JASMINE: Okay, cool. This is Jasmine Timmester interviewing Richard Scarino, itis October 19th, 2021. Did I say your last name right?
JASMINE: Okay. Good. Awesome. Alrighty, so before we even get into the corequestions, do you mind telling me just a little bit about, like, your early life, you know, before Antioch, you know, maybe how you heard about Antioch, maybe how you decided to go to Antioch?
RICHARD: Okay, I grew up in--born in Brooklyn. Then we moved to00:00:00Teaneck, New Jersey, which is about five miles from Manhattan. My father worked in New York City before moving out to a company out in northern New Jersey. Family of three. I had an older sister who was ahead of me, and my parents didn't want me to go to the Teaneck High School, they just felt 00:00:00there were too many problems. So I ended up actually go to a very liberal high school, or school, it was called the Center for Open Education, which is kind of like a precursor to a--you know a requirement to having to go to Antioch. So it was a very liberal high school and whatnot. A lot of the teachings were the same as what I received at Antioch: group discussions, forming opinions and things like that. When it came time for college I looked at various schools. 00:00:00I looked at State schools up in New England, I looked at other schools, but Antioch seemed to be a good fit. I went out there to Yellow Springs, I got a good vibe from the school at the time, I knew some people who were al--going there, and they were all--so even though I went to a small private high school, several of my classmates actually ended up going to Antioch. So, 00:00:00there was some familiarity with going there. And I think it was the right choice to do so, you know, I mean basic kind of childhood, you know, good childhood, so no complaints there. And that's how I ended up going Antioch. So.
JASMINE: Awesome. And so you would say like, you kind of it just kind of allmade sense because you had friends going there and you know, similar to your high school and everything?
RICHARD: Right. I went and looked at some of the state schools, I went and I got00:00:00into a couple, like the University of Rhode Island. And, you know, I went there and I looked at the stadium and I looked at, you know, Fraternity Row and I looked at you know, just, the massive classrooms and the buildings, and I just knew this wasn't for me. I mean, I just knew... may be insecurities or whatnot, that I feel I probably would have gotten lost in a big 00:00:00university setting, you know. I mean I had developed a friendship with someone who was a professor at the University of Michigan, I went there and, you know, to see 60,000 people go to attend a football game, I thought this would be way overwhelming for me. And I had actually a very good cousin of mine, she was going to school at the University of Kentucky down in Louisville or Lexington. And I went and visited her a couple of times from Antioch, and I just knew that a big state school, I think I would have gotten lost. So, you know, 00:00:00just reaffirmed why I thought it was a good school to go to. You know and it was a good choice. It really was. I think the timing to go there, the size that the school was you know, and the school was still very vibrant--it was good. 00:00:00
JASMINE: Gotcha, gotcha. And you said, you know, you had a goodchildhood. Did you like remain close with your family? Even through like Antioch and beyond?
RICHARD: Oh, yeah, my father just recently died a year ago at the age of almost95, and I got very, very clo--I was very lucky, you know, they both accepted and had no problem with me being gay, even at a young age. In fact, my 00:00:00mother was more hurt that I didn't tell her years earlier, but, you know, that's--she got over it. And my father, and my mother and I--they were married for over 65 years. Now, we became very close, I became very friendly with them. You know, I got to know them as people, not just as parents. So, you 00:00:00know, and they grew up in an interesting time, during World War II. My mother, you know, was in New York City all the time, going out, and having fun and what not. My father was in the Navy. But they were very, kind of New York people, they had a nice life, so to speak. And they made a good life. No no, my parents loved my husband that I had for over 25 years, and in fact I 00:00:00think they loved him more than they loved me sometimes. But no, they really were very--they embraced him and me and so, you know, I know I'm very thankful for that in life. You know, the thought that a parent wouldn't love their child because they were gay or different or transgender or whatever is just you know, love is love! And that's the way my parents felt. So they were--I was very lucky to get them, in the lottery of life. 00:00:00
JASMINE: Yeah, that's great. We can go ahead and then, and go on to the thefirst core question that, which is: "Antioch College has a reputation [wind noise] 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?"
