Kit Bakke and Maya Malysiak

Recorded October 31, 2004 Archived October 31, 2004 48:23 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: GCT000898



  • Kit Bakke
  • Maya Malysiak


StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

00:00 My name is Maya malecek. I'm 31. Today's October 31st 2004 and I'm in Grand Central Terminal with my mom.

00:13 And my name is kit Bakke and I'm 57. I think although I'm at the age where I have to start remembering and thinking that and it is still October 31st. It's Sunday 2004 and we are in Grand Central Terminal and I'm here with my daughter my oldest daughter Maya.

00:34 I will my first question was those ID questioned so we'll get there. Where were you born mom? I was born in Seattle at Swedish Hospital, which is a rare and rare thing to have a Seattle resident be actually born in Seattle until you grew up mostly in Seattle or did you ever live in Eastern Washington? I grew up in Seattle and on the east side of Lake Washington my parents moved over they bought some property on the other side of Lake Washington when I was in the second or third grade and it was a place where nobody live full-time there were like little summer Cottage is there and all their friends thought they were crazy to leave the city like what are you going to do? And this was lakefront property, which of course by the time they sold it a few years ago is worth a couple million dollars, but it was a great place to grow up because it was all

01:34 And since we just were in the water all summer, and in the woods all the rest of the time it was wonderful and you never learned to ride a bike right now. I have had to live with that for my whole life because we didn't have any paved roads near us. So none of us kids knew how to ride a bike. So where was James family from and where was Jack's family from? My mom was born in Pullman Eastern Washington and her parents were from Indiana both of them and they ended up in Eastern Washington because grandpa taught chemistry at the University there and my dad was born in Wenatchee, which is also in Eastern Washington what sort of central Eastern Washington and his family was from Seattle.

02:26 He went to high school in my grandpa went to high school in Seattle and my grandma grew up there as well and both of their parents. My great-grandmother's the to great-grandmother's on the on my dad's side also lived in Seattle, and I knew them as a child.

02:53 Who are your favorite relatives when you were growing up and why it's a great question that I think my favorite relatives were my mom's parents. We knew both our grandparents closely when we were always at their different houses for the holidays and all that stuff and my mother's parents in Pullman had this big house on a hill with a lot of yard and a toy covered by the fireplace that was full of old wooden toys from when my mom and her brother were going up there. And for some reason it was more hospitable for children that those grandparents there were like always cookies and there was always there what they had this huge Willow Tree in the front yard. That was this fabulous climbing tree.

03:46 So it was I would say they were are my favorite relatives what traditions have been passed down in your family and have you been able to pass them to me or will I learn them later? Well, we're not a very traditional family. I don't know what kind of traditions we had I guess.

04:10 I guess I would think more in terms of values and traditions.

04:15 I mean the tradition we would have would be stay away from crowds. Don't do anything that everybody else is doing like I mean, I grew up on the west coast and never went to Disneyland. My dad would never consider in a million years taking his family to Disneyland. So and we never went anywhere like on Memorial Day or labor. I mean anywhere where normally people would go for a picnic with a crowd of people or whatever never.

04:47 Does a tradition or a value like is it? I mean it's a value and it's and it defined that there were certain Traditions that weren't going to exist.

05:01 So I guess well, we had my dad always Christmas was like a big thing and my dad always wanted to he loved opening presents and he kept wanting to move the Christmas present opening time earlier. Like let's open one on Christmas Eve and my mom would know Christmas day. Just one and we finally he finally wanted we were able to open one and then actually has us kids got older. We eventually I believe couple years. We actually open the mall on Christmas Eve because really nobody wanted to get up in the morning by that time. So I guess I was a tradition so we haven't gotten that.

05:48 Skip ahead now till when you were in college, so I know that you went to Bryn Mawr. What was your favorite thing about going to I've heard a lot of stories about being in Bryn Mawr about like dancing to the Beatles in the library and trying to unionize the housekeeper's cuz you were there what years were you at 64 to 68 the best of all possible times today in college. And so what what why why was because it was so much fun.

06:25 You were at what did you asked you asked? Well, I guess what was one of your favorite thing about being in college or what stands out most is yeah. We'll see I never intended to go East I never intended to go East to school and I never intended to go to a girls school. I never intended to go to school at didn't have a football team because I followed the University of Washington Huskies all through high school plus not rrr high school football team was actually very good and so I was into it and then somebody well my mom my folks had both finished college and my dad did medical school back East. So when it got time to be College not the high school. I went to wasn't College focused at all, like the counselors there weren't College counselors. There was no no direction that way but my mom said when I should think about college and why do you think about some of those schools?

07:25 And I said, well what you know, what do they have football and she said well, why don't you look at those seven sister schools. So I looked them up. We had a set of World Book Encyclopedia red World Book encyclopedias.

07:40 So I looked at Seven Sisters name listed them all and I believe they've probably listen to mathematically so Bryn Mawr was first.

