friend, which as it turned out, the person who she said I could live with said, you know, "No, I don't know why she told you that." So I ended up having to, you know, call 00:00:00my mother and beg her to, you know, buy me a plane ticket so I could come back to campus. And luckily, it was early enough that I was able to register and just, you know, take classes that quarter instead of being on co-op. But I think, you know, I think really the co-op experience for me, just kind of what they, you know, what you guys I think now call "adulting," right? So, 00:00:00just kind of being an adult navigating the world, paying rent, you know, feeding yourself, and also making friends outside of college, outside of Antioch.

Jasmine: Yeah, that sounds like a really terrifying experience to go all that way and there's nothing there.

Kristine: Mmm hmm.


Jasmine: Let's see. So, that does seem to be a common theme between the interviews so far, is this theme of you know, finding and creating and just learning how to create chosen family, or how to forge chosen family, and you mentioned a little bit of that. You know, do you feel like that was specific to Antioch like, with you know, just being able to find people there, or 00:00:00was it more of like, learning that skill, if you will, of you know, making those deep relationships?

Kristine: I would--yeah, I mean, I would think it was a skill that I learned and I definitely have mo--you know, chosen family outside of my Antioch chosen family as well. But I ended up coming getting together with my wife in 1992 in Chicago, and we ended up moving back to Yellow Springs in 1994. 00:00:00So, I've been, you know, spent most of my adult life back in Yellow Springs. So amongst, you know, Antiochians and Yellow Springs people--and also the Dayton area, we have our businesses are in Dayton. So I have a lot of friends in Dayton too. Very involved with the with the Ruby Girls, I don't know if you've ever heard of them, they're a comedic drag 00:00:00troop, we do like big charity stuff. So that's a big part of my chosen family as well here in Dayton.

Jasmine: Great, great! That actually connects pretty well with the next question, so, you know, it's okay if you don't have a whole lot [more] to say, but I'll mention it anyways, just in case there's more you want to touch on. "Since graduation, have you built a family and/or career? And if so, do you relate these aspects of your life to your time at 00:00:00Antioch in anyways?

Kristine: Um, yeah, I think so. I mean, my, you know, my wife was here in Yellow Springs when I was a student. She's a, she's ten years older than I am. So I--and she worked at The Winds, and I worked at Ha Ha Pizza. So [laughs] so I had always kind of admired her from afar, but you know, that connection--she didn't go to Antioch, she went actually, went to Grinnell College. So, but she lived in Yellow Springs the whole time. So, you 00:00:00know that--so that was just like very--she was just a very familiar person when we--we didn't actually meet here, we met in Chicago, but it was kind of like, you know, getting together with somebody who you were already friends with, you know? And we had a lot of people--a lot of friends in common, too. And then, you know, I think, as far as my career, I mean, I was an IT director for 18 years at a small brokerage. One of the owners actually went to 00:00:00Antioch Law School. Um, which I know is completely different from the College, but at the time that he attended it was a lot more Antiochian than any of the Universities turned into. And the culture at that company was, you know, really had a strong kind of like, concept of shared governance and everybody 00:00:00has an opinion, you know, it was it was very small so a lot of the, you know, decisions were made kind of by like committee, not just from the from the top, down. So that was a really great, you know workplace for me to thrive in. I don't think I would have survived it if it was a, you know, kind of more of a corporate culture for sure.

Jasmine: Very interesting. Okay. Let's see. I'll go on to 00:00:00the next one, which is, "Are there any ways in which you think your life would be different, had you gone to a more typical liberal arts college?"

Kristine: That's really hard to even imagine [laughs]. I mean, honestly, I really think that if I hadn't found Antioch, I may not have gone to school, or I may have gone to community college, or I may have just, you 00:00:00know, left the town I grew up in and moved to a big city, and I don't know. Yeah, I think whatever, you know, whenever I would have ended up doing things would have turned out a lot differently. For sure.

Jasmine: Gotcha, gotcha. Yeah, it's pretty difficult to answer when so much of it, you know, is dependent on so many things. Okay, it's 00:00:00the--this is the last main question: "Is there any message that you would give to the current and future students of Antioch if you could? And any message for the current and future LGBTQ+ youth in general?"

Kristine: It's kind of cliche and I know that everybody's heard this before but, it gets better [laughs]. You know, wha--I really do 00:00:00believe that that the Antioch experience does prepare you for, you know, for the real world and the challenges that you know, that grown--you know, adult life can bring to you. But, you know also, like we were talking before about chosen family, embrace that you know, keep your chosen loved ones close because especially, you know in our community and if you're--probably 00:00:00people more of my generation maybe didn't, you know have the support of their families. I was very lucky, I came out--I really didn't think that my parents were going to want to speak to me again, but I came out to them after I'd been with my wife for about a year and they embraced her and they, you know, they were, you know, okay with it, I guess? But I think you guys, hopefully, you know, those of you who have the support of your 00:00:00family, you know, should embrace that and if you don't you, you know, go to your chosen family, and your loved ones and keep in touch with them.