RICHARD: Back when I started in 1976, I lived in North Dor--in North00:00:00Hall and I had a PF--peripheral fellow, I think it stood for. It was basically like a dorm counselor, there were two of them and on our first night at College, we gathered in what was I guess a common area. And we went around and we told ourselves about, you know, one another and whatnot. And you know, wasn't that very different from my high school in the sense that there was a lot of sharing and things like that. Except here I was with a group of people 00:00:00from all around the United States, all in the same place. Radical? I wouldn't say to me to me it was very radical because it wasn't far different from my high school. I found it, and I--I found people were 00:00:00more vocal and things like that. I was maybe now looking back, taken back by certain things that people demanded or wanted on campus. But, you know, some of the things that people demanded and wanted on campus in 1976 are not far different from what is being done on campuses today. When I went to Antioch, the Womyn's Group--and it was spelt with a Y, not to use, you know... and things like that, you know, you could maybe call that very radical. 00:00:00But today you have women's groups who are protesting what goes on in maybe college fraternities. And that's not very different. And then Antioch back in 1976 didn't have a very large African-American community, but the 00:00:00 rights and the--and wanting to be visible and recognized is not very different than what's being done today, you know? Still the same struggles. So, where am I going with this? So the sense of, you know, what people were fighting for, what you may call radical are still the same struggles that people are fighting for today. You know, maybe there's just a better platform in 00:00:00which to express yourself, you--given social media, you know, had social media been around when I went to Antioch, I don't know if it would have been a very different school, you know. But I'm glad it wasn't there. I'm glad we didn't have social media when I went to school. I'm glad we didn't have phones, you know, so it taught you to talk to one another. You know, and to express your concerns. But, radical, I 00:00:00don't think is the term I would use. Just progressive thinkers. You know, that's what I would call it. I don't like the term radical because it has certain connotations. What Antioch taught me to do was to think, to question, to ask, you know, and I understand there is no place today for a liberal arts education, you know, parents are now paying seventy 00:00:00thousand dollars a year for an education, they want results. You know, so there isn't the luxury of going to a four-year school where you get to think and talk about things, and then maybe go on to graduate school and I understand that, you know, it's just a different world. But I would agree that Antioch teaches you to think and to express yourself. And to be who you are. 00:00:00Whatever that may be.
PAUSE: [Brief technical difficulties]
JASMINE: So, yeah, talking about the sort of progressive aspects ofAntioch, did you have certain feelings about like the shared governance structure at Antioch, you know, did that like strike you as like a positive, progressive thing or what--were you kind of indifferent about it?
RICHARD: Ah, well, I mean, I felt like, you mean the shared governance between,00:00:00oh God what was it called between the student body and whatnot. It was, it gave everyone a voice, it gave a platform for the administrators, for the students and whatnot. And that's the way government should be. It should be shared by all. You know, you look at our government today. It's shared by a few in Washington, but that doesn't reflect what the people want. So at 00:00:00least Antioch gave a platform for everyone, and that's, you know, an elected official today in Congress or the Senate, you know, they're supposed to represent the people's opinions, but they don't if you take a majorit--you take a majority. Antioch at least, you know, you had different people coming to the table to decide on community issues and community affairs. You know, and some people were very vocal about, you 00:00:00know... Trying to think, you know, when I went, it wasn't the community, there weren't a lot of big major issues, the school just kind of ran. You know we weren't facing, you know, walk-outs, strikes, things like that, you know, but there were groups on campus who were more vocal and organized than others and wanted, you know, a place at the table to make 00:00:00decisions. So, no I think it was a good form of government for students and for the administration to be able to come together.