07:47 So I sent away to Bryn Mawr. I said send me your admission stuff and it came back in. The form was probably not nearly as complicated as it is today, but it it said if you know if you send this back your application blah blah blah include a 15-1 $5 check and I said they charge you to just apply I couldn't believe it. So I said well, I'm only going to apply to one school. This is stupid. So I did and I did apply to Bryn Mawr and I think just because it was the first on the list and their stuff came back first in the mailing when I had mailed off request.

08:27 So I wasn't taking it all that seriously, but I didn't pack it in and so I figured okay, I might as well go but I'm certainly not going to stay for years cuz they don't have a football team, but I'll go for 2 years and then come back to the you and you just kind of get sucked into campus life or whatever. And so it never crossed my mind to leave once I got there. But yeah, it was really fun. It's a very pretty School very pretty campus.

09:00 I met interesting really interesting people from all over the country a few International students. Probably not as many as there are now and it was it was really all fun except for Greek taking Greek. Yeah. Yeah. I took two years ago. I knew nothing and I took two years of Greek on a vet. In fact, it was a kid back in Kirkland at home. Who when I said, I'm going to a school back East don't have bet you won't take Greek and I said so you and so I did and I knew it was the dumbest thing. I ever did probably all those other people have been impressed with it over the years. So I think it was probably all right, but everybody else in the class had taken Latin in high school, you know, they were all from private schools here and

09:52 Not knowing when made a big difference and I don't feel like I had great famous teachers is Peter keeps reminding me but I didn't get that much out. So that sounds like that is a bad thing or was one of the best things just the diversity of people at the end of Independence. I mean which any college kid feels anywhere. I mean suddenly being on your own and getting to kind of orchestrate your time yourself cuz I'm going to study now. I'm going to go to bed. Now. I'm going to go to the movies now and you don't have to ask anybody, you know, you can just do it.

10:34 So when you started it didn't sound like you really plan to go to Bryn Mawr, but when you started did you have a plan what you wanted to graduate? What did you want to become when you got older? Well, see this was the sixties. So everybody wanted to be like John Kennedy. Everybody was going to be a lawyer. Everybody was going to be a politician. Everybody was going to we were going to remake the country and then course the world. So poli-sci was my major.

11:04 And so then you did graduate in 68. And did you do what you thought you were going to well, as you have pointed out several times Our Generation actually made a huge mess of everything. We thought we were fixing everything, but we didn't know I did not go undergraduate school and everybody else at Bryn Mawr does cocoa graduate school and in fact

11:30 It was I didn't get it really that that I was disappointing everybody. I mean everybody in terms of the faculty in the I mean the the people who run the school really are training people up to be professors at other school, and I wasn't into that so but I didn't really notice because by then I was pretty involved in SDS the students for a Democratic Society, which I don't know if anybody even remembers him anymore, but so I was on a lot of demonstrations and went to New York big Mart. We calling the moratorium that were big marches in at the Pentagon and in New York and various places and being

12:17 I was out in the streets a lot. My senior project like my honors paper was on Urban Redevelopment in Philadelphia and how you know, the big money people are tearing down the homes of old poor black enough to help black people.

12:38 And so I would say it was sort of polemical but I managed to put enough academics around it to kind of squeak it through as an academic project. So I was quite aware of all sorts of bad things that we're going on.

12:55 And so that's what I did when I graduated. I went to Chicago and worked in the national office of the of SDS and did that and then when the weathermen when it split off and there was the weathermen I went with the weathermen from the from a trip to Cuba in 1969. We sort of hatched the weatherman idea. So when you went to give it that you weren't already part of the weathermen, that's when the weathermen began. Well that's kind of where the idea was was being talked about him. It's hard to say exactly when it began. But yeah, that was that at that point.

13:31 We realized that we were going to kind of abandon SDS cuz it was being that the left. I don't know why I left wing politics are so factional and maybe the right one is the same way. But certainly we got very sactional and there was this Socialist Workers Party and there where there's all these there were trotskyites. There's all these different groups of polemical. I guess people get Fanatics in one way or another and so we were going to just abandon SDS leave them to the trotskyites in the workers party people and we would do do the weathermen and take the best and the brightest with us. So we thought so, yeah, the the Cuba trip was a lot talking about we're going to Fan out into these communes around the country and part of its going to be underground and part of its going to be above ground and who's going to go to which place and how are we going to start a run at 2 and funded and all that stuff? And what was the end goal?

14:31 Weathermen what did they want like what I mean? Why did you have to break away? Cuz the other factions were just fighting too much and they all wanted different things. What made you guys want something? What was that thing that you want to talk? That's a very good question it.

14:49 To be perfectly honest, I think part of it was we wanted to run around more in other words. We didn't want to sit in smoke-filled rooms and argue academic left-wing politics. We wanted to actually go out and be in the streets more. So that's kind of a selfish reason. We thought it would be more fun to be more active in a in that street sort of sense. But I think there was also the feeling that we needed to get beyond our white college kid personas or we needed an audience. That wasn't just weights college kids. We needed to somehow appeal to the kids who didn't go to college and we're now working in factories and we did have a bit of an old-fashioned Marxist sense of what was going on in the country and we thought that working young working peep.