JASMINE: Okay! Let's see. I'll go on to the next question, which iskind of a long one. "How do you think this culture affected you during your time 00:00:00attending the college and your life beyond"--referring to the, you know, more progressive culture, which, you know, as you said you were kind of already inundated with by your high school, if you will--"and did it affect your understanding of your own gender and sexuality?"
RICHARD: Well, I knew I was gay before I came to college, and I was comfortable00:00:00being gay. Maybe I didn't tell everyone. You know, but I knew what I liked, you know, I--there wasn't any confusion as far as you know, am I bi[sexual] or whatever. I knew I liked men. What I wasn't prepared for, was actually one of my PFs in my dorm was part of a radical fairy group on campus. And I lived in North Hall and I had a clear view of the Student Union and on 00:00:00 the weekends, he and two other guys would dress in full drag to go to, you know, to get something to eat. And I was thinking, well, I know I'm gay, I don't think I feel I need to make a statement. Or maybe I do need to make a statement. And so actually I had a little gender confusion as far as, you 00:00:00know, I'm gay but I don't think I want to be radical. You know, and there was nothing wrong with that, it just threw me for a loop. And there was a Gay Center on campus, and I didn't go to it for the first year, only because I was overwhelmed by a lot of other things, you know, I went to school for 3 months, then I had my first Co-op, which was terrible, and then I came back for six months and then I went on my second co-op back to Chicago, 00:00:00which I hated, but I then learned to love. So, you know, I didn't get involved in any other groups. And I did my second year and beyond, I got involved. But, you know, I was taken back at Antioch, was thinking: well, I know I'm gay. I'm comfortable, you know, I accept the fact that I'm gay. But I didn't think, well, do I need to be 00:00:00radical about it? Do I need to put on a dress and make a statement? And things like that. And at Antioch I met my first boyfriend and actually, we went on co-op together--it sounds like an Antioch story!--we went on co-op together in Washington DC, and we would take the metro, we lived on Capitol Hill, and we would take the metro and I was--forgot where, I think I got 00:00:00off at Foggy Bottom and he went all the way to DuPont Circle or something, and we started kissing one another. Or not kissing, you know, a goodbye kiss on the metro. And I thought well, that's kind of radical but you know, some people would stare, some people wouldn't. Now, this would have been 1978-79., and, you know, maybe that was a radical thing to do, you know, but I was comfortable with my sexuality. So, you know, maybe Antioch taught me to be who I am, beyond, you know, the college, you know, 00:00:00the confines of the college campus. So, you know the answer to that question, let me read the question again... Yeah, I know you say gender and sexuality, I, you know, I know there were a lot of people on campus who at the time were--I 00:00:00don't want to say experimenting--exploring their gender identity, and some people who, you know, identified as bisexual, one person in particular who I know identified as bisexual was living with a woman on campus, but now he's totally gay, and I figure you know, great! You know, he got to experiment, or he got to explore his sexual feelings, you know, so maybe college was a good place for that. And college is probably still are a good 00:00:00place to explore who you are as a person. So, you know, if you go to college being fluid as far as your sexuality, and--but it helps you identify who you are, you know, and it gives you the strength to want to come out, you know, especially if a person is, let's say possibly trans, but you know, you 00:00:00couldn't do it at home but college allows you to do that, and you know that beyond college that there's a support mechanism for you, then that's a good thing. So in answer to your question, I think Antioch was good for my sexuality during college and beyond--and to today, you know, I mean, I'm 40 years outside of Antioch now, so, you know, I'm on the downhill slope of life, but I still believe in being who I am and not 00:00:00being any different for anyone else. So if that's radical, I don't know. But, you know, I am who I am as they say. Whatever play that's from.
JASMINE: Yeah, I mean that's a great point, you know, radical is a totallyrelative term, subjective. And, so what is considered radical is constantly 00:00:00changing and can fluctuate from moment to moment. So, you mentioned a bit about your co-ops. Did you have other experiences on your co-ops as well that may have, you know, kind of influenced how you maybe expressed your gender or sexuality, maybe influenced your just general perception of yourself, or anything like that, any kind of meaningful experiences?
RICHARD: Well, my first co-op was on the south side of Chicago, I was working00:00:00 in a recycling place. I was living in a group house with a bunch of people and it's actually--I felt very alone. I knew I was gay and whatnot, but I was living in a household that... I don't know if they were gay friendly or not, I just didn't feel like I belonged there, I wasn't comfortable there. So on the weekends I would escape even though I didn't 00:00:00have much money I would go up to the north side of Chicago, and I found the places where gay people go and things like that. So, I had my escape and I had my balance, and I think maybe I took that first co-op experience between living in what was a, it was a, you know, strange household, but, you know, being restricted about my lifestyle and not wanting to share it, but I had my escape. And when I went back to Chicago again for a 6-month co-op teaching, 00:00:00you know, I was who I was at work, you know, I didn't feel I needed to say, I'm here today, my name is Richard Scarino, I'm a gay man, blah blah blah, you know, I'm 19 years old. 20 at that time, 19, 20. And tell people all about myself because I had my work and I had my private life, and I carried that pretty much through to my professional life. You know, I 00:00:00worked for many years, you know, people knew I was gay but it wasn't a part of who I was. And I've worked with people who, the first thing they tell you that they're gay. It's like yeah, sure, okay, whatever, you know, it's, you know. And because of--I handled a lot of Human Resources things, you know, people would tell me things right away about themselves that I'm thinking, you know, I'm not a prude but it's 00:00:00like, okay, that's great for you! And maybe this came from Antioch too because, you know, I mean, people would, people were who they were 00:00:00and it didn't matter to me, you know? I mean, you just got to keep in the back of your mind, you want to be treated as, you want to be treated as, you know, you treat someone the way you would want to be treated, you know, and you--you know, respect all living things. I think, you know, Antioch taught me that, my high school taught me that, and now into my work, you know, it's like, I work with people, ehh, you know, maybe they're not so nice, but you know, I still treat them with respect. I'm--I wouldn't say I don't have a mean bone in my body, but I don't have Resentment toward one group of people or another. Well, maybe far right Republicans. But but yeah, I try to think everyone has their opinion. You know, and 00:00:00everyone, at least under our Constitution, they are entitled to their speech, Free Speech, you know, unless it's just complete lies and you know, and things like that, but you know, everyone should have a voice. So what were we saying we were talking about... so my co-ops. Yeah, they had a good 00:00:00influence on my life. I got to experiment and do different things that, you know, gave me--the co-op system, which was excellent when I went there, you know, the number of jobs and opportunities... could have gone anywhere, could have done anything, you know, so I'm grateful for that opportunity because at the time I really didn't know what I was interested in, per se, 00:00:00 or what I thought I was interested in. When I actually got to do it, it was like no, I don't like this, you know. But, it was a great system. It was a great--you know the co-op system was excellent. But otherwise I had no bad experiences from my co-ops. No prejudice, no nothing. My co-ops were limited 00:00:00 to Chicago twice, North Carolina once for a co-op, and then the rest of my co-ops I took in Washington DC because I got into a co-op program at the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency. And I signed a deal with them that if I give up all my co-op--future co-ops, and come to EPA, when I get out, I can maybe have a full-time job. But it turned out it was 1980, and Ronald 00:00:00Reagan got into office, and put a freezing--a hiring freeze across the board for everything. So here I was graduating Antioch six months earlier than I should have so that I can go to DC to work full-time at EPA and "change the world." And it was all taken away from me. So I had to scramble, when I graduated from Antioch. I still went to Washington DC because I didn't know of 00:00:00any other place to go, and you know, scrambled to find a job. So, but all had good, you know, positive effects on me. And every job I've had since Antioch, and I've only had... I've only had three jobs since Antioch in 30--in 40 years, have all been positive, you know, and I found my 00:00:00niche at every place I've worked. So. I don't think I'm far different. I don't think my behavior or the way I act is far different from 40 years ago. I just look older and grayer now.