15:49 We're going to be key to.

15:53 Overthrow the government

15:55 So if that was your end goal, but that was Hannibal of SDS as well. Throw the government. Well, yeah, but we were more militant about it, right? Yes. That was that was that was the ankle and the in the reason for doing that was so that we wouldn't be an imperialist country anymore. I mean by this time obviously Vietnam was pretty bad or a racist country.

16:23 Or a sexist country, although in those early days 6970 there wasn't too much thought given to women's issues just starting for us anyway.

16:37 But yeah, it was it was that bad stuff the inequality of of income the income distribution racism imperialism bad stuff.

16:47 Skip ahead. But so today there's a lot of the same frustration among people of my generation and a little bit younger than me who with the current Administration and seeing what's going on in Iraq. And why are we in Iraq, or do you think that we've reached a point? That's like what you guys reached back in the 60s?

17:11 On the same point of frustration or how do you see where we are now? This is a warrant what you guys did back then?

17:22 Boy

17:26 One of the differences then was that white kids for getting killed on campus speaking of campuses? I mean Kent State.

17:38 People were

17:40 Getting killed in this country.

17:44 By the government, but what about 9/11?

17:49 Right, but they're not being killed by the government.

17:52 They were being held by foreigners.

17:55 Which is a Terrace. Yeah, yeah there but Terrace foreign terrorist. I mean in other words, if for some reason I was thinking of the Oklahoma bombing remember what people at first I thought it was outside terrorist. It was okay, but that's not the same thing. Nevermind.

18:16 I don't.

18:19 That's the question again. Well, I guess I was wondering do you have frustration now? I feel like

18:25 I feel like when I watch a movie like Fahrenheit 911 or I read what's going on or are you know, you just pay too much attention to the news that things have gotten so bad that like if Bush wins again in a few days like

18:37 Like I am in talking to Tess. She's like ready to go and go to DC on November 3rd and protest because can't go on this way for much longer and I'm wondering if we're reaching a point where we're recreating what happened like 30 years ago and you haven't been there. Do you see this as our return a point or do you think that this is different time?

19:01 And if you think it's different times you think it's different times because you're older and you are seeing things differently now, like now you're moving more level-headed or are you realize that what you tried to do is impossible and you'd went about it the wrong way in the 60s or what? I guess that's not into an answer because I wrestle with this exact same question myself.

19:37 I certainly believe that the problem is bigger and more complicated than I thought it was at the time and I also don't believe that America is evil and horrible as I thought it was at the time. Although you're absolutely right that man. I can't read the newspapers anymore. I mean that it is evil.

20:04 But some of it is just the thing is how much of it is the individual leaders that happened to be there at this moment. And how much of it is?

20:17 The start of the the mob mentality. I mean the people when I can't help thinking that we nurses phrase of, you know, people get what they deserve are we safe. We are so stupid as to re-elect Bush again. I mean even this this morning when I'm lying in bed, I'm not getting out. I imagine conversations with bush supporters and I say so why are you voting for him? Well because he'll keep us safe safe from what you know, from who

20:56 And then I'll say something, you know, I imagine. I mean I do I just run through the conversation. Well, you know Saddam Hussein Iraq well and what did they do? Exactly to make you feel unsafe all you know, those are plants.

21:14 None of those were real Rockies. Well then and I don't think that would change. I think I could go through that whole train of conversation with somebody obviously half the country and

21:31 It would mean nothing.

21:35 And I don't so people are just stupid there.

21:46 Not thoughtful

21:49 And they're so that makes me have less hope for the effectiveness of

21:58 Kind of point out their errors in either rational conversation or street fighting. However,

22:10 It's also true that.

22:12 If everybody just sits back and takes it or leave the country.

22:19 Then where are we aren't any good, you know, and I keep thinking of Rome, you know, I mean every great Empire Falls.

22:30 And maybe that's kind of where we are. And you really do need to pick up your Dyson go someplace else because you don't want to ruin your own life for a hopeless cause but on the other hand, how do you know it's hopeless because if everybody pitched in maybe it wouldn't be helpless anymore. I mean think of Gandhi think of mahatmyam Academy, you know,

22:53 Who are the people that we remember in history? They're the the Fanatics. They're the people that sacrificed everything and they did make a difference.

23:04 But then you don't want the daughters that you love to do that.

23:11 So if you were me or Tess right now and we know we're faced by situation. It's very frustrating and I know test is talking about when she graduates leaving the country and I can't hear you and Peter talk about, you know, maybe we should go by for a couple years. So like is that what would you recommend that or would you recommend doing what you did and going underground or I mean, I I personally couldn't do anything that radical but

23:36 You know, I can't leave it yet either. Would you if you are RH, what would you do now?

23:45 I probably will of course. I don't know what I would do. But if if I could

23:52 What popped into my head when you said that was the pen is mightier than the sword and you've got internet communications in a way that didn't exist in the past and other words communication of information if knowledge is power and information is power. There are ways to disseminate information today.