JASMINE: [Chuckles] That's great that they were, you know, such positive00:00:00experiences. I was actually considering asking you, you know, if Reagan coming into office had any significant impact on your time at Antioch, but that is quite a big impact on your career,
RICHARD: He rui--but, you know, in a way, I worked at EPA and I realizedI'm not cut out for the government. You know, I had--I worked for a man 00:00:00with his PhD, and he would give me a pencil and say, "Okay, take this pencil and bring it to that office," and then he didn't want to see me for the next day. And the so, one thing, you know, the co-op allowed me to do is realize I cannot work for the federal government. Now, had I had the non-Antioch brain, and just think about, you know, a pension and health care and all those other niceties that go with just keeping my, you know, my nose down to the ground--you know, grindstone, and just do what I'm supposed to do and wait 30 years to get a pension and all the other Bennies [?] and whatnot, maybe I would have liked it. But maybe Antioch taught me that there's 00:00:00more to question, like, why am I just taking this pencil and moving it to, you know, from one office to another and that's all he wants me to do? And I realized, after I left EPA I actually went to work for a government consulting firm, and I was I work for the National Science Foundation, and it was the same way there. These were people I was working with, all they thought about was when they're going to retire, and they were probably miserable in 00:00:00their jobs. And I was a government contractor, so, you know, I wasn't there all the time, but I knew, you know, I think I had made the right decision by not trying to pursue a job in the federal government. So actually, I kind of thank Reagan for, you know, doing the hiring freeze because if he didn't, I probably would have been stuck, knowing me, at EPA without really thinking too much, you know. But now it's 63 and thinking about retirement, 00:00:00you know, pension and healthcare, don't sound so bad. You know, those guarantees because you know, it's the world we live in. But no, Reagan was... he was just bad, you know, and for the early '80s and for the start 00:00:00of AIDS and what no, and never recognizing it. I mean, even when I was at Antioch, I did a radio show, they had the Gay Hour or Gay--at WYSO, the radio station, which then was on campus. And basically what it was, is we read news from The Blade, the San Francisco paper, and things like that and The Advocate. So it was just re-reporting news. So, you know, that was something 00:00:00 to get involved with, things like that. So, ah, I don't know what the point of that was, but another little tangent. It was good. You know, we had gay dances back then at Antioch, you know, in the cafeteria. And those were fun. There was a core group of people. Antioch had a very vibrant gay 00:00:00community back then. I would say at the Gay Center--I forget when we met, maybe once a month, once a week, or once every two weeks, or once a month or something--we would have between 10 and 15 people at the meeting. Mostly men, some women, a lot of women didn't feel comfortable going because there were men there. But, you know, if you tallied up everyone on campus who was either 00:00:00gay, or bi, or gender-fluid or whatever you want, it was a pretty big core of the community, you know, so there was, you know, there was no prejudice, I didn't encounter anyone who was, not gay--I didn't--I knew I was 00:00:00gay, I never, you know, I was never bullied, I was never anything. You know, but it could be because, you know, I was a kind of a--well, in my day I had a little more muscles and I was a bigger person, things like that. So, no it was good. The only one I encountered, I had a roommate who found out I was gay--I told him I was gay, and for some reason he couldn't deal with it, and then he got a girlfriend, and she turned out to be a lesbian, and then he 00:00:00got married, and then he got divorced, and I thought to myself, isn't karma a bitch?
JASMINE: There's very funny that they got--so he didn't know that shewas a lesbian until after they got married?
RICHARD: No. No, and so, and here, I had a wonderful relationship with a man,who was the love of my life for over 25 years, but he passed three years ago. 00:00:00And I wouldn't trade one day of that relationship for anything else.
JASMINE: I'm sorry to hear about his passing, and about your father's passing.
RICHARD: They were all good runs, you know, I'm actually down here with mytwo sister--my husband was part of nine children, and I'm actually down here on vacation with two sisters and a brother. So I'm very thankful for 00:00:00the family that, you know, has been created because of him, you know, and I'm thankful for that.
JASMINE: That really ties in with the next question, actually, you know--whichis, "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 Antioch in any ways?" 00:00:00
RICHARD: Yeah, I mean it's the old saying, you're born intoa family, but it's not necessarily the family that you have. And I was born into a good family, I had issues with my sister, as did my parents, and I had a brother who was a special needs brother, he was born in 1950 and they labeled him as "mentally retarded". And so, you know, this was the family I was born 00:00:00into and they were a good family. Maybe sometimes not as close as I thought we would be and things like that, but we did get close. I met a man over, now it's like 29 years ago, and we became--we dated for three years. We lived together for over 21. We were married. His family was one of nine children and between his family and my family, and some friends, you 00:00:00know, we created the family that was ideal. You know, kind of like taking it from Antioch, we created a community. And it may not be traditional, and it may not be the norm, you know, there's no wives or children or husbands and children, things like that, but it works for me and I know that I have people to 00:00:00rely on. You know, and the same way at Antioch, you know, you're thrown together with people and some you going to get along with, some you're not, but you build your community. I know for one or two quarters at camp--at Antioch, I chose not to take the food plan and I joined with three or four other people a food co-op within the town of Yellow Springs. And we made 00:00:00our meals, I think what it was, I think we did dinners together. And so we took my breakfast and lunch in the dining hall. And then dinner, we made a communal meal together. I was living in Birch at the time, I believe, or another, I was living in the one next to Birch, which I think is torn down now. But we had a kitchen and we would have our communal meal at night. And you know, 00:00:00that was the family or the community I built while I was there, and it was very nice. And I think of that today, you know, going back to the question, you know, you're born into a family, it's not necessarily the family you have. And you know, I built my life around only a few friends that I could truly call a dear friend that I could call anytime. And I think, you know, the thing with social media, people think that they have a lot of 00:00:00friends, you know when you look at Facebook, oh, I have to 2200 friends! But when it comes to counting on people in your life, everyone only has a few people that you could actually truly call your family. So maybe that was my takeaway from Antioch. I mean, I certainly live by those rules today, and I'm almost 64. So, and as far as my career, you know, I 00:00:00think I've always, I've enjoyed what I've done. It's not the career I planned. I just fell into it naturally and I did it very, very well. I was working at a government contracting place, and a friend of mine was starting a new company and they needed a financial controller. And I did that for over 21 00:00:00years for this company, was a brand new company, you know, just started. I was Employee Number Two, and we sold the company two years ago to a larger company. And you know, I like the people I work for, it's not necessarily the culture I really like, but you know, I look at it this way: I want to retire when I'm 65, and I'm guaranteed with--because of the 00:00:00merger, that I can have a job until I'm 65. So, but I'm very, you know, I've become friends with people I'm friendly with, and the people I work with, when my husband passed, they all knew, you know, I didn't make any secrets about it or things like that, and they were all very, very understanding, you know. And even with the new company, I, you know, when they try to hint what my interests are, you know, I'm very honest with 00:00:00them. And if they don't like it and they say something behind my back, I can't control that. But I am who I am. You know, I may not wear a badge on my my chest, that I feel like I need to tell people that [I'm gay] you know, but I'm not going to make up some story. You know. I'm in some ways a very private--not private, but just because I've been burned 00:00:00by some people, in a previous job, where I had a disagreement, I'm just, I keep things very close to the vest.
JASMINE: Okay. Yeah. Makes a lot of sense. Let's see, I think we'll goahead and go on to the next one, the next core question, which is, "Are there 00:00:00any ways in which you think your life would be different, had you gone to a more typical liberal arts college?" So you kind of talked a little bit about that, of like, you know, saying that you made the right decision by going to Antioch, do you think--[Richard starts to speak] go ahead. 00:00:00
RICHARD: I mean, I actually did get into Middlebury College, and I went up thereto Vermont and I looked at it, and I really, really liked it. I think it was the cost at the time. This is the 1970s so the cost was like, $10,000 or so. It was expensive! And I gave that some consideration. You know, I look--I got into a small school in Maine and whatnot. Going to any other liberal arts 00:00:00school, I don't think my life would have been so different. Had I gone to a big state school, or something, or even Johns Hopkins in Baltimore which itself is labeled a liberal arts school. I think the fact that, you know, so much of campus life was, lived around, fraternities, sororities, football games, things like that. I don't think I would have liked that, I don't think that was me. You know, it's just not who I am. I mean, I noticed with the men I--the guys I work with, all of them pretty much went to big state schools. 00:00:00And I noticed that we go out to lunch once a month, and when there's lack of anything else to talk about, it always goes back to football and sports and things like that. It's just, you know, it's not like I dislike sports, it's just, I don't care about them. I don't care about professional football or things like that. So I mean, my 00:00:00life would have been only different had I gone to a bigger kind of state school or something like that. I probably would just have been a clone and gone to do a job and, staying in it for 30 years and, you know, supposedly be happy at the end of it. But, you know, now I'm coming to the end of my career, another year and a half or so to go, and I'm very happy with what I've done. I've had challenges, I've met some nice people, 00:00:00I've--you know, I've never been in, I could honestly say, I've never really been in a job where I hated going in, or I didn't want to go in. I mean for the 21 years that it was, I was Employee Number Two in this firm, I mean, I looked forward to going to work every day and I was who I was when I went to work, you know, I was you know, no different from how I am. 00:00:00So, let me look at the question... No, I think my life would have been the same had I gone to any other liberal arts college. I think my life would have been very different had I gone to a more structured, organized, state school, or one, where there was an emphasis on sports, fraternities, and things like that. So, you know, I'm kind of thankful that Antioch didn't have that. But another liberal arts school probably would have turned out 00:00:00about the same. I think the thing that drew me to Antioch was the co-op system at the time, you know, I had some interests, I got to explore them. Had I gone to a regular school without the co-op system, I think I would have struggled to figure out what I wanted to do in life, but what I studied and what I ended up doing life are two different things. But I had a knack for numbers and I was very good--I know accounting sounds boring, but I was very good at it, 00:00:00and it allowed me, you know, the job paid me so that I could travel and do things, and I'm very thankful that I've got to travel around the world, and visit places that you know, that gave me the opportunity to do that.
JASMINE: That's awesome. Yeah. Did--so, you studied accounting00:00:00then from like the moment, you know, you were like an accounting major from like the start, or?
RICHARD: No, I was actually a b--I was a biology major at Antioch. And I thoughtI was going to work at EPA, and--which I did. And then you know, Reagan came in and he put the kibosh on that job. But then I got a job at the 00:00:00National Science Foundation,, and I was a project manager and all I basically did all day, I had people working on the project, and I was managing their time and the budgets and things like that, and it came naturally to me. And then an opportunity came up for me to be a controller for a small Trade to Cut [?] Association. And I was there for over 15 years where I just did all 00:00:00the accounting and everything. And you know, I thought well this is easy, you know, I mean adding 1 plus 1 is always 2, sometimes, you know, so it's very, very easy--It came very natural to me. I took graduate courses in finance and administration at GW [George Washington University], I furthered my education. And then the opportunity came to become the Chief 00:00:00Financial Officer for this new consulting firm, and I I took it, and it was from the ground up, you know, opening day, building a company, and we did. From nothing to, you know, pretty successful, and I did that. So accounting was just a ways to, and finance and administration, were just a way to fund my other interests. You know, it allowed me to go to China, it allowed me to 00:00:00go to Europe, it allowed me to go, you know, to Vietnam. So, you know, it was a ways--a means to an end, kind of. And it's, you know, at least gave me an opportunity to live a life that's been relatively comfortable. I wouldn't say wealthy, but you know, comfortable, I'm fortunate and thankful for everything I have.
JASMINE: That's great! Let's see. I think we'll go00:00:00ahead and go to the last question then, which is, "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?"
RICHARD: I think it would be, you know, be who you are. You know,that maybe you haven't found your community yet, that--but there is 00:00:00community out there that will accept you for who you are, and for your beliefs, and you may stumble, and you may come into some resistance or prejudice, but eventually, it's out there. You know, even if you think you're living in a place that won't accept you, there's always someone that will. You know, and be thankful for all that. And, you know, the hate and 00:00:00the prejudice that's out there, even now, you have to keep on saying it has to get better. You know, it may not, you know, we were having a discussion, we're down here in North Carolina, and we were talking about how the last time when I was here in North Carolina was for a co-op in 1980. And I was teaching at--down at the North Carolina Marine Resources Center, which is 00:00:00down the Atlantic from where I am in the Outer Banks. And Jesse Helms was the president--was the governor of the state before he was a senator, but he was a horrible governor at the time. You know, he was homophobic, he was misogynistic, he was all the buzz words to describe a horrible, horrible person. And, you know, you have to think, oh, he's gonna die one day. Life will 00:00:00get better. No, there's always a new Jesse Helms to come along, you know, just in a different format. But for every Jesse Helms, there's a community out there that believes in who you are. So I think for future Antioch students, you know, maybe you go there because you think it'll be a safe environment, and maybe the world won't be so accepting, but it is. You know, and when you get out from Antioch, there are communities out there that will 00:00:00accept you for who you are. So it does get better. I know, that's a cliche 00:00:00saying. That's about my only message and, you know, you have a great future ahead of you, all future students.
JASMINE: That's great. I really appreciate you know, you takingthe time to do this interview and I appreciate you know, the stories you've shared. Is there anything else that you know, we wish that we that we covered or 00:00:00touched on, you know, before we stop?
RICHARD: No, I mean you didn't really ask about campus gay life, but it wasgood. And, you know, I'm thankful for the group of friends. You had met one of the people when they were recently at Antioch, and there were other people I ,went to Antioch with and we had a fun time! You know, we were 00:00:00part of the campus life, but sometimes we didn't see each other during the week, but maybe on the weekends, you know, if someone had a car, one person had a car in particular, an old Chevy and we would pile in and go to Dayton, have a fun night out. So there was a nice balance of campus life and gay life beyond the Antioch campus. The only sad part is, you know, so many, or many 00:00:00of the people who I went to college with had passed because of HIV and AIDS. And that's the saddest thing, You about the time when I went to Antioch, you know, because it was the 70s and people, you know, there wasn't HIV or AIDS. Then people graduated, and then they went off and then the early '80s came, and I could think of a half a dozen men who had passed. But the 00:00:00nice thing is that, I talked with several of the students today, and we still bring their names up. So at least in spirit, we keep them alive and it's good to remember them. But, no it was it was a fun campus, it--there were some good times. You know, I think thankful that you know, really never saw 00:00:00any outright prejudice at the fact that we were gay. You know. So it was a good time and a good place to be at the time and, you know, during--when I was at Antioch in the '70s, I mean, you know, there was the whole Anita Bryant thing was going on. I went to a high school actually to speak about being gay, a local school around the Dayton area and their first comment was, "Well, you don't look gay." Yeah, I never knew how to answer that question. But I 00:00:00dressed the way in college that I dress now, basically jeans and a shirt, you know, so I think it was good to do that. You know, well, I guess you would call it outreach, at the time, you know, but, you know, the sad thing is 00:00:00now people, especially for gay youth, you know, or you know, lesbian, trans, gay, lu--youth, you know, who don't have a place at their family table, you 00:00:00know, and encounter prejudice from those that're supposed to be their family and understand them. So Antioch was good for that. You know, everyone had a place and everyone was well-respected, I think. That's it.